“Winter Rental”, Ch. 9:  A slight misunderstanding,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  February 27, 2022 (Post #1450)


[“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, Perry King as Phillip Townes, 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. 9:  A slight misunderstanding

Since Greg Halliday’s boss and CEO of Ski Resorts International Phillip Townes and his family plan to arrive at the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel around midday on Saturday, January, 15th, Greg surmises that they’ll need time to settle into their Ski Resort Hotel’s luxury suite.  So after greeting them and making sure that they find their accommodations comfortable and luxurious, Greg feels that he will be off the hook and back on vacation.   So he invites Diana Langley to join him up at the ski resort for lunch.  Their newly romantic relationship means that the smitten Greg wants to woo her with roses and candlelit dinners, spending time together, and such—learning everything about her.  She fascinates him.

Naturally, Greg and Diana are traveling in the same car together today, his not so mini-van rental—since they’re living at his family’s former vacation home Halliday House, that he rented from the ski resort for the next week or two.  So Diana surmises that she might have to wait 15 to 30 minutes  for Greg to finish with greeting his CEO and his family, before she and Greg may have a semi-private daytime romantic lunch together.

Greg had earlier shared with Diana a bit about his boss Phillip Townes—the 55 year old CEO of Ski Resorts International is still handsome and athletically fit [(2) right], happily married with young children–a son and a daughter.  Greg just left out telling Diana that Townes’ wife is the younger sister of one of his former college girlfriends.  Ouch!  And Mrs. Vanessa Townes is a fashionable beauty who is in her mid thirties.

And due to Greg knowing Vanessa as a much younger woman before she married Phillip Townes fourteen years ago—who seemingly had an embarrassing crush on her older sister’s college boy friend, Greg—Greg is rather reserved whenever he has to be around Mrs. Townes at company and charity functions.  So Greg is nervous about how Mrs. Townes will act toward him at the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel—based on her past behavior of some teasingly cloying flirtations that make him most uncomfortable.  Phillip Townes just laughs when his wife playfully flirts with Greg or other men—because their loving marriage is rock solid, and she signed an iron clad pre-nup that gets her nothing if she fools around on him or divorces him before they reach their thirtieth  wedding anniversary.  The pre-nup also included a fidelity clause for Phillip as well.

And truth be told, Diana is also a bit nervous to be in public so soon after she and Greg reached a tacit understanding about their growing romantic relationship—after being together most lovingly just last night.  There are no longterm promises  between them yet. But Greg has quite swept Diana off her feet—as she has done for him.

So around 11:30am, Greg and Diana arrive at the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort Hotel’s large open lobby to await the Townes family arrival.  Greg has already confirmed with Mike Porter that the Townes three bedroom luxury suite awaits them. Actually, it also has a kitchen, dining room, and private maid and concierge services.  So Greg and Diana sit on a comfortably cushioned love seat and chat in a quiet corner of the large lobby–that gives them an excellent view of new arrivals.  They sweetly hold hands as they chat quietly with each other.

Greg:  “Diana, you look exceptionally beautiful today.”  Greg sighs and smiles at Diana with her having applied some light makeup, with her hair softly falling in waves about her face and shoulders, and her soft corduroy shirt dress with yellow roses on a black background [(3) right].

Greg is a completely besotted  man for the sweet and lovely Diana.  For Greg, Diana is the woman of his dreams, someone to build a life with, to make a family with.  Though he might be getting ahead of himself since he has already had several girlfriends during his forty years on this earth.  Whereas Diana has never really dated before Greg. So Diana is nascently exploring being in a first romantic relationship with Greg.

Diana: “Thank you, Greg.  That’s kind of you to say. You look quite handsome, yourself.”  She smiles shyly at him in his pale silver gray soft corduroy trousers, and a creamy white sweater over his torso [(4) right].   Diana is quite enamored of her strong, handsome, kind, and tender man Greg.  She believes that she is falling in love with him.  How could she not after last night?

And Diana self-consciously wonders if anyone can tell that she and Greg are a romantic couple by the way that they interact with each other.  And she feels like she has a perpetual blushing face that she can’t control—and Diana feels warm and tingly all over with Greg’s nearness to her on the loveseat.  Of course, with Greg and Diana sitting side by side on a small love seat sofa and holding hands, those are definite clues in regard to their level of closeness.  Yet Greg respects Diana and does not want her to be subjected to gossip, so he still takes every care of showing her respect when they are in public as they are now.  So Greg does not try to kiss her—though he desperately wishes that the large pot planted Norfolk pine tree next to them had denser fir needles.

Diana smiles at Greg, then she looks over at the ski resort’s hotel check-in-desk where Resort Managing Director Mike Porter is standing by–also awaiting their VIP guests, the Philip Townes family.   Mike notices Diana sitting with Greg and smiles warmly at her–then he nods less warmly to Greg, who nods curtly back to him.  Greg and Mike are focusing on their imminent important guests arriving, and less on the pleasantries of greeting each other as respective male acquaintances.  And with Greg wanting to buy back his former vacation home Halliday House and property, that issue adds another layer of complication upon the interactions between Greg and Mike.  Though they do maintain a cordial demeanor toward each other as business professionals.

And frankly, Mike is uncertain about the nature of Diana Langley’s continuing association with Greg Halliday.  Mike doesn’t want to see Diana hurt by what he presumes to be Greg’s man of the world ways of charming and seducing women for short term gratification. Mike Porter’s perhaps harsh and jaded assessment of Greg’s motives and intentions with regard to his relationship with Diana is not wholly without foundation—based on Mike’s observations of Greg’s past flirtations and conquests when he happened to be visiting the ski resort over the years.  But Greg’s past relationship behaviors do not necessarily reflect the present, nor the future.

Diana noticing the barely civil acknowledgement between Greg and Mike, asks Greg outright.

Diana: “Greg?  Is everything alright between you and Mike?”  Diana senses that there is an underlying tension between the two men, but she cannot fathom what that might be.  She has gotten to know Mike and his family over the last few years, and counts them as friends.

Greg: “What?  Oh!  It’s nothing.  I presume he is still uncertain about my wish to reclaim our Halliday house and grounds property from the ski resort.”  And Greg also wonders if Mike suspects the true nature of the Ski Resorts International CEO Phillip Townes family visit.  Because the world of winter sports recreation resorts on the large scale of Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel is a relatively small one.

Diana:  “Hmmm.”  Diana nods, her seemingly agreeing with Greg’s statement.  Then seeing a very large not so minivan stretch limo arrive at the ski resort hotel, Diana plans to make herself scarce for Greg.  “Greg?  That must be your boss and his family.   I’ll just get seated in the hotel’s restaurant to wait for you while you’re attending them.”

Greg: “Don’t go, Diana.  I would like the Townes to meet you—and you to meet them.  Afterall, if I hope to relocate to Galena or nearby so we can be together–and  with my remaining with the company by working remotely and with some business trips–they will need to meet the person who has claimed my heart.”  He smiles tenderly at her.

Diana: “Oh!  I had not thought that we were announcing ourselves as a couple yet.”  Diana smiles in being privately thrilled that Greg is contemplating moving to Galena so that they can be together.  But she still wishes to be private and circumspect about the deepening level of their relationship.  She will not be rushed into anything.

Greg:  “Well, now is as good a time as any.”  He smiles a bit cheekily.  Greg seems to smile more now that he is with Diana.

Diana:  “But Greg, though our relationship is developing, you and I have not discussed any concrete plans. And we should have that discussion privately—especially if others will likely ask us about our plans.”

Greg: “Of course, you’re right. But may I at least introduce you?  I am hopeful that our relationship will continue to grow, eventually leading to marriage, kids, the whole package.”  Of course, Greg is not exactly couching his phrasing in romantic tones, thinks Diana.  But then, perhaps, Greg is also inexperienced in the ways of love and relationships—as she is also inexperienced.

Diana: “Well …”  Once again, Diana acquiesces to another person’s request, even though she stated a very good reason for her wishing to keep their relationship private

Greg: “Oh, and you should know that I had known Mrs. Townes when she was the younger sister of one of my college girlfriends.  So she sometimes like to bring that up—along with her embarrassingly supposed former crush on me.” Greg rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

Diana: “Oh? What does her husband say about that?”  Diana blanches at Greg’s revelation of

Greg:  “Not much, in my presence.  What goes on behind closed doors between a husband and wife is their own private concern. And Mr. Townes is a very successful billionaire CEO of a multi-national company.  So Mrs. Townes would be quite the fool to take her husband for a fool and dally with other men.”  Greg states frankly.

Diana: “I see.  Hhhh!”  Her eyes widen, as she nervously gasps.


So Greg and Diana stand up from the loveseat, then Greg keeps her small hand within his larger hand–and his other hand placed gently at the small of her back–as they walk over to the foyer and stand near but apart from Mike.  They will let the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel’s Managing Director Mike Porter greet the Townes family as their latest VIP guests.  And then Greg will greet his boss and introduce Diana to him.

The Townes family walks into the airy lobby—father, mother, and two kids wearing warm cable knit sweaters in shades of light blue for the kids, and with dark navy and black suit jackets over them for their parents–as if they were planning a color coordinated family portrait—and they see the well dressed in business suit Mike Porter walking toward them to greet them.

Mike: “Mr. and Mrs. Townes, and children.”  Mike smiles warmly welcoming at them [(5) right].  “I am the Pineridge Mountain Ski Resort and Hotel’s Managing Director Mike Porter.   Let me welcome you to our resort.  We hope that you enjoy your weeklong stay with us.”  He and Phillip Townes cordially shake hands.

Phillip Townes: “Ah yes!  We spoke on the phone when I arranged my family’s reservations.”  Then he turns to his wife.  “This is my lovely wife Vanessa, and our wonderful children 10 year old Brad and 6 year old Lori.  Mike, I hope that you also have some age  appropriate fun activities for our kids at the ski resort.”  He looks questioningly at Mike.

Of course, Phillip Townes has thoroughly  investigated  the resort’s amenities.  He is merely testing Mike Porter.  And Greg smiles knowing that Mike is more than able to meet that test.

Mike:  “Indeed we do!  And my own young son and daughter as well as our staff’s children help us in developing varied offerings for children’s diverse interests year round.”

Mrs. Vanessa Townes: “That sounds lovely.”  She smiles.  Then she whispers to her husband.  “Phillip, Dear, might we dispense with further pleasantries and get to our suite to freshen up and then feed the kids before they have a melt down?”

Vanessa Townes is a seasoned mother, and they are traveling without their au pair this week.  So her children’s tending and supervising will mostly fall to her.  Though Phillip Townes is also a doting father, him being older also means that he tends to include business with pleasure—as he is doing with their vacation visit coinciding with his possible interest in acquiring the property.

Phillip Townes: “Of course, My Dear.  Mike, my wife and I would like to get our children settled in our suite, then grab some lunch as a family in the Ski Resort Hotel’s restaurant before we check out fun afternoon activities with our kids.”

Mike: “Of course, I perfectly understand as a parent myself.  Let my staff and I escort you and your family to your suite.  Your luggage and belongings have already been placed in there.”

Phillip Townes: “Excellent!”  Of course, Townes is accustomed to VIP service around the world.  And as of yet, Mrs. Vanessa Townes does not immediately notice Greg Halliday and the lady with him who are standing just out of her line of sight.  But her husband takes care of that.  “Oh!  Greg!  Good to see you!”

Greg: “Mr. Townes.” Greg nods and shakes his hand.  “And this is my … Lady friend, Diana Langley.” Greg only hesitates for a mere moment, before he finds a respectful way to describe Diana’s relationship to him.  Afterall, labeling someone a girlfriend seems too teenager-ish—and he and Diana are not affianced, yet.

Phillip Townes: “Oh, I didn’t realize that you were dating again.  Good for you!”  Townes smiles mischievously. He feels that when his employees are happy, they are more productive workers.  “Ms. Langley, I’m delighted  to make your acquaintance..”  He extends his hand to Diana Langley, who politely holds out her hand to him—yet she smiles at him with a shy reserve.”

Diana: “Mr. Townes, and family.  It is my pleasure to meet you.”  She smiles warmly at them.

Phillip Townes: “Charming.”  Townes says of Diana’s shy ladylike demeanor.  “Greg, this lady is a keeper.  If I weren’t already married  to the love of my life Vanessa here, I might propose to her myself.”  His boss’ remark  noticeably startles Greg–and Diana.

Greg: “Uh, yes Sir. But Diana and my relationship is developing slowly—though we have known each other since my family’s  childhood Winters and Summers here.  Her family owns Galena’s largest Sporting Goods Store, Langley’s.  But Diana is actually a teacher in town here.  And Diana and I only just reconnected.”  For Greg, this is the bare bones explanation of how he and Diana came to be a couple.  But for Diana, even that is too much information to share with others.

Phillip Townes: “Well you had best snap her up while you can, Greg.  As I know as with my dear wife Vanessa, Ladies of quality are wonderful and rare.  Say!  Why don’t you two join my family and I for lunch, if you have no other plans?”

When Phillip  Townes requests something, it is usually agreed to.  So what Greg does next will give Diana a hint of what their married life might be like—either with Greg being beholden to his boss’s whims and wishes, and ignoring her wishes, or not.

Greg: “Well… Sir, yours is a very kind invitation.  But I hope that you will excuse us.  I have already promised Diana a quiet lunch today for just the two of us—my thinking that you and your family would also have a private lunch.”  Greg’s polite decline hangs in the air.

Phillip Townes: “Of course.” Townes smiles knowingly at the consideration that Greg is showing to his Ladyfriend.  “Perhaps we’ll see you sometime again while we’re here this coming week.”  And Townes knows that he will see Greg, because he will set up a meeting toward the end of the week to compare notes with Greg about the ski resort’s suitability for becoming a Ski Resorts International property.

Vanessa Townes: “Oh Hello Greg.  Still the handsome charmer, I see.”  The beautiful long brunette haired Vanessa smiles sultrily [(6) right]  at Greg, then she drapes herself upon her handsome billionaire husband Phillip’s shoulder.

And unconsciously, Greg steps back closer to Diana again, and puts his arm lightly around her waist—conveying to Vanessa and to her husband Phillip Townes that Greg is both in a relationship with Diana and respectful of her.  Then Greg decides to diminish and prevent Vanessa’s usual catlike taunts.

Greg: “Ah, yes Mrs. Townes.  I was just telling my Ladyfriend Diana Langley here about the coincidence of your being married to my employer when I had dated your sister when she and I were in college together 18 years ago.  How is Marianne, by the way?”

Vanessa Townes: “She and her husband just had their third child together, a son this time.  They are very pleased.”  Then she kisses her husband’s cheek.  “And if I could only convince Phillip to expand our little family, we might also be welcoming a new sibling for Brad and Lori in the coming year.”  She pouts cutely at her husband.

Phillip Townes: “Hhhh!  We’ll see.”  He smiles bemusedly at his wife. Though he mentally calculates that if another child of theirs is born in the next year, then he will roughly be 74 years old when the kid graduates high school.  And he slightly winces at possibly being mistaken for his child’s grandfather, rather than its father.

Brad and Lori Townes: And though they have been good up until now, kids can only be patient for so long.  So the Townes kids whine.  “Daaaaddy!   We’re hungry!”  The kids meltdown that Mrs. Townes had warned her husband about is very imminent if they don’t get some food into them.

Phillip Townes: “Right!  Okay kids!  Let’s get you upstairs to change into your play clothes, then we’ll have lunch at the Ski Resort Hotel’s restaurant.  See you later Greg, and nice to meet you, again, Ms. Langley.”

Greg: “Have a great time!”  Greg smiles and waves, and Diana smiles and nods to the departing Townes family.

And though Greg clearly hopes that he and Diana develop into a long lasting relationship, he also hopes that Phillip Townes assumption that their relationship has progressed to the point that Greg might propose to Diana soon, doesn’t break his stride with Diana.  Greg realizes that Diana’s feelings for him should not and cannot be rushed—by anyone.

For you see, Greg is one of the last remaining bachelor hold outs amongst the Executives at Ski Resorts International.  But until he returned to Galena and met Diana again, he was in no rush to give up his bachelor status. He hadn’t found the one lady to tempt him into love and marriage.  And yet, Greg developing a loving relationship with Diana seems so right–like fate to him.

To be continued with Chapter 10

References for Ch. 9   of “Winter Rental”, by Gratiana Lovelace, February 27, 2022 (Post#1450)  

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 a cream looking pensive, photographed byKaitlynMikayla_Jan04-2022viaNobleman-Magazine;
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) Perry King portrait looking dapper and upscale successful in a blue suit represents Ski Resorts International corporate CEO Phillip Townes; the original image was found at https://cdn10.bigcommerce.com/s-o6vy9cv/products/144245/images/140155/246485__08554.1519863705.500.500.jpg?c=2

3) Diana Langley—2021 is represented by Anne Hathaway  in a yellow roses on  black  corduroy shirt dress_Jan09-2022viaNoCamels–Grati-crop-szd

4) Greg Halliday is represented by Richard Armitage 2022 portraits  in cream sweaters by Kaitlyn Mikayla found in the Nobleman Mag interview at https://noblemanmagazine.com/richard-armitage-a-nobleman-to-watch/?fbclid=IwAR1kYnjjbbab03_pgQ2aDdLK02xTUarLq9DS4S8JDyvH0IHhvTqd78jua1Q&doing_wp_cron=1642221318.9211430549621582031250

5) Mike Porter smiling in bl business suit is represented by actor Rege-Jean Page;  The original image was found at Papsugare at https://media1.popsugar-assets.com/files/thumbor/6VshMPBvrYH98kU60xyZcVyae2E/fit-in/728xorig/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-/2020/12/21/940/n/1922398/4f9ccfed9e07d343_GettyImages-1068929818/i/rege-jean-page-hot-pictures.jpg

6) Vanessa Townes is represented by the actress Gal Gadot, shown in a sultry pose here;  the original image was found at IMDB  https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BYThjM2NlOTItYTUzMC00ODE3LTk1MTItM2I3MDViY2U3MThlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTg4NDI0NDM@._V1_UY1200_CR165,0,630,1200_AL_.jpg

Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch. 9 “Winter Rental” (Post #1450):

Previous Something About Love  blog Post #1448  link for Ch. 8  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
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1 Response to “Winter Rental”, Ch. 9:  A slight misunderstanding,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  February 27, 2022 (Post #1450)

  1. Pingback: “Winter Rental”, Ch. 10 (End):  Slipping away for some privacy,  by Gratiana Lovelace,  March 27, 2022 (Post #1454)     | Something About Love (A)

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