Good morning and welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales. Each week, myself and a small group of gifted authors work on a story, adding a scene based on a word or a picture prompt. Works in Progress are interesting animals to follow since they change and evolve on a regular basis. While some of my fellow authors pre-plan their books, fleshing out the plot and the characters ahead of time, I don’t work that way. For me, the story creates itself as I write it.
Originally, I had planned for Same Time Next Year to be a ghost story, but it’s hard to have a happy ending that way. Instead, join Twyla as she lives in the past and the present, reconciling her last dreams and aspirations with the reality of a life well-lived. Will she find the love she’s always craved? I’m not telling, but between us, all my books have happy endings.
Here’s this week’s scene, based on the word BIKE.
“We’re here,” Lana said.
Twyla blinked. The distance from the path into the woods to the reception area had seemed so much farther before.
Lana pulled the car into one of the spots reserved for the physically handicapped.
Twyla frowned. “I know that sticker of mine says you can park here, but I wish I had never let your mother talk me into it. I’m not an invalid. I can walk a few hundred extra feet.”
“Relax, Grams. You know it’s only temporary. Once we register, we’ll be parking next to our cabin. I have to admit it’s gorgeous here—so calm and peaceful—nothing like the hustle and bustle of a big hotel. Come on. The office is over there.”
Twyla started. “No, the office is in the Annex.” She pointed left to a smaller building. “I’ve been here often enough to know that.”
Lana smiled at her, her brow furrowed slightly, and licked her lips. “It’s been remodeled, remember? I’m sure quite a few things are different.”
Twyla nodded. How stupid of her to assume the renovations would’ve kept everything as it had been. Getting out of the vehicle, she looked around—not with eyes focused on recalling things from fifty years ago, but through the lenses of reality.
Everything had a bright, new coat of paint. Up on the veranda, despite the fact that it was mid-afternoon, people were enjoying a meal al fresco. She glanced at her watch. No one had ever been able to get anything to eat outside regular mealtimes, something she herself had bemoaned, and they’d never been able to eat on the veranda.
She blinked. Was that man drinking beer? He was. Another change for the good since there was nothing she would like better right now than a drink with some extra oomph to it.
Following Lana up the few steps to the large red doors leading into the dining room, she smiled. What other surprises were in store?
The entire area had been redone with a modern reception desk at the base of a new staircase. Staff, both male and female, were at work setting tables in the dining room on the right. The narrow hallway on the left was gone, and where there should’ve been rooms, there were bathrooms and a sign indicating a pub.
“This is so different,” she said before she could stop herself. “There used to be rooms on this floor.”
The woman behind the desk nodded. “They’re all gone now. No one would pay for something that small these days. And sharing a bathroom? It just wouldn’t happen. This level is our entertainment hub. There’s the dining room and the pub on this floor and a lounge overlooking the pool area upstairs. Our hotel facility is currently under construction on the eastern side of the property.”
“Did you say the lounge overlooks the pool?” Twyla asked. “Have they moved that, too?”
“Yes. The old one was in bad shape, so the new owners had it filled in, added more native plants to the garden areas, and built a modern children’s fitness playground, complete with a mini zip-line. The kids love it. The new pool is right out here. We’ve just finished the landscaping, too. Now, welcome to the Colonel’s Inn. I’m Tracey. What can I do for you?”
“Twyla Wilson. I have a reservation for Juniper Cottage. This is my granddaughter, Lana Markham. She’ll be staying with me on and off during my vacation.”
The woman nodded. “Welcome.”
She keyed information into the computer, another innovation since the Crosses, the previous owners, had done everything by hand.
“Welcome, Mrs. Wilson. I see you’ll be with us for the month. I’ll need your credit card, please. All meals are à la carte and charged to your account. That works in the pub and ice cream parlor, too, as well as for any rentals such as boats, canoes, paddle boards, or bikes.”
Twyla fished it out of her wallet. When she’d stayed here before, meals had been on the American plan—part of the overall price. The ice cream parlor had been a general store servicing the entire area, including the cottages along Indian Lake. Mother had paid their bill with a personal check, something few people even accepted these days.
“While reservations for breakfast and lunch aren’t strictly necessary, we do require them for dinner. We have a considerable walk-in or float-in clientele. The dining room serves from five until nine-thirty.”
Lana chuckled. “Pick any time you want, Grams, but while I’m here, can we do eightish?”
Twyla nodded. Mother had insisted on meals at five-fifteen, something she’d hated. She’d been late too many nights that last time, which had earned her more than her fair share of glowers from the other families in the dining room.
“Eight, please,” she said to the woman. “As far as breakfast and lunch go, I’ll play it by ear.” Truth be told, she’d brought her single serve coffeemaker with her and a cooler that plugged in. As long as she had her coffee first thing in the morning, she would be fine.
“You can also get meals in the pub, which opens at eleven,” the receptionist said, handing her the documents she’d printed.
Ten minutes later, they were back in the car. Lana started the engine and moved out of the parking lot, following the road toward their cottage.
The butterflies in Twyla’s stomach went crazy.
“Look!” Lana said, pointing to at least two dozen bicycles in a rack. “They’ve got tandem bikes for rent. Have you ever been on one? Since the front driver really does all the work, maybe we can try it.”
Twyla stared at the rack, not seeing the modern single and double rider bikes of today, but the old no speed bike from her past, the one she had ridden with Michael by her side as they headed to their secret rendezvous.
That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on Tuesday Tales.