In today's story, Sandy Beach, a destination wedding brings new friends together
Today's prompt celebrates the start of summer. Sun and surf, wind and waves, there's a lot to love on a day at the beach... maybe it's time for an ocean getaway.
More about Susan Quilty
Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalone novels and her current YA series: The Psychic Traveler Society. Susan's short stories for Freely Written are created during quick writing breaks and shared as a way to practice her narration skills before she dives into recording audio versions of her novels.
The Freely Written Book: Freely Written Vol. 1
Freely Written merch: Bitter Lily Books Shop
Below is the transcript for Season 1, Episode 63 of Freely Written, a podcast by author Susan Quilty:
Welcome to Freely Written where a simple prompt leads to a little unplanned fiction.
[Light piano music]
Hi, friends! I’m Susan Quilty and today’s prompt is Sandy Beach.
Are you ready for summer? Today’s prompt celebrates the start of the season, which, for many people, includes a day at the beach or an island vacation.
It’s been a while since I’ve gotten back to the beach, but that is where my mind goes when I think of summertime. Sunshine, salt air, rolling waves, and water as far as the eye can see. Boardwalks with quirky shops, funnel cake, and ice cream. Maybe it’s time for a getaway!
But first, let’s get on to the story… after a quick reminder of how this podcast works. It’s pretty simple: I write a bit of fiction from a prompt, with no planning and very little editing, and then I share that story with you.
Here’s what came up today:
Bebe stood at the edge of the boardwalk, breathing in the salty sea air and looking out over the water. She hadn’t been happy when her sister decided to get married at the beach, but now that she was here, she saw why Marnie had made that choice.
As sunshine streamed around her, Bebe squinted through her sunglasses and scanned the sandy expanse for any sign of the wedding party. The ceremony was still a day off, but Marnie and Ted planned for everyone to meet up for a day of surf and sand.
Eventually, Bebe caught sight of a white canopy decked out with cutouts of pink hearts and silver wedding bells. Pale pink and white streamers fluttered from each corner and a banner screamed We’re getting married!
Bebe grinned, recognizing her sister’s style, and traipsed across the sand, holding onto her floppy straw hat with one hand and her overfilled tote with the other.
Introductions were quick. Bebe knew most of the wedding party, except for a dark and handsome man who had to be Ted’s best man.
“Reggie,” he smiled, offering a bottle of iced tea and a place to set down her bag.
Bebe hoped the sun would explain the pinkness in her cheeks as she accepted the tea and turned to kiss her sister hello.
“He’s single!” Marnie hissed in her ear with a hopeful giggle that only deepened Bebe’s blush.
“All right, let’s swim!” Ted called, pulling his white tee-shirt over his head.
“Sunscreen!” Marnie warned imperiously. “You can burn after the wedding, not before!”
Ted dutifully sprayed himself and passed the sunscreen around.
“Are you swimming?” Reggie tilted his head as he shot Bebe a gleaming smile.
“Yeah, sometime. Maybe not yet.” She liked the beach atmosphere but wasn’t much for swimming in the ocean.
“There’s a guy selling kites over there.” Reggie gestured up the beach toward a structure boasting colorful kites and windsocks in multicolored hues. “Could be fun.”
“Could be,” Bebe agreed, hearing the question he hadn’t asked.
“Shall we?” He stood up and offered a large warm hand.
“We’ll be back,” Bebe told Marnie, ignoring the knowing smile pasted across her sister’s face.
The sand was hot and gritty as it crept into Bebe’s sandals, but she barely noticed it. Her attention was on Reggie’s back as he led the way through a tight crush of blankets and tents. Once the space opened up, he turned back and waited until they fell in step.
“Have you flown many kites?”
“Not really,” Bebe admitted, then laughed. “Not at all, actually.”
“Never?” Reggie’s eyebrows shot up above his sunglasses.
“Nope, first time,” Bebe confirmed.
“We’ll have to fix that,” Reggie decided. “I’m an old pro.”
They were nearing the kite stand. Bebe read a hand-painted sign that said, “Sandy Beach Kites.” A few customers milled ahead of them, exclaiming over kites or passing cash to a deeply tanned man who wore mirrored sunglasses, a shell necklace, and a flowered button-down shirt over board shorts.
“A pro at flying kites on a beach?” Bebe didn’t remember seeing a lot of kites on her few trips to the coast, but it made sense with the near-constant sea breeze.
“On this beach!” Reggie laughed. “I grew up here, with Ted.”
“Oh, right!” Bebe slapped her forehead, realizing she already knew that. “Must have been nice.”
“Yeah, it was—”
The seller had caught sight of them and was waving a bright green kite in greeting. It was a green that screamed summer against the golden sand and the blue sea. And it was the exact shade of Bebe’s freshly painted toenails.
“Hey, Sandy!” Reggie cut through the shoppers for a friendly clasp of shoulders before beckoning Bebe closer.
“We’re old friends,” Reggie explained, his smile stretched wide.
“All the way back to when Dad ran the shop,” Sandy reminisced. “And we were hellions tearing up the beach!”
“Those were the days, man!” Reggie agreed, then remembered his manners. “Oh, uh, Sandy, this is Bebe. She’s here for Ted’s wedding. The bride’s sister.”
“And maid of honor,” Bebe added lightly while shaking his hand.
“Sandy?” she questioned as the other shoppers stepped aside to give them space. “That’s an apt name.”
“Well, yeah. I’m the owner here.” Sandy gestured at the painted sign. “Just like my dad before me.”
“Cool,” Bebe nodded encouragingly, though something was nagging at her. “Um, shouldn’t it be Sandy’s Beach Kites? You know, with an apostrophe S?”
Reggie and Sandy exchanged a bemused glance.
“Uh, no. That wouldn’t make much sense.”
Bebe’s smile froze as she looked between them.
“Well, but it’s your shop… so Sandy’s Beach Kites. Like you, Sandy, own the Beach Kites.”
“Oh!” Reggie and Sandy laughed together.
“Yeah, no, that’s my whole name,” Sandy clarified. “Sandy Beach.”
He turned back to Reggie, holding up the green kite again.
“What do you think? Great color, right? Classic shape.”
Reggie nodded, assessing the kite, but Bebe wasn’t ready to move on.
“Wait, your name is Sandy Beach?”
“Yeah,” Sandy agreed proudly. “Just like my dad before me.”
“You’re named Sandy Beach, after your dad?” Bebe spluttered. “And you both sell kites at the beach.”
“Yeah,” Sandy agreed uneasily. He lowered one eyebrow as if waiting for a question, and Reggie looked off toward the water impatiently.
“Well, I mean…” Bebe trailed off, half smiling and fully confused. “You see it right? That it’s a funny name?”
Sandy’s arms dropped by his sides and his face went slack. Reggie let out a low whistle and shook his head. Sandy scoffed her way.
“You’re one to talk, Bebe.”
“Hey!” Bebe shouted, then turned to Reggie indignantly. “Did you hear that?”
Reggie kicked the sand and looked up with a shrug, finally saying, “I mean, it is a weird name.”
“Thank you!” Bebe crossed her arms and glared at Sandy.
“Uh, no,” Reggie corrected. “I meant your name. I mean, come on, Bebe?
Staring between them, Bebe felt her mouth drop open.
“Seriously?! It’s short for Beatrice,” she told them.
“Oh!” Reggie and Sandy nodded and shrugged together.
“Right then.” Bebe held up both palms and took a step back. “I’m not in such a kite flying mood. I’ll see you around.”
As she trudged back toward their tent, Reggie and Sandy shook their heads at each other.
“What’s her problem?” Sandy asked with a frown.
“She lives in the city,” Reggie admitted sadly.
“Oh,” Sandy nodded knowingly.
“How much for the yellow striped one?” Reggie pointed at a kite in the back, relaxing into the beach vibe without a care in the world.
Thanks for listening. If you liked today’s story, tell your friends! You can also connect with me on social media, visit my website, SusanQuilty.com, or support my writing through Patreon.com/SusanQuilty. (Links are in the show notes.
Until next time, try a little free writing of your own. Let go of any planning and see where your imagination takes you.
[Light piano music]