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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short love story about a woman leaving her boyfriend for a job abroad.


David and his son Tommy looked out past the old derelict peer at a small two-person boat heading for the harbour.

“Is that Uncle Phil’s boat dad?” Tommy asked.

“I think son, he’d have been over to the hidden beach in search of memories.” David said.

“Memories - don’t they come from your head?”

“Sometimes people visit places that remind them of someone or something.” David said looking out across the sea.


Lucy saw the advert in a magazine. A week later a letter arrived. Phil thought it strange that the advert required a photo be sent when applying.  Two weeks after posting the application she was offered the position.  The money would help Phil’s fishing operation and gain needed experience not available within the small fishing village.

Scared and exited by the prospect of working in a different country, it was her first time traveling alone, she hadn’t ventured further than Bristol let alone a foreign land. Emotions bubbled to tipping point right up to the day she left to work as a nanny for a rich bloke called Francis Hathaway at his Spanish Villa. The pay was almost double that of any work available in the village and they’d promised each other they’d write daily. The day of her parting, not a kiss or a hug was offered, his pleadings for her to stay went unheard. He’d left it too late.  Logic no longer played a part, he couldn’t let her go. Wouldn’t. It wasn’t happening, not now, never. His ego packed her bags for her, she left with tears of sadness and a determination to carry out their—her plans.

Lucy only replied to his first letter. Texts went unread, message box on her mobile full. He wrote to her every day looking for an explanation but never received a reply. Conceding the burning flame of love now only burnt in his own aching heart. His feelings for her hadn’t changed. If anything they’d grown stronger in her absence. His memories of them discovering a hidden sandy cove was like it’d happened yesterday.

The cove was accessible by boat and only viewable from the end of the peer. Which was now not an option? The latest storm had unleashed its anger on the peer sending fruit machines into the sea, leaving it unstable and fenced.  

Thoughts of his childhood sweetheart abandoning him. Shutting him out, rang true after he’d called Francis Hathaway. Mr Hathaway told him in no uncertain terms that she wished no further contact and would stay with him for the foreseeable future.

Feeling broken and as splintered as the peer they once stood on together. He looked at the silver heart pendant. A piece with two half’s that when joined read words of love and togetherness. He wondered whether Lucy still wore hers or whether she’d thrown it away along with the countless dreams and goals they’d conjured up together on the peer.

Hours spent leaning over the edge, wind blowing through their hair, captain and mate of a large vessel on a mysterious voyage haunted his mind.  Two entwined minds, in tune with one another’s emotions, he always knew what she would say before her thoughts transpired into crude word vibrations. Her eyes said it all. She was a beautiful person. Average in looks, short brown hair, round butter like face bearing a mole on her left cheek. She stood six inch smaller than he at five foot six. She’d always call him handsome, but he knew different. Thin as a rake, standing six foot with a scarecrow homemade haircut.

Mr Hathaway was fifty with white hair and baby blue eyes. His wife had died after they emigrated. He’d told Lucy she reminded him of her in every way.

“Ah Lucy, are the children settled?”

“Yes Mr Hathaway,” she said. “Any mail for me today?”

“Nothing here for you.” His eyes flicked between her and the desk.

That boys not taking my Lucy away.

She heard his bedroom door close, Lucy crept into his study and opened the desk draw. He hadn’t even gone to the trouble to conceal the mountain of opened letters addressed to her. Next to them were the ones she’d given to him to post. Lucy felt her cheeks burn as she clenched her fists. 

Any guilt she felt for leaving the children without a nanny was overshadowed by the anger she felt for Mr Hathaway. Having lost her phone, that morning Lucy caught the only flight available at such short notice. A wrenching urge to explain her lack of contact, and that all along she’d thought it was Phil breaking up with her, felt like a knife to the heart.

As if the airline understood her desperation, the flight from boarding to departure was quick and without delays. 

Phil sat on his boat looking up to the night sky. He couldn’t find the star they’d named freedom, he wondered whether Lucy saw a clearer sky, one without dirty yellow and black clouds. He listened to a distant rumble and waited for a flash of lightning that never followed. Stepping out the boat he zipped himself up in his waterproofs and walked towards the peer.

“Time to move on.” he said throwing a shell across the sand.

The building to the front of the peer used to house an array of game machines. A crane had lifted its battered remains a week after the storm. A sign saying access denied, demolition in progress stood in its place. Phil squeezed through a gap in the mess fence.

The peer had an eerie feel about it. The old style lady bird ride the only thing remaining. It was never much to look at, now a battered, contorted pile of yellow and faded red. The upside-down lady bird car wore a sad face. Tempted to turn it the right way up just to see it smile again ended as he slipped on wet planks.  Instead he walked along the slimy seaweed filled platform determined to look out once more than he had with Lucy.

With only hand luggage to carry, Lucy left the airport. Hypnotised by the rising fare on the driver’s dashboard she was nearing the village. A recognisable face. Phil’s brother walking with little Tommy. Lucy asked the driver to stop.

“David!” She called.

David looked in her direction. “Lucy, is that you?” he smiled, “I didn’t think you were ever coming back.”

“Have you seen Phil?”

“Just seen him on his boat,” David said pulling up his rain hood. “Better get yourself inside there’s a storm a bruin.”

Lucy thanked him, paid the driver and hurried off down the road. David was still in full conversation, his words trailed into insignificance as she ran. She had to make amends with Phil before enjoying any pleasantries.

Phil stood at the end of the peer, a small heart shaped pendant looped his finger. The wind hammered his back, pushing him up against the fence. With legs spread, stabilising himself, he held out the pendant and watched as it fell between his fingers. He peered over the rickety wood barrier. The chain hung, snagged on a nail. Regretting breaking the promise to ware it forever.  Not ready to let go, he bent forward to reach it. The fence along with his breath, gave way. He fell, the sea pulling him down beneath what felt like liquid ice.  

“Phil where are you?” Lucy looked around the boat. “Phil!” she shouted.

The wind roared. Anything that wasn’t fixed down moved or flew towards the sea. Wind battered waves broke before having chance to reach the shore.

“Phil!” she shouted.

It was no use he wasn’t anywhere in sight. Lucy spent the next hour looking for him. He wasn’t home. He wasn’t at any of the usual places they frequented. Her final stop was his brother David Anderson who insisted she stayed. Lucy spent that night sitting on the sofa, waiting for the storm to pass.

Lucy left with David at first light. Little Tommy held out his new metal detector with pride.

“Dad says it’s best to find stuff after a storm.” Tommy said exited at the prospect of finding gold.

Lucy looked at him with concern. “We’re looking for uncle—”

“It’s Ok Tommy you can look for gold whilst I show Lucy around the harbour,” David said with a wink. 

The peer was all but gone. Pieces of wood and a ladybird fun car laid on the sand. Lucy couldn’t believe her eyes as she looked down the beach towards the sea. The ladybird car looked back. A painted smile across its plastic face reminded her of childhood memories.

Tommy shouted from the beach, “Dad look—I’ve found treasure!” He held in his hand a silver pendant.

Lucy ran to him, pulled her own from between her breasts and linked them, “My god it’s Phil’s,” she cried.

“Has he fallen out of love with you? Dad says people throw things in the sea if they fall out with someone, and sometimes they go to the hidden beach in search of memories.” Tommy said, looking at his farther for conformation.

Lucy grabbed David’s arm. “We need to go?”

“Where Lucy?” David said placing his hand on hers, panic and remorse heightening the pitch of his voice.

“To the hidden beach. Now… please.”

Her pleading unnerved David as he nodded in agreement.

The sea lapped lazy and calm after the storm. Hope rose every time the sun waved warmth from between clouds.

“He won’t be there I tell you.” David said docking the boat. “How do you think he would have got here without his boat?”

Tommy sat on top of David’s shoulders as he waded through the water. Lucy pushed her way through in a half swim half walk motion until she stood on the flat golden sand. Surrounded by large rocks, a rim of green overhung the jagged grey white cliff face. Lucy scanned the tiny beach. A torn raincoat, snagged on a rock. A shoe laying beneath it.

Lucy ran to the abandoned shoe, “Phil!” she shouted.

Phil’s limp body lay half under the rocks. His lips blue, his skin a sick pale.

“Go find me gold Tommy,” David said pointing in the opposite direction to the sound of Lucy’s cry for help.


David knelt aside his brother’s lifeless battered body listening for breath. Felt for a pulse, pushed at his chest, slapped his face, kissed his head, trying to force life back to his still body. Lucy knelt and kissed his blue lips.

Phil gasped. He was alive.

Tommy came running up to them, “Dad whys Uncle Phil sleeping?”

“He’s tiered after looking for treasure,” David said.

The sound of the Air Ambulance helicopter thrilled Tommy.

Phil looked up at Lucy. “Have I died?”

Lucy reached into her pocket and moved her face closer to his, joining both halves of the heart pendant together. “No baby you’re not dead.”

Bewildered, he uttered, “You’re back.”

“Always and forever,” Lucy said pointing to the words on the pendant.

Submitted: July 20, 2017

© Copyright 2020 S P Rowell. All rights reserved.

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