Bachelor Remedy(10)

By: Carol Ross

She stood and stretched before stepping over to the corner behind her desk to fetch her bag.

“Speaking of the future—do you want to go to a party with me this weekend?”

“What kind of party?”

“It’s a welcome home, congratulations on getting your graduate degree party for my friend Iris. Casual, fun and there will be a ton of people.”

A party was exactly what she needed to meet people, make some connections, become a part of the community. She wanted people to get to know her before hearing about her and reaching the wrong conclusions, although she knew the “mud story” had probably already raced through town faster than a staph infection in an untreated wound.

“That would be wonderful, Flynn. Thanks.”


“WE’RE GOING TO the Cozy Caribou,” Flynn said after they exited the hospital. By silent mutual consent, they paused to admire the water of the bay sparkling below them like freshly ground glass. Thick green forest fanned out from snow-capped mountains jutting upward in the distance.

“See that red roof over there?” He pointed toward the middle of town, and Ally couldn’t help but notice the rectangular-shaped building situated roughly in the center. It seemed to be a pretty big place by small-town standards, certainly in relation to Saltdove, the remote village she’d grown up in, where there were exactly two “large” buildings, neither of which would ever be described as such.

“It would be difficult to miss. Let’s walk?”

Flynn nodded and took off at an unhurried pace. “This kind of evening makes me remember why I love it here.”

Ally agreed it was gorgeous. She’d only visited Rankins a few times before moving here, and she enjoyed the walk, seeing the tiny historic town through Flynn’s enthusiastic eyes as he pointed out businesses and landmarks, adding fun facts and anecdotes.

And clearly, Flynn wasn’t the only resident proud of their little town. Evidence of Rankins’s heritage was everywhere. They passed old fishing boats and equipment, vintage logging and mining tools, all strategically displayed and interspersed with newer, attractive sculptures and wood carvings. Along with the eclectic mix of building styles, the layout provided a pleasing glimpse of the town’s interesting and varied past.

Flynn said, “So, in case you don’t already know, the Cozy Caribou is an institution here.”

She gestured for him to go on.

“Half bar, half restaurant and all-around community gathering place, it can accommodate pretty much any event you can imagine—concerts, reunion        s, receptions, parties and meetings. They have karaoke nights and even an occasional poetry reading. Food is simple, home cooked and across-the-board fantastic, including the best fish and chips on the entire planet, and freshly brewed root beer that will make you forget your own name.”

Ally grinned. “Sounds like my kind of place.”

Flynn opened the door for her, and the second she stepped inside she knew it was true. The tension of the day began to recede as welcoming sounds bombarded them from all directions: laughter mixed with music while the slide-and-chime of dish on dish was accented by clinking silverware. Across the wide space and off to one side were a couple of pool tables. At the far end of the room a game of darts was in full swing. A group of women was seated at a large table nearby.

“Ah,” he said, following her gaze. “Friends of mine. Come on—I’ll introduce you to some of the nicest people. Most of them will be at the party Saturday, too.”

They approached the group and Flynn turned on his grin, gesturing around helplessly. “Uh-oh, I think I’m walking into a girls’ night thing here, aren’t I?”

A pretty blonde answered. “Well, it is girls’ night, but you can join us because you’re not one of our men and only if you don’t speak about any of them tonight. I happen to have argued with mine, and I don’t want his name mentioned.”

She reached out a hand toward Ally. “Hi, I’m Emily.”

Ally shook it. “Hi, Emily. Ally.”

Flynn draped an arm over Ally’s shoulder. “So, everyone, like Ally just said, this is Ally Mowak.” He started with the opposite side of the table where two look-alike women sat side by side. “Ally, this is Hannah and Shay. Sisters, in case you couldn’t tell.”

To the women, he added, “Ally is coming to Iris’s party with me this weekend.” He turned back to Ally. “Hannah owns and manages Snowy Sky Resort and JB Heli-Ski. Shay is the owner of the Faraway Inn and Restaurant.”