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Authors: G. J. Walker-Smith

Star Promise (46 page)

BOOK: Star Promise
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“Tell him to leave my girl alone, Charlotte.”

“I think you have a few years before you need to start panicking,” she replied.

She was probably right. Bridget wasn’t exactly welcoming him with open arms. She sat down and continued pouring tea, leaving Mason hanging at the edge of the blanket.

“Do you like cake, Mason?” she asked irrelevantly.

“Yes,” he replied. “Do you like pterodactyls?”

Her shoulders lifted. “I haven’t tasted any before.”

Mason laughed so hard that he clutched his belly and dropped to the sand. “You can’t eat them, silly. They’re distinct.”

Charli glanced at me, grinning.

I smiled back. “He truly is related to Wade.”

“He’s five, Adam,” she replied laughing. “Cut him some slack.”

Bridget was forgiving too. After testing the friendship waters with a few more inane questions, she finally gave Mason permission to join her tea party.

Bridget passed him a cup.

“It’s pink,” he complained.

“Pink is lovely,” she retorted.

“Why do you always say lovely?”

With a teacup in each hand, Bridget threw out her arms. “Because the whole world is lovely,” she announced theatrically. “Look at it.”

In that moment, I realised everything was golden. We’d endured a hellish last few months in New York – and my kid had come out of it still maintaining that the whole world was lovely.

“You are a bit crazy, Bridget,” concluded Mason.

She thrust her cup forward as if making a toast. “Yes I am,” she agreed. “Crazy lovely.”

***

Determined to make the most of the summer months, entire afternoons were whittled away at the beach. Most of the time it was quiet and relaxing, but this day was shaping up to be a little different, and it had nothing to do with the arrival of Mason.

Charli and I both turned at the sound of a blood-curdling shriek coming from further up the beach. A few seconds later, Nancy, the butt-ugly Pomeranian came scurrying into view, with Jasmine Davis in hot pursuit.

“Stop her!” she screamed. “Her leash broke.”

The kindest thing would’ve been to let the dog go. By my reckoning, Nancy had to be pushing three hundred in dog years. If she’d waited all that time to make a run for it, she deserved to be free.

I leaned closer to Charli. “Furry mutiny,” I mumbled, making her giggle.

Nancy ran out of steam just as she reached us, panting like she was about to keel over. Her owner caught up a minute later, acting exactly the same way.

“Don’t move,” Jasmine ordered, arms outstretched.

I didn’t like her chances of cornering her dog. Nancy was weighing up her options, and from where we sat, an ocean escape looked likely.

“Daddy,” called Bridget, pointing. “Look at that lovely dog wearing a dress.”

Clothes really did make the man – or in this case, the mutt. The ridiculous pink hoodie was designed to hide the fact that most of its fur was missing.

“I hate that ugly dog,” grumbled Mason. “It really stinks.”

Perhaps offended, Nancy got her second wind and took off running again.

“Mason, help aunty Jasmine,” she cried, darting after her. “We have to catch her.”

Called to duty, the Lost Boy jumped up and gave chase. Bridget abandoned her tea party, wandered over to us and piled on to my lap. “They won’t catch that dog,” she insisted.

“She’ll slow down eventually,” Charli assured her.

“No Mama.” Bridget shook her head. “She’s a sea dog.”

As if on cue, Nancy proved her right by running into the low breaking waves. Jasmine must’ve really wanted her back. After warning Mason to stand back, she jumped in after her.

“You wouldn’t see that in Manhattan,” announced Charli in between giggles.

Jasmine eventually staggered out of the surf with her mangy mutt in her arms. She was spluttering, Nancy was exhausted and both of them looked like bedraggled monsters.

Bridget saw fit to welcome them back with cheers and a round of applause. “Happy, happy day for the sea hag!” she yelled.

It wasn’t the first time I’d put my hand over my daughter’s mouth to stop her speaking, but it was the first time I’d ever stifled a laugh while doing it. Charli wasn’t as polite. She laid back in the sand, giving in to a fit of hysterics.

“Welcome to your new perfect life, Adam,” she said, barely composing herself. “Never a dull moment.”

Despite the madness, life
was
perfect. We were finally on track, and none of us were interested in looking back.

79. DÉNOUEMENT
Charli

Chances are, Jean-Luc wasn’t speaking literally when he encouraged me to pen my own
dénouement
, but six months after returning to the Cove, I decided to write one in the notebook, and return it to its rightful owner.

I added my entry while standing at the counter of the post office with Bridget at my feet. Her constant bumping meant my handwriting wasn’t as neat as it could’ve been, but the story was spectacular:

 

Charlotte and Adam – a dénouement

Far from what they once were, but not yet what they’re going to be.

 

It was the closest I hoped we’d ever get to an ending. I wanted our story to continue forever, and as straight-laced as Jean-Luc was, I knew he’d appreciate the deeper meaning behind the words.

I sealed the parcel and handed it to postmistress Val. She glanced down at my belly. “How much longer do you have to go now, Charli?”

Bridget chimed in. “Three days.”

“Not quite,” I corrected with a smile. “Ten weeks.”

“It’s a girl baby,” added Bridget.

“And how do you know?” asked Val, leaning over the counter to look at her.

Bridget cupped her hands to her mouth. “Magic,” she whispered.

The uppity postmistress might not have been sold on her left-of-centre explanation, but I was.

Absolutely nothing is impossible to willing hearts.

 

THE END

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BOOK: Star Promise
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