Damn it's cold. Well, I don't know what I had been expecting. Alaska's not exactly the same as Arizona. But, people always went on cruises here, right? Why would people want to take a huge boat to this place when they could go to the Caribbean? I doubt they had the same excuse for visiting as I did.
That reminded me of my plot to kill Alice, my roommate and the reason I was here in this frozen tundra of death. I'd been formulating a plan to assassinate her ever since I had stepped foot in the snow. "Oh, it's not that cold, Bella. You'll love it." Not that cold to whom?! Polar bears?
But it wasn't exactly Alice's fault -I had to admit. If I weren't such a work-aholic, I wouldn't need a break. And boy did I need a break. I had been pulling in some serious overtime at the store to pay off my student loans. I wondered how Newton's was holding up without me…You are NOT allowed to think about work! Right…that's something else Alice had said.
She wanted me to relax and take a vacation. She even spent eight whole weeks trying to get me to agree. I argued that I didn't need a vacation, that I loved working. She said that was exactly why I needed one-mental health.
She of course would be staying with her boyfriend, Jasper, for her vacation. Poor Jasper. I bet he was sitting in a pink boutique somewhere holding Alice's shopping bags right now.
I dialed her cell phone for what seemed like the millionth time. For some reason, our phones refused to connect. UGH! I needed to call her and tell her than despite my earlier trepidation and temper tantrums, I had decided to take her up on her offer to loan me her family's cabin.
I guess it wasn't that bad here. The scenery was something to see. Arizona was as flat as Alaska was mountainous. It was beyond awing. Okay, maybe I wouldn't have to kill Alice. Perhaps I'd just give her a slap on the wrist and a warning.
As I was standing outside the Denali airport admiring the breathtaking scenery, I felt cold, wet specks begin to assault my face. Great-snow. Snow was worse than all the rain I had to endure with when I visited my dad in Washington. Ugh. This trip was off to a rocky start already.
Suddenly, someone loudly cleared his or her throat. I looked over to see a very tall and russet skinned man standing outside of a taxi. I must have looked startled because he gave me a reassuring smile.
"You look lost. Could I give you a ride?" He asked gesturing to his taxi.
"I-uhm-sure. If you know where this address is." I answered awkwardly, showing him the slip of paper with my destination's address on it. As his eyes scanned it, he began to chuckle.
"Do I know where this is? Of course, the Pitsiark Estate is the most luxurious in the city. You sure must be loaded to be staying up there."
It would have been a rude comment had he not given me a friendly smile and a wink.
"Rich? No, not me. It actually belongs to my best friend. She's loaning it to me."
"Ah, loaded friends. You sure know how to pick 'em. Pitsiark means 'beautiful' in Alaska. You'll see what I mean when we get there," he laughed. "Well, hop in, Ms.-uh-"
"Swan. But call me Bella"
"I will if you call me Jacob, Ms. Swan," he grinned. Jacob was always grinning it seemed. He gave Alaska a nice image I thought.
As we began driving through the city, I looked out the passenger seat window and realized that Alaska had a lot of nice images. Everything was so pristine. I had insisted on sitting in the front because I had motion sickness. Jacob didn't seem to mind. We just chatted amicably about the weather and things to do in Denali as I mentally photographed every beautiful sight I saw.
Then Jacob told me all about his ancestors, the natives of Alaska. It was really cool to hear the legends and stories he told. He was such a great storyteller, I didn't notice the developing blizzard until he mentioned it.
"I don't want to scare you, but this incoming snow is looking pretty ominous. They're saying there's going to be a lot of accumulation in the area you're staying. So…uh…if you need anything like chopped wood or chains on your tires…this is my card and you can call me anytime."
He passed his card to me while still looking out the windshield. I could see his russet skin gain a little redness near his cheeks. It was so sweet of him.
"Oh, thanks, Jacob. It's nice to have at least one friend in this town since I'll be here I while."
He smiled when I mentioned my long stay. It was my turn to blush.
"So," Jacob said, looking more relaxed, "Who exactly is your friend that so generously loaned you their cabin? I know most of the people going in and out around the airport."
"Um, Alice Cullen," I said, wondering why I suddenly felt uncomfortable about revealing this to Jacob.
"Cullen?!" Jacob turned to stare at me in shock. This made me uncomfortable since I didn't know what the big deal was…and he wasn't looking at the road. "You're friends with the Cullens?! Holy cow."
"Is that bad?" I whispered.
"Well, they're not so bad…just different I guess. I mean, I get along with most of them, but they just freak me out a little. They're so…I don't know… strange… and insanely rich."
"Well, I knew Alice was a little…unique, but I just considered her special. She's my best friend in the whole world. And the wealth thing doesn't really bother me unless she insists on spending it on me," I said firmly, getting a little defensive.
"Look, just forget I said anything," Jacob said in a controlled voice, as if he what he wanted to say would upset me. We were silent for a few minutes until he put on a fake smile and said, "Here we are- The Pitsiark Estate. Right up there-that huge log cabin-that's where you'll be staying."
I could do nothing but stare in awe at the cabin like I did with the mountains. It was beautiful, glorious even. I wasn't a cabin as much as it was a sprawling ranch home covered with log accents. I'd been picturing something…I don't know…more like what Abraham Lincoln might have stayed in? But I doubted Lincoln had a huge generator parked outside his house.
I turned my stunned face to Jacob laughing as he got out to open my door and carry my bags to the front door. He was forced to drop the bags in order to catch me as I stumbled and fell on the thick ice outside my door. He laughed at my embarrassed expression. Well, at least one of us was getting a kick out of my frozen butt because I sure wasn't. Thankfully, the rest of my journey to the front door was uneventful. Jacob said something about the weather looking like it was getting really bad. Great, just what I needed, more ice.
I carefully walked up the steps to the beautiful wooden door that had all of these animal carvings on it. So cool-I couldn't wait to see what the rest of the cabin looked like. As I started to open the door, I turned to see Jacob looking conflicted.
"Alright, Bella. I guess I'll see you around. Be safe. Remember that you have my card. Call me if you need…anything." His gaze made me blush. At least it could be blamed on the ferocious winds that were accompanying the suddenly heavy downfall of snow.
"Okay, thanks again Jacob." I tried to pay him his due fare, but he refused me with a wink. Smiling to myself-I watched him as he pulled off, then used to key Alice had given me to finish opening the door.
The cabin's warmth hit me immediately when I opened the door. Looking around the interior of the cabin's front room, I felt my face transform once again into a mask of shock.