“Listen to this one: ‘A splendid manor estate surrounded by 8 hectares of beautiful grounds. The unique property is remarkable for its absolute tranquility, unobstructed view of the Alps and the peak of Mont Blanc, and an exceptional impression of spaciousness.”
She arched an eyebrow in mock admiration, and continued reading.
“The 8-hectare plot includes a number of leisure areas such as:
- private 9-hole golf course
- a pool with pool house
- a tennis court
- a bowling court
- a playground area in the woods with chalet
- a vegetable patch
- large wooded areas
“It even has its own petrol pump! And this is the house. Listen:
‘The manor house offers 900 m² of habitable floor area and a basement. The offices cover 350 m² with two heated garages for five cars. The nine apartments for guests and personnel are either new or have been completely renovated. There are several garages and car parks. Ten collector’s cars (or similar) could be housed in the garages built for this purpose. There is also a shed for garden equipment. This property, with its exceptional view over Mont Blanc and the countryside, will thrill anyone in search of peace and wide open spaces, all just five minutes from the center of town.’ Sounds just like what we were looking for, no?”
“It sounds big. Can you imagine times we could have?”
“No one would realize we were there.”
They looked at each other and laughed. It wasn’t a particularly cold night but a fine drizzle had started.
“We should get going.”
“It’s not too far. Why don’t we walk?”
“The agent won’t be there by now, I reckon.”
He checked his watch.
“Right. We’re in the clear.”
The buildings soon appeared through the trees. It was everything they had hoped it would be. The realty sign was still up, and plastic banners were still flailing in the wind.
“Watch your step.”
He carefully helped her over the barbed wire, and they sprinted across the grounds towards the manor. The rain was now falling in earnest. There was an enormous construction crane, supplies and materials, and metal barriers to get around.
“This way,” she said, as she gave the majestic front door a sharp push.
“Wow,” he said, looking around with his flashlight. “It will be a spectacular place to live.”
She had already gone up the grand staircase with its pink marble balustrade to the master bedroom. He followed behind and heard her gasp. When he arrived he understood why. There was Montblanc framed by the picture window, rendered so dramatically by the moonlight. They stood there holding each other in mute wonder. She was the first to think that it was a special moment for them as a couple, even though they weren’t one yet.
“We’ll have to sleep on the floor,” she said, “I saw some big cartons downstairs. Come on, help me get them.”
She let her heavy backpack slip off her shoulders and fall to the ground with a soft thud. He took his off as well and followed her downstairs, stretching his sore back.
“We can stay here over the long weekend, and be in Geneva by next week. What do you say?”
The rain pattered against a storm pipe somewhere nearby.
Bio: Camila Hamel
Writer/illustrator, born in New York City, and long term resident in Madrid and since 2015, Barcelona, Spain.Currently launches her fourth novel, The Other Shadow.
Works primarily Speculative fiction, YA & adult Fantasy genres.
Book reviews and #vss365.
I speak a lot of languages, French and Spanish, primarily, but I’ve studied a lot of others, and though I can’t speak them very well, I can read them, and they influence my writing indirectly.I run a book club for English speakers in the Public Library of Barcelona.I’ve been teaching ESL for donkey’s years. (I realize now it’s like being a missionary.)I have a strange penchant for insects. They show up a lot in my writing.