CHAPTER 1 - A HAPPY RETURN (OR REEF AND THE SURFIN' GRAPPLER)
This story is set a week after the events of "Luck Has a Way" and "The Satellite Dish" in my story timeline. Officially, I'm classifying this as a Kelly fanfic, featuring the return of her new boyfriend David Hughes (my first OC) and with much of the story devoted to them, but I'm also including a subplot where Reef and the Stoked gang meet a surfer-turned-pro wrestler (represented by a new OC here) who's come to Surfer's Paradise to surf its famed waves before he headlines a wrestling show in Sunset Beach the following night (the "Starstruck" part of the story title). Kelly and David do figure into the subplot to some degree later in the story (and no, David doesn't become a wrestler or get offered to become one [LOL]), but the focus of the main plot here will have the two new lovebirds taking up surfing (hence the "Wavestruck" part).
Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the ride. :D
Down at Surfer's Paradise on an early Friday evening, it was just after 7:00 p.m. and Kelly had called it a day over at the Pirate Ship dining lounge. Officially, her shift as the restaurant's manager and head waitress ended an hour earlier, but she had stayed on for the next hour afterward to tally up and account for the day's meal bills and other expenses incurred by the restaurant. Now free for the weekend, after changing from her pirate work costume to her regular outfit of a red sleeveless top and knee-length khaki cargo shorts, Kelly was waiting outside in front of the hotel's main entrance, waiting for the Whalebus to arrive.
A week earlier, during what had been an unusually busy week for the Pirate Ship (which had been quite stressful for her during her shifts there that week), Kelly had met and served a handsome stranger who arrived at the restaurant for an early dinner late into her Friday shift. The young man, named David, turned out to be an exception that week to the array of demanding and difficult customers that mostly gave the Pirate Ship's wait staff fits during that time, as he had been polite and gentlemanly to Kelly and lent her a sympathetic ear when she told him of the stressful work week she had been through. After paying for his dinner and giving her a big $100 tip for her trouble to make up for the past week, David then surprised Kelly by asking her out on a date, which she eagerly accepted. While the two enjoyed each other's company, that date had not gone as smoothly as planned due to a few mishaps over its course, ranging from Kelly nearly being stung by a wasp that had popped out of the bouquet of roses David gave her, to an incident where the bratty brothers Todd and Mark Marvin had dumped a tub of popcorn over the couple's heads from the balcony of the Big Wave Theatre while at the movies, to when David nearly choked on a chocolate-covered strawberry while he and Kelly were enjoying a post-movie dessert at a nearby restaurant in Sunset Beach.
Despite those little problems, Kelly and David ended up clicking as a couple as they went on a second date the next day, throwing more activities like swimming, bike-riding to and from Sunset Beach, jet-skiing and joining a beach volleyball game into the date's itinerary, along with dinner at a sidewalk café, a return to the hotel where David serenaded Kelly with romantic songs on his acoustic guitar at the hotel pool, then a moonlight walk on the hotel beach to end the night. When David left on Sunday to return to his hometown of Victoria via seaplane, Kelly exchanged photos, phone numbers and e-mail addresses with him as they said their goodbyes at the seaplane terminal, with David promising that he would come back to see her soon. Kelly, whose demeanor had changed from mean, selfish and snappish to more pleasant to be around thanks to David's influence (which did not escape the notice of some of her fellow hotel staff), was happy that she was involved in a romantic relationship, even though she knew that it would be a long-distance relationship where she would keep in touch with him online and via telephone and see him in person periodically - so when she was webcam-chatting with him online on her laptop the Thursday night before, Kelly was pleasantly surprised when David told her that he would be coming back to Surfer's Paradise that weekend.
Just before quarter after seven, Kelly became excited with anticipation as she saw the Whalebus arrive on the hotel grounds from picking up passengers from the seaplane terminal at the waterfront near downtown Sunset Beach, then pull up in front of the main entrance. Watching the entry door to the bus, she became giddy with glee when the door opened and the first passenger to step off the bus was David, carrying his suitcase and with his guitar case slung across his back, who smiled the moment he saw her. "Eeeee! Oh, yay!" Kelly exclaimed joyfully as she ran over to David, threw her arms around him and began kissing him. Although he was taken by surprise by Kelly's enthusiastic greeting, David quickly got into it and kissed her back while hugging her as she raised her left foot behind her. "It's so good to see you again," Kelly said after a blissful sigh, when the couple finished kissing.
"It's good to see you too," David replied. "If I'd known I'd be getting this big a reception, I'd come up here every weekend," he added with a chuckle, making Kelly giggle as well.
"I'm glad you had no problems making it into town," Kelly said as she walked arm-in-arm with David through the front entrance doors to the lobby. "Have you eaten yet?"
"Not yet," David said, "but dinner was the first thing I had planned for when I arrived, if you'd consider joining me. You still working right now?"
"Nope, I went off-duty over an hour ago," Kelly said. "So I'll just be another customer at the Pirate Ship, but I'd love to join you for dinner. First thing though, let's get you checked in at the front desk."
"Sure," David said. "So, what's good on the menu tonight?"
"Well," Kelly said with a flirtatious sly glance and smile, "I hear the chicken stir-fry's pretty tasty."
"Sounds good," David said. "With rice or noodles?"
"Either kind's good," Kelly replied as she and David arrived at the front desk. "Stay away from the calamari though, that stuff's really gross," she added, remembering the time she had ordered some for dinner during her blind date with Bummer a while back, not knowing what it was until she saw it on her plate.
"I hear you," David agreed, understanding what she meant. "Not a big fan of squid either."
Meanwhile, back on the Whalebus after Kelly and David went into the hotel, another passenger, the last one to get off the bus, gathered up his surfboard and a large gym bag carrying his clothes and other belongings. The stranger, a tall man with shaggy blond hair and a muscular build, had arrived at Surfer's Paradise with plans for going surfing at the beach nearby, but upon arriving at the hotel and looking the outside over once, began rethinking his decision to do so. "So, this is it?" the stranger asked the Kahuna as he walked up to the front of the bus and looked out through the windshield.
"Yep, this is it, dude," Kahuna replied. "The one and only Surfer's Paradise resort."
"Yikes," the stranger then said. "Maybe it's just me, but this place looks like Kook Central, nothing like what I remember about it. Sure hope the surfing here makes up for it."
"You know it, dude," Kahuna said. "Trust the Big Kahuna's word on it."
"Works for me," said the stranger. "Thanks, Kahuna. If I don't see you later on, I'll see you for sure tomorrow night at the gym in Sunset Beach for the show."
"You got it, compadre," said Kahuna as the stranger said goodbye and got off the Whalebus, then went into the lobby with his gear. Nope, nothing like I remember it, the stranger thought to himself as he looked around the lobby and noticed the Pirate Ship, the lobbyquarium, the Wipeout Whale statue and all other Wipeout-related items decorating the lobby, then shrugged his shoulders and walked toward the front desk to check in.
Meanwhile, Reef, Broseph and Ripper, having just finished their respective shifts, emerged from the staff locker room into the lobby, all feeling amped up about their planned surf session at the Office, where they would be joined later by Johnny, Fin, Lo and Emma. "Dudes, I'm feelin' so psyched up for tonight," Reef remarked as he pumped his fist in the air. "Kahuna called me earlier and said to expect good waves out there, maybe even triple overhead. It's gonna be far out, bros!"
"Yeah, mate, we know," Ripper said. "Me and Broseph got messaged by Kahuna too. You good to go too, Broseph?"
"You know it, yo," Broseph said. "Can't wait to see the honeys hit the waves either. I want to see how much Emma's improved since I started teachin' her on her first week here."
"Hey, between you and Fin teachin' her, Emma's improving bit by bit with each sesh," Ripper said. "Before you know it, she'll be good enough to start surfin' competitively, maybe even good enough to compete in Gromfest."
"Pfft, yeah right!" Reef scoffed. "Emma may be getting better, but even with Fin teaching her, I'm still gonna take Gromfest over both of them. The judges might as well get the trophy engraved for me right now, 'cause when I get out there, it'll be no contest."
"Don't let Fin hear you say that, bra," Broseph said in response. "You know how she feels about you bragging 'bout how you're better than her or any other chiquita on the surf."
"And you know what they say about pride too, mate," Ripper added.
"Dudes, do I look worried?" Reef said. "I've got Gromfest in the bag, and no amount of Fin getting in my face, calling me a 'kook' or a 'squid' or beating up on me is gonna change that."
"Okay mate, it's your funeral," said Ripper with a shrug. Remembering something that crossed his mind a moment later, he then added, "Hey, you guys plannin' on heading to Sunset Beach tomorrow night for that wrestling show there at the gym?"
"I wish," Reef said. "That event's been sold out for a while, dude. The tickets were already gone by the time I heard about it."
"Woulda loved to go too, but Bummer kept me so busy bellhopping I couldn't make time to get a ticket before they sold out," Broseph said.
"Too bad," said Ripper. "I heard it's gonna be an epic show, mates. There'll even be a championship match that night, the Pacific Coast title's goin' on the line at the show and you'll never believe who's comin' in to challenge for it!"
"Really?" Reef asked, his curiosity becoming piqued. "Who is it?"
Before Ripper could answer, he spotted someone checking in at the front desk who looked familiar to him. "Rather than tell you guys," he said, "how 'bout I just show you? Follow me, mates!" Ripper then led Reef and Broseph over to the front desk, where the stranger who had been the last to get off the Whalebus after talking with Kahuna was having his room reservation confirmed with Johnny.
"Wait a second," Reef said to Ripper, now beginning to recognize the stranger as he got a better look at him. "Is that who I think it is?"
"The one and only," Ripper replied as the guys got closer to the front desk. Before Ripper could introduce himself and the others to the stranger, though, Reef shot ahead of him and beat him to the punch. "Excuse me, Dick Starbuck?" Reef asked. "The surfer turned wrestler?"
"That'd be me, dude," the stranger said in a laid-back California surfer drawl, looking surprised but not at all annoyed to be recognized, as he turned to see Reef, Broseph and Ripper.
"Oh man, it's cool to finally get to meet you!" said Reef as he exchanged a high-five with Starbuck. "I've followed your careers in both surfing and wrestling since I was a kid."
"Hey, it's always gnarly to get to meet fans when I'm out and about," Starbuck replied with a grin.
"So what brings you by here?" Reef asked. "I guess you're here for the killer waves we get around Sunset Beach."
"That's part of it," Starbuck said. "I'm also in town 'cause I'm headlining the wrestling show at the Sunset Beach Memorial Gym tomorrow night, but I want to get a surf sesh in at the beach before then. You guys all surf?" he added, addressing Reef, Broseph and Ripper, who all answered in the affirmative.
"Name's Ripper," the Australian surfer introduced himself to Starbuck as they high-fived. "Actually, we met once before. I went to see you wrestle at a show in Gold Coast City back in 2004 when you passed through Queensland on tour, and I got your autograph when you were signin' for the kids before your match. I know you probably wouldn't remember me, but..."
"Wait, wait, let me guess," Starbuck interrupted, thinking back quickly. "You were the kid with the blue-black hair wearing a Brisbane Lions jersey when you were in the autograph crowd, right?"
Ripper, who had worn the jersey Starbuck recalled at that time, was amazed. "Whoa, epic!" he replied, pleasantly surprised.
"I never forget about the places I go to wrestle where the surfing's premo," Starbuck said, "and the Gold Coast has some epic waves, dude."
"Yo dude, I'm Broseph," Broseph then introduced himself. "Heard all about the time you surfed professionally before you turned to wrestling," he added as he also high-fived Starbuck.
"Believe it, bro," Starbuck said. "Those were good times, but these days I surf for the thrills, not for the bills. Soul surfer now, my man."
"You too?" said Broseph. "Cool. Always been a believer in surfing for fun only and respecting the ocean myself. You ever been here to surf before?"
"Actually, I did come to Sunset Beach once years ago for a junior surf competition, before this hotel was built," Starbuck recalled, looking around the lobby. "There was another smaller hotel here on this site back then, back before the current owner bought it and bulldozed it to make way for this place. Don't know how you guys feel about this hotel, but it looks like Kooksville to me."
"We know what you mean, dude," Reef said as he, Broseph and Ripper nodded in agreement. "That's what we thought too when we first came here to work earlier this month."
"Ah, so you guys all work here?" Starbuck said. When the guys replied yes, he added, "Cool, dudes. You must all be familiar with the same surf spots I've been to around here."
"We are," said Reef, "but there's one place around here you probably haven't heard of..." Before Reef could finish his sentence though, Ripper clamped his hand over Reef's mouth and took him aside, just out of earshot from Starbuck and Broseph.
"Oy mate, what're you tryin' to do?" Ripper said to Reef, sotto voce. "If you're tryin' to spill the beans about the Office, don't get any crazy ideas. Last I checked, that's still our secret surf spot for hotel staff only. Remember what happened when Emma introduced an outsider to the Office and he brought his kook friends along afterward?"
"Relax dude, I still remember," Reef replied. "But this is different, though. This is Dick Starbuck we're talking about, man. The dude's a world-class surfer and he's a celebrity, made a name for himself in both surfing and wrestling. And he said it himself, he's a soul surfer and he knows the surf code. You should know that from reading about him in all the surfing magazines."
"I know that, mate, but still..." Ripper said.
"Besides, I know you're a fan of his, just like I am and like Broseph is," Reef added. "C'mon dude, what could it hurt to let him check the Office out? Since he's a soul surfer, I'm sure he'd respect the sanctity of the Office like he would any other surf spot he's been to."
Ripper rolled his eyes in resignation. "Okay, fine," he said. "You can tell him."
After Reef and Ripper returned to the front desk where Starbuck and Broseph still were, Reef picked up where he left off as he addressed Starbuck. "So, as I was saying before I got interrupted," he said, "there's a place here I think you may never have been to your first time here. I can guarantee you that when you come to this surf spot me and my friends know of, you'll consider it the ultimate surfing experience. We sure do."
"Hey, I'm always up for checking out new surfing spots," Starbuck said. "If it's really as tubular as you say it is, I'll have to see it for myself. Is tomorrow good for you guys to show me this spot?"
"You bet!" an enthused Reef said, with Broseph and Ripper also putting on megawatt grins behind him. "Any time when we're not working's a good time to catch waves."
"Radical, dudes," Starbuck said with a grin, to the delight of Reef, Broseph and Ripper. "Tomorrow morning then, say ten o'clock. I'll meet you guys back here 'round then."
Up next, Kelly and David recruit Fin to teach them surfing.
Stoked (c) Fresh TV Inc. and Teletoon. I don't own the show or any of the characters except David Hughes and Dick Starbuck.