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.
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.”