**Dedication goes to KJColton for making me the AWESOME cover to my story!!!**
The hikers reached the cottage before the sun began to lower in the sky, much to their relief. The cottage was large and was built of grey stone, blending into the environment. Smoke rose from the chimney making it look even more quaint and comfortable after a long, exhausting, day. Jenny and her husband, Alex, stood next to the house, waiting. They had arrived a day early to gain some time alone since they had a two year old daughter that kept them busy. Upon the arrival of her friend, Jenny opened her arms and stepped forward.
“Hey, how are you doing honey?” Jenny enveloped Alison in a hug.
“Hey,” Alison replied. Behind her, her companions exchanged their greetings. For the most part they all knew each other, but Ed being the exception; he knew of Jenny and Alex, but he never met them until that moment
“I’m Ed by the way.” He waved, feeling a bit awkward. Rob, Alison, and Emma had met Jenny a few years ago while at university, meeting Alex through Jenny. When the couple married, they had moved, making it hard for the friends to see one another.
“It’s nice to meet finally meet you,” Jenny said with a welcoming smile. “Emma talks a lot about you.”
“And I hear everything from my wife,” Alex piped in. Rob and Alison chuckled.
“All good things I hope,” Ed glanced at his girlfriend.
Emma sighed, “He’s never good.” Her boyfriend glanced at her with a surprised look, his eyebrows raised. With Ed, she loved to joke around, especially since he was a joker as well, but he was usually raunchier than her, so her statement caught him a little off guard.
“Anyways,” Jenny motioned towards the cottage, to change the subject, “we took the double room with the suite. Someone will have to sleep on the couch if they do not want to share a room, is that okay?”
“Emma, do you want to room with me?” Alison asked. They were roommates at university and have become accustomed to each other’s living standards.
She shook her head. “No, I would like to room with Ed.” Emma felt bad when her friend nodded, looking a little disappointed.
“I thought you said he’s never good?” Alex said, jokingly.
“Fuck off.” Emma said, suddenly peeved. She headed inside to claim a room and unpack.
Jenny gave her husband a scolding look before following Emma. “Ignore him; he is just being a jerk.” Emma nodded, saying nothing as she looked at the rooms. At long last, she had chosen a room that faced west overlooking the mountains. There was a queen sized bed and plenty of closet space for two people. The curtains were light blue, matching the off white walls that had three inches of mountain wallpaper as a top border.
Back at the entrance, Ed walked inside. Immediately he crinkled his nose in disgust. “It smells as if something has died in here.” Alison and Alex were quietly hanging up their coats. Rob was behind them and had to push his way around to get through as he headed towards a window.
“Let’s get some air in here.”
“Yes please before I pass out,” Ed said.
“Right, if we had a phone in here mate, you could call up the landlord and complain.”
“There’s no phone? Great.” Next to him, Alison crossed her arms. Taking notice Ed asked, “What?”