Jemma Harris had never considered herself nostalgic, not in the least. Her eyes were always focused on the future and what came next. Primarily, goals, objectives, future endeavours. Not that she’d ever doubted it would happen only when and amazingly it had transpired well within the time frame she’d hoped for.
At the pinnacle of her career, she’d been literally blindsided by the desire and intense yearning invading her heart. Why now? Her career was on track, held as much appeal as ever, she wasn’t at a loss for friends companionship or events like movies or theatre – she had it all in spaces. Yet this tug on her heart suggesting something was missing, couldn’t be ignored.
Consequently, she found herself aboard a ferry heading to the island where her parents had lived and met over thirty years ago. A tried and true city kid, she’d grown up in a completely different universe from that of her parents and she was unable to deny the aching need to experience where they’d grown up, met, lived, laughed and fallen in love.
Jemma’s search indicated limited lodgings in some areas of the island and as a precaution, had pre-booked primarily at Bed and Breakfasts or AirBandB’s. Excited at the prospect of joining in several touristy events she’d read about, had booked accordingly even though she realized she’d probably spend the majority of her stay scouring each location in search of the quiet solitude and beauty they’d so often spoken of.
Closing her eyes, breathing in the fresh salty sea air, she was struck by an overwhelmingly intense sense of belonging as if returning to a previous life. Shaking her head, she smiled at her own fanciful thoughts and meanderings. As far as she knew, her parents had never brought her to the Island ever, and she certainly couldn’t recall ever having spent time here and yet…she couldn’t reconcile feeling as though she were coming home and she was filled with eagerness even impatience to begin the adventure of discovery that awaited her.
The young man dropped her luggage inside the door of her room in the Oak Bay Beach Hotel nodded and left. Her smile broadened. She’d been impressed with the elegant yet modern Tudor styling encountered en route to her room which was also beautifully decorated, large and comfortable with a massive bathroom and a tub that beckoned. It would have to wait since wait the most exquisite oceanfront view held her spellbound. Considering she’d spent the past several years, nose to the grindstone, this was heaven on earth. Luxury at its finest.
When she could finally tear herself away from the remarkable view, she soaked in the beautiful iron claw tub in preparation for the beginning of her journey. Dressing with equal care, she sauntered into the dining room, richly decorated and filled with elegant chandeliers and beautifully appointed tables.
She was enjoying a sumptuous dinner and a lovely glass of wine when she noticed a man staring intently at her when he didn’t think she was watching. His poker face gave nothing away and she couldn’t tell whether he was curious, interested or shocked or whether it was a combination of all three. Feeling increasingly uncomfortable, she was relieved when he settled his bill and disappeared, albeit not without one last glance her way. Jemma didn’t believe in omens signs or anything of the sort, yet she couldn’t halt the insidious and very tangible feeling of dread that shook through her from head to toe.
Heading to the boardwalk along the Inner Harbour, she was met with a truly eclectic view of old-world facades mixed with modern elegance and surprisingly each complimented the other. creating a beautiful varied but breathtakingly lovely scene. A gentle breeze had boats of every size and description swaying to and fro along the dock, an heir of peace and tranquillity enveloped her.
Suddenly and without warning, she was jolted from the surrounding serenity when a body slammed into her, knocking her flying and if it hadn’t been for the quick reflexes of a passerby, she’d have ended up in the harbour. As it was, her assailant had managed to knock the breath right out of her and it took a minute to regain it and her composure.
When she was sure she had her legs under her again and was able to catch her breath, she looked up into the face of the man who’d saved her from a nasty accident. “Thank you,” she remarked pulling away.
“Steady there, you alright?”
“Yes, sure. I got my breath back.” Her ribs hurt where her assailant had hit her and she couldn’t refrain from checking them, and yes, damn she’d have a sizeable bruise she decided for as she’d always bruised easily.
“Come with me, lets grab a seat.” The handsome stranger curled an arm around her waist and nudged her toward a wooden bench.
Normally she’d have thought his actions high-handed, but at the moment, they were more than welcome as she really had been knocked sideways.
“When you’re feeling a little more secure, we’ll head inside and grab a cup of tea or perhaps something stronger,” he suggested. “Marc Lindstrom,” he said proffering a hand.
“Jemma Harris. And yes, I’d like that,” shocked by her own quickly agreeable response to a total stranger’s request.
He must be a mind reader she thought as he remarked, “Safety in numbers and a large restaurant. “
Jemma grinned sheepishly. “Guilty. Although I’m sure if you meant to harm me, you passed up a pretty great opportunity since I was well on my way.”
“I’m glad I was able to assist in stopping that inevitability.