The Last Letter - Cover

The Last Letter

by Susan Jazz

Copyright© 2023 by Susan Jazz

Romance Story: Write a story framed by a single scene: something happens, a flashback or inner monologue intervenes, and then the story ends with the rest of the original scene.

Tags: Romance   Tear Jerker  

Amelia, in her late twenties, carries an air of quiet introspection, perhaps inherited from her grandmother, Eleanor. Her features blend delicate and robust lines, suggesting a resilience born of gentle strength. She has soft, brown eyes that seem to reflect a depth of emotion and understanding, often giving her an appearance of being lost in thought.

Her hair, a rich chestnut brown, often falls in loose waves around her shoulders, framing her face in a way that adds to her thoughtful demeanor. Amelia’s style is simple yet elegant, favoring comfort over fashion, often seen in soft sweaters and well-worn jeans that speak of a preference for the familiar and sentimental.

There’s a gracefulness in Amelia’s movements, reminiscent of her grandmother’s poise. This grace is most apparent when she’s engrossed in her passions, which include reading, gardening, and exploring the nooks and crannies of her family home. Her hands, often stained with ink or soil, tell a story of a life lived with gentle curiosity and a love for the tactile experiences of the world.

Amelia is not one to dominate conversations, but when she speaks, her voice carries a warmth and sincerity that draws people in. There’s a sense of empathy and wisdom in her words, suggesting a person who listens deeply and thinks carefully before speaking.

Despite her quiet nature, there’s a resilience in Amelia, a capability to face challenges with a calm determination. This inner strength becomes more apparent in moments of difficulty, revealing a person who, much like the old journal she cherishes, holds layers of stories and emotions beneath a serene exterior.

Amelia stood in the attic of her ancestral home, light filtering through the dusty windows. Her eyes were fixed on an old, leather-bound journal, its pages yellowed with age. As she reached out to open it, her hand trembled slightly, stirring the dust into a dance in the beams of light.

The journal opened to a page marked by a faded ribbon, and Amelia’s eyes fell upon a conversation transcribed in her grandmother Eleanor’s elegant handwriting. It was a memory, captured in ink, of a flirtatious exchange between Eleanor and James, dating back to their days in Paris.

Eleanor had written:

“James leaned against the sun-warmed stone of the café, a teasing glint in his green eyes. ‘So, Mademoiselle Eleanor,’ he began, his voice laced with playful curiosity, ‘what brings a rose such as yourself to the city of lights?’ I felt a blush warm my cheeks. ‘A rose, Mr. James? I believe you find me more a daisy - simple and unassuming.’ His laugh was light, charming. ‘Ah, but even a daisy has depths you cannot see at first glance. Paris, it reveals what the heart truly seeks.’ I took a sip of my coffee, considering his words. ‘And what does Paris reveal about you, James?’ He looked off into the bustling street, his expression turning thoughtful. ‘Perhaps I am a dreamer in search of a dream.’ ‘And have you found it?’ I asked.

He turned his gaze back to me, intense and full of meaning. ‘I believe I am looking right at it.’ I felt my heart skip a beat, caught in the earnestness of his gaze.”

Amelia closed the journal gently, a soft smile touching her lips. The words painted a vivid picture of a love story that was as enchanting as it was poignant. In the quiet of the attic, surrounded by whispers of the past, Amelia felt a deep connection to her grandmother, understanding more than ever the depth of emotion that had shaped her life.

Amelia was back in the same attic, but everything was different – cleaner, newer. She was just ten, her feet pattering softly on the wooden floor, her laughter faintly echoing as she hid from her elder brother in their game of hide-and-seek. Amidst boxes and old furniture, she stumbled upon the same journal, its leather cover slightly less worn, its pages less yellowed.

Curiosity piqued, young Amelia opened the journal to a random page, revealing her grandmother Eleanor’s elegant handwriting. Even as a child, Amelia was struck by the beauty of the script, the way the words flowed across the page like a secret stream of thoughts and memories.

On this particular page, Eleanor had detailed a flirtatious exchange with James, one that shimmered with the excitement of newfound affection:

“I recall the day,” Eleanor had written, “when James visited our Parisian estate. I was in the garden, lost in the fragrance of the roses. He approached with that confident stride, a mischievous smile on his lips.

‘Eleanor, do you always hide among the roses, or is it just when you wish to avoid company?’ he asked, his voice teasingly.

I stood up, brushing a stray lock of hair from my face. ‘On the contrary, Mr. James, I find roses excellent company. They are beautiful, and, more importantly, they know how to be silent.’ He chuckled, leaning casually against the garden wall. ‘Ah, but do they know how to listen as well as you do, Mademoiselle Eleanor?’ I couldn’t help but smile at his flattery. ‘Perhaps they listen too well. They might even learn a thing or two about charm from you.’ He took a step closer, his gaze intent. ‘And what about you, Eleanor? What might you learn from the roses?’ ‘Perhaps,’ I said, meeting his gaze, ‘to be cautious of the thorns.’ James laughed, a sound that warmed the air between us. ‘Then I shall endeavor to be a rose without thorns for you, Eleanor.’”

Young Amelia, her eyes wide with the magic of the story unfolding in her hands, felt excitement. She didn’t fully understand the dance of flirtation between her grandmother and this mysterious James, but she sensed the affection and playfulness in their words.

She carefully closed the journal, her heart full of wonder. Eleanor, her grandmother, was no longer just a figure of grace and mystery but a woman who had once lived a story as enchanting and romantic as the fairy tales Amelia cherished.

Eleanor, Amelia’s grandmother, was a woman who seemed to embody the grace and elegance of a bygone era. In her youth, during the mid-20th century, she possessed a striking and understated beauty. Her eyes, a deep and vivid blue, sparkled with intelligence and a hint of mischief, often leaving those she met captivated by her gaze.

Eleanor’s hair, a lustrous dark brown with natural waves, was usually styled in a way that complimented her poised and dignified presence. Her fashion sense was impeccable, favoring the classic styles of her time - A-line dresses, fitted blouses, and pearls that added just the right touch of sophistication.

She moved through the world with an effortless grace, each gesture and word carefully chosen, reflecting her upbringing in a world where manners and etiquette were highly valued. Eleanor’s voice had a melodic quality, capable of soothing or easily commanding a room.

Beyond her external elegance, Eleanor possessed a profoundly compassionate and loving heart. She was known for her wisdom and a sense of quiet strength. Her family and friends often turned to her for advice, drawn by her insightful perspectives on life’s complexities.

However, Eleanor’s life was tinged with unfulfilled longing, a remnant of her lost love. This aspect of her character was often hidden behind a composed exterior, but those who knew her well could sometimes glimpse it in her more reflective moments.

In her later years, Eleanor’s beauty transformed, her face gaining gentle lines that spoke of a fully lived life with its joys and hidden sorrows. She remained a figure of respect and love within her family, her legacy continuing to influence and inspire long after her time.

Eleanor’s entries in the journal chronicled a love story that was as passionate as it was forbidden. The name ‘James’ appeared frequently, each mention woven with a tone of deep longing and affection. After stumbled upon these entries years later, Amelia remembered a day when she had asked her grandmother about James. All she had received in response was a wistful smile and a swift change of subject, a silent acknowledgment of a chapter long closed yet never forgotten.

One particular entry in Eleanor’s journal caught Amelia’s attention. It detailed a covert meeting between Eleanor and James, a moment charged with the thrill of forbidden love:

“It was a late evening in Paris,” Eleanor wrote, “the sky a tapestry of twilight blues and purples. James had managed to steal away from his obligations to meet me in the secluded gardens of Luxembourg. The anticipation fluttered in my heart as I waited like a caged bird.

Suddenly, there he was, emerging from the shadows. ‘You look like a vision under the moonlight, Eleanor,’ he said, his voice barely above a whisper.

I felt my cheeks flush with a mix of joy and nervousness. ‘And you look like a man who might get us both into a world of trouble,’ I teased.

His laughter was soft, a sound that sent shivers down my spine. ‘For you, Eleanor, I would brave any storm, cross any ocean.’ ‘Be careful, James,’ I replied, my heart racing. ‘Promises made under the moon are dangerously easy to make.’ He stepped closer, his presence overwhelming. ‘And yet, I find myself wanting to make them. Tell me, Eleanor, is it the same for you?’ I looked into his eyes, seeing the earnestness and longing reflected in them. ‘It is, James. Every word, every glance, every moment with you – it’s like I’m living a dream I never want to wake from.’ He reached out, his fingers gently brushing against my hand. ‘Then let us dream a little longer, my dear Eleanor, even if dawn may find us apart.’”

As Amelia read these words, she could almost hear her grandmother’s voice, feel the bittersweet tang of a love that was as deep as it was doomed. It was a window into Eleanor’s heart, revealing the depth of a romance that had shaped her grandmother’s life in ways Amelia was only beginning to understand.

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