I’m so angry at her that she couldn’t tell me earlier that it wasn’t what she wanted.
I’m so angry that she wasted my time. It feels like . . . why bother? Is it too late? Am I too uptight, or too uninteresting, or . . .
I wasn’t sure what it was about Pippa that had me admitting things I’d never said out loud before, but I didn’t like it. These next two weeks were supposed to be about getting away and drinking too much, not introspection and soul-searching.
I kicked off the blankets and sat up, reaching for where my phone was charging on the bedside table. Skipping over emails in a wholly uncharacteristic move, I opened the last text I had from Will, asking whether I’d be up for a run in the morning.
I’m up. You ready? I sent, and tossed my phone to the bed.
I checked the schedule Ziggy had printed for everyone: brunch, some free time to explore the area, a possible brewery tour, and dinner here, at the hotel.
Will’s reply came while I was in the bathroom, a simple No followed by silence.
I dialed his number and after four rings and the sound of the phone being dropped at least twice, he answered.
“You are as bad as your sister,” he said, words mumbled into what I could only guess was his pillow.
“You’re the one who asked me to run this morning, remember?”
“It’s not even”—he fumbled with the phone again—“seven yet.”
“So? This is when we always go.”
“Jensen, do you see the room you’re in?”
I glanced around the room. White paneled walls, large bed covered in a handmade quilt, brick fireplace. “Yes.”
“We’re on vacation. Brunch doesn’t even start until ten. It’s okay to sleep in.”
“You could have clarified this last night,” I told him, already opening up the menu for room service.
“I drank my weight in wine and tried to talk our waiter into opening a vineyard with me,” he said. “I’m not sure anyone should count on anything I said last night.”
“Fine,” I said with a sigh. “I’ve got some work I should get to anyway. Call me when you’re up and we’ll head out then.”
“Oh, no you don’t.” There was the distinct rustle of fabric and the sound of the mattress shifting in the background. “God damn it. No. No way are you sitting in there working on your laptop. Your sister will kill me.”
So Will had been put on Jensen duty, too.
“It’s fine,” I said. “No work. I’ll just head out now and catch up with you all later.”
“No, you’re right. Give me fifteen and I’ll meet you down in the lobby. Deal?”
My room was at the end of the house and overlooked the lawn and breezeway that separated the main building from a large barnlike structure in the back. The sky was still dark but had lightened enough that I could see a copper-roofed gazebo just off in the distance, and a patio where—according to the brochure Ziggs had included in our itinerary—they served dinner most nights alongside a roaring fire.
Things were considerably busier downstairs, with a fire burning in the lobby fireplace and the sounds and smells of breakfast being made wafting out from behind the closed kitchen doors.
Will was already there, talking to the manager near the front door.
Catching sight of me, he raised a hand in greeting and said his goodbyes to the manager.
“Dead to the world,” he said with an amused smile I did not work to translate. He began to slip on a pair of gloves and let out a little snort. “I see you got your shirt back.”
I looked down at my Johns Hopkins sweatshirt, the one my sister seemed to have the majority of the time. It was a little faded, a little worn in spots. The wristbands were frayed and one of the sleeves had started to unravel at the seam, but it was one of my favorites. Ziggy was always in and out of my house and had been stealing my clothes since she was old enough to reach my closet door. The only reason I had this one was probably because she’d changed at my place at some point and left it on the floor.
“I feel you judging my sweatshirt, William. This is a classic. Your wife gets that, she probably wears it more than I do.”
“No, Hanna, like you, is oddly sentimental. You two are the only people I know who will throw away a piece of old Tupperware because you don’t want to wash it out, but keep a sweatshirt for two decades.”
We crossed the lobby, leaving before the smell of bacon and brewed coffee had us abandoning a workout altogether, and slipped out the back door.
The chill hit us immediately. Will pulled his hat down lower over his ears and looked out over the yard.
“This place really is beautiful,” he said.
I followed his gaze. Mist clung to the fence lines in the distance, the trees a shock of autumn fire set against a colorless sky. The inn stood behind us—white clapboard siding and powder-blue trim, the copper-topped turret that gleamed like a new penny.
His phone buzzed in his jacket pocket and he pulled it out, laughing dryly. “Bennett just sent this to the group thread: ‘Chloe made me breakfast in bed. It’s two hours later and she hasn’t asked me to fix the garbage disposal yet. Do wives do this kind of thing out of . . . kindness? Please translate.’ ”
I laughed, shaking my head. “Do you think he’s genuinely confused, or just playing this up?”