Susan X Meagher
Tracy reached across the narrow passenger compartment of their rental car and placed a noisy kiss on Kristin’s cheek.
Shifting her attention away from the road for just a moment Kristin sought out Tracy’s eyes. “What was that for?”
“For being such an awesome girlfriend.”
Kristin paused for just a second then directed her eyes back to the road. They were both quiet for a few beats, then Kristin softly asked, “Are we girlfriends?”
“Did I jump the gun?” Tracy nervously bit her lip. “I don’t mean to push you. It’s just that I’m—”
Blindly, Kristin reached across the car and placed her fingers gently upon Tracy’s lips. “You’re not rushing me. I think we’re girlfriends now too.” She turned her head quickly to show Tracy her smile. “I’m really happy.”
Tracy grasped her hand and gave it a quick squeeze. “I can’t believe we’ve only known each other two months. It seems so much longer.”
“There’s two ways I could take that.” Kristin chuckled, showing that she took it as the compliment Tracy intended.
“You know what I mean. You always know what I mean. That’s the best part about being with you. I’ve never known anyone who gets me as much as you do.”
“People have always told me that opposites attract, but I think similarities attract too.”
“And in the one area we don’t both agree on you were nice enough to spend some of your vacation time giving into my creepy obsession.”
Laughing, Kristin said, “Just because you like creepy things doesn’t mean you have a creepy obsession. A creepy obsession would be if you were obsessed with something weird or gross. Liking Halloween and haunted houses is really common. I think I’m in the minority on this one.”
“Yeah, but most people wouldn’t agree to stay in a hotel where people have seen ghosts.”
In a thin, almost shaking voice Kristin said, “Especially when spooky things scare them to death.”
Tracy ran her hand down Kristin’s wool-clad arm. “I meant what I said. The inn has a long waiting list and there’s no penalty if we cancel.”
“I’ve got a couple of days to get my courage up. Being in Provincetown will let me relax. I’m sure I’ll be ready.”
“There’s not a thing to worry about. We’ll hang out with the gays for a couple of days then head to Fall River. And if you want to skip seeing where Lizzie Borden took an ax…” She trailed off when she could see Kristin grip the steering wheel. Making her voice sound happy and carefree Tracy started again. “Then it’s off to Vermont to see the fall colors.”
“And the birds,” Kristin added, shooting her new girlfriend a quick smile. “I’m game to stay in a haunted house if you’re game to spend some time traipsing through the woods looking for birds.”
“Ooo, ‘The Birds.’ One of Hitchcock’s best. Maybe we could find a place that rents DVDs.”
“Sure. That’d be great. I have my noise canceling headphones and a good book.” Kristin looked a little embarrassed when she continued, “I’ve never seen a Hitchcock movie.”
Trying to hide her shock, Tracy said, “We can start with ‘North by Northwest.’ It’s a thriller. Not creepy at all.”
Kristin put her hand on Tracy’s thigh. “For you, I’ll give it a try.”
It was 8 PM by the time they reached Provincetown. Neither woman had been there before, and both were impressed by the seaside charm. “Are you sure it was a good idea to come here without reservations?” Kristin asked.
“Yeah, I think so. I checked the Provincetown calendar pretty carefully. Women’s week is over and the big sobriety weekend starts Friday. Coming in the middle of the week was a good idea. The transgendered and transvestites are in town all week, but there were a lot of places still available when I checked the innkeepers site a few days ago.”
Kristin drove slowly along the old narrow street that seemed to house most of the restaurants and shops. There were hundreds of people walking along the sidewalks and many of them idly wandered into the street, oblivious to the traffic. “Everybody’s so dressed up.”
“Do you notice anything about these ladies?” Tracy’s voice was just playful enough to make Kristin take a second look.
“Wow! The transvestites are in town!”
“I’d say so. I didn’t know they had this kind of thing until I looked on the calendar. I like that Provincetown is so accepting. I bet most of these guys never get to dress up in women’s clothes in public.”
They were driving very slowly to allow for the people walking in the street. Kristin took the opportunity to look at some of the people more carefully. “That guy with the full beard sure isn’t trying to fool anyone.”
“It’s all over my head, but it’s really nice to be in a place where you can be how you really feel and not get harassed.”
“Yeah. I feel the same way. It’s going to be nice to be able to walk around town holding your hand. We really won’t stand out here.”
Tracy gave her a sweet look. “You stand out everywhere. You’re the best looking girl in St. Louis, and you’re gonna be the best looking girl in Provincetown.”
Giggling, Kristin said, “I haven’t seen a girl yet! The competition doesn’t look like it’s too tough.”
“Why don’t you pull over onto one of these little side streets. Everybody looks like they’re having fun and I hate to miss out on anything.”
“Maybe we should find a place to stay first.”
“That big chain place we passed had vacancies. I’d rather stay someplace cute, but that can be our ace in the hole.”
Kristen worked her lower lip over her teeth for a moment. “You’re right. I need to let go and be more carefree.” They drove around and around going up and down the short streets that flowed onto Commercial Street. They finally gave up and headed for one of the big public parking lots. Once they secured their car they started to walk, holding hands and taking in the crisp autumn breeze.
“That’s a very cute house,” Tracy said as they passed by a white Victorian that had been heavily decorated for Halloween. As she spoke a man came out and placed a small blank block of wood on his sign, making it now say “no vacancy.” “I wish we’d been a few minutes earlier,” Tracy called out. “Your place looks fantastic.”
The man turned and gave her a warm smile. “If you’re serious you can have our last room. I was just changing the sign because my boyfriend and I are going home for the night. We don’t like people coming up to the door looking for a room when we’re not here.”
Tracy shot Kristin a quick glance. “I think we’re serious. I guess it all depends on how much your rooms are.”
“I can give you a good price. I hate to have a room empty. The couple who reserved it came down with the flu, and I don’t like to charge people for not using a room; especially when they’re sick.”
“Sounds good to me.” Tracy kept looking between the man and Kristin.
“We wanted to stay for two or three nights,” Kristin said.
“I don’t mean to brag, but it’s so rare that we have an opening that I had to search all over the house to find this little block.” He held the piece of wood up in his hand and shook it. “I’ve just got the one room for one night. But I can get on the phone tomorrow and find you another nice place.”
“Sounds great to me,” Tracy said.
“I’m in,” Kristin agreed.
“Go get your car and park it right alongside the house here. You can take our space. I’m Jake, by the way.”
“Great.” Tracy shook his hand. “This is gonna be so much better than staying at some big cookie-cutter place.”
“You’ll love it here. And you’ll really love the breakfast my boyfriend makes.”
“Do you serve till 11?” Tracy asked, winking at Kristin. “Somebody likes to sleep in.”
“We only have a hot breakfast until 10 but we have muffins, scones, juice and coffee until noon.”
Kristin grinned. “Absolutely perfect. My ideal breakfast at my ideal time.”
By the time they got checked in both women were famished, so they went to a nearby place that Jake recommended. They had to wait a while for a table and by the time dessert came the time they’d spent in the bar was starting to show.
Kristin had been teasing Tracy for most of the meal, and when their server dropped off the dessert menu she whispered, “The more you have to drink, the more you flirt.”
“I don’t flirt! I’m just friendly. I tell you, there’s a big difference.”
“I think you could take our waitress home with no trouble at all.”
Tracy laughed and leaned back in her chair. Her normally erect posture had deserted her, and now she was slightly slumped. “I have nothing against older women, and Hazel is pretty cute, but she’s straight. Besides, she’s told me three times I remind her of her youngest granddaughter. I don’t think she’d be into it.” She covered her mouth with her hand and giggled. “But if you’re into three ways…” She winked so hard half of her face moved with the effort. “I’ll make the proposal.”
“I can’t keep up with you! I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to do with Hazel.”
“Good. I wouldn’t want to share you.” Tracy winked again, using the other eye. “It took me eight dates to convince you to sleep with me. I’m certainly not gonna give away something that took me so much work to get.”
“You make me sound like something you buy at the store!”
“No way. Besides, they could never keep something like you in stock. They’d be giving out so many rain checks they’d run out of paper.”
“I told you when we met that I was cautious. That pertains to every part of my life. I had to make sure you were really serious about me.”
Tracy leaned forward and slid her arms across the table capturing Kristin’s hand in both of her own. “I’m glad I convinced you. Very, very glad.” Her dark eyes glittered in the candlelight, showing flashes of amber and topaz.
With a sly grin, Kristin said, “You look like you want to skip dessert.”
“Nope. I’m paying for the Massachusetts portion of our vacation and I will happily buy you any dessert you like.”
“Let’s go to that handmade chocolate place we passed and get something to take home. A few bites of chocolate and a few bites of you sound absolutely perfect.”
By the time her sentence was finished Tracy was waving at Hazel, trying to get the check.
They walked down Commercial, passing every sort of person. There were a good number of transvestites and transgendered people, but they also ran into garden-variety gay men and lesbians and quite a few straight-looking tourists. But the variety was making both of them a little leery of categorizing people based just on their outward appearance.
It was so nice to walk down the street holding hands, feeling perfectly safe, that when an androgynous young woman approached them with a flyer they spent only a moment consulting before they decided to head into the lounge she was promoting for the show. A lesbian comic they had both heard of was performing, and after the performance there was going to be a dance. They both lived fairly far out in the county and didn’t get into St. Louis very often, so they had never danced with one another. This seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up.
An hour later they had both sobered up and laughed until their sides ached. Now it was time to dance. The music started and even though the lounge was crowded with men and women and people of indeterminate sex, neither of them paid attention to anyone but the other. It was as though they were the only two people there. They danced to every kind of song; ones they knew well and ones they’d never heard before. As the evening wore on they felt more of their inhibitions flee. By the time the bartender yelled “last call” they were both amazed so much time had passed. They made their way out into the moist, chilly air – both glad it was a cool night. They walked the few short blocks arm and arm, letting the breeze lower their temperatures.
The lights were on in the cheery little inn, and Tracy took out her old-fashioned key and tried to get it to slide into the lock. After a few moments the door opened and both women looked up in surprise. “Hello, darlings.” Before them stood a woman who was either dressed up a few days early for Halloween or just another of the unique characters that Provincetown seemed to draw. She was young, probably in her mid-20s, very blonde, very buxom, and wearing more makeup and perfume than Tracy and Kristin had ever worn-combined. Neither woman was quite sure if she should comment on the “Roaring 20s” style spangled green dress or the vintage clunky high heels their host wore.
Tracy, befitting her outgoing personality, went first. “Hi, there. Thanks for opening the door. I couldn’t get this key to work.”
The woman smiled and made a very theatrical gesture, urging them in. “Come in, come in, you chilled little lambs. Let me get you a nightcap.”
She headed for the breakfront across the room, leaving Tracy to shrug her shoulders helplessly. Kristin shrugged hers as well and they both followed the woman into the living room.
“Here you go, you adorable creatures.” She handed each of them a few ounces of amber colored liquor, then went back to the bar and poured herself a couple of fingers of scotch, neat. Sitting down across from them very gracefully, she held her glass up and said, “Cheers.”
They all took a sip, then Tracy said, “I’m Tracy and this is Kristin. We just got into town today. From St. Louis,” she added.
“Ahh, St. Louis. I’ve performed there more times than I can count. Maybe you’ve seen me around town?” When neither woman replied quickly enough, she said, “Roxie Rose? Surely you’ve heard me.”
“We don’t really live in St. Louis,” Kristin said. “We live way out in the county and don’t get into town much.”
“I left the day after the big tornado. I’d rather be caught in a hurricane out here than have my house picked up and thrown across town.”
“Tornado?” Kristin and Tracy exchanged befuddled looks.
“It was horrible!” Roxie nearly shouted. “It knocked down the crippled children’s hospital!” She took a breath when neither woman replied. “How far out do you two live?”
“Pretty far,” Tracy said, wondering how she’d missed a tornado that had knocked down a hospital. “I’m in Chesterfield and Kristin’s in Ballwin.”
Gathering herself, Roxie took a performer’s centering breath and said, “Then you’ll just have to come see me tomorrow night. I’m playing at the Crow’s Nest for the foreseeable future. We’ve had such big crowds that I’ve canceled everything else. I’m going to ride this horse until it dies of exhaustion.” She let out a laugh that was loud and almost coarse. It was the kind of laugh your mother would have told you was unladylike.
“Yeah,” Tracy said, sharing a quick look with Kristin. “We’ll definitely—” She felt a less than subtle elbow to the ribs. “Try to come by. Maybe. If we can.” She looked at Kristin for another second, seeing a decided chill. “If not this time, then definitely next time we come to town.”
Now focusing all of her attention upon Tracy, Roxie said, “You look like you could be a ton of fun.”
The comment, and the way she delivered it, was so frankly sexual that both women were stunned into silence. As the moments ticked away Tracy’s cheeks gained color.
“Aww, she’s blushing. You girls really are from out in the country. How did you wind up way out here? This is out past where God lost his shoes.”
Finding her voice, Kristin asked, “God lost his shoes? What does that mean?”
Roxie reached up under her tight skirt and pulled a cigarette and a box of matches from her garter. She tapped the unfiltered cigarette against the box a couple of times and then put it in her mouth while holding the box of matches out toward Tracy.
She was flummoxed, but her good manners propelled her to her feet and she took the box and lit one of the matches, letting Roxie’s hand steady hers. “Thank you, lamb.” Roxy patted the settee. “Sit down here by Mama and tell me your troubles.”
Tracy almost ran back to sit beside Kristin, not even acknowledging the invitation. “I don’t have any troubles. Everything’s just great.” She put her arm around Kristin’s shoulders, and grinned like a mad woman. “Just great.”
“Isn’t that swell,” Roxie said drolly. “Did you two sweethearts meet at a factory or somethin’?” Both of them noticed that her diction was deteriorating as her flirting went unanswered.
Puzzled, Tracy said, “No. Kristin teaches school and I’m a librarian. We met at a text book trade show.”
“Oh, a pair of geniuses.” Roxie breathed in deeply, then let out a practiced series of smoke rings. “I bet I make more than both of ya’, and I barely finished eighth grade.”
“Eighth grade!” Now Kristin’s mouth hung open.
Sneering, Roxie snapped, “I learned everything I needed to know, honey. I got A pluses in the school of hard knocks.”
“I didn’t mean to imply…” Kristin trailed off, having no idea how to apologize.
“Yeah, sure. I’m used to weisenheimers like you trying to knock me down a peg. But I don’t pay you no mind. Ol’ Roxie might not have a lotta schoolin’ but she’s doin’ just swell. You don’t need to play no violins for me.”
“I honestly didn’t mean anything by what I said,” Kristin said, earnestly. “I’ve just never met anyone as young as you are who didn’t go to high school.”
“High school? Don’t make me laugh.” Shaking her head, she got up and poured another drink for herself. “Who’s got time for that?” She slapped herself on the ass. “By the time a girl’s thirty, her talent starts to droop. You’ve gotta make hay while the sun shines, Teach. I got eight years. Tops.”
“I suppose…” Kristin shot Tracy a wide eyed look while Roxie’s back was turned.
“Gosh, look at that time.” Tracy yawned exaggeratedly. “We’d better get to bed.”
“To bed? I know a little after-hours club we could head over to. What do you say?”
“That sounds like a lot of fun,” Tracy said. She stood and held a hand out to Kristin who took it and got to her feet. “But we had a long drive in from Boston and we’re both tired.”
Giving them an unconcerned shrug, Roxie said, “Suit yourselves, but you’re missin’ a great party.”
“Maybe tomorrow,” Tracy said, just before getting a look that could kill from her girlfriend.
“I was not encouraging her,” Tracy stated once again. “She scared me!” Kristin was lying on the bed, still fully clothed. Tracy was pacing around their small room, clearly agitated. “I’m just naturally friendly and I hate to be rude.”
Kristin finally smiled and patted the bed. “I’m mostly teasing, you know. As my grandmother would say, she was one tough cookie. But you do humor people a little longer than I do.”
Tracy sat on the edge of the bed, tapping her feet against the deep blue oriental rug. “I don’t think I can change, and I’m not sure I want to. I like talking to people and I like hearing their stories. I swear I’m not flirting, and I’m not trying to make you jealous. I’m just being myself.”
Kristin reached out and grasped Tracy’s collar and tugged her down onto the bed. “I don’t want to change you. You’re pretty darned perfect just like you are. I’ll admit to having a little jealous streak, and even though I’d like not to have it, I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it. Can you put up with that?”
Tracy swung her legs up onto the bed and scooted over until she was nestled up against Kristin’s side. They’d only been sleeping together for a month, and given that they only saw each other on the weekends, every time they touched felt like a brand-new experience. Just lying together on the bed made Tracy’s skin tingle. She placed her hand gently on Kristin’s belly, feeling the warmth through her slacks. “I don’t mind if you’re a little jealous, just as long as you trust me.”
Kristin turned her head and looked deeply into Tracy’s eyes. Their bedside lamp held a small bulb, hiding the highlights in those eyes. In the dim light they looked like fathomless pools of darkness. They called to her and Kristin felt herself move to reach Tracy’s warm lips. They kissed gently, letting the tenderness that was the bedrock of their lovemaking start to build. She cupped Tracy’s cheek with one hand while the other slipped up and down her body, sensitizing it. Tracy responded as she always did, molding her mouth against Kristin’s and kissing deeply to show everything she felt.
Kristin started to slowly pop the buttons on Tracy’s shirt open, kissing bare skin as it appeared. Tracy reached down and tried to pull her shirt from her slacks but Kristin’s hand stilled her. “Let me.” She continued to slowly build a fire that would soon rage forth, needing only to be stoked occasionally to keep it burning brightly. Kristin had both hands on the front clasp of Tracy’s bra, and she was just about to open it when there was a soft knock at the door.
Tracy called out “Who is it?” at the exact moment that Kristin fiercely put her index finger in front of her lips, urging her to be silent. Tracy looked like someone who’d just dropped something expensive onto the floor. It was too late to pull it back. She could only get the broom and try to sweep away the broken shards.
“It’s your neighbor,” Roxie’s rough voice called out. “My window’s stuck. Can you help me open it?”
Despite Kristin’s lethal glare, Tracy got up and went to the door. She opened it just an inch and said, “It’s pretty cold out. Why do you need the window open?”
“I want to have a smoke. I like to sit on the sill and not get my room all smoky.”
“Oh.” Tracy stood there for a moment, then cast a glance at Kristin, whose expression showed no sign of any emotion. “What should I do?” Tracy mouthed.
“Whatever you want,” was the silent reply.
Not moving for another few seconds, Tracy finally opened the door a little wider. Roxie was wearing a dark red silk robe with black cranes and other vaguely Asian symbols printed upon it. The robe was open at the chest, showing a red silk chemise trimmed with black lace. She looked like she wanted some help in her room, but Tracy was certain it had nothing to do with her window. “You know,” she said quietly, “I’d love to be able to help, but I’m really busy. Why don’t you have your cigarette on the front porch and then your room will be nice and fresh. ’Night now.” She closed the door, hearing an angry Roxie thump back down the hall. Turning, she saw Kristin smiling at her with such a welcoming look that she started to peel her clothing off, depriving her girlfriend of the pleasure, but hastening her own.
The next morning Tracy was up by nine, hungry and happy. She took her clothes and went into the bathroom, quietly freshening up. When she looked acceptable she gamboled down the stairs and into the kitchen, where she found Jake and his boyfriend. They were seated at a large table, drinking coffee and reading The Boston Globe. “Good morning,” Jake said. “Did you have a good night?”
Jake’s boyfriend stood and extended his hand. “I’m Alan, and I’m at your disposal. Everybody else in the house is gone, so I’ll make you anything you want for breakfast.”
“How about just a cup of coffee to start? And maybe a little of this bread.” She eyed a dark, nutty-looking loaf.
“That’s Alan’s famous pumpkin walnut bread,” Jake said. “One of my favorite things about fall.”
Tracy sat down and nodded her thanks when Alan placed a steaming cup of coffee in front of her. “I’m surprised everybody’s out. When I stay at a B&B I like to get full use out of the bed.”
“Everybody but you is here on a tour. They took off early this morning for Salem.”
“Oh, cool. Salem is definitely on my list of places to go but my girlfriend isn’t a fan of spooky things. She’s a trooper, though. We’re going to stay in Fall River one night for me, and then we’re going to go to Vermont to do some bird watching for her. Provincetown is for both of us,” she said, grinning. “We both like gay people.”
Alan sat down and cut a couple of pieces of bread and placed them on a plate for Tracy. “How did you wind up here?”
“No, here.” He pointed at the table. “How did you find us? We put ads in so many different places that I try to see which ones pay off.” He narrowed his eyes as if deep in thought. “The Lesbian Travel Guide?”
Jake had obviously not told his partner that their guests were walk-ins. Tracy smiled and shook her head, seeing that Alan enjoyed the game.
Again Tracy shook her head.
He looked stumped, but tried again. “Did you see the article in Travel and Leisure about the spookiest inns?”
Eyes wide, Tracy shook her head briskly.
Jake gave his boyfriend a chiding look. “You’re not supposed to bring that up if the guest doesn’t mention it first, remember honey?” He turned to Tracy and said, “We’ve only been doing this for one season. We’re trying to strike a balance between people who come for the creepy factor and those who come for Provincetown itself. I’d like to have more gay people, but advertising the other stuff keeps us busy in the fall.”
“What other stuff?”
Alan, who clearly liked this part of the business, started to tell the tale. “Well, Provincetown has appealed to the artistic type ever since the whaling industry collapsed. There’ve always been bohemians and gay people and painters and writers in town. This was a pretty good place to run a speakeasy in the twenties and thirties too.”
“A speakeasy?” Tracy asked.
“I think speakeasy’s were more prominent in big cities,” Jake said. “Here we had bootleggers. A lot of illegal liquor came in from Canada all along the Atlantic.”
Alan chimed in. “Whatever you want to call it we had a lot of free spirits in both senses of the term. There was a club not too far from here and they say the police were in there every other night arresting the usual suspects.”
“Gay people?” Tracy asked.
“Sure. It was illegal to have gay sex so that was always a good reason. But I think they got in trouble more for selling alcohol. Anyway, there was a woman there who had quite a reputation. Her boyfriend, who ran the place, definitely had underworld ties. He figured she was cheating on him, and she probably was, so he had one of his goons follow her.”
“Where did he find her?” Tracy asked, feeling the hairs on the back of her neck start to stand up.
“Right here,” Alan said dramatically. “The snitch ran right back and told the boss and a few minutes after midnight on November 9, 1929 Mack Blonski murdered his girlfriend right in this rooming house.”
“Stop it,” Jake said, playfully pushing Alan. “You’re scaring me and I don’t believe any of that stuff.”
“She loves the spooky stuff. She said so.” He turned to Tracy. “You want to hear the rest, don’t you?”
Her mouth was so dry she couldn’t utter a word, but her head nodded.
“As I said, this was a rooming house, probably not a very nice one. Most of these places were built in the 1880s so by the 1920s they were a little down at the heels. Some of the women who rented rooms here were a little less than reputable.”
“The woman who was killed lived here?” Tracy managed to get out.
“No, she was visiting. I’m not sure that she was a paying customer, but the things I’ve read implied she liked the ladies. And I think it’s pretty well established that some ladies for hire lived here.”
“So what’s the spooky part?” Tracy’s hands were shaking so hard she had to keep them under the table.
“There are conflicting reports, but it seems as though Blonski’s girlfriend met some unsuspecting woman and talked her into coming into the place for a drink. Blonski came barreling in, caught her trying to talk her new friend out of her undies and blew them both away.”
Tracy’s hand went to her throat and she gasped aloud. “He killed them both?”
“I don’t think this was a very good defense, but he said he was only trying to kill his girlfriend. But he used a shotgun and I suppose they’re hard to control.”
“And people have seen these women…since then?”
Jake got up and went to get another cup of coffee. “That was the story but no one has seen a thing since we’ve been here. People are always disappointed.”
Her heart started to slow down and she felt like she could take a deep breath again. “Really? No one has seen anything?”
“Not to my knowledge,” Alan said. “But it’s a good spooky story. Having it be pretty gruesome and have newspaper accounts helps bring in tourists who like that kind of thing.”
Tracy was now able to laugh. “I’m a fan and it scared the heck out of me.” She was finally able to take a bite of her bread. “You said everybody was gone already. What about the woman who says she sings at the Crow’s Nest?”
The men looked at each other for a moment. “The Crow’s Nest?” They looked at each other again and then started laughing. “You are such a tease!” Alan said. “Acting like you didn’t know a thing. I suppose Roxie Rose tried to talk you out of your undies too.”
Tracy did her very best to join in the laughter, but she was completely unable. “I’m gonna run upstairs.” She did just that, taking the stairs two at a time.
Jake went into the hall and called after her, “Don’t you want to take breakfast up to your girlfriend?” But the only response was the firm closure and quick locking of the bedroom door.
An hour later Kristin sat in the passenger seat, eyeing her girlfriend curiously. “Why are we going directly to Vermont?”
“I told you,” Tracy said, her smile tight and very unnatural looking. “I was talking to some people downstairs and they said Fall River was a bust. They’d been at the very hotel we had reserved and they said it wasn’t nice at all. Besides, Vermont’s at full peak this weekend. It only makes sense to stay there longer.”
“But half of the reason we’re here is for your spooky stuff. I don’t want you to feel shortchanged.”
Tracy spared a quick glance at her girlfriend. “I’ve been thinking about some things. If we’re going to be partners I think we need hobbies we both like. I’ve never tried bird watching. Maybe I’ll love it.”
“Really?” Kristin asked excitedly. “I thought you were just humoring me.”
“No, not at all. I think it’s time I gave up my hobby. I really want to start fresh.”
“I don’t want you to give up something you love just for me, Tracy. This has to be fifty-fifty.”
“I know that. And I wouldn’t offer unless it was something I was ready to give up. I swear I’m 100% ready to swear off all spooky, creepy, gory, bloody things. Actually, I’d be happy to never see another scary movie.”
“Just for me?”
“No, not just for you. I’m certain I’ve had my fill. Actually, I’d had more than my fill. Much more.”