Submitted for the January 2020 #monthlyshortstorychallenge
“Yoohoo! Hello Lucian!” Ethel’s cheerful voice rang out, “Good morning! On your way to work, I see.”
“Yes ma’am,” Lucian replied with a nod and a gentlemanly tip of his hat.
“And a fine morning for it too,” he exclaimed as he walked briskly on.
Margie commented admiringly to her sister “Precisely ten minutes after nine! Why you could set your clock by that man.”
Lucian the owner and editor of the Newcrest Valley News was on his way to his office. Excluding his late wife’s garden and flowerbeds, the newsroom was his favorite place to be.
“Hello,” he called to Gracie as he entered the building. Gracie had come to him as an intern two years ago. Her bubbly attitude and good customer service skills soon made her an indispensable member of the team.
She was his girl Friday.
No one could write an obituary like Gracie.
Tate looked up from his desk and nodded a greeting to smiling Lucian as he passed by.
Tate has been the NVN reporter for five years now. Lucian is very fond of him.
A solid serious young man with a good head and a nose for news.
Lucian has high hopes that Tate will follow in his footsteps as editor and owner when he retires.
Lucian’s mind always went to Caroline whenever he thought of retirement.
The great love of his life had passed away six years ago.
Fondly he reflected how he and Caroline had met when he was a freshman in high school.
She was the new girl and as he walked into the lunchroom he saw her sitting alone. She was so sweet and pretty.
Mustering courage, he took his tray and sat down beside her.
He always laughs as he tells his joke “that it was love at first bite.”
He walked her home every day. She thought him so very gallant.
They would spend hours doing homework together, or go to the movies and school dances.
They were inseparable the entire four years of high school.
Everyone thought they were destined to be together.
But Lucian went off to college and after college, he moved to SanMyShuno to follow his dream of being an international journalist.
He started work at the Llamacorn Gazette and quickly worked his way from copy boy to reporter.
On the surface, it would seem that he was living his dream.
Looking back he realized how very empty his life was.
One Christmas he came home to see his parents and he bumped into Caroline.
When he saw her, his heart knew what was missing in his life.
Not long after that he moved back and started working for the local weekly newspaper. It was not a high-powered hard-hitting job like the one he had just left in SanMyShuno.
But it was gratifying work and it let him be close to his Caroline.
Soon they were married.
Lucian worked hard and when the owner editor decided to retire he offered to sell it to Lucian.
Lucian wasted no time and bought the paper.
He was the proud owner of the Newcrest Valley News!
He was very happy in this role of owner and editor. Quickly he earned a solid reputation in the town.
Everyone recognized he was a good man with a nose for news.
He told the truth.
Although he loved his work, what he liked best about his life was that every day he got home his Caroline.
She would be waiting for him as she tended her beloved garden.
They hoped to have children but none came.
For a while, they talked about adoption but it just never seemed to work out.
Lucien worried over the sadness in her eyes as she saw mothers with small children. She would always dismiss his concerns by telling him that she had him and that was enough for her.
The years passed quickly.
They were happy years for he and Caroline. As retirement neared they would spend many hours chatting about their golden years.
What they would or do where they would go.
But Caroline was robbed of her long-awaited golden years with her dear Lucian.
She was a benevolent woman so her passing has left a void many lives, but none so much as in Lucian.
He still a very contented man with a broad easy smile.
He feels fulfilled by his work both at the paper and in his community.
He’s very supported by good neighbors and wonderful employees.
But if one looked close enough one might see the unmistakable shades of melancholy in those dusty blue eyes, as his heart yearns to be with his Caroline.
Part one of three
I used a character development worksheet for Reedsy .. it was fab!
Gallery links and credits:
Lucian – X
NVN Staff (Gracie and Tate) X
NVN Newspaper Office X
Lucian & Caroline X
The Sisters (The Murkland Nanny Service) X
LlamaHorn Gazette by Eimjunknown X
Dated-Crick Cabana by Mmdrgntobldgrn X