It was a typical November day in Pine Point, Maine. Looking out over
the ocean, it was almost impossible to distinguish the steel gray sky from
the churning water beneath. As she pulled to the side of the road, Liz gazed
at the waves crashing against the rocky shore. To anyone else they would
have appeared cold, and frightening. To her they symbolized something
much more. They reminded her of childhood days spent with her
grandmother in the small cottage just outside of town. It was where she
was headed now...to begin the healing process and hopefully start a new
A mile up the coast a small boat braved the swirling waters as it
headed to shore. The lone figure inside seemed oblivious to the cold wind
whipping at him. His sheer bulk more than likely afforded him some
protection as well as the mask that he always wore when he made a rare
trip into the village. As he tied his boat up, Liz was just pulling into the
parking lot of the local market. She only planned on picking up a couple of
things..enough to get her through until morning, when she could plan a real
She stepped through the door and it was as though time stood still.
The shop was almost exactly as she had remembered it. She smiled softly
as she could almost hear her grandmother arguing with the shopkeeper
over yet another price raise. She was so lost in her thoughts that she never
heard the metallic tinkle of the bell above the door as he walked in. He
seemed to fill the store all by himself. He was 6’10’’ easily. Nobody had
ever been brave enough to ask him what he might weigh. but local lore had
him over 300 pounds.
Mr. Lambert, the shop keeper, a man of few words on a normal day,
was more quiet than usual when he entered. Instead of a cordial ‘’Good
Morning’’, he merely nodded and said one word, ‘’Kane.’’ She turned when
she heard his voice and their eyes met. Her first thought was. “Why is he
wearing that mask?’’ Her second was, “Those are the bluest eyes I’ve ever
seen.’’ She looked away quickly, not wanting him to think she was staring.
But he kept his eyes on her back as she continued to move about the store.
He thought he knew everybody in Pine Point. Hers was a new face....a very
pretty one...but new none the less.
“The usual?” Mr. Lambert asked him. He nodded silently, never
taking his eyes from her. Her hair was dark, and about shoulder length. She
was tall for a woman..5’7” was his guess. And underneath her bulky coat
he imagined a very slim figure. The shrill ring of the cash register quickly
brought him back to reality. He handed Mr. Lambert his money without a
word. The transaction had been made so many times, that it could have
been done in the dark. Kane reached down and picked up his package.
Turning to Mr. Lambert, he nodded and headed for the door. As he swung
it open, she turned and once more their eyes met..and for a brief second a
chill went through her. Almost as though he had seen straight into her soul.
He stepped outside and closed the door quietly, disappearing down
the foggy path to the craggy beach below. “Can I help you?” She turned
quickly to see the smiling face of Mr. Lambert. “You must be new around
here.” “Well, yes and no,” she said with a smile. “I used to spend my
summers here with my grandmother...Ada Huffman?” He smiled at the
mention of her name. “She and my father had quite a few arguments right
at this counter if I remember correctly.” “That was gram,” she said with a
laugh. “Charlie Lambert,” he said, extending his hand. “Liz Colson...I mean
Reilly,” she corrected herself. She had gone back to using her maiden
name, but every now and then she still slipped up. It was almost as though
Ray was reaching out from the grave to remind her that she would never
quite be free of him.
“Are you up here for a visit?” he asked. “No..I’m planning on making
it permanent.” “Oh? Will your husband be joining you?” The mention of him
still made her squirm uncomfortably. “No...he’s...we’re...I’m a widow,” she
finally managed to get out. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he offered. “I’m not,” she
thought. “It’ll sure be nice to see some life at your gram’s place again. I
know Tom Wilson has been looking after the place for you, but a house
needs people. She had to smile at what he was saying. She had almost
forgotten how basic everything was up here. It was exactly what she
“That man who was just in here...?” “Hmmm?” he said, not looking
up from making change. “Is he a local?” “Yep.” She stopped for a second,
remembering that New Englanders were very protective of their privacy. “I
was just wondering. I was hoping I’d remember some of the faces from my
childhood visits.” “You aren’t too likely to remember his,” he said. “He’s
lived in that lighthouse all of his life. “I don’t think he came over to the
mainland more than 5 times as a boy.”
She gazed out the window, remembering how she and her friends
used to call over whenever they saw him outside. They waved each time,
but he never waved back. When she was younger, she had often thought it
must be a very romantic life. But looking back on it, she now realized how
lonely he must have been. “So he still lives there?” “Yep, operates the
lighthouse now..just like his daddy used to.” Liz sensed that she had just
about gotten all of the information from Mr. Lambert that he intended to
give. And if she was going to settle here, the last thing she needed to do
was develop the reputation for being a snoop.
“Well, it was very nice to see you again, Mr. Lambert.” “It’s Charlie,”
he reminded her, holding out his hand once more. “Now don’t make
yourself a stranger.” “I won’t,” she promised. She went back to her car,
placing her purchases on the seat next to her. As she pulled out onto the
road, her eyes went immediately across the bay to the lighthouse. It stood
like a lonely sentinel, shrouded in the gray fog. It gave her a chill to think of
someone living there all alone.
As she rounded the final curve before he grandmother’s house, she
looked down towards the water, and she saw him. A solitary silouhette,
hunched against the biting wind. Even from this distance she could sense
his loneliness. As his small boat fought against the waves, she wondered if
she would ever get the chance to know him. As she pulled onto the gravel in
front of her grandmother’s house she suddenly realized what a clear view
she had of the lighthouse. She stepped out of her car just as he was
docking his boat. Almost as if on cue they turned and stared in each other’s
direction. A feeling went through her that she couldn’t explain. But she was
positive it had to do with him.
The next few days found her busy with making her grandmother’s
house livable once more. Tom Wilson had done the basic upkeep, but it
was still in desperate need of a top to bottom cleaning. Lucky for her, they
were treated to a stretch of very unseasonable weather. For the next week
each day dawned clear and dry...inspiring her to work harder than she ever
had. She was hauling yet another load to the trash when she stopped to
gaze across the water. She saw him walking along the base of the
lighthouse, examining something. Almost as though he sensed her, he
turned and looked at her.
She couldn’t be positive, but she was sure he wasn’t wearing the
mask. She chewed thoughtfully on her bottom lip, trying to imagine what
he might look like. In a split second decision, she smiled and raised her
hand in a small wave. To her surprise and delight, he lifted his hand
tentatively and returned the gesture. Brushing her hands on her jeans she
walked back into the house, amazed that she had been able to elicit the
response from him that she had tried in vain for as a child.
Standing in the shadow of the lighthouse, he wondered exactly what
had made him return the wave. But he could still remember the way her
eyes had watched him in Lambert’s store. Not with fear or revulsion, but
with interest....and kindness. He shook his head and continued with his
inspection. “Too many years alone,’ he thought. “She’s probably the same
as anyone else. Friendly on the surface...cold and manipulating
underneath.” Still, there was a part of him that wanted the former to be
Not a day went by when she didn’t find herself gazing across the cold
waves, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. On more than one occasion he
actually waved to her first, sending a happy little thrill through her. The
week before Thanksgiving she decided that she need to make some small
repairs if she was going to make it through the holidays. She put on her
winter jacket and headed into town and the local hardware store. As she
stepped through the door, it was like time stood still. It was just as she
She was smiling at the memory when she heard a voice behind her.
“Something I can help you with?” She turned and found herself staring into
a pair of cool blue eyes. He was smiling at her, but there wasn’t a hint of
warmth there. He studied her carefully. “You must be Liz,” he finally said.
“That’s right,” she said in surprise, before she remembered how quickly
news travels in a small town. “Steve Austin,” he said, holding out his hand.
“Steve?” she repeated. “Yeah,” he replied. “That’s what I said.” “You don’t
remember me do you? I’m Liz.....Lizzie Reilly. I used to spend summer’s
here when I was a kid.” He looked for a few more seconds and then the
light of recognition dawned.
“Well... how are you?” he asked. “I’m fine. About to become a
permanent resident.” “So I hear,” he said. His attitude seemed friendly
enough, but she couldn’t help noticing how his eyes kept traveling up and
down her body. ."So, you looking for anything in particular?" She smiled and
reached into the pocket of her jeans, taking out a list. "I figured I had to
start somewhere." Laughing, he took the paper from her hand, and
proceeded to find what she needed. She was looking at the paint display,
debating whether or not to change the color of her bedroom, when he
walked in. She didn't see him at first. All she heard was the heavy thump of
his footsteps as he crossed the floor. He stopped at the end of the aisle
when he saw her. Their eyes met and she was once more taken in by their
captivating light. "Hi," she said softly, giving him a tentative smile. He
studied her for a second, as if trying to judge whether or not the
friendliness of her greeting was sincere. "Hello." Her heart almost skipped a
beat at the sound of his voice. It was a cross between a whisper and a
growl. She could almost imagine that voice whispering in her ear, and the
thought sent a chill up her spine. "I guess your boat ride was a lot easier
today." He merely nodded his head, as he turned to seek out the owner.
Steve returned from the store room and she could see him hesitate
for just a second when he saw Kane standing there. 'Hey Kane," he said
quickly. "I have your package in the back." "No rush." Kane rumbled,
seemingly content to stand there and watch her. Steve looked back and
forth between them, unsure of exactly what was passing between the two
people. "Have you two met?" he asked. "In a way," she said with a smile. “Liz
Reilly," she said with a smile as she held out her hand. Kane looked down at
it, debating with himself. Finally he extended his hand and enclosed hers.
The shock of his warm skin against hers sent a warm wave through her that
seemed to travel to the tips of every extremity. Liz was almost
embarrassed, certain that both men could see how she felt. She looked up
at Kane but his eyes were riveted to their hands. She would have been in
shock if she had known that the same feelings were flowing through him.
He finally released her hand, sighing softly. "Liz is moving into her
grandmother's house..the old Huffman place," Steve offered. "I know," Kane
said. It was only two words. But there was more emotion there than anyone
could have imagined. She glanced up at Steve and she could tell that he
was visibly uncomfortable to be around Kane. "I'll go get your package," he
stammered, rushing from behind the counter. Kane's eyes followed him and
Liz was shocked to see how dark and angry his eyes were now. Steve came
back out and handed Kane his package. Without a word, Kane paid him and
turned to leave. He stopped at the door and glanced back at her. "It was a
pleasure to meet you," he said. "Same here," she replied, smiling once
more. He lingered briefly and then disappeared out the door.
Liz turned back to Steve and heard him release a sigh of relief. "That
man scares the hell out of me," he said. Liz tilted her head in confusion. "He
does? Why?" "Are you telling me that the mask doesn't freak you out..even
just a little?" "I'll admit, I'm curious. But he seems more sad than scary. Tell
me..why does he wear it?" Steve tried to busy himself as he spoke, but Liz
could see how unnerved he had been by Kane's presence. He was in a fire
when we were teenagers. Guess it scarred him pretty badly. Half of his
house burned down. Both of his parents were killed." "How awful," she
whispered. "Is there anything else you need? he asked brightly, doing
whatever he could to change the subject. "No..that's all she said, her gaze
traveling to the door.
"For what it's worth. He seems content enough," Steve said. "He runs
the lighthouse and...." "You think he's content?" she asked. She shook her
head as she picked up her bag. "He seems sad and lonely to me." She slung
her purse over her other shoulder and smiled. "Thanks for your help." "It
was my pleasure," he said. "Come back anytime."
Liz stepped into the clear, cool air and her gaze went immediately
out onto the water. She spotted him almost instantly, his boat gliding
effortlessly through the relatively calm water. “Liz?” She turned at the
sound of her name and an immediate smile crossed her face. “Luci?” she
cried. “Yep, it’s me,” she said with a sunny smile. Liz looked around and
finally dropped her packages on a nearby car. The two women hugged each
other, laughing happily. “I couldn’t believe it when Charlie Lambert told
me. Is it true? Are you here for good?” “I sure am,” she said.
She and Luci had been dubbed the “partners in crime” when they
were kids. You never saw one without the other. “So how’s that husband of
yours?” Liz asked. “Dave is fine,” she said. “We were sorry to hear about
Ray.” Liz just nodded, not wanting the discussion to turn to him. Liz took a
quick peek at the lighthouse and Luci followed her gaze. “I though t I saw
him come out of Steve’s. Did you meet the mystery man?” she laughed.
“Actually I did. We even spoke.” “Wow,” Luci said. “I’m impressed. Kane
never talks to anybody.” “Well he spoke to me..and to Steve.....well barely
anyway.” “Well that’s no surprise.” Luci said. “As far as Kane is concerned,
Steve is the last person on earth he would ever be friendly with. “Oh really?
Why?” “Honey, it’s a very long story. In fact you and I have years of long
stories to catch up on.”
“You’re telling me,” Liz said. “Hey. Why don’t you come back to my
place for lunch?” It’s kind of a mess. But I do have food.” “I’d love to,” Luci
said. “The kids are in school, so I’m free as a bird.”
Steve stood and watched as the two cars pulled out of his lot and
followed each other back down the road. “There goes Luci, ready to shoot
off her big mouth again,” he thought. “Maybe, if I’m lucky, Liz won’t buy
her “theory.” He thought about that morning’s visit from Kane. For some
reason he seemed more menacing than usual. “Something tells me, you
like our new neighbor. Well, don’t get your hopes up,” he said with a cruel
laugh. “I don’t think she’s into freaks.”
Luci sat at her kitchen table laughing about something that had
happened when they were ten. "I can't believe that you remember all this
stuff," Liz marveled. "Honey, looking back, those were the best summers of
our lives.” Liz, nodded silently, completely agreeing. Luci smiled when she
saw Liz take yet another quick glance out he window. "So, our mystery man
intrigues you, huh?" Liz turned back, her face a bright red. "I can't explain
it," she said. “Something about him....touches my heart." She picked up her
coffee cup and looked at her friend. "So, care to explain why I sensed all
that tension between Kane and Steve?"
Luci sighed and leaned her hand on her chin. "Do you remember
Stephanie Hunter?" she asked. "Oh yeah," Liz said, her face crinkling in
distaste. "She and Steve were joined at the hip all through high school,"
Luci said. "Kane never went to school with any of us. His mother taught him
at home. So we really never got to know him. Well, he was over here one
afternoon with his dad. They were waiting for a package at Lambert's store.
Well, Stephanie walks in, takes one look at him, and immediately goes into
major flirt overdrive. I have to admit, I didn't blame her. He was awfully
good looking. Well, the poor guy never knew what hit him. Before you know
it, she has him outside, sitting on the bench, holding her hand and sipping
sodas. Needless to say, word spreads through this town like wildfire.”
“The next thing you know, Steve is right up in Kane's face, accusing
him of moving in on his girl. Now poor Kane is totally in the dark about
those two, so he has no idea what to say. He ends up going back to the
lighthouse with his dad and that was the last anyone saw of him for
months. You see, Steve may have run him off, but Stephanie couldn't seem
to stop talking about him. Apparently he had quite an effect on her. Well,
the more she talked about him, the angrier Steve became. And we all know
he isn't the most stable person to start with. All of Stephanie's talk just
pushed him over the edge. So one night he and his stupid buddy, Rob,
decided to sneak over to the lighthouse, to..teach Kane a lesson. Well I
guess something went terribly wrong, because the next thing you know, the
house attached to the lighthouse is in flames. Needless to say, by the time
anyone was able to get over there and help, half of the house was gone and
both of Kane's parents were dead. They found him, badly burned.
Apparently, he was overcome by smoke, trying to save his parents."
Liz sat mesmerized, not able to believe what she was hearing. "And
you're telling me that Steve and Rob just got away with it?" Luci laughed
softly. "That's just it. Nobody could prove it was them. I'm sure that Steve
threatened Rob's very existence if he even breathed a word. But judging
from the way Kane acts whenever he's around Steve, I'd say he's pretty sure
that it was him. "So that's why he wears the mask?" Luci nodded. "It's a real
shame too. The few times I actually spoke to him....well, he was really nice.
Quiet, kind of shy..but very sweet." Liz lowered her eyes, afraid that if she
didn't, the tears would spill down her cheeks. "So...whatever happened to
Stephanie?" "Oh that's a good one," Luci said with a laugh. “She works in
Portland, in the local Wal-Mart. She gained 70 pounds, has three kids and
two ex-husbands. I guess there is a God."
"That’s some story." Liz whispered. "And you'll never convince me
that it isn't true," Luci said firmly. They sat a while longer and suddenly
Luci jumped up. "Oh my gosh, look at the time! My kids will be home any
minute. Listen," she began, grabbing her coat. "You are in no condition here
to be cooking anything for Thanksgiving. Why don't you come and spend it
with us?" "Oh I don't want to intrude," Liz said. "I never take no for an
answer,” Luci said with a grin. "Well, then you have to let me bring
something," Liz countered. "Do you bake?" "As a matter of fact, I do," she
replied. "Great. You can make the pies then. I usually just let Mrs. Smith do
it." "Mrs. Smith?" "You know," she laughed. "In your grocer's freezer?" "Liz
laughed and took her friends hand. "It's a deal. Three fresh baked pies
coming up." She walked her friend to the door and waved as she drove off.
Looking up she studied the upper windows of the lighthouse. She was sure
that Kane would be spending Thanksgiving alone. She wrapped her arms
around herself as a chill went through her. "Nobody deserves what
happened to you," she thought. "Nobody."
As she loaded her pies into the car she glanced quickly over at the
lighthouse. She knew better, but today for some reason, it looked totally
deserted. The thought of him in there alone, on a holiday devoted to family
and friends, tore at her heart. She suddenly made a mental note, that no
matter what, she was going to make sure that every time she saw him, she
would go out of her way to talk to him.
Across the small stretch of water he stood at the top window and
watched her drive off. A stab of jealousy traveled through him as he
thought of her sharing her day with someone else. Silently, he turned away
and headed back downstairs. He paused to switch on the small stereo in
his sitting room. The room filled with the soft sounds of a Beethoven
symphony...his father's favorite. He proceeded to the kitchen where he
checked on the dinner he was preparing. Every year he tried to duplicate
the meal his mother used to make for them. And every year he always fell
short. He knew what was missing..having someone to share it with. He
shook his head violently, trying to rid his mind of anything related to his
Days like this brought their memory back to him so clearly that he
could almost hear their voices in the next room. His mind suddenly turned
back to Liz. She was so open and friendly to him. "I guess nobody warned
her away from me yet," he thought. Still he almost smiled when he thought
about how warm and caring she had been..and not the least bothered by
that damn mask. He normally hated going into town, but lately the chance
that he might run into her had made him almost anxious for reasons to
make the journey through the icy waves.
He set the food on the table and sat down. Bowing his head he said
the quick prayer his mother had always insisted they say before each meal.
He quickly added a prayer for his parents, and after some thought, he
added a quick prayer for himself. "Dear lord, maybe...just maybe, you could
find it in your heart to let me have one person to call my friend." He looked
out the window and his gaze rested on her small cottage. "Just one friend,"
Several days later he was checking the windows in the lighthouse
when he found one that had quite a nasty crack in it. He smiled as he
poked at it with his finger. He wasn't seeing the work involved in fixing it.
He was seeing a chance to go to the mainland and possibly see her. He
quickly wrapped himself in his heavy wool pea coat and jumped into his
boat. He had no idea what he was going to do when he got over there, aside
from buying some new glass. But he'd make that decision when he had to.
Right now, the thought of being closer to her was all that he needed.
Liz was standing on a step stool, hanging the curtains she had finally
finished when she saw him. Without realizing it, a smile spread across her
face. Jumping down, she raced for her coat, leaving half the window
uncovered. She had no idea what excuse she was going to use for being in
town..but she didn't care. It was a chance to talk to him again.
As luck would have it they were both headed down Main Street at the
same time. They stopped in front of Steve's Store and looked at one
another. “Hello." he said quietly. She couldn't be sure, but she could have
sworn he was smiling. "Hi. Doing some shopping?" she asked. "Broken
window," he said pointing back towards the lighthouse. "And you?" he asked.
"The never ending repairs," she laughed. He pushed the door to the store
open and when Steve looked up and saw them come in together, his jaw
nearly hit the floor.
Kane immediately walked up to the counter to explain what kind of
glass he needed cut. Liz wandered over to the paint display to figure out
exactly what color she wanted the kitchen to be. She picked up to color
chips ad walked over to him. "What do you think? Yellow or blue?" He looked
down at her and his head tilted to one side. "You want my opinion?" "Sure,"
she said brightly. "I want to paint my kitchen. Should I make it yellow or
blue?" "Umm, yellow I think. It's brighter." "That's what I was thinking," she
said with a smile.
Steve came back out with the glass and smiled at her. "Painting
again?" Kane suddenly felt a cold anger rolling through him. He hated the
fact that this...man...thought he had the right to talk to her. "Yep," she
replied. "And thanks to Kane I finally decided on a color." She handed him
the chip. "One gallon please," she said with a grin. She turned to Kane, the
smile still on her lips. "Thanks for your help." "No problem," he said. "I just
wish I could decide that quickly where my own house is concerned." "Oh?"
Steve was busy mixing her paint, but he made sure he took in every
word they were saying. "It's been years since I painted anything over there,"
he said. "Most of my time is spent on the lighthouse. I think watching you
work so hard has inspired me. Now all I need to do is figure out where to
start." Steve was amazed. He hadn't heard Kane say that many words in all
the years he had known him. But as surprising as that was, the next words
he heard almost sent him through the floor.
"I'd be more than happy to help you," she offered. Kane felt a quick
leap in his heartbeat. "You would?" "Sure. To tell you the truth, I've always
wanted to see the lighthouse anyway." "That would be great," he said. "Just
let me know when might be a good time." "No time like the present," she
said, her eyes sparkling. For a moment, he was struck speechless. "Unless,
you're busy," she said, misreading his hesitation. "Oh, no. I just have to
repair this glass...but then I'm all yours." His eyes widened when he
realized exactly what he had said. But Liz just pretended not to notice. The
last thing she wanted to do was make him feel uncomfortable.
"Great, I can drop this paint off at my house and then we can be on
our way." She looked over to see if Steve was finished and was shocked to
see him staring at her angrily. "Anything else," he nearly barked. "Nope...not
a thing," she said. They each paid for their purchases and walked out the
door together, leaving a very confused and very irritated Steve, behind
"I'll go drop this off and meet you down at the dock," she said. "Ok..I'll
be waiting," he said. As he made his way down the stony path he marveled
at what had just transpired. It had taken him years to get up the courage to
talk to anyone but Charlie Lambert. Now suddenly he was inviting someone
to come into his home. But not just someone...her.