Returning Pride

By: Jill Sanders

Chapter One

Overlooking the water, Iian watched as the waves crashed violently on the rocks below the cliffs. Winter was almost over, yet the cold seemed to hang in the air. Low dark clouds hovered over the dark horizon as mist clung all around him. The rain had stopped an hour earlier, leaving a lingering scent in the breeze that hit his face. This was his home; he belonged here and just knew it. He could see the lights from fishing boats, they were scattered along the shoreline. Though unable to hear, he knew fog horns would be sounding, signaling their warning of the jagged shore.

It had been over ten years since his accident, which had left him without his father, and without his hearing. The nightmares of that day still haunted him. He couldn’t remember all the details, but his memories played like a broken record in his head.

It took him almost a year to get over his physical wounds. Learning a new language had been hard for him, even harder on his brother and sister, Todd and Lacey. Sign language was now something he did without thinking. The pain of losing their father, however, had taken a lot longer for them to get over.

Their father had been the glue that had held their family together, after the loss of their mother at Iian’s birth. His father had worked hard at the restaurant that had been his parents’ dream, making enough to start his own business, Jordan Shipping, which Iian’s brother Todd now ran. After their father’s death, his sister Lacey had stepped in and taken over the role of holding everyone together.

After losing his hearing, Iian started noticing a few things happening to him. He noticed his eyesight, his sense of smell, and his taste had sharpened immensely. These enhancements had helped with his career as a chef, but lowered his ability to deal with other people.

He knew what everyone saw in him. He was tall, standing a little over six-and-a-half feet. He had been rail thin until about the ninth grade, when he’d hit his last growing spurt. He worked out regularly and since his youth had added to his bulk with lean muscles, which he was proud of. His dark hair and light crystal eyes were a family trait, as well as the small cleft in his chin.

As he pushed his hair out of his eyes, he stood on the small cliff and looked around. To his left, columns of smoke rose from houses in the small tight-knit community of Pride, Oregon. He could just make out the green roof of The Golden Oar, his restaurant, his life. The larger, old building sat on the waterfront, just off the main street in town. The place had been his sole focus since his accident. He’d been raised working in the kitchen or the dining halls, it had been in his blood. Handed down from several generations, now the place was his, coming to him on his twenty-fifth birthday. It was a good thing that cooking was in his blood, it just happened to be a bonus that it was his passion as well.

He could think of only one other thing he’d felt this way about, and he was wondering when she’d come back into town.

Allison was home, there was no doubt about it. She’d missed the old place; it had never looked so inviting. The house was dark except for the tall lamps on either side of the cement path that lead to the bright blue front door. The cool evening rain was washing the sidewalk and streets, making them shine and look new.

She remembered when her father was alive, the house had been in pristine shape. Shortly after his death, money was short and they had a harder time taking care of everything. Well, the house had been the last thing on their minds then.

The blue shutters on the windows still hung strong, they just needed some paint. Actually, the whole house could use a fresh coat, for that matter. The inside had always been kept in tip-top shape. Her mother had always been somewhat of a perfectionist, especially when it came to her house.

Thinking of her mother, she turned off her car and realized that she’d always had more of a partnership rather than a mother-daughter relationship. Especially after her sister, Abby, had died.

Taking a deep breath, she opened her car door and made a run for the front door through the pouring rain, her keys and overnight bag on-hand.

She had expected her mother to be asleep at this late hour; she’d left Los Angeles a little later than planned due to traffic, which had slowed her trip by a good two hours.