Chapter 30: A Dream Fulfilled

Maybelle walked quite a ways up the beach before she allowed herself to burst into tears. Lizzie's words had shattered her. Maybelle could not deny any longer that she loved Jack, and, it would seem, had always loved him. She had tried not to care for him still; she tried reminding herself of what Jacob had done – what Jack had done – but it was no use. All she could think about was how empty her life was without him in it.

"I've been such a fool," whispered Maybelle. "Now he probably thinks I don't love him anymore. I was so cold to him when we parted."

Maybelle reached into the folds of her gown and took out a slim, worn volume. The History of Jonaston – why did she still keep this stupid thing? It only reminded her of things she wished to forget, or rather, things she wished she had never remembered. At least there had been no more memory-dreams – not after the one she had had about Leah and Charlotte, anyway.

However, she did not throw the book in the ocean as she intended, but tucked it carefully away again. It was her only link to the happiest time of her life.

The hair on the back of her neck prickled. She looked around, half expecting to hear a voice singing "Sumer Is Icumen In," and Charlotte's mocking laugh floating over the dune. But the only sound was the roar of the sea. The shadows had grown long, and the orange sun was sinking slowly beneath the crystal waves. Maybelle thought it cruel that the world went on being so beautiful while she suffered.

Then, as though Rachel had whispered the words into her ear, she was reminded of a passage in Isaiah:

Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

Now everything was clear to her. Rachel had forgiven Jacob long ago. It was only Maybelle's pride – pride that had been shaped and nurtured by the time she lived in – that was wounded.

"Forgive my foolishness, Jack," she said, hoping that wherever he was, he would hear her words. Perhaps they would even come to him in a dream.

Maybelle looked around, and the beauty of the world no longer hurt her. Grateful for that much, she went home to dinner.


Maybelle picked at her food, having little appetite. She was about to excuse herself when her father lowered his fork, looked her squarely in the eyes, and said, "So, what are we to do about Mr. O'Connell?"

Maybelle's eyes widened. How in heaven's name did he know? But she pulled herself together. "I haven't a clue what you are talking about," she said coolly.

Her father chuckled and said, "He came by this afternoon."

"Did he?" said Maybelle, trying to sound nonchalant, but feeling quite sure her father could hear her heart pounding. "And what did he want?"

"He asked if I would 'consent to give him my daughter's hand in marriage.' Those were his exact words. He was very polite. Apparently those stories about him being ill mannered were not true. He has done very well for himself, it seems. Would he suit you, daughter?"

"What?" asked Maybelle, not believing her ears. This had to be a dream.

"I am not accustomed to repeating myself," he said. "But under the circumstances, I will. I asked: Would he suit you?"

Maybelle laughed hollowly. "Wealth does cover a multitude of sins, after all."

His face darkened. "And what's that supposed to mean?"

"Was it only three weeks ago that you told me to 'steer clear' of Mr. O'Connell? 'Nothing but trouble,' you said," replied Maybelle.

Mr. Johnson looked stunned. "I thought you would be happy to hear he proposed, as you two were always sneaking off down the beach together!"

"I took a few walks with him," protested Maybelle. "How is that sneaking?"

"Well, I leave the decision to you," said Mr. Johnson, throwing his hands up in the air. "Take him, or don't. I told him to call again tomorrow, so you can give him the answer yourself. Whatever your decision, I refuse to get involved – not after the Garrison fiasco."

"So I will be allowed to choose whom I will marry?" Maybelle said, amazed. "What a novel concept!"

To her surprise, her father did not get angry. "That's exactly what your mother would have said." He sighed wistfully and his rigid brow softened. The austere façade melted away and Maybelle glimpsed the man with whom her mother had fallen in love. It was like seeing the moon break through the clouds.

Her glimpse was all too brief, however – her father's brow wrinkled again and he resumed his usual stern demeanor. "Just promise me one thing, daughter; that if you decide to accept Mr. O'Connell's proposal, you will look after your health and especially refrain from taking any more walks in the evening. No more 'shipwrecked ghosts' should invade our property."

Maybelle's eyes widened in alarm and her father chuckled. "A few days after your departure I heard the most ridiculous story from Mrs. Smalley and figured out immediately what must have happened."

Her heart hammered wildly and she wondered just how much he had "figured out."

"You sneaked out for a walk to escape the heat, didn't you?" he scolded, although there was an oddly indulgent note in his voice. "It's a mercy you didn't get yourself hurt, no one would have been around to help you. And you could have taken ill."

Maybelle was dizzy with relief. "There was no harm done, though, was there?"

"Well," harrumphed Mr. Johnson. "Just promise me you won't do anything like that again. I have no wish to lose you to illness as well."

Touched by the sentiment, Maybelle decided to humor him and said gently, "I promise I will do nothing injurious to my health."

She left it unsaid that she would be following her definition of "injurious," which was oceans apart from his definition. He could figure it out for himself, if he wished.


Jack did call again the next afternoon and Maybelle answered the door, wearing her white eyelet "lingerie" dress with the crimson girdle. She had stayed up late the night before to mend it.

"Fancy a walk on the beach?" he asked in his usual loquacious manner.

"Let's take the back way, we'll get there quicker," she said, pulling a key out of the pocket of her dress. She had found it in her father's desk drawer. He would not miss it, not as long as she replaced it before he got back from town. Once she and Jack had exited through the gate, Maybelle carefully closed and locked it behind her.

It felt strange to be unabashedly strolling with Jack in full view of everyone, her arm in his, to the envy of all the women present. Priscilla Thierry looked like she was going to go into apoplectic fits. And Father did not disapprove of her spending time with him – though it no longer mattered to her whether he approved or not. Maybelle smiled. She really was "Jack's girl" now.

They talked of light, pleasant matters at first; but when they came to a more remote part of the beach, Jack stopped and turned to her.

"I bought Beauxrêves," he said abruptly.

"Indeed?" said Maybelle, masking her surprise. She had been expecting his proposal. "And why on earth did you do that? You're certainly not planning to take residence in that dreadful place – are you?"

He laughed. "Of course not! The day after you left, Victoria approached me and told me the 'instructions' Chief Ravenhock had given her regarding who was the true owner of Beauxrêves. She was in a bit of a quandary what to do with the place – she and Will didn't feel right selling it, but they also didn't feel they could handle the responsibility of dealing with a vengeful spirit. So I told them I would be happy to take Beauxrêves off their hands."

"How nice of you," Maybelle said, impressed.

"Now that I know all that I do, it would have been wrong not to do something to prevent others from inadvertently stumbling into a curse. But I'll hire a caretaker for it – someone local, someone who knows enough to safeguard but not meddle. The house will be left empty for what spirits to make use of it as they may. In any case, we certainly won't be living there."

She raised an eyebrow. "We? I take it you are proposing to me again, Jack?"

He gave her a sheepish grin.

"Well, if you wanted to marry me, then why did you approach my father first?" she asked. After such an unromantic proposal, she wasn't going to make things too easy for him – yet.

"I thought perhaps your father's blessing would help my case," he said with a shrug. "I also thought it might not be so hard to come by, given the warm reception I received in town."

"Yes, I heard you danced with Priscilla Thierry three times at the Millers' party last week," Maybelle said slyly.

Jack rolled his eyes. "Oh, her? She foisted herself on me with such vigor that I could not refuse, short of doing her bodily harm. But it was not her I wished to dance with." He laid his hand lightly upon her bare arm, and smiled when she shivered – no more wrist-length sleeves to hide her goose bumps. "I looked for you many times, but you were never there. I decided the only thing I could do was go to your father."

"I was rather surprised you went to such lengths, after your curt goodbye at Beauxrêves," she said reproachfully.

"Yes, forgive me for that," he said. "I should have swept you up in my arms until you relented."

Maybelle laughed. "Do you really think that would have worked?"

"It did before. But I thought a gentler approach would be wiser this time around." Jack looked searchingly at Maybelle. "Do you still love me? Can you still love me – in spite of everything that has happened?"

She gazed steadily into his eyes. "Yes."

"Oh, thank God," Jack breathed. "I don't know what I would have done if you had said no. Probably walked into the ocean."

She threw her arms around him. "You'll do no such thing," she said sternly, punctuating each word with a kiss. "I won't allow it."

"Never," agreed Jack, kissing her as passionately as she kissed him.

Maybelle broke their embrace long enough to guide him to a remote section of the beach where they would not be interrupted. In an alcove bordered by a curving sand dune, Jack took her in his arms and made the same gentle, passionate love to her she had ached for ever since their time at Beauxrêves. The cry of the seagulls provided a counterpoint to their moans, until their surroundings faded into ecstasy and Maybelle knew nothing but bliss.

And no one watched as they took their pleasure beneath the dunes, the sun's brilliant rays dappling the crystal waves.


"Jack," Maybelle said a while later, her head on his shoulder as they watched the clouds drift by, "what was it that made you believe Charlotte when she told us who we once were?"

"I remembered something," he said. "Something that I had read in my search to make sense of our dreams. It was a book called Doorway to the Past through Dream Analysis. Of course, I thought it was absolute rubbish, but when Charlotte offered her explanation for our dreams, that book was the first thing I thought of. Once I remembered some of the things in it I was forced to come to the disquieting conclusion that she was telling the truth."

"What did it say?" asked Maybelle.

He smiled. "The book said that that some dreams are actually memories of past lives. Such dreams are triggered by events that are in some way connected to past experiences, and tend to be unusually vivid and detailed – which our dreams were. One event that could trigger a memory was that of a man traveling to a place he had been to in a past life. In that case, he might be struck with a feeling of déjà vu. You remember that day we walked down the old trail?"

Maybelle nodded. "I also experienced a fleeting sense of déjà vu that day."

"The book also gave another example," continued Jack. "That of a man meeting someone that he knew in a past life. My dreams started after – well, after I realized I had fallen in love with you."

"I wonder sometimes what would have happened if Rachel's life had been spared, and if Jacob and Rachel had both lived," said Maybelle wistfully. "Perhaps their deaths could have been prevented. If we had done things differently..."

Jack shook his head. "There's no use dwelling on it, Maybelle. You are not Rachel Weaver; her time ended long ago. You are Maybelle Johnson, soon to be Maybelle O'Connell."

Maybelle-Johnson-soon-to-be-Maybelle-O'Connell smiled impishly. "It seems we're fated to be together, doesn't it? Perhaps we'll even be reborn someday and fall in love all over again."

He laughed. "What does it matter? Loving you now, in this life, is all that matters to me. And you know I don't believe in fate. However," he said, his voice softening as he drew her into his arms, "Perhaps some things are meant to be after all, regardless of what a rational man would say about such matters."

"Some things are meant to be," Maybelle declared, before planting another kiss on his waiting lips.

The End