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The Jacksons

Andrew Jackson opened his eyes slowly and gazed out across the lake. The brim of his hat was pulled down almost to his nose for shade but still the sun shone so brightly he couldn’t help but squint. A dragonfly hovered overhead for a second, then landed and perched on the straw brim just inches from his eyes. Andrew didn’t move.

“Rose, darling?” he said.

“Yes dear?” Rose didn’t even open her eyes, and remained motionless on her beach lounger a foot to Andrew’s right.

“Rose darling,” said Andrew, “I’m afraid a dragonfly has landed on the brim of my hat.”

Rose opened her eyes at this, and managed to glance over Andrew’s way without moving her head. “So it has,” she said, and closed her eyes again. “Is it a problem honey?”

“Only insofar as it makes me cross-eyed to look at it,” was Andrew’s reply. “I was wondering,” he added, “if you would consider flicking it off for me.”

There was a lengthy silence. Andrew wondered momentarily whether Rose had fallen asleep.

“Flick it yourself,” she said finally.

Andrew sighed. “The truth is,” he said, “I ain’t in a dragonfly-flickin’ mood.”

“In that case,” said Rose, “I suggest you stop looking at it. Distract yourself with something else. Study the cloud formations. See what kinds of animals they look like, then give them names. Cloud pets. You don’t have to feed them or walk them or try to make them shut up. And they don’t die, they just fade away. Perfect holiday pets.”

“I could do that,” said Andrew. “Or I could distract myself by studying the very lovely lady in the very fetching and quite sexy bathing suit, lying on the lounger next to mine,” said Andrew. “But that would require turning my head, and I ain’t in a head-turning mood.” He paused. “Is that glow I detect coming from your direction just sunburn, or are you blushing?”

“Definitely sunburn,” said Rose. “I am far too relaxed to blush. Later after the sun goes down, when we’re back in the RV, you can make me blush.”

“It’s very likely that I will,” said Andrew, “once the sun is down and the heat is less… hot.” He closed his eyes and let the sun do what it wanted, which at the moment seemed to be to try to set fire to his hat. Another silence ensued.

“What are you thinking my dear?” said Rose eventually. “If you are thinking, that is.”

“I was thinking of going for a swim,” said Andrew. “I am sweating like a racehorse.”

“Me too,” said Rose. “Although I’m perspiring, not sweating. I’ll race you to the water,” she added.

“Ha,” said Andrew, “I will leave you so far behind you will be picking the sand from my flying feet out of your teeth for a week.”

“Last one in is a rotten egg,” said Rose then lapsed back into silence.

“Gosh I love holidays,” said Andrew.

“Me too,” said Rose. “And your swimming idea was a good one, except for the one major drawback.”

“I know,” said Andrew. “It would require moving.”

“I will do it though,” said Rose, “because I’m crazy hot. Count us down darling, and when you say go, I will seriously beat you to the water.”

“Count us down?” said Andrew. “How high should I start? Three? Ten?”

“Say… 300,” said Rose. “That’ll give me time to psych myself up.”

“OK,” said Andrew. “Starting now. I’ll let you know when I get down to 10.” He fell silent but his lips indicated that he was indeed counting down. Rose watched him with a smile, for a long minute.

“Ten,” said Andrew, and Rose leaped from her lounger and raced for the water, flinging her hat and her sarong off as she ran.

Andrew was caught flat footed for a second but in a moment he was on his feet and dashing after her. For a moment he thought he would catch her but her head start was too much for him and all he could do was to follow her lead and fling himself bodily into the cool, if not entirely clear, water. He surfaced beside her as she shook the water from her eyes, giggling like a teenager.

“I beat the pants off you old man,” she laughed.

“You cheated,” said Andrew throwing his arms around her and lifting her easily in the water. “And you didn’t entirely beat the pants off me. They are still hanging on around my ankles.”

Rose giggled again. “Oh my,” she said. “Now you’re cheating. It’s too early for that.”

“Too early for making me blush,” said Rose.

Andrew grinned as he tipped her head back and kissed her neck. “Never,” he said. “It’s never too early for that.”

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