Marrying the sheikh, p.8
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       Marrying The Sheikh, p.8

         Part #1 of The Sheikh Wants A Wife series by Holly Rayner
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  The next morning Ella awoke to see that the weather was beautiful and perfect for the road trip to Rhode Island. She made her way out of the city just before gridlock set in and was on I-95 in no time. She rolled down the windows and breathed in the fresh ocean air, letting it play with her long brown hair.

  Puffy white clouds hung lazily in the sky as if beckoning her to come to the shore and relax. The sun was warm and inviting and the temperature unseasonably warm. She arrived at the cottage just before noon after stopping in New Haven for a quick bite.

  “You’re here!” Ella’s mother ran down the creaky wooden steps of the little cottage and out on the strip of lawn to greet Ella.

  “Hi Mom,” Ella said, stretching her body out of the car to a standing position.

  Maggie threw her arms around her daughter while Ed, Ella’s father, reached in the backseat and grabbed her bag for her.

  “Hello sweetie,” he said, wrapping a strong arm around her and pulling her close. She held onto him, feeling safe and secure from the world’s hurts in her father’s arms.

  “Hi Daddy,” she said as he planted a kiss on her messy hair.

  “I’m so glad you decided to come,” Maggie said, fussing with Ella as she hugged her all the way into the tiny cottage. She led her daughter straight into the kitchen where she had sandwiches and a pitcher of lemonade waiting.

  “Here, we’ll sit outside, eat and catch up.” Maggie smiled and piled the food on a tray.

  Ella looked at her mother with nothing but love. Her father glanced over at her again, smiling in a way that said he was glad his baby was home, before disappearing upstairs with Ella’s luggage.

  Ella joined her mother on the small front porch. Sitting in a yellow Adirondack chair, she looked out at the ocean and closed her eyes, breathing in the delicious salty air.

  “So, you must be starving!” Maggie began doling out sandwiches and pouring lemonade.

  Ella wasn’t hungry at all, but knew better than to directly refuse her mother’s food. “Actually, I stopped in New Haven,” she said slowly, as her mother froze and stared at her. “But the food wasn’t that good,” she continued, knowing exactly what her mother needed to hear.

  “I thought so,” Maggie laughed. “Besides, why on earth would you stop when you knew I'd be making lunch?”

  “I needed to use the bathroom. And then I remembered that I forgot to have breakfast.”

  “Oh, you city girls. Too busy to keep to a regular schedule,” Maggie shook her head as she bit into her sandwich. “You’re practically just skin and bones now, you know.”

  Ella laughed and looked down at her ample thighs. She thought of all the rail-thin brides she had worked with and the thousands of skinny women she passed every day on the streets of New York. “Yep,” she said, too tired to argue with her mom. “Just skin and bones!”

  The two women chatted as they ate. Maggie knew that the move from wedding planner to baby shower planner had happened for a reason, but she also knew her daughter would tell when she was ready, and not a moment sooner. She was just grateful that Ella had decided to come home to clear her head from whatever was muddling it all up.

  “Well,” Maggie said patting her daughter on the shoulder as stood up to clear the dishes. “We’re just so glad you’re here with us for a little while.”

  Ella smiled at her mother and stretched out in the chair. She closed her eyes and listened as the ocean broke against the rocky shore while the gulls called out overhead. There was nothing like the New England shore and Ella was glad to back home.

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