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The morning arrived with the sounds of birds singing and a gentle breeze blowing in through the window. Rance opened his eyes noticing an empty bed beside him, realising that Ria was across the room looking out over the valley. “Everything ok?”
Ria turned around wearing a wide smile. “Everything is great.”
She walked back over to the bed and gave Rance a good morning kiss. “This is a new look.” He said as he admired her womanly attire.
All Rance had known of Ria was hiking pants, boots and waterproof clothing. She now wore a pale peach satin nightdress and matching robe. “Well we have company downstairs so I didn’t want to be naked in front of them. I have another surprise for you later too.”
“I’m not a big fan of surprises.” He told her with a faux sad look on his lips.
“Tough, because I’m not telling you what it is.”
She pulled him out of bed. “Get dressed, There’s coffee on downstairs. It’s not Henry coffee yet but it’ll wake you up. I’ve also done a fruity breakfast for everyone. I’m sure we could do with some healthy food after last night’s drinking.” She walked out and down the stairs as he watched her feminine form disappear.
Ria knocked gently on the guest room door. “Come in.” Came Len’s voice.
She opened the door to see Len and Kelly spooned and she smiled as she saw them in her favourite sleeping position with Rance. “There’s coffee and breakfast downstairs when you’re ready.”
“Cheers Ria. We’ll be down shortly.” Len yawned.
Kelly just smiled as she looked at Ria, who instinctively knew what she was saying. She’d had the same look on her face the first time she woke up next to Rance the morning after her rescue. Ria left and went down to the kitchen. She poured a coffee and stood looking out over the valley. She heard movement behind her and the gentle knocking of a mug on the counter before liquid being poured in. A few seconds later an arm slid around her and Rance’s face appeared over her shoulder. “This view was the prettiest thing I had in my life until I found you.”
Ria let her head tilt against his. “You’re not so bad looking yourself.”
They stood together admiring the valley as the sun began to pour its light over the lip of the left hill, illuminating the trees at the top of the hill on the right. Len and Kelly appeared and poured themselves coffee. “Morning you two.” Len greeted Rance and Ria.
“Morning yourselves.” Rance greeted them both in return. “Help yourselves to breakfast. I’m not exactly sure what we have in as I’ve been away.” He chuckled.
Len and Kelly joined them watching as the sun slowly rose and the rays slowly sank towards the valley floor like thick molasses moving down the side of a bowl. “Wow.” Offered Kelly as she stood in awe of the scene before her. “That is one spectacular sight.”
“Helen and I used to come up here in the mornings before she died, just to watch this happen. We used to sit on a rock where the kitchen counter is now and watch the sun as it slowly progressed into the valley. It’s why I had the house built here.”
Ria put her right hand up to his face and stroked his rough, unshaven cheek. The talk of Helen didn’t bother her, it just made her realise how loving he was. It was the first time he’d mentioned her name without becoming emotional. The dream of her must have been his way of letting go of his grief. She knew he would always think of her but it would now be in fondness of her memory, not in sadness at her loss.
“Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Whatever route that journey takes us, I’m glad to have you all in it!” Rance told them all.”
“And us you mate.” Added Len.
“What shall we do today? Asked Rance.
“Whatever we do we can’t be back later than four.” Ria said as she looked to Len and Kelly who were standing in a similar position to her and Rance.
“What’s happening at four?” Rance enquired.
“We need to be home to shower and get ready.” Ria told him, but withholding the reason.
Rance accepted that she wasn’t going to tell him. He kissed her cheek and moved away to refill his mug. “Let’s go to Grand Rapids for the day. Do some shopping, eat some food and relax.”
“Oh, I need to work.” Kelly answered sullenly. “I’ve had too much time off recently to help Ria so I can’t take the day.”
“Unfortunately I need to get my arse into gear and write a piece for Nat Geo. I’ve been slacking recently and the deadline is tomorrow. We’ll see you both later on though.” Len admitted.
“Just you and me then baby.” Ria said to Rance. “I’ll make sure it’s a good day.”
They all sat around the breakfast bar eating fruit and cereal, making fun of each other and giving playful little jibes at their respective relationships. It was clear to see that Len and Kelly had a strong connection, and Ria wondered how long it would be before they admitted it and stopped fooling around.
Len and Kelly left together, leaving Rance and Ria to think about their day together. rus escort “We could go and find a nice spot somewhere and take a picnic.” Ria suggested.
“Ok. I’ll let you lead. I’ve discovered a lot of stuff around here and know it well, so rather than me show you I’ll let you discover it for yourself.”
Finishing their coffee and breakfast they got ready for the day. Rance packed a rucksack with anything they might need while Ria made sandwiches and packed other tasty snacks.
Leaving the house at 10am they walked up the road the way they’d gone the night before but rather than turn into the copse they carried on along the quiet lane for some distance. To the left was the river valley, to the right was the peak of the hill. A narrow path appeared which Ria chose to take bringing them closer to the summit. The lane was tree lined causing the sun to cast shadows onto the ground in an intricate network of light and shadow. The quiet stillness of the day was only broken by the odd bird tweeting and the distant sounds of cattle.
Rance followed Ria, knowing the destination but allowing her little adventure. As the trees cleared, the path opened to a view down to the town nestled in the steep valley and the plain in the distance divided up into neat little squares of farmland. It had turned out to be a beautiful day but even if it had been the worst day Ria and Rance would have found it to be perfect.
They sat eating the food Ria had prepared and talked about plans for their wedding. Where they wanted it, when, and who would attend. It was only at that moment that Ria realised that she’d had no contact with any of her friends back in Burlington. “I need to make some phone calls when we get home.”
Rance felt a warm blanket wrap around him as she said the word ‘home’, like she’d accepted The Falls as her place of being now. He did agree that she needed to get her life in order. She decided that at the weekend they should fly to Burlington, take care of some things during a week and get her house on the market. The wedding could wait. There was no rush, they’d made their commitment to each other and a piece of paper wouldn’t make the slightest difference.
After their food and conversation they headed back towards town via a different route as Rance guided her. It followed a cute little stream that bubbled and whispered as it made its way down to the river valley. The land was steep in places so Rance held Ria’s hand as she made her way down. Her leg was better now, stronger due to a lot of miles she’d walked in her month at The Falls but it still gave her some pain. Rance was still very sore too but between them they managed to get each other home.
As if planned they reached the front door within minutes of their four o’clock deadline, entering the house, removing their muddy shoes before moving up to the bathroom. Rance still had no idea what to expect as his surprise. “What should I wear?”
“Something smart. A suit and a nice shirt.” Ria called as they finished showering.
Rance looked in his closet, choosing a grey suit that he hadn’t worn in quite some time, and a lilac coloured shirt. He put on his matching socks and slipped into his shoes and left the bedroom. Ria finished drying herself and went to the bedroom expecting to see Rance waiting for her. She was almost put out by his disappearance but thought it was a good opportunity to get dressed in the red dress Kelly had bought for her.
She buckled up her shoes and made her way down the stairs to join Rance. As they saw each other they mirrored each other’s comments. “Wow, you look amazing!”
As Ria walked over to Rance the dress flowed from side to side almost hypnotically. “I thought you looked good this morning in your nightdress and robe but this is beautiful. You’re like a dream made corporeal, for all eyes to see, not just the dreamer’s.”
She grinned at him. “Such a charmer. Shall we?”
He walked to her giving his arm to her. She linked and they walked out to the car. “You drive.” He said. “My shoulder is still too tender.”
She took the key, entered the car, starting it as Rance got in. She backed it up and then made her way into town. They stopped outside the hotel. “Why are we here?”
“You’ll see.” She said full of cheer.
They linked arms again and walked in straight towards the bar. A loud cheer went up as he walked in. All his local friends and acquaintances were there to welcome him back to the land of the living. “You didn’t think you were going to get away without some kind of party, did you?” Len asked.
Rance stood in stunned silence, smiling as he surveyed the room. He didn’t realise how popular he was. He sat down while Len fetched him and Ria drinks. Everyone came to say how glad they were that he was ok after his encounter and some even said the same to Ria after hearing of her brush with death. She felt humbled at the feeling from the local people, especially yenimahalle escort after what she’d had to do to protect Rance.
The night flowed well. Everyone enjoyed themselves including a newly formed couple. Len and Kelly were looking particularly happy together, standing closely and gazing at each other lovingly. Ria watched as they flirted and gave each other playful kisses. She was happy to have brought them together. She knew it would have only been a matter of time before they found their way to each other but she was proud to have given them the push they needed.
By the end of the night everyone had made their way over and spoken to Rance and Ria. Everyone was glad to see them so happy together and wished them well in their future.
Len and Kelly approached holding hands. “Thanks you two. Kelly and I have always known there was something between us but neither of us really knew how to take the first step to being a couple. Seeing you two together and being asked a simple question during the drinking game has made us realise how we feel. Also knowing the near death experiences you two have been through together made us think, ‘life is too short not to be happy.'”
“You two make a great couple. You should have admitted it a long tome ago.” Ria told them as she got up and hugged them both.
Ria hadn’t really thought about it but her dress didn’t hide the scar on her shoulder blade. It was on show for all to see. Kelly’s hand brushed the raised skin as her hand left Ria’s back. “Oh I’m sorry honey, I didn’t even think about your scar.”
“It’s ok. It’s a reminder of the man I love. It’s one slight disfigurement and I’m proud of it.”
Len and Kelly left Rance and Ria sitting in the hotel bar. “What a night. Time to go home?” Rance agreed and home they went.
Ria pulled in to the drive and they both got out of the car. They walked up the two steps onto the deck but rather than enter the house they walked around the deck. Ria lent against a post looking over the dark valley as Rance took up position behind her with his hand on her lower abdomen. He kissed her neck causing goosebumps and a shiver of delight to course up and down her back. She knew he was looking forward to having a child with her, the placement of his hand told her he still wanted it. He was so excited when they mentioned the possibility, but for now practice would be the closest they’d come.
Rance went inside to get two glasses and a bottle of wine, bringing them out with a blanket as the air was cool. They sat together drinking their wine. “I’ll book the flights for Burlington first thing tomorrow.” Rance informed Ria. “You want to go on Saturday?”
“I think Saturday would be good. I can get my stuff together and make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. I think I’ll hire a u-haul truck and drive back with any stuff I want to keep.”
“We can do that together. Another adventure.” Rance offered.
“That would be great but wouldn’t you prefer to get some writing done? You’ve missed out on a month already.”
“How long do you think it will take you to drive back from Vermont?”
“I’d say a week if I take it easy. Four days if I push on.”
“I’m coming with you. I don’t want to be out of touch with you that long.” His mind was still considering all possibilities, especially negative ones.
The rest of the week passed quite uneventfully. The flight was booked for early Saturday. Rance was looking forward to seeing Ria’s town and meeting her friends and family. The flight was relatively quick and the view as the flew over the Great Lakes was awe inspiring.
They landed in Burlington at 11:10am. By 12 they were walking out of the airport and into a taxi. Ria gave the driver the address and they left. The taxi ride took 20 minutes and gave Rance a chance to check out the town as they travelled through it.
They pulled up out outside a cute little house with a tree outside. There was a small deck in the front and a yard at the side. “It’s not Marchant Falls.” Ria admitted.
“It’s nice enough to call home.” Rance replied.
They left the taxi and walked to the door. Ria pushed the key into the lock and turned it for the first time in nearly three months. The mail had been piling up so the door resisted opening. There was a distinctly bad smell in the house. “Oh my god, what is that?” She asked covering her nose.
“You didn’t empty your refrigerator or your cupboards because you didn’t think you were going to be gone so long.” Rance told her. “I’ll help you clean up.”
The smell was powerful and nauseating. The cupboards were ok apart from some bread that had begun to create a new life form. The smell was coming from the fridge. The closer they got the stronger the smell of decomposition was. “Let’s just throw out the fridge. I’m not going to be bringing it with me anyway.”
Ria called a city environmental clean up company to collect the fridge which they both moved outside. They opened up all the windows to air the place. Other than the smell everything was fine. Ria checked all her mail, most of which was just trash.
It was no longer a homely place for Ria. The rooms held no emotional connection. They were simply boxes to exist in. The traffic running by outside was noisy and reminded her of Rance’s father’s dislike of noise after leaving the cabin. She wholeheartedly understood that feeling now, calling a realtor to arrange a meeting for Monday. They cleared a lot of unneeded stuff and bagged it up ready for trash collection. Rance called u-haul to hire a truck, leaving to collect it and returning an hour later. They loaded all the belongings Ria was keeping into the truck. When they were finished the house was almost bare.
The sofa and chairs were left in the sitting room, the table and chairs were left in the dining room. In the kitchen the oven, washing machine and dryer were left. The bedroom furniture was left too. Anything that wasn’t loaded into the truck or trash could be sold in a yard sale during the week.
Rance thought Ria would feel more attached to her house but she was completely un-emotional about it. He did feel bad about that but didn’t really know why. She’d moved on and wasn’t in the mood for being nostalgic about it.
They spent the weekend cleaning and tidying the house up for sale, painting the internal walls, cleaning the carpets and windows and sorting out small issues. By Monday the house was ready for the market.
When the realtor arrived she valued the house at $280k but advised Ria to put it up for rental managed by the agent. She estimated a rental income of $2,600/month. After fees she would be taking $2,100/month. $25.200 a year for letting her house seemed like a great idea. In eleven years the house would have paid for itself. That was the way to go. Rance agreed it was the right decision.
On Tuesday Ria called her friends and told them she was back in town for the week and was then moving to Minnesota. They arranged to meet on the Friday night before they left on Saturday.
The week was spent taking time out of their usual lives and enjoying how different the town was compared to the cabin and Marchant Falls. It wasn’t that they liked it but that they couldn’t wait to get back to the relative peace.
Friday was a clear and bright day and with the window open the smell from the bakery across the street was wafting in. Ria couldn’t think of a better way to wake up unless it was with a mug of Henry’s coffee. The rooms in the house were small but liveable. There was only room for one person at a time in the shower so they couldn’t enjoy their usual coital indulgences beneath the water. “Are you looking forward to leaving tomorrow?” Rance Asked.
“I am so ready to leave. The drive back will be such a cool little adventure. I’ve never been on a road trip before.”
“So you went straight from no adventure to a winter white water adventure as your first attempt?”
“You’ll never let me forget will you?” She laughed.
“Im not complaining!” His voice taking on a serious tone.
Ria stepped from the shower drying herself as she and Rance spoke. “Are you looking forward to the drive home?”
“It’ll be an experience.”
Ria didn’t like the way he sounded. He almost seemed depressed. “Babe, what’s going on?”
“Nothing much. Kinda regretting selling the cabin. It’d be nice to get back out there, into nature again.”
“So lets get hold of Henry and ask if we can spend some time up there this summer. You usually go during winter when things are much harder. Maybe a summer vacation up there would help take your mind off things?”
“Not a bad idea. I’ll see if I can get a ranger out there to drop a message with him.”
Ria kissed him, he’d been in a state of full arousal the whole week and every chance they got they were coupled. He kissed her neck, her shoulder, her shoulder blade. His hands found her soft supple breasts, gently kneading them as he kissed down her back to the tops of her buttocks. He let go and she turned. Before him was his favourite place in the world. Not The falls, not the cabin but her soft folds. If he could spend his life in just one place it would be there.
It was always so warm and welcoming, he wished he could curl up and live there. Ria leant against the sink and lifted her right leg onto the toilet seat allowing Rance the access he desired, his lips going straight to work running over her undulating labia, parting them like a pretty flower opening into full bloom in the presence of the sun. Ria breathed hard as her heat rose and the blood ran to her sex. He tenderly flicked her love bud with his tongue making her moan loudly, her balance wavered as her knees weakened. He paused, leading her to the bedroom. She lay back and Rance commenced his work.
She pulled her legs high giving him full access to her openness, wet and sensitive, his tongue giving her the pleasure she needed. It wasn’t for his pleasure, this was all for her…well almost. As she climbed through the levels of climactic gratification her vocal notes grew louder. Rance was going for broke, he wanted this to be Ria’s final lasting memory of Burlington.
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