"I must confess. I’m not sure I have the perfect little black dress. Most of my clothes are professional, but I think I can improvise something."
"Will there be clothes at the market tomorrow?"
"It’s a street fair so there will be everything – art, food, clothes and jewelry."
"Then we’ll keep our eyes open. I’ll trade you- the floral wrap for one little black dress."
"You’ve got a deal. That sounds like fun. Wander around, eat off the carts and find a dress."
Chuck looked around her room taking in her style – pastel colors, water color prints. Then he noticed an award pushed back on the dresser.
"Tell me about that award on the back of your dresser."
Looking at the award Marti said, "I got that for an investigative report I did on beach pollution. I uncovered illegal dumping at night by a hauling company."
"Wasn’t that dangerous? I’d think some dock workers were pretty angry."
"No. It was a corporate decision – time vs. ecology. Unfortunately, greed won out."
"Do you do that kind of reporting all the time?"
"I wish. No, I get stuck doing a lot of fluff around the city. Human interest stories."
"Are you working on an investigative report right now?"
"No, I just finished one on cultural diversity in Jacksonville. We truly have become a melting pot. There was nothing dangerous about that story."
"Good. I’d hate to think of you pissing off the wrong people."
"Sometimes you gotta stir the pot, Chuck."
"Yeah, But, before you stir it, you need to know all the repercussions."
"I’m very thorough. Only a few stories can be kept secret like Watergate."
"Remind me to never piss you off. I wouldn’t want you writing an expose on Whispering Palms and nudism."
"I already checked out Whispering Palms. Couldn’t find one bad thing." Marti patted his leg.
Chuck massaged her shoulder, "Well, you don’t mess around. I knew you were a pistol."
"Only when it comes to my family. I’m a very loyal person." Marti folded her arms under her breasts and looked up at him.
"It’s an admirable trait, Marti. That’s why your family loves you." He lifted her face with his hand and kissed her. "I hope you feel that way about me some day." Then, he kissed her again deepening the kiss as he stroked her face and neck.
When the kiss ended, Marti sighed. "Did you know that Shirley wants to do the fundraiser for Whispering Palms?"
"No, she hasn’t said anything to me, yet."
"Maybe we should check out Rev. Serino before she gets too involved. I’d rather she had free time to relax. Fundraising can be stressful."
"What do you think you could find on Serino?"
"Just a wild guess – several ministers have cheated on their wives, hid money away or failed to pay taxes. They make mistakes like the rest of us."
"That’s true. So, you’re saying find something on the minister that would make him leave Whispering Palms alone?"
"Un-huh," she nodded yawning behind her hand.
"We can talk about that tomorrow morning while we walk the beach. Come here so I can hold you while you fall asleep." Turning onto her side, Chuck brought her back to his chest. "Good night, Marti."
"Good night, Rocketman."
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