“Winter Rental”, Ch. 5:  More than cross country skiing for Connie & Eddie,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  January 30, 2022 (Post #1443)

[“Winter Rental” is an original contemporary romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022; all rights reserved];  [(1) the “Winter Rental” story cover (left); other image credits are at the end of each chapter(s) post]

0-2022--aa-Winter-Rental-story-cover-256x402_Jan09-2022byGratianaLovelace[Author’s notes:  I cast my characters as I write my stories—to help myself and my readers visualize the main characters.  So my main characters for “Winter Rental” are:  Richard Armitage as Greg Halliday; Cameron Diaz as his younger sister Connie Halliday;  Anne Hathaway as Diana Langley; Liam Hemsworth as Eddie Hughes; Rege-Jean Page as Mike Porter, and others as noted.

I will post new story chapters on both my SAL blog, as well as, on my Wattpad site.

This is also a gentle romance (with chapters being rated as PG-13 or so, unless otherwise noted), with some heartfelt romantic moments—and some mature romantic discussions put to humorous effect.  So if you cannot or will not attend a movie with my maturity ratings, then don’t read that chapter.  And though I set my story in the lovely city and area of Galena, IL—which I have enjoyed visiting many times—for the purposes of my storytelling here, I use dramatic license of the facts, individuals, locations, etc.  These are my disclaimers.]

“Winter Rental”, Ch. 5:  More than Cross Country Skiing for Connie and Eddie

As their Cross Country tour guide, the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort’s Recreation Director and Ski Pro Eddie Hughes gives his skiing safety guidelines to the tour group, Connie Halliday is mesmerized  by him, her teenaged sweetheart—and her first love.  And she wonders how fate worked its magic to bring them together again, after all these years?  Twelve years, in fact.  Connie doesn’t plan to question their meeting again—just to accept it, and whatever destiny they might make for themselves together.

Then Eddie strides over to Connie just before his cross country skiing tour group gets underway.  Eddie is thrilled to see Connie again—and delighted with her equally  positive reaction to seeing him.  Eddie has secretly borne his continuing love for Connie all these years.  Despite him having another girlfriend, or two over the years, neither of these ladies  progressed to the level of the soul searing connection that Eddie and Connie had once shared.  And Eddie wonders deep in his heart, if maybe the flame of his and Connie’s past love can be rekindled for their future together?

Eddie: “All set Connie?”  He raises his eyebrows with a cordial smile.  He does not wish to reveal his tender feelings about Connie in front of his tour group, lest they might feel slighted in his attention.

Connie: “I’m ready to go!”  Connie smiles radiantly at Eddie, her thinking that he has truly matured into an amazingly handsome man.  And that he is still so kind and gentlemanly—and not stodgy, like her older brother Greg.

Eddie: Leaning close, he whispers in Connie’s ear.  “Though we’re having lunch as a group after the tour, I would love to have some private time for you and I to reconnect and catch up with each other.  Will you have dinner tonight with me at the resort?  My treat?”  He smiles hopefully.

Connie: “Love to!”  Connie adoringly smiles gazing up at Eddie, she can’t help it.  She hopes that she and Eddie might see if they want to begin dating again.  She has never forgotten him over the years—measuring every man she met by Eddie’s high bar.

Eddie and Connie are both smiling as their cross country skiing tour group gets under way.  And Connie had noticed from the tour map that Eddie provided to everyone, that their route goes very near to her family’s former vacation home that her parents sold to the resort a few years ago.  So she wonders if Eddie might allow a slight detour today for her to see it.  Or perhaps, they can visit it together on another day.


Connie is not only wearing her new hot pink ski jumpsuit outfit today—though she prefers pastels and earth tone colors, it is better for safety out in the snow to wear bright vivid colors—but she is on new cross country skis and boots that her brother Greg bought her, also at the Langley’s sporting goods store in Galena.  So she is a little shaky at first on her new skis—her getting accustomed to their weight and balance, with her also trying not to run over her slightly slower new cross country skiing novices tour group companions.

And to avoid any unintentional collisions, Eddie has the other cross country skiers in their tour group slightly spread apart to their sides, as well as, ahead and behind them.  Eddie is taking the lead in order to make sure that he points out any difficult passages to his tour group.  Though the cross country skiing tour route was planned for easy and level travel, the snow can hide many ground anomalies like felled tree limbs, holes, and such.  Even a pine cone can throw off a skier’s gait and balance.  So skiers have to be ever vigilant.  A fall at these relatively slow speeds on level ground is not likely to badly injure someone.  But the last thing Eddie wants is for anyone to have a bad experience—and an injury, however slight, would surely do that.

Along their cross country ski tour, Eddie also points out various natural features in the woods at these lower level elevations of the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort—including animals, with many rabbits and foxes flitting about them at a distance, while gratefully the bears are in full hibernation mode, so no danger there.  Eddie also embellishes some resort history regarding its development, as well as famous guests over the years, in order to enliven his tour group’s experience. If only a certain celebrity had skied, the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort & Hotel might have gotten him to visit with his celebrity friends in the late 1950’s—well before the 30 year old Eddie was born.  If only.

For Connie’s part, she enjoys the invigorating feeling of being out in nature as she cross country skis—despite the freezing cold.  And she is enraptured by listening to Eddie’s deep and soft as velvet voice as he weaves stories about the resort for their tour group.  And Connie absentmindedly wonders if she’ll have enough time after their tour group lunch at the Ski Resort to visit the resort’s clothing store to find a nice dress for tonight’s dinner with Eddie.  Connie smiles, just thinking of having dinner with Eddie—holding hands across a privately spaced candlelit table, gazing into one another’s eyes, sharing their inner most thoughts with each other, and perhaps a sweetly tender kiss on each others’ cheeks at the end of their evening, nothing more, yet.

They will take their time getting to know each other again slowly—in the hope of building a more permanent relationship between them this time.  Connie might talk a good game of self empowered flirtation, but with Eddie she has an ease and friendliness with him borne of their long ago teenage sweethearts relationship.  And perhaps she and Eddie can be much much more.

However, Connie’s musings are cut short as she hears one of the tour group’s guy members in front of her fall with a hard thud and then he emits painful groans.  Everyone stops to see what happened and who is hurt.  It turns out that a forty something guy named Pete Teller’s ski tripped over a really big pine cone, him losing his balance and falling upon his  arm, breaking it in two places.  Eddie instantly goes to Pete’s side to assess the injury.  It looks bad from the angle of Pete’s arm.   Eddie pulls out his tour map to see where they are.  And Connie helps in that regard.

Connie: “Oh Eddie!  We’re just about 100 yards away from our family’s former home that the resort bought from us a few years ago.  We can at least take shelter there to wait while the Ski Resort sends a van to pick us up, once we contact them.”  Since Pete isn’t cross country skiing another inch with his broken arm causing him searing pain, and him not able to use the stabilizing ski poles.


So Eddie hauls out his satellite phone to call the Pineridge Mountain 2022--wild_gray-timber-wolf_600x300_Jan29-2022viaNatlWildlifeFederation_Grati-szd-crop-smlrSki Resort  Pro Shop—to tell them about their injured skier and their need to find shelter until they can be picked up.    But just then an even bigger danger than the tour group’s  mere survival in the freezing weather with one of them injured with a broken arm—when  a large, snarling, teeth baring, sharp claws looking  gray timber wolf [(2) right] menacingly makes a run for the group standing in a slightly scattered and distanced formation.  This is the wolf’s territory.  And he has had enough of the humans invading it.

Eddie:  In the heat of this worsening crisis, Eddie accidently drops his satellite phone in 2 feet of snow while he frantically barks commands. “Everyone!  Stay together!  Don’t run or the wolf will go after you!  Get into a tight circle around Pete and I and face your ski poles out and down at a 45 degree angle!”

They do that, but the wolf is not deterred—it snapping,  snarling, and howling to unnerve the skiers.  And the wolf has that effect—them not knowing if there is a wolf pack nearby that will join this lone wolf.   Then when one skier’s ski poles drop slightly due to their weight, the wolf lunges forward trying to get to the injured skier still sitting on the ground.  Then the ski tour group scatters–but for Eddie and Connie.

Eddie: Eddie maintains eye contact with the gray timber wolf, hoping to deflect its attention from the injured Pete lying on the ground with a broken arm and the willowy Connie.  “Connie go with the others to your old home and call for help!”

Eddie promised Greg that he would protect Connie.  And the best way he can quickly think to do that is to remove her from danger.  But though the other skiers run, Connie stands firm.

Connie:  “No, Eddie!  I’m not leaving you and Pete!”

With Eddie standing in front of Pete, protecting Pete, the wolf decides to take out the tall Eddie first, then have a nice slow meal of the human  lying on the ground.  But Eddie is defenseless.  He had also dropped his ski poles in the snow when he went to aid Pete with his broken arm, and the snow is so deep that he can’t find them.

So Eddie has little better than his legs and booted feet to kick at the wolf as it lunges at him and at Pete—the wolf obviously tries  to injure Eddie’s legs so he can’t get away or defend himself.  And Eddie also uses his gloved hands and arms to defend his face with from the wolf’s attacks.  For if the wolf jumps and bites Eddie in his neck and punctures his jugular vein, he will bleed out and die before any help can rescue them.

Then out of shock and anger, Connie Halliday finds the inner courage and never before sheer strength to keep Eddie and Pete safe.  She quickly finds  a three foot long and sturdy looking tree limb on the snow covered ground and starts beating at the wolf with it to protect Eddie and Pete.  Connie is like a crazed Valkyrie Warrior for the next five minutes that she relentlessly attacks the wolf—her adding  I am woman hear me roar growls for good measure.

Connie:  “GRRR!  I have had enough of you, Wolf!  We just wanted to enjoy our day in nature!  GRRR!  But would you share it with us?  No!  So you can go and chase after a rabbit or fox!  GRRR!  But you’re not besting us today!  HHHHH!”  Connie hits the wolf with one last almighty whack on the side of its head, which finally stuns the gray timber wolf, as it stumbles backwards, away from them.  And miraculously, the now tired and wounded gray timber wolf thinks better of his attacking the humans this day and trots  away.  The gray timber wolf prefers prey that are not so difficult to attack.

At this point, the few other skiers who had not run fully away from the wolf attack, come back to help their now two injured members—Pete with his arm painfully broken in two places; and the clawed and bitten Eddie who now slumps to the ground, bleeding profusely.  So Connie organizes their cross country skiing tour groups’ rescue efforts.

Connie: “Everyone!  We need to get both Pete and Eddie to my family’s former vacation home that is straight through the trees there!  Then give them first aid while we wait for help to arrive.”  And Connie is grateful that her Girl Scout first aid training badge she earned as a young teen will help her aid their two injured skiers.  That is her hope, anyway.

It is a rag tag bunch of novice skiers and seasoned skier Connie Halliday that make it to the Halliday Business Center compound with Connie leading the injured and those carrying or supporting them into the main Halliday House—with the dozen or so other skiers spreading out to three nearby cabins  on the compound to get fires started in their wood burning fireplaces  to warm up.  Connie also hopes that the smoke coming from the chimneys will alert the ski resort as to where they are.

And though everyone tries their cell phones to call out for help, they’re not getting signals and can’t reach anyone.  And Eddie’s satellite phone was lost in the snow during his scuffle with the gray timber wolf.  So their only hope is to tend to their injured and pray that when they turn up missing for planned 12noon lunch at the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort, that the ski resort will send out a search team for them.  The ski resort has the tour route, so they should be able to guess where they are—or at least, Connie hopes that her brother Greg might guess where they are—at their former Halliday Family vacation home.

But after helping their two injured men out of their outer snow gear—cutting their ski clothes off them as needed.  Pete with his broken arm is in a lot of pain, but it is not life threatening since it doesn’t look like his arms double break has punctured his skin or any arteries.    So Connie has another skier who knows Pete to sit with and to watch over him.

However, Eddie is very much worse—as Connie now sees the dozens of claw and bite marks on Eddie’s legs and arms when she and another skier gently cut away Eddie’s nearly shredded ski jumpsuit to assess how badly he was attacked by the gray timber wolf—and it is bad.  And though she tries to gently clean his wounds with clean melted snow water from a bucket they hung over the fireplace–since the house’s water and electricity isn’t working due to the routine house maintenance not being finished–Connie can’t get Eddie’s bleeding completely stopped in his legs—despite the compression bandages she makes with some clean bed linens she finds and rips up. And she is really worried for him.

Eddie is going in and out of consciousness from the pain and his blood loss.  So Connie tries to keep him awake if she can, as she kneels down beside the bed Eddie is in and caresses his shoulder—the only area that doesn’t hurt, because Eddie was thankfully too tall for the gray timber wolf to get chance at going for Eddie’s neck.  And she speaks in a soft soothing voice to keep Eddie calm—and to keep herself calm.

Connie:  “Eddie, you’re doing great.  I know that you’re in a lot of pain, and I wish I had something to give you for it.  But hopefully, the ski resort will come looking for us soon.  Then we can have you and Pete both seen by doctors.”

Eddie: Struggling to speak despite the great pain he is in, Eddie only manages to say two words to Connie.  “I’m sorry.”  He grimaces in pain as he gazes upon his only true love.

Connie: “Oh Eddie.  This is not your fault.  Who knew that there were wolves in the area that would approach, let alone, attack a large group of people—and with us brandishing long and sharp ski poles, no less.”  Connie has spent many a Winter and Summer on Pineridge Mountain over the years and she has never seen a wolf at all, let alone one attacking people.  “You must rest.  And though our lovely candlelit dinner will likely be postponed tonight, don’t think you’re getting out of taking me out to dinner at some future date, Mister.”  Connie smiles impishly at Eddie, in that sweetly endearing way of hers. Connie tenderly kisses his cheek—which she notices seems to comfort him.

Eddie: “Hhhh!”  He sighs.

Then Connie does that one better, and she briefly and gently kisses Eddie upon his lips.  There are tears in both of their eyes, wondering if they will have any future together.  Life would be too cruel to bring them together again, only to part them forever.  But life’s outcomes cannot always be planned.

It has been 30 minutes since the wolf attack, and they  must get Eddie to a doctor as soon as possible to get his bleeding stopped and for him to receive a blood transfusion.  And if the gray timber wolf that attacked them can’t be found–via an implanted microchip tracking device for all tagged Pineridge Mountain animals, if indeed the gray timber wolf is tagged–and tested for rabies, then Eddie will also likely have to go through the long and painful treatment to prevent a rabies infection from taking hold in him.  And Connie resolves that whatever she has to do to help Eddie with his hoped for recovery, she will do it.  Connie  prays fervently that Eddie will get the chance to recover—and that the two of them will get the chance to fall in love with each other again.


And back at the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort & Hotel, the Asst. Recreation Manager calls the Ski Resort Manager Mike Porter again, to confirm that Eddie Hughes’ cross country skiing tour group is now 30 minutes late for their return and scheduled 12noon luncheon.  So Mike Porter alerts their emergency ski rescue team, their emergency air rescue helicopter team, and the local Galena Hospital that there might be an emergency on Pineridge Mountain.

Then Mike has to make the most painful call that a parent ever has to receive—to learn that their child is missing and possibly in danger—when he calls the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort & Hotel owner Brent Hughes, who is the father of Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort & Hotel Recreation Manager and Ski Pro Eddie Hughes, to let him know that Eddie and his tour group may be in danger on the mountain. And in the middle of a Galena Town Council Meeting, Brent Hughes rushes back to his Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort & Hotel complex to aid in the rescue efforts—him praying that all of the missing skiers will be found safe, especially for his son Eddie.

To be continued with Chapter 6

References for Ch. 5 of “Winter Rental”, January 30, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace, (Post#1443)  

1) The story cover for my original contemporary romance “Winter Rental” is a composite of three images:
a) a Wintery image of ski chalets previously shared by Sueli; Grati edit for color and size; with AR Berkley text;
b) Greg Halliday–2022—is represented by Richard Armitage-in cream-sweater-pensive-photographed byKaitlynMikayla_Jan04-2022viaNobleman-Mag_;
c) Diana Langley—is represented by Anne-Hathaway-2021—in butterscotch-sweater-flyaway-hair-no-makeup_Jan09-2022viaVariety—Grati-crop-szd; image found at https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/anne-hathaway-jared-leto-wework-series-apple-1234895727

2) 2022–wild_gray-timber-wolf_600x300_Jan29-2022viaNatlWildlifeFederation; original image was found at  https://www.nwf.org/Educational-Resources/Wildlife-Guide/Mammals/Gray-Wolf

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch. 5 “Winter Rental”:

SAL blog Post#1441 link for Ch. 4  of “Winter Rental”:

About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
This entry was posted in "Winter Rental" by Gratiana Lovelace, Creative Writing, Drama, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, snow, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Winter Rental”, Ch. 5:  More than cross country skiing for Connie & Eddie,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  January 30, 2022 (Post #1443)

  1. Pingback: “Winter Rental”, Ch. 6:  Emergency on Pineridge Mountain,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  February 06, 2022 (Post #1445)  | Something About Love (A)

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