The Cabin by the Sea - Book Two
C H A P T E R 1
Gavin leaned across the table and grabbed the morning paper. He was not computer literate and preferred to find what he wanted in the classified section of the paper. He flicked through the pages until he found ‘Properties for Rent.’ Peering through his cheap reading glasses he started going down the list. Nothing. As usual there was nothing that appealed to him. He noticed his coffee had gone cold and headed off towards the coffee pot for a refill.
He heard his sister in the next room getting ready for work. Gavin knew he had outstayed his welcome and very soon she would ask him to leave. He dreaded moving out. He had nowhere to go and no one to go to. His future had disappeared into his past. Divorce, retirement and homelessness had unfortunately coincided leaving Gavin at the mercy of his sister’s benevolence.
“Gavin,” he heard his sister calling, “Gavin, where are you?” He could hear the irritation in her voice. She appeared in the kitchen all pumped up and pompous. Her long, straight blonde hair flowed over her wide shoulders and down her broad back. His sister had eaten her way into a lonely existence. Her once slim physique had drawn men like bees to honey. Gavin thought she was probably a lesbian in denial. She had no children, no pets and in her later years had started hoarding. At first it was little things like newspapers and magazines kept in piles in the spare bedroom. He could tell she wanted him to leave so she didn’t have to hide her frustration at having him in her precious space - spaces that needed to be filled.
“What is it?” he asked.
“I have been checking online and found the perfect place for you,” she said with sheer glee. “It is quiet, fully furnished and overlooks the ocean. It sounds just what you have been looking for.”
Gavin thought she had no idea what he was looking for. If he didn’t know, how could she possibly know? His sister produced a sheet of paper with the property details along with a photo of a little cabin surrounded by lawns and trees. “I have already emailed them and arranged time for you to view it,” she said.
Gavin took the paper and began to read.
A Cabin by the Sea
Private, secluded and fully furnished.
14 acres of native bush * overlooking the ocean
Suitable for one adult
$200.00 per week
No pets, No smoking, No children
Owner lives on property in separate cottage
Gavin put the paper in his pocket and filled his empty cup with hot brewed coffee. He may as well check it out. The price was right and the seclusion was what he was looking for. And, better yet, he could get out of here where he wasn’t welcome.
C H A P T E R 2
The driveway was lined in the tallest pine trees Audrey had ever seen. They were planted so close together that a few dead ones simply rested on stronger healthier trees. They leaned precariously inward towards the driveway creating a sinister threat to anyone daring to drive the long distance to the cottages.
It had taken her six months and every penny she had managed to recoup from the sale of her chalets to renovate the dilapidated cabins and release the view from the old gnarly pine trees which had grown like weeds on the hillside and now lay spread eagled on the bush floor.
A second hand mower took care of the lawns around the two buildings and four sheep took care of the newly exposed acres of freshly sown grass and clover. Audrey still had to take care of the fencing situation as the pro kiwi Nazis had threatened to shoot them on a number of occasions when they had been spotted wandering aimlessly up the steep gravel road in the search of fresher grass and tastier morsels.
As she pulled up in front of the little white cottage with a bright red awning she took a moment to soak in the beautiful ocean view. Perched high on the hill she could see for miles. Karikari peninsular was in the distance and the red sandy beaches of Cable Bay contrasted with the deep blue shades of a quiet ocean. A lone fisherman was fishing off his kayak not far from the shore. Pleasure boats buzzed in the twinkling water. She reached over for her handbag forcing herself away from the quiet moment knowing she had to face a new reality.
For weeks now she had made the trip from The Three Suites to her new home. Each time bringing boxes filled with unwanted and long forgotten keepsakes. Everything of value she had owned was now the property of the new owners. All her furniture, books, music, DVDs, pots, pans, rugs and linens were now just memories.
She forced open the weathered glass door and walked inside. The second hand furniture was a sorry replacement for her previous life of luxury and wealth. She opened up several boxes on the kitchen floor and began to unpack worn linens rescued from The Three Suites so she could make her bed. Tomorrow would be a better day. Audrey had arranged to meet a man who was interested in renting the cabin. A man she was hoping would be just the perfect tenant. And, if so, he might just be her next project.
C H A P T E R 3
Audrey peeked through the cream linen curtain at the car coming up the gravel driveway. She had heard him stop at the gate and hoped he had closed it behind him so the sheep would not escape again. Audrey had never met her neighbors and she didn’t care to. She just knew she had pissed them off by her sheep constantly absconding. There were only a handful of residents on the peninsula and, like her, they were all neatly tucked away down long driveways with bolted wooden gates with private property deterrent signs.
Her bruised self-esteem had taken a severe beating since she had sold The Three Suites at a terrible loss. But she had managed to scrape through the past year with just enough money to renovate the two old cabins on Tiromoano; her family’s fourteen acre neglected property. She hoped this was a suitable tenant for the cabin pulling up to her recently graveled parking area.
Audrey tucked a loose strand of bleached blonde hair under a hairpin and made her way up the path to greet her new guest.
“You must be Gavin. Welcome to Tiromoana. I hope you had a pleasant drive here”. She looked with interest at the tall lean man in his late fifties. He reached out his hand in anticipation of a formal welcome.
“Nice to meet you” he said as Audrey grabbed his hand in an enthusiastic squeeze. “Found it no trouble. Good directions. You have a great view here. Just what I am looking for.” He said enthusiastically.
Audrey led the way to the cabin and through the open door and watched as the man’s eyes wandered over the freshly painted interior with light timber beams and snap-together fake wood panel flooring. The furniture was fresh and cozy and she had decorated the walls with original paintings of seaside landscapes. Audrey was proud of the results. Second hand kitchen cupboards and furniture was all she could afford but she had managed to create respectable accommodation for any discerning tenant.
This was her fourth applicant for the cabin. She had quickly rejected the other three on line. She didn’t want anyone with a family or small children. The cabin was really only suitable for one adult and the right tenant had to be as reclusive as her. Since her financial ruin she hated to socialize. Making small talk and pretending life was wonderful only made her feel more alienated from the world. She just wished she didn’t need to share her isolation with someone else. But, it would not be forever. It had been far too long since her last “project.”
Her thoughts were interrupted by the man’s question. “Is there good fishing here?
“Yes, she said. We have a private road to the rocky beach which is great for fishing“.
Two hundred dollars per week you are asking?
“Yes, paid monthly in advance with a one month’s deposit. Why don’t I leave you to look around? I will be in the cottage next door,” Audrey suggested as she made her way across the short distance between the two buildings.
The Cabin by the Sea
Copyright © 2013 by Leonie Mateer. All rights reserved