Helen glanced at her reflection in the bathroom mirror one last time, adjusting a stray lock of hair that had fallen from her updo.
New Year’s Eve, she thought. The end of the year.
And what a year it’d been. She’d started the year living in San Francisco, working as a real estate agent in the city, showing people homes she’d never be able to afford. She wouldn’t have wanted to buy some of them, of course, as some clients had odd tastes, but there had been a few she’d fallen in love with and those she could only dream about.
About the middle of the year, life took a turn. She’d traveled to Bora Bora for her best friend’s wedding, fell in love with the handsome vet from back home, and on a whim, the two had moved to the island.
They’d been happily living here since.
She glanced around the bathroom, picking up a few things she’d left out before flicking the light off and heading into the living room. Soft, early evening light of another beautiful Bora Bora sunset filtered through the windows, casting a warm glow across the room. She opened the glass door and stepped out on her veranda, inhaling the scent of the sea and blooming frangipanis. It was a perfect, balmy February night on the island.
The sound of footsteps behind her announced Rick’s arrival, and as he stepped into the room, his eyes lit up at the sight of her. “You look stunning,” he said, his voice carrying a note of awe.
Helen smiled, feeling a flutter in her heart. “Thank you.”
“Are you ready for tonight?”
“I just need to grab my shoes.” She moved around him, pausing to let him kiss her cheek. “I’m so excited for tonight, but it would be nice to know what we are doing.”
He laughed. “I told you, it’s an adventure of memories.”
“Yes, but that’s all you told me. You didn’t tell me what exactly we were doing on this adventure.”
Rick’s grin widened. “You’ll see. It’s a surprise.”
Helen continued into the living room and grabbed her shoes. “Did I tell you I talked with Lisa today? She and Ben are hosting a big party for New Year’s Eve. She said they are having about twenty people over to their house. She’s been a nervous wreck trying to get everything done for it.”
“That’s a big party.”
“I know. They had fewer people at their wedding.” Helen chuckled, slipping her feet into her heels. “It’s weird to think I’ll be in the new year before them.”
“Time zones do make these celebrations unique, don’t they? We welcome the new year while Lisa and Ben await in anticipation.”
“And my mom,” Helen continued, “she was thrilled to hear from me, by the way. Charlie is having the time of his life at her place, and she’s enjoying having him around. I think she was lonely; she just didn’t know it.”
Thinking about her cat, Helen had a twinge of sadness. Charlie had been her one and only, and she’d wanted to bring him, but the laws around bringing animals onto the island were just too much to deal with, and she had to leave him with her mother. She wasn’t sure she’d made the right choice, but hearing how well he and her mom were doing with the new arrangement comforted her.
So did the kitten Rick had brought home from the clinic.
She looked around the room, finding Jelly curled up on the couch, and as she reached over to pet the feline, Jelly looked up at her, stretched, and yawned.
“We’ll miss you tonight, Jelly. But don’t worry, we won’t be gone too long.”
Rick chuckled as he watched them. “I think Jelly will be just fine ruling the house in our absence. She’ll probably still be in that spot when we get home.”
“Well,” Rick clasped his hands. “Are you ready to go?”
With a final check to ensure everything was in order, they locked the house and strolled towards the boat dock, hand in hand. The night was pleasantly warm, with a gentle breeze that ruffled the palm leaves and carried the sound of distant waves. The sky was a canvas of stars, each twinkling like promises of a wonderful night.
A flutter whispered through Helen’s chest. Whatever Rick had planned, she knew it would be a night to remember.
To be continued . . .