As Always first things first. I thank LadyCibelle and Techsan for their patience, proof reading, editing skills and of course encouragement. I'd also like to add that we don't always see eye to eye, so I take full responsibility for the content and any cock-ups in this story.
This is a very short story, more of a cameo. Before I start I'm going to indulge myself by telling you where the idea for this little story came from. I was reading the first few pages of "Hero's Reward" by S-Des, my medical condition demands that I lay down and take a rest at regular intervals so, I was forced to break off from reading the story and retire to my bed for a little while. But it's my body that is tired not my brain. As I lay there thinking about S-Des's description of the young girl, Paige, my mind drifted to a vague memory of a young lady I once knew and a particular sunset. Add to that certain other points from S-Des's story and after my rest this is what I started to write. I hope you like it, I must say that writing in the third person is not my favourite or most successful genre and actually writing this one I have found quite time consuming and difficult.
"How was your meal this evening, Mrs Letterman?" the waiter asked as he placed a cup of coffee in front of her.
"It was perfect as it always is here, Mario. You can tell the chef I'd like to take him home with me. I've never been disappointed with a meal here yet."
Thank you, Mrs Letterman. Karl will be pleased. He takes a lot of pride in his work."
Out of the corner of her eye, Mrs Letterman was watching a man, who had been sitting over the other side of the dining room, slowly rise from his chair, leaving his pretty young companion still sitting at the table, as he had done every evening since Mrs Letterman had arrived. He made his way out onto the hotel balcony where selecting his usual chair he turned it around then sat down in it facing the sunset. A golden retriever dog who had been sunning itself in the last rays of the sun moved over and sat at the man's feet.
"Mario, can you tell me who that man is that just went out on the balcony? I find his face so familiar."
"That's Colin Marsh, Mrs Letterman, the famous author. If you've read any of them you have probably seen his picture on his books and he's been on television quite a few times. Mr Marsh spends a lot of his time with us." Mario turned and gestured at the young lady who had been left at the table. "The young lady with him is his secretary, Katherine. Very pretty, isn't she."
"Yes, she reminds me of myself when I was her age."
"If you don't mind me saying, Mrs Letterman, I remember you were extremely pretty as a young lady; you had all our pulses racing back in the old days. I must say you still are a very beautiful woman. Mr Letterman is a very lucky man."
"You flatter me, Mario. But some men do not realise what they have got until it's too late."
"I'm sorry, Madam." Mario didn't understand what Mrs Letterman was getting at.
"Never mind, Mario, it's not important, Thank Karl for the lovely meal for me."
Mario, realising that he had been dismissed, retired from the table.
Mrs Letterman watched Colin Marsh through the window as she drank her coffee. He sat almost motionless staring into the distance, one hand gently stroking the dog's head. When she had finished her coffee, Mrs Letterman stood up. For a moment she hesitated, undecided, thinking about her next action, then having made her decision, she walked out onto the Balcony.
Before her was a view of the sea, with the cliffs leading away to the headland in the far distance. Colin Marsh was the only other person on the balcony; his gaze remained apparently locked on the distant headland. He had made no sign that he was aware of her presence.
"Lovely view, isn't it?" Mrs Letterman said as she got near to him.
"Yes," was his only reply.
"I love watching the sun go down over the headland."
"I like, the way the colours change as the sun gets lower."
"Yes." Still Collin Marsh did not turn his head in her direction. Mrs Letterman tried a different tactic.
"I'm sorry, that was very un-thoughtful of me. I'm disturbing you."
"No, you didn't disturb me. I see this view every night when I lay in bed; it's burned into my brain. I sit on this balcony at sunset whenever I'm at this hotel and live it again." Colin Marsh's eyes hadn't moved from the headland; he still didn't turn and look at the beautiful woman standing close to him.
"You've been here before?" she continued.
"It's nice here, and I love the view. Especially at sunset."
"There's some views that you can never forget. This view is very special to me."
"If you don't mind me asking, Mr Marsh. I know from your books that you've travelled all over the world. What makes this view so special to you?"
"What would you like the long or the short story, Mrs Letterman?" Still the man's head didn't turn towards her.
"Oh, you know my name. Either story - I've got plenty of time."
"I heard Mario talking to you in the dining room at breakfast." Collin Marsh was silent for a few moments; Mrs Letterman thought he was steeling himself before he continued. "Many years ago when I was a very young man, I used to sit on that parapet over there in the evenings, with a young lady. Otterley -- Otterley Allen was her name, a young lady that I loved very much.
"But then I was only fifteen years old and I never did get up the courage to tell her how I felt about her at the time. We sat there on that balustrade every evening for two weeks and talked about anything and everything. Now, whenever I come back here to this hotel, I sit here and watch the one love of my life, sitting there on that balustrade. I can see her sitting there now in my minds eye."
"What happened to her?"
"When the holiday finished, it was over."
"Didn't you write to her or anything? She might have felt the same way about you."
"Oh, I intended to write to her, but on the journey home we had an accident. I was unconscious for many months. When I came out of the coma, no one could find her address. My father's car and almost everything in it, had been totally destroyed."
"Surely the hotel could have given Otterley's address to you."
"I was just a child back then. It was many years before I thought of getting in touch with the hotel. By the time I did, she had moved home."
"So you gave up on looking for her?"
"No, I come back here each year. I watch her sitting on the balustrade over there, and I remember that summer."
"From what you say I assume that you haven't found anyone for whom you have the same feelings."
"You assume correctly. There can only one girl of my dreams."
"Not even your beautiful young secretary?"
"Katherine," Colin smiled to himself, "Is certainly a beautiful young lady, and I've become very attached to her in the last five years. I really don't know what I'm going to do when she's not around anymore."
"She's leaving you?"