The taxi pulled up to a massive wooden lodge, sitting by a lake. It was quite dark by this point, but I could still see how gorgeous it was. Friday was finally here, and I had made it to the retreat.
I thanked the driver and paid her with the company card Seeley had given me in English today after she helped me with my suitcase. I was nervous. And excited. This was going to be a good weekend. I inhaled a deep breath, and began walking towards the huge cabin. Hiking my suitcase up the steps, I knocked on the door and opened it, peeking my head inside. The inside was ginormous.
"Ah! Evangeline, right? Come in!" A voice beckoned me inside, and I found it belonged to a man standing by the lit fireplace. The glass of whiskey in his hand made me wince. I smiled and entered, closing the door behind me.
"Hi, yes I'm Evangeline, nice to meet you." I accepted his handshake.
"You're just in time, the food's ready. Leave your things here, we haven't sorted rooms out yet. I'm Henderson." He smiled, emphasising his wrinkles. I smiled and sat my suitcase by one of the couches, my shoulder bag leaning against it. Sliding my phone out of my bag and into the back pocket of my jeans, I followed Henderson into another room, which I discovered was the kitchen.
There was a long wooden table in the middle of the spacious room, and the benches were filled with people. I recognised Mr Jackson at the head of the table, talking animatedly to a young guy with a beard. Henderson motioned for me to take a seat at the bench opposite him as he sat down.
Taking a seat at the bench, I slid in next to Seeley, sending him a smile of acknowledgement. He nodded back and it was like my cheeks burst into flames. I can't believe we hugged yesterday, in front of a bunch of people. Although on the list of embarrassing things I've done it definitely wasn't high-ranking. I turned my attention back to the massive spread of food on the table.
"Everybody, the last guest is here!" Henderson announced, and I could have died with the amount of eyes that moved to me. I gave a forced bright smile and small wave. A woman sitting next to Henderson said hello me and introduced herself as Olivia., but other than that I went unacknowledged. There was plates in front of all of us, and empty glasses. People began to dig in to the food, and I was excited. And nervous. What if they judged what I was eating?
They don't care.
I was distracted by Seeley nudging my side with his elbow. Glancing at him, I found he was offering the water jug to me, which I nodded to. Looking around the table as Seeley poured my drink, I found that almost everyone was drinking alcohol, other than me, Seeley, and the girl opposite him. She looked young, and I assumed she was Annalise. I felt uneasiness wrack my body. I took in a breath, and started to pay attention to the food. I've barely eaten all day.
I grabbed some Hawaiian pizza slices, a mini burger, some funky looking sushi, feta salad and some chicken tenders. I love chicken tenders. Seeley's plate was piled high with food, which made me relax. I dug into my food and listened to the chatter around me. Why was I here again?
"Okay, ladies and gents - itinerary." Olivia handed us all a piece of paper as we finished our food. "Tomorrow we meet out the front at 7am. You and your partner will go off and start your activities, and then we meet back here at 1pm for lunch. Activities finish at 4, and then you have the rest of the night to relax, okay? Now my assistant told me who's together, but knowing me I lost the paper for it, so whoever you have the first activity with is your partner for the rest of the weekend."
I froze. I don't know anyone here. The paper crinkled slightly at the tight grip I had on it. Holding my breath, I glanced at the sheet. Maybe they would put me with Seeley, since we're the same age. The first activity on my timetable was bird watching. That was fine, I'm sure I can bird watch. How hard can it be?
Rather than everyone sorting out who their partner is, they decided to leave it until the morning. That made my stomach curl. Everyone poured more drinks, excluding me and Seeley, and huddled out back to the campfire. Apparently someone had already been out before dinner, because the fire was already lit. Panic rose in my throat as everyone took seats on the logs surrounding the fire, but it was quickly diffused when I saw Seeley nod at the space next to him. I smiled in relief and rounded the circle, sliding into the spot. Our shoulders were pressed together and it made me blush. My thoughts travelled back to Saturday night. I can't believe we shared a strawberry. The memory made me blush even brighter and clench my thighs.
"You okay, roomie?" Seeley asked quietly, as we watched Olivia hand out marshmallows and barbecue sticks.
"Roomie?" I avoided the question. I was a bundle of nerves, but I didn't want to make it anymore obvious than it probably already was.
"Yup. We're roommates this weekend." My skin felt like it was on fire when he passed me a barbecue stick and our fingers brushed.
"Oh. Should they do that?"
"Well, does nobody think we might...y'know?"
"Bump uglies?" A laugh left me at Seeley's words. "Why? Do you plan on seducing me this weekend, Miss Rhodes?"
"Maybe." My face was bright scarlet, there was no doubt about it. But I got the last word in, which has to count for something, right? We didn't speak again as we ate our smores, listening to the conversation around us.
And then it was 10 o'clock, and people were announcing they were retiring to bed. Anxiety hit me like a train to the face. I was sharing a room with Seeley.
YOU ARE READING
"Did he hurt you?" I shook my head under Seeley's massive palm. "Did he touch you?" I shook my head again, the nervous feeling in my stomach somehow disappearing. "Did you want him to kiss you?" These were all said through gritted teeth, but I could...