We ride in his car, eventually ending up at an abandoned house. I don’t think I can find my way back here if I want to. It’s hidden somewhere in the depths of winding dirt roads.
I ask him about the house the second we pull up to it. He informs me that it is just an old house that he came across during a hike. There are no signs warning against trespassing and he knows nothing about the owners. Like me, he can only guess about the terrors this house has seen.
He pushes open the front door for us and I follow him inside. The living room is small and charred. In the middle, a picnic for two is set up. Champagne is positioned in the middle surrounded by two pillar candles. James immediately lights them and the room quickly aglow.
James cooked the dinner himself. It is a lavish spread of various Italian dishes. Some I have seen before, while many are new to me. I enjoy most of them greatly. Following dinner, James suggests exploring the house.
It isn’t a loved house. It’s a house that people forgot long ago. The wood is rotten and charred in many places. There’s an eerie smoke smell that lingers in the house. Mildewed furniture is scattered and strewn about the rooms. The only thing that is still useable is the front porch swing.
We fill the rooms with stories of times gone by and eventually end up snuggling on the porch swing. It is well into the night before we find our way back to the car and head home.
* * * * *
We go on five more dates before he takes me to the old house again. When I ask him why, he tells me that tonight is going to be a very special night. We eat a lavish spread once more and retire to the porch. He asks me what I like about the old house.
“I love this swing.” I tell him, leaning my head on his shoulder.
“So, this swing.” James rocks the swing slowly. “What else do you love about this house?”
“I love that I’m sharing it with you.” I smile up at him, bringing my lips to his.
“Why are you asking?” I’m completely intrigued by the randomness of his questions until something hits me. “You’re not planning on restoring this place are you? You’re not the owner.”
“No, I’m not the owner. But I am thinking of doing something – just not remodeling a dilapidated house.” James says, pushing the swing back with his feet. “I’m thinking of surprising you.”
“Good luck with that James,” I tell him, pushing the swing back with my own feet. We find ourselves deposited on the floor soon.
“You’ll be in the mountains for the next full moon, right?” He asks, with a gleam in his eye.
“Because that seems like the perfect opportunity to surprise you.” James obviously has a plan. And it is a good one if it involves the full moon and me. I’m going to have to find some way out of going to the mountains. I want to watch James try to pull off a surprise.
* * * * *
Howling by Pamela MacLean is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.