Sunday, September 4, 2011

Laura's Dream - chapter four

Laura's Dream
chapter four

Laura worked hard that evening, taking orders, mixing drinks, chatting to the diners as they enjoyed their evening meals.  Every time there was a lull in orders or work to be done, her mind wandered back to Sean Fenton buying the restaurant.  Finally the evening ended and the restaurant closed.  This time Pedro himself made two mojacars and sat down with Laura to talk.
“When did Sean Fenton approach you about selling?” Laura asked the question she had begun to wonder once her mind had gotten over the initial shock.
“His assistant came here a couple of weeks ago with his proposal on paper.  I only met Senor Fenton in person last night, although we had spoken on the phone a few times,” replied Pedro.
“And you’re sure you want to sell this place,” Laura asked, still clinging to the last thread of hope that he would change his mind.
Pedro sighed, “At first, my reaction was much like yours, my dear Laura.  I have run this restaurant for so long, that I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to do anything else.  But once that seed was planted when I read the proposal, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. 
 He paused to sip his drink, then reached over to lay his hand over Laura’s, “ This past year you have helped me so much Laura,  I don’t think this restaurant would have survived without your support and hard work, and I have grown very comfortable with us working together. But you are like a daughter to me, and as any father would, I want to see you go out into the world and live the life you deserve, not stay here with me.  That fact helped me to reach the decision to sell this place.  It’s the best choice for both of us.”
“But Pedro, “I am ‘out in the world’ as you put it, I am living my life.  I moved to a different country and chose this life, and I’m happy with it,” Laura protested, “This is your restaurant Pedro, you must do what is right for you, I can manage fine, like you said, another job will be easy to find.”
“Laura, for the first time since Conchita passed away, I feel excited about the future.  I am going to live the dream she and I once shared together. Once I made the decision to sell and move on, I felt at peace with myself and my life.”
Laura shifted uncomfortably in her chair.  She knew Pedro felt he had her best interests at heart in telling her to move on, but much as she had told him of her mother, and she had mentioned briefly how she died, she had never told him, or anyone else what had caused the accident that had led to her sudden death.  She had never told anyone how she was to blame for what had happened and if Pedro knew that, he wouldn’t feel she deserved anything, let alone more than she already had.  Laura felt the tears prickling at the back of her eyes, and involuntarily reached for the small scar on her face, that would always serve as a reminder of that day.
            Pedro once again put his hand over hers on her cheek, then added his other hand to the opposite cheek so he was cradling her face in his worn old hands. “Laura you have to learn to forgive yourself for whatever mistakes you feel you made in your past.  From the moment you walked into my restaurant, I knew you would go a long way, in more ways than one.  You cannot change the past, but do not sacrifice your future to wallow in self pity. You must move on Laura.”  Pedro kissed her warmly on both her cheeks, then collected their empty glasses and walked back to the bar and through to the kitchen.
            The gentle sea breeze blew a strand of hair loose from Laura’s clip and she absently brushed it away from her face as she looked out into the blackness, broken only by the tiny dots of lights from several boats.  She smiled as the sight brought back a memory of the adventure week her mother had encouraged her to attend when she was 14 years old.  She and seven other students had stayed the week on a yacht, learning to sail, and navigate as they sailed up the English coast.  Each day they had gone onto shore to try a different activity, from windsurfing, to orienteering.  She had enjoyed herself so much that week, and made such firm friends.  Then every night she had fallen asleep to the gentle rocking of the boat on the water, dreaming of a life full of adventures such as those she experienced then.  Her mother was always the one to encourage her dreams.  Maybe she was being too harsh on herself.  Was Pedro right, was it self-pity she felt? She had never considered it that way. Guilt was the label she had assigned to her emotional state since the accident. Once again she found herself questioning what she had chosen to do.
            Finally Laura stood up and went to pick up her bag.  She found that Pedro had finished the last of the clearing up for the night and she could see from the light above that he had retired to the small apartment above the restaurant where he lived.  She collected her bag, took off the black heels she wore to work in and tucked them behind the bar.  She always kept a pair of flat sandals in her bag to change into after work. Heading down the steps onto the beach, Laura walked in the edge of the surf towards the bright lights of the hotel at the far end of the beach, and once more found her thoughts turning to Sean Fenton.
            Damn the man, she thought.  None of this would be happening if it wasn’t for him. Couldn’t he have found some other restaurant to buy?  And why did she have to be so attracted to him?  When she was around him she couldn’t even think straight let alone feel her usual self-confidence, yet she knew she wanted to be around him again, and as she drew nearer to the hotel, where she felt sure he must be staying, she couldn’t help but scan the faces of the guests sitting out on the flame-lit terrace jutting out onto the sand from the grand building.  Her heart seemed to stop beating as her eyes rested on the man she had been seeking. 
He was sitting alone with his sketchbook and a glass of beer.  He was wearing a white shirt; open at the collar to expose just a glimpse of that magnificent chest of his that was now permanently etched in her mind after seeing it on the beach during her morning run.  She felt her body responding to the mere sight and thought of him, and as she reached the hotel boundary, she stopped.  Should she go up and speak to him?  She had been quite rude to him earlier at the restaurant when she discovered his offer to Pedro, and she knew she ought to apologise.  But what if he didn’t want to see her?  He hadn’t reacted well to her earlier outburst.  No, she decided, she would apologise when he returned to the restaurant for his paperwork, and leave it at that.  He may have been attracted to her earlier, but this afternoon her had made it quite clear she was a just a waitress who he would financially compensate for her loss of income when he took over the restaurant.  Just another part of his business deal. 
She took one last look over at him, and just at that moment saw a striking red haired lady approach his table.  Laura could not tear her eyes away, as he stood, embraced the lady warmly and kissed her, before chivalrously holding out a chair for her, then signalling the waiter for more drinks.  The last thing she saw before she finally turned to walk home alone, was Sean showing his sketchbook to the beautiful redhead.  He probably had whole sketchbooks full of pictures he had drawn of the women he seduced.  She was just another page in his book.  Laura lifted her chin as she walked and tried to convince herself she didn’t care.  Pedro was wrong about a connection between her and Senor Fenton. There was no such thing, and never would be.

The story continues tomorrow....

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