Authors: Nicole Smith
a work of fiction.
resemblance to any person or persons, living or dead, characters,
events, locations, or businesses is purely coincidental.
The wind blew a cool, fine mist off the waves that crashed
against the dock. Cody Grainger brooded, looking out at the churning sea.
Fishing today was definitely out, he thought. Just when he knew a battle with a
big one would cheer him up.
He walked back up the dock to his shop. Cody's Bait and
Tackle had become a fixture in Sully Point after thriving for six years. Nobody
in town had been too sure of him at the age of twenty, when his father set him
up in the business. But he'd proven to the gossips and to himself that he could
be responsible and have fun doing what he loved. Sometimes he grew aggravated
at how everyone in Sully Point knew everyone else's business. Like lately, when
the gossip seemed to be focused on his recent lack of dates.
Opening the door he stamped his feet on the mat just inside
to dry his shoes. The month of March out on the tip of Massachusetts did not
ever provide great weather. In a couple of months the tourists would pile in
under blue skies, but right now the town was its usual small town self, while
the docks were fairly deserted.
He sat down in one of the rocking chairs placed around a
wood stove and a rustic table, gray with age. One of the reasons people liked
his shop was this sitting area where fishermen could often be found telling
their latest stories of the one that got away. In between the fishing tales, advice
on fishing was dispensed to the tourists.
Cody sat there now, thinking. He had never been much for
introspection until last summer. That was when his sister Anna had met Sam, and
the two had fallen in love. They finally got together after a crazy woman came
after them, but the point to Cody was that Anna had found 'the one.' Nobody in
their family had ever really expected Anna to find someone, especially someone
as great as Sam, famous author and really good guy.
Seeing the two of them together, their love almost tangible
around them, he'd begun to look at his life. Yes, he dated. A lot. With a lot
of different women. And nothing he had with any of them came close to what he
saw between Anna and Sam.
Maybe I'm growing up, but there has to more out
there for me.
There had been no dates for several months now, as he tried
to figure out what he was looking for in a woman. Today, he glumly realized he
had no idea. He loved them all in a way. Women, to his mind, were the reason
for existing. Everything else in life circled around them.
Now, if he could find one, just one, the one.
* * * *
Julia Tremaine sat in a chair across from the desk in the
doctor's office and stared at him. "You want me to what?"
"Take a vacation. For at least a month. You're a wreck.
Your blood pressure is elevated, your pulse rate is too high, you need to put
on ten pounds, your diet is atrocious, and I'm amazed you can still go running
every day. That run today with no food, and then dashing to your office, is
what made you pass out. This has to stop. You have to stop. I don't care what
you think your responsibilities are, or how hard you think you have to work,
but nobody needs to work at this extreme pace. As you might have expected, your
mother has already called. In all the years I've known her, I've never seen her
wait for anything. Anyway, I told her you can't work for at least a month, with
a re-evaluation at the end of that time."
Julia felt shocked. And she could only imagine what her
mother would say to this. Mother ran the advertising agency where she worked.
There was no way she would agree her daughter could be spared for a month!
"I'm sure she didn't go along with that plan."
"You're wrong. I explained that I wouldn't be held
responsible if you continued on over-working yourself at this rate. She finally
saw the light."
"Go home, Julia. Pack a bag, catch a flight somewhere
warm and quiet. You need a rest, a nice long rest." He walked her out to
the front office while her thoughts were in a daze.
All she knew in her life was to work until you dropped.
Surely her mother wasn't really going along with this idiotic plan. In the cab
back to the office, she yanked her cell phone out of her raincoat pocket and
called. "Mother? What is this all about?"
"Julia. I spoke with Doctor Deville. He says you must
have a rest. I have to say, after listening to him, I agree. And, I can tell
you I have noticed a slippage in your work in the past few months."
"A slippage? What--"
"Now it's all set up. I've spoken with your department
and your assistant, Ron, will take over for you while you're away. You can use
the condo in Aspen, or go wherever you want at company expense."
"Ron! Taking over? Mother, you can't be serious."
She heard an edge enter her mother's precise voice.
"I'm quite serious young lady. I expect my employees, and of course my
daughter, to pay attention to health issues and not ignore them. I want you to
stay away from work for a month like the doctor says. Then we'll see how you
are doing. Have a nice time, Julia."
Julia stared at her cell phone after her mother hung up. It
was like she had stepped into some kind of nightmare. Ron, taking over her
department? Her mother saying her work was slipping? She shook her head
abruptly and told the driver to take her home. She remembered she was supposed
to be meeting her friend after work, so she called and arranged for Holly to
meet her later at the apartment instead.
At home she stood in her bedroom and looked in the
full-length mirror. Okay, maybe she could stand to put on some weight. She was
looking a bit skinny. But, a vacation? A month's rest? She sighed and changed
into soft fuzzy sweat pants and shirt and curled up on the bed. She was asleep
The doorbell from downstairs, buzzing, woke her up and she
ran to push the button to unlock the front door to let Holly in. She searched
and found a bottle of Pinot Grigio in the fridge and began pouring.
After exchanging hugs and settling down with their wine, Julia
began explaining her day to Holly. It was interesting to watch Holly's face go
from surprise to dismay and, finally, thoughtful. "What are you thinking?
I can see things going through your mind but I don't know what they are."
Holly smiled at her and said, "First things
first--let's order pizza or Chinese or something. I'm starving and you've been
told to eat."
Julia agreed that she could eat something, and they called
for pizza. "You don't think they're crazy, do you, my mother and the
Holly gave her a rueful look. "I'm sorry, but I think
maybe your doctor is right. As far as your mother goes--well, you know I'm not
her biggest fan. I have no idea what her agenda is, but I think you could stand
a month away from that place. You don't even like it there, Julia."
"That may be true...okay it is true, I am not exactly
happy there. But I planned on working there for most of my life. She always
expected me to work for her. It was the only thing we had in common. I'm
twenty-six years old--what am I supposed to do, up and quit? And go do
"I'm not sure, but this way isn't working. Take the
time off. Get away and think. There's no telling what you might come up
The pizza arrived shortly after, and they ate and talked
about clothes and Holly's latest date. "Honestly, I don't know what I was
thinking. He really is the dullest fellow. I think I was blinded by his
Julia laughed. She always enjoyed hearing about Holly's adventures
with men. She hadn't had any of her own adventures in over a year.
"So--what do you think?" Holly asked.
"About going away? I guess I'm willing to give it a
try. I have been pretty damn tired lately."
Holly's face lit up. "Wait a minute, I've got the best
idea. Sully Point."
"What--you mean your home town? Go there?"
"Yes! I have the perfect place for you to stay. You
know how my sister Anna married Sam Carter."
Julia nodded. Everyone knew about that. Sam Carter was a
famous author and Anna a famous artist. They'd become news when they were
stalked by his ex-girlfriend, and almost killed, at one of her gallery
"They have a beach house that is just sitting there
empty. They won't be back from Italy until May. It's free to use until then.
Let me call them and see if they're okay with the idea, but I know they will
be. The place is great and the beach is right there. I know it's too cold now
for swimming, but you can still take walks, and watch the waves through the
Julia thought about it. She knew Sully Point was a fairly
small town and would probably offer the quiet the doctor suggested. Plus, the
house Holly described had been in several magazines, and she knew it was the
perfect beach house. "If they're okay with it, I'd love to stay there. It
would be fantastic."
"You get some sleep tonight and I'll call them when
they're up over there. Get your bags packed and you can head out tomorrow.
Then--just take the time to relax. And think about whether you really want to
come back to that crazy environment you've been working in with your
"I know you're right, I do need to think. And the idea
of no pressure and a small town for a while is very appealing. You have family
still living there? Besides Anna?"
Holly nodded. "Yes, my father, Frank, and my brother,
Cody. You need anything, either one of them will be glad to help you out. I'll
call Dad and let him know you'll be headed that way. He can run out to the
beach house and make sure everything is turned on. Also, Julia," Holly
paused for a moment and grinned. "There's no TV, so take some music and
maybe books with you."
Julia was sure she hadn't heard correctly. "No TV? Who
lives with no TV?"
"Sam and Anna. You'll be able to see whatever you want
on your computer, there's wifi, but no, they don't have any actual
"It seems strange since they are always on the
celebrity entertainment shows."
"That's part of why they don't have them. Anyway, I
think you'll love it out there. Sleep well, because I'll be calling you
Julia stood up and walked with Holly to the door. Holly gave
her a big hug, and Julia said, "Thanks for doing this, Holly. I feel
"No problem. Talk to you later."
After shutting the door, Julia cleaned up the dishes in the
little kitchen. No TV--she still couldn't quite grasp the concept. For the past
few years, her whole life had revolved around commercials for products her
agency represented. What would it be like to not think about advertising for a
while? Right now, it seemed almost scary. It had been her whole life. What would
she be without it?
* * * *
Cody was down at the beach house, after receiving a call
from his father. Holly was sending a friend to stay at Sam and Anna's place.
His Dad needed to wait for a shipment for his hardware store, so he'd asked
Cody to check out the house.
He wondered what this friend of Holly's would be like. Holly
made friends with everyone, and the people around her were an eclectic mix. He
and Holly were similar in that they were both a bit extroverted. Cody made
friends easily and, in fact, many of his old girlfriends had stayed in his life
Finished with taking the coverings off the furniture, he
made sure the heat was coming on nicely. It was a chilly morning out here by
the water. As he prepared to leave he heard someone at the door. He walked over
and opened it to discover a woman struggling with a large handbag, as she
searched for keys.
"Oh! Who are you?" she asked.
Cody took in the very slim, almost skinny, tall, black
haired young woman. She was quite pale, and looked as if she might be ill with
such smudged shadows under her dark blue eyes. "Sorry to surprise you--I'm
Cody Grainger, Holly's brother."
"Cody...yes, I remember that name."
He motioned her into the doorway. "Can I get your bags
from the car?"
She wandered into the kitchen, and then walked straight
through to the living room. A large sliding glass door took up part of one wall,
and she stood there looking out.
"What--oh, sorry, I'm just blown away by this view.
It's incredible." She turned to look at Cody. "And, it's Julia Tremaine,
"Are your bags in the trunk, Julia? If you give me your
"Yes, please, that would be great if you could get
them. I'll go out with you. My laptop, and some other stuff, is in the back