AFTER SPENDING ALMOST the entire day at sea, everyone was beat when returning to shore. The complimentary lunch buffet hardly held down their hunger anymore, especially to the proud father and daughter who expended their stamina reeling in fish all afternoon.
By the time evening arrived, they dressed up and went out for dinner at h’ouse. The couple running this upscale place were New Yorkers. Elton had become acquainted with them, as every time he visited the Bahamas he would bring company with him there.
“Good evening, Elton! Welcome back to Nassau,” Mr. Norris greeted him cheerily, a grin on his face.
The two warmly shook hands, and then Elton introduced the rest of the family. “You already know my wife, Brenda, and this is my lovely daughter, Allison, and son-in-law, Daniel.”
“How do you do, Ben?” Brenda greeted him, offering her hand with her palm facing downward. Mr. Norris bowed towards it, held it close to his lips, and kissed it symbolically before letting go.
“It’s nice to see you again, Brenda. And you two, what a beautiful couple, happy wedding anniversary.”
“Thank you,” Daniel replied with a nod of his head.
“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Norris,” said Allison.
“Just call me Ben, and the pleasure's all mine.”
Afterwards, he personally guided them to their reserved table on a shaded, floating dock next to a grand view of the Atlantic Ocean. It had just started to sprinkle as they sat down. The gentle sea breezes blowing just so kept the torrid heat at bay.
“Is the rain going to be a problem?”
“Not to me,” said Brenda.
“I actually feel quite comfortable,” said Allison.
“You heard the ladies,” Elton replied to him.
“Excellent. Azarel here will be your server for this evening. In case you need me, just give me a wave, I won’t be too far away.”
After Mr. Norris left, they looked at the set menu briefly and each made their selections. Minutes later, the cocktail waitress came by with the Dom Pérignon as requested from Elton. She went around filling everyone’s glass and then set aside the bottle in an ice bucket.
“To Allison and Daniel, happy belated anniversary,” Elton toasted to the couple, leaning to give Allison a peck on the cheek.
Brenda also raised her glass. “I wish you both health, wealth, and as merry as the day is long. Cheers!”
“Cheers!” they said to one another, clinking their glasses and drinking away.
“Thank you, Mom, and Dad. This day’s been wonderful. I couldn’t have hoped for more fun with you guys.”
“Just wait till tomorrow,” said Brenda.
“Shopping of course! You can’t travel and not shop. You will be coming with me while these two go browse around for guy things.”
“Dan and I were actually planning to go ourselves. We’ve already visited the tourists’ market around here once.”
“When did you?”
“Yesterday. We had a little time before dinner. We saw this exotic mask for sale at one of the stands. Dan would like to get it before we leave to add to his den’s collection.”
“Then he can go with your father. There’s no need for you to be there.”
“But I want to go with him. We haven’t spent much time just the two of us this whole trip.”
“What about me?! Don’t you care to spend some time with your mother, whom you haven’t seen for so long?”
Sensing the conversation could easily turn into another argument, Daniel decided to interfere. “Don’t we have another full day tomorrow? Our flight is not until nine in the evening.”
“So, why don’t we all go together? Like you said before, ‘a family that travels together should stick together.’ Or, if you prefer, Allie can always hang out with me for half the day and spend the other half with you. Ultimately, if that’s okay with her.”
“I like that idea,” said Allison eagerly, and then turned to her mother, “What do you think?”
Brenda looked at her chirpy face and then smiled at Daniel sitting to her left, for his sensibleness in putting her daughter first. “Thank you, Danny. All right, we will do as you wish for once.”
As the others talked over their plan, Elton had locked eyes with Mr. Norris from across the room, giving him a go-signal. One moment the local jazz band was playing music indoors, the next they stopped and marched onto the deck, all the way jamming a swing classic — “For Eternity” by Walter Feigel — led by the saxophonist. As soon as they came near their table, Allison’s face lit up in astonishment, having recognized the melody of her first-dance song.
“Daddy, did you arrange this?”
When the vocalist began singing the first verse, automatically, she started lip-synching along:
What is life when there’s no love
What is love and is love enough
When you find that someone
Never letting go of that someone
“Why don’t you two love birds dance a little?” proposed Brenda.
Allison looked over at Daniel, who then asked her, “You want to?” She nodded. Therefore without delay, he came around the table to take her by the hand, and brought her out to an open space not far away. His fingers interlocked with hers as her eyes melted into his. Following the music, they swayed in close unison while others watched on with hearty smiles. A time came when his hand on her back held her closer. His gaze shifted to her mouth and he kissed her. When their lips parted, he noticed her misty eyes.
“Still doing okay?” he asked her softly, and she assured him. “Yes, I’m fine. It’s just… I haven’t been this happy for a long time. I don’t want this day to end.” She wrapped her arms around his back, pressed her ear against his chest and rested there for the remainder of the song. As she did so, he kissed her again, this time on her forehead. She was just listening to his tender heartbeat then, feeling over the moon.
The band received much applause at the end of their performance. When the two got back to their table, the starters were being served.
“Are you okay? You look flushed,” Brenda asked her.
“I’m okay. I think I’m gonna run to the ladies’ room.”
“Want me to come with you? I know where it is.”
“No. I can find it myself but thank you, Mom. Excuse me everyone, and please, start eating without me.”
The men stood up respectfully as she got up and left the table.