“YOU DON’T control my life, brother because Dad asked you to look after me! It’s plaguy! Can’t I at least have a choice?” My blood rushed through my veins with rage as I yelled at Skip over the phone.

He just told me that he was going to send me to somewhere I had not even heard of as if he owned me. Just like that, without asking me what I wanted to, if I had a plan or something.

I promised him to get a vacation after my training, but I was still in the middle of it when he wanted me to continue in New York, so I did it. Then here we go again, I was almost twenty-seven, yet if he treated me as if I was like a bloody toddler.

I knew I cocked up but didn’t we all? I’d been doing my best, hell, I’d been on the wagon for a long time, and I never planned on taking off again. So, what was wrong with him? Did he even have a tiny trust and patience in me?

“I just want—”

“I fully understand what you’re trying to do to me. You want to control my life, what else is there? You want me to take your shoes when Dad was still alive, right? Bugger off, brother!” I gritted my teeth. What he did was overstepping the boundary, and I wasn’t chuffed a bit.

He didn’t reply, but he was breathing heavily. I knew I made him mad, but who cared? He made me madder.

“Just hear me out.

“I’m done listening! For bloody sake, this is the last time you will tell what to do. Just leave me the fuck alone!” I threw the phone into the wall. The debris scattered around the apartment. At that moment, I didn’t care if he couldn’t contact me anymore. I’m done.

He loved me, I got it. He wanted me to have a great life just like he had, but I couldn’t force things to happen when it was not the right time.

* * *

The next morning I woke up early as I had a flight to catch. My brother came last night, but I refused to see him. He let the guard gave me an envelope, and I didn’t give a shit what was inside.

Before I went to the airport, I rechecked the email Eli his assistant had sent to me last night. It was the details of my flight and the place where I would stay. Unfortunately, he was not able to arrange a driver for me, so I had to hail a cab from the airport once I landed.

And there was a slight problem, I didn’t get a chance to replace my phone.

“THIS IS the place, man,” the cab driver announced, turning left to the driveway of the small house.

I scratched my scalp in irritation to the thought that this was where I was going to stay for the whole fortnight. Bleeding great!

I might have brought some of my art tools and the new camera I bought last week, but I was going to be dead with boredom before the end of the day.

But the tall old oaks had made me stand still, and my jaw dropped.

“Stop right here, matey,” I told the cab driver, causing him to stop to a halt. I gave some bills to him.

“Are you sure, sir? You still have to walk in there with your things.

“I’m sure, mate. Thanks!” I climbed out of the cab. The driver already opened the trunk of his cab and pulled out my things.

“Enjoy your stay!” He then drove away.

I whirled around, leisurely admiring the tall trees above me. There was Spanish moss hanging loosely on each branch. The leaves danced along with the blow of wind. The smell of fresh air was far different from the city of New York and London. It was quite refreshing.

Holy! How did my brother find this place? A knot in my stomach suddenly twisted on how our call ended last night. Any road, I took his bait.

This place was heaven. Aside from painting, I could probably be a poet or a writer if I stayed here longer. It was quite peaceful, and right now, my brain was already filled with so many concepts.

I grabbed my stroller and my cargo bag and walked through the pathways with a huge smile plastered on my face like a twit.

To my right were the two wood cabins with stone chimneys and little windows. The design and color blended the environment and the serene atmosphere perfectly. The tall trees at the back added a perfect forest setting. Well, I was in the middle of nowhere in the first place.

The sense of being away from city life was already refreshing my mind. I couldn’t wait to capture this view as soon as I settled in.

“You must be Clyve Clifford.” A male voice stopped me from admiring the place.

He descended from the stairs of the house, tossing me a friendly smile. He must be the owner of this place. There was something about him that was odd. He was taller but skinny and had an off colour as a white cloth. His short blond hair looked thin like it had been falling off. The shirt he was wearing was even baggy on him. He seemed to be a nice person though.

He held out a hand. “Keene Storm, nice to meet you. I thought you changed your mind.

I took it for a handshake. “Just Clyve. My flight schedule was changed. Thanks, and it’s a pleasure to be here. This is truly a beautiful place.

“Glad you like it. You still about to see the rest.

“Can’t wait for it, mate.

He was about to grab my things when I stopped him before he collapsed on my account. “It’s alright. Just show me the place where I’ll be staying.

“Har— Westley is inside your cabin filling the fridge.

“I could really use some. I don’t drink much when I travel. I don’t want to use airline loo.

“You’re not American.

“My mum is, but my Dad was British.

“Um, I’m sorry.” He offered me a sad smile.

“It’s alright. So you owned the place?

“Yeah. Been passed from three generations now. We almost lost this. It’s been a rough year for me.

I looked at him, nodding in sympathy. “You’ll do great, mate.

“I hope so.

My eyes landed on the rustically inspired deck with a fence connected to the cabin. It had four rickety wooden chairs, a small table, and a lantern that hung from the tree branch.

“This is brill!

“My late father designed the cabins from exterior including the interior. You’ll about to see what’s inside,” he replied proudly.

“I’m sorry about your dad.

He mattered thank you, then pushed the wooden door open. It squeaked a little bit, but that didn’t kill my excitement. The dark wood was dominating the interior from floorboards to the wall, and the furniture inside.

Then someone showed up from the kitchen. A woman. A gorgeous woman. And not just a gorgeous woman.

My jaw literally dropped when I recognized her. There could be no way my eyes were fooling me. It was her. I was sure as hell I blinked twice or even more.

Is this some kind of a bloody joke?

She was Sindy Kate.


And I almost didn’t catch her reaction when her posture turned rigid, and her glowing big eyes widened—even wider, then blinked away. Those big eyes—they were green when I felt like we stared at each other that night.

My heart leaped up in my throat.

But this woman had a pair of dark ocean blue. Nevertheless, I was relieved that she was beautiful on the outside than on the screen.

“Clyve, this is Westley—” Wait a minute, she’s Westley? I thought she was a guy. What the fuck!

She lifted her chin, smiling tightly, then forced her words out. “Hi, hope you like the cabin.

Her voice was a little harder with a bitter in her tone.

“This seems fancy than from the outside,” I praised as I looked around.

The simplicity and the gloss of the wood made it more grandiose in an old-fashioned way. It had a leather couch, a flat-screen TV, and the receiver below.

“Do you have Internet access here inside?” I asked specifically to Westley.

She swallowed. Her eyes slightly narrowed at me. “Yes.

I couldn’t look away, and the longer I stared at her the more she squinted right back at me.

“Clyve, let me show you the room and the kitchen. If it doesn’t meet your taste, we can transfer you to the other cabin,” Keene broke the silence and tension rising between us. He probably noticed something was off.

I didn’t know how to react in front of the woman who cammed for a living and pretended as if she was not that girl. But I was sure they were the same person. I could feel it in my bone when our gazes locked. Something shifted between us that it was hard to shake away.

What a small bloody world.

I just watched her that night and barely fell asleep, thinking of how she mesmerized me with her eyes, and now she was right in front of me, shooting me a glare. What a twist of fate.

Does he know her job? Were they together? I pushed those questions out of my head.

“Let me take your luggage.” She grabbed the handle of my stroller before I could protest.

Keene opened a door from the right. “This is your room. Sometimes we lost electricity when there is a strong wind, but we have a generator as a reservoir at the back. Hopefully, we don’t have to use it.” He pointed to the other door. “That’s your bathroom. There are some clean towels and toiletries Westley placed for you.” Keene was talking fast and felt like I just hit my head and had a concussion.

I could not even appreciate the room, though it was simple with queen size bed and closet, I was more interested in getting to know Westley or Sindy Kate or whoever she was.

We moved to the kitchenette. A countertop and stools made from thick slab wood, but a kerosene lantern hung on a rusty hook caught my attention.

“Thank you. I love this place already. I wasn’t expecting something like—”

“What were you expecting then? An old cabin with rag dolls hid underground.

My body suddenly froze to her cold and sarcastic comment.

Keene immediately cleared his throat. “Westley likes to throw unpleasant punchlines. Just don’t take it seriously.

I turned to face her. “Are you trying to scare me off?” I displayed a wide grin. “Try another more convincing because what you just did didn’t work on me.

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