The Rosewood Inn - The Newlyweds

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
A mysterious force/entity resides at the Rosewood Inn. It seems to know the deep dark secrets of whoever stays in its rooms. Suddenly either an object will appear in the room, or an odd event might occur, that unmistakably convinces the visitor that someone nearby knows what he or she did. Guilty, panicking, fearful, the visitor tries to figure out who might know his (or her) dreaded secret. They toss or destroy the object, but it keeps reappearing. Finally the visitor realizes that they cannot get away, that this is a spirit of judgment, and they succumb to the truth of their sin....

Submitted: June 24, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 24, 2017



“I love you!” Carrie leaned across the gray padded CD consul of the rented car and gave her husband of two days and three hours an affectionate peck on the cheek. It had been a long drive from Schenectady, NY, but the newlyweds were far too excited to care. Besides, the rolling scenery of upper New England had been so gorgeous that they felt refreshed and relaxed.

Mike responded to the peck by turning and planting a kiss solidly on her lips, keeping one eye on the winding country road. “Don’t distract me too much. We don’t want to get into an accident before we can officially start enjoying our honeymoon. The Rosewood Inn can’t be too much farther.”

“Oh, let me get out the brochure.”

Mike chuckled. “How many times have you read through that flyer since we got it—ten, twelve?”

“Thirteen, but who’s counting?” Carrie giggled. “Besides, I was always just checking out the amenities. This time I promise I’ll read the whole thing. Hmmm…it says here that the Rosewood Inn was built in 1936. It’s actually an old Colonial-styled mansion with 15 bedrooms. Each bedroom is a complete suite, with its own bath and extra sitting area. The original owners entertained lavishly and wanted luxurious rooms for their out-of-town guests. It also has three dining rooms, a ballroom, two swimming pools—one is indoors—stables, and, well you remember the rest.” She paused and perused the brochure some more. “Hey, listen to this. The owners, Martha and Gradin Rosewood, had a son who was in the US Infantry, stationed in Europe during World War II. He was killed in action. Shortly after the Rosewoods received word of his death, they both died suddenly right there in the house. They were found the next day to have died of natural causes.”

“That’s a little creepy,” Mike commented. “Both of them dying at the same time?”

“I’ll say,” Carrie answered. “For thirty years the house stayed abandoned. The locals thought that the ghosts of Martha and Gradin were still there and wouldn’t go near it.”

“Was there any other family?”

“It says that their daughter couldn’t bear to live in the house, but she eventually had to do something with it, so she turned it into Rosewood Inn.”

“She doesn’t live there?” Mike asked.

“Apparently not. According to this, she hired the staff and resides out of state,” Carrie answered. “Well, this place certainly has a colorful history.”

“It doesn’t bother you that Mr. and Mrs. Rosewood died there?” Mike teased.

Carrie shrugged. “Well, it wasn’t a murder or anything. Maybe they just died of a broken heart. That’s kind of touching.” She settled back down in her seat and gazed out of the window, lost in her thoughts. Mike also became absorbed in the scenery and they drove on in silence for a while.

It was mid-June, and the newlyweds had been driving through the lush green countryside of Maine. They had gotten married that past Saturday in twenty-one year old Carrie’s home church. Mike, a year older, had proposed to her four months earlier on Valentine’s Day. They both attended Schenectady County Community College and had been close friends in high school.

They had opted to spend their first night as newlyweds in their home town in Mike’s apartment before starting on their honeymoon trip. They drove through New Hampshire and stopped their second night in Hanover, Vermont, after taking the scenic route through Green Mountain National Forest, where they excitedly captured breathtaking pictures.

“According to the map, we should be coming into Rumford, Maine, any minute,” Carrie’s voice was tinged with anticipation. “The directions say the Inn is on Roxbury Road on our right up a big hill….” They passed a sign saying, ‘Welcome to Rumford,’ and grinned at each other.

“Is that it?” asked Mike, slowing the car and tipping his head, straining to see.

“It is!” called out Carrie, pointing. “See the sign?” Mike eased the red Chrysler coupe onto the asphalt driveway and followed the curved lane up the hill to the massive white-columned Rosewood Inn.

They pulled up to the entrance and were greeted by an elderly doorman, dressed in a deep green velvet and gold-trimmed uniform. He smiled amicably at them, saying, “Hello, my name is Lawrence. Welcome to the Rosewood Inn. Let me help you with your bags.” A bellboy, also in green, came out, pulling a luggage cart, and he and the doorman loaded the suitcases from the trunk onto the cart.

A young man in a less impressive tan uniform trotted over to them. “I’ll park your car around back, sir. Your keys will be at the front desk.” Mike tipped all three men, and he and Carrie were ushered by the doorman into the extravagant foyer, followed by the bellboy with their luggage in tow.

The Rosewood Inn foyer was dramatically draped in red velvet, from heavy curtains pulled aside by golden tasseled ties to the designed weave of the carpet that spread over the entire first floor and up the wide curved staircase like a crimson waterfall flowing upwards. Elaborate antique-white woodwork trimmed every wall and doorway contrasting with gold embossed wallpaper. Four elegant teardrop crystal chandeliers lit the foyer with sparkles of rainbow color as the setting sun struck each prism.

To their left as they entered was a thick mahogany wood counter with polished carvings. The desk clerk, a slim woman in her 50’s, welcomed them and introduced herself as Ms. Peterson. Although she wore her graying hair pulled back severely into a bun, she chatted pleasantly while Mike and Carrie signed in as ‘Mr. and Mrs. Michael Thomas.’ Ms. Peterson smiled as she handed them their key and directed them to an antique elevator across the lobby. The newlyweds were quiet as they rode up accompanied by the bellboy and the teeming luggage rack. The sheer opulence of Rosewood Inn had overwhelmed their earlier excitement. The elevator opened onto the second floor, which continued the rich red and gold décor. The young man led them a short distance down the hushed hallway to Room #1. “This is the Honeymoon Suite,” announced the bellboy enthusiastically. “I hope you like it.” He unlocked the door and motioned grandly for them to enter. Rolling the luggage rack through the sitting room and on into the bedroom, he opened up two collapsible luggage stands and placed the two largest suitcases on them, lining up the rest of the bags on the floor. Carrie and Mike stood in awe at the expensive lamps and knickknacks artfully placed on every square inch of antique furniture. On the walls hung heavily framed land and seascapes. It felt as though they had suddenly stepped back in time. Carrie slipped her hand in Mike’s and whispered, “Are you sure this is our room? It’s so extravagant.”

The bellboy overheard and turned to them, chuckling. “A lot of our guests say that. No, this is definitely your room.” He switched over to his canned speech, “I trust that everything is to your liking. If you have any questions, just dial 0 on your phone and someone will help you. Dinner will be served in the Green Dining Room until 7pm. You may join us if you’d like.”

As soon as the bellboy left, Mike shut the door with a deep sigh. “I thought he’d never leave.”

Carrie flung herself into his arms and joyously exclaimed, “I can’t believe we are really here!”

Hugging her, he added, “And we have a whole week to ourselves.” Making a big deal about glancing at his watch, Mike hinted in a conspiratorial voice, “We have time before dinner to really check out the bedroom…” Carrie nodded vigorously. Mike swept her up in his arms, walked into the bedroom and they both fell laughing onto the soft down comforter of the antique sleigh-styled bed.

Starting to kiss in earnest, they quickly shed their clothing, tossing them on the floor, as they shifted positions. Suddenly Carrie caught a strong whiff of perfume and with her hand on Mike’s bare chest, pushed herself back up into a sitting position. “What is that smell?” she asked, a perplexed look on her face.

Mike wasn’t slowing down and mumbled as he pulled her back down and nuzzled her neck. “What smell?”

“It’s perfume,” Carrie stated firmly. “Where is it coming from?” She sat back up again.

Now Mike could smell it, too. “Maybe from the room next door? Come on, Carrie, so the air smells nice. Maybe a maid sprayed air freshener.”

“No, it’s definitely not air freshener,” Carrie answered, shaking her head emphatically. “I know that perfume. My sister, Diane, always wears it. I can’t stand it, but that brand is all she ever wears. Maybe it got into my luggage somehow when I packed after the wedding. Diane used the room to change, too.” She jumped off the bed and unlocked both of her bags and her cosmetic case, sniffing at each one. Finally she stood up and shook her head slowly. “I’m being a little paranoid, aren’t I?” Mike gave her a lopsided grin and shrugged. She sighed, “I just want everything to be perfect. And I absolutely don’t want to be reminded of my sister on my honeymoon.”

Mike suddenly jumped up, grabbed Carrie around the waist, pulled her to him and said, “I know I said there was enough time, but if we want to change and get ready in time for dinner, we should probably get started. I’m kind of hungry.”

Carrie bit her lip, deciding. “Me, too.” She sighed dramatically. “I guess we can wait until after dinner.” She winked and added, “But count on a very busy night after that, Mister!”

Dinner in the green dining room was complete with tuxedoed waiters and sumptuous dishes. Stuffed to the gills, the newlyweds made their way back up the deep carpeted stairs to their suite. They kissed as they opened the door and stepped inside.

Again the clothes literally flew off their bodies and, walking as they kissed, they found their way to the bedroom. Just as they reached the bed, the air filled again with the scent of Carrie’s sister’s perfume. “That does it!” shouted Carrie. “I’m going to find out where that perfume is coming from. She eyed the luggage again and this time flung open Mike’s bags, but couldn’t tell if the scent was coming from the luggage or the air around them. She prowled around the suite sniffing corners, the windows, the bed, the couches and the bathroom. She grabbed a chair and headed for the air vent high up on the bedroom wall. She looked over at Mike who was eyeing her as if she had suddenly lost her mind. “Well, are you going to help me or what?” she demanded.

“I guess,” Mike answered, shrugging his shoulders. He got up and walked over to the chair. He steadied her as she climbed on it and stretched up to sniff the vent.

After checking every vent in the suite, she stepped back down off the chair for the last time and sighed deeply. “I don’t understand it. The perfume was so strong when we were standing by the bed, but it seems to have disappeared.”

Mike realized that he was observing a side of Carrie that he would have to live with. She could be like a pit bull when she got her mind fixated on something. Trying to diffuse her determination, he answered, “Maybe it was in the hallway and followed us in.”

“No, we would have smelled it when we unlocked the door. You did smell it, didn’t you?”

Mike had to admit to himself that he had smelled the perfume when Carrie did. “Yeah, I smelled it. I just don’t understand why it makes you so crazy.”

Carrie sighed again. “It goes back to high school,” she answered. “Diane had this way of stealing all my boyfriends. Smelling her perfume just reminds me of how heartbroken I was and how inconsiderate and cruel she was. I’m sorry. It’s not a big deal. I just hate being reminded of her on my honeymoon. At least I whisked you away before she could get her claws into you.” Carrie stretched up and kissed Mike. “Sorry I acted so crazy.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’ll love you no matter what you do. Listen, why don’t you relax and take a luxurious bubble bath in our luxurious Jacuzzi? That was one of the amenities you were looking forward to. You might as well enjoy it,” answered Mike confidently, kissing her, while secretly having pangs of guilt. He could picture a claw in his back and it would have been Diane’s. Diane was as seductive as Carrie was caring and giving. It blew his mind that they were sisters. Carrie would never dream of stealing another girl’s guy, but Diane considered every guy in a relationship to be a potential conquest.

Carrie brightened up. “You always know what I need. That’s why I love you,” she answered sweetly. “And maybe you can join me after a bit.”

“You don’t have to hint twice,” Mike smiled and gave her a quick kiss. She smiled over her shoulder as she headed to the bathroom.

As soon as the bathroom door closed and he heard the sound of running water, Mike groaned. He didn’t want to be reminded of Diane either or of his big mistake. It had started so innocently…. Somehow, that no matter where he went once Carrie and he were engaged, he kept running into Diane—at the local coffee shop, on the trek across campus to class. Diane was taking a couple of courses at the community college while he and Carrie were full time students. He had occasionally wondered how Diane always seemed to be going his way, but never really thought much about it. She was Carrie’s sister, so he figured it was just coincidence and enjoyed the chance to get to know her better—after all, he would be joining the family soon.

As the semester wore on, Mike found that he looked forward to bumping into Diane and walking with her to class or the library. She was very talkative and the discussions were lively. Late one afternoon, as he headed to his car in the campus parking lot, he noticed Diane standing by his car, looking distraught. He hailed her cheerily, but as he approached her, he saw that she was crying. “What in the world is wrong, Diane?” he asked, concerned.

Diane sniveled into a tissue before answering. “I just got back the results of my mid-term in economics and I failed it!” she blurted between sobs. “I don’t know what to do. I thought I was getting everything, but was I wrong! Mike, I have to pass this course. It’s a requirement.”

Mike gave her shoulder a quick squeeze. “It’ll be all right.” He comforted her. “Look, why don’t I stop by later and we can run over the test to see what you didn’t quite get. Hey, I can tutor you for a while so that you can do better on the final.”

“That would be fantastic!” Diane gushed. Secretly, she was congratulating herself that her ploy had worked. She put on a worried expression and responded, “I won’t be taking you away from your own studies too much, will I?”

“Naw,” Mike dismissed her concerns. “Economics is my major. It won’t take long to zero in on what you need to work on. Your professor probably rushed past a few critical concepts. I bet others in your class are struggling, too.”

“Thanks, Mike,” Diane smiled sweetly, gripping his arm just above the elbow as a gesture of gratitude. She held on a beat longer than necessary, hoping to let him know subconsciously exactly how grateful she was.

Mike, oblivious to the intent, just assumed that this was Diane’s way and took it as such. “Are you free after supper?” He asked her. “I could stop by your place. Carrie is working on a term paper that her ethics professor sprung on them and said she couldn’t be distracted tonight. I guess I do distract her sometimes,” Mike grinned and laughed at himself. “Anyway, we could at least go over the test tonight. That way we can figure out what you need to study more.”

“Perfect,” Diane responded enthusiastically, amazed how easy this was. “Is 6:30 too soon?”

“6:30 will work. I’ll see you then.” Mike got into his car. Diane waved as he pulled out of the parking space and left. She was happy.

At 6:25 pm, Mike turned his car into the driveway of Diane’s apartment on Lafayette Street. He rolled to a stop right behind Diane’s blue Mitsubishi Eclipse. He grabbed his Economics 101 text, which he had dug out of his closet. It had been a while since he had taken the beginner course and he didn’t want to confuse Diane with the complex concepts he was studying. Just keep it simple, he told himself. Diane is smart. It shouldn’t take her long to catch on.

He knew that Carrie and Diane were worlds apart in personality and values. They didn’t really even look like sisters except for the gorgeous dark eyes and certain expressions. Carrie was a natural light brunette with shoulder-length hair that beautifully framed her face. She had a cute figure and dressed modestly, which to him made her seem sexier than the girls who chose a more skanky look. Diane, on the other hand, dressed to catch the eye of most guys, using bright colors and high fashion to her advantage. With her stunning long red hair and boisterous personality, she always drew all the attention when she entered a room, and she loved it.

Something about Diane attracted Mike, but he wasn’t looking for that kind of girl. He wanted to settle down and get married. Carrie was perfect. Her personality fit his like a glove and he felt so lucky to know that she loved him. And he was head over heels in love with her.

So when Diane begged him for help with the economics class, he never dreamed that she would come on to him while he was tutoring her. It was so far from his mind, that when it happened, he didn’t recognize it for what it was. He had never considered himself dense when it came to social warning signs, but he missed this one altogether.

Suddenly he found himself being sucked into a vortex of emotion all the while wondering why he wasn’t stopping himself. In the back of his mind, he realized that Diane had set up the tutoring as a ruse to get him in bed with her, but he didn’t resist. He didn’t want to resist. He had been a one-girl guy since he started dating. He had fallen in love with Carrie in the tenth grade and from that point on, they both knew that they were meant for each other. Neither ever considered having a relationship with anyone else. But a part of him always wondered what it would be like to have a whirlwind night with a really sexy lady. That part of him took over now. His fantasy was right here in his arms so he shut off his mind and let his body take over.

When it was done, he felt a wash of satisfaction. Diane was coy and giggly next to him. Suddenly guilt hit him like a sledgehammer. He pushed her arms away and untangled his legs from hers and the sheet. Standing up and facing her, he said firmly, “This isn’t right, and we both know it.”

Wrapping the sheet around her somewhat modestly, Diane answered back, “What isn’t right? We meshed together perfectly. You were phenomenal.”

Mike grimaced. “Yeah, but I wasn’t being me. I was being selfish.”

Diane shook her head and smiled up at him. “It’s okay to be selfish sometimes. Any time you crave a little selfish satisfaction, I’m right here.” Her voice lingered on the “here” turning it into an invitation.

Mike grabbed his clothes and started dressing quickly. “I don’t think so. In fact I know that this will never happen again. I love Carrie. I am going to marry her. We satisfy each other in a way that this—” he gestured toward the bed and her, “—can never come close to. So I am sorry, but this was a mistake. A big mistake, and I’m leaving.”

Diane leaped off the bed, allowing the sheet to drop and tried to embrace Mike, “I don’t want a full time relationship—just whenever we feel like it.”

Mike disconnected her arms from his neck and moved them to her sides. “This was your idea—the tutoring, the sex. I was wrong for letting myself keep going after I realized what was happening. Forget the idea that we’ll ever have sex again or have any kind of relationship beyond you being my future sister-in-law.” He stepped back from her, grabbed the rest of his clothes and headed toward the bathroom. At the door, he turned back to Diane. “And don’t even dream of telling Carrie about tonight. I’ll deny it all up and down. With your reputation with the guys, she’ll never believe you.”

Diane slumped onto the edge of the bed, pouting. She was angry and defeated all at the same time and for once couldn’t think of a smart retort for Mike’s crushing words. Her plan had gone so well. She was sure that after their incredible encounter, Mike would be so dazzled by her that he would leave Carrie. Her ploy had always worked before. She couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. Oh, of course, she didn’t want to marry Mike. She just enjoyed tormenting her little sister by stealing away anything that made her happy. Carrie had the brains, was pretty in a wholesome way, and had a sweet and giving personality that people were naturally drawn to. Diane, on the other hand, had to “work it” to get attention, especially from the guys. She thought that she had her technique down to a fine art until tonight. Mike should have fallen for her like a felled tree. She couldn’t understand what kind of hold Carrie had on him. Well, Diane told herself, the war isn’t over yet. I’m not going to say a word to Carrie. That would be cheating. I’ll win Mike over fair and square by using every enticing weapon in my arsenal.

Back at home, Mike had flicked on the TV, hoping to distract himself from what had just happened. After blankly cycling through the stations two times, he realized that he had to decide what to do. Confessing to Carrie was out of the question. His guilt was pressing on him like a migraine headache. He made up his mind that he would be absolutely faithful to Carrie for the rest of his life. He would be the most dedicated fiancé and husband she could ever want. Maybe that would make up for tonight’s indiscretion. Only, the way he felt right now, the word “indiscretion” didn’t begin to cover what he had done. He was not particularly religious, but he was pretty sure that what he had done fell into the category of a “sin.”

So when Carrie kept smelling Diane’s perfume in the honeymoon suite at Rosewood Inn, all that guilt came crashing back on him. He had hoped that all the sweet and loving things he had done for Carrie after the affair had made up for his “sin.” Now he wasn’t so sure. The problem was that he was smelling Diane’s perfume, too. Where could it be coming from? It wasn’t always wafting through the room. It only happened once in a while.

If Carrie hadn’t smelled it, he would have chocked it up to his overactive imagination. He wondered if there was such a thing as mass hallucination. He shook his head and blew out a breath. Get a grip, he told himself. No one knows what happened except Diane and himself. For one second, he panicked, imagining that maybe Diane had followed them to the Rosewood Inn and was somehow trying to sabotage his honeymoon.

He called out toward the bathroom, “Carrie, I’m going to call Keith before I come in. I had promised I’d call to let them know we arrived safely.”

“Okay,” came her muffled reply from behind the door.

Mike speed dialed his brother, Keith’s, home number and was surprised to hear Diane’s voice answer. “Diane?” he responded, perplexed. “What are you doing at my brother’s house?”

“Oh, Keith invited a bunch of us over to watch the football game, the Patriots against the Dolphins. He’s got an Italian sub in one hand and a beer in the other. He asked me to pick up the call. Everything okay with you two love birds?”

“Uh, yeah,” Mike recovered from his surprise, clearing his throat. “We’re doing great. This place is incredibly lavish. I just called to let everyone know that we arrived safely. Can you let Keith know?”

“Sure thing. Hey, Keith,” she yelled, half covering the receiver. “Mike and Carrie made it to Maine.”

Mike could hear Keith mumbling a response with a mouthful. Diane came back on again. “Not sure if you could hear that. He said, ‘Have a great honeymoon,’ I think. He’s in the middle of wolfing down that sub.” A cheer went up on the other end of the line. “Gotta get back to the game. See you when you get back.” Diane hung up the phone.

Mike stood for a moment with the phone suspended an inch from his ear as he processed what he had just heard. Diane was definitely back in New York. He sighed in relief. There was no way that she could be here in Maine. That left one mysterious nagging thought: where did the perfume come from?

If Carrie had been obsessed by finding the source of the perfume, that was nothing compared to Mike’s frantic search. He raced through the suite, searching for the source of the scent. He sniffed under the bed, in the drawers, and wardrobe, the closets, rechecked the luggage, and even climbed up to breathe the air coming in the vents again. Still nothing. Mike accidentally knocked over a tall floor vase with dried flowers in it. It bumped against the wall. Carried heard the knock and called out, “Hey, sweetie, if you wait any longer, the water will be cold.”

“Coming in a second,” Mike yelled back, resituating the vase, grateful that it hadn’t broken. He gave the dried flowers one last sniff just to be sure. No perfume. Thoroughly puzzled, he stripped off his shorts and joined Carrie in the tub.

Mike and Carrie tried out all the scented soaps and shampoos in the well-stocked bathroom. They played with the jets on the Jacuzzi and laughed because it tickled. Finally helping each other out of the tub and drying off, they resumed their amorous advances towards each other and landed once again in the bed. Relaxed and comfortable, Carrie and Mike snuggled under the comforter. “A perfect ending to a perfect day,” mused Carrie dreamily.

“It’s not over yet,” teased Mike definitely making his move by rolling on top of her. Eagerly getting into the spirit of the moment, Carrie responded, matching her motion to his. Suddenly, as if someone had spritzed a bottle of perfume at their faces, that overpowering scent jarred both Carrie and Mike out of their trance.

“No!” shouted Carrie, shoving Mike back, “Not again! Why won’t it leave us alone?”

This time Mike went on the prowl. Naked, he tried to follow the trail of the perfume around the room, losing it, then finding it again. Carrie joined him. “It’s faded again,” she exclaimed, exasperated. “How is it getting in here?”

“I don’t know,” Mike said. “It’s so erratic. Come on, Carrie. Let’s just forget about it and try to get some sleep. We can’t let this make us miserable all night. It’s our honeymoon.”

“You’re right. We’re both tired. Maybe we are just imagining it all.”

“We could both be having a bad dream,” suggested Mike.

“A shared nightmare?” Carrie countered. “You really are tired to dream up that one.” They both laughed at the pun and climbed back into bed. They snuggled and tried to sleep but their hormones had already been kicked into high gear, so they happily resumed cuddling where they had left off.

Once their moves became intense, the scent of the perfume returned—this time stronger than before. “What?” Carrie gasped, “Again? You’ve got to be kidding me!”

“Don’t blame me,” Mike answered, but the magic moment had burst and both newlyweds darted their eyes back and forth across the room hoping to spot the source of the scent. Carrie, still underneath Mike, caught another strong whiff. She leaned closer to Mike’s chest. Horrified, she gasped, “It’s you! The perfume is coming from you!”

Mike leaped off Carrie as if she were burning hot. “What? How can you say that? That’s crazy!” He stared at her.

Shaking with emotion, Carrie stood up by the edge of the bed. “I don’t know how, but that smell is strongest on your skin. I smelled it when you were on top of me. What is my sister’s perfume doing on your chest?”

Mike wanted to deny it, but he could smell the perfume on himself! How it could be there, he had no idea. He had just bathed with Carrie in the Jacuzzi. They had tested out all kinds of soaps and shampoos, but none of them, not even in combination came close to the distinctive scent of Diane’s perfume. “Carrie, we were just in the bath together. How could her perfume get on me?”

Carrie shook her head. “I can’t do this. Every time we start to get close, Diane’s perfume shows up again. Why? I know I am not imagining this.”

Mike couldn’t say a word. All he could think about was that one awful night with Diane, and how he had brushed it aside, telling himself that what Carrie didn’t know couldn’t hurt her or their relationship. After all, he had more than made up for his one transgression by being exactly the guy Carrie wanted and needed. Sometimes they were so in sync that they even finished each other’s sentences. Diane should be a distant memory—would be, if it weren’t for that stupid perfume.

“Mike,” Carrie’s voice interrupted his churning thoughts, “I know that look. There’s something you’re not telling me, isn’t there?”

“What?’ No, well, I was trying to figure all this out,” Mike answered haltingly.

Carrie sighed. “We’ve known each other way too long for me not to know when you are hiding something. Forget the crazy perfume! I don’t care about that.” More softly she pleaded, “Just tell me.”

Mike winced. He took two deep breaths and said, “You’re going to want to sit down for this, Carrie.” Hesitantly, she sat back down on the edge of the bed. “I want you to know that I love you more than anyone in the world. I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you—ever.” He realized that his lips were very dry. Quickly licking them, he plowed on, “I don’t understand why Diane’s perfume keeps coming into this room. I really don’t know why you thought the scent was coming from me. It wasn’t. That’s impossible. Look, something happened about a month after we got engaged. Something I’m not proud of. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to mess up the best thing that ever happened to me—us, our love, our engagement, our future together.” He blew out another breath and braced himself to go on. He glanced around the floor for his shorts and slipped them on.

“I guess the best way is to tell you how it happened. You know that one of Diane’s classes was in the same building as mine. Economics. So we sometimes walked across campus together. We just talked. Well, one afternoon, when I was about to leave after class, I saw Diane standing by my car, crying. She had failed her economics mid-term and was afraid of failing the course, so I offered to tutor her for a while, till she got the basics right. I went to her apartment to tutor her that evening. That was the night you were stuck doing that surprise term paper from Dr. Schaeffer.” Carrie nodded. Mike shut his eyes for a moment, fearing the worst. If he told Carrie the whole story, she might hate him and never speak to him again. He could only hope that their love and their marriage were strong enough to survive this. The perfume started wafting through the room again, first as a faint, unidentifiable scent that tickled his nose, then strong enough to be recognizable. Mike’s eyes jarred open. Guilt flooded over him. He felt so weak that he had to lean against high back of the maroon overstuffed chair next to him.

“Carrie, Diane came on to me while I was tutoring her. I was in my study mode and didn’t realize until she was touching me what she was up to.”

“You did try to stop her, didn’t you?” Carrie found her camisole and slid it on. She was afraid of what Mike might say next, but she had to know.

Mike found the seat of the overstuffed chair and fell into it. “ Not exactly….” He winced again.

Suddenly Carrie’s face was a turmoil of emotions. She started to speak several times but couldn’t get any words out. For a few seconds, Carrie and Mike stared at each other, neither able to speak. Finally Carrie found her voice, rough with emotion, “So you slept with her? My sister? While we were engaged?”

Mike barely nodded. He glanced at her, then looked away, embarrassed.

“You jerk!” Carrie retorted. She looked as though she was going to cry. “You know what she is like. How could you betray me like that?”

Mike couldn’t find the words to defend himself. Carrie finally knew his deepest secret. He wasn’t sure how he had expected her to react, but this was torture. That crushing sensation of guilt had shifted from his head to his chest. He was sure his heart was breaking. He hated that he had hurt Carrie beyond belief. He was angry with himself for giving in to his own selfish impulses. He just didn’t know how to make it up to her—or if he ever could make it up to her. For a several seconds he couldn’t answer her. Carrie started stalking around the room grabbing her clothes and getting dressed.

Mike finally managed to speak, “I didn’t do it to hurt you. I just gave in.” Lamely he added, “Everyone has a moment of weakness sometime.”

Carrie turned to him. “If it had been anyone but my sister…But it was my sister. Tell me, how am I going to live with that? She’s family. We can’t get away from her. Every time my family gets together for holidays, I’ll wonder if there wasn’t more going on between the two of you.”

“No!” Mike stood up abruptly and tried to reach for Carrie’s arm. “There’s nothing between Diane and me. There never was, never will be. It was just that one time—”

“--With a lifetime of consequences,” Carrie pulled her arm back, finishing the thought from her own perspective. Setting her jaw, she shook her head again. “No, I can’t do this. Our marriage vow has been broken.”

“No,” Mike pleaded desperately. “Carrie, I love you.” Grabbing at straws, he added, “Come on, we weren’t even married yet when that happened.”

“We were engaged. By getting engaged, we promised that there would be no one else for either of us.” Her voice caught. “And now it’s over.” Wiping tears angrily from her eyes, she collected the rest of her clothes and toiletries and shoved them into her suitcases.

“Wait, Carrie, stop. It’s not over. We can fix this. I promise I will never do this again. I won’t even allow myself to be put in a compromising position.”

“What are you not understanding, Mike? You compromised our relationship, my trust in you. You slept with my sister. There is no fixing this. Diane got what she wanted. I hope you’ll both be happy together—until she finds some other sucker to seduce.”

Closing up her luggage, she dragged the two suitcases and her cosmetic case to the door. Scooping the car keys and her purse off the table by the door, she added, “Oh, I’m taking the car. You’ll have to find your own way home.”

Mike involuntarily flinched when she slammed the door. He felt paralyzed by what felt like a two-ton weight on his chest. The guilt was overwhelming. Suddenly he bolted for the door, yanked it open and yelled down the hall, “Carrie, please wait!”

But the elevator doors were already closing. He saw Carrie crying through the shrinking slit between the gold-embossed doors. For a second he debated running down the stairs and stopping her in the lobby, but he felt so ashamed. He didn’t know what else he could say to her. Besides, he was still only wearing shorts. Mike ducked back into the honeymoon suite. He was shaking with unshed tears, anger at himself, frustration, and remorse. How could he have messed up their lives so badly? How could he have let Diane seduce him? He could have stopped it at any point, but he chose not to, and now he had to live with that decision. He had convinced himself that since it was just one night, it wouldn’t matter in the greater scheme of things. If Carrie had never found out, they would have had a wonderful marriage and life together. Even if Diane had tried to bring it up, Carrie would never have believed her because she trusted Mike to be faithful to her. Yeah, I was faithful all right. About as faithful as a stray cat. Suddenly Diane’s perfume filled the air as if it were being pumped in. Mike sprinted to the window on the other side of the room and tried to get it open to let in some fresh air, but the window was stuck. The air became thicker with the heavy perfume until it was choking him. He ran back towards the hall door, but before he could reach it, the heavy pressure that was on his chest spread to his left arm. He was sweating and gagging from the perfume. The pressure on his shoulder and arm became an agonizing pain. He sunk to the floor as everything went dark.


“I don’t know what happened, Ms. Peterson,” said the doorman as he and Ms. Peterson headed out of the elevator and along the second floor hallway. “All I know is that young lady, Mrs. Thomas, asked me to call for her car about 10 pm last night and to help her with the luggage. She got in the car and drove away without Mr. Thomas.”

“I didn’t see her husband down here for breakfast this morning, Lawrence, and he didn’t check out,” Ms. Peterson commented. “Maybe he had to leave earlier for an emergency. But one or the other should have left the key. We’d better check and see if he is still in the room.”

The desk clerk knocked on the door and called out, “Mr. Thomas, this is Ms. Peterson from the front desk. Is everything all right? “ There was no answer, so she knocked harder and called his name again.

Miss Peterson glanced at the doorman, who shrugged and remarked, “Maybe he’s still asleep. I’m pretty sure they had some kind of argument, or she wouldn’t have left alone. We’d better go in and make sure he’s okay.”

Nodding in agreement, Miss Peterson inserted the key and turned it. “Mr. Thomas, we’re just coming in to make sure you are all right.” She turned the door knob and started to enter the suite, but the door stopped abruptly against a soft heavy weight.

Lawrence suddenly grabbed the door handle out of Ms. Peterson’s hand and gently pushed her aside. “Let me go in first. Stay out here. Something’s not right.” He pushed harder on the door and it slowly gave way a few more inches. Peeking in, he saw Mike’s partially dressed body leaning against the door. Lawrence, quickly bent down to check Mike’s pulse. Not only was there no pulse, the body was cool.

Lawrence stood back up and turned to Ms. Peterson. “Call 911. Mr. Thomas is dead. Body’s not warm. He probably died during the night.

Ms. Peterson gasped. “You don’t think that lovely young lady killed him, do you?

“Ehh, I doubt it. It looks more like a heart attack. He is still gripping his arm.” Shaking, Ms. Peterson retrieved her cell phone from her pocket and managed to dial 911.

The emergency dispatcher responded, “Hello, what is your emergency?”

“Uh, hello, um, this is Ms. Peterson. I’m the desk clerk at the Rosewood Inn in Rumford. I am afraid we have had a death. A young man, one of our guests, seems to have had a heart attack in his room during the night. We just found him.”

“Don’t try to move him, ma’am. I’ll send the coroner right away. Have someone wait out front to direct us to the room.”

“Okay,” she swallowed hard, closing the cell phone. She turned to Lawrence. “This is terrible. He was so young. It’s a shame he had to die on his honeymoon.”

Lawrence commented, more to himself than to Ms. Peterson, “I wonder if Mrs. Thomas left before he died or if she was there when it happened and got so scared she had to get away.” He paused, then corrected himself. “No, when she spoke to me, she was furious. They must have argued, she left, then….” Lawrence shook his head empathetically.

While they were busy talking, a sweet scent wafted through the partially opened room door and out into the hallway. Lawrence sniffed and cocked his head, puzzled. “Do you smell that?” he asked Ms. Peterson.

“What are you talking about? Smell what?” Ms. Peterson asked distractedly.

“Some kind of perfume. Seems to be coming from this room. Maybe it was the wife’s favorite perfume. Poor guy. Dead on his honeymoon.”









© Copyright 2020 Christopher C. Williamson. All rights reserved.

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