Cabin Bear Heat Box Set(6)

By: Bella Love-Wins

He was only thirty minutes from town on a good day, but from what he had already seen of the snow for the first ten minutes of his drive home, he knew it would take at least twice as long. Every few minutes, the visibility worsened, and it was still daytime.

He put the windshield wipers on full cycle, and still had to lean forward to see out the front windshield. The roads wound tightly around treacherous ledges as they led down from the main road to his side street. Even with the barriers, he had to keep a sharp eye on the turns. His family had owned the property he lived on since he was a boy, and they would visit every summer. With that type of familiarity, he knew every blind curve and twist of the road. When the weather turned like this, however, and turned this quickly, every side street looked the same, and every curve was a potential death trap.

Still, he preferred to be there. He had to be out here. He needed the seclusion and isolation of living at the cabin and having the place to himself—most of the time. He had the space, the necessities, some of the modern conveniences, beautiful vistas, and most of all, he could keep a safe enough distance from people. It was the best way to ensure his secret would be guarded. With this distance, nothing could happen to anyone close to him again—and no one new could get close.

After he left his medical practice, the only companionship he got at the cabin was during the intermittent visits by his father when he was passing through, or needed board member documents and contracts signed. Sometimes his father would pop by under the guise of conferring with him for input, when in fact he was checking in on his only son. Andrew would simply repeat whatever his dad said, just to get him to leave sooner. His father wasn’t stupid—he saw right through the evasive antics; yet he still entertained them. Andrew had already made it clear that whenever his father passed him the reins to the family’s multi-billion dollar empire, he would simply assign some sharp executive as chairman and CEO. He was never built for running the family business, and his father knew it. Still, Dad felt he was helping Andrew during these visits—and maybe he was.

Andrew’s sister never visited anymore. He and Joy had been so close growing up, but all that changed when she left Lake Tahoe that last time, over five years ago. Somehow, when her almost-arranged marriage didn’t pan out, she became obsessed with the man and refused to listen to Andrew’s pleas for reason. It was a shame, too. There were so many men who had been interested in her. Like many before her, she wanted the one man she couldn’t have. And when Andrew confronted her so she could finally open her eyes and move on to have a life after Matthew Lewis, she cut him out of her life.

It really was her loss, after all. She was missing out on her annual visits to the best place in the world, the way he saw it. After the accident, Andrew had often thought about reaching out to her for emotional support. That was what family was supposed to be there for. Knowing Joy, it was probably for the best that she did not know the secret. Only Andrew, his father and the seven medical personnel who were in the hospital room with him that night had witnessed his transformative experience. His father had gone to great lengths to keep it that way. He breathed out a sigh, gripped the steering wheel tighter, and shifted his focus back to getting home in one piece.

During the final few minutes of driving home, it was nearly impossible to see a thing in front of the car. As he got closer to the lake, the winds blew colder and more powerfully. There seemed to be ten times more snow blowing around. The flakes were large and puffy and mesmerizing through the windshield. He did everything he could to avoid thinking back to the accident. It had happened during a heavy snowfall just like this.

Come on, Andrew. It’s not the time or place.

He slowed down to an almost crawling speed, careful not to miss his turnoff, marked only by a break in the long tree line of tall red firs and Jeffrey pines. At the beginning of the driveway to their property sat a wooden wagon wheel on one side, and an oversized boulder on the other. The boulder had their house number etched onto it. By the time he made it home, the boulder looked like kids had spent hours shaping it into a snowman. All that was missing was a scarf and a carrot for a nose. Luckily, the top few inches of the wagon wheel spokes were still visible.

He turned onto his long driveway and carefully coasted the last few hundred yards down the slight slope to the main doors of the cabin. It would be quicker to unload the groceries and supplies before parking in the garage. It was smarter than making five or six trips across the hundred or so yards between the house and the garage structure, especially with the intensifying weather. With the way the snow was blowing, it would be a pain for the automatic garage doors to close all the way, after five or six trips with the garage door up. He unloaded the supplies, dropping them inside the front door over a few trips, and parked the car in the garage.

Tempted to bring in some extra firewood from the shed, he turned and thought for a moment. The shed sat beside the large guest house three hundred yards from the main house. There was so much to do inside to get ready for the weather system coming in. It would be simpler to load the firewood onto the Ski-Doo trailer and make one trip after he put the groceries away.

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