You were frightened. The pause as you raced towards the pathway alerted me to your disquiet but there is no need. I won’t hurt you. Far from it, your life will be richer, away from the pollution and violence of your own world. Soon you will live in mine.
Sensing your mother’s fears, I considered allowing you to go home, but I had waited for twelve long years so it is too late for a change of heart. As the helicopter hovered above your family, the air shimmered and a rift opened. I glanced down at the tall muscular man and his wife. Briefly his eyes met mine. In that instant your father realised you were lost to them.
I returned to Yorkshire many times over the years. This was to be my last visit. A child with black hair, closely resembling you, was playing rugby for the local team. Your father watched from the side-lines. He glanced at the helicopter. At that moment, he recognised me.
He raced towards the bag as it dropped onto the grass. I sensed your father’s pain and albeit briefly, I considered allowing you to return home, but out of necessity, I am a selfish man.
“Time to leave, Simon.”
You were a brave child, intelligent and a born leader but you were also disruptive and argumentative. Who could blame you? You were thin: tiny and waif like. Many of our young men claimed you were unattractive, but your slender frame hid an inner core of strength, not just mental, but physical. When you dived into the ocean, I feared for your life but there was no need. You were a powerful fearless swimmer. When you swam in our pool, you were heavy in the water, your body almost submerged. In the sea, you bobbed up and down like a cork. The sharks circled as you hit the water. Fear was not part of your nature. Luckily, after feeding, they had little interest in a skinny human. In truth, they don’t enjoy human flesh.
I remember the day you qualified at the tender age of fifteen for our university. I wondered how your father would react. That’s when you finally settled down, made friends and began to change. Mentally mature, far beyond your years, you worked hard, finished the first part of your degree in two years, the second part in a year. The doctorate followed in eighteen months.
After setting the standard and beating all comers in your third year, you began to question the tutor. To our amusement, he failed to win any of the debates.
I took control over the course in your final year. You challenged me throughout, but finally accepted that you still had a lot to learn. I was amazed when you admitted my knowledge base was extensive. You were the first female professor appointed in over forty years. The offer of a job pleased you. I refused many offers for your hand in marriage, and to my amusement you agreed. That’s when I finally revealed why I refused.
You shook your head, and stated, “I will never marry.”
The dress was beautiful. A flowing ivory silk gown that clung to your slender frame. You were a pretty child, but you are a beautiful woman, in body and soul. Tall, slender with lustrous black hair cascading down your back. Almond shaped eyes, a vibrant green, with long black lashes. An oval face with high cheek bones. Those wonderful rich green eyes are your most attractive feature.
Even now your expression is challenging. You were an intelligent child with a keen wit; sarcasm came naturally to you.
It was early evening when the reception ended, and we returned to our home. Sadness overwhelmed me when you claimed to loathe me, but the venom had gone. Your voice was quiet and unbelievably sexy.
Your expression of shock was palpable as I gently closed the door. My words and departure surprised you.
I watched as the aircraft vanished above the clouds. My heartbroken, I strolled around my empty home. Two long years passed, and the pain of loss hasn’t eased. I despaired, believing you would not return. I sighed, glancing at the oil paintings arranged around my study charting the change from child to woman.
As you boarded the jet, accompanied by your parents, brother and their terrier, I relaxed. You accepted that I wouldn’t make another approach. I was adamant: the next move was down to you.
“Life,” I insisted as you gently closed my bedroom door, “is passing. We must make the most of what we have.”
You glanced at our daughter sleeping peacefully in my arms; “Jacqueline, you resemble your grandmother. She is beautiful.”
“As are you, Emily, do you have something to tell me?”
“A son will soon enter our world.” You smiled, gently touching my cheek as I whispered, “Aiden, I love you.”