[“Winter Rental” is an original contemporary romance story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2022; All rights reserved.]; [(1) the “Winter Rental” story cover (left)]
[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, Octavia Spencer as Octavia Porter, and others as noted.
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. And I will post new story chapters weekly on both my SAL blog, as also on my Wattpad site.]
Winter Rental”, Ch. 8: Snuggling, and then some
Greg Halliday intuitively knowing that his sister Connie will want to stay a second week to help tend to Eddie Hughes in his recovery from his wolf claw and bite wounds, Greg rents Connie her own minivan to use around town, so that Greg can use the larger not so minivan. Greg also drives their friends Ron and Sylvia to the airport for them to fly out to their home on the East coast one day earlier than planned–after they profusely thank Diana Langley for letting them stay in her home that the Hallidays had unknowingly rented via the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel.
And kindly of them, the Hughes family invite Connie Halliday to stay in one of their Galena Mansion estates’ nearer to the main house guest cottages with Eddie Hughes, since she is being so devoted to him and his recovery—rather than her having to find a local hotel room and commute to see and tend to Eddie. And the cottage being on one level will be easier for their son Eddie when he starts to get out of bed and moves around the cottage.
So after several days recovering in the hospital, Eddie Hughes is moved by ambulance from the hospital to the Hughes Galena estates’ cottage. Though Eddie’s family has also engaged a day time nurse to tend to his wounds and an additional orderly to assist Eddie with bathing and such mornings before breakfast, Connie Halliday has become Eddie’s emotional care giver—continuing her assumed role when Eddie was in the hospital. She encourages him, keeps him company with reading him stories or talking of shared memories and new possibilities, and she soothes him in the overnight hours—giving him his pain meds, as well as checking his wounds overnight.
And though Connie has her own bedroom in the Hughes Mansion’s cottage—and she purposely musses the bedlinens to give the impression to the cleaning staff and others that she is using that bed—she actually sleeps in Eddie’s room to soothe him in the night and monitor his temperature and such. Though she started out sleeping in a chaise lounge near the bed and holding Eddie’s hand their first night in the cottage—similar to her overnight stays with Eddie in the hospital–Connie could quickly see that Eddie needed her comfort in a more tangible way at the cottage.
So Connie in her purposely goofy snowman pajamas, gently slides into bed with Eddie, holding his hand, tenderly kissing him on his lips, then carefully laying her head upon his shoulder only, so as not to inadvertently lay upon any of his healing wounds.
Connie: “Is that better, Eddie?” She asks to make sure that her movement in Eddie’s king sized bed, kissing him, and holding his near hand hasn’t jostled him nor caused him pain. And she is thankful that his lips do not feel like he has a fever.
Eddie: “Yessss!” He sighs deeply. “Thank you!” He is already groggy from his night time pain pill meds, but Connie’s near presence to him in his bed is also a balm to his soul.
Connie: “Then let us sleep, Eddie. And I’ll be right here, in case you need something.” She smiles lovingly at him, that he sees with the moonlight filtering through the curtain sheers.
Eddie: “Just you, My Darling.” He sighs once more, then he dozes off.
Connie: “Sleep well… My Love.” And she gently kisses his non-injured shoulder and carefully lays her head upon their pillow, with her cheek barely touching his shoulder again.
Eddie’s recovery will be slow and will take several weeks. So Connie has already notified her employer in NYC of the family medical emergency that requires she remain in Galena—to tend to Eddie. Connie giving the department store the impression that her and Eddie’s relationship is more than it currently is. But Connie hopes that she and Eddie will renew their relationship when he is well—so that they may plan their futures together. So Connie has taken a leave of absence from her job for now—with her realizing that if she wants she and Eddie to work as a couple, she will need to relocate to Galena. And as a business savvy woman, she has a few ideas in that regard.
Diana Langley is grateful that Greg Halliday and his party vacated her Lakeside Cottage home a day earlier than expected on Friday January 14th—due to her upcoming kitchen renovations and the need for her to relocate more of her possessions to Greg’s former vacation home of Halliday House on the Pineridge Mountain Resort and Hotel property that he is renting for at least the upcoming week, since he graciously invited her to stay with him.
And with Greg retaining the large not so mini-van, he ably helped her move more of her clothes, personal items, and teaching materials and computers and printers, too—in case the kitchen renovations extended beyond one week as the start of Diana’s winter high school session will begin at the beginning of February in two weeks, barring any more extreme weather events.
So the Friday night of January 14th, with Diana’s boxes of possessions temporarily moved into the main former Halliday House vacation home—but not unpacked—Greg and Diana are too tired to make themselves dinner after they showered and got into their jammies. And Greg had thought of their being too tired to make elaborate meals when he had food provisioned for them in the rental of his former vacation home—including easy to bake pizzas, as well as, several sandwich fixings. Diana chose the sausage, mushroom, and cheese personal pan pizza and Greg chose the fully loaded personal pan pizza.
Greg and Diana sit companionably on the long and deep couch with its soft and plush upholstery as they chat and eat their first night living under Greg’s roof.
Diana: “I have to ask, what is that topping on your pizza? I don’t recognize it.” Diana grimaces, hoping that Greg won’t insist that she try it.
Greg: “That?” He looks closer at the aforementioned pizza topping. “I think, either its an anchovy or a squid.”
Diana: “Ewwww!” Diana doesn’t hold back on her feelings about his pizza topping with a possibly aquatic origin.
Greg: Greg pops his offending pizza topping into his mouth, chews, swallows—then proclaims. “Squid.”
Diana: “Ewww, again!”
Greg: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” Greg laughs for her cute discomfiture. “Don’t worry, I won’t make you try it. But don’t you like any seafood?” He pouts cutely.
Diana: “Oh no! I love fish–just not in combination with some other foods.”
Greg: “Duly noted.” He smiles. “When I take you out to eat, I’ll let you choose your own meal—rather than try to emulate the supposedly romantic notion of a man dictating what a grown woman will eat by ordering for her, that you see in some movies.”
Diana: “Good idea.” She states sarcastically, though a small smile threatens to curl up the corners of her mouth. Then she takes a bite of her sausage and mushroom pizza. “Hmmm. This is good.”
Greg: “I’m glad that you like it. Oh! You’ve got a dab of tomato sauce just below your lower lip.” He points as he stares at her lips.
Diana: “Thanks. Here?” She dabs with her linen napkin at the wrong side of her lips.
Greg: “Uh, no. Other side.”
Diana: “Here?” Diana dabs at her mouth again–just missing the tomato sauce again.
Greg: “Allow me.” Greg slowly takes her linen napkin from her hand and gently dabs at Diana’s near chin–and removes the tomato sauce drop. “There.” Greg smiles with his face close to Diana’s. Then he leans further in and gently kisses her lips. “Hmmmm. I’ve wanted to do that again all week.” He sighs.
Diana: Diana’s fatigue and the wine they are drinking with their pizzas, makes her reply cheekily. “Oh? Mop up my face, or kiss me with your fish breath?”
Greg: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” He rocks his head back in laughter. “You are so delightful, Diana! I will be happy to go brush my teeth now, rather than after dinner.”
Diana: “Well, I … uh…” Diana leans in and kisses Greg again, despite his fish breath.
Taking her cue that his fish breath teeth brushing can wait, Greg removes their pizza plates from their laps and pulls Diana toward him in another kiss as he lies down on the inside of the large and deep couch. Diana does not resist and lies down on the outside edge of the couch next to Greg lying on the inside, and she kisses him back as they continue to embrace tenderly.
Yet Greg senses that for Diana to fully enjoy their kissing tonight—and maybe more—that he must do one essential thing. So he reaches out his arm toward the coffee table in front of the couch, finds the small bowl of dinner mints, selects one mint and pops it into his mouth between lip locks.
Greg: “How is that?” He asks cheekily.
Diana: “Much better.”
Then their kissing lip locks are the only language that they need—for the rest of the night. And as they snuggle into each others’ sides as they fall asleep on the couch, Greg grabs the blanket throw over the back of the couch and covers them with it for warmth.
The following morning of Saturday, January 15th, Greg and Connie sleep quite contentedly in each others’ arms on the couch at Halliday House. Greg is almost bare chested in an open athletic style t-shirt [(2) below].—because he always gets too hot overnight if he has a long sleeve pajama top on—but he is wearing his thin pajama bottoms. And Diana is fully clothed in her baggy sweater over her pajama top and bottoms–and fuzzy socks. They are a picture of domestic bliss, despite them only reconnecting with each other last week.
Greg: “Good morning, Diana.” Greg’s voice deeply smoulders in Diana’s ear.
Diana: “Hhhhhh!” Diana sighs in her sleepy haze and lovingly embraces Greg–her face still buried into his neck, her arms around his torso.
Greg is quite enchanted with the lovely and sweet Diana. And though he wishes that they could lay about in a bed this morning—to continue getting to know each other better—Greg has to see to a few things to get ready to greet his boss Philip Townes and family when they arrive. And he looks at the time on his watch on the coffee table next to the couch.
But then Greg remembers that he had already arranged for a limo to pick up Townes and his family at the airport. And essentially, Greg is on vacation. So he’ll plan to wait to greet the Townes family when they arrive at the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel closer to midday. So the morning belongs to Greg and Diana.
Greg: “I’ll be right back, Diana Darling.” He purrs then moves to briefly disengage himself and his limbs entangled with hers.
Diana: “Don’t go.” Diana cleaves rather more passionately to him, and she kisses his strong muscular neck.
Greg: “Oh, I’ll be right back, but I must … truly brush my teeth now—and a few other things.” He dissembles.
So Greg manages to carefully climb over Diana and head to his bedroom’s bathroom. Then Diana wakes up enough to feel the wisdom in brushing her own teeth and such. So she dozily walks to her nearby bedroom’s bathroom where she fully freshens up herself with a soothingly warm shower. Of course, her long hair is wet now. So she takes the time to dry it. And she eschews makeup for the moment. And Greg hears her shower going, so he also takes a shower. Then they each don comfy clothes and meet in the kitchen where Greg is already warming up the espresso machine for their morning coffees or hot cocoas.
Diana walks into the kitchen and goes instantly to Greg’s side, and he envelopes her in a loving embrace and kisses her adoringly.
Greg: “Good morning, Diana Darling.”
Diana: “Good morning, Greg Dear. Hhhhh!” She yawns. “Sorry. But I’m still so sleepy, even after my shower. Or perhaps, because of it.”
Greg: “I know what you mean. Me, too.” He flips off the Espresso’s switch. “Shall we head back to bed for a few more hours?” He asks hopefully—possibly to sleep, and possibly not to sleep.
Diana: Suddenly becoming shy. “Well … um… Greg, I had a lovely dream that we cuddled and kissed all night long last night.” She gazes up at him wonderingly.
Greg: “It was lovely, very lovely.” His deep voice and enlarged pupils convey his interest in returning to bed with her this morning. “But it was no dream, Diana.”
Diana’s eyes widen in surprise. And Greg is unsure if Diana thinks their not a dream cuddling and kissing last night is a good surprise or a bad surprise.
Diana: “I feel embarrassed to ask—because I’m not sure—but was our kissing and cuddling …” She cannot finish her question.
Greg: “Well …” He smiles. “Technically, … possibly … not.” Greg answers Diana vaguely.
Diana: “Hhhh!” Diana expels a sigh, in remembering Greg’s tenderness with her last night.
Greg: “But only … just this side of … not.” He grins devilishly.
And Diana wonders, how her kissing and cuddling with Greg could be any lovelier than it was last night? And then he shows her.
To be continued with Chapter 9
References for Ch. 8 of “Winter Rental”, February 20, 2022 by Gratiana Lovelace, (Post#1448)
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) Greg Halliday sleeping is Richard Armitage as Lucas North in Spooks; image found at https://ancientarmitage.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/lucas-sleeping.jpg
3) Diana Langley—BW-image-lying-on-couch-in-big-sweater-isAnneHathaway-via_TheSundayTimesLondon_Feb10-2019–dwnldJan23-2022grati-szd-clrbl; original image was found at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/anne-hathaway-oscar-zero-waste-hathahaters-husband-life-regrets-zh7pbtwsw
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch. 8 “Winter Rental” (Post #1448):
Previous Something About Love blog Post #1447 link for Ch. 7 of “Winter Rental”: