He entered the room like a wild cat stalking his prey. She was instantly on alert, the hairs on the nape of her neck standing up. He scanned the tables, seeking her out. She slid down a little farther in her chair, hoping to delay the inevitable. His eyes locked on her, and his powerful stride brought him to the table. She sat up straighter, cleared her throat, and huskily said, “Hi Jon, how are you?”

He pulled out a chair and sat opposite her, picked up a menu, and signaled the waiter. He ordered a drink, and sent the waiter away, not bothering to ask Mel if she wanted anything. He scanned the menu, and sipped the drink after it was delivered, all before even acknowledging she was there. When it seemed as though he finally noticed she was there, he replied simply, “I’m fine.”

Mel picked up her own menu, hiding behind it. She didn’t want him to see the tears shimmering in her eyes. The bastard broke her heart, and had the nerve to treat her like this? She felt the slow burn of hate bubble up in her chest, not for the first time since their divorce. He’d asked for this meeting, yet was acting like he was doing her some big favor.

The waiter came, they ordered, and a long uncomfortable silence ensued. He watched the room, always on the lookout for something or someone that would interest him. And she stared down at her hands, folded tightly in her lap. She took a long, shaky breath, and took a sip of her ice water. She waited for him to get on with this, she needed to get back to her office.

“So, how do you like the office I paid for?” he finally broke his silence.

He paid for? What the hell? She wrote the checks for her office remodel out of her personal account. The gall of this man!

“I like the office I paid for just fine,” came her clipped retort.

He looked at her over his whiskey, raised his eyebrows a fraction, and shook his head. He put his glass down, and said, “You paid for? That was my money, doll. You may have signed the checks, but it was MY money in that account.”

“Whatever you say, Jon. I’m not going to argue dollars and cents with you. What do you want?” Mel asked, exasperation clearly evident in her voice.

He looked at her. She was tall, nearly 5’10”, and had a voluptuous body. Curves in all the places women should have them, and high, perky breasts. Long black hair, and silver eyes made her a woman any man would lust after. And he was one of those men. He’d wanted her the first moment he’d laid eyes on her.

She watched him cautiously, peeking at him from under her long lashes. He was the most physically attractive man she’d ever met. Much taller than she at 6’5″, and athletically built, she had been unable to resist him. His big brown eyes and dimples had charmed her into bed faster than she cared to remember.

They had made quite the couple, striking in looks and successful in their respective careers. He was a powerful attorney, and she an advertising executive. Their divorce had been civil, if not amicable, and each had left with what they came in with. Or so she’d thought until he made that obscure remark about her office renovations.

He leaned back in his chair, looked at her with his brooding eyes and said, “We missed something in the divorce, a piece of property. We need to decide what to do with it so I can clear my books before year end. I don’t want to pay taxes on it if you want to keep it.”

She tried to think of anything they may have forgotten about, but her mind was drawing a blank. “What property? I honestly can’t think of anything.”

“The cabin at the lake. We were only there once, when we first started dating. I’m not surprised we didn’t think of it. It’s been years.” Jon took a healthy sip of his whiskey, the ice tinkling in his glass.

The waiter brought their food, and talking ceased while they ate. Mel remembered the cabin. It was small, but homey. She thought back to their time there, and had a brief flash of naked lust and total bliss. They’d been so happy and in love then. No wonder they’d forgotten about it, they hadn’t been happy together for a long time.

It was no one’s fault, really. They’d just gotten so busy with their careers, they lost touch with each other. And when she’d found out about his lover, she hadn’t been all that surprised. It had broken her heart, but it hadn’t come as a complete shock. He’d never believed that she hadn’t taken a lover. In fact, she hadn’t been with a man since Jon.

The deep timbre of his voice brought her back from her wool gathering. “So, I was thinking that after lunch, we could run up there. Take a look around. See if either of us wants the place or if we should sell it. What do you think?”

“You mean now?” she asked, looking up at him quizzically.

“Yes now. I told you, I want to get this cleared up as soon as possible. Today,” he acidly replied.

“I’ll have to call the office, I may have some appointments lined up for this afternoon,” she tossed back at him, ice in her voice.

“Fine, call. Let’s get this over with,” he shot back at her venomously.

She dug in her purse, pulled out her cell, and called her secretary. Kris explained that she only had one appointment for that afternoon, and she could easily call and reschedule that. Mel thanked her, hung up her phone, and tossed it back in her bag.

“Are you happy now?” she bitterly asked her ex, shooting daggers at him with her icy eyes.

“Babe, I haven’t been happy since we met,” his voice low with repressed anger.

They finished eating in silence. He went to pay the check, and she went to the restroom before their long drive. She looked at herself as she washed her hands. She looked good, if a little tired. She’d thought 30 would make her look older, more mature. It hadn’t. She still looked like a college freshman. She touched up her eye make up, brushed her hair, and went out to face her nemesis.

He was already outside waiting in his car when she emerged from the restaurant. He looked even more dangerous wrapped in his low slung sports car. He revved the engine in impatience, urging her to hurry up.

She opened the door and dropped into the passenger seat. He didn’t even wait for her door to close before hitting the accelerator and peeling away from the curb. She looked over at him in annoyance while she buckled her seat belt. He seemed impervious to her ire, all his attention on the road.

They drove along in tense silence, neither wanting to say anything that might cause another spat. The drive was about 3 hours long, and after about the first 30 minutes, Mel was starting to get sleepy. She hadn’t slept well the night before, nervous about her intended meeting today. Her head lolling onto her shoulder, her eyes slowly closing, Mel fell asleep.

He looked over at her, heard her light breathing, and knew she’d drifted to sleep. She’d looked tired, and he’d wondered if things had been rough at work. He knew how hard it had been for him to open his own practice, and thought maybe she was having a tough go of it on her own. She’d always been so damned independent, but as the saying goes, the harder they fall.

The drive to the lake was uneventful. He was just pulling up to the cabin when he reached over and shook Mel’s shoulder. “Hey, Sleeping Beauty, rise and shine.”

Her eyes blinked open to see a forest of trees out her window. She sat up straighter, and winced. Her neck was out of whack from being craned to one side for so long. She brought her hand up to rub the kink out. Jon was already half out of the car, breathing in deeply and stretching his arms above his head.

She watched the play of muscles under his shirt, remembering the way they’d flexed under her hands. He really did have an amazing body, she had to grudgingly admit to herself. No amount of animosity would make her lie to herself about that.

She opened her door, repeated his stretch, and looked around. It truly was a beautiful place, and she couldn’t believe they’d both forgotten about it. Dense trees lined one side of the gravel drive. And the view to the lake on the other side was magnificent. A looping, lazy, path flowed down to the waters edge. The water reflecting the clear sky, making it a deep azure blue.

Jon turned to her, holding the keys up, and gestured toward the cabin, “Shall we?”

She nodded her assent, and followed him up to the cabin. He unlocked the door and stepped inside. She walked in after him and was assailed with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Dark green walls, hardwood floors, and the huge fireplace along the far wall greeted her. She thought back to the one time they’d been here, the hours they’d spent making love in front of the fireplace. She remembered they’d tried to make popcorn over the fire, and smoke had filled the room along with their laughter. They’d had more success toasting marshmallows. She smiled at the flashback.

He watched her, saw every emotion that crossed her face. Pain, sorrow, laughter. He was curious to know what she was thinking, his own thoughts a jumbled mass of random memories. They’d gone skinny dipping in the cool water, drying each other with their tongues. He’d shown off for her, climbing one of the trees out by the driveway. She’d laughed up at him, the sun shining in her eyes.

They each walked around the front room, running their hands over walls, furniture. They met in front of the door leading to the bedroom, neither of them looking at the other. Jon reached out and turned the knob, pushing the door open.

The room was tiny, the only piece of furniture occupying the room being a massive four post bed. Two small rugs on either side of the floor, and a large picture on the wall opposite the bed the only other adornments.

Her breath hitched in her chest at the sight of that bed. She remembered the long nights, and days, they’d spent loving each other in it. So much love and laughter had existed between them then.

She was busy looking at the room, Jon was busy looking at her. Again, the play of emotions on her face drew all his interest. She truly was an open book. Every thought, every emotion showed on her face, nothing was sacred. It was one of the things that had made him fall in love with her in the first place.

She felt him watching her, and turned to look at him. His face betrayed none of his feelings, something she had had to get used to. His emotions always hidden beneath his cool veneer. He was always in control, never let himself truly go. It was one of the things that had pulled them apart.

“Seen enough?” he asked her, cocking one eyebrow.

“Yes. I think you should keep this place. It was yours before we…married…and it should stay yours now,” her reply made in a quiet voice.

“Well, I don’t want it. I’ll never come up here. I guess we’ll call a realtor and get the place listed,” Jon’s words clipped.

“If you want to sell it, that’s fine, but I want no part of it. As I said, it was yours, and I really have no claim on it,” Mel told him as she turned to walk out of the bedroom.

“Fine. That’s settled. Let’s get out of here,” Tim’s tone angry as he pulled the bedroom door shut firmly behind him.

They walked to the door, Mel giving the fireplace one last look, then headed outside. Making their way to the car, neither of them said anything. Mel opened her door, sat down hard, and buckled her seat belt. It seemed like such a long way to come for nothing.

Jon got into his seat behind the wheel. His jaw set in anger, he jammed the key in the ignition, turned it, and nothing happened. He tried again and still nothing happened. He checked that the car was in gear, pumped the clutch a few times, turned the key, and again got no response from the car. Slamming his hand against the steering wheel, he yanked up the handle on the door. He reached down to pull the hood latch and got out.

Mel watched him stalk to the front of the car and bend to open the hood. It blocked most of her view. All she was able to see were his forearms moving around, pulling this, pushing that.

“Get behind the wheel and try it,” he commanded from under the hood. Mel undid her belt and crawled over the gearshift. She pushed down the clutch and turned the key. Yet again, nothing happened.

“Are you going to try it or what?” his voice dripping with disdain.

“I did, damn it,” she shouted back.

She heard his angry grunt as he tried to figure out what was wrong with his car.

“Again,” he yelled at her. She turned it, and got a big, fat nothing.

“Nope, nothing,” she yelled back at him. She was beginning to enjoy this. She knew how demeaning this would be to his manhood.

He came back around the car, flung open his door and grabbed his jacket off the back of his seat. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his cell. She watched as he flipped it open and began walking around in circles.

“What the hell are you doing?” she asked him.

“Trying to get a fucking signal, what’s it look like?” he gave her a blistering stare.

She reached over and grabbed her purse. Pulling out her cell, she too got out of the car. She flipped her phone open, only to see that she had no signal either.

“You got anything?” Jon asked her.

Mel shook her head in frustration. Jon stalked back over to his car, and again attacked the engine, desperate to find the problem. After a half dozen or so tweaks, he got back in and tried the key again. Still nothing.

It was starting to get dark now. He was debating whether or not he’d have enough time to jog somewhere to get some help before full darkness was upon them. He didn’t think so.

“I guess we’re stuck here for the night,” he looked over at Mel.

She looked back at him, “Are you serious? Can’t we just walk somewhere and get someone to come help us?”

“It’s going to be dark in less than an hour. Any place we could walk to is going to take a lot longer than that. And by the time we got there, they’d probably be closed anyway.”

Jon grabbed the keys and got out, slamming his car door behind him. He walked around to the front of the car and shut the hood. Turning towards the cabin he looked back at Mel, “You coming or what?”

Letting out an exasperated sigh, Mel followed him. Back in the cabin, Mel sank down onto the couch while Jon went into the kitchen. She heard the sound of doors opening and closing and looked over heard shoulder, curious.

“What are you doing?” she shouted out.

“Looking to see if there’s anything to eat in here. Could be a long night with no food,” his voice sounding like it was coming from a cave.

She walked out to the kitchen to see what he was up to. She found him on his hands and knees, reaching back into a cupboard by the floor. She got an eyeful of his rounded butt poking up in the air. He had a nice ass, toned and muscular. Her hands itched to grab it, and she was stunned at the thought.

He sat up on his haunches, and was surprised to see her standing there. He held up his hands for her perusal. One can of peaches, and a box of crackers that apparently even the mice hadn’t wanted. “And I found a bottle of wine way back in the pantry,” he said, pointing the can towards the counter.

“Hmmm, a real feast. Peaches, crackers, and wine. You sure know how to treat a gal,” sarcasm oozing with every word Mel said, a smile on her lips.

“Hey, I’m a classy guy, what can I say,” Jon smiled back as he stood with his prizes.

She opened some drawers, looking for a can opener. “Voila!” she exclaimed, holding it up for him to see. “And it has a corkscrew.”

He chuckled despite himself, seeing a twinkle in her eyes. He handed her the box of crackers, and went about opening the peaches. A few more drawer explorations, and Mel was able to find a fork. However, a quick perusal of the remaining cupboards failed to turn up any dishes. She did find another can of food, this one a dusty, dented can of peas. One look at each other, and she put them back, as they both despised peas.

Grabbing their food, and the wine, they walked back into the sitting room. Each taking a spot on opposite ends of the couch, they sat, and laid their repast on the small coffee table.

“It’s getting a little chilly in here, I wonder if there’s still any wood out back,” Jon mused aloud as he went over towards the door that led out to the back of the cabin. Opening the door and peering around the corner, Mel heard him utter, “Well whatta ya know.”

He disappeared out the door, returning a few seconds later, his arms laden with wood. He crossed to the fireplace and dropped his cargo on the floor. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his gold lighter. She didn’t know why he carried it anymore, he’d quit smoking 4 years ago. But seeing it now, she was grateful he did, as a chill started to creep into her bones.

He got up and came back to the table, reaching down, he grabbed the box of crackers. He ripped the box open and set the inner packages back down. Tossing a few logs into the fireplace, he grabbed his lighter and lit the box. He pushed the flaming cardboard under the logs. Within a few minutes, he had a respectable fire going.

“You know, it’s going to be a whole lot warmer over here,” he said, looking back at Mel. “Grab the food and get over here.” Jon got up and walked across the room, going into the bedroom. He emerged as Mel was sitting down in front of the fire. In his hands was the comforter from the bed.

Sitting down cross legged next to Mel, he wrapped the blanket around his shoulders. He held one edge open to her, his arm stretched out, “Misery loves company.”

She thought for about a half a second, then scooted in close to him, feeling him drape the blanket around her. They sat in comfortable silence for a while. The only sounds the crackle of the fire and their cracker crunches.

“What the hell happened to us, Mel? Where did the people that sat here all those years ago go?” she heard Jon ask quietly from beside her.

“I don’t know. Too much work, not enough us time. And then there was Jacy. She didn’t help,” she knew bringing his lover up would probably start a fight, but he’d asked.

“Yeah, she was a huge mistake. She was what tipped the scales for you, huh?” he looked over at her, the firelight dancing in his liquid brown eyes.

“It’s water under the bridge now. We’ve moved on. Let’s just get through tonight as peacefully as we can, ok?”

She reached for the can of peaches, brushing her hand over his leg to get them. The fork was out of her reach. “Hand me that fork, would you?” she asked him.

“This fork here?” he teased, holding it up over his head.

“Yes, that fork. Hand it over,” she tried to grab it, but it was up too high for her.

He switched hands, holding it out away from her even farther, laughing as she lunged for it. “Knock it off. Give me the damn fork, you ass,” Mel laughed. She was starting to stand, trying to grab the fork from him, when her leg caught on the edge of the blanket, tumbling her across his lap.

He laughed even harder, enjoying the sight of her upturned bottom laying over his legs. He took the fork and playfully poked her in the ass with it.

“Hey!” Mel yelped. She gained her balance, and pushed up off his lap. She again made a grab for the fork, and he easily dodged her. She looked down into his face, laughter crinkling the corners of his eyes.

“You’re letting all the cold air in. Sit down and I’ll let you have it,” Jon offered. Mel gave him one long look, then sat back down, fixing the blanket back around them. She held her hand out to him, waiting for him to hand her the fork. He reached for the peaches instead.

“Hey!” she yelled at him again, watching as he dipped the fork into the can.

Jon poked a peach with the fork, and yanked it out of the tin. He let the juice drip off, then offered the peach to Mel.

She watched him warily, waiting for the tease, knowing he was going to pull the fork back the second she leaned for it. But he just sat there, waiting for her. She leaned over, her mouth opening, craning her neck. She felt him slide the peach into her waiting mouth. The flavor of the fruit burst in her mouth. She closed her eyes, savoring the flavor.