Dead on Holiday – Part One

I smiled, charmed by the appearance of the cottage I’d rented for Wes and myself for a long weekend away from the city. It was exactly as the pictures had illustrated, surrounded by pine trees and quiet. So, so quiet.

It was perfect.

“What do you think?” I turned to see Wes’s reaction.

“It’s, uh.” He paused. “Rustic.”

“It’s got indoor plumbing.”

“Was that even an option?” Horror filled his voice.

“Plenty of these places have outhouses, yeah, but I didn’t think you’d appreciate that.” I reached for Wes’s bag and carried both his and mine up the steps into the cottage.

It was rustic, which I loved. Constructed of bright logs stacked on top of one another, glistening in the late afternoon sun, with a bright red metal roof, it was clearly well maintained by the owner. Inside, the log walls were glossy and smooth from years and years of hands touching them, no doubt. It was only one room, with a small kitchen at the rear and a three-piece bathroom next to it. Beside the kitchen was a stone fireplace with a futon and a chair, and beside the front door was a two-seat table with wings that could be folded out to accommodate more people.

“We’re not sleeping on that, are we?” Wes nodded at the futon, his tone conveying his distaste at the idea of sleeping on it.

“No, there’s a loft upstairs with a king-size bed.” Thank god; the futon was way too small for the two of us.

The stairs to the loft were more of a ladder, the banister carved from a single branch of a tree. I had to tuck my arms in to my chest to squeeze through to the upper floor, and when I reached the…well, the only term for it was catwalk, which was…interesting. Anyway, I couldn’t unfold to my full height. Getting into and out of bed was going to be fun. But that was okay—this was all about getting away from everything, even the comforts of our massive home in Toronto.

One side of the loft had a pair of beds, and the other had the king sized one. The bedframes were low to the floor, almost like sleeping on a camping mat would be—but this wasn’t camping, so Wes couldn’t be pissed at me about that. We were in nature, but slightly removed. It was a good compromise, I thought. This weekend was going to be the getaway we needed.

“Hud?”

“Yeah?”

“Aren’t the beds supposed to have, you know, sheets? Comforters?”

I frowned. “They don’t?”

Wes plucked at the sheet covering the mattress. “This is only the fitted sheet. No top sheet, no blankets.”

“Are you sure?” I stepped forward to double check.

He glared at me. “I might not be an expert in roughing it, but I can tell the difference between a fitted sheet and a top sheet.”

Okay, I deserved that. “Sorry. It was supposed to be fully equipped. Linens, kitchen stuff, whatever.”

“Well, it’s not.”

I shot him a reassuring smile. “That’s easy enough to fix. I can call the owner.” Pulling out my phone, I chose the owner’s contact, only to listen to dead air and then a distinct beep. It took only a second for me to identify the problem. “Shit. No signal.”

Wes rolled his eyes. “Of course not. So what do we do?”

“Let’s see if the linens are hiding somewhere.”

It didn’t take long to do a thorough search of the cottage and come up empty. By then, the sun had set—or it was far enough behind the trees surrounding the house that they blocked its light. Whatever the case, it was dark. I could still see fine, since vampire, but Wes grumbled about the dark and collapsed into one of the chairs in front of the fire.

“Please let me this place at least has electricity.”

For a brief second, I thought about saying no just to mess with him, but I was pretty sure Wes was on his last string of patience and wouldn’t appreciate the humor. So, in answer, I went over to the wall and flicked the switch there. A pair of overhead pendant lights came on, illuminating the space nicely.

Wes grunted in appreciation and leaned back in the chair, turning his head to look at me. “What are we going to do about bedding?”

“I’ll cover you.” I waggled my brows.

“Ha ha. You’re a little heavy for a blanket.”

I crouched beside the chair. “I suppose suffocating you wouldn’t be the best start to this vacation.”

“You think?”

“I’ve got the emergency blanket in the Challenger. That’ll do for tonight, and tomorrow we can head into town…or at least to somewhere I can get a signal, and call the owner. How does that sound?”

“Like a plan.”

I kissed his forehead. “This’ll be great. You’ll see.”

You know the saying about famous last words?

Yeah.

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