It was a scorcher of a day in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Calista Reashore and her husband Michael had recently moved to the area to be closer to Mike’s sister Lacy and her family. It was so hard to be miles away from the people you loved. Even harder in ways to abandon the place you grew up for the unknown. However, in this instance, taking a leap of faith was something that they personally needed to do.
“Babe, can you bring me in the box marked curtains!” Callie called, looking at the bare windows in the dining area. The heat pump was blasting cool air, and she was standing basking in the brief reprieve. For a few seconds, she almost felt comfortable. She stood biting her nails; she knew the sheers were there somewhere. When they packed, she had marked everything. It was her OCD kicking in a bit. One little tumble in the drier would de-wrinkle the beasts, and then voila, window art.
Glancing around the space’s interior, she was excited to have some art that she’d found in the attic hanging on the walls already. There were four pieces, all beautifully hand-painted and then framed in magnificent real cedar frames. Two were of places on the land where not much had changed since the painter had captured the moment on canvas. The first you saw when you entered, which was hung in the foyer, was a spectacular image of the entrance that led to the main house. It looked like the artist had sat and painted it from the start of the gated driveway. The details on the trees were amazing. Even the old willows that still sheltered the bend in the driveway were captured in their youth. It was the final painting the artist had completed that she was in possession of. CJM 1801.
Callie’s favorite was one of a river bank. Which if she wasn’t mistaken was down past a path before you reached the former slave cottages. It appeared to be dusk, and the rich orange and red colors of the leaves hinted it was done in the fall. The signature was in the right lower corner of every painting—usually calligraphy styled CJ—but the date was different on two of them and the later painting added an initial. It hinted that the artist was female, which made sense. Painting was a big hobby for wealthy women. The fall scene Callie adored was marked CJ 1791.
One painting really stood out from the group. It was of a woman, who oddly had traits similar to a slave, but wore a beautiful navy and gold gown similar to what a highly wealthy lady would wear. She had striking green eyes, and her hair was swept up into the typical fashion of the time, accentuated by a matching hat of white, navy and gold that sat perfectly tipped to one side. A delicate shy smile was arching one side of her lips, as if smiling at her lover. Callie had been drawn to the painting, taking in the delicate details: a loose curl, a gold ring she assumed was the lady’s wedding band, and the careful brush strokes that scalloped the neckline of the dress. She also looked like she could be her own sister, which creeped her and Mike out when they first discovered it. CJ 1791 was in the corner, the same year of the fall painting, but from the blurred background, it appeared to be earlier like summer, compared to the scenic masterpiece that hung next to the bookshelf.
A large piece of two white children playing with slave children was hanging in the dining room. It was depicted from the back of the house with the wrap around veranda. A boy and a girl, dressed in fine clothing seemed to be playing hide and seek. The boy was close to the veranda, where an older man smoking a pipe stood watching. His grayish brown beard suggested he was older. Possibly their father? Possibly not. He appeared to be wealthy, as his clothes were white and he was not working like the other grown-ups in the background were. A man on a horse with his back to the audience was looking down on the fields that seemed to stretch on forever.
The boy was older, perhaps mid-teens, his hands over his eyes as if counting. The girl and a slave girl hid together down behind a tree in the lower right near the initials and date: CJ 1774. Other darker skin children were hidden as well, but appeared jovial and happy, peeking out from their respective hiding places. This was the only one with a title skillfully scrolled on the back. The Naivety of Youth. CJ 1794.
With both dates added to this painting, Callie assumed it was a memory for the artist. She had taken an art history course during her first year of college. It was her transition year, when she thought about possibly getting a Bachelor of Arts. She dropped out after her first semester, and switched her focus to culinary school. The painting held the blunt image of the cruelness of slavery, while masked with a whimsical depiction of how oblivious children are to the hatred adults possess. Clearly, the children didn’t care who they played with. They all just enjoyed the company of friends, while the looming image of a slave overseer watching from his horse over the fields depicted the future roles each would bear. It was an odd piece since it invoked emotions of such sadness and innocence all at once. The name given to it had been carefully thought of, and well suited. After debating if the piece would be offensive to some, the overall perspective seemed to be that it told a story about this place, and how far it had come.
Calista’s mother, Colette, had made the move to West Virginia as well, chucking in a decent amount of money for the closing costs on the lavish estate. She was busy sweeping in the corner, excited their hard work was nearing completion. Calista and Mike were all she had left since her Ronald had passed. The young couple’s decision to invest in a stunning inn near a national park, a few states away, seemed like a beautiful start to this new chapter. Despite the historical injustices that had made Willowton a formidable plantation, and Callie’s father’s ancestral relations to a slave’s somewhere in the state, they all fell in love with the place.
Colette had managed similar establishments during the past thirty years, and agreed in exchange for an in-law suite to help manage the twenty-five-room establishment. Watching her son-in-law and daughter begin their dream was a proud moment. Callie had begun to talk about children. Collette hoped that before too long, the couple would be adding a new member to the family. She felt like the couple, at twenty-seven and twenty-nine, should at least start trying. It had taken her six years to have Callie. By that time, Ron had given up hope they would conceive.
As she glanced around the pristine room, inwardly she felt a sense of calm wash over her. She was certain Ron would have been proud as well, as she glanced at the work they had done. The place was hardly recognizable since they had accepted the keys. A lot of the change was due to elbow grease, but the boys had done a fabulous job on renovations as well.
Mike walked in with the sizable box and placed it on the side table equipped to handle the weight. Bending down he planted a big kiss on his wife, who looked cute in a dirty old ripped pair of overalls. Watching their loving nature toward each other made Colette so happy. Mike was the perfect man for her daughter: loving, strong, and supportive. She felt blessed that Callie had found someone who loved her the way Ron had loved the both of them. It didn’t hurt that he was smart either.
So many men today were utterly useless. She blamed it on the new-age crap psychologists preached about encouraging men to express their feelings, and don’t discipline your kids because it hurts their feelings. The world was getting crazy! All she was seeing were generations of entitled individuals who felt the world owed them a favor. Real men knew how to fix a toilet or a tire, in her opinion anyway, and women who judged good men for holding a door or paying for dinner deserved the loser they got.
In moments like this though, if she was being honest, deep down she had to admit as cute as it was, a twinge of jealousy would flare up when she saw the way were with each other. Ron was gone, and she wasn’t sure after having the best, she would ever allow a man to know her again. It was sad since she was only fifty-three. Love was hard, but losing love was the hardest thing she had ever been through.
Staring wordlessly, watching the two of them smile and flirt with each other like kids, still brought back such wonderful memories. She remembered Ron’s smell, and the safe feeling she would get when he would sneak up behind her and wrap her in his arms. Colette closed her eyes as the memory of them making love swept over her, making her feel like a hot dart pierced her heart. Did that empty, sad feeling ever go away? It had been three years, but still felt like yesterday. Three of his sweaters made the move with them, and when she felt really lonely she’d put one on, and try to channel his spirit to her. Dropping her eyes to her chore at hand, she felt her heart drop, because even in twenty years, there would still be a void. Millions of people felt this lost lonely feeling, and there were limited things they could do but stay busy to ensure that it didn’t consume them. The cost of love was grief, and the deeper the love the greater the grief.
It had taken her a while not to see his shadows in the hall or listen for his footsteps outside their door at night. His ghost was everywhere in their old house. Here she didn’t feel him at all. Honestly, she couldn’t say which was worse. Colette chastised herself for her momentary depression, and began to sweep while a tear trickled down her cheek from the quiet remembrance. She hoped he was proud of her for moving here. He had been the type of man who would have wanted her to move on and not sit around being miserable. It had taken her a while to decide that leaving the home they had shared was a step in a positive direction for her future. There was nothing holding her to Boston when Callie would be in West Virginia. Nothing but a ghost.
Calista was an average sized girl with beautiful caramel skin tone. She had curves in all the right places, although she was self-conscious of her thicker thighs. Her mother was Caucasian, but her dad had been African American. Calista’s beautiful unruly curly hair came from that part of her heritage, but she had her mother’s smaller frame. Ron had been a husky six foot five, so she often gave thanks that she had stopped growing at a more respectable height for a girl. After completing culinary school, Callie chose to stay close to home, accepting a job as head chef at a reputable establishment not far from their apartment. Mike and she had decided to move in together after high school, and both families were excited when the relationship began progressing to a more serious level.
Mike and she had met in her freshman year at Dr. Gregory Allen High School. He was a year and a few months older, and the captain of the football team. Despite his blue eyes and reddish blonde hair, she decided to give him a chance. Jocks really weren’t her thing, especially pretty boy ones, but he was a persistent young man. It took him well into the first semester, but he wore her down to accepting one date. Truthfully, she ended up saying yes just so he’d leave her the hell alone.
After getting to know one another, she realized he was much more than the athletic type she had previously criticized. He packed picnics as surprises. He brought her flowers because he knew she loved lilies. He went crazy when others cursed around her, and even went to dinner on family holidays with a smile because even if he felt initially uncomfortable, he wanted to make her happy.
Callie’s daddy, Ronald, was her idol so she had wanted to date someone similar to him. Mike was tall, but still a good inch shorter than Ron. He was silly, just like her father, and as they grew closer she noticed they shared many of the same mannerisms such as ridiculous dancing to make her laugh or farting and locking the windows. While the latter was far from charming, it was his goofiness that ultimately made her fall in love with him. She had always thought she’d want to date African American men, but her prejudice changed quickly as she and Mike grew more serious. What she came to understand was love was blind to all the physical traits she had held in high regard. Growing up the daughter of an interracial marriage had taught her most of that anyway, but experience put it more into perspective. As she matured the more she grew to recognize that people created their own prejudices which admittedly she had been just as guilty of.
Mike worked hard at his father’s carpentry business on the weekends, and when he wasn’t playing ball he devoted his life to making her feel like a princess. Friday nights were devoted to football, but Saturday he spent the day and night with her. Her parents loved him, and he grew close to them as well. Ron had told Colette countless times that if Callie and Mike broke up, he wasn’t sure if he could handle it. Mike had been the only boy Calista had dated, so they expected at some point the relationship would run its course. However, as more years passed, it looked more probable that Mike was the one.
Ronald and Mike worked on cars together, when Callie would let them. Despite Ron’s appreciation for producing the best daughter in the world, he always dreamt of having a son. He found that in Mike. They bonded over their mutual love, and ended up rebuilding a 69’ Camaro together. The grand reveal was a touching surprise, when the two men silently backed the car out of the garage on prom night. Colette kept Callie busy with fixing odds and ends, so when Mike knocked on the door in his tuxedo, the car was glistening behind him. Ron videotaped the moment on his phone, and the look on Callie’s and Colette’s faces was priceless. It was fire engine red, and a far cry from the heap of junk that they started with. Both had kept it hidden from the girls, who had reluctantly agreed not to peek inside the garage as they tinkered when time allowed. Lovingly, Ron nicknamed Mike, Ging or G, and the name stuck between the two until the older man’s death.
They wanted to rent an apartment together shortly after prom, which Ron wasn’t overly happy about. He didn’t like the idea of his baby living with Mike before a ring was on her finger, which really made Mike rethink when they should get married. He had assumed it would be best to wait to have their careers, but with the economy being what it was, he knew being financially stable was a long way off. Hell, they’d probably be too old to even try for children. Also, like any man, he was nervous to make that kind of commitment, even though he loved Callie more than anything. A long talk with his would-be father-in-law ultimately put the bug in him to go for it.
As with everything, it was a family affair. Colette had been so excited she had almost blown the surprise. Mike arranged to be at home when she got there one evening, as Colette and Ron barbequed. His parents, Jane and Lou, were also invited. Lacy, his sister, was already moved away by then and married, but Jane skyped her as the big moment occurred.
Callie hadn’t expected the dinner and had grown suspicious when she walked in to see everyone sitting around laughing. Wine was open, and as far as she knew there was no celebration she had forgotten. Mike walked over to her as she hung up her jacket, and plopped down on one knee instantly putting her into a tearful shock. “Calista Rosetta Williams,” he asked, his hand shook as he took the ring from the navy velvet case setting, “would you do me the honor of being my wife?” Callie had no clue he was planning such a big step, but as the tears swam down her face, and everyone else waited anxiously, she flung herself into his arms nodding. The ring was a sparkler. A beautiful princess cut, set in platinum. He had saved for a while knowing that at some point he would need to get her something special. He twirled her around and she kissed him, then bolted for her own parents to show off the ring. As she praised his taste, it made the extra shifts and sacrifice all the more worth it.
It was one of the happiest memories she could remember, even as she looked back to that evening, she found it impossible to top. One year after they married, her father passed away from a massive heart attack. Colette had been devastated, so upon graduation Callie decided to stay in the area and work. Mike still had another year of law school, so it worked well for them to remain in Boston temporarily. Callie remembered sitting sifting through old photos, with tears streaming down her face, so thankful that her dad had at least seen her married. A picture of her and her him dancing to Rascal Flatt’s My Wish, was hanging in a framed photo in her bedroom. It was her favorite picture. Her elegant ball gown was picture perfect. Ron’s gray tuxedo and infectious smile captured the moment perfectly. She could still hear him whispering in her ear, ‘Let me lead,’ and then chuckling as she stepped on his toes. Dancing was hardly her best skill, even though he had tried to teach her countless times.
After more than five years honing her culinary skills, she was excited when Mike said he had an opportunity to move to West Virginia. His sister had started her family there, and Jane had passed away in a car accident six months before. Lou decided to sell everything and move down to be closer to his grandchildren, so really, they had more family there than Boston now. It still hurt her to go to her parent’s place, expecting her Dad to turn a corner expecting a hug. Mike was in a bit of depression as well, only new to the ache of losing one of his parents. They both knew that change had to come or they were both going to go out of their minds. After a long talk, both agreed that Boston held too many bad memories now, so they began searching real estate sites online, in the hopes something would speak to them.
By chance they came across the old plantation online, and suddenly their future became more geared toward entrepreneurism. At first, the price took their breath away. It wasn’t until Colette said she would be interested in investing that the dream began to really manifest. Callie’s biggest dream had been to open her own restaurant, and Mike and Colette were very aware of that. However, as the vision of renovating the plantation into an inn started materializing, everyone got excited. Lacy’s husband Patrick was a contractor in the area, so he would be able to do good prices for them. Lou, Mike’s father, was a retired carpenter who would work for cash. Mike had worked with Lou for years in high school to make some extra spending money, so he felt confident that he could do some of the more menial things on his own. As they began to see how feasible this was, they agreed to put in a bid. The only difficulty was, that the old inn was rumored to be haunted, but that detail actually worked in their favor. It had sat on the market for a while, so when they came in with a few hundred thousand less than the asking, the owner didn’t even counter.
As they continued cleaning they heard a big crash in the back room. Mike and Callie bolted, while Colette just froze. Some paranormal things excited her, and some just made her angry. If spirits could communicate, why hadn’t Ron come through to her? Why did she not feel him in bed with her at night, like she prayed before she closed her eyes? Why didn’t she feel the signs other people claimed their loved ones gave them? She listened as Mike began to curse.
The sturdy shelving unit they had screwed into the wall the day before was completely tipped over. Their pots and pans were all scattered, which meant they all needed to be sterilized again. Callie put a hand to her head, overwhelmed by the prospect. The last thing she needed was a rogue ghost creating more work for her. Little things like flickering lights or footsteps above them in the attic were difficult at times to wrap their heads around. However, dangerous activity like physically knocking things over was another thing. If an accident occurred to a guest, they could be sued for everything. Callie was having a great deal of anxiety over the entire prospect. Her lawyer suggested that they make the haunted experience a part of the marketing and have guests sign a form when they checked in. They thought it was a great idea, since it was not a secret to begin with.
Some glass dishes had shattered, so Mike grabbed a spare broom and stared to sweep up. “I can get it!” she insisted, as he peered down at her with a look of concern and shook his head.
“I’ll get the glass. You start on the pots.” He ordered, prepared not to take any answer from her other than yes. Callie knew he hated her being around anything she could get hurt on, so rather than argue about it, she just moved over to the sterilizer. After all, the pots had to be a priority too.
Mike examined the wall where the unit was placed, and felt a trickle of fear go down his spine. It was very clear that the unit should not have fallen. It almost looked like it was pulled from the wall in a rage. The only explanation was that something made it fall. Until lately, there had been very little activity except the flickering of the lights at odd times. Was the ghost trying to send a message to scare them? Examining the scene, he had to admit it was unnerving.
* * *
After more than an hour and a half of cleaning, Mike was thinking more and more about the history of the place. He had glanced at it when they first bought the place, and had been impressed by the story. It was originally a Jefferson estate, and an impressive plantation for about a hundred and seventy years.
During the civil war, there had been issues, but the Jefferson’s had quickly freed their slaves. It had hurt their wealth a bit, but not enough to ruin them. It was something that had stood out about this place, making him feel that overall it was ignorance instead of evil that had started the place’s ghostly history. The lawyer in him wanted details. He knew he had the file in the study, and wanted to see if it hinted as to who might be so angered by their death that they were still trapped here. “Cal, I want to go read over some of the documents the real estate agent gave me. Text if you need me,” he called, as he exited the kitchen and made his way to the secluded private entrance off the back.
He climbed the stairs to their private apartment, where he had his small office space off their bedroom. The paperwork would be in the filing cabinet. He was as OCD with filing as Callie was with organizing household items. Opening the drawer, he sifted through briskly, knowing he had marked it precisely, ‘The History of Willowton’. Pulling out the correct file, he flopped down in his gray sweats and reading glasses, excited to skim the document. It was very possible that he would come across this spirit’s name, since there was a list of every owner since the property was built.
The old inn had once been one of the biggest tobacco plantations in the state, being built by Field Jefferson in 1749. His grandfather was a grandson of John Jefferson, one of the first ancestors with the surname registered in Virginia in the late 1500s. Field Jefferson made a fortune after inheriting and investing in some land close to Charleston, and then sold it for nearly ten times the price. He was far from Robert ‘King’ Carter’s wealth, one of the richest men in the colonies, but he was still sickeningly rich.
Field owned sixty-five thousand acres around Virginia, but sold forty thousand of them when approached by the governor who had plans for the area. What he did then was create a small plantation of five thousand acres in Lexington, and another one of similar size in Monroe. However, the major estate was the plantation in Harper’s Ferry.
The landscape around the property was absolutely breathtaking, and Field found it hard to leave when business took him away. The family donated some of the property in the 1900s to the government for the park preservation, which was really an added bonus to the property. Now the estate was a more modest eighteen hundred acres, which was still a steal at the price.
Mike read over his deed and bill of sale. They paid two point three million, with a down payment of one and a quarter million. Between their personal savings, Colette’s generous contribution and money he was given from the insurance following his mother’s accident, they easily obtained the remaining balance plus additional funding for renovations.
At the time, Field had easily been the wealthiest man in the area of Harper’s Ferry where the Willowton Grove Estate flourished. He was known to be a stern business man who was the second son of his own father Thomas.
His brother Thomas Jefferson Jr., had been the family favorite, which only added to the favor when his son of the same name made it into politics. Field’s son, Hugh, also made a notable name for the family, but it would be his cousin who went down in the history books. Something Field never lived to see. A backlog of information was explained to the couple before they signed on the dotted line. It was land still in the Jefferson family, but the family no longer wanted the upkeep of the estate. Many were scattered over the country and the land held little but monetary value now. It had become an inn in the early 1900s, but clearly wasn’t as up kept as it needed to be. Ultimately, the inn closed in 1939, when the second world war seemed to take a financial burden on the family.
Hugh, Field’s eldest son, was a cousin to Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers and principal writer for the Declaration of Independence, although the two were not relatively close because of their father’s competitive natures. Hugh was the destined heir to Field’s wealth, and made his daddy proud when he successfully ran for governor of the state and won. Field lived a few months past seeing his son’s success, but suffered a stroke in the fall of the same year. He died from complications.
After considerable consideration, Field split his wealth upon his death and gifted his younger sons, Peter and Griffin, the smaller estates in his will. Hugh still owned the fifteen-thousand-acre plantation, plus over six million dollars his father left in cash, but he always found it unfair to leave other sons completely out of the fortune when there was more than enough to go around.
The younger boys each obtained the estates in Monroe and Lexington along with five hundred thousand in cash. Making their family name one to command respect in the state. Every man wanted their daughters to marry a Jefferson boy. The Willowton estate came with three hundred slaves, while the smaller estates each had a fair one hundred a piece. It wasn’t the nice part of history, but it was the true part.
Hugh wasn’t a bad man, but he definitely wasn’t soft either. Like most of the Jefferson men, he was known to be hot tempered and stubborn. Hugh married Margot Anne Foster, a daughter of the town Mayor, and had built onto the massive mansion while serving as Governor. He and Margot had grown up in similar circles, and it was more of a marriage of love than was noted for the time. Together they had five children, three boys and two girls. Unfortunately, two of the boys died in infancy and one girl died of smallpox as a teenager.
Even with the impressive history of the estate and beautiful grounds, the house just wouldn’t sell. It didn’t help that the updates needed were extensive, but with the reputation that some of the old slaves and one of the old wives still haunted the place, they really walked away with a steal. It hit the market the first time in 2004, but no one bit. The family relisted it three other times, before Mike and Callie put in a bid. However, most people from the area knew about the paranormal activity reported on the property, and the others had no idea what to do with such a vast place.
Michael had negotiated the price down, both because of the long listing, and its street credit around Harper’s Ferry. Neither he or Callie believed that ghosts walked the halls when they began discussing price negotiations, but as days and weeks went by, they found it increasingly difficult to hire people to help with the renovations. They moved in with Lacy and Patrick for a few months, until some of the more essential renovations were completed. When they were finally able to move into their home, they realized all the talk might have been true. Their first night was like living in a real-life horror movie. Whispers were coming from dark places, the lights were temperamental, and footsteps could be heard above them. It was then that their perceptions began to change.
The more they renovated the more activity picked up. People quit regularly because of it. Finally, after going through every known contractor in town, they had to hire outside of the city to find a man willing to work at the historic place. Patrick worked for free, but only when he had free time.
Gus Kirkland laughed it all off. He admitted to the family, they most definitely were not alone on the estate, but living and working in one of the oldest colonies of America had taught him a thing or two about spirits. “First of all,” he whispered to Mike one evening, “In today’s world son, it ain’t the dead you need to fear, it’s the living!” Mike had witnessed a few things he couldn’t explain, which he was more than happy to admit had freaked him out. “Second,” Gus laughed, “Once you acknowledge a ghost and let it know you ain’t afraid, it doesn’t screw with you as bad.” Mike was a skeptic, but he filed that in the back of his brain in case he needed the information later.
It had been a long nine months, but the renovations were finally complete. The main floor boasted four rentable rooms, all to the east wing of the house. They were individually renovated to be all hardwood, with jet Jacuzzis installed in each.
In the main entrance, they completely redid the interior. They added a small check-in desk, which left most of the space nice and open. All light colors were used to create a very clean and homey feel for guests when they walked in. After watching Hotel Hell with Gordon Ramsey, they really felt like they hit the main must dos. Old wall paper was stripped and replaced, with the beam ceilings merely varnished. Mike utilized his painting skills to get the job done in under half the cost. The ghost wasn’t happy about the wallpaper being expelled, and knocked over a few cans of paint one evening. Mike felt like an idiot scolding some imaginary being, but tried to take Gus’s advice in being stern. “I’m not leaving, so you better get used to the changes!” he hollered, cursing under his breath at the mess the paint made. Callie heard him, and walked over. When she saw the mess, she couldn’t help but chuckle. “It’s a good thing you put down the drop sheet.” Mike just shook his head and went back to what he was doing.
Off to the right was a large formal sitting area complete with an eighty-inch flat screen on top of a refinished fireplace that had been in the building since its creation in the early 1700s. There was a large leather sectional overlooking it, with four love seats and three recliner chairs positioned to offer comfort for anyone wanting to relax in the place. On the far wall, they repainted a floor to ceiling bookshelf, and lined it with reading material: some original books that were left on the shelves, and then a few romance novels and magazines that the girls read.
On the back wall, they ripped out a dated bar area, and modernized with a white lit counter top that wrapped around one side. Beside it, was a window that overlooked a large in-ground pool for guests. It also had a walk-up window for guests on the deck who didn’t wish to wait for their waitress. All they replaced on the pool was the liner, and it looked brand new.
The opposite side was a spacious dining area, set up in a pub style fashion. It had a door leading to half of a wraparound terrace, where little bistro sets were erected. It also had a bar area, where two fifty-inch flat screens were strategically placed to offer entertainment with minimal distraction. Only eight tables were placed, with one accommodating sitting for a large party in a half booth style. A small stage was erected toward the front, where they installed a small karaoke machine.
Upstairs on the second level were six suits. Three were theme rooms, and three were historically accurate old fashioned suits, complete with old claw foot tubs they scavenged from the basement and old four poster beds they refinished. It was honestly difficult to decide which space was more beautiful.
The top level was, at first, six bedrooms. They ripped out the walls, creating massive living apartments. Colette had a small living room, kitchenette, bath, and bedroom. A small elevator had been installed in the 80s, which offered her more security as her age progressed, and the stairs became harder to climb. It also made all their lives easier by being able to fit certain furniture in there to carry it to the top floor. It was also located off their private entrance way, so really a bonus to their property.
Mike and Callie made their area more open spaced. The living room kitchenette was one space, only separated by an island. Their bedroom had sliding doors to make the rooms more open. It was big enough to host a small office space for Mike. They opted for a smaller bathroom with walk-in closet. Neither liked a bath, so a shower was more functioning for the space. It was down a short hallway, and had a small room, for a future nursery. Currently, it was their main storage space. It was left large enough to possibly split if they welcomed their ideal two children. Also, they had the option of redoing the attic in the future which had the entrance in their hall way between the bathroom and small bedroom.
They budgeted for three hundred and fifty thousand, and came in slightly above reno value at three seventy-five. Mike, and Lacy’s husband Patrick, did a lot of the monotonous work themselves. Still, things were a lot pricier than anyone estimated. Lou assisted when he could, but his knees were really bothering him lately. Patrick’s contacts provided the odd deal, so he saved them money where he could. Those were the benefits of using family. Gus was more of a specialist, but all the men quickly fell into a mutual comradery that really made the process so much smoother.
Out back, there was an old woodshed, outhouse, and six of the old slave homes still standing. They redid four of them, converting them into functional cabins. Each had creative outdoor showers, but small bathrooms installed. They left one for storage, and one to play to the historical accuracy of what a slave house would have looked like. While it was a sad experience for most, it was also something that added to the place’s draw. While the idea of what a plantation was to many, it was also a relevant part of history that reminded people what the nation was built on. The small slave home closest to the main house was also one of the places that had the most paranormal activity, so whenever they tried to change something things began to go wrong. Ultimately, they decided whoever was occupying the place wanted it left alone.
Since the estates name was the Willowton Grove Plantation, they decided to keep some of the historic flare, and title it The Willowton Inn. They hired a manageable staff, considering their own schedules. Mike was on staff two days a week, making sure it was weekdays to not cut into the tips for the men who truly needed it. His practice was going well, so he didn’t want to take on too much. Also, weekends they employed more staff and service men. They had the job of mowing and landscaping, plus fixing odds and ends that Mike wasn’t sure about. So far, the whole thing was working as an organized unit, but with only 3 days under their belt so far, and none with actual customers that was not saying much.
They had booked up the next month in the rooms, with reservations looking promising in the dining room for two weeks steady after the opening. Callie was excited, but like any new entrepreneur nervous for the actual opening day. A critic was coming on Saturday, and doing a piece for the paper. It added stress, since it could really be good or bad for business. The only comfort she got was that the inn was completely renovated, and unique to the area so many were eager to try it. They even used the haunted aspect to their advantage, by displaying some of the site’s history around the common room.
Opening day/night was two more days away—September 26th—they were set to have a spectacular party Sunday, to showcase the estate and food. Gates would be open from four to ten with a buffet backyard lunch being served including free hotdogs for the kids. It showcased the wedding area which they were finishing up. Admission was free, but meal tickets were on sale at the door or by phone. Callie intended to put a little bit of everything from their menu on display. That way they could highlight what the restaurant really had to offer.
Mike’s niece, Payton, was face painting; they hired a man to do pony rides; three local bands were volunteering their time to play and every guest was entered into a draw to win a weekend stay, plus dinner for two. So far advanced tickets had sold well. Sixty-five steak and rib dinners were sold for pick up, and the estate tours booked up so quickly that they decided to add a third one. The old estate was immensely popular in the community, so now that it was no longer a private place, those interested in the mystery around it flocked to get their first view.
The pressure was on. Callie had most of her prep work complete, and a small staff was on duty through the day ensuring everything was perfect. Starting next week, Mike was going to try to work Monday to Wednesday, then Friday at his law office from nine to five. Thursday, he was scheduled to bartend their regular hours of 11:00 am to 1:00 am. He would take Saturday and Sunday off. Callie was attempting to work the same shifts, but as the primary owner it was her baby.
Tossing the document on the desk, after going through the entire file and renovation receipts, he heard Callie walk in. “Mike?” She called, “Honey!”
Mike called, “In here, baby.” Skimming some of the names again of former owners.
“Find anything?” she inquired, undoing her ponytail, attempting to get ready for the shower.
Mike looked sexy. She loved his glasses, and jokingly called him Poindexter. He glanced up, biting on his pencil in typical lawyer research mode. “Lots of names. Cool facts, but no hints.” Callie walked over to him and straddled him on the chair.
His eyes went teasingly to hers, as he reached to undo her bibs. Callie leaned in, and kissed his neck. His hands slipped beneath her top, and toyed their way up to the bra that was constraining her perfect C cup breasts. With the small flick of his fingers, the clasp sprang free and the soft flesh filled his kneading hands.
Eagerly, he lifted her top over her head, and replaced his hands with his mouth. “Want to get a shower with me?” she cooed. Moving her hand down to touch his growing member. The sweats allowed easier access.
“Maybe after.” He replied hotly, lifting them up and walking them to the bed.
“I’m filthy, honey!” Callie argued, as he tugged on the pants to lower them. Her cute little black thong was all that was left. Smiling slyly, he tugged them out of the way in one swift motion. As he went back to sucking her tits, his fingers drove up inside of her. “I know you’re a dirty girl, baby… it’s part of the reason I love you.” He chuckled.
Callie felt his lips on her collarbone, and had to admit, he was touching all the right spots to persuade her. She let her thighs part wider, as her own hands began to lower his sweats and his hard penis slipped out. They both smiled, as her soft hand grasped his firmness and massaged it. His fingers slipped deeper, as his thumb massaged her clit. She was so wet she was nearly panting. “Your nipples are so hard, baby.” He whispered, focusing his attention back to them. “You want to play or come?”
A soft smile formed on her lips at the comment. Was that an actual question right now after they both worked tirelessly all day? Callie couldn’t play dumb. She knew what he wanted. “I’m going to torture you,” she whispered, as she reached for the remote to hit the soft sexy music they left for moments like this.
Mike sat up and moved himself to the side of the bed. He took off his shirt, and sweats. Now they had an even playing field; they were both naked as the soft music of Lionel Ritchie’s song Do it to me, filtrated through their bedroom.
Callie began to move, slowly by herself, without a care or concern for what she saw as body flaws. Really, she was gorgeous. Curves in the right places, meat on the bones to show she was healthy and happy. Her slow sexy dancing was keeping his erection standing at full attention. As she slowly approached, she dropped seductively in front of him and ran her hand up his thigh. Biting her lip, she stared up into his heated eyes as she stopped just before touching anywhere close to where he wanted her to. She laughed, a low moan from him made her smile broaden. When he reached out to touch, she slapped his hands and turned around.
As she moved erotically up his body to the music, she placed her hands on his thighs. She could feel his cock pushing into her back as the chorus hit. Rolling her head back to expose her neck, he kissed her throat. That was her spot, it made her instantly hot. Mike’s soft moist lips, trailed down her neck, she thought of them on other parts of her body and she was done. Leaning back into him, she allowed herself to just enjoy the sensations he was creating within her. Like most women, the small attention to detail was making her come alive even as exhausted as she had felt seconds before. Her hair brushed his erection, and she felt his breathing change. A soft groan escaped, as instinctively she popped out her butt to slowly lower it so the tip touched her velvet entry. However, as he thought she was going to impale herself, she scooted back up and away to dance again.
“Babe, come here!” He motioned with his fingers, but she shook her head.
Mike cocked an eyebrow, looking at her with a small hint of seriousness. “Callie!” he warned, as she sashayed forward and then pulled back when he reached for her. One of her hands moved down her breasts and between her legs to wet the tips of two fingers as she lip synced. He grinned and motioned again for her. Seductively, she placed one finger in her mouth and then slowly moved toward him for real. This time his hands extended and she felt herself being forcibly drawn to straddle him.
One leg spread around him, as the other went higher to around his back. Mike was kissing her softly, anticipating that first thrust inside of her tight entrance. Her breasts were pressed firmly to his chin, which was a spectacular view. Lowering his hand slowly down her side, he slipped it between her folds and began to strum the fully erect bud that was pulsating irately.
“I want to come inside you, baby.” He whispered hotly, biting one of her ear lobes. She flexed her leg muscles and lifted herself slightly, pushing his face farther between her cleavage, and purring with pleasure as his hands explored her.
“I want you to come inside me, honey. You feel so good!” She moaned, as he once more tongued her nipple. Her need was growing, as she lightly ground her pelvis on his warm lap. Callie could feel the taut muscles of his body as he loved her. He slid out of her, to tease, and she gave a low groan in protest. He left her literally hanging for a moment, before swiftly guiding himself back to the perfect position for penetration. Mike lifted her ass checks apart and up to ensure his stiffness would slide in with one sweet glorious explosion.
Both of them were sweating and moving in sync with each other, joined as one as the song ended and another soft slow one came filtering into their space. Sex and music went together like milk and cookies, in Callie’s opinion. Sure you could have one without the other, but when you combined them it heightened the experience. As she slid up and down him, with his guiding hands massaging her glutes, she focused on the sheer pleasure that their bodies were giving to one another. After so many years, he knew her body so well.
They were well into the third song, when her release built. It was then that she began to increase her own speed. Her face twisted in a mixture of pain and pleasure, opened and closed eyes. Mike knew how to fuck her, how to love her, and how to toss her into the abyss of climactic pleasure in one fell swoop. He tugged on her hair. She loved that. Then brought her neck to him to kiss and draw out the ecstasy fluttering within her. She was the type that liked when he took control, it made her feel more secure in herself as a woman. Her swollen cunt lips throbbed as his cock bucked and danced within the tight walls of her body. “Come for me Callie,” he commanded with a gentle voice, as he swatted her bouncing backside and massaged her ear lobe with his tongue.
A small cry escaped her, as the burst of sensations began. Small ripples of swirling pleasure began to emanate out in all directions, as he kept a firm grip on reality and her dissipating energy. Her heart was beating fast. Her skin was a sheen of orgasmic evidence, as he moved her to beneath him and slid deeper inside her like a speed skater in the home stretch of a gold medal. “Jesus!” he cried, as his seed spilled forward, and all his muscles briefly tensed to let the explosion occur.
Both of them were breathing heavy, as she began to laugh below him. He chuckled too, letting the relaxing feeling of stupor take over the moments following their consummation. Mike slide out of her as his erection softened, and rolled onto his back. The soft rise and fall of her chest was slowing. “Do you think the ghosts watch?” Callie asked, oddly serious.
Mike took his time answering. Finally, kissing her temple, he replied, “I would.” Making her chuckle with his brute honesty.
Climbing from the bed, naked and proud, she reached down and cupped his flaccid member in her hand, tugging gently. His eyes opened in confusion. “Come and shower with me.” She ordered, not letting him go. He began to harden again at her soft touch. Sitting up, he began to let her lead him by his cock to the bathroom. “Conservation. We should do our part for the planet.” He smiled as she started the water.
Releasing her lower hold, she grabbed his face and pulled his head down to kiss her hungry mouth. “Get my back?” she asked, pulling him inside the large glass enclosure that was already filling with steam. He took her strawberry scented body wash and lathered his hands. They slid sensually over her with just the right amount of force, letting the warm wetness sprinkle over them. “Back, front” he kissed her neck, “Here…” and lowered his hand to the V between her legs. It slid into her folds like a satin glove, gliding with the gentlest care, but commanding respect.
“Here…” he breathed heavily again, touching her back entrance and slipping a slick finger inside. Callie wasn’t big on anal sex, but sometimes enjoyed the different flutters it created. His lips were back on her neck, so she leaned back relaxed enough to let a moan escape. Her hand went down to cover his, letting his thumb begin to massage her already sensitive bud again. She was wet from the water, wet from the feel of his fingers on her, and slowly arousing back to the need of feeling his body fill her again.
His cock was hard and bopping behind her into her back, silently reminding her that what she was feeling was not just a one-way street of emotion. Lightly slapping her ass, he growled, “Hands on the wall, babe!” spinning her to his desired position. Bending her over, he positioned himself back to her opening and drove himself inside. Hard. One hand grasped her flaying breasts as the sound of them slapping wetly on her body further overtook his senses.
Callie’s breath caught in her throat, as he pushed deeper and harder inside. A slight discomfort from the second taking in less than ten minutes, made some of her muscles scream from the vigorous use. However, as he reached around and played with her, the sensation of the water overwhelmed them. Quickly, she felt herself begin to relax more into his thrusts and enjoy the feeling of him filling the inside of her. Mike forcibly kept a steady pace, trying not to think about how hot his wife was, bent before him naked and wet to his touch. Goddamn, he was a lucky man! He could think about nothing else, as her tight passage seemed to squeeze him. Callie mewed, “Honey, I’m going to come!” Adjusting his stride, he heard her quiet curse and held her tightly to his body as he came as well. God, it felt good to completely drain his balls inside her. After coming twice, he imagined how sweet sleep was going to be.
Callie turned, putting her arms around his neck and pulling his head down for another passionate kiss. The feeling of her hard nipples on his chest aroused him, despite the multiple orgasms they had just shared. Wiping his body with soap, and stepping beneath the pulsating rainfall, he watched her step out and towel herself off. Admiring her beauty, he contemplated how he had ever got so fortunate as to call this woman his. The heat felt amazing, but he wanted to make sure he pulled her into their bed before she dressed. Tonight, they were going to sleep naked. Hell, he was getting hard again picturing her full plump ass nestled tightly to him. Shutting off the water, he quickly toweled off his body and strode naked to their bedroom.
Callie was reaching into her nightdress drawer, as he came up behind her in the mirror. “Not tonight,” he commanded, leading her back to the bed with his protective arms around her. She laughed, seeing his readiness for her building again. Cocking an eyebrow at his vigor this evening, she began to laugh as he drew back the messed-up duvet, and ordered her inside. Obediently, she did as she was told shivering at the coolness of the material on her skin. Mike got in behind her, cradling her back toward his warmth. The alarm clock on the night stand showed 10:23 pm. As long as they were in bed before eleven, she knew it would be an okay morning.
Callie yawned, breathing in the comforting familiar smell of her body from her pillow. There really was no greater feeling than crawling into bed and knowing that she could sleep for a series of consecutive hours. It was one of the biggest fears she had about starting a family. She was the kind of morning person who you couldn’t talk to when she first woke up. It wasn’t until her second cup of coffee she could really stand people.
“I think we should see if we can get a medium to come in and sage the place. Maybe talk to these spirits and give us an idea about why they are still here.” Mike yawned, finding it suddenly hard to sleep. His mind kept flashing back to earlier when the shelving unit collapsed.
Seeing no other hope in finding out what was happening, Callie agreed. “My friend, Scarlet, knows a lady. Maybe we can set up a fun evening where she can do readings. Make it a Halloween themed party?”
Mike kissed her temple and pulled her close. “Perfect. Set it up, but tell her we would like her to sit with us first privately.” The last thing he wanted was the lady announcing to everyone that the ghost was on a mission to harm guests of the inn. The PR repercussions would be a nightmare. “We need to see if the things happening have something to do with us.”
“I’ll try her tomorrow.” Callie yawned again, closing her eyes and listening to the
relaxed sound of her own breathing. It didn’t take long for her to be far off in dream land.