The sun was beaming down, glistening like diamonds on the crystal-clear, blue water of the ocean and shimmering off the white sands of a quiet and secluded beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
It had long been Stevie’s get-away paradise, somewhere where she felt truly at peace with herself and where she was able to think clearly, without all of the distractions of her life in the public eye back in the city. This, in turn, made it one of the places where she felt most creative; lyrics would appear written in the sand and melodies would dance around her on the ocean breeze.
Stevie sat cross-legged on a soft, cashmere blanket beneath a large parasol, with her journal in her lap and a pen in her hand. Hidden behind her large sunglasses, she was able to remain relatively inconspicuous and unrecognised by anyone on the beach, much to her relief.
There were a few young couples spread out along the shoreline, each of them with their kids who were running around and squealing in delight at all of the wonders the beach had to offer. Stevie could not help but daydream of what could have been or what might have been, if only her life had taken a slightly different direction, which caused her to question what was really most important to her.
She was all of a sudden pulled from the depths of her idyllic subconscious at the sight of a tiny little girl, toddling unsteadily towards her across the sand with a huge smile on her face. The baby, with short golden curls and piercing blue eyes, must not have been any more than eighteen months old and still new to her feet, and Stevie chuckled at the sight of her.
In her over-excitement, the toddler abruptly lost her footing and fell onto the sand with a thud, before breaking out into a raucous cry.
She quickly looked around for any sign of the baby’s parents, but could see no one at all. As the little girl’s cries grew ever more distressed and with no sign of her parents, an overwhelming maternal instinct surged up inside of Stevie and she lunged forwards and swept the baby up off the sand and into her arms.
“Oh sweet girl! What’s the matter?” she cooed, balancing the baby on her hip and brushing the sand off her hands and out of her curls. “Did you fall over?”
The little girl sniffled and nodded her head sadly. Stevie brought the baby’s little hand up to her lips and placed a kiss on it.
“There! All better!” she chirped, smiling at the baby.
Suddenly, the little girl looked up at Stevie with wide-eyes of wonderment, as if Stevie’s kiss had been magic. The look on her face made Stevie giggle in delight and she bounced the baby on her hip a little.
The next thing she knew, she felt the little girl rest her head against her shoulder and reach out to take Stevie’s crescent moon necklace in her hand. What had shocked Stevie the most was just how natural it all felt to her.
Before she had any more time to revel in the little daydream she had suddenly found herself acting out, Stevie heard the sound of a name being called out from behind her. She spun around and saw a young woman jogging up to her across the sand.
“Alice!” she called out in relief, clocking eyes on the girl sat on Stevie’s hip. “There you are, you little rascal!”
The young woman smiled at Stevie and took the girl into her arms.
“How many times have I told you not to run away?” she said, checking to see if she was okay before looking back up at Stevie. “I am so sorry she bothered you!”
“Oh no, please, she was no bother at all!” Stevie smiled politely, watching as the baby rested her head against her mother’s shoulder and feeling a pang of jealousy course through her body.
“Thank you for looking after her!” the woman continued, peeking down beneath the parasol at Stevie’s blanket. “Are your kids around here somewhere too?”
Stevie’s breath hitched in her throat. It was as if someone had just stabbed her in the heart. She suddenly had to muster up all of her self-control to not just burst into tears in front of the poor young woman.
“No I – I don’t have kids…” Stevie said, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Oh… Oh, I’m sorry, I…”
It was evident that the younger woman instantly felt uncomfortable that she had obviously broached a sensitive topic, and so she tried her best to mend ways.
“You seem like you would make a wonderful mother,” she simply said, offering Stevie a small smile. “Thank you again! Say goodbye, Alice!”
“Buh-bye!” the little girl peeped.
Stevie waved and smiled widely as she watched them both walk away, if only to keep her lips closed for fear of the noise that would come out if she opened her mouth for even a second.
As she sat back down on her cashmere blanket, the space around her and her arms completely empty, that is when she knew what she really wanted.
A/N: I hope you're all enjoying this, more to come tomorrow!