Matt Blakefield choked on the piece of wedding cake he’d been about to swallow. “Not in a million years. Why don’t you pick on one of our unmarried friends like Tony or Jules?
“They aren’t here,” his sister Allie said.
Matt’s gaze slid around the long table in the inn’s dining room spearing each couple with a glare. Friends and family had gathered to celebrate this morning’s wedding of his brother to the mother of his nine year old so.
“I have a friend who you would like,” Allie said.
Meg grinned. “She would be perfect.”
Matt pretended to shoot his sisters. “No sale.” He dropped his napkin on the table.
“Remember the curse.” Mark’s sly smile teased. “None of us has escaped. Maybe there’s a woman from your past you can’t forget.”
Was there? Yes. But the reason he couldn’t forget her showed him in a bad way. Time to hit the road. With this decision made he wondered how he could flee before his sisters set up a date. As if in answer to his wishes his cell vibrated. Salvation.
“Matt here. Sorry you missed the wedding…I’ll tell him.” He looked up. “Jules said congrats. Sorry he was on a hunt and couldn’t book a flight in time… So what did you learn?”
His friend and investigator’s news was all Matt wanted to hear. “I’m on my way. Yes, today.”
As if he’d stay here where plans he wanted no part of were being laid. He’d been present for the important event. He had no reason to linger and a huge need to escape. Although he wasn’t to meet Jules until Monday morning the opportunity was perfect.
He rose. “Have to leave. Jules has info I need on this year’s makeover house.”
“On the weekend?’ His father, CEO of the Good Magazine Group and recently married to his teenage love arched an eyebrow.
“Yeah, it’s the Smiton house. You know the one I’ve always been interested in. I want to use this as the project for converting a house from energy sucking to energy efficient. Jules has a line on the owner’s location. I want the contract signed so we can start work soon.” He didn’t mention how his mother had loved the house and talked about the mystery of the heir’s disappearance. There’d been no thought of the man’s death, just that he had gone to
Europe to live.
His father’s forehead wrinkled. “If there’s a problem, find another house. Who knows what condition the Smiton house is in. No one has lived there for more than twenty five years.”
“I’ve checked. The house is solid.”
“Find one with the owners in residence. They’ll appreciate the free upgrade.”
Matt groaned. “And spend hours suggesting changes that won’t work or constantly complain about the inconvenience. Not on a bed.” Matt rose. Another thing he failed to mention was his plan to live in the house.
He kissed his new sister-in-law’s cheek. “Let Mark spoil you and Davy. My brother has a few years of presents to bestow.” He made his way around the table kissing the women and clasping hands with the men.
Matt strode to the cloakroom to retrieve his leather jacket and helmet. He’d planned to hang out in one of the cottages until tomorrow but not with the schemes buzzing with the ladies. He leaned over the counter, kissed the middle-aged woman’s cheek and dropped a ten spot in the tip tray.
He dashed out the door and down the steps to the parking lot and his bike. As the engine roared to life the relatives gathered and the protests began.
So much for a quick getaway. He braced for arguments.
“Stay,” his new sister-in-law called. “You have one of the cabins to yourself.”
“We won’t bother you, I promise,” his step-mother said.
She wouldn’t but the we didn’t include his sisters. “Another time.”
“Matt, it’s going to rain.” The voices of four females rose in a chorus.”
“I won’t melt.” He slapped his helmet on his head. With a spray of gravel he headed to the road.
Exit Matt fleeing a gaggle of women intent on ending his bachelor state.
“You’re next.” Had someone shouted that or was his imagination playing trips. Next wasn’t on his agenda.
He waved. “Not today. Not this year. Maybe never.” The engine’s roar drowned any comments.
Visions of being followed by a parade of match-makers populated his thoughts. Instead of heading for the interstate he decided to cross from
Vermont into upstate New York. Exploring new territory was the
perfect ending to his great escape.
Once they’d found the perfect mate why did happy couples believe every bachelor should be part of a twosome? He wasn’t ready to take a wife or enter into a long term situation. He enjoyed his single state and found pleasure with a variety of women. Granted there’d been a dry spell lately…not his fault. He hadn’t met a woman since high school who had tempted him for more than a night or two. Even the vanished woman had been a fool’s dream.
As he sped along the serpentine road a misting rain began. Moments after crossing into
the storm turned earnest. Water fell in wind-driven gales. Thunder rumbled like
a mad drummer slamming a kettle drum. Lightning streaked across the sky in a
brilliant display. Although the time was late afternoon the darkness spoke of
Time to find a motel, bed and breakfast or a rustic inn with a room for the night.
He reached a crossroads and paused to read the signs. The nearest town was forty miles away. He dug out his smart phone. No service. With a groan he wiped the face plate of his helmet and chose a road. The headlights cast a tunnel through the gloom. Shadows impinged on the narrow band of light. He shot down the road, off on an adventure hopefully with a dry room at the end of the road.
* * *