Meredith jumped aboard. “Splash!” Her feet landed in a small puddle of water. She realised there must be a leak in the boat. It hadn’t been maintained for a while so must have got a hole in its hull.
Thinking to herself it’d be a long walk back to the cabin if she went around the lake’s edge, she did not like the idea of walking through the woods either. Meredith decided she was going to risk it. “Damn it!”, she muttered, taking an oar in each hand.
Meredith started to row as quickly as possible. Three-quarters of the way, her arms began to ache. She thought to herself ‘I wish Cal was here. He would have done this in half the time!’ The boat was filling up a lot quicker than she’d anticipated.
Suddenly, the water poured into the boat as a part of the hull caved in. There was no alternative for Meredith now; she knew she had to jump overboard and swim the rest of the way. Shouting for help, Meredith entered the water feeling a wave of coldness flow through her body.
She tried to swim, but the shock of the cold made her flap and splash her arms around. Meredith felt heavy, slowly sinking to the bottom of the lake, as the weight of her soaked clothing pulled her down into the watery chasm.
Struggling to stay afloat, she felt rough hands grab her. Secured under a strong arm, she was towed back to shore. At the lake’s edge, the water cleared from her ears enough to discern a familiar male voice.
“Don’t worry, you’re ok Meredith.” It was Tim who’d saved her. Kind of ironic that the guy who’d spooked her would be her rescuer, Meredith thought to herself wryly.
Resting on the strip of muddy sand at the lake’s edge they were both dripping wet, breathing deeply to catch their breath.
“How did you get here so fast?” Meredith asked Tim.
“Normally people say thank you when you’ve saved their life,” chuckled Tim.
Remembering her manners now that she was slightly less startled at nearing a murky end, Meredith stuttered, “ye- yes, thank you.”
Tim’s calm voice alerted Meredith to their predicament; “We’re both soaked through, not to mention covered in mud! Come over to my cabin. I’ll get the fire going to dry your wet clothes before you get cold,” he suggested.
Meredith felt a chill as he said the words, and agreed. The sound of a warm fire enticed her. Not to mention, she couldn’t help noticing the magnetism between them when they talked about regular topics. It was like Tim knew her, even though she’d only met him an hour ago. She’d had more male friends growing up, than female ones. Guys were generally less catty and more considerate than other girls, in her experience.
They walked briskly to Tim’s cabin, which was tucked behind a clump of trees a few hundred yards into the forest. Cal’s words echoed in her mind “Just watch out for Vampires and Werewolves in that forest!” She realised with a pang, that her phone was in her back pocket when she’d entered the lake. Reaching for it, to her relief it was still there, but it was sodden and muddy.
Tim noticed her look of dismay, before telling her he had a land-line at his cabin.
“If you want to call anyone, you’re more than welcome to,” he offered whilst he opened the door. “I leave it unlocked as I figure I have nothing to worry about here,” he joked.
Meredith smiled with gratitude and said there was someone she wanted to talk to, as they were expecting to hear from her. Tim raised his eyebrow, and uttered an “Oh…” He seemed to half expect she’d have a boyfriend already.
Not knowing what to say, Meredith, stayed quiet. She liked Tim and could see he was disappointed. Cal wasn’t strictly her boyfriend, though she did think him hot. He was also a laugh to be around.
“How long have you had this place?” Meredith asked Tim, wanting to find out more about her rescuer.
“About 5 years now, though it was my uncle’s before I took it on,” Tim said. “The telephone is on the bureau, over by the window,” he proceeded to mention.
Busying himself with preparing the fire, whilst Meredith called Cal, Tim suggested that Meredith could put her phone near the fire to dry it out. The landline dialled but there was no answer after 5 rings. The line bizarrely cut out soon after. Meredith put down the handset and shrugged, saying she’d try again later.
Taking the case off her mobile and removing the battery, she placed it on a serviette by the fire. It was in a sorry state, so she didn’t dare to hope it was recoverable. Turning to Tim, she asked him how he liked to pass the time when he wasn’t rescuing young women from the lake. This made him laugh dryly; “I kind of feel like I’m the reason you ended in the lake,” he said.
“Not at all, the boat was old, it would have leaked either way!” Meredith reasoned.
Tim responded thoughtfully, “I didn’t mean to startle you, but there are wild animals around these parts, bears and coyotes…”
Meredith nodded in agreement, “yes, I heard howls, which made me wonder if there were wolves about.”
“Maybe…” Tim trailed off, looking distracted. “Do you want something to eat, now that you’re warmer? I could cook some pasta.”
Realising she was feeling hungry since her small lunch had been shared between them, Meredith was happy to take Tim up on the offer. He went to the kitchen area to start preparing food.
Whilst he was out of the living area, Meredith took the opportunity to look at the photos on the walls and shelves. Some included Tim, and she mused whether he’d used a timer or someone else had taken them. In one close-up of his face, she noticed his eyes were hazel-green. ‘That’s funny,’ Meredith thought to herself, ‘I could have sworn they were grey when he pulled me from the lake!’ Other than that there seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary about Tim.
Later, when they were sat at the table eating, Meredith mentioned some of the photos to Tim. They were enjoying a glass of Merlot with their Pasta Pomodoro. Meredith asked, “Did you get coloured contacts or something? I mean, your eyes look different in that picture to how they do now.”
Tim looked somewhat taken aback; Meredith didn’t notice, as she was looking at some artwork on the dining area wall. “My eyes sometimes change according to how I’m feeling,” he replied with careful consideration.
“Oh right,” Meredith paused, “I’d better head back soon, it’s starting to get dark.”
“If you like, you’re welcome to have my bed and I’ll take the couch in here,” Tim offered. “That will give your phone a chance to dry out more.”
“My phone!” Meredith exclaimed, remembering she was late calling Cal. “I’d better try phoning my friend again when we’ve finished dinner,” she trailed off.
“Um, sure, I’ll leave you to it while I clear the dishes,” Tim replied, standing up from the table and taking their plates to the kitchen. Meredith felt a pang of dismay, as she thought how ungrateful she’d sounded.
Heading into the kitchen, she saw Tim standing by the window looking out into the evening sky. Startled by her footsteps, he turned to Meredith as she entered. “Thank you for offering me a place to stay,” she said appreciatively. “I think I will do that if the offer is still there…”
Did you like Part 3? Find Part 4, here!
Want to read another fantasy story? Here’s one that has a kinky/ voyeuristic theme 😉
Enjoy my writing? Why not check out a story I self-published on Amazon, called Explicit Theatrics under the pen name Zoe Adams (I chose that as it has the initials Z.A., like a backwards A-Z, and it rolled off my tongue when I said it aloud to myself. 😉