The Other Cottage by Annabelle Lael.

It's hard to believe that I first meet these characters over 36 years ago at the tender age of 8. Due to my great love of the story I decided to breathe back "life" into them if only for a little while....

Carolyn didn't even know how to finish her article. Her fingers had hovered over the typewriter keys for over an hour!

She couldn't understand it, the children were in school, Martha was in the kitchen and even the Captain was no where to be found.

The house was in total silence and maybe that was the problem. She needed a change, to take a breath of fresh air. As Jonathan liked to say, "It's time to go exploring."

Exploring, but where? She had been up and down Gull Cottage and seen all that was on the property.

Finally Carolyn decided to forgo the work for today and take a walk on the beach. The day was slightly overcast with a touch of gray. Possibly by nightfall it would rain , giving her enough time for a very needed break.

She decided to walk all the way to the end of the beach , something she hadn't done before because everything looked the same in all directions. Yet, as she rounded the last small sand dune Carolyn saw a worn out path.

It wasn't visible if you were just passing by but with a closer look she saw that it led inland. "How strange", Carolyn said aloud and continued walking, brushing aside vines and bushes on her way.

Just as she moved the last branch, she saw it." Oh my goodness! I can't believe my eyes." A few yards away stood the most enchanting cottage she had ever seen. It was white with a balcony surrounding it at all sides.

Flowers of all shapes and colors grew riotously on the path leading to the front door.

Carolyn didn't know whether to continue or not. She didn't want to get in trouble for trespassing. Though it was a slight distance from Gull Cottage Carolyn wasn't sure it belonged to the property.

She contemplated the situation but in the end her curiosity won out and she continued up the path, being as quite as she could, Carolyn tried the knob at the door but, It wouldn't budge. She decided to look for a key, lifting a couple of floor mats but without any success until she found it under a flower pot.

Cautiously, she inserted the key and the door opened with a slight groan. "How beautiful it was inside" , Carolyn thought as she closed the door behind her.

It was like going back in time. The furnishings were all done in a rich, shining maple and the curtains were of the most delicate lace.

What surprised her the most was that everything was neatly kept even though, she had the feeling noone lived there.

All of a sudden Carolyn jumped as a clap of thunder sounded outside and raindrops insistently pelted the windowpanes.

"I guess I'll be here for a while", she thought as she lighted two kerosene lamps. Everything was on one floor so she decided to search for the bedroom.

As Carolyn opened the door the first thing she saw was an exquisite pillared bed that was quite large in size, giving the room a most definite masculine feel to it's surroundings.

Carolyn trailed her fingers on the vanity and dreamed of times long ago passed... until her eyes caught sight of a regal looking armoire, moving towards it , she wondered what treasures it might behold.

As the door opened she stepped back for a moment. Inside was an elegant dress of sea green color, made of silk with a long flowing skirt. When she moved it the shimmer of the silk reminded her of waves deep in the ocean.

What she wouldn't give for a dress like this. Maybe if she tried it on for only a second it wouldn't do any harm.

Moments later Carolyn sat at the vanity adjusting the lace at the low cut neckline. It showed a little more than she was used to but, but it made her feel very feminine. Yet, there was something missing, a ribbon or a necklace perhaps.

Carolyn looked in all the draws but without success, just as she was about to give up her eyes caught sight of a black velvet box on the vanity." How strange. I don't remember seeing that there before ", Carolyn thought as she opened the lid.

Inside was a delicate chain with a locket attached to it. Her hands stretched out and placed it around her neck but, just as she was about to close the clasp her fingers stilled. Carolyn had almost felt the brush of other fingers over her own sending a tingle down her spine.

All of a sudden she heard a husky and very masculine voice whisper in her ear, "Madam...you truly do it justice." Carolyn gasped and turned around.

"Captain Gregg how long have you been spying on me? How could you!", Carolyn stated in a very indigent tone.

"Mrs. Muir I am the one that should be bothered. The way you barged into my home!".

"Your home?. Claymore never mentioned this property on the sale of Gull Cottage."

With steely blue eyes the Captain answered, "Claymore never mentioned it because, even in his addled brained state he must have known of it's importance to me. Claymore never tried to rent it or sell it, always sending someone to keep it in order."

"Captain Gregg.. " "Call me Daniel, Madam", the Captain demanded of Carolyn. "I'll call you Daniel if you call me Carolyn". " As to my question, why would you have two homes?".

"Since I know first hand of your superior curiosity, I might as well tell you the reason why. Knowing I will not have peace until then."

"Daniel... forgive me I didn't mean to pry. I know we have tried to value each other's privacy." Hearing the gentleness of her voice the Captain relaxed his stance and looked at Carolyn with fondness in his eyes.

"My Dear... you must know by now that my "existence" as it is has not been my own or the same since you stepped into it....."

"I shall gladly explain. In my youth I was always sure of myself. I became a Captain and commanded my own ship long before all the others. As I ruled my men I thought I could rule my life."

"Around this time a young lady had captured my heart. She was very young and gentle bred. We had grown up together and I always assumed that we would marry. I had this cottage built for her.... Curiously the gown you are wearing was to be a wedding present."

Carolyn touched the folds of the skirt and felt a tinge of jealousy spring into her heart. Hesitantly, she asked Daniel," And the locket, was it also to be a wedding present? "

Daniel stared at Carolyn thoughtfully, wondering if that was a spark of a deeper emotion he saw flash in her alluring green eyes. "No My Dear.....that was a gift that I received from my beloved mother after she passed away. One day I shall tell you about it, but for now it is best that I continue."

"During that fateful voyage I planned many things but, alas they were for naught. It seems that when I arrived back home the young lady in question had already married one of my best friends."

"At first I was heartbroken but as the time passed I realized she was truly happy in her new life. Never again did I speak of the incident until now..... A few years afterwards I built Gull Cottage for my home letting the Sea be the keeper of my heart for many a while."

"Daniel, I'm so sorry that things turned out that way." "Do not feel sad or mourn the past. Even with her, at times, I felt something deep down inside of me wasn't complete.... but, I wanted a family, children of my own."

"Daniel what kind of woman would complete you?".

"The woman I searched for had to be strong and with a great sense of understanding. Someone who could raise a family in my absences but most of all someone who understand that I belonged to the Sea as much as I belonged to her....Someone as capable as you, My Dear."

Carolyn lowered her eyes in order to hide the disbelief and uncertainty in them thinking all the while if Daniel felt more than his stubborn nature would allow..

Carolyn broke the silence by saying, "I must admit that the young lady must have been a fool. I would never have had eyes for anyone else after setting them on you... If I were in her place.

Daniel attentively approached Carolyn, "Would you join me in the drawing room for a while" as he lightly captured her hand in his.

Carolyn was absolutely astonished, she actually thought she felt a warmth emanating from his fingers. She knew it wasn't possible. It must have been the surroundings, the dim light or the intimacy of the moment.

Daniel led her to the middle of the floor and Carolyn suddenly heard the sound of beautiful music in the background. Daniel slowly bowed and asked, "Would you do me the honor of granting me this dance?."

Like in a dream Carolyn approached the Captain and felt his powerful hands go around her waist. The sensation was one of being protected and cherished....

They danced and twirled, the time standing still only for them, each wrapped up in their own emotions and thoughts.

Abruptly the music stopped.....Daniel bent down his head and seemed mesmerized by Carolyn's sparkling green eyes.... leaning in he brushed his lips against hers.

The feeling was of pure bliss as the kiss lingered on.... Carolyn couldn't catch her breath. All of a sudden her legs felt weak... The last thing she remembered was when Daniel picked her up in his arms.

A while later Carolyn awoke startled in her own bed. She instantly touched her throat looking for the locket but, all she felt was her sweater instead.

Was she insane? Did she dream it all ?. How could it be that Daniel had felt so real in her arms.

Without planning it Carolyn forlornly placed her head by Daniel's telescope. "If only it were real. How different things would be. Regretfully she made her way to the door as she yearningly touched her lips, promising her heart never to forget.....

At a Distance away from Carolyn the Captain smiled to himself and brushed his fingers against his own lips, he too would never forget.

Maybe destiny had finally found the right woman for him. Yet, this time he must fight to keep what belonged to him. In the meantime he would protect her and cherish her.

He would wait until the time was right. He had waited for over a hundred years to find his true love, his life, his very breath...waiting a little while longer would be his ultimate reward............

The End