We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin. Well, I sat in the passenger seat as my best friend drove.
I had won this trip from the Christmas party raffle our boss hosted every year, although all the prizes were good. And I invited Tori with me since I didn't have a boyfriend and wanted to share this with someone.
The main reason I had even decided to enter the raffle was I wanted to do something different from sitting at home alone and drinking a glass of wine in the bathtub.
"You're so quiet, Amber." Tori tapped the steering wheel as holiday music played. "That's not like you."
"Oh, I'm just enjoying the peaceful surroundings." Which was true; the snow-covered landscape was tranquil. "I don't get out to the country much."
Yeah, our jobs as assistants prevented us from traveling a lot. "Do you think there will be games or books?"
Tori snorted, "Does it matter? You brought a suitcase full of that stuff."
I giggled, "Hey, gotta be prepared."
"I think our versions of being prepared are different." She laughed.
"Says the woman who brought a bag full of spa stuff."
"This is a girls' trip. So, some pampering is mandatory."
I laughed and settled back into the heated seat.
About a half hour later, Tori pulled her car up to the cabin, glancing at her GPS. "So, this is it, huh."
Grinning, I nodded, stepping out of the car.
It was exactly like the pictures and what the owner described over messaging. Although, the snow softly falling from the sky helped.
The cabin was mid-sized with dark wood exterior walls and a black shingled roof. There was also a roofed front porch with one of those porch swings.
"Wow, our bosses weren't lying this time," Tori whistled, carrying a few bags. "Imagine that."
"I know, right!" I went to grab my stuff, noting the other cabins close by. "It's perfect."
Finding the key under the doormat, Tori unlocked the door and was the first to step inside. I quickly followed, eager to see what charms the inside held.
Unlike the outside, the walls inside, as well as the ceiling, were cream-colored with accents of the same dark wood.
To our right was the living room, where a coffee table, couch, fireplace, and a TV with a DVD player affixed above it. Didn't expect that one. But maybe the owner like watching movies.
To the left were the kitchen and dining area with a small table and four chairs. And I assumed the hallway led to the bathroom and bedrooms.
Rubbing her hands together, Tori walked to the fireplace, quickly lighting it up. "Ah, much better."
"Agreed." I then moved to the hallway, the bedroom at the end unclaimed.
It had the same aesthetic as the living room but with a queen-sized bed with a cream comforter and a red blanket at the end. A nightstand stood on each side, with a storage chest at the foot of the bed.
I spotted the dresser on the other side, the closet next to it. After placing my clothes in their temporary home, I sat on the bed. It was comfy. I liked it better than mine.
Too bad I couldn't afford to buy this place from the owner. Oh well. I would enjoy it for the five days we had it.
"Hey, get your butt back in here!" Tori called out.
Shuffling back into the living room, a movie played on the TV, the temperature noticeably warmer.
Tori faced me. "I found the movies."
Hours later, we sat at the kitchen table, Tori having convinced me to let her do my nails. And now they were under a light.
I glanced at the window, darkness having settled over. However, I could see clearly due to the snow.
"Do you think we can keep ourselves occupied in here for five days?" Tori inspected my manicure. "Because I'm not sure."
"Well, I am planning to make a few snowmen or snowwomen."
She giggled, releasing my hands, "But I still have my touch."
I examined my nails; there were black with multi-colored glitter. "I think these are acceptable."
Tori play-smacked my arm, walking into the kitchen. "Want more hot cocoa?"
"Always." I stood, a Christmas movie playing on the TV.
This felt like the first fifteen minutes of a Hallmark rom-com. Not that I had an issue with it, but I wasn't about to get my hopes up that a handsome man would show and I'd fall for him.
Tori handed me a full cup of cocoa, and I took a sip, mint-flavored this time. I sighed, feeling content with this moment. We sat on the couch and fell asleep watching movies.
But a loud banging woke me.
Wiping the drool off my face, I sat up, my body sore from the awkward sleeping position.
Tori was still sleeping, which wasn't shocking. Babies could scream bloody murder, and she wouldn't even stir. Not me, though. A creak in the floor could wake me from a dead sleep.
The banging continued, followed by some stomping. What the heck was going on?
Slipping my coat and shoes on, I walk outside. White blanketed everything, and the chilly air slapped me awake.
Scanning around, I found a man standing on our roof, holding a hammer.
"Hey!" I shouted, "What are you doing?"
He looked my way, and I realized it was Jack, the owner of the cabin, "You're here? Already?"
"Uh, yeah," I made a face, "I messaged you yesterday that we were coming a little early." I glanced at the roof. "Had no idea you'd be on the roof."
"Oh." Jack pulled out his phone, clearly scrolling through it. "I guess you did."
"Didn't check your phone, I see."
"No, I didn't."
I mock-tsked him. "That's bad for business, you know."
Jack smirked, "The roof leaks sometimes, and I wanted to fix it before you arrived."
"Well, I'll let you finish up then."
I rushed back inside, mainly from the cold, but a little because a handsome man had shown. Only he was on the roof instead of on the porch.
This really was turning into a Hallmark movie.
The banging continued as I showered and dressed. Then I walked into the kitchen, turning on the gas stove. I figured I'd make my famous chocolate chip mint pancakes, having brought half of my pantry with me.
I didn't know what supplies were going to be here.
As I started making the batter and the coffee finished brewing, Tori finally stirred, "Why is there a truck parked in the driveway?"
I laughed, "The owner, Jack, didn't see my message and came over to fix a leak for us."
She shrugged, shuffling into the bathroom. I was much more of a morning person than her. And it was fine. I knew she needed time to wake up before engaging in conversation.
As I started cooking the last three pancakes, the door opened, and Jack stepped inside, "So, I repaired the leak, so you should have no issues."
"Well, thanks." I grinned, glancing at the counter, "Do you want some pancakes?"
Jack raised a brow. "You're offering me food?"
"Why not? I got overzealous and made too many anyways."
"Alright, I'll have some breakfast." He removed his coat and sat at the table.
Tori walked back in as I was dishing us up. "Umm, hello?"
He waved, drinking some coffee.
"I invited him to breakfast."
"You did make a lot, I suppose." She smirked, sliding into another chair, "very well."
Grinning, I dished everyone up and brought everything to the table.
The next few days were similar, except that Jack didn't climb on the roof again, or in the morning. He would swing by in the afternoon, bringing something we could use, then we'd talk about various things.
I was really beginning to like the guy and was disappointed I would be leaving tomorrow. Although he had my number, and I knew his actual house was much closer to the city.
On the other hand, Tori and I had caught up on spending quality time together in the evenings, either watching films, playing games, or even just sharing deep thoughts.
I also missed a few of my co-workers and their witty banter. Maybe I would invite them out to drinks or something when we got back.
But with hot cocoa in hand, I sat on the porch swing, watching the snow fall as Tori napped inside. The wind blew gently, and I was bundled in my winter clothes so it wasn't obnoxiously cold.
However, the snow was rising pretty high, and I wasn't sure if Tori's car could get out.
The rumbling of an engine pulled me from my thoughts as Jack drove up the driveway in his pickup truck. It appeared to be unbothered by the snow.
I sipped some more hot chocolate out of my Thermus, waving as Jack walked over. "Is there something else you forgot to bring over?"
He grinned rather mischievously, "And why do you say that?"
"So, you just wanna see me, then."
"Perhaps."He stepped up the stairs, "Is that so hard to believe?"
I shrugged, "Most Airbnb owners don't go out of their way to see their renters."
"Well, this is my first time renting my cabin." Jack sat next to me. "And you did show early."
"Not my fault you don't read your messages."
"I usually do, but it's spotty out here in the winter." He slipped his hands into his coat pockets. "But I wasn't sure if you girls were leaving today or tomorrow."
He nodded, "Then it's good I got your number."
I looked over at him, "Unless you forget to check."
Jack rolled his eyes but chuckled, "Yeah, yeah, yeah."
I nudged him with my foot, "But it is a good thing." I drank more cocoa. "Want some?"
"No, thank you. I think I'm all sweets out."
I blushed, "I offered the food. You didn't have to say yes."
"Oh, I know." Jack stared at me intensely.
I went to turn my head away, butterflies in my stomach, but he cupped my face and pressed his mouth against mine.
I stiffened for a moment, then relaxed, enjoying the kiss. Were there camera people filming this? Because this was definitely a scene from a Hallmark movie.
"Do you, by chance, watch any holiday-themed rom-coms?"
Jack tilted his head, "Not normally. Why?"
Smirking, he wrapped an arm around me. "A romantic, I see."
I leaned in, unable to hide my grin. "Perhaps."
We then sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the snow continue to fall. It was falling heavily, too.
Tori then ruined the peace, asking, "Hey, do you think I'll be able to get out in the morning?"
We looked at her, Jack answering, "I have a shovel if you need it."
"Okay." She paused, eyeing us before smiling, "I'll let you get back to it then."
I chuckled when the door closed behind her, "That's Tori for you." At least she hadn't interrupted the sweet kiss.
"I noticed." He turned toward me. "Would it be weird if I decided to stay here for the night?"
"It is your cabin."
Humor sparkled in his eyes, "You know what I mean, Amber."
"I'm fine with it, and Tori's always trying to fix me up, so she'll be more than happy." I felt her gaze on us. "As it is, she's watching us right now."
"Well, I'll stay here, then."
The day seemed to pass by quickly, and before I knew it, night had fallen. The three of us sat on the couch watching the classic Christmas films after the delicious dinner he made us.
Jack appeared to be genuinely enjoying himself, even with Tori's off-the-wall comments and making sure we sat together, me sandwiched between them.
I didn't even realize how late it was until I checked my phone, "It's midnight already? Damn."
Tori now laid on the floor, and I couldn't tell whether she was still awake. I nudged her with my foot, and she didn't move. Yep, she was fast asleep.
"Is that an issue?" Jack looked at me.
"No, just surprised you tolerated my friend this long."
He shrugged, "I have sisters, so I'm used to it." He gestured to the floor, "Should we leave her there?"
Standing, I stretched and turned off the TV. "No, I'll wake her."
"Nah, but thanks for the offer."
After getting her grumpy, sleepy self to bed, I stood in the hall, unsure what to do. Should I invite Jack to sleep in 'my' room? Or should I just have him sleep on the couch?
I knew what I wanted, but I worried it was jumping the gun a bit. However, this was the last night of my vacation, and he was already here. So why not throw caution to the wind?
And Jack must have been thinking the same because he literally swept me into his arms and carried me the rest of the way, leading to one of the most pleasurable nights of my life.
The next morning flew by fast; Tori and I ate a quick breakfast and packed everything we had brought, which was a lot. I also did my best to leave as we had found it.
But at least we wouldn't worry about getting stuck in the driveway; Jack was shoveling the snow and laying rock salt down. Whoever said chivalry was dead was wrong.
It'd been difficult to hide what we'd done the night before from Tori, who had eagle eyes for this kind of thing. And I knew I would be pelted with questions once we returned to the city.
The driveway was mostly clear when we stepped outside, with no snow falling today. Thank God. That would have been a pain to deal with.
"Do you think you get out alright?" Jack leaned against his shovel, seeming a little tired.
I hid a grin.
Tori stepped down the stairs, "Yeah, it shouldn't be an issue." She smiled at him. "Thanks for everything."
I nodded, lugging my baggage down the stairs. "And you better call me."
Jack smiled at me, "Oh, I will."
He then gave me one final kiss, my whole body buzzing. "Good."
With his help, I quickly put my bags in the back of Tori's car, then slid into the passenger's seat.
We waved at each other as she backed up and began to drive. And I stopped trying to hide my happiness. I was so grateful I had won that raffle. Who knew what would happen next.
Thank you for the read! I hope you enjoyed my story. Likes, tips, shares, pledges, and subscriptions are always cherished. :)
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions