Chapter 2 - Mystery
Mystery stepped out of the car, completely taken with the tiny house in front of her. It was absolutely perfect and she couldn’t stop the enthusiastic grin that spread across her face. It looked like a fairytale cottage, and it even had a low white picket fence. It was absolutely adorable. It had a small white porch, and someone had painted the entire cottage a pretty pale blue. Wild flowers grew in the front and a cute stone path led the way up to it. Mystery could barely contain her excitement, she wanted it, and she hadn’t even stepped inside yet.
The real estate agent Mrs. McCarthy moved, and it got her attention once more. She smiled at the woman as she turned to face her. The agent showed her around the front of the cottage first, pointing out the detailed gingerbread trim, and an old hanging swing on the porch. Mystery hardly paid her any attention as her head swung in every direction to take it all in. The tiny cottage was so pretty it could have easily been on the front cover of a prestigious magazine.
At almost twenty-two, Mystery decided it was time to move out of the house she shared with her aunts. They were wonderful, but they were overwhelming, and she desperately needed room to breathe. They were extremely eclectic, and many thought they were crazy. Both wore long skirts and silky decorative blouses. They wore velvet ribbons around their necks with cameos on them, and they kept their long grey hair in messy buns. They looked like they lived in an entirely different generation, and they didn’t care what anyone thought.
The house they shared was even crazier. The pantry was full of pottery jars and scented oils, the kitchen had dried herbs hanging in every window, and the aunts always had something smelly boiling on the stove. The furniture was antique and extremely old, there was lace everywhere you looked, and there was always sea salt on the wooden floors. Whenever Mystery questioned their odd behaviours and the strange things she noticed, the aunts would just brush her off and giggle. They always said ‘oh never mind us, we’re just too silly old ladies,’ and frustrated, Mystery had stopped asking.
This cute little cottage was just what she needed to escape them and start a life of her own. It wasn’t too big, and it was far enough away from her aunts to give her some privacy, but close enough for them to come if she had need. It had a large yard and there was a natural stream running through the back.
“This house has been on the market for just over three months,” Mrs. McCarthy explained as she crossed the lawn carefully in her expensive black heels. “The sweet dear that owns it has already moved out, so you could take possession right away if you wanted.”
“That’s amazing,” Mystery replied with a smile. “Can we see the back before we go in?” she questioned.
“Of course,” Mrs. McCarthy responded curtly as she led the way.
Mystery followed her around the side of the cottage in curious anticipation. The cottage was one story, and it was full of beautiful windows. The more she saw, the more she fell in love with it. She could imagine how bright and warm the inside would be. When they rounded the corner and stepped into the back, Mystery could only stop and stare. It was more than she could ever hope for.
In the back wasn’t just a stream, but a stunning slow flowing brook. There was a small sandy bank, and large rocks peeked out from the trickling water flowing around them. The sun hit the water in just the right way to make it sparkle, and it caught the wings of the numerous dragonflies that hovered above it. Mystery could imagine sleeping with her bedroom window open and listening to the beautiful trickling sound it made. She knew it was a noise she’d never tire of hearing. The yard was full of weeping willow trees and a colourful assortment of wildflowers. It was heaven on earth. But the best part was the amazing solarium built off the back of the cottage. Mystery would love to put a huge basket chair out there and fill the entire structure with different varieties of plants. She was infatuated with plants. Her room at her Aunts was full of them. It would be wonderful to have a proper place to keep them.
Mystery was just about to tell Mrs. McCarthy she’d take it, when a large, warm hand clamped down on her shoulder. She shrieked and tripped over her own feet as she attempted to pull away. She knew she was going down, and she cartwheeled her arms trying to slow her momentum. Quickly that hand was joined by another on her other shoulder, and she found herself hauled up against a massive, rock hard body.
Slowly she looked up, and when her neck was craned way back, she found herself staring into gorgeous whiskey coloured eyes. They were stunning, and there was absolutely no way she could look away. She forgot all about the real estate agent and the cottage and stared up into them.
“Hello,” Mystery whispered breathlessly. The man who owned the eyes smiled, and she just about passed out from the sheer force of it.
“Hey minx,” he growled down at her, and the sound of his deep voice caused goose bumps to break out on her skin, and her toes to curl.
When he glided his palms down her back and his fingers grazed the bare skin below her shirt, she felt like she was on fire. His hands were hot, and they seared her skin in a delicious way. She gasped in surprise and pushed away from him. As soon as the connections was broken she missed it, and for some odd reason she wanted it back. She shook away the thought and watched in fascination as he turned to the real estate agent and held out his hand.
“Name’s Hunter. I was supposed to meet my pretty girl here earlier, but I got held up,” he told the lady as he grinned at her.
Mrs. McCarthy seemed to glow in his presence and was as taken by him as she was. She actually appeared flustered as she mumbled out a no problem and headed back to the front of the house. Mystery turned back to him and took a minute to study him. He had ash brown hair that was shaggy and tousled looking, and it curled just under his ears. He was wearing a tight back tee that appeared almost too small for his massive frame. He paired it with worn, ripped jeans, and on his feet were construction boots that looked like they never came off.
“Who are you?” Mystery whispered, as she tried to step around him and follow the agent. He smirked, and she blinked, stumbling once more. But just like the last time his hand shot out and caught her arm.
“Jesus, you’ve got reflexes like a cat,” Mystery declared in astonishment. When he threw back his head and erupted in laugher, she was a goner.