I wasn’t expecting to get a phone call from a probate attorney in Shreveport. More than that, I wasn’t expecting to find out I had inherited a cabin just east of Lake Bistineau. I had no idea my dad even owned a cabin, but it wasn’t terribly surprising to me either. He liked fishing and it wasn’t like Pam would want a place out in the boondocks. There was a reason my sister had moved to Baton Rouge.
Sid Matt Lancaster asked me to meet him out at the cabin. I could hardly say no. Whether or not I wanted to keep the place was up to me. The drive took a little more than an hour and a half but when I got there I wasn’t entirely disappointed. It was immediately obvious that the place was ideal for fishing trips or quiet weekend trips to get out of the city, but that was about all. I definitely couldn’t see myself there day in and day out.
It was an honest to goodness log cabin with three decent sized bedrooms and a wood burning stove in the living room instead of a fireplace. The master bedroom was on the first floor along with a recently remodeled kitchen and a wet bar in a little nook by the staircase leading to the second floor. If I wanted to I could probably use it as a rental property but I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a landlord. I was still doing work on my house, plus I was putting in between fifty-five and sixty hours a week at the shop. I didn’t know if I wanted to commit myself to that kind of responsibility.
Regardless of all that, I liked the place. It was quiet and secluded. Kind of perfect for weekend getaways on the down low. Not that I was ashamed of what I had going with Sookie or anything like that. We hadn’t really discussed it but I wanted to keep our relationship out of work as much as possible. Too much shit and drama went on there. I didn’t need Andre or Bobby making up shit to stir things up.
Because they would.
Just for their own amusement.
Never mind that it could cost me something that was rapidly becoming very important to me.
I had to sign some paperwork and whatnot, but then I was handed the keys to the cabin along with a check. When I saw the amount on the check I about fainted.
“Whoa, hold up. This has to be a misprint,” I said to the attorney. I pulled out the check for $150,000. “My dad was a machinist. No way he made this kind of money.”
“It’s a liquidation of his assets and the proceeds of the sale of his apartment in Stockholm were divided evenly between you and Pam,” he told me.
I was still interested to know where the accumulation of assets had occurred but I’d probably never know.
Sid Matt left me on the covered front porch and I just sat there for a while before I called my sister.
“Have you met with Sid Matt Lancaster yet?”
“No, I have a meeting scheduled with him tomorrow morning, why?”
“Did Dad ever mention any old stocks or anything to you that might have been valuable?” It was the only thing I could think of to explain where the money came from.
“No, but he didn’t talk about money much. Did he leave something to you?” she asked.
“You could say that. I’m standing outside of a log cabin in Ringgold,” I told her. “I have the keys and signed for the deed to the acre and a quarter of land. I also have a check for a hundred and fifty grand.”
“Well… that’s… you know I’m going to be pissed if I get nothing,” she said seriously. “Are you keeping it?”
“The cabin? Yeah, I think I am, at least for a little while. It’s right on a lake–”
“Lake Bistineau,” I answered.
“I’ve overheard Mom talking about a place out there. She thinks Dad used to take women out there before they split.”
“Lovely. So I’ll be buying a new bed and sanitizing everything out here before I do anything else,” I sighed. “And to think I was going to give you good news.”
“If you ask me, I think he may have bought the place to get away from her nagging. Does it look like a love shack?”
“Not really. It’s a three bedroom place. There’s a 200 year old Baptist Church a tenth of a mile away. I doubt this was a fuck pad,” I told her. “He probably got shitfaced and went fishing.”
“That would be my guess. You know how paranoid Mom gets,” Pam replied. “I’m sure the only thing on the bed is dust.”
“Yeah but this place is musty as fuck. It could use some sprucing up anyway. I can afford it with the check I got.”
“Then do it. Use it as your own fuckpad,” she suggested.
“That’s the plan. I even have a girl to bring out here.” I hadn’t told her about Sookie yet.
“You do, huh? How long have you had this friend?”
“A couple of weeks,” I said casually. “You’d like her. She’s a sassy thing.”
“Of course she is, that’s what you need to keep you in line,” Pam snorted. “When do I get to meet her?”
“I don’t need anyone to keep me in line,” I chuckled. “And you get to meet her… I don’t know when. Depends on when you’re in town next.”
“We can set something up. Maybe I’ll bring Alex up there before your game and I can meet her then,” she offered.
“That would be good,” I agreed. “She’s a really good cook. Last week she made her own barbeque sauce… I’m going to get fat because of this one, Pam.”
“She knows how much you eat, caters to it, and doesn’t mind? Marry her.” She was serious.
I laughed at that. I wasn’t going to mention the kickass sex but she probably already figured that part out on her own.
“I’ll check the schedule at work and see if she’s off that night,” I said. “Yes, we work together. No, no one knows and I want to keep it that way. Andre will be happy to see you if you come by the shop while you’re here.”
He had a notorious crush on my sister. It was actually pretty funny. Pam could chew him up and spit him out.
“Andre wouldn’t know what to do with a real woman,” she chuckled. “Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me.”
“I know. That’s why I’m telling you,” I said. “Just so you know, you have a check like mine coming your way.”
I knew Pam was doing pretty good with her work but having a little extra cushion never hurt, especially since she had a kid to put through college in the somewhat near future.
“Figured as much. It’ll be good to put something away. Plus, Alex is growing like a weed so I’m buying him new shoes once a month right now.”
“Sounds about right.” I went through that stage too around his age.
“It’s like watching you all over again. At least I know what to expect,” she sighed.
“Just wait until your hand lotion and Cosmos disappear…”
I laughed a little harder.
“Did you tell him he’ll go blind like Mom told me?”
“No, I don’t lie to him. I told him it’s perfectly normal,” she replied. “I’m also going to get him a Playboy subscription for his fifteenth birthday.”
“Eh, he’ll have a girlfriend by then,” I said.
“He will not,” she said adamantly.
“He might. You never know,” I replied.
“We don’t need to talk about him having girlfriends, Eric.”
“Don’t worry, Pam. He’s not an idiot. He knows about condoms and safe sex.” Pam had been honest since day one. She didn’t regret being a mom but she didn’t want him to struggle like she did either.
“I know, but that doesn’t mean I want to think about it.”
“Yeah, I know. What kind of a little brother would I be if I didn’t horrify you once in a while?”
“A much better one than you’re being now,” she deadpanned.
“You still love me,” I said as I went down the front steps. “I’ll let you get back to whatever you were doing. I have to go find my girl and share the good news.”
“Oh you’re cute,” she laughed. “I’ll talk to you later, little brother.”
“Later.” I hung up the phone and got in my car. I was pretty sure Sookie was at work so I headed to the shop.
I put the check down in front of Sookie when I got to the shop. She was by herself in the office. Des was out in the shop and I saw she had open calls on her screen. Sookie knew I was meeting with the lawyer but that was all.
“What’s that?” Her eyes were wide when she looked up at me.
“My share of my dad’s estate,” I said. I pulled my phone out to show her the cabin. “I got a check and this log cabin over on Lake Bistineau.”
“Oh wow,” she said quietly as she took my phone to look at it. “It looks like it needs some updates, but otherwise really cute.”
“It’s a decent little house,” I agreed. “I had no idea he had a cabin. He never mentioned it. You’d love it out there.”
“We’ll have to go check it out some time,” she smiled up at me. “That’s pretty cool that he left it to you, too.”
“My sister wouldn’t want it,” I shrugged. “Pam wants to meet you when she brings Alex up next week.”
“She does?” Sookie grinned. “It makes me nervous, but excited that she wants to meet me.”
“She’s mostly harmless. Pam can be a little blunt sometimes but she mostly means well.” I picked up the check and tucked it in my pocket. I needed to get it to the bank before closing time.
“I can handle anything she throws at me if she gets overprotective,” Sookie assured me.
“I have no doubt you can.” I wanted to kiss her but didn’t. “Look, I know we didn’t talk about this but I was thinking I don’t really want to tell anyone here that we’re seeing each other. It’s not because I’m embarrassed or anything. You know how the guys talk–”
“Eric,” she stopped me. “You’re rambling, and I know. I’m not really interested in telling them either.”
“Okay, good. I just want to make sure we’re on the same page.”
“We are. It seems we’re pretty in tune with each other. I like that.”
“Me too. Got plans for after work?”
“Lounging on the couch and watching last week’s Ghost Adventures.”
“Got something better in mind?”
“I was thinking I’d see if a dog might pick me,” I told her.
Her eyes lit up.
“Oh, that’s much better, you know, if you want company.”
“No, I thought I’d bring it up and then go alone,” I deadpanned.
“Your sarcasm is not appreciated,” she said, narrowing her eyes. She wasn’t the least bit menacing.
“I’ve seen bunny rabbits meaner than you,” I laughed.
“Those must be some pretty badass bunny rabbits.”
“Nah, just little yard hoppers,” I chuckled and dodged her flying hand.
“Zak may be upset I’m ditching him for puppies, but nobody trumps puppy snuggles,” she said, ignoring my yard hopper comment.
“What about me?”
“Hmm, I don’t know. We’ll have to see how well the pups snuggle,” she teased.
“That’s cold,” I pouted.
“You shouldn’t have compared my mean face to bunnies,” she shrugged.
“It was an accurate comparison,” I said unapologetically.
“You better be glad you’re good for other things than snuggling, Mister.”
“But you’re still picking a puppy over me.”
“I might be, nothing’s set in stone yet.”
“Uh huh.” I stood up straight. “I should get going. I have to get to the bank.”
“Meet me at my place when I’m off?”
“I could but the rescue is out by my house.”
“Okay. I’ll swing by my apartment to grab an overnight bag before I come out,” she told me.
“Alright. I’ll see you in a few hours.” I rubbed her shoulder and then walked out of the office. I went out to the car and hoped no one noticed that I was there.
Of course Mel saw me driving away from the shop. My phone buzzed in my pocket and I pulled it out to find a picture message from Jake.
A diamond ring.
Son of a bitch.
So I called him. I knew Luna was looking for a bigger commitment but I was surprised he was going through with it. Jake loved her but I didn’t think he thought of her as wife material.
“I’m doing it,” he said in lieu of hello.
“You sure she’s the one?” He never seemed too enthused about the idea of marrying her.
“Yeah, I got to thinking about it, and she really is what I see as my future. We click, ya know? She doesn’t mind that I scratch my balls in the kitchen, and it doesn’t bug me when her makeup is all over the bathroom counter. There’s a lot more to it, but she’s it. Why hold off on the inevitable?”
“Hey, if you’re sure I’ll be happy to plan the funeral, I mean bachelor party,” I joked.
“You’ll get here one day, fucker,” he chuckled.
Sooner rather than later if that angry bunny face got any cuter I was in deep shit.
“I know. But for now I can fuck with you,” I replied.
“Who knows, maybe at my bachelor party you can hook up with one of the strippers and give her a Pretty Woman ending,” he chuckled.
“Uh, no, I think I’ll pass. I don’t think the chick I’m seeing would be okay with that,” I said. I hadn’t told him about Sookie either. It was so new that I hadn’t really told anyone about it.
“Uh… what do you mean ‘the chick you’re seeing’? You’re barely broken up with Jess,” he said.
“Dude, it’s been over a month since Jess and I broke up,” I laughed. “Not to mention, things with her weren’t that serious. I moved on.”
“Are you going to tell me about this chick?”
“Her name’s Sookie. She’s blonde, miniature, likes puppies, cooks for me…”
“You finally found a woman that cooks? Maybe you should’ve been the one ring shopping,” he laughed.
“Oh come on, I know Luna cooks.”
“Yeah, but you haven’t dated a chick that cooks yet. I know how your giant ass eats, too,” he snorted.
“The same as yours,” I replied. “Sookie was raised by an old southern grandma. She probably knew how to cook before she knew how to drive.”
“Damn,” he muttered. “Luna is good, but not southern grandma good.”
“But is she abuelita good?”
“She can make carne asada like a boss, so yeah,” he admitted.
“Then quit your bitchin’. I’m on my way to the bank. My old man left me a log cabin and a check that made Sookie’s eyes damn near pop out of her pretty head,” I told him.
“Shit, now we have a man cave,” he said seriously. “How’d you meet this Sookie girl?”
“Work,” I admitted. “The cabin’s down by Lake Bistineau. I have a boat slip and everything.”
I didn’t have a boat though.
“Now we need to go in on a boat,” he said. “We can have Pam send Alex up for fishing weekends.”
“Yeah you better run that by the wife,” I snickered.
“She doesn’t care when I have man time, and you know it, dickface.”
“She might care about you putting a few grand into a boat,” I pointed out.
“We may need to hold off until after that wedding,” he chuckled.
“Uh huh. You better hope she doesn’t want one of those princess for a day weddings. If she does ya’ll will be paying for it for the next few years.”
“Daddy Garza is loaded,” he told me. “He’ll give her whatever kind of wedding she wants. I still need to act like I’m more interested in the wedding than a boat.” Jake didn’t care about weddings; if she agreed to elope he would’ve been just fine with that.
“Best of luck to you there,” I laughed. The only guy I knew that was remotely interested in weddings was Mel, as stereotypical as it seemed. “You’ll have to ask the little woman if you can make a run out to the cabin with me next week. Pam’s bringing Alex up for the game and she wants to meet Sookie, the new girlfriend.”
“I’m adult, you know that right? I don’t need her permission to do anything.” Right…
“I know you like to pretend she doesn’t call the shots,” I retorted.
“She doesn’t,” he argued. “I can’t wait until your relationship gets to the point when you’re ready to settle down. I’ll be giving you the same shit you give me.”
“And I won’t care.”
“I don’t care, just sayin’.”
“So when your new chick starts telling you if you can come out with me you’re not going to care? Not that Luna has to give me permission,” he clarified quickly.
“Sookie’s not that type.” Shit, was she? I didn’t know. Then again, none of them thought they were that type, even when it was obvious they were.
“If she’s a woman, she’s the type. It’s a woman thing, man,” he chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah. Well I’m pulling up to the bank and then I have to meet an angry bunny at my place so we can go look for a dog,” I told him.
“An angry bunny?”
“Sookie,” I clarified. Immediately there was laughter. A lot of it.
“I need to meet this girl,” he said through his chuckles when he started to calm down.
“We’ll see.” Who knew what kind of shit he would say to her.
“If you’re taking her to pick out a puppy, I’m sure I’ll be meeting her within the month.”
I parked the car and turned it off. Jake was probably right.
“Well if Luna has a mental breakdown and agrees to marry you, we’ll get together for dinner so the girls can plan our futures.” I was only partially joking.
“I’ll call you after I pop the question,” he promised.
“Good luck.” We hung up in the phone and I got out of the car to go into the bank.
Maybe someone inside could advise me on the best way to invest most of the money. I knew I was going to have to pay taxes on it and I was going to have to pay additional property taxes on the cabin, plus I may have more repairs to make to it. I didn’t want to blow the money on stupid stuff.
If I wasn’t blowing the money on a trip to Vegas, I really was an adult.