NoTe: I do not own or have rights to Twilight!
Their flight from Paris arrived in Seattle at just past eleven pm and the drive to the house took another two hours. It was half past two in the morning when Ben's Jaguar pulled off the highway and onto the long, winding drive that led to their new home. Knowing her father, Bart would be asleep by now, but her parents would be up. They had agreed to meet Sarah and Ben at the lighthouse. It would be good to see them again; while her honeymoon had been fantastic she had missed her home and family.
Ben brought the car to a stop and cut the engine. "Welcome home, my love," he whispered as he bent over and kissed her cheek. Seconds later he was opening the car door for her.
The night was still, only the sound of the gentle sea breeze and the waves crashing on the rocky shore below the distant cliff broke the silence. The whisper soft movement of the air was enough to illuminate the house in golden light against Sarah's black velvet vision. She took in a jagged breath, her mother had done an outstanding job with the renovations . . . the house was glorious.
Her hand was now on Ben's elbow as he led her toward the front steps and the wide front porch beyond them. Being from the south, Sarah loved porches. Her aunt's house back in Breaux Bridge had one that wrapped around two sides of the little white clap board structure. Papa's front porch had always been her favorite haunt, when she wasn't in her studio working on a project she could be found firmly planted in a rocking chair enjoying the air.
Suddenly she found herself being scooped into Ben's strong arms. He carried her up the front steps. The breeze picked up again and her vision blazed. There on the broad porch was her favorite rocker, transplanted from her parent's home to hers. If she were capable of tears, she would have shed an ocean of them. She would have to thank Mama and Papa for the thoughtful house warming gift.
The thought of her parents made her focus her hearing; except for her and Ben, there was no one for miles. Her mother and father and Bart were supposed to be here, suddenly she felt panic, where were they . . . was something wrong?
"Milady, are you alright?" Ben asked as she began trembling in his arms.
"Mama, Papa, and Bart are supposed to be here." Her panic was growing. "Something must be wrong. Maybe Bart's sick, we should call them."
Ben shushed her quiet as he carried her toward the front door. "Relax my little love, there's no cause for alarm. I called your folks from the airport in New York and told them to hold off on coming up until tomorrow. I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but I wanted to surprise you."
"But, why?" she was confused and she knew it showed.
Ben still held her and she could hear the deep rumble of his laughter where her ear was pressed against his chest. "Because, sweetling, I wanted some time alone with you in our new home before things got chaotic. I wanted time to really show it to you and enjoy your reaction to all its wonders." He kissed her forehead before continuing. "This is our castle, Milady, our sanctuary from the prying eyes of the bustling world. Behind these walls we can be who we really are . . . no pretences or pretending. It is our private piece of Heaven, Sarah . . . our Valinor, our Avalon."
He was right of course; she was dying to see it . . . the place they would call home, for all time. Her mother hadn't let her near the place after she started the renovations . . . in spite of Sarah's begging. Her last memory of the poor old lighthouse was that of a lonely decrepit structure in need of copious amounts of TLC. She couldn't wait to get a look at what her mother had done with the place.
Ben unlocked the front door, carried her across the threshold, and set her down gently in the foyer. The first thing she noticed was the clatter of her own footsteps on the hardwood floors, no carpeting. She smiled with satisfaction, Sarah hated carpet.
As they continued through the house Ben gave detailed descriptions of each room, he was an outstanding tour guide. Later, when she had time to herself, she would phase and wander her new palace and see the sights with her own eyes. For now, however, she was contented to view it vicariously through her mate's eyes. His enthusiasm made her smile as a wave of warmth and tenderness washed through her.
Her mother had furnished their new home with period reproductions as well as adding modern conveniences. For example, a plasma screen TV hung in the living room, over the fireplace. According to Ben, it was disguised as a painting by Monet. In the kitchen; the stove was a reproduction cast iron Victorian model but fitted to be electric and the refrigerator was made to look like an old fashioned ice box. Throughout the house things like the lights, the thermostat, the sound system and the alarm were linked to a computer and responded to voice commands.
The tour proceeded up stairs where Ben showed her the library; Edward had acquired a large collection of classical works for her in Braille as well as books on CD. Bart's room was down the hall from the library, two guest rooms and a full bathroom were that way as well. At the other end of the hall was the master suite.
Their bedroom was large and airy with windows on three walls, one of which faced the ocean. The room was furnished with antiques that her mother had made a special trip to New Orleans to purchase, the center piece of which was a king sized four poster mahogany rice bed. Their oasis had its own bathroom as well, which was only important because her mother had insisted on installing a huge claw footed bathtub big enough for two people; this was in addition to a glass enclosed double shower.
Finally, Ben led her up a winding set of wrought iron stairs that took them to the top of the light tower. In the lamp room, he explained that Esme was still working on things up here.
"Replacement parts for an original fourth order Fresnel lens and whale oil lamp are hard to come by." He told her. "Your mother hopes to acquire them in time; it's a labor of love now."
"Can we go out on the balcony?" she asked.
"Of course." He opened the little door and took her out onto the narrow balcony that ran around the outside of the lamp room.
Sarah turned her face into the wind and inhaled the sweet salty air. In the distance, the waves thundered against the rocky shore and further off, much further off, in the distance a storm brewed over the open ocean.
The wind played over her face making wayward strands of her dark hair dance across her face. The air currents also made her sound vision blaze into life, the open meadow beyond the back of the house that stretched out to end abruptly at the edge of the cliff, the evergreen trees the stood to the right of the house defying the storms that pummeled them, even the sea itself in all its raging glory flared against her black velvet world.
It was all so beautiful and wonderful. A home, a husband, and a son, for the first time in a long time Sarah was getting things instead of watching the angry universe take them away from her. For once she had managed to cheat the gaping black maw that devoured her old life, her human life, and left her hopeless and empty inside.
A smile slowly spread across her face as she thought about their new home. Just like Sarah, their beautiful lady of light was a survivor; she'd sat out here all alone on this desolate stretch of shore line and withstood wind and weather. The old girl needed something . . . a bit of personality.
"Our kingdom and our castle should have a name then, Milord," Sarah suggested as she continued to smile.
"Alice said you'd want to name the place," he murmured as he wrapped a protective arm around her. "I suppose, eventually, I will come to trust your sister's second sight. What shall it be then, Milady?"
A thousand names danced through her head at once but none of them seemed right. 'This is our castle . . . our sanctuary. . .' Ben's word echoed through her mind over and over again. Then she thought of how hopeless and empty she'd once felt when she was all alone in the world and how happy and full of hope she was now that she had a wonderful family. Finally a name came to her.
"Hope's Keep," she whispered so faintly that she was sure the breeze stole the words away and carried them off into the night.
"A fairer name never existed, Milady," Ben sighed and then he kissed her lightly on the cheek. When he spoke again, her mate's voice was as fierce as a gale and it vibrated off every surface for miles "From this day hence let this place and this castle be known as Hope's Keep. May Almighty God bless and protect this land and this dwelling place and those who call this place their home . . . from now until time is no more."
* * * *
The End . . . is only the beginning, especially if you're a sparkly vampire.
Until next time,
A note to you all:
Thanks to everyone for giving me a measure of your time and for all your wonderful reviews. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writig it.
A huge thank you goes out to my outstanding Beta, Karen, who patiently edited each chapter before posting to make sure it was perfect.
Will there be a third story? I don't know yet, maybe, I do have some other tings in mind. We'll just have to see.
My Love to all of you,