story takes place after A Burden of Trust.
Thank you Kate for taking the time to read through and fix my
Admiral Harriman Nelson relaxed beneath the warm Scottish
sun with two fingers of Dalwhinnie scotch cupped in a glass between his
hands. The summer had brought with it a
desire to return to the Isle of Rumballiach and Isla Murray. Since he’d been there he’d swum several times
with the new breed of dolphin he and the resident naturalist had discovered a
few months earlier after finding Lee on the island.*
This trip he’d come on his own and had thoroughly enjoyed
Isla’s wonderful company. She had
stunned him when she’d pulled out her own set of scuba diving gear and taken to
the water with him like she was born in it.
Harry watched her with growing interest as she continued to amaze him
with her passion and small character quirks.
It didn’t bother him in the least that she was a few years
older than him. In fact, he found her
maturity settling in comparison to some of the younger women he’d dated over
the last few years. He almost wished
he’d asked Lee to come along, but a small part of him jealously guarded these
rare trips to see Isla. Since that
mission, Harry had tried to bring the young Captain out of his shell but he
stubbornly refused to be drawn into what he called a ‘therapy session’
“Harriman!” called Isla from the kitchen window. “Will ye come and help me shuck some oysters
for our dinner?”
He smiled and stood up.
Even after six months Isla still refused to call him ‘Harry’
and persisted with ‘Harriman’ after his best attempts to charm her into the
shortened version. She was a stubborn
woman to the point where he had started to let her have her own way on most
things. Not that he wasn’t well and
truly up to the challenge, he just didn’t want to upset the woman who was
coming to mean a whole lot more to him than just another grant beneficiary.
Isla’s cloud-gray eyes twinkled warmly as Harry stepped into
the kitchen and walked towards the workbench where she was preparing a seafood
“Mm, that looks good.
Is it all from the island?”
“Yes, the sea provides me with everything I need, as does my
greenhouse.” She handed him a shucking
knife and watched for a moment while he started the oysters. “How’s that young man of yers, Lee?”
Harry took a deep breath and sighed. “Honestly, he’s having trouble coping after
that mission. I don’t know what to
do. I’ve tried everything, but he won’t
open up.” He saw the worried look on Isla’s
face. “Oh, it’s nothing major, but
something’s changed in him, like the light’s gone out of his eyes.”
“Ye need to bring him back here for a few days. The sea air and some time alone with ye would
do the trick.”
He pursed his lips.
“I’m not so sure. I think he
needs time away, but I don’t know if being here with me is a good thing.”
“I’ll be here as well,” she said, pushing some more oysters
“No, Isla, I don’t think so,” he said in his best command
“Harriman Nelson, yer a wonderful man,” she said, blushing
ye forget what it’s like to be a young man. He needs some time here to sort out how he
feels. It was a terrible thing that
happened to him.”
Harry kept shucking oysters, pretending he hadn’t heard
Isla. Lee didn’t need mollycoddling, he
was a grown man. If his Captain wanted
to sit down and talk with him, then he would.
It was as simple as that. He’d
been onboard Seaview for almost
twelve months now, long enough to figure out what was going on and to know that
Harry was approachable.
“Ye know, he’s just a boy, still vulnerable after his
ordeal,” she said half-absently as she peeled
a prawn. “I’m sure ye think yer
approachable, Harriman, but ye are prone to ungentlemanly fits of temper at
“For God’s sake, woman, belay your nagging. He knows where my office is, and he’s old
enough to look after himself – I’m not going to bite him!” he growled,
realizing as he did, he’d played right into her hands.
Harry put the oysters down, took his gloves off and turned
to face her, not surprised when he saw a smile on her lips. “Isla, I’m sorry. Yes, you are quite right. I can be…daunting at times.” He placed his hands gently on her
shoulders. “It irks me that you’re
always right. How did you get to be so
She graced him with a soft kiss on his lips and picked
another prawn up. “I take it then yer
Captain will be visiting in the FS1 in the next day or two?”
He raised his hands in defeat and gave her a grin. “I suppose so,” he said quietly, returning to
the oysters, wise enough to know that sometimes it was better to make a
tactical retreat, even in the heat of battle.
*A Burden Shared
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