“Lily, mind your manners.”
“Oh, she’s okay. She’s just a very affectionate girl, aren’t you, Lily? Are you going to introduce yourself?”
He held out his hand saying, “Kieran Hunter.”
Reaching up to shake his hand, she replied, ”Caroline Irving, but my friends call me Caro.” Lily squirmed under Caro’s hand, whined and leaned against her chest. Caro’s breath wheezed out as she said, “Okay, Lily. I get it. You don’t want to be left out, do you?”
Lily grinned, and whoofed her agreement.
Kieren groaned, “Lily, behave.” Then he realized that Caro was giggling. He couldn’t remember the last time he heard an adult laugh like that, so exuberant. Most of the people he knew would never giggle. Laughter, like everything else was controlled and very, very proper. Of course, they also wouldn’t get down in the sand and play with his dog. Usually, they just ignored her.
When Lily toppled Caro onto her back and began licking every inch of exposed skin, he flinched. The giggling continued, then burst into full-blown laughter. He shook his head. She wasn’t like anyone he knew.
After a few minutes, she looked up, pushed Lily’s head away and said, “You might give me a hand, you know.” He stretched out his hand, she grasped it and pulled herself into a standing position.
“So Kieran, what brings you and your very visible Lily out today? I’m here every morning and don’t remember seeing the two of you before. And, believe me, I would remember meeting Lily. Oh, and you too, of course.”
His lips twitched at being an afterthought. “We just moved into a house down the beach. So, now we’re exploring, right Lily?”
Lily grinned and whoofed.
“Well then, welcome to both of you. I live there.” She swung around and indicated the lighthouse on the point.
“You live in a lighthouse?”
“Yeh, isn’t it great? Which one’s yours?”
“It’s the gray and white Shingle style at the end of the beach.”
“Oh, I thought . . .” her voice trailed off.
“You thought what?”
“Well, I must have been misinformed. I was told that a blind man had moved in there with his . . . dog. Um, huh.”
“Well, it’s just you are wearing sunglasses and it’s not very bright out here. You’re not blind, are you? I mean you couldn’t be. You helped me up, shook my hand.” She stopped talking at his heavy sigh.
“No, I’m not blind now.”
“I was in an accident about a two years ago. When I purchased the house, I was the blind man with his dog.”
“That’s incredible. How did you, I mean, if you don’t mind my asking … ?”
“Get my sight back?”
“Well, the loss of vision was only partially due to the head trauma. Mostly, it was what they call psychological or hysterical blindness.” He reached up and removed the sunglasses.
She looked into his face, unveiled for the first time, noticing a scar that ran from the corner of his left eye back to his hairline at the temple. “If that’s from the accident, it looks like you took a solid hit to the head.”