Rockport LakeA Story by Lindsay
Again, borne from a dream. Please leave comments below.
The sun played across the lake in a line that widened as it traveled across the rippling waters. There were no fish jumping about as they would in the off-season. The air was cold, rippling past the grass, wild, but overgrown in a purposeful way. The air was thick. The sky was white. Little pieces of ice flew through the air in a way that resembled something heavier than snow. And indeed it was not snow. The snow would come in a week or two.
Yards away, a cabin sat nestled into the side of the hill. Two women lie in the darkness of the dimly lit room. One woman rose, slipped her feet into a pair of well-worn slippers and traveled the few feet toward the open fireplace where large chunks of treated wood emitted a smell that was unparalleled, at least in her mind. She lit the fire and stoked the flame before standing to stretch and to survey the scene beyond. The lake.
The other woman stirred inside the cabin with the smell that was emitted from the growing fire. She looked on at the first woman and quickly glanced away before their eyes could meet. The pain of the fight that had occurred the night before was still fresh in her aching mind. Myrna, the first woman, crossed to her desk. She grabbed her laptop computer and looked for the weather report, all the while not making eye contact with Addie. Addie silently rose from the bed and went to take a shower.
Light began to fill the tiny cabin and a warmth was emitted that had nothing to do with the feelings inside. Myrna laced up her boots.
A pair of large, dark eyes peered from the driver’s side window at the chill, rippling waters before them. The lake was angelic, thought Laura, as she parked and stepped just outside of the car. She breathed the cool mountain air and felt the breeze ruffle her jacket. A tag flapped in the wind. She ripped it off and tossed it onto the passenger seat. She looked around, embarrassed.
Once back in the car, Laura drove uphill toward the lodge. She pulled toward the gate and punched in “0.”
“Welcome to Rockport Lake. Currently, we’re closed. We’ll be opening promptly at 9am tomorrow, for the opening of the season. Today, we are open for special guests, only.”
Laura waited for the voice to say more.
“Are you a season-pass holder or special guest?”
Laura narrowed her eyes, “Neither.”
Pause. “May I ask who you are?”
Pause again. Followed by a loud buzz and the sound of rusted metal gates slowly opening.
Laura drove into the employee lot and found the spot with her newly designated number. She adjusted her jacket, tight black pants, and hiker’s boots, while also surveying for any tags she may have missed.
“Miss, can I see your ID?”
“Sure.” Laura answered the man striding toward her from across the gravel parking lot. He tossed his long blonde hair and ran a hand through it. He paused to look her up and down. He smiled his approval and leaned against her car.
“So, “ he whispered. “What’s your department?”
Laura narrowed her eyes and leaned, likewise, against the hood of the car.
“Let me guess. You’re Arensburg.”
The man looked shocked, but ran a hand through his hair again. “How’d you know?!”
Laura smiled. “Because it’s my job to know. I’m your new boss.”
Arensburg straightened up. “You’re Miss Willow?!”
“Laura Willow. And just because it’s my first day doesn’t mean it’s my first day, you got me?”
“Yes ma’am. Sorry. Um…I’m supposed to show you to the control desk. Sorry. I wasn’t expecting you ‘til 9.”
“I like to arrive early.”
“No, that’s fine. I mean…that’s.... yeah…why don’t I just show you over to the desk then? Over here, this way.”
Laura nodded and followed Arensburg across the huge gravel lot. She surveyed the tree line, the lack of snow, the outdated signs and equipment before her. Despite it all, she smiled. If nothing else, the place had charm.
The two entered ‘control’ and immediately Arensburg crossed toward the coffee machine. He handed Laura a steaming cup.
Laura took a sip and heard a voice from behind her.
“Excuse me miss, I don’t think we’ve met.”
She spun to face a meaty hand extended toward her. A not unattractive man smiled crookedly in her direction.
“I’m Jeff Heller. Anything I can do for you, believe me, would be my pleasure.”
“Nice to meet you,” She shook his hand. “Laura Willow.”
“Oh s**t…Miss Willow. We weren’t expecting you ‘til…”
“Later, I know.” She smiled. A part of her was enjoying this.
“So which one of you can show me to the hill?”
Hands shot up from around the room.
“Alright then,” Laura promptly strode to the door and opened it herself. They’ll follow, she thought.
An hour later, Myrna got out of her jeep and sauntered toward the top of the ski hill. She surveyed the skies but saw no hint of impending snow. She rubbed her eyes and felt her hair fall in front of her face. A dozen thoughts crowded her mind as she wandered blindly toward the front of the lodge. That was when she saw Addie, standing at the top of the lift.
Addie’s short graying hair blew lightly in the breeze, but her tanned skin and muscular frame stood prostrate through the wind. She held a clipboard, but Myrna could see that there were no pages clipped to it.
“General Addie, all work and no play…. minus the work,” Myrna muttered to herself.
Myrna lowered herself onto her father’s bench, the only thing she had left of him, and sighed. The place felt too quiet. But then again, everything had felt too quiet to her, lately.
“Miss Willow, what’s your sport?” One of the guys, Arensburg, called to Laura from 10 feet behind her.
Laura paused with her pen an inch above her notebook. She had been lost in though. Surveying was going to take all day. The place was operational, she was absolutely sure, and would do well this season. However, her job was to increase efficiency and revenue.
“Sport?” She asked.
“Yeah. I saw your boots in the back seat. Skiing, right? Or do you do it all?”
Laura raised an eyebrow. “No, just skiing. Do you snowboard?”
“Yes ma’am,” He answered. “I was thinking: Maybe you want to go for a run? See the hill? Test the lift? Take notes? I can show you around.”
Before Laura could answer, another voice joined them.
“We could all go. It would be our pleasure, Miss Willow,” said Jeff Heller.
Laura spun around to smile at the group of 4 men. “Well, Mr. Heller, it seems that more than one thing would be your pleasure today, wouldn’t it?”
“Uh. .Yes ma’am. But I personally would love to escort our new boss down the trail. Maybe we could take the square? Make it a little more leisurely? Or do you prefer the diamond?”
Laura’s heart leapt. “No, I never ski a diamond in artificial snow. Too icy. I wait for the real thing.”
Jeff nodded. She breathed a small sigh of relief.
“Well let’s go then! I’ve got the boards right at the top of the lift.”
Arensburg called, “Toss me your keys, I’ll get your boots, Miss Willow.”
Laura breathed, “Great.”
Four years of running Lake Blue never prepared me for this, She thought. In all her 28 years, she had skied only a handful of times. The company had brought her on to bring Rockport Lake into the 21st century, as she had for Lake Blue, which she had managed after acquiring it from her late uncle at the age of 24. The publicity alone had won her this new job. She had been looking forward to managing both resorts, as Lake Blue was strictly operational in the warm months, while Rockport Lake boasted booming success for its winter ski hill, but a more lackluster attendance for its summer activities surrounding the lake. While Laura had agreed to start at the beginning of the winter season, the only ski and snowboard-related knowledge she possessed had come from two weeks of internet searches and touring the other ski resorts in the area.
Laura stood with the group, fully ski-clad at the top of the hill. Her tight black pants made her legs look so skinny as they protruded from the large plastic boots attached to her skis. Her soft brown hair ruffled in the wind. She pulled on her sunglasses.
The group pushed off and sailed down the hill. Laura was alarmed at the amount of ice on the trail. She was having a hard time cutting into the fake snow with the blades of her skis. This was what she had been afraid of. Of course, her face didn’t show it.
The guys took a right and headed toward the trail labeled with a big blue square. They had elected to take the scenic route. Their snowboards traveled quickly over the trail and they were soon almost out of sight. Laura attempted to cut into the snow once more but failed. Instead, she found herself barreling toward the black diamond trail. She kept her eyes focused ahead and her knees bent, but soon she was sailing without control. She laughed to herself. She caught sight of a sparkling reflection beyond the tree line to her left and was in awe of the scene before her. Almost visible through the trees was the lake. In each space between the trees, she could see it entirely. It was without a blemish. It was beautiful.
That was when Laura completely wiped out.
About five minutes later, she flew to the bottom of the hill, near the lift. It was a miracle she found a way to stop her momentum. The guys were all there, waiting.
“Miss Willow! We were wondering where you got to!”
She whipped off her sunglasses and tossed her long brown hair. The men stared. Jeff Heller nudged Arensburg in the ribs.
Laura sighed audibly.” I was checking out the view. You know you can almost see the entire lake from the black diamond hill?”
“That’s where you got to? The black diamond!?”
Laura shrugged. They were obviously impressed. “Well, I have to do as thorough a survey as possible, don’t I?”
They nodded as they made their way to the moving lift. Someone had turned it on for them.
“Anyway, something has to be done about that tree line. I say take them down entirely on the one side. This business is all about aesthetics as much as it is about practicality.”
“You’re a genius, Miss Willow,” commented Arensburg as he took a seat on the lift behind them.
A split second later, she was seated beside him. “Please, call me Laura.”
Myrna hummed to herself as she stretched out her legs along the old bench at the top of the hill. The guys were busy “testing the hill.” She smiled. She knew they were horsing around. But she couldn’t help it: she loved them. Most of the current employees had grown up in the area and had either volunteered or interned at the resort throughout middle school and high school before signing on as part-time or full-time staff members. They were all self-proclaimed experts in the field of winter sports. It was just getting them to be serious about the logistics of their jobs that proved to be the real challenge. But she never harped on them too much. They kept her young.
She shielded her eyes from the glaring sun. It was cold, but it was sunny. From beneath her fingers she saw Addie standing in front of the lift, looking at the circuit board.
What was she doing? Thought Myrna. What was it she even did around here anymore?
She shook her head. She decided she had to go talk to her. They were probably overdue for a talk. Not about Addie’s job, of course. Myrna knew she didn’t need her anymore. No, that was too sensitive a subject. The real discussion would concern their relationship.
Just then, the lift’s pulley began to squeak and a few voices could be heard from afar. The lifts carrying the guys crested the last part of the hill and Myrna shielded her eyes from the sun once more. There appeared to be a girl with them. She was looking at something up above her when she leaned a bit too far. Ray Arensburg was sitting next to her, thank God, and grabbed her skinny arm just at the right moment. It didn’t look like she would have fallen; but still, it was good he was there.
“Dipshit,” Addie muttered from about 10 feet away. She snarled and turned on a heel to reenter the lodge, her empty clipboard in tow.
Myrna decided not to call to her. She didn’t much care what happened to the two of them at this point. She hadn’t recognized Addie for months now.
As Laura rose slowly with the inching crawl of the lift, she felt the hard plastic of the seat and her eyes traveled along the cable above her head, wondering, plotting, considering. She decided that she would make some calls when she got back to the lodge. This lift could be going at least twice as fast. That would cart twice as many people up toward the top of the hill and create a turnover rate that would be nearly twice as fast, as well. She could see the advertisements, too. Fastest lift in the tri-state area. Ski or board twice as many runs per day!
That was when she felt gravity lick at her from underneath, wanting to pull her the twenty feet from bench to hard icy ground. Luckily, Arensburg grabbed her arm.
“Thank you!” She exclaimed.
“No problem Miss…Laura.” He smiled. He had a wide, glaringly white smile.
She laughed and smiled back at him before shaking her head as if to clear it of the anxious feeling. But her eyes stopped short.
A thick head of blonde hair, the ends frizzy as if they had been dyed many times. Wide shoulders that created an almost stocky appearance but that held the grace of someone who had once been a ballerina or some other sort of athlete. Her skin was pale and her eyes wide-set. They carried a tiredness, with the hint of a spark that had since been partially smoldered. Sitting on a wooden bench, her head rested in the open palm of her right hand.
Laura stood and glided from the lift to the bench where the woman was sitting. There was something defeated, yet captivating about her presence.
Myrna lifted her head to survey the girl who now stood before her. She was young, thin, and stunningly beautiful, yet there was something understated about her appearance. She held herself in a way that was confident but not cocky. Traditionally, Myrna hated “cocky.”
“Can I help you?” She asked.
“Well, I wanted to introduce myself. I assume you work here.” The girl stated, matter of factly.
“Yes I do. And how did you get in? We don’t open until tomorrow. Are you a friend of Ray’s?”
“No. No, I’m starting today. Laura Willow. I was just attempting to get the lay of the land, so to speak,” She gestured to the hill behind her.
“You’re Laura Willow?” Myrna scoffed.
“Yes.” She extended her hand.
Myrna took it. “The manager sent over by HR? The one from Blue Lake? You came highly recommended. I read your resume myself. I approved it. We spoke over email. I just never expected you to be so young,”
Laura shook her head. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well, it makes me wonder…”
“Wait, so then
you’re Myrna Rockport? You’re the
owner?” Laura interjected. “Oh, I’m so happy to finally meet you. Wow, you’re
not how I expected either.”
“No. That’s okay,” Myrna stated as she stood.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean ‘maybe later.’ We don’t need any revolutionizing right now. Not in this department.”
“Yes but I thought that was why you had me start at the opening of the winter season.”
“No. Because we wanted you for summer and you had to start sometime, didn’t you? This way you get acclimated to the people and the area. I see you’ve already gotten acquainted with the people.”
Laura glanced back to the lifts where the group of male employees were watching them. They were watching Laura, really.
“Well, nevertheless, I have notes.”
“Oh, keep your notes. I’ll look at them later. For right now, our job is to do what needs to be done for us to open tomorrow.”
Laura simply looked at Myrna. Myrna noted her smooth, angelic face. Her doe eyes were wide. There was no hint of embarrassment, of shame, of anger, or of being jaded in any way. She simply stared, waiting for Myrna to continue.
Myrna broke the silence. “Anyway, I’m sorry. I…it’s been a rough day. I’m happy to have you on board. I knew you’d be enthusiastic. I don’t know why I thought that would be any different in person.” Myrna bent her head and massaged her neck with her hand. It had been a long week, to say the least.
“No, you’re completely right. It’s smart to continue without change, at least in the beginning. But maybe tomorrow, we can sit and go over some things.”
Myrna looked up. She noticed Laura watching her hands. “Tomorrow? You mean wait all the way until tomorrow?” She laughed. It felt good to laugh. “You are definitely an enthusiastic one, aren’t you?”
Laura smiled. Myrna noted her pearly teeth.
“Come by tomorrow. I’ll be busy throughout the day, but then again, we’ll be working together inside control. I won’t have a spare moment to think until at least 9 pm, though, so come over to cabin 4. I’ll be there.”
“Okay! I appreciate it. You definitely won’t regret it.” She picked up her ski poles and began to shuffle around. “Well I’m going to change. I’ll meet you later in the office?”
Myrna smiled awkwardly. “Sounds like a plan.”
She watched Laura ski away toward the lodge. She watched her long hair blow in the breeze and shook her head in disbelief. What had she gotten herself into?
The next day, a line of cars crowded the entrance to the parking lot. The weather was favorable, the machines were in working order and pumping out copious amounts of artificial snow, and more people than ever populated the various ski trails as well as the lodge. Laura spent the day walking around, talking to employees and customers, and taking photos. Every hour, she checked back with the control cabin and asked for an update. The employees looked taken aback by her hands-on approach, but when they searched for help, Myrna nodded her approval of Laura’s methods. They had no choice but to comply and, after a few hours, they came to expect their new manager’s constant pressure. She was active and demanding on the job, but there was something soothing about her as well. The employees felt reassured in her presence.
The sun dipped below the tree line and a new busload of boarders hit the slopes. One of the area colleges had bussed a group to “Opening Flight,” as they called it. Laura didn’t think the name was that clever, but then again she was new to the winter sports scene.
By 8:00, she began to yawn as she carted her wide-angle lens and laptop computer around the lodge and rental areas, in a continued effort to canvas the establishment with a metaphorical fine-toothed comb. She snagged a coffee from the lodge’s ample bar, but by 9:15, she was tired to the bone.
She spent some time listening to the band Jeff Heller had hired for opening night. They were halfway decent.
By 9:35, she gathered her things and collapsed in the driver’s seat of her car. She punched the radio until a heavy metal song blasted from the speakers and descended the mountain until she came to rest a few yards from cabin 4.
Myrna was startled by the forceful knock at her door. She knew at this point that it wouldn’t be Addie. The empty drawers left open told her all that she needed to know. She had searched her feelings for some sort of sadness or anger, but found nothing. Nothing but relief.
She swung the door open.
Myrna was taken aback.
“Laura, hi. I assumed you weren’t coming. I thought we’d talk tomorrow?”
“No, I almost thought about not coming. I’m exhausted. Long day for everyone. But I glanced at some preliminary numbers and it looks like attendance is up from last year…almost 20%. I’m not sure yet if that’s a significant increase, or just under significance. Either way, a greater attendance will give us more financial freedom to get to some of those changes I was talking to you about. You know, I really think I like this place.”
“Jeez,” said Myrna. “This is you when you’re exhausted?”
Laura chuckled. “Yes, actually.”
“Come on in. You want a drink?”
Sure…what do you have? Glass of Pinot?”
“Errr…no. Bourbon sounds great.”
“Have you ever had it?” Myrna surveyed Laura’s expression. She looked calm. Here she was at the end of her first day. 12 hours on the job. In the owner’s house, about to drink Bourbon for what Myrna guessed would be the first time, and yet she looked completely complacent. If anything, she looked energized.
“No! Never had it. But I’ll try anything.”
“Once?” Myrna asked as she handed a glass to Laura.
Laura sipped it gratefully and locked eyes with Myrna from above the clear rim. “At least once. Unless I like it.”
Myrna almost snorted into her glass. Was she mistaken, or was she being flirted with? It had been so long that she wouldn’t know whether she’d recognize the signs any longer.
They replaced their glasses on the old wooden table. It was dim inside and the cabin smelled of burning firewood.
“So do you want to leave your notes with me and I’ll go over them this week?”
“I thought maybe I’d present them. Would that be okay?”
“When? Now?” Myrna asked, taking another sip of her drink.
“Of course. It’ll only take about twenty minutes.”
Myrna laughed and stood to retrieve the bottle from the countertop. “I can’t believe how much energy you have right now. You should be falling over at the end of a day like today. God, what I wouldn’t give to be young.”
Myrna turned her back and began to walk toward the open hallway. She heard Laura place her drink on the table.
“I’m not that young.” Laura stated.
And then Myrna felt her soft hands on her arms, pushing her against the wooden wall. Her sweet lips found Myrna’s and pressed them until she was sure she would suffocate. But then she was breathing again and opening her body to Laura’s thin, muscular touch. She kissed her back, trying to match her forcefulness. It was almost impossible to keep up with her. Her mind was crying out with disbelief and yet she felt so happy, she thought she might explode.
Myrna put a finger on Laura’s chest and pushed her lightly. Laura immediately pulled away.
Myrna searched her large doe eyes. “I don’t understand.”
Laura lowered her head in thought. She crossed to the table and grabbed her drink once more. “I do. I haven’t been able to get you out of my head all day.”
Myrna smoothed her shirt and shook her head. “Why? I mean what did I do? Why me?”
“Because you’re beautiful. There’s something about you. Don’t ask me to explain it. I find you absolutely captivating.”
“No, believe me…you’re beautiful. Me? I’m twice your age.”
“Please. You’re not that old. I’m 28.”
“I know how old you are. I hired you.”
“You didn’t hire me. HR hired me. So that makes you my boss’s boss.”
“I think technically you’re my boss,” Myrna laughed.
“I…maybe,” Laura smiled flirtatiously.
Myrna downed her drink. “I think maybe you should go.”
Laura nodded. “But you’re not angry with me.” She stated. She didn’t ask.
“No,” answered Myrna. “No, I’m not.”
The next day, Myrna found herself unable to concentrate. Every time she hand Laura crossed paths, which was often, her mind grew fuzzy and frazzled. She found herself playing and replaying the kiss in her mind, attempting to find the answer to the mystery of Laura’s actions. Surely she couldn’t be attracted to her.
Except every time she walked into the room, Laura seemed to be on top of her game. She conducted herself more professionally than last season’s entire staff combined. What was more, the guys seemed to really respect her. Their new manager had been there 36 hours and already she was revered.
Myrna tried to get on with her work. At 2:00, she paused for a moment to stretch and to think about which kind of soda she would get from the vending machine. She turned around in her swivel chair and her heart skipped a beat when she realized it was only she and Laura in the control room. Laura’s hand hovered over an Excel spreadsheet, tapping a blue pen on the desk across the room. She was watching Myrna. Myrna glanced around the room, looking for any sign of another person. Laura winked one long, dark lash and smiled.
Myrna smiled back, but put her feet to work at once and headed to the vending machines. She needed a breath of fresh air.
At 6:00, Myrna found herself completely alone, sitting on a bench beside the lake. She had gone home to retrieve her laptop, but hadn’t yet returned. There were people working on the wiring about 50 yards away from where she sat, but Myrna was watching the subtle ripples in the water. Apparently a few of the lights were out on the blue square hill. But still, Myrna found herself disconnected from the situation. She simply watched the lake.
Just then, a breeze blew past the back of Myrna’s neck and a soft hand brushed her hair from her face. Myrna was startled, but leaned into the hand. She knew who it was.
“Mmm, that looks beautiful,” She heard Laura breathe. And then she was on the other side of her, continuing toward the electrical crew, busy working on the wires.
Myrna decided she had better head back to the control room, but thought she would take a moment to regain her breath before she went.
Later that night, after hours, Myrna walked alone around the shores of the lake. Twenty minutes went by before she realized that Laura was there, writing notes in the dim light. The moonlight caught the flecks of gold her in her hair as she wrote feverishly in her notebook.
Myrna walked up behind her, “Well, day 2 is now over. What do you think?”
Laura smiled while she continued to write, “I can’t say enough about this place. It’s perfect.”
“Yet here you are writing a plethora of notes.”
Myrna grabbed the notebook from Laura’s hands. She paused to read the first 3 bullet points. “Oh. These are good ideas.”
“I know they are,” Laura stated.
Myrna shook her head. “How did you get so confident at such a young age?”
Laura stated, “Because I always get what I want.”
Myrna laughed, “What’s that feel like?” She paused to consider the events of her life. The pressures placed on her by her father, who had opened the resort so many years ago and who had groomed her to be his successor from a young age. Her failed relationships, not to mention the one that failed so very recently. The fact that she recognized the potential in her resort, but could not bring it into the new era where it deserved to be.
Laura explained, “Well, to start with, you have to be very focused. You have to know exactly what it is you’re looking for. Like this place. I knew it when I saw the first set of photos. From that point on, I wanted it.”
Myrna was, again, blown away by Laura’s grandiose sense of herself. She furrowed her brow. Was it grandiosity or was it confidence and a massive ton of focused energy? And was that the better way to be? Had she been missing something this whole time?
Laura smiled and allowed her to remain silent for a moment longer.
God, she doesn’t even come across as cocky, thought Myrna. So young, yet so ‘figured out.’ She smiled back and though, I could learn so much from her.
Laura asked her what she’s thinking.
Myrna asked,“Why did you kiss me last night?”
“I told you. Because I couldn’t resist. I feel a strong pull toward you. You don’t know your own strength.”
Myrna asked “What does that mean?”
“Exactly. You don’t see yourself. You don’t appreciate yourself.”
“And how could you possibly know so much about me in so little time?”
“I don’t need time. All the best decisions, judgments, considerations…they’re made in a split second. Our minds are wired for snap judgments. It’s not a bad thing to act on ‘impulse.’ In fact, we only see it as an ‘impulsive’ behavior because we’re afraid of our own ability to decide unconsciously, without minutes, hours, and days of rumination.”
Myrna was taken aback. “Days? And what if you’re the kind of person who can ruminate for years?” She thought of every decision she’d had to make about this resort, about how long she’d considered before dating Addie, before letting her move in, before deciding she wasn’t’ in love with her anymore, before planning their break up, which she never got to do before Addie moved out herself.
“Come back to earth. Stop thinking. Just stop,” She looked down at her lap and then craned her neck to face Myrna fully. “And come here.”
She grabed Myrna by the back of the neck and kissed her powerfully, even more powerfully than she had the night before.
After about a minute, Myrna smiled in disbelief and pulled back to look into Laura’s large brown eyes before lifting her head to gaze all around her at the lake, at the ski hill, at the direction of her cabin, and back into Laura’s large doe-like eyes.
She smiled. “You’re going to change everything.”
© 2012 Lindsay
Added on April 20, 2012
Last Updated on April 20, 2012
Laurel springs, NJ
AboutI love music, traveling, reading, psychology, dancing, and photos. My writing is mostly dark yet inspirational, occasionally romantic, sometimes comedic, and almost always science-fiction. Yes, I may .. more..
Paper Editing $4.99/page
Have your academic paper proofread by professional editors for as little as $4.99/page. Use Coupon Code PEN05 for 5% Off
Book Conversion Services
Make your book available as an eBook! Free support & free consultation.