KERRI'S WAR (Volume 3 of The King Trilogy)

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Chapter 18

The day was perfect, even better than one could expect for late September in Muskoka. Temperature in the low eighties. No clouds or humidity. Gentle breeze. The lake, beautiful at any time of the year, was crystal clear and calm enough to reflect the brilliant red, yellow and orange leaves on the maple and poplar trees lining its jagged shore.

Christine hated to miss the important cocktail parties, ostensibly the kick-off to the autumn social calendar for Toronto’s movers and shakers. It was her happiest time of the year, a time to build her network. Steve had invited her to spend a weekend of downtime with him at Rocky Crest Resort, a high end retreat on the north shore of Lake Joseph. The opportunity to spend a quiet relaxing weekend in Muskoka with Steve was too tempting, more than enough to induce her to postpone her Friday afternoon appointments, decline her cocktail party invitations, and pack her bags.

They met at 2:00 P.M., Christine arriving in her black BMW 330 cic, Steve in his Boston whaler. Both headed for the elegant one bedroom cottage Steve had rented. Number one on their agenda was to satisfy a burning, gnawing sexual requirement, one that had gone unattended since their meeting in Toronto the previous weekend.

“God I needed that!” Christine groaned, naked and still panting, clinging to Steve as if someone was trying to take him away.

“A good start,” Steve said, then kissed her passionately. He reached for her vibrator. “Did we make it over the top, or do I need to do some supplemental work?”

Christine smiled and shook her head. “Best orgasm I’ve had in a week.”

“Will it last until tonight?”

She nodded.

“Then let’s put on our bathing suits and go for a boat ride.”

Both leaped from the bed and raced to the shower. It was a tie, so they showered together. Christine dried herself, put on her white bikini, then covered herself with an oversized crimson Harvard sweatshirt. Steve wore his flowered red and yellow trunks and a plain grey sweatshirt. Both slipped into their sandals, put on their sunglasses, then walked down the gentle rocky slope to the massive dock. They stepped into Steve’s boat and he guided it out into the lake at cruise speed.

“Next stop: The Monster,” he said, referring to the cottage he had been building for the past six months. Within two minutes, they rounded a rocky promontory and his pride and joy came into full view. He pointed to his six thousand square foot masterpiece, nestled among tall hemlocks at the end of a four thousand foot rocky peninsula. “That’s eighty percent of your father’s five million,” he said. “Three months and the other twenty percent should finish it.”

“Carry me over the threshold,” Christine demanded with an impish grin.

Steve tied his boat off in one of the three slips of his almost completed cedar, timber and steel dock, then helped Christine climb out. Hand and hand, they walked up a gradual slope littered with needles, cones, twigs and rocks. When they reached the front entrance, he unlocked and opened the door. He lifted Christine, carried her through the opening, then lowered her to her feet. “Now I’m going to give you the four million dollar tour,” he said with a proud smile.

He spent the next hour walking the interior, explaining the construction details, and allowing Christine to marvel at the stupendous views offered by virtually every window. Next he led her outside and gave her a walking tour of the property, taking time to explain his extensive landscaping plan. He ended the tour by stopping beside his boat. “Next week I’m going to start the boathouse,” he said, then reached into the boat and removed the architectural plans for the project. He invited Christine to sit beside him, then unrolled the plans on the dock.

“It’s absolutely fantastic!” she said as she helped him turn the large pages. She wrapped her arms around him, pulled him to a horizontal position, then rolled on top of him. “You’re absolutely fantastic,” she said, her lips barely grazing his. “I want you to build a house exactly like this in Toronto. Then we’ll live in it, happily ever after.”

Steve struggled to avoid showing Christine any sign of his displeasure. Her statement has struck a very sensitive chord. She wanted to live in Toronto. He didn’t. He laughed. “There aren’t nearly enough rocks in Toronto. And where would we put the dock?” He rolled up the plans and jumped to his feet. “It’s a beautiful afternoon. You’re yacht awaits. I want to take you on a slow cruise to nowhere.”

They climbed into the boat, then Steve headed south east across Lake Joseph. He slowed when they entered the Little Lake Joe cut, and continued at near idle speed until they emerged onto Lake Rosseau. He accelerated to full speed, circumnavigated some of the lake’s most beautiful islands, then headed for Windermere House, a large and elegant, three story resort hotel on the eastern shore of the lake. The two lovers enjoyed cold draught beers on the verandah, then returned to the boat and headed west. He slowed to pass through the Port Sandfield cut and back onto Lake Joseph. The second leg of the cruise was interrupted by a stop at Water’s Edge Wine Bar and Grill, a five star boathouse restaurant and watering hole for Muskoka’s rich and famous. “Just in time for happy hour,” he said with a big smile.

They chose a table for two on the elevated area of the deck and overlooking the lake. With Christine’s approval, Steve ordered a bottle of 2000 Chateau Lafleur. Christine waited until the waitress had filled their glasses and left the table. It was time to resume her full court press. She raised her glass. “To our Christmas wedding,” she said, crossing her fingers, hoping Steve would agree.

He frowned, raised his glass, but refused to clink it against Christine’s. “I’ll toast our wedding, but not at Christmas. It’s too soon, Christine. I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with my mother, I still have a ton of work to do on the cottage, and I really don’t have any money.” What he failed to mention was a fourth reason for delaying the wedding. On September fifteenth, not far from where he sat at that moment, he had met the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Her entry into his life had caused doubts. Her reply to his gift of roses had opened a door, one that he did not want to close, at least not until he saw what was on the other side.

Christine was scorned. “I think you’re wasting your time up here. Come back to Toronto and get a real job. Then you’ll have some money,” she said, hating herself the instant she said it.

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