Chasing Sunshine

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4 - Presence Felt But Not Seen

***


The video started with a dazzling shot of trees, plants and fields against the blue sky moving along as the car passed them by.

Shine’s voice can be heard from the background.

“Wow. I missed this place.”

Soon a huge house with three floors painted in different hues and mixes of browns and yellow came to view.

“There it is.” She said as the camera focused on the mansion. “Home sweet home.


***


Mr. & Mrs. Ted and Ann Malden opened the gate for James. They welcomed him with warm smiles and led him to the house.

The Malden home was nothing James has ever seen. It was a magnificent three-storey mansion built on top of a hill in the middle of a two-acre lot. The front yard had a wooden swing and a beautiful flower garden to the left and an intricate five-layer rock fountain and koi pond to the right.

James and the Maldens took 15 minutes to walk the length of their lawn before finally arriving at the front door.

The foyer was wide and its ceiling went as far as the highest level of the house with a tempered glass roof that shone natural light to the entrance of the house which held a couple of tea table sets, a wall-length mirror on one side and a lovely wooden console that displayed various picture frames of the family.

James stopped to look at one of them. He saw the couple Ted and Ann, two young women and a teenage boy.

"That's all of us. Me and Ted, you already know. That one with the glasses is our eldest daughter, Nicole. She lives with her husband and son next door." Ann said.

Next door meant a villa built on the main house's backyard, right beside their olympic-sized pool. The backyard also has a pathway that leads to a small hillside vineyard that the family personally maintains for leisure.

"This adorable boy is Dan, our youngest. He's a good boy when he's not bullying his sisters or wasting hours playing video games." She laughed. "You'll meet him later."

"And that... that's our Sunshine. I won't tell you much about her since you'll get the chance to know more about Shine yourself. She's your patient."

His patient.... That bit came to James as a surprise. The woman in the picture doesn't look like she needed his help. She didn't look sick at all. In fact, Miss Shine was the probably the prettiest girl James has ever seen.

The image he stared at was of a beautiful and vibrant young woman with long shiny black hair, sparkling brown eyes, a cute button nose, high cheekbones, a cleft chin and full cherry lips that curled up in the most radiant smile he has ever seen. James could not help but smile back at her.

Ann and Ted showed James the rest of the house as much as they could.

Every room amazed him more than the last. Overall, the Malden mansion was bright, cool and impressive.

"Are you ready to meet her?" Ann asked.

James nodded his head despite the roaring nervous heartbeat in his chest.

They went up to the second level of the house, where the TV room was, and stopped at the first door to their right.

Ann knocked but heard no response. The door was unlocked so she slowly turned the knob and found Shine napping on her bed.

James’s heart swelled when he saw her and his hand instinctively flew to his chest as he tried to calm his racing heart.

He watched Sunshine’s angelic face peacefully sleep, looking like she doesn't have anything to worry about in her life and he had an overwhelming longing to care for her and make her happy.

"I guess she's still tired from her flight. You two could meet later. Let's go and eat some snacks first then I'll show you to your room." Ann said as she quietly shut the door.

Just then, Shine woke up with a smile as she felt the presence of someone warm and new who she sensed was just around her but did not see.

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