Pauline and Leo had only just finished their breakfast and were about to decide how to spend the rest of their day, when they heard the doorbell.
“I’ll get it,” Pauline offered.
“Hurry back,” Leo blew her a playful kiss.
Pauline smiled to herself. She still couldn’t believe this was really her life. It was so…
“Aunt Yenn!” Pauline stopped in her tracks.
“Hi honey,” Yenn entered the room with a wide grin. “Ah, good old Newcrest!”
Yenn looked around the familiar room.
“Feels good to be home!”
“I had no idea you were coming back,” Pauline’s eyes followed her aunt. “Does this mean you’ve found love?”
“But of course,” Yenn nodded. “Lots of love! But enough about me. You’re engaged! And Peyton’s moved back to Windenburg… I’ve been gone for too long.”
“Not at all,” Pauline disagreed. “I did miss you, but you deserved having some time to focus on you. Not to mention, I’m doing just fine, as you can tell.”
“So, when can I meet your new man, aunt Yenn?”
“New man? I wouldn’t know about that,” Yenn smiled innocently.
“Wait, so you haven’t met anyone?”
“I’ve met lots of people. Made many new friends,” Yenn’s eyes sparkled.
“You should have stayed there longer!” Pauline interrupted.
“And miss your wedding? I don’t think so,” Yenn closed the discussion resolutely. “Speaking of which, where is Leo?”
“Right here,” Leo joined them, looking almost shy. “Good to see you, Yenn.”
“And you,” Yenn replied. “From what I’ve heard you’ve been making Pauline very happy.”
“I do try,” Leo smirked.
“Good,” Yenn said simply.
The three of them sat down to catch up, with Pauline recounting all about how her and Leo first got together, and the proposal. In return, Yenn told them about the connections she made, the gorgeous sunrises and the paintings she’d brought back with her.
Leo then left the ladies on their own, to give them a chance to properly enjoy their reunion.
Pauline observed her aunt. Seemed like she still danced with the same vigorous spark as before…
… still felt the same appreciation for life.
But even though she looked so happy, and Pauline couldn’t help but smile when looking at her, was she really satisfied with the outcome of her stay at the Freezer Bunny resort?
“I can hear you think,” Yenn looked at her niece. “What’s troubling you honey?”
“It’s just… why did you say you found love at the retreat, when there is no new love in your life?” Pauline asked awkwardly.
“But I have returned with love, Pauline,” Yenn shrugged. “New and old.”
“The love I feel for Cathy, who spent every moment worrying about our needs and our feelings, putting aside her own ones. The love I feel for Nate’s wisdom, Bradley’s jokes, Puma’s open-mindedness and Melany’s sweet disposition… If you’d told me how close I’d become with these strangers when I was your age, I wouldn’t have believed you. Me, a loner? Becoming friends with people who are not my family?”
Yenn tilted her head, pausing for a moment.
“But it’s not just the new love that I’ve brought with me. Being away has made me love this place and my family even more. Those who built Newcrest and are long gone. And you, who still have your future ahead of you. And being here to witness it all… What’s there to not love?”
Pauline listened to her aunt’s speech; “But… what about romance?”
“Romance is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?” Yenn agreed.
“All I need to do to see it is look at you and Leo,” Yenn added.
“But I was talking about you!”
“Ah, well it’s hard to focus on anyone else when I see the way you two look at each other,” Yenn chuckled.
Pauline sighed. “Fine, I give up. I get it. Romance is not for you.”
“I haven’t said that.”
She looked at the building with quiet appreciation. It warmed her heart she’d contributed to the town’s development with building a place that has seen generations get married. Even Pauline would soon join them, with her wedding set to take place here.
But it wasn’t thoughts of weddings that made Yenn come here. Or the pride she felt for the legacy. She walked past the graves of her ancestors with respect and appreciation, but she didn’t stop.
“Hi Ethan,” she sat down. “I know you’re not in there, but at least talking to your grave makes me seem a bit less crazy than talking to myself.”
“I do hope you can hear me, wherever you are. I have a lot to tell you about. Pauline wanted me to find romance again, imagine… what she doesn’t realise is that I’ve never lost it in the first place. The people I’ve met, they were wonderful. And there was one person I had a special bond with…”
“But he wasn’t you.”
For a brief moment, Yenn’s light left her face. She sat in silence.
At last, her lips curved into a smile again.
“See what you’ve done to me? Pauline thinks I’m not a romantic. But she couldn’t be more wrong. I’m more hopeless than you ever were.”
She laughed softly.
“Just you wait till we see each other again – I’ll have a thing or two to say about you making all of that soulmate talk of yours rub onto me!”