Home > Trouble(13)

Author: Samantha Towle

Her eyes appraise me, taking me in from the sunglasses on my face to the sneakers on my feet. It makes me feel uncomfortable and tense. I paste a smile on my face as I tuck my feet back under the table.

“Golden Oaks,” she says, putting the menu under her arm. “It’s the best hotel in Durango by far. It’s just up in the mountains. A bit further out than most, but well worth the journey.”

“How far is the drive?” The last thing I want to do is spend more time than necessary in my car.

I notice her watching my mouth, and realize that I’m pulling on my lip with my finger and thumb. I do it when I’m uncomfortable, or nervous. Which is often.

I lay my hand on the table.

“It’s just a fifteen minute drive – ten if you drive fast.” She grins, tilting her head to the side.

I let out a little laugh. “Do you have the address or street name? – For my GPS,” I explain.

“Sure.” She scribbles on the notepad in her hand, then tears off the piece and hands it to me.

“Thank you.”

“No problem.” She smiles, brightly. “I’ll be right back with that drink.”


I’ve just eaten, quite possibly the best burger I’ve ever had in my life, and now I’m back in my car, following the directions my GPS is telling me.

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. There was a point back at the diner when I felt the pressing urge to overeat once I started in on the burger—stress catching up with me and trying to take control—but I held myself together and contained the urge. I ate what was on my plate, paid my bill and left.

That was a big achievement for me. I’ve never eaten food like that without purging it straight after.

Leaning forward, I glance around through the windshield.

Where in the hell am I?

All I’m seeing is nothing but road.

And trees.

And more road.

Lots and lots of winding road, going up and up, taking me further into the mountains.

I glance at my GPS checking the route. Yep, I’m definitely going the right way, and according to this, I should be there in a few minutes.

Only I’m still seeing nothing, and I already passed two other hotels on my way up here. I’m really starting to regret not stopping at one of them. I’m sick of driving, and I don’t want to be staying in the middle of nowhere, but Beth from the diner did say it was the best hotel here, so on I go.

A few minutes later I see a sign for Golden Oaks. Hallelujah! I actually do a little mini air-punch, I’m that relieved.

I catch site of the hotel from the main road. It looks pretty, and the backdrop of the mountains makes it seem even prettier. I’d probably appreciate it a whole lot more if I weren’t so bone tired.

I take the turn as directed, and pull onto a long driveway. Tires crunching over the gravel, I drive on until the foliage disappears and the hotel opens up in front of me.

It’s smaller close up. Pretty. And totally perfect.

I look around for designated parking, but there is none, so I pull up alongside an ostentatious red mustang which is parked on the grass just off the driveway. It looks like the type of car one of Forbes douchey friends would drive.


A shudder rolls through me at the mere thought of him. I’ve made sure not to think of him once in the past few days. Keeping my phone turned off has really helped with that.

Grabbing my handbag off the passenger seat, I get out of my car, and stretch out again. My body feels as if it’s seizing up. I just need to lie down on a soft mattress for a very long time. I’m really hoping the beds here are comfy because the last two motel beds have been horrendous.

Moving around my car, I pop the trunk and get my bag out.

The first thing I notice about this place is how quiet it is. Nothing but the sound of birds chirping in the background. Peaceful.

And perfect.

This place is starting to feel pretty close to heaven right now.

As I walk past the Mustang, I glance down at it and see that it has flames painted along the side.

Oh my god. This car is a definite penis enhancer if ever I saw one. I let out a snort of laughter and cover my hand with my mouth.

Stopping at the walkway leading up to the reception, I take a look around.

The hotel is a large wooden cabin style hotel, set on stilts which run down one side where the hill rolls down into what looks to be huge grounds. As I glance down, I see the building also goes down the side where the stilts round it. Maybe that’s where the owners live. Large windows reflect out onto a wrap around porch up top. Lanterns light the front, giving it a warm glow, and there is a pretty garden at the bottom by the walkway up to the hotel. As I move toward it, the fragrance from the wide mixture of plants invades my senses. I stop and inhale deeply, letting out a contented sigh.

I walk up the steps and onto the porch toward the reception so I can get checked into this place.

A bell tinkles when I push the door open. I step inside and find the place deserted.

It’s just as pretty in here as it is outside. A dark oak reception desk is situated directly in front of me. To my left is an open sitting room complete with huge unlit fireplace, and there are three plush sofas situated around the room.

It looks so homey. I have a good feeling about this place.

“Hello? Is anyone there?” I call out.

I don’t hear anything for a moment, but then I hear, what sounds like an elephant bounding up stairs.

Then, quite literally, the epitome of everything a girl like me should stay away from walks through the door directly behind the reception desk.

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