Alan got up early the next morning, dressed, glanced over the low wall at Chloe in the next bunk (still asleep), and quietly walked out to see what Womby looked like.
He wasn't sure what to think about Chloe. She seems to like him, and he likes her companionship, especially her easy-going manner and willingness to help out with their rather simple meals. He knows he could easily get all rattled about "having a relationship" with her, since he's gotten rattled a few times before. In the last year or so, however, he hadn't put much thought into being with anyone at all. Should he worry about this? He remembers that Michelle came over almost by habit, and he never offered any kind of commitment. She didn't seem to mind, but now he thinks she probably did.
After climbing the same sand dune as he and Chloe did last night, Alan had a good bright-morning view of Womby and the coast toward Lizard. From this spot he could include both towns! He felt he could probably complete a watercolor of it all in a day, but he wanted breakfast first.
He walked back down to the Sueville bunkhouse and found Chloe's bunk empty, but heard her voice in the kitchen. When he walked in, she was making a pot of coffee while talking to a younger guy who must have come in later that night. The chap was quite handsome, tan, muscular, dressed just right for a long walk, and all that. Alan felt an immediate wave of jealousy.
"Oh, Hi," Chloe said to Alan.
"Umm, this is Josh," said Chloe brightly, "And Josh, this is Alan, the guy I told you about who's doing the pictures. Josh is an old friend of my family, Alan. My mum would visit his mum and bring me along. So we kind of grew up together, and, wow, he just showed up here..."
Alan took one look at Josh and was not impressed. Oh crap...I should have known there would be an old boyfriend or a new boyfriend somewhere. So now what? Just leave?
So he quickly said,"Hi Josh. Say, Chloe, I was just up on the dune to look at Womby, and I need to go back there and do a painting of it now, 'cause of the light. So I'll see you later today, okay?"
"Um, Okay. Don't you want to have some breakfast first?"
"Nah, I can grab a Paleo Bar or two. Nice meeting you Josh." And he was off before Chloe could say anything, and before he could think anything more about it!
Surprisingly, after that jolt, and once he was set up with his painting supplies back on the dune, he was able to concentrate quite well on his assignment for the day. He spent about six hours painting Womby, the beaches, the path, Ghost heads in the distance, and a whole lot of tiny people who weren't really there.
He dreaded going back...