Find Me Ch. 02by..Desired..©
Ondrea groaned and stretched her cramped limbs. What should have been a three hour trip turned into five and a half hour one; construction over a long stretch of highway left only one lane available causing huge traffic blocks. Spending that much time in a car was never time well spent in her book but they were finally at Donna Maria's Lodge.
Maria and Roberto Mangiameli had started a small mountain B&B in 1967. Many people came searching for peace and seclusion and found it in the mountains. Once the Snow Peaks ski resort was built in 1992, the Lodge got more business from skiers who preferred the intimate setting and they were able to increase in size. The family still owned the business and managed to keep the homey feeling in their establishment even 40 years later.
Rea took in a deep breath of the crisp air and took in the scenery. It all looked like a scene of a Christmas postcard. Lavender-grey mountains made a breathtaking backdrop for the majestic pine trees and heavy log cabins. Perfect white snow crunched under her feet and covered everything as far as the eye could see.
"I'm so glad that we decided to stay here. I've only been here for a minute and already I'm in love" she thought.
"Let's take our bags in so that you can check us in while I park the car."
"But you're the one who made the reservations! I don't know any of the specifics."
"There's nothing specific about it. Honestly Rea, you just go and sign in. Ian got here yesterday so our rooms should all be in order; they just need to double check."
"Fine, fine, I'll go. Help me take the rest out; if I knew you were bringing so much stuff, I wouldn't have bothered to pack."
"Cause you know, packing two suitcases is so difficult."
"It totally is. Her highness was gravely upset by the situation."
"Lazy ass. Here, that's the last one." Franca took out the suitcase and slammed the trunk shut. "Heh, no bellboys. Guess us girls have to carry in our own luggage. Feminism where have you gotten us?"
The two of them carried in their belongings inside and Franca quickly rushed out to 'park her precious baby'.
"That girl loves her wheels too much; might explain her track record though." Rea smiled at her little joke and shook her head. "Now to sign in."
There was nobody at the desk. She looked around. The whole place was empty. Rea turned back to desk to see a bell standing on a small golden box. On the box there was a sign that read 'Ring Me if no one is here'. Picking up the bell Rea examined it. It was a simple bronze bell with a wooden handle at the end of which there was a red and white bow. It reminded her of those that her elementary school teacher used to ring to signal the end of recess.
The bell produced a pleasant sound when Rea rung it and moments later a short, plump woman came rushing in.
"Oh, dear, I hope you haven't been waiting for too long! It's still quite early so we don't have a regular person at reception."
Rea could not help but smile at the woman; she radiated warmth and kindness. She appeared to be around 65. Her soft white hair was set in a large hairstyle. On her nose sat a pair of small, delicate spectacles and through them a pair of joyful brown eyes sparkled. She wore a calf length pine-green dress, crocheted white cardigan, comfortable-looking black shoes and a lot of gold jewelry.
"I am Maria and I want to welcome you to our lodge. Let me get the sign-in book." From the shelf behind the counter, she pulled out a leather-bound book. It was large and old; the writing on the cover was once gold, but was now fading. The woman opened it two thirds in and looked up. "Under what name are you signed in, dear?
"One of my friend should have already signed for us, an Ian Tiernay."
The woman scanned the list in front of her and shook her head. "No, nobody under that name here, I'm sorry."
"Oh. Um, well there should be a registration under a Francesca Dalo."
Scanning the list once more, Donna Maria found the name she was looking for. "Yes, here it is; Dalo, party of six. You have rooms 2D, 3A and 3B. Which one do you want dear?"
"Is there a difference? I thought they were all the same."
"Rooms 3A and B have two single beds and room 2D has one double bed. Ms. Dalo called very late and wanted another room and all we had was 2D; we're very busy at this time of year. Is it a problem? I figured since it is a party of six there would be at least one couple."
"No, no it's not a problem" Rea smiled reassuringly at the woman who had begun to look upset by the thought that someone would not be having a good stay. "I'll take 2D."
The Donna retrieved two old fashioned keys and handed them to Ondrea. "Are you sure you will be alright, dear? We can transfer you after someone has vacates."
"Thank you, but I'm sure it will be alright. I'll be too tired to care who I'm sleeping next too after being outside all day. "
Donna Maria seemed to have cheered up a bit and had begun giving Rea information about the lodge and the grounds when Franca walked in talking cheerfully with Stan; Kegan and Connor tailed in behind them carrying luggage.
"Look what I found in the parking lot, Rea! These two healthy boys will help us with our luggage, and by help I mean carry it for us."
Rea laughed. "Our rooms are on the second and third floor so it won't be a long way. Let's get everyone signed in first though."
Rea was sitting with Franca in her room and pouring over sight-seeing and eatery brochures.
"Are you sure you're alright about sharing a bed with Ian? We could work out something..."
"For the 15 bazillionth time, yes I'm sure! Why are you making such a big deal about it? We're two adults, we're not 16. Plus it's a huge bed; we'll barely know the other person is there. "
"I just feel really bad about it, Rey. I was the one who dragged out here and now you can't even get a decent room."
"It's really not a big deal though; it's the only solution that works. Stan really likes her privacy so sharing a bed with her was out of the question and since she refuses to share a room with a guy you were her only option. I refuse to share a room much less bed with Keg or Connor, so Ian was all that's left. We like each other and he's not pervy, so it's all good."
"Keg and I could have shared the bed."
"Yeah, but you two just broke up again like last week. Look, I'm telling you, its fine. By the way, did Ian say why he got so delayed?
"No, I told you everything Connor told me. He got a call from Ian Friday night telling him that he would be delayed. That's it. He did call again when they were on the road and said that he was on his way. He should be here soon enough. "
Rea nodded in acknowledgement. She was worried about her friend. It really wasn't like Ian to call way past the last minute to notify about a change of plans. Just then her stomach produced an angry growl. She didn't get a chance to eat much breakfast in the car and her body was taking it personally.
"I agree with your stomach. I have the lodge menu here and lunch doesn't start for another 20 minutes. That gives us enough time to have a shower and get changed."
Rea smiled. "Aww! No time left for a nap."
"We just got here and already you want a nap?" Francesca rolled her eyes.
"Well I didn't get much sleep last night, had to be up at 6 today and just spent almost six hours in a car. Yeah, I want a nap. I'll take a hot shower, it should refresh me."
"See that it does. I'll go tell everyone else and see if they want to come with us. Meet you by the bottom of the stairs at 12:10-ish." And with that Franca left the room.
Ondrea barely carried in her stuff when Francesca rushed in spewing apologies and possible solutions. Rea sat on the edge of the bed and took in the room for the first time. It was far from the frumpy B&B or hunting lodge she had imagined.
The ceiling was tall with beautiful molding and the walls were painted a warm café au lait colour. The furniture was made of dark wood and had a handmade, rustic feel to it. A luxurious bed stood in the middle of the room; it was covered in cark chocolate sheets and decorative pillows in cream shades. At the foot of the bed there was a chest; Rea opened it and found warm woolen blankets which just called out to be snuggled in. There were two matching bedside tables above which hung woven copper sconces. On the right table there was a bowl of fresh green apples, on the other there was a potted white hyacinth. As she made her way to the window, Rea breathed in the intoxicating aroma of the flower. The view from the floor-length window was breathtaking. Since the ski resort was on the other side, all that could be seen was a vast expanse of lush green forest and the mountains standing in the background like peaceful giants, overlooking their domain.
Dragging herself away from the spectacular view, Ondrea took out a change of clothes from her suitcase and threw it on the bed. She then walking into the bathroom and closed the door behind her.
The bathroom was just as welcoming as the bedroom. Cream coloured tile covered the walls and the floor. On the door there hung a full length mirror; to the left there was a sink beside which stood a basket of fluffy beige towels. In the center, there was an antique claw foot tub which looked extremely welcoming. Beside it there was a tray holding dainty bottles with salts and oils.
"I will definitely be having a bath sometime soon."
Opting for the shower, she stripped off her clothes; turned on the water and stepped into the hot stream, closing the frosted door behind her. The heat felt good against her skin after being outside. Warmth spread throughout her body and Rea wiggled her toes in pleasure. Turning her back to the water, she picked up a bottle of the Lodge's body wash. Opening the bottle she inhaled the aroma; it was a blend of vanilla, cinnamon and cloves. Lathering some of the deliciously scented soap she quickly washed herself and got out of the shower. Rea dried herself off, put on her underwear and left the bathroom.
After shoving her laundry into the suitcase, she took her hair out of the messy bun she had been sporting. She shook out the dark chestnut, waist length locks, running her fingers through to undo any tangles. Sighing at the thought of not getting her nap, Ondrea decided to get dressed, but just as she reached for her sweater, the door suddenly swung open.