Amidst Sandcastles - Chapter Three

Sana Rose By Sana Rose, 3rd Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

“Now, don’t talk like a loser,” Jean chortled. “Get lost first. And make me jealous! Take it as a challenge!”
“You are a damned carnivorous optimist, Jean. Does marrying do that to you?”
“To some, if they get lucky.” Jean shoved a hand at Noah. “Now, buck up!”
So Noah headed upstairs to pack up. He would go out then and find a place today itself. Move the next day. Then plan the next move. Easily said than done, he thought grimly..........

Chapter Three - Part One

He knew he had to move on. Sticking around was not going to do him much good. Noah drove back to Jean’s house. The Sapphire Lane had the same houses, one after another. Only those who bought their own house painted it different. And Jean’s was one of them. His house was sky blue colored with a darker shade of blue for borders. It was a homely house and he had bought it after he and Zinnia got engaged.
He thought about his cousin and his wife. It had been love at first sight for them. And they have maintained it through twelve years through and through. Jean’s photographic profession hadn’t let him down. And he had this house where some quite rich people lived. And he had a wonderful little guy called Zack. And a baby, they believed would be a girl, on the way.
Jean would be at his studio till evening and Zinnia at the health centre she worked full-time as an ENT specialist. Zack would be back from his playschool. And there would be that pretty baby-sitter there trying to make him eat some real lunch. Last two days, it had been the baby-sitter who had wished him good morning when he came down wobblingly. She was hired to pick Zack from his playschool and bring him home and look after him till one of his parents was back home.
Apparently, he had woken up at noon time both mornings and had been surprised to see a stranger.
“Who are you?” he had asked groggily when he walked into the kitchen and saw the young woman staring at him.
“I’m the baby-sitter, Karen,” she had said looking away from him when she saw that he was wearing only his pajamas.
He noticed that.
“Oh, you’re right…” he said fluidly. “You shouldn’t be looking at me. It’s not the same as she does, you know…” And he went around to the fridge for a bottle of water.
She frowned at him. “Who are you? I have never seen you before!”
“Oh… I should’ve told you before,” Noah downed half a liter of the water, “I’m a doctor, a Pediatrician, to be exact. Dr. Sehnor.”
“Oh… I see – I mean, I don’t see,” she turned to stirring the sugar in the energy drink for Zack. “Would you like some-“
“No…NO! For God’s sake!” Noah threw up his hands. “I have had too much of it. My Mom was a great believer in Energy Drinks, you know… And she drowned me in gallons of ‘em!”
Karen, the baby-sitter smiled tightly. “I was asking if you wanted some coffee.”
“Not really, I guess it’s too late for a coffee or breakfast,” Noah said walking over and sitting up on the tiled counter in the kitchen. “And sorry, I’m a bit drunk in the morning, until I drink half a bottle of cold water.”
“I should’ve guessed that,” Karen mumbled. “You looked drunk all right.”
“NO!” Noah bolted down to his feet. “I never drink! Sleep – it gets into my head, that’s all.”
“Sorry,” Karen said. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“I’m Jean’s cousin,” Noah held out a hand.
“I should’ve guessed that,” Karen said again shaking his hand.
“No one would have,” Noah shoved it off. “We’re damn different.”
--
Today was his third day there and the only day he had woken up at morning. Noah parked the car outside the gate of Jean’s house. He went in and rang the doorbell. There were approaching footsteps and then the door opened. It was Jean himself.
“You got home early?” Noah asked stepping in. “I’m glad you did.”
“Where’s the car?” Jean asked. Noah pointed behind him. Jean nodded and said, “I took the afternoon off because Karen said she couldn’t come today. She has an appointment with her doc.”
“Oh, what she has got, I wonder…” Noah let his words hang a little before he continued. “What about Zack?”
“I picked him early, now he’s fast asleep.” Jean walked in to the living room. “I didn’t stress him to eat.”
“It’s better that way sometimes.” Noah followed Jean to the living room. “Kids are humans, they will feel hungry and so they will eat. I think it would be better still if either you or Zinny is with him. Not Karen or some pretty baby-sitter.”
“You are not even married let alone a father and you know better than me about kids!” Jean laughed.
“I’m a Pediatrician, remember?” Noah smiled. “But that’s not the point. I guess it’s easy to preach and always easy to say how we have it in mind, how we’ll do it when we have kids. Only that we’ll forget it all when we have kids. I know you are not a bad dad, Jean, but just take him to your studio after his playschool. It could mean so much for him to be at his dad’s work place, you know.”
“But he’s so naughty!” Jean said. “He’d blast the studio!”
“Tame him,” Noah grinned. “Then I’ll give you an award. He won’t do anything like that.”
“How come you are not writing a Parenting Guide, Doctor?” Jean asked sagging into the Big Bean couch in the living room. “It sounds like you.”
“I won’t,” Noah took a seat across from Jean. “Not until I marry, have kids and prove that my tips work.”
“And when are all these going to happen?”
“Soon,” Noah looked distant when he said that. “And the first move is, I have to find a place of my own.”
Jean looked astonished. He frowned at Noah like a father would do at his son for doing the wrong thing.
“But why would you do that?!” Jean looked hurt. “We like having you here, Noah. And Zack – even before he slept he asked where Uncle Noah was. It’s been only two days but already we feel you have been here always. Aren’t you comfortable here?”
Noah listened patiently as he let Jean finish. Then he spoke.
“Jean,” he called. “I’m sorry if you felt that way. I’m grateful to you –”
“But then what are friends – what are relatives for, you idiot?” Jean sounded angry.
“Now Jean, don’t forget I’m the older one, okay?”

“I won’t forget that,’ Jean sulked. “And I won’t forget you have been the dumbo always.” Then Jean stopped. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
Noah shrugged. “Listen, will you?” Jean nodded. “Okay, I’ve got to do this thing because, I want to settle here.”
Jean’s face lit up. “Why don’t you tell that in the first place?”
“You didn’t let me,” Noah smiled. “So I need to get a place somewhere around. Get settled, find a vacancy at a clinic or set up my own practice. And eventually meet a nice lady, marry her, start a family.”
“Simply put, live at last!” Jean chortled. “But what about – ”

“I met her today,” Noah said before Jean said her name. “I went to the St. Christopher hospital this morning after a lot of battling in my mind. I didn’t know what the first meeting after ten years would be like.” Noah went on softly. “Now that it’s over, I know I don’t stand a chance. She’s very strong now. She doesn’t really need me.”
“What did you talk?” Jean asked carefully. “Did you say you still love her?”
“I didn’t dare to,” Noah whispered. “She said she was happy with her girls and she didn’t want anymore difference in her life when I told her I am here because of her.”
Noah narrated the other details of their meeting to Jean.
“She couldn’t have meant it,” Jean said hopefully when Noah finished. “May be Zinny will talk to her.”
Noah raised a hand. “No, she is a grown up woman. And she has her own decisions, her own reasons. So I don’t think anyone can talk her into it. After all, love is not to be talked into. But her eyes – the hurt I caused is still there… And I’m so sorry about it.”

Jean threw his head back letting out a sigh. “Ah… There you are! If the hurt is still there, the love is still there, too. Or she would have talked easily with you.” Jean sighed again. “Apologize, beg for a second chance, and prove who you are, Noah.”
“Only if it were so easy!” Noah gave a crooked smile. “How come you are not writing a How to Keep Your Love Forever book, Jean?” Noah stood up. “You have all the qualities to write one!”
“You are jealous!” Jean teased.
Noah frowned at Jean. “Yeah, may be I am, may be I’ll always be just that.”

“Now, don’t talk like a loser,” Jean chortled. “Get lost first. And make me jealous! Take it as a challenge!”
“You are a damned carnivorous optimist, Jean. Does marrying do that to you?”
“To some, if they get lucky.” Jean shoved a hand at Noah. “Now, buck up!”
So Noah headed upstairs to pack up. He would go out then and find a place today itself. Move the next day. Then plan the next move. Easily said than done, he thought grimly.
*
There was a heavy downpour when Selena managed to get out of the hospital that evening. She got into her sedan, tossed the wet umbrella to the floor of the back seat and fastened the seat belt. The girls would be at their tennis practice at school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons till six. Selena would watch them for an hour after she leaves the hospital at five. Then pick them up and go home. She loved her life. She was doing what she had always wanted to do. And the girls were everything to her.

The wiper worked continuously on the windshield and it had a hypnotizing effect. She parked the car in the parking area in the school and took the umbrella from the back and got out to the rain. She walked hurriedly to the indoor tennis court at the school. When she reached the hallway leading to the tennis court, someone called her from behind. She turned and spotted the girls’ Tennis coach hurrying towards her.
“Hi, Dr. Rosche,” he smiled. “Late today?”
Selena was surprised at his question, more at the fact he knew when she used to come. She was fifteen minutes late than usual.
“Oh, Mr. Fritz… Yeah, I just got off duty,” she tried to smile, but she wasn’t feeling particularly well. “Could I get them off earlier today? Just fifteen minutes earlier?”
Mr. Fritz shrugged. “As you like, they are doing pretty good.”
“Just pretty good?”
“More than that, actually. They are natural.” He led her out to the court.
They would, Selena thought happily.
Rene was taking some time off. Pris was in the court.
“Hi, Mama!” Rene darted towards her. Her face looked flushed and she grinned happily.
“Having a nice time?” Selena gave her quick hug. “Uh, you should change your dress if you want to hug me again.”
“I know, had a good play today,” Rene laughed. “Pris has caught up fast! Look, Mama, there!”
Selena glanced at the court and saw Pris give a smart shot at her opponent. And the spectators roared in awe.
“Mom,” Rene called and Selene turned to her.
“What?” She felt a strange pang every time Rene called her ‘Mom’.
“I want you to meet a friend, over there.” Rene pointed to her left from the aisle. “Would you mind?”
“Not at all, take me there,” Selena replied. This was a part of motherhood. Meeting their kids’ friends. Most annoying was meeting boyfriends and girlfriends, Selena remembered her mother saying that from time to time, every time Sean brought home a new girlfriend. Selena followed Rene to the front row. Some of her and Pris’ usual friends, both boys and girls, sat there and a new boy around the same age sat there with them. He was making quite a conversation and attractive, too. Selena caught the type instantly.
“Here, Jake, meet my mother, Dr. Selena Rosche,” Rene said formally. The boy smiled at Selena and nodded.
“Nice to meet you, Dr. Rosche,” Jake said. “I’m Jake Nice.”
“And are you nice enough?” Rene teased.
“And are you serene enough?” He laughed back. “You should have named her something like ‘Nuclear Bomb’, Dr. Rosche!”
Selena laughed. “Sort of true, but may be she’ll decide to change, and it wouldn’t be that easy to change her name, young man.”
Jake nodded and smiled crookedly. “I joined here a week back. My parents are settling here. And I’m proud to say that my mom is a doctor, too. A dermatologist, to be exact.”
Selena gazed at him carefully. And he smiled at her amiably. There was a striking familiarity about him. One she couldn’t figure out. One from more than one source.
“How old are you, Jake?” Selena asked suddenly.
“Turned twelve last March.” Jake looked at her curiously. “Do I look older?” The girls had turned twelve in June.
“No, you look twelve,” Selena replied quickly. “What’s your mother’s name?”
“Dr. Judith Nice,” Jake replied. “Do you know her?”
“I think so.” Suddenly Selena wanted to disapparate from there. She didn’t need this now. More facts. She turned to Rene. “Can we leave now?”
“But mom, it’s early!” Rene squealed. Then she stood silently when Selena gave her a sharp look.
“I’m a little tired, Rene,” was all she said. Rene hopped down the steps and to the court to call Pris.
“May be you girls will do it tomorrow,” Mr. Fritz said hopefully. He liked coaching them.
“We’ll ask mom,” Pris said.
They walked back to the seats. Their mother was saying goodbye to their friends.
“See you around, Jake,” Selena said. “Ask your mother whether she knows me. Selena Rosche. I don’t know her maiden name. But I have always been Selena Rosche, even when I was at the Goa Medical College.”
“Okay, I will,” Jake gave a pat on Rene’s head. “See you around, Popcorn.” He winked at Selena. Selena glanced at Rene, who blushed a little. Pris was not looking at them. She seemed to be deliberate. Selena walked away to the door out of the indoor court. The girls followed.

Chapter Three - Part Two

Hunt 4 Home was situated on the top floor and Noah climbed the steps swearing under his breath. The real estate agency had a sensible name and a perfect motto which said, “The Treasure Hunt Ends Here”.
You better be worth your words, Noah thought as he pushed open the glass door and entered the office. It looked neat and furnished. The table top was of maroon velvet and over it, a glass pane covering the table top was placed. And there were many snaps of buildings, apartments and houses under the glass. Quick display of what they have, but nothing caught his eye. No one was seen around at the desk and he tapped on the table top.
“Be right there, sir!” A man called out from a room inside. “Would you take a seat?”
“Thank you,” Noah called back. He looked around and saw a loveseat along the window to the side of the room. Five minutes later, a young man appeared at the table.
“Good afternoon, may I help you, sir?” the man asked with a professional smile.
“Sure, I need a place to settle,” Noah said not knowing what else to say. “I mean a house.”
“Do you have a family?”
“Yeah, I mean, no – I intend to start one,” Noah grinned clumsily. As if it was a business!
“Oh, did you like any of these?” The agent pointed at his table.
“No, don’t you have anymore?” Noah asked getting to the point not wanting to waste time.
“Well… you know, I don’t think they will look good,” the agent said. “The price is not much, which means the property
isn’t much. We have this place in Airport Road. You can see it if you want to, but I personally think you can get some place better than that.”
Noah felt he didn’t believe this guy. They cared more about their profit.
“Is it off town?” he asked.
“Not very,” the agent replied. “I’ll get the address.”
“Okay, I will see that place first.” Noah had a hunch it was the best place to get now. He hadn’t even asked what kind of house it was, or even if it was a house. But he knew it was coming. And he smiled to himself.

*

Noah was surprised by the place the agent showed him. The not- much- good place in the Airport Road turned out to be a wonderful penthouse and at a reasonable price. As they walked in the gate and went up the stairs on the side of the house, Noah grinned. He glanced at the agent. The agent didn’t feel so good. But at least he was honest. He hadn’t hidden the fact that there was a place like this.

The agent held out the key and stood aside for Noah to open the door.
“Thanks,” Noah said softly. He opened the door and entered. There was a whiff of dust as soon as he entered. “How long has this place been vacated?”
“A few months, I guess.” The agent followed Noah into the house.
Noah checked out the place in ten minutes. There were three bedrooms, with attached bathrooms in all, a cozy kitchen, a lively living room with skylights and a dining parlor in the balcony that opened from the kitchen. And the perfect furniture.
“I’m taking this,” Noah beamed at the agent. “I’m home.”
“Are you sure, sir?” The agent looked skeptic.
“Positive,” Noah replied shortly and walked over to the front door. “Why not? Is this place haunted or something? This is exactly what I want now. Let’s get the things straight as soon as possible.”
“Okay, here we go,” the agent stepped outside. “This is a pretty good neighborhood, I’ve heard. Many docs around here.”
“That sounds very good!” Noah felt immensely happy. He felt some of the burden he had been carrying for weeks disappear.
The agent just nodded. Noah was already calculating the things he had to do next. And as they descended the steps, Noah looked around. There were houses nearby and the house to his right was a large English style house with well-kept beautiful rose gardens and lawns and large trees. And just as they reached the ground, a car went past his gate and turned to the house he was watching.
For some unknown reason, he kept watching as the car halted just inside the gate and two girls got out of it and trotted towards the house. His eyes followed the strikingly similar girls as they walked nudging at each other. Then he turned in total astonishment and stared at the woman behind the wheel in the car as she called out to the girls. The voice was unmistakable.
“Hey, girls, I’ll be right back!” Selena called out. “Just get yourself warmed up.”
Then she reversed the car. Noah rushed past his agent and darted towards the gate and out to the roadside as Selena zoomed past him in her car. He caught a glance but she hadn’t seen him. Shoulders drooped, he came back to his agent.
“What was that about?” The agent frowned.
“Never mind,” Noah shrugged. “Just missed an old friend.”
“It’s okay, she’s your neighbor anyway.” The man closed the subject. “There’s time to catch up.”
Yes, time to catch up. Time to make up. And a lot to do so. Noah looked up at the sky. What are you playing at, God? He couldn’t stop smiling.

(To be continued...)

Chapter Two (Contd.)
Chapter Two
Chapter One
Introduction to Amidst Sandcastles

COMING UP NEXT!
Selena’s heart hammered madly and her hand quivered. Her lips trembled when she talked.
“I don’t want to talk to you, Noah Sehnor, about anything,” she said trying to calm her voice, but she knew it wouldn’t help her, Noah would sense it. He had that psychic quality about him when it came to her. “Don’t contact me again.”
Noah gritted his teeth trying to bite down the temper that rose suddenly.
“What are you running from, Selena?” he snapped. “What the hell are you running from?”
“You know from what, only you know that!” she said angrily. “I won’t entertain someone steaming at me at this hour.”
“Do you know what a second chance is?” Noah asked ignoring what she told.
Did you?” Selena’s question was quick and Noah noted the past tense in it.

Tags

Amidst, Amidst Sandcastles, Chapter, Chapter Three, Contemporary, Fiction, Noah, Novel, Sana Rose, Sandcastles, Selena

Meet the author

author avatar Sana Rose
A medical student with a love story with the pen since I was thirteen. Published poet at 22 and has completed a second collection and my first novel. Visit me at: www.sanarose.com

Share this page

moderator johnnydod moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Buzz
4th Sep 2011 (#)

Superbly grand work you've been doing, Sana Rose. The plot thickens...

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sana Rose
4th Sep 2011 (#)

Thanks for racing with me, Buzz! :) Am truly encouraged! Thanks a lot!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
5th Sep 2011 (#)

Sana, I am really enjoying reading your story and I must admit I am trying to figure out the ending way before you have finished! :)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sana Rose
6th Sep 2011 (#)

Lol, Wayne.. :) am glad you are enjoying it! Thanks a lot!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Songbird B
3rd Oct 2011 (#)

Still following, Sana..The plot thickens indeed!

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password