Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. While setting and some characters have been inspired by real places and people actual commonalities are coincidental.
This is a rough draft written in chapter style to pre-face a webcomic script owned by Stephanie Brown aka Raina the Mermaid. It may not be reproduced without permission. This story/script is subject to change.
Chapter 2: The Calm Before the Storm
I woke up early that morning and bleary eyed. Carrick was gone until noon when the shop would open-running errands, and Grandma Brooke had been patiently waiting for me downstairs. We spent a few hours shopping and poking around through the town re-introducing ourselves. We stopped at a local bistro for lunch. All morning I'd been distracted by my dream the previous night. I couldn't remember it all- only flashes- but it had been about dad. Grandma Brooke and I had talked about it a little but I knew she knew it was still bothering me.
"Perhaps something in his memory would help you." she said leaning over a bowl of carrot soup blowing the steam away.
"Huh?" I looked up from my own salad a little dazed.
"Your father dear- a memorial of sorts? We could get a plaque, or a figurine, or even just flowers. Just something you could leave on the beach or toss out into the sea. I think it would help give you some closure." Grandma Brooke stared intently at me.
"I barely thought of him out west. A funeral was closure enough. I don't understand why this has been a problem for me." I started "-and plus it was just one stupid dream... I'm sure it'll get better.." I said that last part almost as a question. Grandma's face didn't change.
"Teagan..." she started in a tone that told me she was about to put her foot down. "You're thinking about your father because you can't go anywhere in this city without seeing something that will remind you of him. Let alone the fact you're next to the ocean. They never found your father's body so I've always felt you've never been able to have proper closure. We decided to come here- we knew it would be a risk so I think you need to face this head on."
Then I knew, that was that; whether I liked it or not. I felt my face grow hot- Grandma's speech had attracted a few spectators in the bistro. "Fine." I mumbled so the conversation would be over quickly and turned my attention to my salad as if the cheese on top was the most interesting thing in the world.
Sure, it had been my idea to come back here. Teaching jobs were scarce and I thought why not get a job in a town I was familiar with? I was silly enough to even think confronting this place might help with my nightmares. I guess I really was naive thinking it wouldn't make me miss Dad.
Grandma and I finished lunch and she insisted on visiting the last store we hadn't been to yet. The thinkg about Mahone Bay was that if you timed it right you could easily get through all the shops in the town.
"We'll find something for your father here" she explained reaching for the door of a gift shop.
"I'll get that Grandma Brooke." I stepped in front of her to open the glass door when a man came stampeding through smashing the door into me. He had an angry look on his face.
"Watch it!" he snapped in a rude tone as he pushed past us nearly bumping into Grandma.
"You watch it!" I yelled back without thinking "You nearly knocked me and my grandmother over."
His back was to us by now but he stopped and turned around and faced me. He was very tall with short black hair and was wearing a dark business suit. His eyes were hidden by dark sunglasses but I could see even through that he had dark circles under them. He clenched his jaw like he was ready to say something.
That was when a beautiful young woman brushed past me through the door. "That enough Lochlan!" she said sternly with her hand on her waist. I watched them exchange looks for a moment before 'Lochlan' grunted, turned, and left.
"Oh bless your heart." said Grandma Brooke beaming up at the young woman.
"No problem Missus. Lochlan's a great guy- he's just been through some hard stuff recently." she bobbed her head to me in that maritimer way of saying hello.
Hard stuff I thought to myself. Like what? Knocking over poor old ladies.
"My name is Ms Brooke and this is my grand- daughter Teagan." Grandma Brooke never wasted time, never told her first name, and never explained I was her foster grand -daughter.
"Hi." I said still thinking of the cold expression on Lochlan's face. "Teagan, like Grandma Brooke said."
"Circe." she said reaching out her beautifully tanned hand. I took it in mine and gave it a squeeze marvelling for a second at the contrast between our skin. "You must be the new teacher."
"Yes." I nodded. "I grew up here though when I was a kid. I'm staying at Carrick's store."
"Oh? In the apartment above? Good for you. Why don't you both come in." she held the shop door open for Grandma Brooke who wasted no time strutting in with a gleam in her eye. "I run this place for my parents, they're retired now. Carrick does yard work and things for them." explained Circe.
"He's pretty great." I said following behind Grandma taking a quick glance behind me to see that Lochlan was really gone. People with explosive anger like that always bothered me. I considered myself a pretty sensitive person and had I been younger I probably would have cried.
"Have a look around. Is there anything you're searching for?" asked Circe tucking a stray hair behind her ear. In addition to her chocolaty tanned skin she had long dark brown hair with a white streak through it.
"Yes in fact..." started Grandma Brooke "we're looking for something, uh, for a fisherman, a memorial of sorts."
"Ah. Say no more. A storm?" asked Circe eyeing me with bright green eyes and feathery lashes- she was stunning. I nodded.
"My Dad, years ago. Fifteen I think, we just wanted to do something since we're back in town." I found myself threading my own hair through my fingers feeling nervous at the topic of explaining my father again.
"I think I have just the thing out back- but why don't you browse around a bit while I look for it?" the colourful skirt she was wearing made a delightful swish as she headed into the stock room. I wondered why Lochlan had been in this place to begin with-it was too bright and happy for someone so angry.
This store was a lot like Carrick's - little sparkly trinkets- but I noticed a lot of things were personalized, there was more jewellery, and lots of things with engraving. There was some concrete lawn sculptures too.
"Try not to let Lochlan get to you." said Circe as she reappeared. "I can read it all over your face that it really bothered you." I looked up from a small crystal bird I'd been checking out.
"Am I really that easy to read?" I gave a sheepish laugh.
"Yes." both Circe and Grandma Brooke replied- and then we all laughed.
"My Teagan dear, you wear your heart on your sleeve." smiled Grandma Brooke. "But I do wonder why such a handsome young man is so angry...?"
"He's not handsome." I rolled my eyes "He looked... tired." I thought of the dark circles.
Circe was holding something in her hands in a box that she handed to Grandma Brooke. "Lochlan's fiancé died in a boat accident about 10 months ago. First one in fifteen years..."
We went quiet as I processed that information and Circe realized the death had been the first since my own father. I felt insanely guilty now for thinking so little of Lochlan.
"So what have we here?" asked Grandma Brooke breaking the silence and opening the box. Inside was a white figurine of a boat.
"It's made from caribou antler- they shed them. Artists go searching for them and make carvings. It's a boat." Circe explained. Grandma touched it gently.
"It's so smooth but still heavy like rock." she observed.
"It'll sink" said Circe. "I can engrave it with his name and date of birth and ... yeah.." she said not ending with the 'date of death'.
I smiled and took the box from Grandma and handed it to Circe. "That would be really nice. We could head home for a rest and get it afterwards to give you time to engrave it." I explained feeling very much like I needed a nap.
"Sure." agreed Circe taking the box back. "I've got a few orders ahead of you, but I can have it ready in about two hours. I thought you might like it when I saw your pendant- it's made by the same artist." she pointed at my necklace.
"Oh really?" I picked up the pendant "It was made by the artisan at the pewter factory and store. A whale fluke."
"Funny-looks more like a mermaid tail to me" smiled Circe "but I like it, it suits you. And yes, that's the same artist."
I was about to suggest that we get ready to go when Grandma Brooke piped in
"Circe, perhaps you and Teagan could do lunch tomorrow. She doesn't know many people here anymore it would be nice for her to have a friend." I could feel the blood heading to my face.
"Sure Chicka," said Teagan before I even had a chance to get embarrassed. "We can make plans when you come to pick this up." I suddenly felt quite grateful to my Grandma Brooke.
"Sounds great." I grinned like an idiot "I'll see you in a few hours then!" I turned as quickly as I could and willed my feet not to run from the store.
Grandma Brooke wasn't far behind me. "That wasn't too hard now Teagy"
"Grandma, I'm a grown woman. I don't need you to set up play dates." I said crossing my arms keeping an eye out to make sure I didn't smack into any other disgruntled guys with dead fiancés.
"That just sounds like the talk of a young woman who needs a nap."
I couldn't help it. I laughed.
Grandma Brooke dropped me off at the apartment and I crawled under my sheets without even changing my clothes. Despite my frequent nightmares and insomnia I loved being in bed. Bed was a warm safe place where heavy blankets weighed my sore body down. Even when I couldn't sleep I'd still feel nice and warm and I'd read a book.
Sleep came easily for me this time and I dreamed of whales, mermaids, and shipwrecks with little flying glass birds and angry handsome boys with dark circles under their eyes.
I arrived at the store just in time to see Circe locking up. "Hey Chica, I got your boat right here!" she shoved her keys in her pocket and handed me the box inside a canvas bag. I eyed the bag. "Oh- those are complimentary with every purchase. Less plastic and all that."
"Right." I said spying the store logo on the bag. "Uh, about Grandma Brooke-"
"Feisty one ain't she? Either way I hope you're not bailing on me for a lunch date- I was thinking tomorrow."
"Oh?" I stared at her with an open mouth for a second and then realized I was 'catching flies'. "Oh! Yes, well that would be good."
"Great! I know everyone in this bleedin town it's so nice to have a fresh face." she laughed, her voice was like music. I smiled too.
"Well I'm glad you think so. Truth is Grandma Brooke is right- I don't know many people yet and If you know everyone is town then I want to know about the co-workers I'm going to have at the academy." I explained.
"Now that I can do since my brother Johny is the PE teacher." she had a devious glint in her eye.
"Is he as gorgeous as you?" I sputtered out clasping my hand over my mouth totally embarrassed I'd actually said that out loud.
"Kinda awkward aren't ya?" teased Circe. "He ain't hard on the eyes." she winked.
"Well I'd be happy to meet him." I replied "For uh, professional reasons." Circe made air quotes with her fingers in the air and mouthed "professional". I rolled my eyes and smiled. It would be nice to have a friend and Crice seemed like the kind of girl who was beautiful inside and out- real easy to get along with.
"So what are your plans for that?" Circe asked pointing at my bag while we headed off down the sidewalk to what I assumed would be either her car or house since the town wasn't all that big.
"I think I'll take it to the beach tonight. I guess I'll have to see when I get there though- it's all pretty impulsive right now." I explained casting my gaze down toward the marina.
"Well, be careful- there's a storm coming." said Circe looking wearily out past my gaze.
"How can you tell?" I asked noticing how bright and blue the sky was.
"I feel it in my bones. Be careful Chica." and with that she stopped at got in a car. "I'll see you tomorrow, at noon."
I waved as she drove away.