A historical drama set in England during the early 1900's. Our story follows the life of Charlotte (Lottie) Needham as she struggles to overcome a devastating loss while attempting to maintain a sense of optimism as she encounters her new reality on her journey to find happiness and her fairy-tale ending.
The house was unusually silent. Charlotte walked into the family dining room, to see her mother, father and sister Victoria waiting patiently at the table. The room was flooded with the morning sunlight, creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere, yet Charlotte felt on edge as she took her place at the table. Something wasn’t right, no one spoke, and her father, who usually read the paper aloud, had tucked it neatly away under his arm. The meal proceeded in silence, and Charlotte’s unease grew, all but destroying her appetite.
“Lovely morning,” Her mother spoke suddenly, breaking the uncomfortable silence.
“It is, isn’t it?” Her sister, Victoria chimed in, taking a sip of her tea.
“Don’t you think so, Charlotte?” Her father asked, clearing his throat.
Charlotte’s brow furrowed slightly. “I suppose.” She replied, looking out the window. Something definitely wasn’t right, yet she dared not to mention anything, for fear of what it might be. She gazed out the window, imagining herself in just two weeks time walking through the cottage gardens with her one true love, James.
James Crawford, a seemingly life-long friend of the family while also a naval officer, had been on leave for the past few months, and Charlotte’s heart ached for the times they’d had prior to his departure. He was a dashing man, especially so when clothed in his pearly white uniform. She sighed contently, her mind whirling with images of their pending reunion….
She arrives early at the dock, anxious to meet him. A swarm of women and families join not long after. The ship’s horn sounds in the distance as it comes into view on the horizon. Her heart races as it draws nearer, she can’t wait to see him. Slowly the boat arrives at the dock, taking what felt like an eternity to stop in the calm waters. Then, one by one, the officers descend….
“Charlotte?” Her mother’s voice was worried.
“Sorry.” Charlotte replied sheepishly as her fantasy faded away and she found herself once again in the presence of her family at the dining table, gazing at her untouched breakfast. She looked up just in time to notice her mother and father sharing a grave look, not putting forth the effort to hide the matching expression as it crept over their facial features. Charlotte couldn’t take the mystery any more, especially since it must have been severe to provoke such emotions in her parents. “What is it?” She blurted out, unable to restrain herself. Her mother’s stare at her father intensified, almost pleading. He calmly placed his hand over hers.
“She has a right to know.” He spoke softly, yet not so soft that Charlotte didn’t hear him. Tears filled her mother’s eyes, and Victoria looked down, pretending to ignore the twist the conversation had taken.
“What?” Charlotte demanded, her instincts cowering deep within her.
Her father sighed, and Charlotte recognized his expression, although it was a rare sight. Her heart quickened its pace, a soft rapid thundering within her being. “There’s been an accident,” He began, and her stomach dropped, she knew how this story would end.
“No.” The single syllable escaped her lips, a mere whisper around the emotions constricting her throat. Her father continued on, yet she struggled to hear him. She caught only small, faded echos: “Storm….shipwrecked…..badly wounded….too late….” Her mind brought her back to her fantasy, trying to escape reality.
She was at the dock again, watching as family members were reunited. Then a tall, handsome man, James descended the ramp onto the dock. “James!” She cried, pushing through the crowd. “James!” She never lost sight of him, he’d heard her and was just feet away.
“Charlotte!” He exclaimed, removing his hat and running towards her, his long stride closing the gap between them. He threw open his arms as she approached, waiting to embrace her. Yet she ran right through him, losing her balance and falling to the cold, damp ground….