From her diary: You wouldn’t think twenty hours could make a difference. I woke this morning in my room without Alex and I felt completely alone and hurt. Somehow this house has made me feel loved today. It’s cold and windy where as yesterday the sun was out and it was warm. I needed a sweater this morning when I went out early to the bluff.
The room down the hall is ready for whoever is coming today. I haven’t been in there, haven’t wanted to let go of Alex for a moment. I’m almost hoping he won’t come, it’s already mid-day. Maybe this House has taken pity on me, but I think not. I’m going to have a look in the room down the hall now.
It’s certainly different and yet I think of the same era. It’s old fashioned looking and done in shades of blues, heavy sturdy looking furniture, a soft faded quilt on the bed. I can’t imagine…the scent is different much different from Alex’s, his was all grass and rain, this is I don’t know fresh air, a cool scent, blue.
I hear something I’m going out and see what it is, definitely not a car.
The House of Four Seasons
He came in from the sea; circling the house once and waving his wings in case she was watching, but he didn’t see anybody. He continued on past the tables and the wheat field looking for the flat strip of road he knew was there. Now to bring her in nice and slow, softly he touched down and rolled to a stop.
Hallie saw the plane as it flew over the house and ran from her balcony down the stairs and out of the front door. She ran up the road toward the stables and stopped, watching it circle once and come down from the sky almost like a leaf settling she thought. It landed some ways up the road from the stables and she walked quickly up the road to see who it was.
He removed his goggles and tossed them in the seat, climbed out of the yellow plane and unzipped his jacket, certainly warmer down here. He saw her then walking up the road where he’d landed, jeans and an outsized sweater wrapped around her, blond hair blowing in the wind, and he smiled; that would be Hallie Madison.
She stopped a little ways from the odd looking little plane and shaded her eyes, she had no idea who he was, he appeared to be wearing a uniform, chestnut hair windblown in his eyes.
“Hi there, you must be Hallie.” He called to her and began walking toward her.
“Yes I am, I’m afraid I don’t know you.”
“Lachlan Currie, at your service.” He made a little bow and came up with a warm smile that lit up his eyes.
“Nice to meet you,” she offered her hand and he took it awkwardly and kissed the back of it. He was younger than Alex she thought, probably not much older than she was.
“You too. Sorry I’m late; the winds are pretty strong today I had to alter course a little.”
Hallie looked at the plane, “It hardly looks big enough to fly in.”
“Yeah but she does, she’s a beauty.”
“It’s female huh?” she smiled.
“Oh yeah, never a doubt, I’ll take you flying when the wind dies down a bit.”
He was an Aussie like Andy was; she recognized the accent. “Oh you will, I don’t have anything to say about that?”
“No.” A simple answer. “You’ll like it Hallie, you can become addicted to it.”
“Yeah, I think I am.”
“Are you in the Australian Air Force?”
“Air Corps, I am a flyer.”
He kept looking at her with the bluest eyes; she felt a little uncomfortable for some reason and stuck her hands in her pockets, “Would you like to go to the house, it’s about time for a meal.”
“Yes I would, I’m about ready for tucker.”
“Food,” he smiled and fell into step beside her. “Sorry, I do know how to speak.”
“I like your accent.”
He glanced at her quickly, “Ta.”
Lunch was on the terrace and Hallie grinned when she saw what was on for today, Hamburgers and fries. That was something she’d missed since coming here. For some reason the house liked balanced meals, then she thought, it might have been for Maximus and Alex.
“I saw the beach down there when I flew over, have you been down?”
“Yeah, spent a lot of time down there this summer, there and the pool.” She couldn’t think about summer and swallow. She reached for her glass of tea.
“Hope it will stay warm for awhile.”
“Me too, it cooled down today, funny two days ago we were in the pool.” She had to stop this.
Lachlan noticed her expression changed and thought he might know why, he quietly finished his meal.
“Have you been here before?” she asked.
“No, I haven’t. I read up on it and thought it sounded good. Looked good from the air.”
“I’ll have to show you around.” She pushed her plate away.
Hallie smiled, “Okay…walkabout I like that.”
“I’ll have you speaking the language,” he smiled and leaned back in his chair.
“Depends on how good a teacher you are.” Hallie stood up.
“Oh I can teach,” he nearly tipped his chair back to far and sat up a little embarrassed, “Walkabout.”
“Which direction?” she asked.
“I saw what looked like a pond, how about that?”
Hallie bit her lip, “Sure, the pond it is.”
Lachlan was interested in everything, looking into the little equipment building where he found outdoor playthings for all seasons, poking into the boat house. They sat on the bench for awhile and he skipped rocks across the pond.
Hallie kept looking at the gazebo, had it only been two days, two days ago she was married.
“What is it Hallie?” Lachlan asked.
“Good ones I hope.”
“Yeah, the best. I may as well tell you, I’m married, two days ago to Alex Ross.” She glanced at him and back at the pond.
“I know,” he said quietly. He also knew he was going to have to follow suit, somehow.
“That’s always my luck you know, all the women I care about are married.”
“It’s different here.”
“Is it?” he looked at her a moment. “I’m not so sure. You fall in love…get married, but it takes two.”
“Easier for you maybe, you only have to do it once.”
“Don’t think I don’t know that, but it also puts me in an awkward position, I’m coming in after Alex and he’s already won your heart, I have to do the same, Hallie and it’s not going to be easy for either of us.”
“Why does it have to be that way, why not just give me a ring and say we’re married?”
“I can’t…we have to love each other and right now we don’t,” he met her eyes, “but I think it might be possible.”
He held her eyes until she looked away, it was hard for her to think about loving somebody else. Alex’s warmth had barely left her, it was way too soon. She reached down and picked up a rock and tried to skip it across the pond and it went plunk.
“Here, let me show you, hold it like this, it’s all in the wrist.” Lachlan’s pebble went skipping across the pond. Hallie picked up another and he touched her wrist adjusting her hand slightly, “now try.”
She laughed, at least it skipped three times. “Hey I could get into this,” she picked up another and tried it…plunk, “or not.” She smiled. The moment was passed and they were out of the seriousness that had claimed them a minute ago. “You know I used to have a rock collection, it lived in a shoebox in the bottom of my closet.”
“Any special ones?”
“Odd shaped rocks that I could identify, like the egg rock, step rock, you know silly stuff.”
“You know I did too, I was always looking for rocks, I liked the ones with sparkly veins. Mum wouldn’t let me bring them in the house so I had them lined up on a shelf in the barn.”
“You lived on a farm?”
“It wasn’t really a farm but we had a barn.”
“You were growing up a half a world away collecting rocks the same time I was. How old are you Lachlan?”
“Twenty-seven, a couple of years ahead of you, but not growing up the same time if you think about the time period.”
“I don’t know what that is because I haven’t seen the movie, what’s the name of it anyway?”
“You are behind aren’t you, it’s called For The Moment and it’s set back during WWII. I was trying to get my wings in Canada.”
“Oh so you hadn’t actually been in the war yet?”
“No, but at the end I get my wings and then…who knows hopefully I survive.”
“I hope you do too,” she looked at him a moment and back at her feet brushing them through the grass under the bench. “What’s it about, your movie?”
“You should watch it and find out.” He cocked his head
“Maybe I will.”
BACK HOME NEXT