Oak Island Chapter 10: Clear Water and beyond

Oak Island Chapter 10: Clear Water and beyond

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg
"

Clear Water and beyond.

"

Chapter Ten


Friday night found me cheerful, packing two bags for Ezra and myself. We would leave for Clear Water in the morning, arriving in time for lunch at a local restaurant, then check in and soak for a while before our scheduled massages.


Our suite was not what I had expected, from Nadine's gushing descriptions. It was a large, strangely shaped room with a king size bed. That at least was as advertised. But the rest...


Look at this,” Ezra demanded. I followed his voice into the bathroom, where I found him pointing at a red, heart shaped hot tub barely big enough for two people. This was beyond tacky. I had no words for it. I looked around some more and discovered there was no shower. None at all. I investigated the sleeping and living area again. There was a single chair, a recliner. A La-Z-Boy. It was laughable. I had no idea what Nadine was going on about.


We paid $200 for this?” Ezra raged. “This is some kind of red neck excuse for a honeymoon suite. They call this a spa?”


I tried to convince him that, no, we wouldn't get our money back, no matter how much he yelled. I reasoned that if we paid for it, we might as well use it. The bed was comfortable, the hot tub was functional, and the balcony was actually very nice.


He would hear none of it. “I will not be ripped off like this.”


Resigned to Ezra's plan of demanding a refund and leaving, I secured our luggage. Luckily I had not unpacked. He was so enraged, I was afraid to ask him to carry his own bag. I shouldered both.


We returned to the lobby. The receptionist was not at the antique desk that served as the check in area. Ezra rang the small silver bell repeatedly. The receptionist had a sullen look on her face when she appeared, probably in response to Ezra's childish ringing of the bell.


I demand a refund. Our room is completely unacceptable.”


I'm sorry, sir. There are no refunds.” She said this as if 'sir' was an insult, not a term of respect. Open hostility at this early point boded ill. I suspected she went through this scene frequently.


I was led to believe this was a spa and resort, not a redneck hot tub party hosted by--” He searched for a term that encompassed his feelings. “Hosted by gauche cretins.” Oh god.


The receptionist repeated her words, sounding as if she would happily shove the silver bell up Ezra's nose.


I will speak to the manager. Now.”


The woman turned her back to us. Her gait was close to flouncing as she disappeared down a narrow hallway. We waited, Ezra impatiently, I with a dismal feeling.


After about three minutes an older woman appeared. Three minutes can seem interminable. Ezra tapped his fingers on the desk and looked at his Breguet watch repeatedly while we waited.


Our room is unacceptable. You must give me a refund.”


In a slightly more conciliating tone than the younger woman had used, she asked, “What seems to be the problem, sir?”


You'd need a shoehorn to fit two people into that tacky excuse for a hot tub, to begin with. The bed is rock hard. The décor makes my stomach turn. I will not pay $200 for this travesty of a spa and resort hotel.”


I am very sorry, but our policy is very clear. No refunds.”


The place looks like a whorehouse decorated by Mongolian idiots.” I cringed. Did he really have to use that term? “I refuse to pay.”


I really can't do anything for you sir. That is our policy.”


You are engaging in false advertising. I will be contacting the Better Business Bureau about this.”


I'm sorry to hear that, but it doesn't change our policy.”


F**k your policy. You're going to regret this when my credit card company investigates you for fraud.”


Sir, please do not use abusive language with me or I will have to have you escorted off our property.”


And just think about all the bad publicity I can spread through the internet. Isn't the internet convenient? I can reach thousands of potential customers just through Yelp.”


I will have to live with that. We cannot break our policy for you or for anyone else.”


Fine. You'll rue this day.” I followed Ezra out of the building at a trot, trying to keep up with his angry strides while laboring under the weight of our combined luggage. Ezra seemed to remember our luggage and opened the trunk as I approached. He immediately strode to the driver's side door, not waiting for me to stow the luggage and close the trunk. He had the motor running by the time I reached the passenger's seat. Gravel sprayed as he backed and turned the car in a fury. I cowered. The last time I had seen him this angry was Halloween and he had started throwing things that night. I didn't like him driving in such a rage, but I was too scared to say anything.


This,” he said, biting off each word, “was your idea.”


Nadine said it was beautiful here. She told me the rooms were nice and the hot springs incredible. I wouldn't have suggested it if she hadn't told me it was so romantic. I'm sorry it turned out this awful.” Why had Nadine said that?


And you didn't think to check customer reviews?”


I said, “No,” in a tiny voice. We were speeding down the two lane black top and Ezra wasn't paying much attention to staying in the proper lane.


So we drove three hours to this execrable hole for nothing because you didn't think to check reviews?”


Nadine--”


Ezra cut me off. “Nadine, Nadine. This is your fault.”


I'm sorry, Ezra. I looked at the website. It was very deceptive. It made it look like it was actually a very nice spa.” I was gripping the seat with a white knuckles. I didn't know which I was more scared of, Ezra or getting in a car accident.


We sped on in silence. I was relieved once we got onto the interstate. Speeding here was less dangerous than on narrow mountain roads with blind curves. After fifteen minutes on the interstate, I tried again.


Ezra, I'm sorry. I really am. I'm sorry I got us involved in this.”


Ezra said nothing.


Please forgive me.”


Ezra continued in silence. His silence was far scarier than yelling. I didn't know what else to do but apologize, and I had tried to do that repeatedly. The silence ballooned out, filling the car with poisonous ill will. The mountain scenery no longer seemed beautiful. I just wanted to get home and get out of this car.


We spent the remaining two hours without exchanging a word. When Ezra guided the car into its normal parking spot, he popped the trunk. I got out and closed my door, hearing the click of the locks engaging as Ezra strode away. I guess that meant I was supposed to carry the luggage.


But I had spent those silent two hours thinking. Ezra's reaction was completely out of proportion with the situation. It was a simple mistake, one I had apologized for repeatedly. Yes, it was a pain that we drove all that way only to turn around and drive right back home, but driving home was Ezra's choice. We could have availed ourselves of one of the many B&Bs in the area, or otherwise made the drive worthwhile.


I was damned if I was going to lug his bag around for him. I got my own bag out and closed the trunk. Upstairs, I turned the knob of the front door and found it locked. That was a weird thing to do. I got out my keys, unlocked the door and found that Ezra had chained the door from the inside.


What the f**k?


I knocked on the door and called his name quietly. No response. Knocked again, said his name a bit louder. Nothing. I lost my temper. I hammered on the door, calling out, “Ezra, open the damn door.” More pounding on the door. “Ezra open this door, right now!”


I glanced down the hall and found my neighbor peeking out of her doorway, looking at me. S**t. Forget this. I had no desire to make a spectacle for the neighbors' amusement. I had my phone and my car keys, so I turned right back around and made my way down to my Camry. I got inside, turned the key and started the car. But where to go? My first thought was Cheryl, but I didn't really want her to know how awful Ezra could be. The idea of Leo flashed past, but that was out of the question. None of Ezra's friends would welcome me. I was too proud to call on them for help anyway.


I ended up checking into the Quality Inn down the street. Alone in my room, I sat on one of the beds and stared at the dark TV, my bag still over my shoulder. Why did Ezra think he could do this to me? What in my behavior had invited this uncalled for fit of petulant anger? How could things have gone this far? And over such a small incident.


The TV had no answers so I fell back on my old standby and undressed to get in the shower. Maybe some idea would come to me in there. I let the hot water pour over me, muscles relaxing. Eyes closed, I inhaled the steam and let my mind go blank. After a while, I unwrapped the paper on a tiny bar of soap and lathered up. As I was rinsing, I came to a decision. If Ezra still had the door chained in the morning, I would call the police. My name was on the lease and I had the right to enter my own home. I dried off and rummaged in my bag for some clothes. I pushed aside the fancy lingerie set I'd bought for the occasion and got into the comfy t-shirt and leggings I'd brought along.


I didn't have a book to read so I purchased an audio book from Audible on my phone. I settled in with a good recording of Pride and Prejudice. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”


There was a Waffle House in the same parking lot as the motel, so I dined there when hunger interrupted my attempt to enjoy Jane Austen. I contemplated my situation as I ate my burger. Did I really want to be around Ezra, after this? The idea of going home to sustained anger was intolerable. Would I accept an apology? Should I accept an apology? This behavior on his part was absolutely unacceptable. He had apologized for other things in the past, but the fact was, he had a terrible temper and it didn't seem that would change.


But what could I do? Give him an ultimatum? Or had he finally gone too far and used up all his chances with me? Should I break things off? Could I? This was something to chew over. I had never thought about what I might do without Ezra in my life. My walk back to the motel didn't bring an answer to these questions. Back in my room, my book did little to distract me.


I knew Cheryl had never liked him. And I was sure he wasn't my soul mate, if such things existed. Maybe they did. Cheryl and Ted seemed so comfortable and happy together. Harmonious. Harmonious was something Ezra would never be.


I kept coming back to the fact that Ezra just had a terrible temper. That was who he was. Was it even sensible to expect anything else? My thoughts started chasing around in my head, the same question echoing through me: Could he change?


No longer able to concentrate on my book, I started flipping through TV channels, finally falling asleep to Animal Planet. I woke unrested at 6, unable to go back to sleep. I still hadn't made up my mind what to do. The wise part of me said I should decide what I want and what I need and what I plan before returning home. The tired part of me just wanted to get it all over with so I could get some real sleep.


Another shower, more contemplation and by the time I was ready to get dressed I had decided.


***


Bag over my shoulder, I approached our front door with dread. Deadbolt unlocked, I pushed the door gently open. No chain. I quietly entered, wondering if Ezra was still asleep. There was a bottle of Blavenie on the kitchen island, but no sign of Ezra. I was unsure what to do. Wake Ezra? Wait for him to awaken on his own? I decided to let him sleep. I dumped my bag in the entry way and began making coffee. I was eating a banana when Ezra stumbled into the kitchen. He looked like s**t. His pale skin, beneath the night's stubble, had a waxen, greenish tinge and his eyes were red rimmed and bloodshot behind his glasses.


Cassie,” he croaked. “I was afraid you wouldn't come back.” I didn't say anything. “I'm sorry, Cassie, I really am. I shouldn't have done that.” I looked at him. “I was just so mad at the Clear Water people, I lost control.”


Ezra, you get mad about things and take it out on me.”


I'm really sorry. Please forgive me.”


He looked pathetic, but it inspired no softening of my resolve. “You're always sorry, Ezra. But you keep doing it. I'm sorry you keep doing it too.”


You're going to leave me. I'm not good enough for you and you're going to leave me.”


Ezra, you have a terrible temper and I have given you chance after chance, I have forgiven you again and again. But you just don't seem capable of change.”


Let me show you. Please. I can change. I promise.”


It's too late for that Ezra. Giving me the silent treatment then locking me out of my own home is unacceptable. I just can't accept being treated like that.”


I watched his face as it went from misery to anger. “You're going to be with that Leo guy, aren't you? I knew it. I knew you had something for him.”


I have always had and still have deep affection for Leo, but he doesn't have anything to do with this. I'm not dumping you for someone else.”


He was back to misery again. “But you are dumping me, aren't you?”


I'm sorry Ezra. I'm sorry you weren't able to change. I'm sorry your temper is so bad you can't control it. I'm sorry to do this. But yes, I can't go on with you. You are who you are, and I can't take this treatment any more.”


After all I have done for you, you're just leaving me?”


Yes.” I wouldn't quibble with him about what he felt he had done for me that would leave me indebted to him. I owed him nothing. “I'm leaving.” I started for the bedroom, to pack a bag to tide me over until I could get settled somewhere else. He grabbed my arm and pulled me around to face him.


You can't. You can't do this, Cassie.”


Ezra, if you don't let go of me, I will call the police.” He yanked his hands away as if he were burned.


I won't-- I didn't mean to-- I'm sorry. Please Cassie, please don't go.”


I didn't say anything more as I packed my bag. He followed me around, pleading in a most pathetic way, but I was resolved. When I had everything I needed from my closet and the bathroom, I slung my bag over my shoulder and looked at him.


I really am sorry, Ezra. But I just can't put up with you any more.” And I walked out of the apartment and down to my car. I didn't look back.




© 2017 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you for reading. Any comments or thoughts are always welcome, large or small, good or bad.

Please note, I changed the name of the spa from Hot Springs to Clear Water, so as not to involve the real Hot Springs in any of my fictions. Clear Water is entirely drawn form my own imagination and is no reflection on the real Hot Springs.

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AUU
1. "Check in and soak for a while..." Ezra is such a chick.

2. "...at a local restaurant." Not sure you need this if you're looking to do some cutting.

3. "This was beyond tacky." This sounds weird. Is it in present tense? Anyway the room sounds like something I may have built in the Sims when I was 12 lol

4. There was a single chair, a recliner. A La-Z-Boy." HA!

5. "They call this a spa?" You're really good at the snobbery-voice.

6. "The receptionist...of the bell." I like this line. Good reaction.

7. "Hosted by gauche cretins." This guy's only redeeming factor is that he is sort of nice to Cassie when the situation suits it.

8. "I will..." Good work. Demanding.

9. "I really can't do anything for you[,] sir."

10. The BBB, credit card company, and social media? He's really upset.

11. "Why had Nadine said that?" Because she knew Ezra would flip his s**t resulting in a break up? Pretty sneaky if true.

12. The way Ezra is blaming Cassie is very selfish. I'm kind of surprised Cassie isn't speaking up for herself and is keeping quiet about his erratic driving. I do understand she's afraid he might doing something regrettable.

13. At first I thought the continued apologies from Cassie sounded more like a plea to calm him down, but it kind of annoys me that she's apologizing to him, if in fact, she really is sorry.

I think you're trying to paint Cassie is in the right for breaking up with him (I read through once before reacting), to make her seem like she tried her best to work it out with him. When you do that, it puts all the conflict in Ezra's dugout, makes Cassie's decision all too easy. That might be realistic, but it doesn't always make for the most interesting read.

14. "Ezra's reaction was completely out of proportion with the situation!" Exactly! I'm left wondering why he's acting like this! Sure he's a bit of a snob, but his behavior seemed that of a lunatic. What's the reasoning? What's his thinking? Any sensible couple would have made a change of plans if they love each other.

I wonder if he really does love Cassie, or that he's having some internal conflict where he despises her.

15. He locked her out? I couldn't imagine being locked out of my apartment by my girlfriend, so a guy doing it? Crazy.

16. Cassie soul searching at a Waffle House was amusing. I thought how you handled it was fine, but I wonder if there was a more impactful way you could do it? Like a scene at the Waffle House where she sees another couple, with a kid, arguing. It might be a bit tropey, but we often look at other peoples' relationships for insight on our own. Just something to think about.

17. "Deadbolt unlocked," I don't think you need this. It's redundant when the action is she pushed the door open.

18. "But you're dumping me." Just a nitpick. "Dumping" sounds kind of childish, and not something Ezra would say. Maybe "Leaving?" I know you use it later.

19. "I will call the police." How will she call the police when he's holding her? Just a joke. Anyway, this isn't the first time Cassie has thought or threatened to call the police. It's become kind of a hollow reaction to me--no weight--because she falls to it so often.

20. "In the most pathetic way?" Like what? A dog, a child. Maybe more description here.

21. "I really am sorry, Ezra." Still a lot of apologies. Again. Sure. Realistic, but not really good conflict.

You have some solid writing here. Even though I think Ezra was being erratic, it sounds that's what you were aiming for. He's just an erratic, snobby, insecure guy. I wish we could get in his head more. If this really is the end of Ezra, I don't feel like I know him that well. The snobby, passionate stuff seem like a wall to me.

All in all, I thought this chapter was a bit predictable. I do agree, it's good that we can finally move on from Ezra, but I don't know if that's a good thing. Since his existence Ezra has more or less felt like an obstacle instead of a character. A bad boyfriend that Cassie needs to overcome to find a good boyfriend. I do think he's a lot more rounded than that the Ken-doll in your other story (sorry, it's been a while and I forgot his name), and he isn't a straight up villain, he could be very sweet at times.

Also. Again. Just my reaction. The constant apologizing from Cassie was weak. She made it sound like she had no other choice, like he was a black hole infected with aids or something. IDK.

Anyway, looking forward to what Cassie does with her freedom. lol


Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

3 Years Ago

Hahahhaha, Ken doll. That really made me laugh.

She is apologizing a lot more than I.. read more



Reviews

I am bouncing in my chair right now because she is doing the right thing but the question is will she follow through or will he let her go with his wild temper? awesome writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

I love it when my reviewers are left with questions at the end of a chapter. It means I'm doing my j.. read more
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AUU
1. "Check in and soak for a while..." Ezra is such a chick.

2. "...at a local restaurant." Not sure you need this if you're looking to do some cutting.

3. "This was beyond tacky." This sounds weird. Is it in present tense? Anyway the room sounds like something I may have built in the Sims when I was 12 lol

4. There was a single chair, a recliner. A La-Z-Boy." HA!

5. "They call this a spa?" You're really good at the snobbery-voice.

6. "The receptionist...of the bell." I like this line. Good reaction.

7. "Hosted by gauche cretins." This guy's only redeeming factor is that he is sort of nice to Cassie when the situation suits it.

8. "I will..." Good work. Demanding.

9. "I really can't do anything for you[,] sir."

10. The BBB, credit card company, and social media? He's really upset.

11. "Why had Nadine said that?" Because she knew Ezra would flip his s**t resulting in a break up? Pretty sneaky if true.

12. The way Ezra is blaming Cassie is very selfish. I'm kind of surprised Cassie isn't speaking up for herself and is keeping quiet about his erratic driving. I do understand she's afraid he might doing something regrettable.

13. At first I thought the continued apologies from Cassie sounded more like a plea to calm him down, but it kind of annoys me that she's apologizing to him, if in fact, she really is sorry.

I think you're trying to paint Cassie is in the right for breaking up with him (I read through once before reacting), to make her seem like she tried her best to work it out with him. When you do that, it puts all the conflict in Ezra's dugout, makes Cassie's decision all too easy. That might be realistic, but it doesn't always make for the most interesting read.

14. "Ezra's reaction was completely out of proportion with the situation!" Exactly! I'm left wondering why he's acting like this! Sure he's a bit of a snob, but his behavior seemed that of a lunatic. What's the reasoning? What's his thinking? Any sensible couple would have made a change of plans if they love each other.

I wonder if he really does love Cassie, or that he's having some internal conflict where he despises her.

15. He locked her out? I couldn't imagine being locked out of my apartment by my girlfriend, so a guy doing it? Crazy.

16. Cassie soul searching at a Waffle House was amusing. I thought how you handled it was fine, but I wonder if there was a more impactful way you could do it? Like a scene at the Waffle House where she sees another couple, with a kid, arguing. It might be a bit tropey, but we often look at other peoples' relationships for insight on our own. Just something to think about.

17. "Deadbolt unlocked," I don't think you need this. It's redundant when the action is she pushed the door open.

18. "But you're dumping me." Just a nitpick. "Dumping" sounds kind of childish, and not something Ezra would say. Maybe "Leaving?" I know you use it later.

19. "I will call the police." How will she call the police when he's holding her? Just a joke. Anyway, this isn't the first time Cassie has thought or threatened to call the police. It's become kind of a hollow reaction to me--no weight--because she falls to it so often.

20. "In the most pathetic way?" Like what? A dog, a child. Maybe more description here.

21. "I really am sorry, Ezra." Still a lot of apologies. Again. Sure. Realistic, but not really good conflict.

You have some solid writing here. Even though I think Ezra was being erratic, it sounds that's what you were aiming for. He's just an erratic, snobby, insecure guy. I wish we could get in his head more. If this really is the end of Ezra, I don't feel like I know him that well. The snobby, passionate stuff seem like a wall to me.

All in all, I thought this chapter was a bit predictable. I do agree, it's good that we can finally move on from Ezra, but I don't know if that's a good thing. Since his existence Ezra has more or less felt like an obstacle instead of a character. A bad boyfriend that Cassie needs to overcome to find a good boyfriend. I do think he's a lot more rounded than that the Ken-doll in your other story (sorry, it's been a while and I forgot his name), and he isn't a straight up villain, he could be very sweet at times.

Also. Again. Just my reaction. The constant apologizing from Cassie was weak. She made it sound like she had no other choice, like he was a black hole infected with aids or something. IDK.

Anyway, looking forward to what Cassie does with her freedom. lol


Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

3 Years Ago

Hahahhaha, Ken doll. That really made me laugh.

She is apologizing a lot more than I.. read more
Nice.

"I was afraid to ask him to carry his own bag. I shouldered both." It gives me a little bit of glee when the physical actions in the story are echoing the emotional undertones. She carries the weight and he enjoys the freedom of his anger.

I knew the moment she left his bag in the trunk that was it. They were done.

I really like that she took the time to think and to process before she went back and told him she was leaving. It fits her character, she's not particularly impulsive, and she needs to be certain before she makes such an enormously life-impacting decision.

And while I love that it ended on such a final note, "I didn't look back." Disentangling your life from someone else isn't that simple. Ezra is going to be turning up like a bad penny.

My questions are: 1) Did she really manage to fit all of her stuff in one bag? 2) They've been living together, does she not have furniture or dishes or at least towels and candle holders? Because Ezra is the kind of a*****e who would change the locks about 20 minutes after she left with her bag, whether her name is on the lease or not. 3) Is she going back to the hotel? I don't recall if she and Ezra have completely separate finances or not (need to re-read), but again he seems the kind of a*****e who would go empty the account and/or close it because he feels he's owed and that she shouldn't get to benefit from having been with him.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

3 Years Ago

Those are a bunch of good questions. I answer most of them in the next chapter, so you will have to .. read more
Isemay

3 Years Ago

Aha! Ok! I'll be looking forward to it!
As I began reading I was like 'here we go again!' and read on disinterestedly as Ezra emotionally abused Cassie yet again. It was a pleasant surprise to see her finally wake up and smell the coffee. Ezra is a real piece of work and probably expected her to stay outside the door groveling until he decided to unchain the door. I'm so proud of Cassie for walking away. I just hope she starts running and doesn't ever look back. Can't wait for the next chapter.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

3 Years Ago

Thank you for your review. I'm glad I pleasantly surprised you, but your initial disinterestedness m.. read more
MeratheRestless

3 Years Ago

No, no, you did not beat the dead horse with the bad relationship theme. In fact, you put an interes.. read more

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Added on July 6, 2017
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SweetNutmeg
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