romance unscripted

I loved the little cabin as much in the daylight as I had in the glow of the firelight the night before.  The stone fireplace went all the way to the vaulted ceiling, and a large deer head was hung above the mantle.   The ceiling and walls were tongue and groove pine, as were the wide plank floors.  The cabin was decorated just enough to make it homey without looking too decorated.  And the best decoration of all was the magnificent view out of the windows. 

I wrapped myself up in a blanket and stepped out onto the back deck to check out the scenery.  I expected to find a hot tub on the back deck.  There is something romantic about an outdoor hot tub in the dead of winter, especially while on a romantic anniversary getaway.  The brochure promised a hot tub, and I was somewhat disappointed that I had yet to find one.  In the absence of a hot tub, I decided to look for bears.  I was determined to find at least one bear on this trip. 

I did not see a single bear, but I did discover the elusive hot tub hiding on a lower porch under the deck.  I looked around for a way to reach the porch.  It wouldn’t be easy to get down there.  We would have to go around the cabin and down the back stairs to reach the bottom.  But it wasn’t as if I was ready to take a soak.  The sun was just coming up over the frozen horizon, and I was ready to eat, so I went back inside—but I knew the hot tub would not be far from my thoughts.

Light snow flakes were dotting the sky as we walked around the little mountain village.  We explored every shop, every restaurant, and every tourist trap available to explore.  It was a week before Christmas, so the lighted trees and the Christmas carols immediately put me in the spirit of the season.  The theme rippling through the town was bears, and as I was bordering on obsession with the idea of spotting bears, it was fitting.  But as much as I was having fun, I was just as resolute at watching the clock as the day stretched on.  Mike wanted to find a nice little place to listen to live music into the evening, but I was determined to make it back up the mountain road before dark, and time was running out. 

I video recorded the trip back as a distraction from the terror of climbing up the loose gravel path with the crumbling shoulder.  It made the trip almost bearable for Mike, as I was too busy narrating to completely freak out.  That didn’t stop him from trying to scare me by driving too close to the edge.  I didn’t find it funny.  He found it hysterical.  I swore a lot.  I still laugh when I watch the video. 

While we were in the little village we stopped to buy steaks and potatoes for the grill. It seemed like a fitting meal to eat in a mountain cabin.  It was really beginning to snow by the time we finished dinner.  So of course, I decided that it was the perfect time to investigate the hot tub. 

Everyone should be brave enough for naked hot tubbing at least once in their lives, and I was ready for my turn.  I had a hard time convincing Mike.  He thinks of things in much more rational terms than I do.  He was concerned because reaching the hot tub in the best of conditions would be tricky, and it was not the best of conditions outside.  It was snowing pretty steadily, we didn’t have robes, and there were cabins nearby that could potentially see.  But, I was not discouraged.  I had a brilliant plan.

My plan was to undress inside and wrap up in the extra comforters to get to the hot tub.  We could toss the comforters over the railing to get in.  The water would be piping hot, and I figured the layer of steam directly above the water would cushion us as we got in and out of the tub.  We could grab the comforters and wrap up again when we were finished to make the dash back to the cabin.  It was perfect!

I slipped my bare feet into my slippers and Mike put on his sneakers, and we set out for the hot tub with a bottle of wine and two plastic cups, courtesy of my brilliant husband!

The plan went off without a hitch.  We slid the cover off the hot tub before shedding our blankets and swiftly slipped into the water, draping the comforters within reach over the railing.

The water was not as hot as I had hoped, or maybe it was just that the air was much colder than I expected.  However, I refused to be discouraged from my chance at romance, so I switched on the jets as I held my cup out for Mike to pour the wine. 

My perfect room temperature red wine quickly got too cold to drink.  I tried holding the cup partially under the water to warm it, but it wasn’t working.  It was just too cold.  In fact, anything not completely submerged in the water was getting too cold.  We slid down until only our faces were exposed to the whipping wind, and attempted to cuddle against the warmth of the underwater lights. 

I glanced at the thermometer to discover that the water temperature was going down as the wind picked up.  My perfect plan was losing steam faster than the hot tub.  We wordlessly agreed to abandon the hot tub and take the romance inside where it was warm!

Getting into the water was infinitely easier than getting out.  I lifted my shoulders carefully out of the water to help drag the hot tub cover partially across the top.  The less time spent standing in the frigid air— soaking wet—the better.  I discovered that it is nearly impossible to pull the cover over a hot tub while sitting inside.  The cover slipped back over the side and out of our reach.  Mike refused to worry about the hot tub.  It would survive for a while without the cover.  We took several deep preparatory breaths to steel ourselves from the bitter cold.  Mike got out first and proceeded to drag me by the arm until I was able to pull my leg over the side to get out.  It was cold.  Ice-freaking-cold!  We grabbed our comforters at the same time and I let out a shriek.  They had frozen into the shape of the railing.  How the hell two dry comforters managed to freeze into the shape of the railing is beyond me.  I shoved my feet into my frozen slippers, pulled the ice-pack that was my blanket around my wet, naked body and made a run for it. 

Yes.  I ran. 

I ran as carefully as I could possibly run up the back stairs, around the cabin and back through the front door.  I only slipped twice, but managed to stay on my feet the whole time. We left the wine, the plastic cups and the hot tub cover on the floor of the porch for the morning. 

Luckily for us, the fire was already blazing in the hearth and we let our comforters fall to warm our bodies as close as possible to the flames. 

Romance finally won out that night, even if completely without a plan.  I think sometimes that’s the best way for romance.  Plans are overrated. 

I never did see any bears.  As it turns out the only thing “bare” outside of the cabin that weekend was us!

Until the next time…I’ll be avoiding plans of any kind—at least until I come up with something new!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on March 10, 2010 .