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"This is the last timeâ€”and I mean it, Paulâ€”the very last time Iâ€™ll ever let you book our vacations for us." I couldnâ€™t believe what I saw.
"Why? How can you say that? You havenâ€™t even given the house a chance yet, Jack."
"Iâ€™ve given it a chance. Plenty of chances. Itâ€™s horrible. Absolutely horrible."
"No, itâ€™s not. Itâ€™s just...well loved."
"Well loved?" I tried to hold my temper in checkxâ€”after all, this was supposed to be a restful vacation. "Paul, itâ€™s somebodyâ€™s house!"
"I know that. I thought it was a great idea. We wanted to see Edinburgh the way the locals doâ€”"
"The poverty-stricken locals? God, Paul. Did you even look at some photos of it before you paid for it?"
"Of course I did." He got defensive. "I found the ad on Craigslist and there were tons of photos."
"And you saw the fake leather sofas and thought, what? That they were charming?"
"Theyâ€™re very retro, Jack. Very in right now." He had to be joking.
I was afraid to touch anything. There was a grubby vibe to it all. Iâ€™d just recovered from a serious illness, and I needed and wanted clean. I wanted a nice hotel room with fresh-smelling sheets.
"Of all the terrible things youâ€™ve done to me, babe, this is by far the worst."
He huffed and puffed a moment. "It was cheap, and besides, we agreed we wouldnâ€™t be inside all day. We agreed we wanted to have an authentic Edinburgh experience."
I turned to Milo, Paulâ€™s boyfriend. "And what do you think? You like this place?"
The curly haired Brazilian bombshell lifted his shoulders, ever expressive in a mere gesture. "No. Itâ€™s a nightmare. I hope I wake up soon, but in case I donâ€™t...itâ€™s paid for and they wonâ€™t give us a refund. By the way, I just tried to wash my hands in the bathroom and the cold water tap fell off."
"We got a discount for that," Paul said. "Anyway, somebodyâ€™s coming to fix it tomorrow."
I sniffed. "It smells in here. Iâ€™m pretty sure itâ€™s dirty diapers."
"They have a baby."
"I smell cat piss, too," Milo said.
"Come on, guys, itâ€™s not that bad. Youâ€™ll see. Hey, Jackâ€”Milo and I will let you have the pick of the bedrooms."
I lifted a brow. "Oh, that just makes my day. Only one room has a double bedâ€”the other is a kidâ€™s room. Is that the room you and Milo want?"
Milo looked alarmed. "No, no! No single bed for me. Youâ€™re single. The single person gets the single bed. And I donâ€™t dig the poopy diaper smell."
"Really?" I batted my eyelids in a facetious way. "I thought it was my choice."
"Be reasonable, Jack," Paul said. "Were you hoping to get lucky or something?"
"What are you suggesting? That I wonâ€™tâ€”or canâ€™tâ€”get lucky?"
An odd moment passed between us. This had been a mistake. What made me think it was possible to have a vacation, one I sorely needed, with my ex-lover and his hot new boyfriend?