~~~
Day’s Verse:
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,
He who pastures his flock among the lilies.”

Song of Solomon 6:3
~~~

Six Months Later

“Summer, call for you on line one.” Looking up from her computer monitor, Summer glanced at her phone. Sure enough, the red incoming call light blinked insistently.

“Thanks, Sarah,” Summer called to her half-assistant. “It’s probably Doug… Hello, this is Summer Robertson at The Seattle Times.”

“Hello, dearest, it’s Doug.” Her heart leaped to hear his voice, even though she’d heard it every day for months. The time she’d spent with him, snowshoeing in the Cascades, reading aloud, planning their garden plot for the spring and then planting it, jogging with Savannah, wandering museums as pretend tourists, seeing the sparkle of Pike Place Market at Christmas, sitting inside sipping hot chocolate on rainy days and talking, all brought Summer a deeper contentment than she ever could have imagined. And she knew without a doubt that this was the man she had been meant to love for life, a man who would day by day love her for who she was.

“Hi, dear. How goes the day?” A smile spread across Summer’s face as she doodled on a page, listening to his dear voice.

“Oh, the usual.” He paused, the sound of a keyboard coming faintly through to Summer. Then he said, “Oh! I heard today your old boss was fired. Sexual harassment charges.” She could hear the glee in his voice. “So I guess there’s some justice in the world, anyway.”

“Thank goodness, yes,” Summer agreed. She hadn’t heard from Chastity or Hunter in the last six months, and their silence had not bothered Summer in the least; she only wished she could have wasted less time with Hunter.

“So—lunch today?” came Doug’s inevitable invitation. “I’m thinking somewhere nice, maybe somewhere on the waterfront. We could make an afternoon of it. Can you spare the extra time off?”

“Sure,” Summer told him, the prospect of her day brightening considerably at his suggestion. “I’ve probably accumulated enough vacation hours to take an afternoon off. Besides, my boss is flexible.”

“Great, I’ll come get you then.” He routinely picked her up for their lunches out, even though Summer had regained her lost car in the more than generous settlement Rodney Persimmon had finagled from Lance and McCab & Bain. Good thing Washington was a community property state; Summer had won half of what she and Lance had owned during their marriage, more than enough for her to live comfortably on.

Fifteen minutes later, Sarah stuck her head around Summer’s door. “Front desk just called. Doug’s here. I’ve got some other stuff to do for the other investigators, so unless you’ve got anything important…?” Summer shook her head and gathered her work—she almost always brought work home, but then, this job as an investigative journalist was a joy to do any time—and swept her coat on.

“I’m out of the office for the rest of the day, Sarah,” she said. “Call my cell if there’s anything desperately important.”

“Will do. Have a good afternoon,” Sarah told her departing boss’s back.

In the lobby, Summer rushed straight into Doug’s arms. He caught her up, kissing her thoroughly despite the secretary’s scandalized tisk. “I love you,” he whispered as he set her down, and Summer’s heart glowed.

They went to [fancy seafood place] where, to Summer’s surprise, Doug had already made a reservation for a secluded corner surrounded by windows. Nibbling on rolls, Summer’s cell phone rang.

“Yes?” she asked, annoyed. “Sarah I said important. It’s been half an hour.”

“I know, but I thought you’d want to cover this. Some guy just died base jumping off the Space Needle—parachute didn’t open. I thought since you were the obit writer at your last job, you might like to take this one.”

Summer’s breath caught in her throat, her eyes darting up to Doug’s calm gaze. “Do you have a name?”

“Hunter… something. Just got the call…”

A malicious grin spread across Summer’s face. “Oh, yes,” she told her assistant, surprise vying with deep satisfaction. “I definitely want to cover that. Give me some details…”

* * *

Watching Summer arrange work the particulars out on her phone, Doug smiled. Their afternoon wouldn’t go as he planned, but that was fine with him. He loved to see Summer in her element, and she looked so natural doing her job, he couldn’t feel anything but happiness for her. She was so vibrant, so alive, so joyful, so much more successful than he would ever have imagined she could be six months ago. The change had done her good; now she often went out with friends from work in the evenings, meeting him to run at crazy hours—early or late.

He sipped his water, waiting. In his pocket, Doug could feel the diamond ring he would finally present to Summer at the end of lunch.

* * *

FATAL LEAP FROM SPACE NEEDLE

By Summer Robertson
Seattle Times staff reporter

Base jumping, in which the jumper leaps from cliffs, bridges, and buildings, is an adrenaline-junkie’s dream. “It’s living out the dream of flying everybody has,” says one experienced jumper who has asked to remain anonymous. Yet the activity, which has increased in popularity with extreme-sports fans, can take a high toll on participants.

Hunter [LastName], an assistant teacher at Cascadia Community College and resident of Bothell, is Washington’s the most recent base jumping casualty. On Tuesday at 12:17 pm, [LastName], aged 35, became the 7th person to jump from the Space Needle since its inception. His parachute failed to open due to a faulty pull cord. He was traveling at approximately 182 feet per second. [LastName] is the 105th base jumping-related fatality, according to Nick Di Giovanni, base jumping expert…

6 thoughts on “Romance Novel: Day 26: Epilogue

  1. Well done. DOA. Wow! This certainly wraps up the details. Would Summer actually have a “malicious grin” or would she be more likely to just feel a huge weight lifting from her? What was Hunter doing jumping in broad daylight from such a popular location? And, the engineering question, did Ian help you figure out the splat velocity?

    Re: restaurants – Canlis is the classic exorbitantly priced place to pop the question… or you could put them at Palisade, where Caitlyn worked… maybe there would even be a view from Palisade Restaurant to the Space Needle, so she could watch the flashing of the blue-and-red lights dancing and sparkling festively from Elliott Bay as emergency vehicles converged on the accident site. She & Doug could have been delayed as they drove to lunch since the Times Building is SE of the noodle and Palisade is NW of it.

    Heck, you could have had Doug & Summer’s wedding reception at the 100 foot level banquet rooms (where you attended Randy Ness’s wedding reception years ago) at the same time as Hunter’s jump… the wind could have whisked him against the windows, where Summer could see his agonized look as he realized he was going to die, and as he (a crescendo of music) recognized Summer and suddenly understood the mistake he had made in passing her by 6 months ago. Well. I guess that is why I am not writing these books!

  2. i like your mom’s ending. i like your ending too, but hers was shorter to read so i actually read the whole thing.

    sixty three thousand words.
    what are you going to do with all that free time now?

  3. I already made Charmin LaSoure, so I can’t do something that similar for Hunter. But that’s the kind of last name I’m looking for — something crazy and over the top.

  4. Don’t say the ring is for Summer. If there’s anything in this story that doesn’t need to be overt, that’s it.

    The dinner: do that place The Canal, where BCS prom was my (second) year.

    I don’t like how you played out the very end, too fragmented and we see too much actual activity for too little informational gain. We have eating scenes we don’t need and much of the information gets stuffed into internal monolog. Try to bring it into spoken word.

    I like the article but want Hunter to go through the roof of the EMP.

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