Friday, July 13, 2018

A Summer Love, Chapter 10 by Cate Nolan

~~~  6 months later  ~~~

Jenny woke to blue skies and balmy temperatures - the advantage to living in Summer Shores was gorgeous summer weather all year long. Too bad her mood wasn’t sunshiny to match.

She stretched, rose, and dragged herself to the kitchen, but not even a mug full of Summer Shores Special Blend could spark any joy.

Today was the day.

She and Jake had survived the six month stipulation and had an appointment this morning with their lawyers to complete the sale.

So why was she so sad?

She’d waited six agonizing months, and today her wish would come true. Today she would finally be able to buy out Jake’s half of the cottage. And maybe, just maybe, she’d finally be able to begin to build her new life – one that didn’t include Jake Watkins and his dog.

Maybe once he was really gone – back to his beloved military – maybe then she’d be able to forget him and get on with her life. She clung to that hope because if she had learned anything in the last six months, it was that she couldn’t live a life without him when he lived in the same community. It was amazing, really,  how two people could live within the same mile stretch of beach, but manage to avoid each other so thoroughly for six long months. No dinners. No surprise encounters on the beach. Not even her mother’s finagling had been able to throw them together.

It had been the loneliest six months of her life.


Jake filled the coffee pot and flipped the power switch. He needed his coffee strong if he was going to get through this morning. What in the world had he been thinking to agree to six months of avoiding each other? Six months!

He hadn’t known it was possible to miss someone so much – especially when they technically lived within shouting distance.

But there had been no shouting, no whispered conversations, no communication of any kind.

It had been the worst six months of his life.

And it ended today.

But if this deal went through, if he sold this cottage to Jenny, then this end was just the beginning of a long, lonely life without her.

Unless he did something. Unless… unless he shoved pride aside and made one last attempt to win Jenny’s heart and hand.

Jake’s heart brimmed with the most hope he’d felt in months as he got busy, setting a plan into motion. A quick phone call, a frantic rummage through drawers in search of a special box. By the time he heard Jenny’s car in the driveway, he was ready – except for one last thing.

“Mom, if you can hear me, could you put in a good word for us? I could use a little divine intervention here. Pray that I can convince Jenny I’m a changed man, a man worthy of her. And if you could kind of give her a nudge, some kind of sign—”

A knock on the screen door cut him off.

“Coming.” He picked up the tray he’d prepared with mugs, a carafe of coffee and that special box hidden under a napkin.

As he made his way toward the deck, he couldn’t help but recall Jenny's words from six months ago. The words that had set this ludicrous separation in motion.

“I’ll stay out of your way. Then in six months, we see what we want.”
Well, the six months were up, and he knew what he wanted. The only question was whether she shared his dreams.

He elbowed the door open and Ralph burst through, enthusiastically greeting Jenny. Poor guy. He’d missed her, too. Jake set the tray on the table and turned to greet her. Oh what a sight for sore eyes. “Jenny,” he breathed the word. “It’s really good to see you again.”

“Hi, Jake.”
There was no indication in her voice or manner, nothing to give away her feelings. But she looked so sad, he thought his heart might break for her. 

"How have you been, Jen?" 
"Okay. You? Your leg looks good."

He smiled. "Thanks to you, your mom, and Dr. Yang.  She's amazing. I won't say it's good as new, but pretty darn close."

She smiled at his answer, but the smile didn't reach her eyes. Her next words explained why.

"I guess you'll be ready to rejoin your men."

"Would you be sad to see me go?"

"Please don't do this, Jake. Don't play word games."

He watched helplessly as she turned and walked away. Nothing was going as he'd planned. 

Jenny held herself in check. She wouldn't run. She wouldn't cry. She'd be fine. She just needed a moment to pull herself together.  She headed down toward the beach and stood watching the waves roll in. This would all be hers now. This beach, this view to wake to every morning. 

And none of it meant anything without Jake beside her.

Waves were just water rolling onto sand. And sand was just rocks ground down into fine grains.
None of it could fill the aching hole in her heart.

"A penny for your thoughts?"

Jenny squealed. She'd been so lost in her misery that she hadn't heard Jake come up behind her.

He reached out and stroked her cheek. "Why the long face? I would think you’d be happy. We fulfilled the terms of the will."
Jenny kicked at the sand. "By the letter of the law, not the spirit."
"Having second thoughts?"

Was she? Jenny looked at him - this tall, handsome, good man whom she'd loved for more than half of her life. The thought of losing him paralyzed her, but every time she thought she could give in, could admit to her feelings, the hurt came rolling back. The question that was as everpresent as the waves.

Why had he chosen the military over her?

He brushed her hair back, and for a moment, she thought he wanted to kiss her. She broke away, but as she began to run down the beach, the sand weighted her feet. She stopped, watched as the water swirled around her feet the same way the questions swirled in her mind.

She'd never had the courage to ask. Could she do it?
It was now or never.

She turned, but he was gone. Her eyes scanned the beach, and she saw him trudging back toward the cottage. He opened the latch to the gate and climbed the steps. The gate swung closed, and Jenny felt the click. She was too late. She'd waited too long.

She trudged along, kicking the sand, until a commotion caught her attention.  Ralph was barking, Jake was yelling, and the seagull was flying right toward her.  She watched as Jack opened the gate and sent Ralph after the seagull. "What?" She shook her head wondering what could have happened.
Ralph came bounding across the sand to her, leaping in the air, chasing after the seagull who seemed to have something caught in his beak.

Ralph was relentless, and Jenny had to laugh at his antics until she saw Jake starting to run across the sand too. No, he'd hurt his leg again.

"Ralph, here boy. Stop. Heel."

Ralph took one last lunge at the seagull which swooped towards Jenny. Something slipped from his beak and sailed through the air.

Jenny instinctively opened her hands and caught the box as it tumbled toward the sand, but her eyes were on Jake as he slid to a halt in front of her. He had the most horrified expression on his face.

She looked down at the box in her hand.
No! It couldn't be. How had the seagull gotten the engagement ring that Jake had given her, that she'd returned?

Looking at Jake's face, she realized it didn't really matter. She extended her hand. "Here. I think this is yours."

Jake stared down at her. "No, it was actually meant to be yours."

He shrugged. "I had the foolhardy notion that maybe there was still a chance for us. I was going to offer the ring to you this morning."

She didn't answer. Couldn't answer.

"It's okay." He reached out to take the box.

She held on tight. "Not until you answer a question for me."

He waited.

The words froze on her lips. Now or never, she reminded herself. Because really, what did she have to lose? If she didn’t ask, she’d always wonder.

"Why did you choose the military over me?"

Jake tucked his hands in his back pockets and hung his head. How could he possibly explain, especially when he had the strongest feeling that their entire future hung on his response to that question. A familiar voice sounded in his head. Try honesty.

Jake took a long breath and exhaled slowly. "Back then, I didn't think of it that way. I wasn’t running away from you, Jenny. I was running from myself. I'd just found out some confusing information about my father. It scared me. I was an angry young man trying to get away from everything I was mad about in my life. It didn't make sense. And what I did, made no sense.

"The truth is, I ran away from the only thing in my life that had ever been good, because I was too much of a fool to accept it. 

"I loved you, Jenny. With everything that was in me, I loved you. But I was in a bad place. You were too good for me.

"I joined the military because I wanted to do something with my life that would make me worthy of you. Defending my country seemed like an honorable solution.

"But it backfired. Because all you saw was me leaving you for the military."

Jenny swallowed hard. "It hurt, Jake. I was so lost, so alone. I couldn't figure out what I'd done to drive you away."

"You did nothing wrong."

"I knew you were angry, Jake. I didn't know why, but that angry man you'd become was the boy I fell in love with the very first time we met. I deluded myself that our love could solve all your problems. The same instincts that made me choose nursing made me want to heal you. 

 "That was no basis for building a relationship. I know that now. We were both young and unsettled. As much as I wish it hadn’t taken us fifteen years  - and six months – to figure it out, it would have been a mistake to marry back then."

He grasped her hands and held them up to his heart. "Would it be a mistake now? Please, Jenny. Tell me it's not too late."
When she didn't immediately answer, he continued.

"I’ve had a lot of time to think these past six months in rehab. Please hear me out.  I’ve served over fifteen years, and I aim to serve out my twenty because I made a commitment and I need to see it through. But I’m not that brash young man anymore. I don’t need to see action to feel alive.

"There’s only one thing I need, and that’s you, Jenny."

He pulled the box from his pocket as he sank down on a knee in the sand. "Will you marry me? Will you live with me in Summer Shores? Will you be my wife and grow old with me?"

Tears streamed down Jenny's face as she sank down in the sand beside him. "I love you, Jake Watkins. I've loved you for what seems like my entire life. I can't think of anything I want more than to spend the rest of it at your side, as your wife. Yes, I will marry you."

He slipped the ring on her finger and pulled her gently into his arms so he could kiss her as he'd been dreaming for six long months. 

Ralph ran in circles around them barking as the seagull swooped in and reclaimed the empty box, but Jake and Jenny ignored them both. They were too busy claiming what mattered most - the love they were destined to share forever here on Summer Shores.

The End


  1. Such a wonderful ending! Thanks, Cate, for giving us the perfect happily ever after! :)

    1. Thanks, Debby. I've never had to end one of these before. The pressure is intense! ;)

  2. Oh, I laughed and had to go back and read twice about that pesky seagull. Great ending. Good job. You are a storyteller.

    1. I knew the minute Jolene had Ralph chase the seagull that he had to figure into the ending.

      Thanks, Pamela.

  3. Great story, Ladies!!! I've enjoyed tuning in each day. :)

    1. Thanks, Katy. These are always such a fun switch from whatever book we're writing. The drawback was I had to keep checking to make sure I had Jake and Jenny and wasn't calling them Kane and Hannah (my current WIP H/H).

  4. Great ending! Nice touch with the seagull, too.

    1. Thanks, Christina. I really enjoyed your chapter too.

  5. Ah, what a sweet ending. Good job.

    1. Thanks, Terri. This is always so much fun. Stressful...but fun.

  6. Love this ending. Tried to post earlier but it wouldn’t go through. Smart seagull and smart Ralph!!!

    1. Thanks, Lenora.
      You gave us a fun start to work from!

  7. Love love this ending. On the beach with Ralph and that dang seagull that is always causes problems, but they got it right. Great ending.

    1. Thanks, Jolene. Always fun to work with you.


Popular Posts

Write for Love Inspired Romance?

Write for Love Inspired Romance?
If you do and would like to join this blog, please contact either Margaret Daley or Pamela Tracy

Total Pageviews

Blog Archive