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Jake was nowhere in sight when Vivian Montgomery rumbled down the rough road with a heavy load of building materials on her truck  The gleaming green truck now bore a fine coat of road dust as Vivian carefully managed the brakes as she eased the heavy truck down the steep, rocky hill and past Jake’s cabin.

The day had grown cool, and rain was threatening.  The rumble of thunder in the distance promised a downpour, so Viv dragged a large tarpaulin from a storage space at the back of the house and set about covering the load of lumber and tools on the truck. It was a bit frustrating to get the large cover over the whole load, and Viv was at the job for almost half an hour.  At last she tied down the final corner as the wind rose and large drops began to splash all around her.

Inside her home, Viv made fresh coffee and sat sipping it and looking down from her private escarpment at the dancing splashes from the large raindrops.  She noticed that Jake’s chimney across the valley began to release a thin column of smoke into the chilly, wet air.  Good idea, she thought, and put on a yellow poncho before she hurried over to the wood shed for an arm full of kindling and split hardwood logs.

The fire was not eager to get started, as cold, unused fire places tend to resist a first fire. Within five minutes, however, flames were dancing on crackling wood, and Viv relaxed in her easy chair and watched the warm dance while she sipped a refilled cup of black coffee. The wind and rain lashed at the windows, and Viv reluctantly left the fire to go upstairs and make sure all the windows were secured.

The bathroom window had been open a bit, and there was water on the sill and the hardwood floor.  She mopped it up with a face towel and tossed the dripping towel into the washing machine. She looked at the large, inviting Jacuzzi tub and decided that this stormy day was a good time to soak and relax before setting out to unload the truck and begin the building of shelves. Impulsively, she had also decided to build a large shed behind the house where she could store equipment, including the ATV, snow blower and tools.  She resisted buying a lawn tractor, because her twenty-five acres were covered with forest and underbrush, and it would be next year before she could begin clearing a bit of it to create a garden.

Vivian filled the tub with warm water and added her favourite foaming fragrance, Algemarin.  The transparent blue water disappeared under the deep froth of foam when she turned on the massaging jets.  She stepped down into the sunken tub and immersed herself in the soothing warmth and stimulating massage.  She shut the Jacuzzi jets off and just soaked.  Unexpectedly, her mind drifted to the only human within reach was Jake, across the valley.  Was she safe, she wondered, with a lone mountain man in this solitary place?

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