A New Life
The next morning, the newlyweds took a flight to the Florida Keys for their honeymoon. Having only flown once, plane rides was still a new experience for Chas, and she loved it. Charlie made sure to give his new wife the window seat. The flight from Memphis to Miami was a two-hour flight giving Chas plenty of time to admire the view of the clouds and earth below. Just a few years before, she never thought that she would see outside the city limits of Memphis and now, having been to the Maldives with her girlfriends just four months prior, she was getting the privilege of flying to another tropical destination.
Chas could not keep her head out of the window. She stared in awe at the sea of billowing clouds just below them. The morning sun shone brightly in the East.
“Oh, Charlie look at those clouds! It looks like there’s no end to them! “Chas said in amazement.
Charlie just sat there and smiled, enjoying seeing his new wife gaze out of the window and stare out into the vast sea of clouds with child-like wonder. He beamed, pleased to be the man who was giving Chas the pleasure to experience things she had always dreamed of experiencing but had never had the chance. He watched, feeling very much like a superhero as Chas continued gazing at the world below, cooing over the view.
“Wait until you see the ground. It looks nice too!” Charlie told her.
Off on Their Honeymoon
Soon, the clouds had reduced to only a few white speckles and Chas could see the earth below.
“Wow!” She marveled in a whisper.
The ground looked like a vast quilt with squares, rectangles, and other shapes of different colors of green, brown, red, and orange. The roads were just tiny, bright white lines drawn across the squares. She could also see bodies of water which looked like small mirrors of glass reflecting the sun. Then she looked across the blue sky to see the occasional distant white trails of vapor left behind by other aircraft that had left their mark. Chas could not get enough.
She couldn’t see any people or automobiles because they were too far up. But during the descent before landing, Chas could finally focus on the automobiles that moved down the veinous network of highways and roads below. They reminded her of a long trail of ants from an anthill, looking for a picnic.
After they landed, the newly married couple rushed through the crowded airport, through the exit and finally caught a cab. It would be a few hours before their Cessna was scheduled to depart for Key West and they decided to do some shopping at a few of the marketplaces near the airport. On the way back to the airport to board the Cessna, Chas stared out the window, mesmerized by the outside surroundings.
“My, gosh! The last time I saw so many palm trees was in the Maldives with Tori and the girls back in December! Oh, I just love palm trees!” She gushed with the excitement of a child on Christmas Morning.
Charlie smiled, loving the fact that Chas appreciated life more than most women. Because she had experienced such a hard way in life, she never took anything for granted like most people tend to. Her appreciation for her new blessings was as pure as the heart of a newborn babe and Charlie only wanted to give her more.
“Wait until we get to the beach!” He said softly, running his fingers through her curls.
The overweight but friendly cabby looked at them through his rear-view mirror.
I take it that it’s your first time being in Florida,” he chirped.
The Florida Keys
“It is.” Chas answered back.
“This is our honeymoon. I’m taking her to the beach this afternoon,” Charlie told him.
“Congratulations, both of you,”
“I just bought a swimsuit, cover and a couple of beach towels,” Chas chirped as she dug through her shopping bags and took out one of the pretty beach towels to show Charlie.
Charlie’s father had given them five thousand dollars spending money for a wedding present. Soon, the couple boarded the Cessna and were in the air again. Chas did just as she had done during the flight to Miami. She could not stop gazing out the window.
During the first day of their honeymoon, they checked into their hotel, then went shopping at a nearby shopping mall. They ate their meals in the hotel cafeteria. Later, they went to the beach. Chas had only seen the beach once and once was not enough. She had become addicted to the sights of white beaches, clear blue water, palm trees and sunny skies. Unable to keep her eyes off her new surroundings, Chas eyed the palm trees, then looked back at her husband.
“Where are the coconuts?” She asked him.
“I don’t know. Either it isn’t the right season for them, or we’re not far enough south. I think we have to be within the tropics and closer to the equator to see coconuts, honey,” he told her.
As they walked across the hot sand, Charlie carried two lawn chairs and Chas toted a bag carrying their beach towels, suntan lotion, and sunshades. He stopped and set up the lawn chairs, covering them with the beach towels while his bride stared in awe at the ocean in front of them. She could not believe how blue the water was. The ocean was a beautiful aqua color. And the sand on the beach was a snowy white color.
After setting up their spot on the beach and slathering each other down with suntan lotion, Charlie and Chas ran toward the ocean and got into the water, jumping the waves and bodysurfing. Wading chest-deep in the ocean, Chas looked down at her feet, completely amazed. The water was so clear, so free of sediment, it was as if she were looking through glass. She could see her feet and the white sand beneath them so clearly! She watched as a huge school of tiny fish swim around her ankles with their silvery scales and fins seeming to glisten in the light of the sun. When they grew tired of swimming, Charlie and Chas walked along the beach, hand in hand, listening to the seagulls cry and the crashing wave.
Beautiful Sounds of Seagulls
The newlywed couple spent their second, third, and fourth days on the beach, where they both sunbathed and swam, taking small breaks in between to rub each other’s backs down with suntan lotion. On the fifth and sixth days, they spent their time at an amusement park, riding roller coasters and eating cotton candy. The last night before going back to Tennessee, Charlie and Chas took a twilight stroll on the beach.
It was a beautiful night. The stars twinkled in the sky as the ocean breeze blew gentle gusts through their hair. A full moon lit up the sky like day and glinted beautifully on the ocean. They both felt inner peace while hearing the waves roll onto the sandy beach.
“Oh, Charlie! This is such a beautiful place. I don’t want to leave,” Chas cooed.
“I don’t either, honey. But we must go home tomorrow. We must pack so that we can move to Nashville to be near my family,” Charlie replied.
“Oh, well. Who knows? Maybe we can retire here one day,” Chas gushed.
“Ya never know,” Charlie said as he slipped his arm around her shoulders and they walked on.
Moving From Memphis to Nashville
The next morning, Charlie and Chas prepared to leave the Keys. It would be a honeymoon that they would never forget. The next two weeks were spent packing to move to Nashville. Charlie gave a notice of transfer to the MPD. He would be transferring to the Metro Nashville Police Department.
On his last day at the Memphis police department, Charlie was given a going away party by his fellow officers. His fellow officers would miss him very much. Charlie and Chas had already moved their belongings to Nashville, where Charlie’s father had them put into storage. Early the next morning, the happy couple left for their new home. On the way, Charlie and Chas talked and looked at the scenery. They made several stops along the way, Cuba Landing on the Tennessee River, Loretta Lynn’s place, the Buffalo River, all for sight-seeing.
“Before I left for the Maldives with the girls last December, I had never been outside of Memphis. Traveling is such a new experience for me, and I love it. I have always wanted to travel, to get out and see the world. And praise God! It’s happening now!” Chas said, beaming with excitement.
“Well, you and I are going to do a lot of traveling over the next few years. I promise you that,” Charlie said with a smile as he glanced at Chas off and on while driving down the interstate.
After about four hours of driving and making frequent stops, Charlie and Chas arrived in Nashville at about noon and spent the night in a hotel. After a refreshing nights’ sleep, Charlie and Chas drove to the home of Charlie’s’ family at around nine the next morning.
Chas was surprised to find that Charlie’s’ family was very wealthy.
Charlie drove out of the metropolitan area and into a countryside of rolling rolls and windy roads. After fifteen minutes of driving through country, Charlie made a turn and pulled onto a long driveway which was about a half-mile long. Chas looked ahead and could see a huge white plantation style mansion with swimming pool. She paused and gave Charlie a puzzled look.
“Is this where you grew up, Charlie?” She asked in amazement.
“It is,” Charlie answered with a smile.
A Huge Surprise
The mansion sat on a huge dude ranch with several beautiful horses. In the front of the house was a huge porch and balcony, garnished by several white pillars. The Riddick’s owned well over three hundred acres of land. The vast acreage was a huge green carpet of grass. Off to the east of the house, on a hill sat a huge red barn with white trim. At the foot of the hill, on the east side of the barn, was the shady lot and stables where the horses were kept. The rest was just flat countryside for as far as Chas could see, with foothills barely visible on the horizon.
Maurice, Charlie’s’ father, was a big-time businessman. He was co-owner of Jarrett & Riddick Advertising. Charlie introduced his new bride to the maids of the Riddick household, Anita and Celestine. Chas was amazed but managed to contain it. She greeted the maids with a ‘hello’, smile and handshake, then looked at Charlie and smiled, wide-eyed and full of anticipation of their future together.
Afterwards, Charlie led Chas upstairs to their new bedroom, and the maids entered, carrying their suitcases and sat them down at the foot of the Alaskan king-sized bed before excusing themselves. Chas looked around the huge bedroom and noticed the fireplace, the huge bed, the huge private bathroom and the French doors which led outside. Chas walked over to the French doors and opened them to reveal a beautiful veranda furnished with white, wicker-style patio furniture.
Getting to Know the In-Laws
“Oh my gosh! This is beautiful!” Chas gushed. She then turned to Charlie and he walked up to her and put his arms around her.
“Charlie, you never told me about any of this. I had no idea that you came from privileged beginnings,” she said in astonishment.
“You never asked,” he reminded her.
“Of course, I did. Remember? Off and on, I asked about how you grew up? What values you were taught, what school you went to…you know? Things like that,” Chas continued.
“But you never asked about our lifestyle and I just didn’t think to tell you,” Charlie replied.
“True. But anyone worth their salt wouldn’t ask questions like that. So, is this where we’re going to live?”
“For the time being. Until we find a place of our own.”
Charlie grabbed a blanket and took Chas around the estate. He showed her the stables where the horses were and introduced her to the ranchers who worked for the family. Chas was taken by the horses.
“The horses are beautiful,” Chas said as she stroked the mane of one of the horses.
“Maybe after dinner, we can go horseback riding. Are you game or lame?” Charlie offered with a grin.
“You know I’m game,” Chas chirped, “But I don’t know how to ride a horse, never even been on a horse.”
“I’ll teach you how or you can take lessons,” Charlie assured.
Charlie took Chas to the lake, where they sat on the blanket and talked, while watching the ducks swim on the water.
“Wow! I’m totally floored by all this! Back in Memphis, you and I both lived in crummy apartments, and I figured that when we got married, we’d live in just another crummy apartment,” Chas admitted. “Your family has so much, Charlie. I can’t help but wonder how they felt about your living in a two-room apartment?”
“Well, they didn’t like it, of course. But I’m not the type of guy who lives off my family’s fortune,” Charlie told her, “And besides, Mom and Dad haven’t always been this well off. Believe it or not, they both came from poverty. They grew up dirt poor.”
They got up, before Charlie took up their blanket and led Chas to the big red barn, where the two climbed up to the hay loft. There, Charlie spread the blanket across the plush, sweet-smelling hay. He and Chas laid across the blanket and nestled against one another. Charlie wrapped his arms around her and drew her nearer to him.
Charlie Tells Chas about His Years Growing Up
“My dad went into partnership with a guy he grew up with and they started a business together. My dad worked his tail off…I mean busted his hump to get us where we are now. It wasn’t always easy. My dad worked long hours to get the business of the ground…sometimes up to eighteen hours a day. There were years when dad was hardly ever home and it was hard on my mom and my older siblings.”
Chas listened attentively as he talked about life growing up. Charlie then looked down at his new wife and ran his fingers through her hair. As their lips touched, he cradled her cheek with one hand. Chas unbuttoned his shirt and pressed her lips against his chest. He loved her tenderly, caressing and cradling her as he showered her flawless face with kisses until she felt dizzy. Chas ran her fingers up his back and through his hair. After lovemaking, they lay beside each other in the afterglow and took a thirty-minute nap.
When it was close to dinnertime, Charlie and Chas got dressed and walked back to that thirty-six-room house. As they walked, Chas had some questions to ask Charlie.
“Charlie, I don’t understand. Not that I don’t appreciate your being a cop, but your family has so much. Why didn’t you just become a doctor, or a lawyer, or even a business man, like your father? I figured that most people that came from wealthy families usually followed in their parents’ footsteps,” she said softly.
Charlie, the Blacksheep of the Family
“Well, it’s funny you said that. My parents did want me to go into the business field like Daddy. But my dream was to become a police officer. Ever since I was a small boy, I have wanted to be a cop,” Charlie said.
“I’ll bet that your parents were disappointed when you told them that you wanted to be a cop.”
“Yes. They were. But I couldn’t pick a career that I wouldn’t be happy with. No. Cops don’t get paid much. But it’s what I do best. It’s what I enjoy,” Charlie explained.
They stopped walking and gazed into each other’s eyes. Charlie cupped Chas’ face in his hands. Without saying a word, they continued to gaze into each other’s eyes.
When the happy newlyweds arrived back at the house, Anita was just putting dinner on the table. Charlie’s’ mother, Isabelle had already started to worry about them.
“Where have you two been? I haven’t seen hide nor hair of you two almost all day,” Isabelle complained.
“I was just showing Chas around the property,” Charlie replied.
Charlie had a large family. The entire family lived in the same household. There were Maurice and Isabelle, Charlie’s’ parents, and his oldest and alcoholic brother, Jim and his wife Lucretia. He had a second oldest brother, Jake and his wife, Katrina. And he had two sisters, Chelsea, who was married to Christopher, and Brooke, the baby of the family, who was single and in college.
A Large Family
“Charlie, son! Glad you and Chas could join us for dinner,” greeted Maurice.
They all sat down to dinner. After saying grace, the family enjoyed lobster, boiled shrimp, stuffed peppers, and zucchini squash. For dessert, Anita served cheesecake with blueberry topping.