The Cabin

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Cook Forest State Park is miles away from anything Philly has to offer and Andrew could feel himself relaxing as the truck surged deeper into the forest. When was the last time he’d taken an actual vacation? He couldn’t remember, but he was bound and determined to make the best of the four-day weekend ahead. No phone calls at all hours of the day and night, no internet, no email, no contact with the outside world…just peace and much needed quiet.

The Cabin had been in his family for generations, and sat on more than one hundred acres of land nestled in the Black Mountains high above the Clarion River. Dusk wasn’t far off when he finally glimpsed the slanted roof of the two story abode and pulled along side the structure, cutting the engine.

He pulled out his bags, headed towards the cabin, across the back porch to an unassuming door, unlocked it, and swung it open. Andrew walked into the warm, spacious kitchen and flipped the light switch. The cabin had a rustic feel but was distinctly modern. Beyond the kitchen he stepped through a comfortable dining room, and then into a spacious sitting area with massive fire place and overstuffed suede furniture. He opened the front door and stepped out onto a huge deck that wrapped around half of the structure with sitting areas on both sides of the door. A path below the porch steps split; one led around towards the truck, the other, to a fire pit, a covered gazebo, and hot tub.

Back inside and up the round staircase to the top floor was two small bedrooms and a large, master bedroom with bathroom and fireplace. He dropped his bag at the foot of the bed and went back downstairs, grabbed a beer from the newly stocked fridge and sunk decisively on the couch, and, before he knew it, nodded off.

****

Andrew’s eyes shot open and he fought through his confusion and the darkness around him to make sense of what had just happened. The last few seconds replayed in his now conscious mind and he realized that noise from the kitchen had woken him; the back door was open. Someone was in the cabin. He lifted himself and peered over the back of the couch, but it was too dark to make out anything other than a figure moving about. Quietly he slipped off of the couch, walked through the small dining area until he was standing right at the kitchen. He reached his hand out and felt the wall, searching for the light switch. He didn’t have a weapon on him, but he was certain that coming face to face with the prowler would be enough to scare them off. The cabin had one break in a year, usually college kids looking for beer. He felt the switch and said a silent prayer. In the otherwise soundless night, the switch presented a loud “click” as he pushed it upward.

Glass crashed to the floor and shattered in thousands of tiny pieces as a blood-curdling scream filled the cabin and the person in the kitchen jumped backwards towards the door. To Andrew’s amazement, across from him stood a young woman. A very attractive young woman, who at the moment appeared afraid for her life.

“Oh my God!” she gasped, clutching her purse to her chest, “please don’t hurt me!”

“I won’t— I mean, I’m not going to hurt you.”

“What are you doing here?!” she demanded, “This is private property!”

“I know, I—”

“Get out, get out or I’m calling the cops!” She fumbled through her purse and came out with her cell, which she immediately dropped. It skidded across the floor stopping just in front of his feet.

“Good luck,” he said quietly, “cell phones usually don’t work up here.”

“This is private property!”

“Yes, I know, so what are you doing here?”

“What am I doing here? What am I doing here? You’re in no position to ask me what I am doing here, you’re trespassing!”

“No, technically, you’re trespassing.”

“I have permission to be here.”

“Permission from whom?”

“The owners. The Lucas family, to be specific.”

Suddenly Andrew smiled and shook his head. “Wait a minute, don’t I know you?”

“I doubt that very seriously.”

“No, no, I’m pretty sure I know who you are. You’re Camille Boulanger, right?”

“How do you know my name?” she said looking even more alarmed than before.

“I’m Andrew Lucas, Amanda’s brother.”

Camille squinted at him and then looked as though she’d been struck hard by distant memories. “Oh my God,” she said slowly. “Andrew? Andrew Lucas?”

He chuckled, “Yes.”

“Jesus, it’s been what…fifteen years since I’ve seen you!”

“Twelve,” he said. “You and my sister were always inseparable.”

“You look so… different! I didn’t recognize you, I’m so sorry.”

“That’s alright. You haven’t changed one bit.” He picked up the phone and set it on the counter, opened the cabinet under the sink and pulled out a small brush and dustpan, knelt at her feet and began sweeping up the glass.

“I’m so sorry about that, I must have knocked it off of the table.”

“It’s alright, don’t worry about it, just stand right there, I don’t want any glass to cut through your sandals.”

When he’d finished sweeping he straitened and faced her. “What on Earth are you doing here?” She asked.

He Ataşehir Escort crossed his arms and smiled wryly, “you must be forgetting this is the Lucas cabin, not the Boulanger cabin.”

“Amanda said that no one would be here,” she said in an apologetic tone.

“Well, usually that’s true, no one is here this time of year, but I thought the holiday weekend would be a good time for a mini vacation.”

They eyed each other, both uncertain of what to do next.

She nodded, “well, that’s just great. I made a three hour drive for absolutely no reason. So… then, I should go. I’m sorry to have barged in on you the way I did.”

“Wait a minute,” he said, “you don’t have to go, I’ll go. If Amanda said you can have the place for the weekend, you can have it.”

“Oh no, it’s your cabin, you stay.”

“But you obviously made plans, so you should stay. Besides, you really don’t want to drive out of here when it’s this dark; it’s not recommended anyway.”

“I’m a city girl, I can handle it. I’ve taken self defense and I know how to change my own tire. Plus, I carry mace.”

Andrew gave her a once over; perfectly manicured hands, designer sweat suit, expensive leather duffle bags and perfectly coifed hair and shook his head emphatically. “You may be able to take on a mugger in a dark alley, but the roads out here aren’t marked very well, and at night you can get turned around. It’s happened to plenty of people before, including me, and I’ve spent my whole life coming up here. Even I don’t like to make the drive when it’s dark. If you make a wrong turn and run out of gas, you’re screwed. Mace can’t help you when you’re in below freezing temperatures out in the middle of bum fucked Egypt.”

“Well, there are two of us and only one cabin, so what do you suggest, I sleep in my car?” “Of course not.”

“You sleep in the bed of your truck?”

“You’re funny. Look, there might be one cabin, but there are three bedrooms.” She looked skeptical and shifted her weight from one leg to the other and back again. “Just for tonight. I’ll go in the morning and you can finish your weekend.”

“I’ll go in the morning; I can’t kick you out of your own cabin.”

He sighed, a grin teasing the corners of his mouth. “Why don’t we just agree that we both stay tonight- inside the cabin?” She thought about it, and then reluctantly nodded. “Have you been here before?” She shook her head. “Well then let me show you where your room is.” He bent to grab her duffle bags but she scooped them up quickly.

He smiled and stepped back. “Alright, come on then.”

Andrew led her upstairs, down the short hall and into the master bedroom. He grabbed his own duffle bag off of the floor as she stepped in.

“Wait a minute,” she said, looking at his bag, “you don’t have to move, I can just take another room.”

He shook his head, “this room is the most comfortable, I’ll move down the hall.” Before she could object further, he’d gone.

Camille sighed and sat on the edge of the bed, tired and frustrated. Andrew Lucas was absolutely the last person she expected to see here. She hadn’t seen much of him at all when she graduated and went to college, and though she and Amanda were still thick as thieves, she’d forgotten all about the shy, often pimple faced brother to her best friend of more than twenty years. If not for his eyes and his smile, she’d never have recognized him. The truth was, she didn’t want to see anybody, which was the point to coming to the cabin. She needed to get away…needed to be alone.

A few minutes later his muscular frame filled the doorway. “I’m sure you had a long drive. Hungry?”

She waived her hand, “I can throw something together, it’s alright.”

“Forget that. I planned to cook anyway, so I might as well cook for two.”

“No really, it’s okay, I can fix something for myself, I don’t want to put you out.”

“Either you’re really not in the mood for an actual meal or you think I can’t cook.”

She opened her mouth, shocked and then closed it again, unable to refute his idea.

“Aha! So you think I can’t cook? All the time you spent at my house growing up and you never noticed all the time I spent with my mother in the kitchen? Tisk, tisk.”

“Fried baloney sandwiches don’t qualify as a meal.”

“What?”

“Fried baloney. Don’t tell me you don’t remember, you used to make them all the time after school, which would completely stink up the house. No, no, none for me.”

“Okay, first of all I got over fried baloney a long time ago, and second of all, you actually remember that?”

“The rancid smell of fried pig’s butt? Yes, I remember.”

“You are absolutely the same smart ass that you were in high school. Well, don’t worry; I wouldn’t dare serve something like that to a guest. I have a bit more tact than that. So now that we’re clear that I know my way around a kitchen, are you going to let me cook for you, or are you going to stick to power bars, granola and vitamin water?”

“Okay, uncle, I get it. Yes, I am starving.”

“Good. I’ll go open the Spam right now, give it time to air out.”

“Ha Bostancı Escort ha, very funny.”

“I thought so,” he said with a mischievous smile. “If you need anything I’ll be in the kitchen.”

“Umm, just one question; is it safe to sit in the hot tub at night?”

“Oh no,” he said with mocked concern, “the boogie man comes out at night, you don’t want to do that.”

Camille rolled her eyes, her hands on her hips. “That’s not funny.”

He shrugged, “sure it’s safe, though you may find yourself being watched by a raccoon or two, or ten, maybe a deer even.”

“Would it be alright if I took a soak? My back is killing me.”

He smiled again, “you don’t have to ask. Mi casa su casa, alright?”

She nodded, “alright.”

***

Forty-five minutes later, Camille sat in the hot tub, her head back and eyes closed. Andrew stood for a moment and watched her, then reached out and touched her shoulder. She jumped slightly lifted her head and blinked, and he smiled his signature smile.

“Dinner is ready”. He said, handing her a thick terry cloth robe, “I thought you might need this, it’s getting pretty chilly out here,” then he turned and walked back to the cabin. From within the living room he watched her through the window as she stood, wearing a barely there two piece and swaddled herself in the robe. Seconds later she came around the side of the cabin and stepped onto the deck. In the corner was a beautifully set table for two with candles all around, the moon bright in the sky above.

“Oh,” she said, surprised. He stood and pulled out her chair.

Camille stared for a moment, taking in the sight before her. Finally he turned in her direction, “are you okay? Did I forget something?”

She shook her head and cleared her throat, sitting in the open chair, “I just didn’t expect…this.”

Andrew shrugged as he spooned steamed vegetables onto his plate. “I hope you like salmon.”

“As a matter of fact I do.”

They sat, eating in silence for a while.

“So,” he finally said, setting down his fork and sipping his wine, “if I remember correctly, didn’t you go into architecture?” he asked.

She nodded, picking up her own glass, “what about you?”

“I’m a CPA.”

“And is that as boring as it sounds?”

“Sure. But it’s equally lucrative.”

“Ah yes, the money.” He smiled again. “I think I remember Amanda telling me you helped her pass trig.”

“And calculus, algebra and every other math class she had.”

“Guess she doesn’t have to worry about that at the gallery?”

“Nope. And she has a really good accountant; I made sure of that myself.”

Again they ate in silence.

“Whatever happened to Brad?” he finally asked.

“Who?” she asked, confused.

“Brad Roberts. I thought for sure you guys would have gotten married.”

“The quarterback?!” He nodded and she laughed, tossing her head back. “Oh no, absolutely not.”

“But you guys were high school sweethearts. It sure seemed like you were in love with him.”

“I was. At least I think I was. But, when you have a crush on someone else, you rarely marry your high school sweetheart. And, maybe the mere reality of having a crush on someone else means I couldn’t have been in love with him.”

“Who did you have a crush on?”

She laughed again, this time with a hint of nervousness. “You’ll make fun of me if I tell you.”

“I most certainly will not!”

“You will.”

“I won’t, I promise. Come on, you can tell me.”

She eyed him and then leaned on the table. “Alright. Michael Doyle.”

“Michael Doyle”?!

“You promised you wouldn’t make fun!”

“I’m not, I’m not!” He insisted, a strong smile on his lips and laughter in his eyes. “I’m not making fun. I just never imagined that the captain of the cheerleading squad had a crush on the captain of the drama club and co-captain of the debate team.”

“Why not? Too smart for me?”

“I wouldn’t dare suggest that. He was far from cool, as high school standards go.”

“Well, I thought he was plenty cool. Too cool for me.”

“You were homecoming queen. You were the most popular girl there.”

“Maybe. Maybe not. What about you?”

“Me?”

“Yeah, who was your high school sweetheart?”

He laughed, “Do you remember what I looked like in high school? There were no sweethearts for me.”

“Well… you had to have a crush on someone.”

“Everyone has a crush on someone in high school.”

So. Who was it? Anyone I would remember? Come on, out with it, I told you, now you have to tell me.”

“Alright,” he said, setting his fork down. “You.”

“Me what?”

“You were the girl I had a crush on in high school.” His bright grey eyes penetrated her. Camille sat up, her mouth open.

“Oh come on, you can’t be that shocked. It makes perfect sense. You were older, even if just by a year, hugely popular, drop dead gorgeous, nice, funny…plus I saw you in your underwear once when you spent the night at my house. That’s the inspiration for any high school boy’s wet dream.”

“Oh my god,” she gasped, “I remember that! I Kadıköy Escort was in the bathroom, changing out of my cheer uniform.”

“I swear to God I didn’t know that when I opened the door,” he said raising his hands in surrender.

“I think I might have thrown something at you!”

“The soap. Complete with soap dish.”

She giggled, “Oh yes, I do remember that.”

“You left my young, virgin mind traumatized.”

“You were a virgin?!” she said in a hushed voice, leaning into the table once more.

“Again, did you see me in high school? That was my junior year, and yeah, I was still a virgin. I bet you weren’t though.”

“Hey, thanks a lot!”

“You know what I mean.”

“I was the high school tramp?”

“No, of course not. You just had a certain…air…appeal. I don’t know the right word. Then again, it could have been my overactive imagination making you something you weren’t. Seeing my sister’s friends in their underwear, their scant pj’s, their tiny two piece bathing suits, well, for a hormonal boy such as myself, it was a lot to deal with.”

She sat back, watching his face. “So how long did you have a crush on me?”

Since the seventh grade,” he said.

“Why didn’t you ever say anything? Most boys say something, or try and make a move. Why didn’t you?”

“Did you tell Michael Doyle how you felt about him?”

“Hell no!”

“Well there you have it. I wasn’t about to tell you either. I was content to sit back and watch from afar. It gave me a chance to learn about you.”

“Oh?” she said surprised. “What kinds of things did you learn?”

It was his turn to lean forward. “Well, let’s se,” he said with genuine thought, “I learned that blackberry pie is your favorite, because every time you came to a barbeque you passed on the apple pie and the chocolate cake and went for blackberry pie, two scoops of vanilla on the side, of course. Madonna was at least one of your favorite singers because damn near every time you drove up to the house it was blasting out of your car. And, I learned that purple was your favorite color, because when you and my sister went to tolo’s and proms together, your dress was always a shade of purple.”

“Wow,” she said, “you noticed all of that?”

He shrugged, “I guess I did.”

“I don’t think my own boyfriend noticed details like that.”

“Yeah well, then he was an idiot.”

Camille giggled and sipped her wine again. “So when did you forget about me?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, your crush had to end at some point, right?”

“What about you? When did you get over Michael Doyle?”

“I’m not sure I ever did.”

“Well then, there you have it. Maybe I never got over you either.”

She put her glass down. “You can’t be serious.”

“No? Why not?”

“At some point in time someone else had to come along and strike your fancy.”

“Oh sure. I didn’t remain a virgin forever, thank God. But there is something about your first crush. It never completely goes away, don’t you think?”

She nodded, “that sounds about right.”

Again the silence enveloped them as they watched the reflection of the moon on the lake below, each consumed by their own thoughts. For the next four hours, conversation ebbed and flowed with little effort; each at complete ease with the other, the familiarity palpable.

“So, if you don’t mind me asking, why aren’t you married?”

“No one has asked me.”

“You have got to be kidding me.”

“You sound like my mother.”

“I can’t believe no one has ever asked you to marry them.”

“Well, besides Chuckie Easter in the fourth grade, no, no one has ever asked me.”

“What did you say? To Chuckie Easter?”

“I said yes.”

“Why?”

“Because he was really nice to me. And he used to tell me how smart I was. We could talk for hours and never get sick of each other.”

“Poor Chuckie. He’s seriously missing out on a good woman.”

“The sad thing is, if he’s anything like the way he was back then, I’d still marry him. What about you? Haven’t you at least come close?”

“No. I have a pretty strict criteria.”

“And that is?”

“She has to give me butterflies.”

“What?”

“You know, butterflies in my stomach. There has only ever been one girl in my life that I ever felt butterflies in my stomach over. I always thought that if I could find a woman that made me feel that, I’d know she’s the one.”

“And where is she now, that girl?”

“Oddly enough, sitting across from me, finishing her dinner.” Andrew smiled as Camille’s cheeks flushed rosey red, and silence fell over them.

Finally Andrew stood, picking up their plates. “It’s getting late, and I’m going to head out early tomorrow. You’ll probably be asleep when I leave, so…it was good to see you. This was…nice.”

“You too, thank you for dinner, it was wonderful.”

He nodded and walked inside. After a few minutes she went into the cabin, stopping in the doorway to the kitchen.

“I was thinking,” she said as his head snapped up in surprise. “I was thinking that, you know…there’s no reason why we can’t both stay here. I mean, I know, you, you know me. This cabin is more than big enough for the both of us; between us we have more than enough food and supplies for the next four days. Besides…I would feel horrible kicking you out. Don’t go on my account, that’s all I’m saying.”

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