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The Inn at Heron's Bay

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Chapter 1


May 15th

I love this time of morning, before the sun had a chance to wake from its bed in the sea. There are no the hectic calls to deal with, no breakfast rush. This was ‘me’ time. All I could hear was the sound of the waves gently caressing the sand then retreating back to the sea. Down to the sea and back. Down to the sea and back. All the sacrifice, the work converting this old lighthouse was worth it for this solitary moment.

    The swirls of steam rise from my coffee as I walk out onto the deck, my feet crunching the sand that had blown up from the beach. I nestle into one of the deeply padded chairs. The aroma of sea air mixed with the fresh pine scent of the maritime forest, damp with the morning dew, captures my attention and centers my thoughts. I love the sea. I could wrap myself in its arms. It is what lulls me to sleep at night; washing away the cares of the day. It is the symphony that greets me each morning. This is the moment, when the first thread of sun stitches its color onto the fabric of the day and plays with the waves.

    “Mind if I join you Elizabeth?” Phoebe says walking out of the door wall with her own cup of coffee. My moment of solitude vaporizes like the ethereal properties of a dream.

    “No, just enjoying the morning quiet for a moment longer.”

    The scent of cinnamon filters out the door wall following my cook and friend. The aroma of fresh baked bread draws upon my memory. My mother used to bake bread in the morning.

    “So what’s on the docket for today?”

    “The Smith’s arrive later. I think I told you about them and don't forget that Helen and Jerry are leaving today.”

    “Yes, I’ll get their room turned around before lunch. Where are you putting the Smith’s?” Phoebe asks.

    “I have them in the Moonrise Room in the corner. I think they will appreciate the added comfort. That’s my favorite room. Did I ever tell you that was my room as a child? In the evening I would open the bedroom window and let the sea air wash over me, the waves gently rock me to dreamland. Spending my summers here was a gift. I can still smell my Aunt’s rose scented toilet water, as she called it, and the chocolate chip cookies she always made.”

    “Back then the sea turtles frightened me. They were almost as big as I was and outweighed me by quite a bit. I was afraid to go in the water for a swim, fearful they would bite my leg or swallow me whole. Aunt Kenna would laugh and tell me they were more afraid of me than I was of them. Somehow I never believed her. Over the summers, I grew to love the turtles and I loved watching them hatch. Aunt Kenna and I would wake up early in the morning before sunrise during hatching season just so we could watch the baby turtles scamper to the sea. It was comedy in action.”

    “Elizabeth?” The sharp voice from inside the dining room jolts me back to reality.

    “Good morning John. You’re here early today.”

    “We have to talk.”

    Here it comes, another lecture on paying my bills. “I know, I’m a bit behind in paying you.”

    “You’re more than a little behind. I have mouths to feed you know. If you can’t pay me, I will start finding other jobs.”

    “Please John, be patient. I have some guests coming today and with the new room you are finishing that will bring to six the number of available rooms. That is my breakeven point. Though I would like to eventually be at ten, maybe by the end of summer?” That last part was more hopeful than a question.

    “What if I agree to pay interest on the outstanding money I owe you, say six percent. I can pay you six thousand per month until the debt is paid off. What do you say? Phoebe has some breakfast waiting for you.” Maybe I can tempt him with sustenance.

    “All right, but I better be getting some money soon or I’m not finishing another room conversion. These ensuite bathrooms don’t come cheap you know.”

    “Thank you. And I will have some money for you tomorrow.” 

    As John walks inside I nod to Phoebe with my head pointing towards the door. She understands my meaning and follows John in order to get him some breakfast. Now I have a few more moments of solitude before I return to the real world.