Join me here each week for the adventures of Leila Jennings as she starts her new life on Lake Norman.
“Ahoy fine lady, you seem to have dropped something.”
Leila glanced down at the older man in bathing trunks with skin seared to a cancerous shade of copper. Given his age and sex she truly doubted that he was pregnant, but it was hard to be convinced otherwise by the size of the belly that overlapped his trunks.
“Thank you, I was just on my way down to pick them up.”
“Big mistake.” The disembodied voice two balconies away mumbled. “Big mistake.”
“I’m sorry?” Leila turned to look at her adjacent neighbor, frustrated that the sun still eclipsed him.
“Have you been to the pool yet?” He asked.
“No.” Leila perked up, sensing an invitation.
“If you go down to get those glasses, they’ll get you.”
The ominous overtone piqued her curiosity. “They?”
“Just a warning,” He tapped the balustrade and nodded, “Welcome to Lake Norman, Leila.” Then he vanished behind the wall.
“But—” I don’t know your name.
Not to worry, Leila thought. She would encounter her enigmatic neighbor again. For now, she was dead set on getting back her sunglasses. Every penny counted until the new job started on Monday.
In the Sunset Reef courtyard, Leila followed the meandering sidewalk until the robust call came, “Ahoy m’lady, over here.”
As she rounded the corner of the building adjacent to hers the sound hit her. It was a wave of laughter, and splashing, and music, and multiple voices mingling, each louder than the first in an attempt to dominate. Leila had reached the pool. It was perfect, set just beside the lake where a couple of jet-skiers now idled out of the no-wake zone.
“Welcome to Sunset Reef.” The man swept his arm out in invitation for her to pass through the pool gates. “I’m George. George Dandy. Formerly from Texas. Very formerly,” He chuckled and his stomach quivered, “about sixteen years now.”
“I’m Leila Jennings. It’s very nice to meet you, Mr. Dandy.”
“Oh gosh, woman, it’s just George.”
“George! What did you bring us?” A lady in a floppy straw hat and sunglasses called out from her reclined position on a chaise lounge.
“I brought you Miss Leila Jennings, from—” He turned towards her with an arched gray brow.
“New Jersey!” Another woman in a bikini that seemed a tad inappropriate for her age popped up from a wooden bench and shuffled over in flip-flops with golden sequins on them.
“My sister lives up in New Jersey. Paramus. Are you from Paramus?”
“Doesn’t Sophia’s parents live in New Jersey?” Another woman stepped forward to inject.
“No, Sophia’s parents are from Arizona.”
Before Leila knew it, she was circled by a group of bronzed sun-worshippers of varying ages engaged in an inquisition.
“How much did you pay for your condo? You know the market took a hit, but I think the prices are coming back up.”
“Oh no, no.” Leila shook her head. “I’m renting.”
“Ohhh” They all nodded and added in unison. “smart.”
“Where are you working, Leila?”
“Well, I haven’t started yet, but I’ll be working at the Bank of Charlotte.”
“Ohhh,” Again the harmonic response.
“Leila, there are burgers on the grill.” George Dandy lifted a barbeque tong. “Or if you want to wait, we’re taking the boat over to Midtown later, you can join us.”
Leila glanced down at her watch. She had arrived in Cornelius twenty-five minutes ago. So much for things being slower in the south.