“Miles is slightly allergic to gluten but only slightly,” Stephanie said, wringing her hands, “so he can have like maybe two slices of pizza but then no bagels for a month. And Nicky sleeps with a nightlight, but he’s kinda sensitive about it, so don’t say it’s a nightlight for him, just plug it in and say you need some extra mood lighting.”
Dennis Nylon looked from Emily to Stephanie and back to Emily again, wondering how exactly he ended up in this situation.
He sniffed, trying to regain some air of unimpressed pose as he said, “I do not take orders from pixies in last year’s Gap sweaters.”
Stephanie opened her mouth to snap back what Dennis assumed would have been a biting reply when Emily put her hands on her wife’s shoulders, “Why don’t you see how the boys are settling in, baby?”
“Okay,” Stephanie said, eyeing Dennis as she walked up to his house.
“Your tiny wife is scarier than you are,” Dennis comment once she was gone.
Emily laughed, “Stephanie can be a force of nature when she wants too, frilly apron and all.”
“You owe me,” he said offering Emily an arm to guide her into the house.
Emily smiled, “No I don’t.”
“Do you know how many birthdays, soccer games, and first days of school I’ve missed working for you?” She continued. “Too many. You can at least let me have my honeymoon.”
“What about the other mothers, none of them can take your two darling angels?” Dennis said with a touch of sarcasm.
“I don’t trust them,” said Emily, “it’s only for a few days, it’ll be fine. I trust you Dennis.”
“Hmph,” he said, pausing before adding, “Why I don’t know. Where are you two love birds flying off to again?”
“Stephanie found a little lodge on some island in the San Juans,” she explained, “I wanted to take her to the south of France but she didn’t want to leave the kiddos that long, and neither did I once we really talked about it.”
Dennis stopped and looked at Emily, “You’ve really taken to this whole married thing haven’t you?”
“Second time's the charm.”
“Sorry Ma’am but I don’t see a reservation under the name Quinn King,” the man behind the counter said. He wasn’t really a man, Rachel amended, not like the ones she knew. The boy behind the counter looked to be in his late teens, with a name tag that read Danny. Rachel felt sorry for Danny as she watched Quinn press her lips into a thin, angry line.
“Check again,” Quinn ordered and the boy typed her name into the computer for the third time.
Rachel rubbed her eyes, she hadn’t slept since midnight the night before when Quinn’s call had woken her. When it came to midnight phone calls, Rachel was used to them during filming, but not during hiatus. Holding the phone a few inches from her face, she had squinted at the glaringly bright screen, not quite comprehending the name displayed. She hit answer.
“How soon can you be ready to fly out to Washington for the week?” Quinn had said on the other end.
“I- what?” Rachel ran a hand through her hair. She started up at the roof of her car, where she’d been sleeping for the past week and a half since filming wrapped.
“How soon can you be ready to fly out to scout filming locations for next season?”
“Now I guess?” Rachel said.
That’s how she’d ended up driving to Quinn’s house, a plane ticket pressed into her hand on arrival.
“You look like shit,” Quinn had said in lieu of greeting.
“I missed you too.”
Now, nearly twenty hours later, they stood in The Sailor’s Delight Inn and Lodge. Leaning against the counter, Rachel looked over the lobby. The antler covered chandelier didn’t provided adequate lighting but there was enough room for whatever lights filming equipment they’d need to bring in. Out of the corner of her eye, Rachel glanced at Quinn. The lodge wasn’t the typical Everlasting look, it looked as if it belonged in a show on the Sportsman Channel, not exactly the fairy tale romance look that they sold on their reality show.
“Sorry, there aren’t any reservations under the name Quinn King,” Danny said, nervously.
Quinn huffed, glaring. Lowering her voice she said, “Try Chet Wilton.”
Danny typed it into the computer, “Oh there it is. But that’s… not you.”
“Here,” Quinn flicked a credit card at him, “This is the card used for the reservation and it is in my name.”
As Danny finished checking them in, shaking under Quinn’s glare the whole time, Rachel’s attention was drawn across the lobby again to where two well dressed women were walking through the doors.
One was tall, blonde and wearing a suit. If it was an evening gown, Rachel mused, she might be wifey material. But it was the shorter of the two that caught Rachel’s attention.
“Hey,” She nudged Quinn, “Does the brunette look familiar to you?”
Quinn looked, “No. Why? Do you think she was one of our girls? She looks like a cryer.”
“No I don’t think she was on the show, she just looks familiar for some reason,” Rachel shook her head, “It’s probably nothing.”
“Sure,” Quinn picked up her bag, “We have room 403.”
And with that, she walked down the hall, leaving Rachel to grab her bags and catch up.
“For you baby,” Emily said, pulling out a chair for Stephanie. Stephanie smiled up at her wife, smoothing her skirt under her as she sat down.
After checking in and freshening up in their room, they’d descended the giant staircase to the restaurant located in the lodge.
“We’re pretty secluded,” the young man at the front desk said as he’d handed them their room keys, “That’s why we have a full service restaurant located on your right. Our hours are nine a.m. to midnight.”
“Do you have a bar?” Emily had asked.
“Yes ma’am, it’s full service.”
Emily smirked at Stephanie, “Good choice baby.”
Now Emily took the seat across from Stephaine by the tall windows that lined one wall. It overlooked the cliff face the lodged was built atop of, and the dark water below. The sun had set hours ago, and what Emily assumed had once been a pretty oceanscape was now sinister and dark after the sunset. Especially with the snow fluttering down.
“I, for one, am starving,” Stephanie announced as the picked up her menu, flipping through it.
“Can I get drinks started for you?” the waitress said with a smile.
Emily glanced at Stephanie, “The usual?” she said, and when Stephanie nodded, Emily turned to the waitress to say, “Two dry martinis.”
“Oh martinis!” a woman at the table next to them said, “I’ll take one as well!”
“Me too!” said the other woman at that table. There were four people total at the table next to them, two couples Emily guessed.
“Four martinis, got it,” the waitress said, rushing off before Emily could correct her, they wanted dry martinis.
“Hi there!” One of the women at the table next to them said, “I’m Jane and this is my husband Andrew.”
“And I’m Lucy,” the other woman said, “And this is my husband Richie!”
The respective husbands have little nods and half waves in greeting.
“Are you two sisters?” Lucy asked.
Emily and Stephanie exchanged a quick glance, Stephanie’s worried and annoyed and Emily’s just plainly annoyed. There wasn’t guests in the dining room, but Lucy’s voice carried. Emily could see the younger man at the bar sneak a look in their direction.
“No actually,” Stephanie said as Emily opened her mouth, “I’m Stephanie and this is my wife Emily. We’re here on our honeymoon.”
“Oh!” Lucy’s face lit up in surprise, “I’m sorry, you both are just so pretty, I thought- I mean-”
It was a rare apology that Emily let slide without complaining about women’s tendency to over apologize. Instead, she smiled coquettishly at Lucy.
“Thanks, you’re so pretty too, don’t you think baby?”
Stephanie nodded, “Yes, of course, you’re all very attractive, I feel like I’m on a movie set or something.”
“Just so pretty,” Emily continued, laying it on thick, “Do you guys want to have a six way?”
“Em,” Stephanie said, after taking a long drink of the martini the waiter put in front of her.
“C’mon baby, it’ll be fun,” Emily winked at her wife.
“What? No!” Lucy cried.
“Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” Andrew said, “I mean, we’re open minded and everything. In fact, for my last birthday Jane and I had a threeway, with a girl, of course.”
“Of course,” Stephanie echoed, turning just so the other table couldn’t see her eye roll. Emily smirked, she was rubbing off on perky little Stephanie.
“But I mean, another guy?” Richie said, flushing and shaking his head.
“When I said you two were pretty, I didn’t mean-” Lucy said at the same time.
“Oh my god!” Emily said with a grin, she loved watching the two couples squirm, “We should invite everyone! Like that old guy there! Hi!”
She waved at an older gentleman sitting at a table by himself on the other side of the room. Stephanie downed the rest of her martini in one go.
“Shh!” Lucy cried, “We do not want to have a- a six way with you!”
Emily leaned back in her chair and reached for her martini, “Your loss then.”
“Maybe you should ask then,” Richie said, gesturing across the dining room to where two dark haired women sat across from one another, heads bent in conversation.
“Oh god they’re multiplying!” groaned Lucy and Jane tried to shush her.
“I saw them check in when we arrived,” said Stephanie, “Maybe we should introduce ourselves later.”
“Sorry to bother you guys,” the young man from the bar had walked over to stand in front of their table, “But are you Stephanie Smothers?”
“Yes, do I- oh!” Stephanie gasped in recognition, “You’re Matt Ward!”
“Yeah! That means you must be the infamous Emily,” he reached out to shake first Stephanie’s hand then Emily’s.
“And who, pray tell, is Matt Ward?” Emily asked, “Another brother?”
“No,” said Stephanie absently, then more firmly, “ No . He's a famous YouTube vlogger, mostly making videos about stunts and stuff, and was the first person to hit one million subscribers.”
“Wow, a real Warden,” Matt said with a laugh, “I like your vlog too, but don’t tell anybody, it’ll ruin my street cred.”
Stephanie laughed, “I have no clue what that means but I think it’s funny!”
“I’m glad you guys are both okay though, that was so crazy that your husband turned out to be a psycho but I mean, men, can’t trust them right?” Matt said, still smiling.
“No you certainly can’t,” Said Emily.
“Was it hard? To shoot him when he attacked you guys in your house?”
Stephanie’s face turned sad, “I wasn’t really thinking about Sean, just about how I needed to protect Emily and our boys from the monster trying to hurt us.”
“And Sean’s fine,” Emily added, “They tell me he’s recovering well in a jail cell.”
Matt shifted between his feet, “I’m up here to film some videos in the woods and by the water, hey, we should talk YouTube later. Maybe colab on a video?”
“That would be fun,” Said Stephanie.
“Cool, I guess I’ll see you guys around,” said Matt with a wave as he left.
“I’m sorry did you say you were Stephanie Smothers and Emily Nelson?” Jane asked, obviously eavesdropping.
“It’s Nelson-Smothers now,”
“What are you talking about?” Said Andrew.
“Andrew! Don’t you remember? Last fall we were watching that blog where the woman went missing and her friend ended up finding her?” said Lucy.
“Oh right,” Said Richie, “And it was some big insurance scheme with the husband but he like murdered the wife’s sister?”
Both couples turned away from Emily and Stephanie, deeply engrossed in their conversation about their lives.
Emily raised an eyebrow at Stephanie, “Looks like I can’t take you anywhere.”
There was only one bed. She hadn’t really been thinking about that when she called Rachel up and ordered her to come along. That was, of course, because Rachel wasn’t the original person who was going to be going on the scouting trip with her. It was supposed to be Chet and Quinn knew it was only a matter of time before Rachel realized that, if she hadn’t already.
Rachel held as much open disdain for Chet as she could with him being her boss and Quinn knew it was mostly because of her. But at least it would be slightly lessened by the fact that Quinn had opted to leave Chet back in LA and take Rachel instead.
Not that Quinn cared what Rachel thought of her love life, because she didn’t. She shouldn’t. It wasn’t even Rachel’s place to have an opinion on her bosses love life, even if they were sharing a bed for a week.
Quinn shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts.
Rachel glanced around the room, “So, uh, does the couch pull out?”
It did not.
“That’s fine,” Rachel said, “I’ve slept in worse places, hell, this is still a step up from my truck on set.”
“You’re not sleeping on the couch for a week,” Quinn rolled her eyes, “The bed is big enough to share.”
Rachel glanced at her for a moment longer than necessary before nodding and saying, “Okay.”
They changed out of their clothes, both too tired to do anything else, avoiding each other’s eyes. It wasn’t like they hadn’t changed in front of one another before, it wasn’t like they hadn’t shared a bed before. But Quinn held the knowledge that the room had been originally rented to rekindle a romance that really should just stay dead, to put it bluntly, the trip had been planned so Chet could fuck her and the thought of sharing the bed with Rachel made her skin prickle with heat.
Quinn shoved down her emotion as she slipped into bed beside Rachel. Rachel stretched like a cat before rolling over onto her side to face Quinn on the pillow.
“So you thinking a rustic theme for next season?” she said, inquiring after Quinn’s plans for Everlasting, which was the reason they were there, even if Quinn had temporary forgotten that.
“What? Oh, yeah, rustic.”
“Lumberjacks gone wild?”
“It might be… interesting. Nothing like sex in the woods to boost ratings.”
“This was Chet’s idea, wasn’t it,” Rachel said, face impassive.
Quinn huffed, now this conversation was just about saving face, “Well, he might have had some hand in it, but changing up locations is a good move.”
“Whatever you say boss,” said Rachel, eyes flicking down to Quinn’s mouth for the briefest second. Rachel shut her eyes.
The bed was beginning to grow warm, and the sound of Rachel’s breathe slipped into the steady, tell-tale lull of sleep. Quinn let her eyes fall closed, but they only remained so for what felt like a few minutes.
That was when the screaming started.