SNARKY RESPONSE: Unless we're talking about diamonds. Just ask Marilyn.
The pleasure of what we enjoy is lost by wanting more.
Today's fortune is very apropos to this the final section of BY TEARS BOUND.
BY TEARS BOUND
His last kiss still warm on her lips, Annaree watched Erskine stride away from the village toward the cliffs. He stopped at the edge where the cliff trail dropped below the horizon to wave before he turned to start down to the beach.
She stood staring long after he disappeared below the horizon, imagining his path down to the pocket beach, to the cave and to the discovery of his missing pelt. She imagined his anger at her betrayal. She had tried not to fall into the trap, but it had closed around her heart just as it did for every man or woman who had loved a selkie.
Unbidden images of their life before and after this morning rose in her mind. The fading of shared laughter into the silence of betrayal, the passion that drew him to her turning to a desperate passion to return to the sea. What had possessed her? She had thrown it all away.
Knowing the realization came far too late, she drew a shaky breath, slammed the door behind her and ran down the path toward the village.
Annaree burst into her best friend's house. "Maeve! Maeve! Where are you?"
Maeve poked her head around a doorway and frowned. "What's wrong?"
"Where is it?" Annaree demanded.
Maeve stepped into the room and jerked her chin toward a chest tucked under the front window. "Not to worry," she said, wiping her hands on her apron. "I've got it safe and sound in there."
Annaree threw herself to her knees and yanked the chest open. For a moment, she stared down at the seal pelt, the reality of what she had done catching at her heart.
"'Twas right where you said it'd be," Maeve said, unaware of Annaree's distress. "Had a real time getting it in that storm."
Annaree gathered the pelt into her arms and rose to her feet. "I can't. 'Twas a mistake. I can't trap him this way."
Maeve reached out a hand as if to hold Annaree back, but stopped, hazel eyes clouding in sympathy. "Even if you give it back, he'll never forgive you."
"He'll understand. He has to understand. He has to." Annaree's voice cracked against the truth reflected in Maeve's eyes. She shook her head, spun and raced out the door.
Oblivious to the surprised looks and shouted questions, Annaree ran through the village, her arms straining to hold the pelt. But she refused to stop; she could not spare the time.
The village disappeared behind a curve in the cliffs and still she ran. Storm debris littered the beach beneath her feet--crushed shells, dead crabs, foam and driftwood. She stumbled and almost fell several times, but she did not stop running until she saw him standing on the sand, bareheaded, staring out at the sea.
She staggered to a halt at his side, gasping for breath, tears wet on her cheeks, and held out the pelt.
"I'm sorry," she said. He did not move or acknowledge her as her words tumbled over each other. "I don't know what I was thinking. No, that's a lie. I know exactly what I was thinking--I love you and I wanted you with me always. Not just on stormy nights or foggy days or whenever you show up, but every day."
She studied his profile--the high brow, the bold nose and the line of his jaw, tight now with anger. But he said nothing and she filled the silence with her attempt to explain.
"But when you left this morning, I knew I couldn't do it. I knew I couldn't trap you here. You're everything I asked for, but you're not mine. So, here--take it. I'm giving it back to you. Just please don't leave me."
Again, she held out the pelt and waited. He stood silent, so still he could have been carved from the cliff behind them.
The wind caught the tears that trickled down her cheek and tossed them into the waves. She felt each drop that left her skin. Just so had she cried the day she wove her spell and now she felt her tears unweaving it.
The man she had known as Erskine turned to look at her and she bit her lip. His eyes held no warmth for her, only a cold flatness that cut her to the core. Her arms sagged and the pelt slithered to the sand between them, a shimmering pile of brown.
He bent and scooped it up without hesitation, his silence eloquent, his face expressionless.
"Good-bye," she whispered to the stranger in front of her, then turned and walked away.
Do not cry into the sea, lassie
Let not your tears meet the waves.
For should the water of your eyes
Meet the waters of the sea
A selkie man will steal your heart from thee.
I hope you enjoyed BY TEARS BOUND. I'm sorry if you were expecting an HEA, but perhaps a future incarnation of the story will provide one. Maeve and Random Bay appear in my fantasy e-novella, The Festival of the Flowers: The Courtesan and The Scholar.
The poem that brackets the story leapt into my mind as I was researching selkies for this story. The Orkney Jar website spoke of the spell and Annaree's desire, dilemma, and disappointment were born. I just love research, don't you?
Sooo, do you agree or disagree that today's Fortune Cookie matches up?