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The rain lashed at the windows, the fire crackled happily, Jake held the neatly rolled joint and put a flame to it. It glowed on the tip and he handed it to Vivian.

“No,” she said.  “Show me first.”  Jake put the joint to his lips, drew in a deep breath and held it for several seconds before exhaling a cloud of fragrant smoke. He handed the joint to Sylvia.  She put the joint to her lips and sucked in too hard and exploded in a fit of coughing.  She sipped at her coffee to control the cough while Jake took another full toke and put the joint out.

“That’s enough for now,” he said. “You should enjoy the fruit of your labours in the forest, not choke on it.”

“You know, Jake,” Viv said thoughtfully, “it’s an unusual thing to find a sort of gentleman living alone in a remote cabin.”

“You’re a sort of lady living alone in a remote cabin,” he said. “You should understand.”

“I’m fifty.  What are you?  About twenty-five,” she said.

“Twenty eight,” he said.

“Do you think we’re friends now?”

“In a way, I guess we are,” Jake said. “I was in a tight spot and reached out for help. Now I’m sitting here, warm, dry, comfortable, talking with a neighbour. It seems friendly, doesn’t it?”

“I could use a snack, couldn’t you?” Vivian said.

“I could eat,” Jake said, “but I don’t want you to go to any trouble.”

“No trouble. Get comfortable by the fire and I’ll see what we have here,” she said.  Jake moved to an easy chair in front of the fire and stretched out his long legs. Vivian came out of the kitchen.

“Everything okay here?” she said.

“Just fine, thanks,” Jake said.  He took out the joint and re-lit it. He took a toke and handed it to Vivian.  She drew the smoke in carefully, gulped air and held it in.

“Well done,” Jake said.

Jake happily watched the dancing flames while Viv was busy in the kitchen.  She was feeling very peculiar, and was getting unusual impulses when selecting things to prepare as a snack.  In the end she found her box of Ritz crackers and a tin of smoked oysters.

“I think I’m stoned,” Viv said.

“I think you’re stoned, too,” Jake laughed.

After they had emptied the plate of smoked oysters on crackers they began to share stories. Vivian about her education and career and financial efforts. Jake spoke about his absentee father, wealthy and powerful in Brazil, and with virtually no contact with Jake or Jake’s mother. He had chosen to stay with his mother and care for her.  When she passed, Jake felt he owed it to himself to do what he most wanted to do – so he moved to avoid people and enjoy serenity.

“I guess we sort of have this in common, this desire to be apart from people,” Vivian said.

“And now I have a desire for you, Vivian,” Jake said. Vivian stood looking out into the dark, rain swept valley.  She saw her reflection in the window, and the reflection of Jake, coming up behind her. He pressed his body to her back and enveloped her with his arms.  His hands cupped her breasts.

Vivian swivelled around in Jake’s arms, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him hard. He held her close, and Vivian felt like melting.

“What about Black?” Vivian said.

“Fuck ‘im,” Jake murmured.

“Fuck me, please,” Vivian whispered, cuddled in Jake’s arms.