Intermission by Pauline
This originally started out as an entry for the ‘Cobra Crane’ picture contest, but never quite made it.
Lee turned towards the window at the unexpected sound of thunder. Although there had been heavy showers off and on over the past couple of hours, there had been no storms forecast for the area. Another roll of thunder followed close on the heels of the first.
The sky was darkening and he switched on the desk lamp. It was raining steadily now and the wind was picking up. Closing down the computer, Lee got up from his desk and moved to the comfortable armchair, stretching his long legs out in front of him. For a few minutes he sat watching the bushes and trees outside bowing to the wind. Thunder rattled the windows and rain poured out of the sky. He had considered having sliding glass doors installed to give a view out over the plateau.
He’d lived in the converted lighthouse for almost a year now and he remembered when he’d first heard that it was for sale;
He had just returned from a visit home, something he should probably make an effort to do more often. His mother never complained, she understood his job took him away a lot, but he knew that she worried about him. He was all that she had since his father had died when he was a teenager. It didn’t help that they lived so far apart, with him on the west coast and her on the east.
He had literally stepped out of the shower when he’d received a call from the real estate agent about a disused lighthouse that had just come on the market. He couldn’t wait, he had to see it. He’d hastily dressed in black jeans and a white shirt and dashed out of the guest apartment where he had been temporarily staying, his shirt hanging loose and his cuffs unbuttoned. He hadn’t even bothered with shoes, but had driven barefoot to the remote location to meet with the agent. He couldn’t quite believe that a lighthouse had come on the market now, when he was looking for a property. It was fate and obviously meant to be. And to think that he’d almost bought a place in New England.
He still felt guilty about Elizabeth, a parapsychologist that he’d met while in New England looking for a property. They had shared passionate days and nights together, and then he had walked away. He tried to tell himself that he had been the victim of Captain Pantera’s insatiable sexual appetite. He’d surrendered to his desires eagerly, like an adolescent kid. Willing to go along with whatever Elizabeth had offered without though of any consequences. That wasn’t something that he was in the habit if doing and he didn’t like himself very much.
There was no sign of Lydia Norbury when he arrived and he pulled off the road to wait. As usual, he had the top down on the red sports car. The breeze from the ocean was cool for the time of year in spite of the bright sunshine. It ruffled his hair, reminding him that he needed to get it cut before Seaview sailed again. He smiled to himself, the Admiral would have something to say if he reported for duty with his present longer hair style, but his mother liked it. The sound of a car engine signalled the arrival of the real estate agent and he climbed out of the car, the dry dirt beneath his feet reminding him that he had neglected to put on shoes in his haste to see the lighthouse. What would Chip have said about that?
“You weren’t kidding when you said it was remote,” he smiled.
Lydia frowned. “Is that a problem?”
He shook his head. “Not at all.”
He followed here up the path to the door and waited while she opened it. The interior of the house was beautiful. She led him into the living room, the floor was gleaming polished wood and the walls were finished in a pale matt terracotta acrylic. Sliding doors opened onto a deck with ocean views. She stood watching him as he surveyed the room. He was very quiet and she wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad thing.
She smiled. “You haven’t seen the rest of it yet. Let’s move on to the dining room and kitchen.” The dining area and kitchen created an open space with more views of the sea.
He walked around the kitchen, touching the worktop and stopping to look out at the view before moving to the dining room, finally he stopped and turned. “I’d like to make an offer.”
Lydia gasped, taken by surprise. “Just like that? You haven’t seen the rest of it yet.”
He smiled. “I don’t have to, I want it.”
“Okay, but you may as well see the rest of it, and then if you’d, err,” she glanced at his feet. “Like to go home and finish dressing,” she joked. “We can meet back at the office and discuss it.”
He glanced down at his feet and blushed. “Shoes might be a good idea, I kind of left in a rush,” he grinned sheepishly.
Lee finally returned to his apartment, it had been a busy day. He had offered the full asking price for the lighthouse and hoped that no-one else made a better offer. Seaview was due to sail in forty eight hours and he wanted an answer before then. That was of course if he would be going along, he still had to see Jamie and get him to clear him for duty following his shoulder injury. However, he wasn’t going to let that spoil his good mood.
First thing tomorrow he would speak to the institute’s legal department and ask them to handle things on his behalf while he was away. They could contact him if there were any problems, but he really hoped that there wouldn’t be; he really wanted the lighthouse.
The sale had gone through and he had settled into his new home. It had taken time to for fill all the plans that he’d had for the place when he had first moved in, but now the work had been completed. Even down to the patio at the back of the house that his mother had insisted on.
The thunder was already fading to a distant rumble and the dark clouds were slowly giving way to an edging of brighter sky that was creeping across the sea towards land. The sun was trying to break through the clouds, catching the droplets of water on the leaves, they hung suspended like jewels. Silence had once more descended over the lighthouse. Lee settled deeper into the upholstery and watched the sky lighten as the threatening grey clouds turned to yellow and broke up. Patches of blue sky appeared with fluffy white clouds taking the place of the menacing grey.
Lee sighed in contentment. It had taken a lot of hard work and determination to get to this point, but now his life was perfect. He was finally where he felt he belonged. He had command of the most powerful submarine in the world, friends that he would trust with his life and although neither one of them would right out admit it, he and Nelson were as close as father and son. Nelson had filled the gap in Lee’s life left after his father had died. Nelson had been Lee’s mentor for a long time and even though the relationship sometimes complicated things, Lee was grateful for the opportunities that Nelson had given him; not least of all, captaining Seaview.
As sunlight flooded into the room, Lee decided that now would be a good time for a walk on the beach. He’d been sitting in front of the computer for too long. Getting up, he switched off the desk lamp and headed out. The sea was calling to him...