Tuesday, October 16, 2012

100TWC - Day 81: A Place to Belong

[ this post is a continuation of the story begun in "Lost and Found" earlier in the writing challenge ]

The expensive leather-upholstered 4x4 turned into a driveway and Carl suppressed a gasp. The snowstorm, which had begun as soon as Roger had fetched the SUV to the kerb, had highlighted the roof and sills of the house with crisp whiteness to match the bare branches of the enormous aspen tree that grew in a roundel in the centre of the driveway.

Vince, who had spent the entire journey on the back seat with his head in Carl's lap, seemed to sense that he'd arrived home. He lifted his head to stare through the window and gave a muted "Ruff!" that stayed in his throat in much the same way Carl's gasp had.

The house was enormous. 4,000 square feet at least, Carl guessed. His streetwise assessment of the couple's wealth had been, well, on the money. Roger twisted around from behind the wheel.

"Looks nice, huh?"
"It's beautiful," replied Carl. "Like a picture book home."
"Wait 'til you see the inside," Roger went on. "We've done quite a bit to it, haven't we Cyn?"

Cyn of the expensive jeans and lifesaver jacket turned around and gave Carl one of her megawatt smiles. "Please ignore my husband's bad manners Carl," she teased. "I'm sure you're more interested in a hot bath and a change of clothes, whaddaya say?"

Carl, who had been thinking that while he was absolutely not interested in rogering Roger, he wouldn't mind sinning with Cyn, was caught off-guard. "Umm, yeah. Yeah, that would be great, thanks."

Vince replaced his head in Carl's lap as Roger pulled up in front of the house.

"Come on," he urged. "Let's get out of this weather and into the warm."

Inside, the house was as impressive as Roger had implied. A carved oak staircase curled up to the first floor, carpeted with expensive white shag. The hall was floored with an intricate mosaic pattern that appeared to be Moroccan in origin, as far as Carl could tell. Massive panelled doors, also in oak, opened onto six rooms from the hallway. The house, though vast, was warm and smelt faintly of orange blossom.

"I'll show you to your room," Cyn offered.
"Thanks. Umm... should I take my shoes off?"
"If you like. It doesn't matter."
"Fancy some lunch?" Roger enquired as Carl made his way upstairs. "Soup? Got some fresh bread just out of the maker?"
Carl smiled, fighting back sudden tears of gratitude. "Yeah, I mean, yes, please, if you're having some," he replied past the lump in his throat.

Vince barked and ran past Carl up the stairs.

"Vince!" Cyn shouted after him, laughing. "Calm down boy!" She turned to Carl. "It's like he knows he might never have made it back here if it wasn't for you."
"Like I said, I didn't really do anything."
"In here," Cyn opened a bedroom door. The room beyond was painted a cornflower blue. Inside, a double bed was made up with a matching candlewick spread. Through a door in the opposite wall Carl could see an en-suite bathroom with a deep tub which Cyn was already filling.
"Make yourself at home," she said, smiling again, "I'll get you some fresh clothes. I think Roger has something that will fit you."

Carl took off his shoes, checking to see whether they had left a mark on the pristine carpet in the hall or bedroom. He was checking out the bewildering array of toiletries on the bathroom shelves when Cyn returned with an armful of clothes.

"Try some," she said, noticing his perusal of the assorted bath salts, crystals and pearls.
"Whose room is this?" he asked.
"No-one's," she replied airily. "We keep it up as a guest room, but you're our only guest at the moment. I'll leave you to it. When you're done, come down to the kitchen -- that's the door Roger was standing in -- and the soup should be ready by then."
"Thank you. I can't tell you--"
"Don't mention it. It's the least we can do after you rescued Vince from the madding crowd! Here," she added, reaching a couple of bath pearls from a blue crystal holder, "try these. I really like their smell on a man."

She dropped the pearls into the water and left, closing the bedroom door behind her. Within a few seconds, Carl had discarded his filthy tattered rags and immersed himself in the hot water.

[ this story is continued later in the writing challenge - on Day 97 in "Enthusiasm" ]

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