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The rickety van bounced along the dirt roads toward Richard’s Bay driving through rain and thunder to deliver its sole passenger, a young lady, to the Grand Hotel of the Bay. A wall of rectangular lights pierced the stormy night as the enormous structure came into view through the haze of rain. The van pulled close and the driver collected his payment before graciously walking the Hotel’s newest customer past the majestic doors. He waved his goodbye and pulled his hat firmly to his head before braving the storm once more.
Anna, the young woman, lightly shook raindrops from her hair as she removed her raincoat. The inside of the hotel was just as impressive as the outside: Victorian architecture combined with grandiose style and superfluous luxury to give the reclusive hotel a rich sense of history.
Polished brass railings and hardwood floors added a rustic touch to the backwoods locale. A variety of black and white historical photographs covered the walls of the entrance hall, some of them dating back almost 100 years.
Anna combed her fingers through dampened ombre locks as she made her way to the counter. A middle-aged lady with glasses and a name tag that read “Beth” pinned to her black blouse set her book aside at the young woman’s approach.
“Good evening! Quite the storm out there, isn’t it? Do you have a reservation?”
Anna’s bright smile greeted the friendly receptionist. “Yes, it’s under ‘Albright Realty.'”
“Oh, yes. Let’s see here…” Beth glanced through several note cards until she found the pertinent one. “A call from ‘Tom’ came in an hour ago and left a message for you: He said sorry but his flight was delayed due to the weather and he will not be able to meet you here until morning.” The sympathetic receptionist offered Anna the saddest, sincerest-looking expression she could muster, “I’m terribly sorry he won’t make it in tonight, but the company has already paid in advance for the room. Here’s the key if you’ll just sign.”
Thunder caused the building to sigh and made Anna shiver. It was going to be a long and lonely night. After presenting an ID and signing the necessary paperwork, Anna made her way up to her room on the third floor. It was the largest suite available overlooking Richard’s Bay. Tom had promised it would be the most unforgettable get-away imagineable. His work frequently carried him across Canada and the United States on various business trips: property acquisitions and business openings, corporate realty workshops and conventions, and countless company leadership and morale retreats.
The most recent trip took him from Anna’s arms for a little over a month.
Thirty-six days, Anna considered as she walked down the red-carpeted hall towards her room, 313. Thirty-seven by the time he arrives, she reminded herself. The door to her suite creaked open and lightning flashed in the ataşehir escort bayan massive windows across the large room, momentarily illuminating the furnishings, luxurious carpets, and polished glass and mirrors in electric light. The golden lamps in the hallway flickered in echo and the floorboards underfoot creaked with every step.
Thirty-seven days since I saw you, Tom. Anna shivered in the cool room while she set her bags and wet coat down. She walked to the sliding glass door and windows that overlooked the bay. Rain drummed the lake as lightning and thunder chased one another through the heavens. Wind howled angrily across the balcony, spraying a torrent of rain against the glass as though it was trying to get to Anna. The lights flickered again and she wrapped her arms around herself as she glanced about the large, finely-furnished room.
The bed looked comfortable, as did the couch, but Anna did not feel like sleeping right away. Old hotels always creeped her out, but Tom had hinted when they spoke yesterday that this one had a history of hauntings. It would be just like him to feed her such nonsense then leave her to cope through the first night alone. Ass.
The thought made Anna laugh. Tom was handsome, blue-eyed, strong, and had a laugh that made Anna melt, but he had a “playful” side that would downright irritate her at times. She idly played with the diamond ring on her finger. When he asked her to marry him several months ago, she hoped being engaged would mean more time together.
Instead, his job had kept him away all but three and a half weeks of the time since then. She was halfway through another pensive sigh when a deafening clap of thunder jolted her to the present. The entire building shook and the bathroom door swung slowly open, seemingly of its own accord.
Anna stared at the door and felt a chill creep up her spine clear to her neck. There was no way she was getting any sleep tonight. She wrinkled her nose at her own fears but headed toward the lobby anyway.
There were few patrons in the lobby as most were either safely snug in their rooms or out elsewhere and waiting out the storm. An older gentleman sat puffing away at a pipe near the lobby’s enormous fireplace and a younger man sat on the couch opposite him, eyeing Anna curiously. Beth, the receptionist, had her nose buried in her book, oblivious to the others’ presence or the thunderstorm furiously pelting the hotel outside.
Anna found a quiet corner on an empty couch and had a seat. She fiddled about with her phone but the complete lack of signal in this place made most of her efforts pointless.
“You won’t find a signal up here, you know.”
Anna glanced up at the young man who had moved to sit beside Anna. His eyes were a soft honey-brown and he wore an impishly mischievous smile. A trouble-maker. Anna could escort kadıköy spot those by the way they looked at her. She tugged at her blouse and did not give the man a second glance. Her fingers toyed absently with various settings on her phone, trying to make herself look deeply engrossed in the device’s configuration settings.
“I don’t really like those things much. They are a distraction. You know, I’ve been coming here since I was a kid and I have yet to find a sight more beautiful than the bay early at dawn as seen from the hotel balconies.”
Anna glanced up from her phone at the man. He was still looking at her with those pretty brown eyes. Something about the way he studied her eyes made her suddenly very self-conscious. She averted her gaze and felt her pulse quicken.
“I… didn’t know that. It’s my first time here. My fiancé will be meeting me here in the morning, so maybe I will get to share that experience with him. Thank you.” Maybe emphasizing the fact she was engaged would get the message across to this guy.
“Oh, you’re engaged! Congratulations! I was engaged once, too, but it didn’t work out. Life is funny that way, don’t you think?”
Anna nodded. She had been engaged before, too, but preferred not thinking about it.
“I’m Roger, nice to meet you,” he offered with an extended hand and a genuine smile. Anna took his hand delicately and shook it.
“I’m Anna. Nice to meet you, too, Roger.” She returned the smile and turned her attention to him fully. He was rather cute, if not a little older than her. He wore a blue shirt that showed off his arms and golden slacks that complemented the lovely color of his eyes.
“What brought you down to the lobby? Scared of a little storm?” Roger prodded her playfully. There was a definite mischievousness to his eyes. Anna studied them for a moment. Mischievousness and… danger? A dash of youthfulness and a hint of mystery. Anna shivered, though she was not at all cold.
Roger misunderstood and pulled an arm across her shoulders. “It’s okay, I was only teasing. This old place even had me believing in ghosts when I was a kid.”
Anna’s eyes widened. “So it is haunted?”
Roger’s eyes sparkled with delight and his laughter filled the large room. “You really believe it is, don’t you? There’s no such things as ghosts, silly lady.” He gives her shoulders a comforting squeeze and pulls his arm away.
“No, there are no ghosts here. It’s just an old building with a slanted foundation and faulty wiring.”
She smiled at his mirth – he had an adorable laugh – and glanced down the hallway leading to the stairs. The lights flickered with every thunder strike.
“No… of course there’s no ghosts. It’s still a creepy place to be in all alone.”
Roger gave a little shrug and rose to his feet. “Come here, we’ll settle this once and for all.”
Anna bostancı escort blinked. “What? Settle what?” She felt herself gently tugged to her feet as he bid her to follow. Contact with his hand made warmth rush to her cheeks. Was she blushing? It’s good the lighting sucks, she thought to herself.
“The fact your room isn’t haunted. Let me see your key.” Anna smiled knowingly as she reached into her pocket and considered his request.
I am engaged. But Tom isn’t here. Roger is just being playful, he doesn’t actually want…
Anna chewed on her lip and glanced from the outstretched hand up to those honey-brown eyes of his. They were a stark contrast from the cool blue color of Tom’s eyes. Roger was taller, though, by a little. Anna barely reached Roger’s nose when standing before him.
“Thanks.” He turned and unlocked the door to her suite.
When did I give him the key? She suppressed a giggle at how much of an effect this cute man was having on her sensibilities. He will come in, we will share a chat and a nice view, he will make a joke or two about the ghosts and then we will bid one another a goodnight. That’s all. Just a new friend.
Roger closed the door behind them as Anna layed the key on the antique dresser and walked toward the sliding glass door. Lightning and thunder raged across the sky and Anna felt herself tremble again. Had it become colder in the room since she was last in here? She rubbed her arms in an attempt to warm herself up and felt a pair of hands reach from behind her to offer kind assistance. His hands – big, strong hands – rubbed her arms slowly, stroking her skin in slow, sweeping motions to elevate the friction between them. Anna trembled again, though for an altogether different reason.
“Really, though, you need to see the view from here at dawn,” Roger spoke quietly behind her. The warmth of his body spread to hers as his arms closed in a firm embrace.
For a moment, held like that before the tumultuous storm, Anna felt warm and comforted and safe. She leaned against the man behind her and pressed her hands against his arms, keeping them in place. This felt nice, she thought to herself. She hadn’t been held like this by a man in over a month. Anna hadn’t realized just how lonely she had been feeling until now.
Roger held her in silence for a few moments before Anna sighed and finally tried to pull herself free. Roger’s arms did not budge.
Anna laughed softly, “Roger, I need to go to sleep…” Her voice was almost a whisper, plaintive and timid.
His hot breath tickled her ear as he spoke into it, “Ask me to let you go one time and I will. Just ask it the one and only time of me and I will honor your request and stop.”
Even as he spoke, she felt his embrace tighten around her.
Anna’s heart raced in her chest. His arms felt so good around her. She pressed back against him, feeling the warmth of his body and felt his body react in turn. She could feel a bulge forming against her rear as she leaned into him just for a little bit longer. That was all. Just a few more moments and she would ask him to stop…
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