Coming Home


"Then you shouldn't be copying their product."

"Excuse me?"

"If you want to have a distinctive brand then going on field trips to the All-Inclusives is a waste of your time. You have shown me a great time this week. You're very good at showing people the 'real' Jamaica. You ought to build a brand based on that strength. Seriously, the Jamaican Diaspora would pay big money for what you have done for me this week. I'm thinking about buying property here on the island so that I can come back."

Andy froze. It was obvious that he didn't know what to think.

"Seriously, you would live here?"

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves! I could come here for Summer holidays, but I have a career that I can't abandon just like that."

"Okay," Andy smiled at her speculatively.

When he took her back to Sandals three days later to catch her bus back to the airport there was an awkward moment when he refused to accept her offer to pay for the entire rental of the car.

"You can pay for it when you come back," he said, simply.

"So how are you getting back to Portland?"

"I'll catch a bus back. I'll be there in three hours."

He kissed her forehead and slipped his card into her hand.

"Call me," he whispered before he turned and walked away without even looking back.

'Andy, where have you got to?' Nadine typed. 'I missed you last night. I miss you right now. Roll over and put your head on my shoulder and tell me what you're thinking! I want to feel your body and to listen to your heart beat.'

Their late night internet romance had blossomed immediately after she got home. She had e-mailed him to let him know that she had got home safely and he had been awake and responded immediately. It had been a pleasant chat and so they did it again the next evening and the next. It was now a habit that neither of them wanted to give up even eight months after her departure. Nadine had already booked her ticket to return to the island again during the summer, but this time she had made reservations at Andy's hotel.

'We're so cliché, Andy!' she typed. "A man and woman meet on holiday in Jamaica during the summer. We have fun! We have romance! She leaves for home! The romance continues long distance! She returns next summer and decides to stay with him for better or worse, in sickness or in health... etc... Do you believe that something as corny as that can work?'

'I do. I guess I was hoping that you did too.'

'Look, don't get me wrong, I've had the best time ever this year. I honestly do love you, but walking away from everything? Leaving my career behind? My life?'

'You know that you belong here! With me! I left everything behind nine years ago to settle in Jamaica and look at me now! I came here for my summer holiday and never left either! We could have a good life together, Nads! I have the hotel and you could have your own marketing firm. I wouldn't get in your way and I'd even hire you to promote my property for me. A genuine client! And when my friends see how well you've done for me they'd come on board too. I guarantee it!'

Nadine laughed out loud when she read this. She wanted to say 'yes', but the word kept sticking in her throat.

'Look, I'm not a saint, Nads. I missed you and so I rushed straight into the arms of a woman I know, but it wasn't as good as I remembered. I can't explain it, but you and me, we felt right. I have a dream for my life here and I kept seeing you in it. That has never happened to me before.'

Nadine looked at her screen. She remembered when Andy had told her about beginning an affair with an old friend. She remember how jealous she had been, but she had tried to stamp her feelings down, remembering that it was she who was reluctant to start anything permanent with him.

She remembered it all.

She picked up her phone and dialled the number that she knew by heart now. The hotel did beach weddings, didn't it? It was one of the features of the big All-Inclusives that Andy had chosen to retain. Nadine had decided. She was going to go get her man; she called Andy to tell him that she was coming home.

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