The Long Ride part 4
Thanks to WAA01 for the edits.
“Hello?” Callum answered his phone as he stepped onto the beach.
“Cal?” Callum sighed at the sound of Vanessa’s voice. Watching how the waves crashed onto the shore, the foam rolling back into the ocean from whence it was formed. “Cal where are you?” Vanessa asked, as the sounds of the shore birds and the waves echoed over the line.
“Itzel’s parents took us to this rather private beach, so some reason you’re calling?”
“I know I said I’d try not to disturb you on your trip… but it’s been three days and I just like to speak to Shari… I miss her,” Vanessa said, weakly.
“Uh-huh…” Callum turned to his right, his Adams Apple bobbed as Itzel walked out in this light blue bikini holding the bag that contained their clothes in her free hand, while Shari wore a matching one piece suit with a diamond-shaped opening that showed off Shari’s navel once they exited the building they used to change into their suits. He was so glad he was still wearing his jeans and not the bathing suit he brought along. Callum didn’t know how he would be able to hide the erection he felt forming as his eyes ran down Itzel’s body who had a confident smirk on her lips.
“Cal would you mind if I spoke to Shari, I promise it won’t take long.” Watching how Shari danced as the hot sand burned the soles of her feet before burying them in the sand and wiggling her toes.
“Alright, I got to change anyway,” Callum said, as he walked towards his daughter. “Shari your mother wants to talk to you,” he said, seeing how big her eyes got at the mention of Vanessa. Remembering what Dr. Rotter said after her talk with Shari in private after his and Vanessa’s second session. Telling him Shari had underlying abandonment issues due to the constant questions the kids levied at her. Why she was wanting a mother so she could feel normal like everyone else. It was why he was allowing this to continue for his daughter’s mental wellbeing; that’s what really mattered. Not what Vanessa or anyone else thought about mending their friendship, but the fact that his daughter was getting what she needed.
“I’ll keep an eye on her,” Itzel said sweetly, as Shari chatted away telling her mother everything that’s happened up to that point.
“Cal! Look over here,” Itzel called out as she filmed him and Shari playing in the surf. Feeling her cheeks heat at the way he looked at her. Giggling behind the camera as Callum and Shari frolicked in the surf. It warmed her heart that she could give Callum something that he might have missed in his life in his care for Shari, also so very pleased that she could make Shari’s smile stretch from ear to ear. Watching how the sun glinted along the droplets of water that clung to Callum’s bare chest. Biting her lip as Callum held Shari aloft above him, and how Shari giggled as she held out her arms like she was flying.
“Nicely done,” Elena said, peering over her daughter’s shoulder as she eyed the photo Itzel had just taken. There was no mistaking the love the two of them shared for one another as the sun bathed the two of them. “He’s almost like a little kid,” she mused stepping to her daughter’s side.
“Well… Cal has given up a lot to be Shari’s father. I’m just glad I can give him something that would make up for all that time lost,” Itzel stated not caring if her mother saw her blushing cheeks.
“You really do love him?” It wasn’t a question more like a statement of the facts presented before her.
“Of course, I do. I wouldn’t have said yes, if I didn’t,” Itzel said, peering out of the corner of her right eye at her mother.
“Come, we need to have a talk in private,” Elena said, motherly. Taking her daughter by the arm and leading her away from Callum so he wouldn’t overhear. “Does he know about your trust fund? Is that why he’s marrying you?”
“No, well yes, he knows about it now. Only after he agreed to marry me, but that’s not why he’s marrying me, mother,” Itzel said heatedly, as she crossed her arms.
“I’m sorry Itzel, I had to ask. That amount of money is a very good carrot,” Elena sighed.
“I haven’t even told him how much is in there, just that I have a trust fund,” Itzel huffed.
“Oh?! I see, well, get him to sign a prenup. That is the only way your father and I will agree to this wedding.”
“If I don’t?” Itzel asked, arching an eyebrow.
“What if this doesn’t work out honey? What if Cal, I’m not saying he isn’t, but what if Cal isn’t the man he claims to be? What if a year down the road you find out he has a string of women he’s been sleeping around with,” Elena said, playing devil’s advocate. Noting the anger in her daughter’s eyes.
“Callum… isn’t that kind of man,” Itzel said, keeping her voice low so her anger wouldn’t spoil Callum’s and Shari’s day. “Where are we Mom? We’re on one of the most private beaches where models and movie stars come to hang out and yet Callum’s eyes haven’t wandered once. Do you want to know why? Because he loves me, and only me, don’t ever insinuate that Cal is a cheater like all the others,” she said, defending Callum fiercely. A little taken aback by her mother’s smile.
“Good. A wife should be protective of her husband; however, it wouldn’t hurt to get the prenup honey. Just to protect yourself in case something happens years down the road. We are only looking out for you and your best interests,” Elena said lovingly, as she placed a gentle hand on Itzel’s upper right arm. “If Callum loves you as you say he does, he wouldn’t hesitate to sign it. If he doesn’t then you know he’s only after your money.”
“I’m not by the way.” Callum’s voice startled the two of them. “Sorry, didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but Shari wanted to get some ice cream and eat it by the water and she was wondering if you wanted to come with,” Callum said, noting the embarrassment on Elena’s face. He couldn’t blame them for protecting their daughter, if he was as rich as they were he’d probably do the same thing if Itzel was his daughter. “You get it made I’ll sign it if that will relieve your fears,” he said, looking right at Elena.
“Cal you don’t…” Her words stilled in her throat as Callum raised his hand.
“It’s okay Itzel, they’re only looking out for you. I would do the same if you were my daughter and we lived like this,” Callum said, gesturing to their surroundings. “I might not be all that worldly, but I do know when I’m in a place I really don’t belong in. So… about that ice cream?” he uttered with a coy smile.
“Umm… the only place close to here is a gelato store.” Itzel suppressed her giggle at his and Shari’s confused looks. “It’s Italian-style ice cream.”
“No way!” Shari said, in shock.
“Yes way!” Itzel shot back with a playful smile. “Let me get my…”
“No, let me, after all you three are on vacation here,” Elena said, cutting in. “I didn’t mean for you to hear that Cal. It’s just she’s…”
“I understand,” Callum nodded when Elena whispered to him as she stood at his side. “So the folks are worried about my money grubbing ways huh?” he asked, teasingly, slowly drifting away from Elena with their conversation.
“Don’t be too hard on them,” Itzel said low, as she slipped her arms around his waist. “I did sort of warn you this might happened.”
“True,” Callum mused as he rested his hand on her right ass cheek. Loving how it always felt in his hand, especially when there wasn’t any or in this case minimal cloth between it and his hand.
“So I hear someone wants ice cream,” Asher said, walking up hand in hand with his wife, his very thin blue button down shirt was open down to the fifth button showing off his smooth tan chest. His white, ten inch Nautica deck shorts matched the white trim of his blue and white beach shoes.
“Yeah, but its gelato,” Shari said, casting Itzel a skeptical glance.
“Oh?! You never had gelato?” Asher asked, smiling down at Shari as she shook her head. “Well, let me tell you it’s far better than the ice cream in the stores.”
“Really?” Shari inquired — skeptically.
“Oh yes, I wouldn’t lie to you.” Bending down and beckoning Shari to him. “Can I tell you a secret?” he whispered; a warm smile spread along his lips as Shari nodded. “I really love ice cream so I wouldn’t lie about how good gelato is.”
“I’ll watch our things,” Elena said, lightly placing a kiss on her husband’s cheek.
“So what do you all want?” Asher asked, as they stood in line.
“Daddy,” Shari tugged on her father’s hand, “I can’t see,” she pouted as she looked up at him.
“Well then, we just have fix that,” Callum said, squatting down and smiling at Shari’s light giggle as her hands held onto tufts of his hair as he rose so she rested on his shoulders. “Better?”
“Mon Dieu, j’adore quand tu es père (My God, I love it when you get all fatherly),” Itzel whispered in french.
“Oh? Eh bien, je me demande si quelque chose d’un peu humide. (Oh? Well, I wonder if something’s a little moist),” Callum replied wiggling his eyebrows as Itzel lightly slapped his chest. Only to feel his cheeks heat as Asher cleared his throat.
“Behave, or father will get embarrassed,” Itzel said, in a teasing light.
“So you can speak French?” Asher mused, while not enjoying the words he spoke to his daughter. Yet he couldn’t berate the man, after all, Callum wasn’t too obscene with his words.
“Yeah, thought it would be an easy credit in school, and I thought it would take the load off my shoulders when I was in high school and raising Shari. But it so wasn’t,” Callum said, with a smile.
“Then you and Shari should come to Cannes with us next year, you’ll love the place,” Asher said, seeing his daughter’s smile at the fact that he was including Callum and Shari and not making a big fuss.
“Where’s that Papa?” Shari asked, as she eyed the rows of gelato as the two teenagers scooped out servings to the other patrons.
“It’s in southern France, it lies on the crescent of the Gulf of Napoule,” Asher stated as he peered up at Shari. “Wouldn’t you like to swim in the waters of the Mediterranean?”
“It’s a sea sweetheart,” Callum added as he lightly patted Shari’s right knee.
“Is it as big as an ocean?” Shari asked, feeling her mouth water as she watched the teenage girl drizzling chocolate over the vanilla gelato that the person ahead of them had ordered. “Itzel what flavor is that?” she inquired, pointing at the cold treat.
“That’s called Stracciatella, think of it like a chocolate chip ice cream,” Itzel said, smiling up at her. “Is that the kind you want?” she asked, as Shari vehemently nodded.
“Lemon?! They actually made that into a flavor?” Callum mused out loud.
“It’s quite good actually, had it when I was in Italy a few years back down on the Amalfi Coast,” Asher offered.
“I take it you travel a lot?” Callum asked, looking over at Asher.
“A tad more than what Elena would like,” Asher nodded.
“Yes, how can I help you?” asked the teenage girl as Asher stepped up to the counter, as her eyes glanced repeatedly at Itzel. This was why she was working in a gelato store by the beach so she could star watch.
“I’ll have the Salted Caramel, and the Panna Cotta, and whatever these three want,” Asher said, placing his order for him and his wife.
“I’ll have the strawberry cheesecake…” Smiling when she heard Shari’s gasp, “you still want the Stracciatella?” Itzel asked, watching how Shari’s eyes darted back and forth.
“Can you do like half strawberry cheesecake and the other half what she said?” Callum asked the young woman; he wasn’t even going to try to pronounce the name of it.
“We certainly can,” she said, with a warm smile.
“Thank you, Daddy,” Shari said, placing a kiss on top of Callum’s head.
Callum flashed the woman a smile when she had a perplexed look on her face. “You’re welcome baby,” Callum said lovingly, to his daughter.
“And what will you have sir?” the saleswoman asked, as she noted how the former model Itzel Danbury was touching the man beside her, and the way she looked at him and the child sitting on his shoulders. She so had to tweet about this. The world needed to know that Itzel Danbury was back in town and had a… “Oh my God!” she squealed in her head as her eyes caught sight of Itzel’s engagement ring.
“I’ll try the lemon, you did say it was good,” Callum stated as he peered over at Asher.
“I assure you sir, the lemon is one of the best gelatos we make,” the woman said, with a warm smile.
“Then that’s what I’ll have, but you best not be lying, Shari takes her ice cream very seriously,” Callum said jokingly, with a smile.
“Yeah!” Shari chimed in.
“I understand,” the woman nodded trying to hold back her chuckle at how cute Shari was. “That will be $38.33 will that be cash or charge?”
Callum whistled at the price for just the price to two scoops for each one of them. “Just how much is LA’s sales tax?” Callum whispered to Itzel as Asher handed over two twenty dollar bills.
“9.5%” Itzel replied low.
“No wonder you moved, that’s just brutal.”
“Umm…” the saleswoman muttered once she and her coworker handed out their treats glancing bashfully at Itzel.
“Would you mind if we took a picture together?”
“Certainly,” Itzel said, with a kind smile. Callum just shook his head and chuckled as he took Itzel’s serving from her.
“How is it Shari?” Callum asked, as he stood off to the side as he and Asher waited.
“Papa was right this is better,” Shari said, after she licked her little wooden spoon clean after her third bite as she stood beside her father.
“See, I never lie about ice cream,” Asher said, smiling down at Shari.
“Sorry for the wait,” Itzel uttered as she rejoined them.
“You do know that girl is going to post that all over social media, right,” Asher spoke as they walked back to the beach.
“It’s fine Dad, not like I have a modeling career anymore,” Itzel said, licking the gelato from her lips. Noting the hunger in Callum’s eyes as she did that simple act.
“You could if you wanted too,” Asher stated.
“I like my life now Dad, plus if I went back. There’d be no time for my husband or my lovely stepdaughter,” Itzel said, smirking as Callum choked on a piece of candied lemon zest.
“Well, you know your mother, and how much she wants you back in the business. You were one of her top models.”
“I know and look what that got me. Cheating boyfriends, kiss as…” Biting her tongue as Shari looked up at her, “men that only used me to get to you,” Itzel stated.
“Well, what if Cal went with you?”
“And let Vanessa have my daughter, not likely,” Callum cut in.
“My Mama,” Shari hummed as she dug into her strawberry cheesecake portion.
“Oh?! I take it the two of you aren’t on good terms?” Asher asked, as they neared the loungers where Elena rested enjoying the breeze.
“That’s an understatement,” Callum grumbled. “Come on Shari let’s go eat our ice cream and let the waves wash our feet,” he said, smiling down at his daughter.
“I’ll tell you later,” Itzel whispered to her father before going to join Callum and Shari.
“Okay… that wasn’t all that bad,” Callum admitted staring down at his now empty container. Wishing he had just one more bite.
“Uh-huh,” Itzel muttered noting how he was staring at his now empty paper dish.
“It’s so much better than the ice cream we get. Daddy, can we get gelato at home?”
“I don’t know…”
“You can, but its only at one place in town, otherwise we’ll just have to make it ourselves. Won’t that be fun Shari?!” Itzel asked, excitedly.
“Mmmhmm,” Shari nodded vigorously.
“Okay, and where is this place?” Callum asked, as he gathered up their dirty containers.
“Ever hear of a place called Snitches?”
“Yeah, it’s some high end restaurant in Deadwood, why?” Callum inquired.
“Well… I did a little google search for gelato when I first moved there, and that’s what came up. It’s a nice place, a little pricy so I can see how you didn’t know about their gelato,” Itzel stated matter-of-factly.
“I see… well, let me go throw these away and we’ll make sand castles, how about that,” Callum stated placing a light kiss on his daughter’s temple.
“Now Shari what shall we make while we wait on your dad to come back?” Itzel asked, as she propped herself up on her left arm as she pulled her legs up as she watched as Shari started to form something out of the damp sand.
“I don’t know,” Shari said, shrugging her shoulders. “Maybe something that Daddy will like,” she muttered as she stuck her tongue out of the corner of her mouth as her hands worked to form the sand into whatever was appearing in her mind.
“I know he’ll love it regardless,” Itzel cooed as the tips of her fingers skimmed along Shari’s left cheek. Then something or someone caught her eye as she peered over the top of Shari’s head. Her eyes narrowed hatefully as she noted her former cheating boyfriend walking towards her and Shari.
“Well, well, I didn’t know you were back Itzel,” the man said, with an arrogant smirk. Ignoring Shari and walking through the little mound of sand she had built up to form her unicorn.
“Hey?!” Shari huffed looking angrily up at the man as she crossed her arms and puffed out her cheeks.
“Shut up kid,” the man sneered as he looked behind him.
“You should apologize to Shari and leave now.” Itzel glared angrily up at Adam.
“Come on Itzel, don’t be like that,” Adam said, squatting down and pushing Shari to the ground. “I know we’ve…” His head rocked to the right at the force of Itzel’s slap. Getting to her feet as Shari started to cry.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Callum growled angrily as he clapped his hand forcibly onto the man’s shoulder. His dark honey brown eyes burned as he stared at the man that laid a hand on his daughter.
“It’s okay Shari, I’m here,” Itzel cooed sweetly as she held Shari in her arms.
“Is. My. Daughter! Do you understand?!” Callum asked, trying to keep his anger in check in front of Shari, Itzel, and her parents. “Itzel, take Shari some place where she wouldn’t see… me teaching this man some manners.”
“Cal… I know your angry… at this fool,” Elena said, rising from her lounger.
“You didn’t stop this man, so I think you should let me deal with it?! I don’t care if you like it or not, Shari isn’t your daughter that he manhandled,” Callum hissed at his future in-laws.
“Listen…” Wincing as Callum squeezed tighter.
“Did I say you could speak?!”
“We’ll be down by the lifeguard station,” Itzel said, knowing what Callum was going to do, and she wasn’t going to stop him. Adam needed to be brought down a peg or two.
“Now I think you need to learn you don’t put your hands on another person’s child,” Callum said, darkly.
“Shari?!” Callum called out as he neared the lifeguard station. Squatting down as his daughter ran into his arms. “You okay?” he asked, as he gently rubbed her back.
“Mmmhmm,” Shari hummed into her father’s ear.
“You didn’t hurt him to badly, did you?” Itzel asked, noticing how red his knuckles were. She knew Callum had been in plenty of fights, having been regaled by Regina and a few others at the motorcycle club of the times Callum had gotten into a brawl. So she knew he could handle himself, however, Adam was a coward and always fled when he was faced with a physical altercation.
“Not as much as I would have liked, but he’ll think twice about putting his hands on someone else’s child in the future,” Callum said, placing a kiss on Shari’s forehead. “I think we’ve overstayed our welcome here Itzel.”
“What do you mean Cal?”
“I don’t think your parents approve of me dealing with that… man,” Callum spoke, nodding over to where her parents stood.
“That’s their problem, not yours,” Itzel said, sternly. “Come, if we are to head home, then we need to pack and have Matt ready the plane.”