Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Coming back to this, I am truly surprised I actually finished it. By the last few chapters, I'd begun to grow bored, but, for some odd reason or the other, I pressed on. In a way, I'm very glad I did, or else I wouldn't have these characters and their inspiration for other (much better) stories.
Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise...’” Arielle sang as she fixed breakfast late that morning.
Opa had survived his first five days at the lighthouse, and spent most of his time helping Cade with practically everything. The two had become fast friends, for that Arielle was relieved. She couldn’t imagine what things would be like if Opa disliked Cade.
So, after a long night of playing chess, drinking coffee, and messing around with the light, Arielle had let the boys sleep in, meaning she did the grand honors of turning off the light earlier that morning.
Arielle pulled a hot pan of biscuits out of the oven and set it atop the stove. She gave the gravy she’d put together a stir, flipped her last sausage patty, then scooped a serving of scrambled eggs on each of the three plates she’d set out on the table.
Arielle took in a deep breath of the delicious aromas that filled the kitchen as she walked out of the room and up the stairs towards Opa’s bedroom door. She knocked on the door. “Breakfast is ready,” she called, then did the same outside Cade’s door, hoping to hear him holler a reply, but she didn’t hear anything.
“Cade?” He must still be asleep, she thought, opening the door and walking to his bedside. Sure enough, Cade laid motionless under his covers, asleep. Arielle shook his shoulders. Still sound asleep. She crouched down beside him, ruffled his wavy hair, poked his arm, then pinched his nose. Either he was in an extremely deep slumber, dead, or really good at pretending to be sleeping. “Oh toll. Cade,” she whispered in his ear. He didn’t flinch. Arielle sighed as she used her fingers to hold his eyelids open. She gazed into his cinnamon eyes, expecting him to see her, then felt a tug on her arm. She looked down to find Cade’s hand gripping her wrist.
“Did you say something?” he asked, fully awake.
That stinker. He’d been awake the whole time. “Breakfast is ready, Sleeping Beauty,” she teased, pulling away from his grasp and standing.
“Why, thank you,” Cade replied with a girlish tone of voice that caused Arielle to smile.
“I do believe you’ve wasted half the day away, Your Highness. Your breakfast is quite cold now,” she told him, starting to exit the room.
“You can’t rush my beauty sleep. That’s the reason I’m so good-looking,” he teasingly said with a devilish grin and sparkle in his eye.
Arielle felt her stomach turn inside out, but tried to shake off the feeling Cade gave her. “Funny, I never noticed your ‘good looks’,” Arielle replied, hoping to sound nonchalant, and walked out of the room.
Opa sat at the table, already digging into his breakfast. He looked up at her and smiled. “Good morning, Sunshine. I hope you don’t mind me eating without you. I figured you were busy,” he said, a gleam sparkling in his blue eyes, making him seem younger than his years.
Arielle smiled back, pulling up a chair beside him. “Morning to you, too. No, I don’t mind. You did remember to say the blessing, right?" she questioned, plopping down in her chair and shoving a bite of eggs in her mouth.
“Yes. So, can I ask you a question?” Opa asked, suddenly looking at her as if he knew a special secret.
She wasn’t sure what he would want to know, but if he had a question, she’d let him ask. “Sure. Shoot.” She poured gravy over her biscuit and took a bite.
Opa leaned in beside her. “Is there something going on with you and Cade?” he whispered.
Arielle was taken back by his thought. Did he really think there was something between them? “No, of course not,” she answered, shaking off the feeling that made her doubt her answer. Is there something with us? Her thoughts turned back to the moments they’d shared, like the times they’d almost kissed. Surely that didn’t mean anything, did it?
Cade came walking out of his room at that moment, and sat in between Arielle and Opa. “What y’all talkin’ ‘bout?” he asked with an exaggerated Southern accent.
Arielle jerked her head up and hoped the red on her cheeks faded. “Oh, nothing. Enjoy your breakfast, Your Highness.” She pushed a plate of food towards him.
“I shall. Thank you,” he responded, changing his voice back to that girly tone. He gobbled up his biscuit in one bite. “Now see, Peter, it’s this delicious food that’s keepin’ Ari here,” Cade told Opa, his mouth full. That man and his manners, or rather lack of them.
“Mm. It is delicious. I can see why you haven’t kicked her out yet,” Opa replied, chewing on a piece of sausage, his lips curling up into another smile.
“That’s nice, but even if I cooked terrible, Cade wouldn’t kick me out. He just doesn’t like doing everything himself, and I was the only person that would help a stubborn old man like him,” Arielle teased, nudging Cade’s arm. “Isn’t that right?” She smiled at him sweetly, hoping to hear him say yes.
“Um, yeah. Wait, no. I’m not a stubborn old man, you silly goose,” he played, nudging her back with a return smile.
“Actually, you’re right. You’re not a stubborn old man; you’re a unhöflich, bedeuten, und verrückter junger mann. Arielle let the German slid right off her tongue, surprising both Cade and Opa.
“Say what?” Cade asked, his eyes wide with confusion.
“I said that you’re a handsome, wonderful, and awesome young man,” Arielle told him with a wink towards Opa, not wanting him to tell Cade what she’d really said.
“I don’t believe you, but I don’t think you’ll tell me what you really said,” Cade stated, scooping a bite of eggs into his mouth.
“You are very right about that, Mr. Darren.” Arielle finished up the last of her breakfast, picked up her plate, and headed to the kitchen to clean up the dirty dishes.
As she scrubbed the greasy pan she’d cooked the sausage in, Cade walked up behind and leaned into her ear. “Hmm. I’m guessing you said something not-so-nice, huh?” he whispered, his breath bathing her neck, sending chills down her spine.
Arielle took in a sharp breath and hoped Cade couldn’t see the affect he had on her. “If calling you rude, mean, and crazy is bad, then yes,” she replied with an uneasy laugh.
“Yes, I do believe that what you’d said was very bad. But I hope that one day I’ll hear you say something nice for once. Though I doubt that will ever happen.” Cade took the pan from her hands, their fingers brushing, and grabbed the towel in front of him, beginning to dry the wet dish off.
“Cade, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had. You’re encouraging, kind, and considerate. I can’t think of a sweeter young man than you. And I mean it,” Arielle told him before truly realizing all that she’d said, yet she didn’t bother regretting telling him the truth. “I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if some other man had barged into my home. And I thank God for it being you. You are an honorable man.” Arielle could feel his lips form a smile against her cheek, and she turned to face him, wrapping her arms around his neck and hugging him. “Thank you,” she whispered, leaning her head on his chest.
Cade wrapped his arms around her waist and held her so tightly, Arielle had the feeling he didn’t want to let go. He released a sigh into her hair. “I can’t imagine barging into any other woman’s home, Ari. You’re amazing, beautiful, and when you’re not teasing me, you can be very sweet.” Arielle thought he might say more, but he left it at that.
She wasn’t sure why she loved it when Cade held her as he was now, or why she loved the moments they had together. Her thoughts turned back to Opa’s question from earlier. Was there something between her and Cade? Surely not. Then why did Arielle wish there was?
Peter leaned back in the chair he’d plopped into only a moment ago, after pouring himself a cup of coffee. Arielle and Cade were outside, and Peter used the moment to his advantage. He picked up the Bible that laid on the side table and opened it to John, chapter three and began reading.
A week had past since he’d arrived at the lighthouse, and so far, everyday had been enjoyable. Life there was simple, much different than Germany.
Throughout the past few days, Peter had learned much about his granddaughter. He wanted so desperately to fix her broken heart, but he knew that was God’s job. And he had a feeling Cade felt the same way when it came to Arielle. If only things hadn't been so hard for her.
Peter continued to read the Scriptures, until he realized his mind was elsewhere. He sat the book down, and sipped his coffee.
It would be a week before he’d leave for Germany and he wanted to make the most of the next seven days.
He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a long gold chain. At the end on the chain was a gold ring. The ring had been his wife’s. A tear fell from his eye at the remembrance of his late wife. She’d died after returning to Germany from America to tell him she still loved him. Peter and Adela’s relationship had been hard, especially when Adela had taken their son, Arielle’s father and left the country. Years later, she’d returned. Peter would always remember the night he’d found her at his door, weak and sick, yet still just as beautiful as she’d always been. He had wrapped her in his arms and held her for an endless moment before she’d pulled away. Adela looked deep into his eyes, then said the three words he’d wanted to hear for so long. I love you. And he loved her, still did, always would. Peter smiled at the bittersweet memory.
Now, he had a chance to reconnect with his son, in a way. After Adela had brought his son, Peter JR. to America at the age of twelve, father and son never had a relationship. One day, after his son had settled down with his wife and had a precious little angel, Sunshine, he’d brought his family to Germany. Peter would forever cherish their unexpected visit, and the chance to see his son after fourteen years. And here Peter was, returning the visit by seeing Sunshine for his second and last time. Last.
That word stung like a knife to his heart. It was his last time to see his only family, last time to show a hurting girl love, last time to not break his family. The only good thought that came from knowing he was dying was knowing that he would see his heavenly Father, Adela, his son, and his daughter-in-law.
He just hoped he could show Arielle the Father’s love that she so desperately needed. If he could pick the way he would spend his last days, it would be here, with Arielle, helping her find hope. Hope, that was just what she needed.