SS 40


Summer is nearly over and it’s been bittersweet for both Elliott and me. Because it will be the last summer we get to spend at the Pinewood Motel where we’ve lived for more than a decade. We’re relocating to the other side of the island to a smaller home in a nice neighborhood near the school. The motel has breathtaking views and lots of fun outside activities but it’s also isolated. Elliott is starting sixth grade in the fall and I have high hopes that he will make a friend or two. He’s always been a bit of a loner, and sometimes I worry about him. He keeps to himself mostly…reading books about anything to do with ocean. He also spends many hours skipping stones and fishing. Sometimes he stays so lost in his own head out there that I have to remind him to eat…it’s hard to drag him away from the water’s edge…

I so wish Elliott could’ve met the rest of his family. I heard from my mother that Hannah had passed away about five years ago. Then last year, the letters stopped coming. I assumed the worst had happened. I called the police and begged them to check in on her and when they did, they said the estate was vacant. Almost as if my mother had disappeared into thin air…which wouldn’t surprise me if it were the truth. She’d finally told me all of her secrets over the years. The deed to Remington Estate came in the mail a few days after I spoke to the police. I wanted nothing to do with it. I sent instructions back to the lawyer to burn the place to the ground. Maybe my mother and the evil inside of that house would finally find peace…

One day I think I’ll tell Elliott everything I know about our family’s past…but not anytime soon. I want him to stay a kid for a long as possible because time flies. I’ll blink and he’ll be all grown up with a family of his own. I’ve been blessed to have such a great kid. I know that any parent will say their kid is special, but there is something extraordinary about Elliott. I just know that he’ll go on to do great things and see things I’ve only ever dreamed about. And when all is said and done, he’ll have one hell of a story to tell…

The End.


SS 39


On the flight back to New Mist, I came to a decision. I’d go to Hylewood and raise our child there…even if Jonah couldn’t be with us. He would’ve wanted that, I’m sure. After I got off the plane, I went straight to my parents’ townhouse and packed as much as I could into a small suitcase…including the contents of their safe. Then I went to Nerissa’s shop and told her I’d no longer be coming in. She was very understanding. But then she asked me if I believed in fate and when I told her I did, she gave me a toothy smile and said, “I do, too. I’m sure we’ll meet again…someday.” I nodded politely and waved goodbye. As I was walking out the door, she started to hum a tune. It reminded me of something I’d heard before…but I couldn’t remember what. Shaking my head to snap out of it, I took off in a jog towards Hannah’s house. The lights were off and her car was gone. I frowned and sighed. I was hoping to be back on another flight that night but I wanted to tell Hannah goodbye first. Maybe I could just call her later. There was one last place to go…my mother’s house.

My jaw dropped when I saw Hannah sitting on the porch next to my mother. She waved at me with a sad smile on her face. “Stay on the sidewalk, dear. I’ll come to you.” Mama said pointing her finger at my feet. “Not a step closer.” When she reached me, we hugged each other awkwardly and then she put her hands on my belly. “I guess you already know about Jonah.” She nodded and tears welled in my eyes. “I’m so sorry, Melinda. I can only imagine your pain.” She rubbed my shoulders gently. Hannah walked over to us. “I went by your house. This was the last place I expected to find you.” I told her. “My son is gone and my best friend is in this big house all alone…because of me.” She shifted her eyes to my mother. “It’s only right that I came back to her. We’ll grow old together now.” An odd look passed between them. I felt like there was something they were keeping from me but I didn’t want to push. “Mama…Hannah. I’m going to Hylewood tonight. I came here to say goodbye.” I looked down at my feet and waited for them to talk me out of it. “There’s nothing here for you anyway, sweetheart. Nothing but anger and pain. You should go. Give that baby a happy life.” Mama murmured, surprising me. Hannah nodded her head in agreement. “But you have to write every week. And send us pictures.” She added. “I can do that. I’ll miss you both so much.” I hugged them tightly. “Not as much as we’ll miss you.” Mama whispered in my ear. I climbed into the taxi that would take me back to the airport and waved goodbye. It was the last time I saw them.


SS 38


The next morning, I woke up in bed alone. Jonah must’ve moved me sometime during the night. I changed back into my swimsuit and went outside to find Jonah taking the boat out again. “It’s a great day for fishing, Mel! I’m going to catch us some lunch.” He called to me. “Are you sure you want to go back out there? Especially after the weird things that you heard yesterday?” I shouted back. He chuckled from the boat. “I’m sure it was just too much sun. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine, babe!” But he wasn’t fine. And I did worry…because he didn’t come back that day. Or the day after. His boat was found in pieces merely miles away from shore about a week later. It was monsoon season and the Coast Guard was sure he’d gone down in a rogue wave. I’m not sure what happened out there but I knew deep down that he was gone…still I waited. Yet another week passed and the grief eventually set in. I called Hannah and had a long tearful conversation with her. She told me that she knew something bad had happened…a mother always knows. She’d lost her son, I’d lost the love of my life, and my child would grow up without a father. There was nothing I could do but go back home…

SS 37


White sands, warm beaches, salty breezes! It was island paradise! We were staying in a small but cozy cabin right on the water and we even rented a boat. Jonah took that boat out the first evening we were there and when he finally came back…he was a little shook up. “Is everything okay, Jonah?” I asked him when he waddled back to the shoreline. He shook his head. “I heard a woman out there…she was singing. I tried to follow the voice but I almost crashed into some rocks. It was the weirdest thing.” I patted his shoulder and kissed him on the cheek. “At least you came back to me in one piece.” I teased him then splashed water into his face. “Nothing could keep me away from you.” He grinned and splashed me back. Then he picked me up and carried me to the porch where we snuggled into a lawn chair together to watch the sunset. We talked about how we were going to move to Hylewood after we got back home from our honeymoon. And eventually we would reopen his family’s motel. We would live there all year around and raise our child there amongst the pine trees and autumn leaves. Then we discussed baby names…Elaine, after my mother, if it was a girl and Elliott if it was a boy. I felt warm and safe nestled in his arms and eventually I fell asleep. It was the perfect day.



SS 36


We were planning for a long engagement but I soon found out that I was eating for two. Jonah was ecstatic when I told him the good news. Because of our little surprise on the way, we immediately put a rush on the wedding and were married just a few days later. It was an intimate ceremony with only Hannah and a public notary present. I had a small moment of guilt right before I said my vows…I knew my mother would be appalled at how quickly I was getting into everything. But so many good things were happening and I didn’t want them to stop! After I exchanged rings with Jonah and the notary announced us as man and wife, Hannah began sobbing. “I’m so glad I could be here on your happy day!” She cried putting her arms around both of us. “It’s just a shame your father couldn’t be here.” She smiled sadly at Jonah. “And your parents too, course.” She added. “Elaine would be so proud of you.” Hannah beamed at me. I’d recently learned that she’d been good friends with my mom. It’s a small world after all. I beamed at my new mother in law and hoped she was right. Later on, as we were eating cake, Hannah slid a small envelope across the table to me. “What’s this?” She giggled and told me to open it. “It’s your wedding gift from me.” I watched as Jonah grinned knowingly at his mother as I opened it. Inside were two plane tickets. My mouth opened in shock and I jerked my head up to gape at them. “The Bahamas! We’re going to the Bahamas for our honeymoon!”

SS 35


The following morning, Jonah kissed me awake. “Good morning, my love.” My eyes fluttered open and I smiled. “Good morning.” He ran his fingers through my hair, then his smile vanished and he looked very serious. “Melinda, there’s something I need to ask you.” I sat up and wiped the sleep from my eyes as he pulled me closer to the edge of the bed. He got down on his knees and held my hands in his. He looked very nervous and it was making me nervous in return. “Is everything all right?” I asked anxiously. “I was going to do this at dinner tonight…but I couldn’t wait any longer.” He opened his hand and sitting on his palm was a small diamond ring. I gasped then covered my mouth with my hand. “Oh Jonah. It’s beautiful.” I whispered. “It was my grandmother’s. And I want you to have it.” I looked up from the ring and into his eyes. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” I asked. He nodded uncertainly. “Will you marry me?” When I didn’t answer, he tugged me into his lap and kissed me on the forehead. “You’re serious?” I finally blurted out. I believe I was in shock. “Dead serious. I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love you. And I want you to be my wife.” I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him tightly. “I can’t believe this is happening.” I said excitedly as I kissed him. “So…is that a yes?” He chuckled. “Yes!”

SS 34


In the following weeks after my first date with Jonah, we fell madly and deeply in love. We spent every possible minute we could together. We just couldn’t get enough of each other. We were having a picnic on one particular sunny day and in between kisses and lots cuddling, we discussed our future. He told me how his mother owned a motel on an island called Hylewood and that after he was married, he would inherit it. He leaned his head against mine and described the island in detail. “I haven’t been in years but we used to go on vacation there every summer. It’s always looks like autumn. The trees are a mixture of red, orange, and yellow. And there is a nearby waterfall that would soothe me to sleep every night.” He sounded very fond of the place. “I do hope you’ll take me there one day.” I whispered softly. “I would love to.” He kissed me on top of the head. We changed positions so I could look up at the clouds. Out of curiosity, I asked Jonah why people around town referred to him and his mother as the Jones. “Waters is my mother’s maiden name. She’s never explained the whole story to me but after my father went missing, she changed her name back. And when I was born, it was the name I was given. I’ll never know why she does some of the things she does…she’s a bit of an odd duck if you haven’t noticed.” He laughed and pulled me closer. “Your family isn’t the only one with it’s oddities.” I smiled up at him. “But you know what? Melinda Waters sure does has a nice ring to it…doesn’t it?” I teased, kissing him once more. A huge grin broke out across his face. “You’re right. It does.”

SS 33


Dear Mama,
I don’t know if you’ll ever receive this letter but I have high hopes that you do. I just wanted to let you know that I do believe I’m going to be okay. I never really understood all the secrets you kept from me over the years. About the house. My dad. The maid even. Or why we weren’t allowed to leave the grounds. I’m sorry I went to the beach without telling you…I’ve been able to walk over there since I was about thirteen. Before then, it was like an invisible wall that couldn’t be passed through. I didn’t tell you because I thought you’d force me to stop going. And I forgive you for kicking me out. I know you had your reasons. But Mama, I miss you so much it hurts. So many things have happened and I wish I could talk to you about them. I found a job at a little shop down the road. The store owner seemed to know you. She’s an odd woman named Nerissa. Do you remember her? Also I had my first date last night with a man named Jonah. We went to a pool hall and played foosball. He introduced to a wonderful song titled “All You Need Is Love” by a band called The Beatles and we danced until our legs grew tired. He’s so charming and kind and attractive. He’s just like a prince from one of the fairytales you used to read me. I’m very taken with him. I wish you could meet him.
Love, Melinda


SS 32


I spent the next morning getting acquainted with my new surroundings. I was walking by a small store when I noticed a “Now Hiring” sign on the sidewalk. “Just my luck!” I thought to myself. I went inside and spoke with the store owner. “What kind of stuff do you sell here anyways?” I asked the the lady, whose name was Nerissa. “Herbal remedies. Lotions. Oils. Candles.” She gazed intently at me. “Hmm. You look familiar to me. What’s your name?” She asked. “Melinda Crosby, miss.” She gave me a toothy grin. “Ahh. How is your mother?” I frowned. “She’s alright, I suppose…how do you know her?” She pulled more glass vials from a box and placed them on the counter. “I guess you could say we have history.” She shrugged. “Enough small talk. You came here for a job right?” I nodded energetically. She put me to work behind the cash register right away. “Impress me with your sales skills, mortal. Here comes customers now.” She motioned towards the door. It was a young man and an older woman. She kept picking things up and he’d gently take them away from her and put them back down. “Excuse my mother, she’s a bit of a compulsive shopper.” He gave me a charming smile. I blushed a deep red. “N-no problem.” He propped his elbow on the counter and leaned in closer to talk to me. “You’re new here. What’s your name?” I shyly looked down at my feet. “Melinda.” I stuttered. “That’s a pretty name. I’m Jonah.”


Blog at

Up ↑