Cabin Bear Heat Box Set(2)By: Bella Love-Wins
His healed arm, heightened sense of smell, and super-human strength were only hints of things to come.
Two years later
ABBY WITTFIELD dismissed her father’s usual concern. He was always this way after every holiday visit from San Francisco to their family home just outside Reno-Sparks. Trying not to lengthen their goodbye, she put her small suitcase and laptop bag in the trunk of her SUV.
“Not to worry, Dad.” She caught a glimpse of him leaving his perch on the bottom step of the porch to come toward her.
“Worrying is what I do best,” he answered, kissing her hair and offering his last hug, for at least a few months. “Have a safe trip, and remember to stop at that lodge in Truckee before dark. The drive can become treacherous at night this time of year. Those mountain roadways ice up at a moment’s notice.”
“I will, Dad. You take care of yourself, okay? See you in May,” Abby offered. She opened the driver side door and got inside. Any extra attention would extend the farewell ad infinitum. And she had a long enough drive ahead of her.
“Call me when you get there, okay?” he said, holding onto the open car window as he leaned down for a last kiss on the cheek.
“Okay, Dad,” she answered, looking up at him as she started the engine.
“Is that a new shampoo, Abby? I’ve never smelled that on you before.”
“It’s fragrance-free, Dad. The one I normally use bothers you, remember?”
“It does. Thanks, honey. So are you sure you can’t come back for spring break this year?”
“Not this year,” Abby answered for the fourth time since getting home for Christmas break. “It’ll be too hectic with clinicals. But I promise I’ll be back as soon as school’s out. Gotta go. Bye, Daddy.”
“Love you, honey. Be safe!” he shouted.
He waved without stopping, and Abby reversed the car down the driveway of the family home. She saw in the rear view mirror that her father continued to watch after her, even as she turned from their country driveway onto the main road. He worried too much, but it was understandable. Her mother had died of cancer eight years earlier, and with no siblings, Abby was his everything. He had not made any effort to remarry or even date anyone after the painful loss.
Abby let out a long sigh, setting her mind to her own plans. She was on the way to pick up her five passengers for their return to San Francisco. Her first stop was less than a mile up the main road. The drive reminded her of her best friend Rebecca. They were so close during college. Now all Abby saw of Becca was during these trips to pick up her brother Rob. He was in his last year at SFSU, and would hitch a ride home for the holidays with Abby every Christmas, as well as help out with the driving.
As Abby drove up beside Rob’s house, she noticed a pile of boxes on their sidewalk.
“Hi. What’s all that stuff?” Abby climbed out the SUV.
“Happy New Year to you too,” Rob replied.
“Oh yes. Happy New Year. So what’s with the boxes?”
“I’ve got to take as many of these with me as I can this trip.”
“I’m staying in San Fran after this semester ends, remember? The more I can get up there this trip, the easier the big move will be.”
“Okay, but just remember we’ve got John, Trina, Barb, and Ruth, and all their stuff, to fit in back.” Abby opened the cargo door and removed her laptop bag to make room for Rob’s boxes.
“I’ll hold the laptop in front with me,” Rob said, placing the bag on the front passenger seat and adding a few more boxes to the back.
“By the way, you’ve got a few cobwebs in your hair,” she mentioned.
His strawberry blonde hair was cut low and spiky. The cobwebs looked like they were intentionally set on his head by a spider.
“Yeah, yeah,” he answered, dusting them off and inspecting his hands. “A few of these boxes were in the attic. Speaking of hair, did you cut yours since the party last week?”
She had become so used to wearing her long, blonde hair down her back, she assumed he was mistaken now that she pulled it up into a high bun for the trip.
“Nope,” she replied. “I haven’t cut it for a while.” She noticed him eying her strangely. Abby had known him long enough to know he was either hiding something or still weighing whether to share whatever it was with her. “Spill it, Rob.”
“Go on. Tell me.”
He looked at her with interest. “Tell you what?”
“Whatever it is you’re itching to say. I can see it in your eyes. Come on. Spill.”
“It’s nothing. Really.”
She looked toward the house, assuming it had to do with his sister Rebecca. “Hey, is Becca still around?”
“No. Mom took her to the airport in Reno a few hours ago,” Rob answered.
“Wait a minute. Is that it? The fact that she left without telling me?”
“I don’t…I don’t think so…I’m not sure.”
She could read him like a book. He was hesitant, running his hand through his hair and avoiding her gaze. “It’s something else, isn’t it?”