by donna nabors
Audrey’s early evening walk on the beach had been everything the brochure advertised. Sand squishing between her toes, waves lapping at her ankles, and colorful shells littering the beach. Except now she sat trying to wash away the sand between her toes, the salt stuck to her ankles, and the blood on the bottom of her foot compliments of a broken shell buried beneath the surface of the sand.
A trip to the twenty-four-hour clinic was not the way she envisioned starting her summer. She thought God was leading her here. She must have missed His direction again.
“Let me guess. Strolling along the beach in the dark waiting for Prince Charming to ride up on his white horse?” The doctor turned and made a comment to the nurse about women with romantic ideas carelessly taking walks on the beach looking for someone who didn’t exist. Well, she understood that all too well.
This trip had nothing to do with romantic encounters. Her purpose over the next two months encompassed much needed time alone with God and His creation. Nothing better than watching waves crash on the sand to show His mighty power.
She met the doctor’s gaze, and deep blue eyes held her transfixed, almost allowing her to forgive his callous accusations.
Two days later, Audrey left the restaurant after a quiet dinner alone. She passed on dessert to get back to her bungalow. Her foot was starting to throb.
There he was on the deck just outside the entrance. She wouldn’t have recognized him if it weren’t for the eyes. The tailored doctor in his perfect white coat now stood before her in shorts and no shirt. Who needed dessert when you had this eye-candy?
The sign on the restaurant deck clearly stated No shirt, No shoes, No service. Yet there he was smelling like the ocean and rambling to the hostess about having lost his shoes when he ran down the beach to a young child in distress, wrapping the child in his shirt to keep shock at bay. “Can’t I just sit out here on the deck?”
Audrey started to turn the other way when she heard his tone change. “Miss Sanders? Audrey, right?”
She couldn’t believe he remembered her. Of course, her attire wasn’t much different from the night at the clinic. Unlike his.
“Yes. Dr. Wilson?”
He chuckled and looked down at his appearance realizing why he might not be recognizable.
“Bryan. How’s the foot?”
Audrey looked away.
He insisted on looking at it right there on the restaurant deck. No shirt, no shoes, and now he wanted to expose everyone arriving for dinner to her ghastly looking stitched up foot.
She sat on a nearby bench and slowly unwrapped part of the bandage.
He winced. “That doesn’t look good.”
“Are you staying nearby where I could get a closer look without returning to the clinic?”
Audrey looked at him hesitantly.
“I just want to see if we can clean that up a bit.”
“Okay, my bungalow is about two hundred yards down the beach.” Feeling the heat rise in her cheeks, she turned away from him. “Come on.”
Once inside, she motioned for him to follow her to the bathroom. The lights were brighter there, and she could always hit him with her flat iron if he wasn’t a gentleman. He made quick work of fully removing the old bandages, carefully cleansing the stitched wound, and re-wrapping it.
“I think it will be okay, but I’ll call in a prescription for an antibiotic to be on the safe side. Try to limit your walks on the sandy beach until it heals.” He grinned, likely remembering his words at the clinic. “How long are you staying?”
Audrey glanced up, trying not to get lost in those deep blue eyes staring at her face, not her foot. “I’ll be here for two months.”
“Oh. Well, you should be okay to revisit the beach in a couple of weeks. But I’d recommend having your foot looked at again to be sure it’s healing properly. I could come by in about a week to be sure.”
Was that an invitation to see her again? Or were house calls part of his normal routine?
“That would be great.” What was she thinking? She wasn’t here for a romantic interlude. Was he trying to play Prince Charming and cash in on a summer fling?
He interrupted her thoughts with a curveball. “I’m helping at the clinic as needed, but my real mission this summer is working with disadvantaged children at a church here on the beach. Would you like me to come by after service on Sunday? I could look at your foot, and then we could grab lunch.”
“I noticed the church and thought I would check it out. I wasn’t able to yesterday, well, because of…” She glanced down at her foot.
“Great. It’s a date. Uh, I mean, I’ll look for you there on Sunday.” He backed up, unable to get out of her bathroom quick enough. “Do you play?”
“What do you mean?”
“The piano. Do you play the piano? I noticed some sheet music and a keyboard.”
“Oh, well, yes, a little. Maybe more than a little. I write music, but I’ve had a bit of writer’s block lately.”
“We could use a pianist for the children’s choir. You could pay me back for the extra visits to check on your foot.”
Did he really just wink at her? Those blue eyes sparkled so much she wasn’t sure.
As Bryan left that evening, she watched him walk down the beach toward the church. Could he be the answer to her prayer? Audrey closed the door and walked over to her keyboard. She felt the beginning of a new song stirring in her spirit.
Perhaps God did know what He was doing.