Secrets in the Lake – chapter 4 draft

I’m busy writing this novel for NaNoWriMo. With my starting point of 15000 words and another 15000 here in November. I am now feeling quite good and really enjoying the process. But last night I hit a wall and took the night off. Up early this morning to get some more done. As I won’t have time to post too many blogs in November I’ll post bits of my novel instead. This is draft remember so be nice 🙂

Once Mandy was out of LA on the Paso Robles highway she could feel herself relax. The highway was fairly straight with dry grasses growing along it. Several wineries along the roadside set a green lush contrast to the grasses, and the undulating hills made a beautiful backdrop. Something about the constant sameness of the view made it seem relaxing to her mind. She found herself going into auto drive and her thoughts to Sam. Mandy had packed a nice simple blue dress to change into before meeting Sam later. She didn’t want to overdress, but wanted to make Sam like what he saw. It was silly really. She hadn’t seen him in such a long time. Maybe he had aged and was no longer attractive to her. Maybe he was already in a relationship! Would he have agreed so readily to meet up if he was with someone else? Mandy wondered.

Mandy felt herself getting sleepy and decided to put the roof down to get some fresh air. The breeze against her skin and her long brown hair flowing like a wild animal behind her made her feel energized. She changed the station to some more upbeat music and enjoyed some of her cold water from her filtered water bottle.

Mandy was looking forward to staying at her mum’s place. It was a cute cottage on the outskirts of town surrounded by a luscious garden full of perfume laden flowers and massive trees. Her mum had hired Peter, one of the locals, to look after the place when she wasn’t there, so the place always seemed cozy and lived in. Mandy had called Peter to arrange for the keys and to ensure the fridge had been stocked with some food. Her mum was still in San Francisco doing a Yoga meditation workshop, but she hoped to catch up with her before the funeral.

The wineries along the road all looked divine. So quaint and inviting. Mandy noticed a tiny winery set back from the road a bit. The sign read; Chillax  With the Best Wine and View.

Yes, just what I need. She pulled into the dirt road leading up to the main house. A large red brick mansion-style house with huge verandas wrapped around all 3 sides, cute bay windows in the roof with tiny balconies. Looked like they did overnight stay as well. Parking her car, she quickly checked her appearance in the rearview mirror. You never know who you might meet even out here in the country. Mandy smiled at her own reflection She was feeling happy and excited. It was good to be out of the city. She felt like she was starting an adventure even though she was on her way to a funeral. The feeling confused her but it was how she felt. Nothing like a road trip to get you in a good mood.

A stocky young man with an infectious smile greeted her at the gate and led her to a cozy back veranda with a makeshift bar set up for tasting the wines. It was quiet and peaceful with only the sounds of the rustling of the grape vines and their leaves. What an amazing view. As far as the eye could see there were paddocks of rolling grape vines with small walking tracks for the manual inspection of the crop as well as wider tracks for harvest machinery. The hills towards the back were shrouded clouds of fog from the early morning chills. It was absolutely picturesque and if it wasn’t for the interruption of the young man asking her if she wanted the wine list she could have just stood there and admired the view forever.

“Oh, yes please,” Mandy said, “I would like to see your white wine list”

“We also have a sample menu, if you are interested. You can try a sample of 5 wines and receive a discount of 20% of any bottle you buy” the smiling young man suggested

Mandy was tempted but she still had another hour of driving so sampling wines may not be the best idea.

“Thank you, I may just have a glass of your own Sauvignon Blanc, but I would love to return and try your samples another day”

He smiled again, that infection smile that lit up his face. He looked at her as if he knew her, but she was sure she had never met him.

When he returned with a huge glass of wine, Mandy decided to grill him about the place. She was in the mood for company and he seemed approachable.

“Please join me, I am interested in learning about your wines and this place. I am Mandy”

She extended her hand and was greeted with a firm handshake

“I am Ian, thank you, Id love to join you. Its quiet now, but I will have to attend to anyone who arrives as I am the only one here today. My regular help is away sick so I am it”

Ian sat down in the chair next to her and started telling Mandy about the place and the wines. He had inherited the place from his father who was no longer able to run the winery due to ill health.

“I love this place and the lifestyle,” Ian said. “ It’s so peaceful here, and yet I get to meet so many people every day who drops in and taste my wine. You were lucky I was open today as I’m about to close it for a few days to focus on other parts of the business”

Mandy listened with interest and before she knew it she was telling him why she was here and where she was heading. The phone call from Sam and the sudden passing of Karl. Ian had the kind of personality that just made chatting and opening up so easy. He seemed genuinely interested.

“Maybe I’ll see you on your way back to LA. Here is my card, if you call beforehand Ill make sure I’ll be here. I do pop into Lake Haven to from time to time to get supplies and get myself a good pub meal and a round of beer. Yes, I don’t always drink wine”

He laughed and her the biggest smile and she felt herself blushing. He was hardly 30! Nice to know she still had it in her.

Another couple arrived and Ian and to return to duties. Mandy remained seated and enjoying her wine and the mesmerizing view. What a lifestyle, she thought to herself Perfect spot for a freelance writer. Maybe she could return sometime for a short break and do some serious writing. Or maybe to catch up with Ian again. She smiled to herself feeling like a silly young teenager.

Soon Mandy was on the road again with only another good hour to go. She planned to get to Lake Haven by 5 and so far she was on track. At least Mandy thought so.

2 thoughts on “Secrets in the Lake – chapter 4 draft

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