This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Lynne beamed at Jason as they drove down Main Street in their tightly packed vehicle. The town was just as she imagined and a far cry from where they had lived. There were people of all ages stopped along the sidewalks, casually peering into shops or greeting their neighbors. A few couples were walking hand in hand while groups of children raced ahead, each of them eager to be the first to spend their hard earned weekly allowances. It was postcard perfect. Lynne was enjoying the ride with the windows rolled down and the sunroof open to the warm skies above. She inhaled the salty air as she fought with her long, golden hair, which had become tangled around her face in the relentless wind.
A new adventure awaits, she thought to herself. It had been bittersweet leaving the cramped city apartment because that’s where they first began life as a married couple five short years ago. They were leaving behind a lot of firsts in order to make room for new ones, and she was looking forward to those.
“I can’t believe we finally did it!” she squealed with delight, her lively green eyes sparkling like perfectly cut emeralds catching the afternoon sun. She smiled brightly at her husband Jason, “Our first house! How much further?”
He glanced at the GPS mounted on the dusty dash of the car he’d had since his freshman year of college. The car was old but reliable. He couldn’t stand the thought of trading it in on something new. At least not yet. “Well, according to the GPS, it is only about ten minutes away.”
With her eyes closed, she smiled again, and tilted her face towards the baby blue sky above. The early morning sun warmed her face and brightened her cheeks. “I can’t wait.” Lynne was as giddy as a schoolgirl and rightly so. “Do you think it will be as beautiful as the pictures we saw online?” She looked towards him, her thoughts suddenly turning more serious. “Everyone thought we were crazy to buy a house online.” She thought about her coworkers and their reactions when she first told them the news. The majority thought they were crazy. She preferred to be called adventurous. As excited as she was, there was also an underlying feeling of concern that they had jumped into something too good to be true. She nervously fidgeted with her hair, watching for her first glimpse of the house. The anticipation was almost too much for her to handle. She’d been dreaming of this day for weeks.
“Yeah, maybe we are a little crazy. But hey, I think it will at least be as beautiful as the pictures.” He gave her a reassuring smile. “Then we will have the last laugh.” He felt his heart beat a little faster as they drew nearer to the house. “I’m looking forward to finally seeing it in person too.”
This move was a long time coming. They had long outgrown their tiny apartment in the city and they were tired of the neverending bumper to bumper traffic with the constant street noise they never seemed to be able to escape. They longed for a peaceful, idyllic setting where they could start a family and put down some permanent roots. They both wanted somewhere with room to grow. Somewhere safe. Lynne was eager to kiss the hustle and bustle goodbye and trade in her high heels and business suits for sneakers and Levis, and maybe an apron if she ever mastered the art of cooking. From the online pictures of the house, she knew the kitchen in this house was magnificent. She was eager to dust off her old hand-me-down cookbooks and finally learn to cook. No more takeout. She wasn’t even sure if takeout was an option where they were going.Maybe she would even buy Jason a grill. Yeah, she thought, she had to get him a grill. They never owned one in the city and she figured he’d probably enjoy hosting backyard summer barbecues for the new friends they would make. She put that on her mental list of things she needed to buy to make the picture in her mind complete.
Lynne never really liked living in the city. She always felt like it had opened its mouth and swallowed her whole. She was just another face in the crowd, and it always seemed to overwhelm her. She was a small town gal and Jason had been a small town guy. At least, that’s the way it was before they were married. College and the real world had changed him, but she liked to think that change was for the better. She wished that she could adapt as easily as he had. He seemed to be thriving.
When she married Jason, he already had the shoebox apartment with a view of a depressing concrete wall of the building next door, along with a view into the living room of an overweight and greasy man that loved wrestling and beer. The perpetual pizza stains he wore on his raggedy old shirt made Lynne wonder if all his shirts carried the same stain, or quite possibly, there was a scarier alternative. Maybe he never changed his shirt. The offender’s apartment was so close, if she dared to raise her window, she could ask him without raising her voice. She shuddered at the thought.
Outside their tiny apartment windows, there was no green in sight. If Lynne strained her eyes, she thought she could make out the top of the trees in the park, but she couldn’t be sure. She was definitely surrounded by a concrete jungle filled with a variety of sights and smells. Some good, some not so good. Some were downright disgusting. It made opening a window something she liked to avoid at all costs.
The apartment was exactly what any girl would expect a bachelor on a budget to have. It was void of any feminine touches when she moved in and it wasn’t ideal for a couple, much less, two people that wanted to start a family. She made minor changes here and there, but with limited space and storage options, it was hard to do the things she wanted. She never felt like it was truly hers. There was nothing they could really do about that. Thanks to Jason, they were on a budget, and apartments in their price range were scarce. Jason believed in saving and had somehow convinced her to pinch pennies. Together they saved most of their money. It was painful at first. Who was she kidding? It was always painful and something she had never gotten used to. However, they knew their strict budget would pay off one day. Lucky for them, that day was today.
Jason began his career working long hours in advertising at a large firm in the city. He loved his job, but the long commute could be brutal. Things had been going well during his years there and he had already had two promotions under his belt. They were both thankful since they could now sock away a little extra money each month and build a modest investment portfolio. For the last year, he had been toying with the idea of creating his own brand and working from home. Six months ago, he made it a reality. It wasn’t long before his business took off and he had built a dedicated client list.
About two months ago, Jason and Lynne decided it was time to start shopping for a home. They weren’t quite sure where to start, so like any modern couple with a sense of adventure, they started online. Since Jason worked from home, they could move anywhere. Getting out of the city was a top priority. Besides, they couldn’t afford more than a shoebox in the city, and they were already crawling on top of each other. It might be fine if they were both naked and energetic, but these days, long hours kept them in their clothes more than either of them would have liked.
One evening, tipsy over a bottle of luscious red wine, they pulled out a map and agreed on a location a few hours away. The farther away from the city, the more they got for their money. Fortunately, that appealed to both of them. Each of them wanted to move somewhere new and start fresh. Jason’s only requirement was a dedicated home office with a view. Lynne’s requirements were a little longer. She wanted to have a home large enough for a family, a garden full of ever blooming flowers that would one day inspire the creation of fairy houses, and she wanted some place old with a bit of history.
Lynne loved all things old. Her mother had a charming antique store and before she died, Lynne was in her shop as often as possible. She spent weekends there and any free time after school. When her mom passed away her freshman year of high school, the shop had to be sold. It had been tough on Lynne to walk away from all those memories. Since her father had walked out on them years before, she moved in with her Aunt Jane, her mother’s only sister. She always thought of her Aunt Jane as a second mother, and she was grateful to be able to keep her mother’s memory alive by hearing stories about her often. Jane had never married, but she had a three bedroom, two bathroom house tucked away in a picturesque community about an hour away from where she lived with her mother. That is where she met Jason.
They were high school sweethearts and next door neighbors. He reminded her so much of a younger version of that hunk from TV, Dr. McDreamy, with his raven dark hair and smiling eyes, as blue as a summer sky. Oh yes, he was gorgeous and sexy as sin, and dreaming of her future with him made his absences bearable. When he left for college in the city, she stayed home attending junior college, and then she started working for the local hospital in the business office. She didn’t really like it, but she was able to build a nice savings while living with her aunt. When Jason graduated and began a job in the city, he closed the deal on her heart when he proposed. After a small outdoor wedding attended by family and friends, she became Mrs. Jason Bradley. After a two week honeymoon in Hawaii, she snagged a job at a medical office in the city and worked her way up to a management position. It wasn’t exactly her dream, but it paid the bills and allowed their meager savings to grow. Now, five years later, they were buying their first home together. It was her chance to put their stamp on something, to make it their own. She looked forward to filling the rooms with children and antiques, and she couldn’t wait to get started.
When she first saw the house online, she had to have it. She was drawn to it like a bee to a flower. It even had a name! La Maison du Mere looked like a place she’d want to call home. It had everything she wanted and then some. When she saw the listing price, that pretty much sealed the deal. Jason told her not to get her hopes up. A big house like that, on the bluffs, it had to be a mistake. When he called the listing agent, an over eager realtor by the name of Jeanne Fuchs, they were both surprised the information was correct and they moved fast, afraid they would miss the opportunity at something amazing. There was just something about the house in Wellfleet, Massachusetts that she couldn’t quite explain. It was almost as if it spoke to her.
Alex Rushmer: I like the intrigue that you introduce from the very beginning of the story. The idea of the girl waking up in the alley with no memory of how she got there and with injuries is very interesting. It was very well done. There were a lot of grammatical errors that need to be fixed though. I think t...
Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.
pikagirl311: Katie Masters has definite skill when it comes to plot work and characters. The story is well-paced and pulls you along with the tide, keeping you hooked until the very end. The only reason I did not give it five stars across the board is due to a few minor quibbles with misspellings and such lik...
: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.
Kiz16: After a truly shocking start to the story, I found the style and content slowed down as the author introduced a varied group of characters who I thought were fleshed out very well. After a slow couple of chapters, I found this story difficult to leave with the tension growing within the house. Yo...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."