Chapter Fourteen

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Cassidy placed a daisy atop the driftwood with care, pressing the stem against the smooth wood and taking a moment to brush her fingertips against the silken white petals which fanned in a perfect circle. The sun hadn't yet risen, and the town slumbered beneath their own Mount Olympus; the cliff that reached skyward towards the realm of Gods and loomed high above the township as though standing as a guardian and protector of all who dwelt there. The sky was clear, and the grass was damp with refreshing dew which clung to each blade and captured flecks of glittering silver within each sweet drop. She drew in a breath of crisp air and adjusted the camera hanging from her neck, finding that with this new weight she also felt a piece of herself returning, as if it had been hiding in the same box beneath her bed, just waiting for her to rediscover it and dust it off.

The Overhead Café wouldn't be open for hours, and the idea of some solitude on the deck appealed greatly to Cassidy. She wanted to watch the sun breach the horizon alone and feel the start of this new day all the way to her soul without intrusion. It'd been difficult for her to find a single solitary moment since her return to Whitstone Bay outside of the confines of the cottage, and this would prove to be a novel experience.

The town was silent but for the distant roll of waves as they clawed their way up the sand, rolling and churning, almost fearful of falling flat and glassy lest they never move again. The gulls roosted in the dark, nesting on rooftops with their wings spread over the backs of their young, loving them as deeply as any mother in those precious days before they were released to make their own way in the world. Cassidy had been poised to slip her headphones up onto her head but left them loose around her neck as she trod the cobblestones through the historic town, preferring the peace which surrounded her. Whitstone had its own song, and Cassidy could hear it in the wind during the twilight, whispering to her heart and reminding her just why it was she'd answered the call to come home.

Unburdened for one moment by the weight of her past, forgetting that she had ever been a foolish sixteen-year old girl who'd known nothing of her own feelings, Cassidy scaled the ramp to the deck of The Overhead Café and found it wonderfully deserted. The sun was yet to appear, and she pulled a chair to the railing so that she could be more comfortable while taking her shots of the moment as it occurred. Her heart thrummed in anticipation, like a little bird trapped behind her ribs, trilling joyously now it felt it might beat freely and soar toward the life it had always wanted.

Perhaps it was a little soon for Cassidy to think upon a long-forgotten dream of artistry and photography, but when she thought of the possibilities the camera presented to her, she couldn't help but remember the hours she'd spent constructing her portfolio, preparing for her interview. It was unlikely that she'd change the world before the summer was out, but if she could channel her energies into something that made her happy then it would be a great improvement on the past few years of her life.

Fire breached the horizon, rippling like a mirage over the water as the sun woke from its long slumber and crept into the sky. The golds, oranges and reds exploded through the dark, igniting the morning with promise and fire, passion and beauty. Cassidy marvelled at it through the lens, her elbows pushing down firmly against the rail so that she'd have a steady perch as she snapped the shutter and reeled off dozens of shots in sequence as it rose majestically into the sky, the light shimmering on the serene, distant waves.

While she had no desire to submerge herself in the ocean, Cassidy hadn't lost her appreciation for it. Water was a mirror which reflected both nature and emotion, able to convey all the turbulent shifts of the human heart. This powerful force was so often underestimated, and Cassidy had learned the hard way just how unforgiving it could be should someone disrespectful of it find themselves caught in its violent embrace.

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