Not to be.

Belle flew into his arms as he rounded the corner of the house.
“Da, Da,” she wailed, “thank God you’re still here! “Come on, come with me right now,” she insisted, pulling hard on the sleeve of his jacket, “there’s not much time. I barely made it here.”
Gilbert held her tight, just as he’d done when she’d been upset as a little girl, feeling the warmth of her cheek against his, and the heaving of her chest. Then he held her off a little, hoping that he wouldn’t have to see that Belle, not for one minute, had abandoned the idea that he should go with her to Seal Island. Defying Cataclysm she’d come in person to take him to the boat.
“Let’s go, Da,” Belle insisted, pushing him towards her truck, which was standing with its engine running and the lights full on.
“Belle Isle is ready to sail, we’re loaded up. Tom and the rest of them are waitin’ for us. We’ve got a real good place picked out; I’ll tell you on the way. You, you won’t believe it till you see it, Tom says we can survive there for a long time, there’s plenty of seafood and fresh water. No one else knows it’s there, Tom an’ me found it by accident last Fall.”
Gilbert resisted strongly, stubbornly holding his ground. But he couldn’t stop being drawn into her wonderful large and luminous eyes, that so reminded him of his wife Elinor, long dead but never forgotten while Belle was with him.
“It’s past time you were there, Belle girl, get back to the boat.” Gilbert said gruffly, trying to keep his emotion out of his voice and tears from his eyes, dreadfully certain that he’d have to give in once she saw his love for her. He was afraid Belle had come too late, and might not manage to make it back to the docks as it was.
“Hurry, Belle,” he cried, “get back to Tommy, girl. He’s cutting a bit fine anyways, don’t you think?”
“Oh, it’s OK,” said Belle, shifting her gaze and lying to her father. “I asked him about that. He told me it would be OK, for a little while more. He doesn’t fancy hangin’ about out in the bay waitin’ for the tide to fill high enough so that Belle Isle can cross the bar.”

From Cataclysm’s Day, First Book of The Gatherers Trilogy.


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