It had been two weeks since Sean had been on land. They had made some quick stops in many different worldwide ports to fuel up, load and unload supplies, etc. But this time they were to stay for four days in the port town of Ensenada, in Baja California to load a shipment headed for New York. This was a routine trip for Sean and his crew. Sean grabbed his leather jacket and back pack. He was excited to get off of the ship. He took the last step from the ship onto the dock. He hated the feeling of having 'sea legs'. He had to walk around a bit to unwind.
"See ya later!" Adam shouted from the top deck of the ship. He was to stay behind and help the crew unload some things.
"I will see you in Paradise!" Sean yelled up to Adam.
The local bed and breakfast and pub otherwise known as 'Paradise' was only a block away from the docks. Sean loved to stay off of the ship whenever he could, and this was one of his favorite places to stay. Each room had a private hot tub and garden. Sean and Adam made a pact to always meet for drinks in the evenings, after supper. The rest of the time they would do their own thing. Adam had a girlfriend at every port, and Sean knew what Adam would be doing on his time off. Adam would be with Clara.
It was a beautiful spring morning as Sean took the familiar stroll to the dock post office. All of his mail was forwarded to where ever he was going. He liked that he always had a connection to home, even though he hadn't lived in Scotland for many years. It had been two weeks since he had been able to check his mail. He walked into the familiar mail station. The floor looked like it hadn't been swept in weeks. He laughed to himself; some things never seemed to change. When he unlocked his mailbox he was surprised to see that he had two letters from Marie. They were each sent about a week apart. He always liked to read her letters. She was always so good at keeping Sean up to date with her social life. In a way Sean was jealous of Marie's carefree lifestyle. He hadn't been with a woman for many years. He never felt ready. That was until he met Lizzie.
Sean put the letters in his back pack. He would read them once he got settled in his room. He walked up the cobblestone street to Paradise. The palm trees swayed in the warm breeze on the side of the walkway. Sean felt so relieved to have some time to relax and read Marie's letters. He had sent his letter to her over a week ago when they stopped for fuel; hopefully she would have received it by now.
"Hey stranger!" It was Philippe behind the counter inside Paradise.
"Hey! Long time no see!" Sean smiled as he got his wallet out of his back pack. It had been a while since Sean had stayed in Paradise.
"Same room?" Philippe asked in his thick Spanish accent.
"Yes!" Sean pulled out four days worth of lodging money and handed it to Philippe.
"Hope you enjoy your stay Mr. Douglas", Philippe handed Sean a gold key. Sean's ticket to freedom he thought to himself.
Sean made his way down the hall to his room. The bed and breakfast used to be the mansion of a wealthy fisherman. They did an exceptional job transforming it into a hotel. The restaurant inside was also a pub, so many of the locals gathered there in the late evenings. They were famous for their mixed drinks and appetizers. The gardens had the most beautiful foliage Sean had ever seen. His favorite room had the biggest patio with a view of a hillside. There were so many birds that lived in the gardens. Their singing was almost entrancing. Sean was just glad to be able to sleep in a real bed.
Sean unlocked the door to his room. He smelled the scent of fresh flowers as he stepped inside. There were fresh flowers everywhere. He laid his bag on the big king size bed. He walked over to the French doors and opened them to reveal a beautiful garden and patio. The sounds of birds singing filled the air. He took a deep breath of the fresh floral air. He went to the bed and pulled the letters out of the backpack. He decided to read them out on the patio. The sun filtered through and had warmed the chaise lounge. It was very comfortable.
As he ripped open the first letter a picture fell to the ground. As he picked it up he realized it was the picture that he and Frankie took at the docks in Scotland. He smiled at the memory. He pulled out Frankie's letter and lay back in the soft chair. He read it twice to make sure that he understood that what he was reading was in fact real.
"Frankie's Da died?" He said out loud. "He knows I am not his real Da? How did this happen?"
He read the next page; it was a letter from Marie.
I am guessing you are just as shocked as I am that Frankie figured out the truth. Or maybe you aren't surprised; you know how smart he is. You know what this means right? You can finally admit to yourself that you care about Lizzie, and can do something about it. Davey died shortly after you left. I didn't want to tell you then, it wasn't my place. But, I just can't pretend anymore. Can't you see that you and Lizzie are meant to be together? I know you want to be alone; you have told me so many times that you will spend the rest of your life alone, so you don't get hurt again. Haven't you realized that a small amount of happiness is better than a lifetime of loneliness? I know I shouldn't talk; I have pushed every man away that has cared for me. But, I am really giving Ali a chance though, and to tell you the truth, I am happier now than I ever have been. I want you to experience that happiness, you deserve it.
Lizzie is planning on moving soon, somewhere close by. If you want to write her or Frankie a letter, I would suggest sending it to the Chip Shop. She is still going to work for me; even though she doesn't have to since receiving Davey's inheritance. I think she wants to stay here because of you. She cares for you Sean. Whatever you decide, you are my brother, and I will stand by your decision. Keep in touch! Cheers,
Sean gently folded the letters and placed them back into the envelope. He kept the picture out. He didn't know what to think. He wanted to jump on a plane for home and scoop Lizzie up in his arms and never let her go. But, he knew that he had to treat this situation with gentle loving care. He and Lizzie both had walls, and it would take time to break them all down. Something sudden and spontaneous could ruin their chances. He decided to read the next letter.
Something has happened to me that I never thought was possible, I am going to be a mum! We found out a few days ago. It was a big shock, but Ali and I have talked it out, and we want to begin our life as a family. Ali proposed and I have accepted. We are getting married in three months, on July 22nd. I want you to give me away at the altar. Can you make arrangements to be home by then? It would mean the world to me if you could give me away. The baby is due in December. I hope you will be around then to meet your niece or nephew. I love you Sean, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Sean smiled. Marie had finally given in to love. They both had run from it for so long. It was time for him to also stop and let love back into his life. The only one he ever thought of was Lizzie. She was the only one that was able to crawl into his heart. He put the letters in his backpack. He had to call Marie straight away. It was late evening in Scotland; he knew she would probably be home. As he called her from his room he suddenly felt very homesick.
"Hello?" Marie answered.
"Hey! I just read your letters, congratulations on the wedding and the baby!" Sean smiled at the thought of his baby sister being pregnant.
"Thanks! I was wondering if I would hear from you, how are you?" Marie sat down on her bed.
"My sister is going to be a mum, wow! I am great, and still trying to understand what happened with Lizzie and Frankie. How did he know?" He wished he could be there in person to talk about this with Marie. He got comfortable on the oversized pillows on the bed anxious to hear the news.
"Shortly after you left, Lizzie decided to talk to Davey. He was at the end of a long illness, and wanted to see Frankie. Lizzie knew she couldn't let him see Frankie, he didn't know him. After the visit she told Frankie that his Da was sick. It was to prepare him, because Davey was close to death. He died a few days later. She told Frankie that his Da had died, and showed him the obituary in the paper. A few days later Lizzie had gone to close the post office box when she received that letter from Frankie. She talked to him about it and discovered that he had figured it all out at the dance hall, but wanted to pretend you were his real Da. He knew that his real Da hurt him. He understood." Marie knew that her brother would be thrilled to know all of this. She smiled to herself.
"Wow, I am so surprised. I never thought this would happen. I thought I could never see them again, now there are so many possibilities." Sean tried to let is all sink in.
He set the picture of Frankie and himself on the bedside table.
"I just received your letter today, and was very happy to know that you feel the same way about Lizzie as she feels about you, even though she is keeping it quiet". Marie waited for Sean to answer.
"She feels the same way? Wh-what should I do?" Sean was like a fish out of water.
"If it were me, I would write her. See what happens, take it slow." Marie knew that Sean wasn't the most patient person when it came to love.
"Great idea, I will write her. Don't let her know it's coming though. I want her to be surprised." Sean smiled.
"Oh Sean, I have to go, I am getting nauseous again. I don't know why they call it 'morning sickness', I have it all day long! I have to run." Marie took a deep breath to delay the sickness from coming.
"Oh no, yes, I will keep in touch. I am so happy for you Marie, really I am. Talk to you soon". Sean could hear the urgency in Marie's voice.
"Love you, bye". She hung up the phone and ran to the bathroom.
Sean lay back in the bed and thought about all of the things he wanted to write. He went out to the patio with his notebook and pen and spent the rest of the afternoon writing to Lizzie.