It’s time to set the record straight, the Bears aren’t the victims, and they aren’t even bears. Well, not in the way everyone’s led you to believe.
I know, this version is going to be controversial, but seriously, there are two sides to every story. And I refuse to stand by and allow the Bears to keep pretending like I’m the bad guy.
Did I enter their house without permission? Debatable. Did I ‘steal’ their porridge? Absolutely not! And what kind of monster breaks a baby’s rocking chair? Not this girl, that’s who! But the Bears have somehow reached legendary status. And they seem to have everyone fooled into believing that I, Golda E Lock, am a common criminal.
And before you say it, I know, Golda? It’s not the name I would’ve chosen, but whatever, my parents are to blame. I could hate them for the unfortunate moniker, but how could they know my beautiful, soft golden hair from childhood would fade into the straw-colored mop it has? They couldn’t, and I digress.
Let’s rewind, shall we?
It all began when the stupidly handsome, shockingly irresistible, seemingly perfect Mr. Patrick Parker Bear strolled into the marketplace months ago. The tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Bear, otherwise known as PaPa, is a regular around these parts. Sure I’d seen his hypnotic green eyes poking around the candle shop across from mine, a time or two. And I can’t say I never watched his perfectly sculpted arms lifting said candles to sniff them, or his thick thighs squatting to get something from a lower shelf, but who hasn’t, right? His sleek, smoldering style is drool-inducing, and I’m sure most women would notice him, ok?
So anyway, one day, not so long ago, he wandered across the small alley that separates the candle shop from mine. It was the first time in the nearly three months of gawking at him through my front window, almost every weekend, that he’d come in. He said he was looking for a gift for his ‘grandmother.’ And I know what you’re thinking, his ‘grandmother’ should have been a dead giveaway, but I do sell rocking chairs. And my wares tend to be popular among the senior set, so who am I to question the hot, sweet guy looking to make an old lady’s day?
He said he had a rocking chair at his house that used to belong to his grandfather, and he hoped to model the new chair after it. It was apparently quite cumbersome to carry, so he asked if I could come to his house and take a look. Now before you say it, I know, stranger danger. I’ve heard of it, and everybody knows the story about those two kids who disappeared because they followed the lady with the sweets home, so I wasn’t about to take a chance. I didn’t agree to go to the strange enticing man’s house alone, or right away. I planned to go the next day. He said he would be out, but told me it was a safe part of the forest so he always left the door open. That probably should have been a red flag, but, who am I to judge?
So the next day, I went to his cottage. I took my brother, Thor, with me. He’s a strong, overprotective, big brother. The kind that carries a giant hammer, not only for his blacksmithing work but also for self-defense. He never would’ve let me go alone, but since he also had business with a lady a couple doors away, it was convenient.
Now, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope to find Mr. Bear waiting for me naked in his bed. Because let’s face it, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the sexy man since he first appeared in the market months ago. But, I’m also a consummate professional, and I take my furniture very seriously. This wasn’t the first time I’d visited a client’s house to make sure my one-of-a-kind masterpiece would go along with their aesthetic. But it was the first time I actually hoped to have a ‘less-than-professional’ encounter with a client.
My brother stayed while I knocked. When nobody answered, and I went in, he left to go to his lady’s house, where I was supposed to meet him when I finished. It should’ve been a quick in and out; go in, look at the chair, and pop on out. At least, that was the plan. But if life has taught me anything, it’s that plans rarely work out exactly as intended.
I walked into the small dwelling, which was exactly as one imagined a quaint forest cottage would look. The living area was right inside the door and completely open to the small kitchen and dining room and there was a door toward the back that I assumed was the bedroom. One would guess the chair in question would be right inside the main living area, but when I glanced around, I didn’t immediately find it, so I had to wander around a little, didn’t I?
Mr. Bear’s cottage was incredibly homey, but I could immediately discern that it was not that of a single man. If the cute bear shaped knick knacks displayed thoughtfully around the living room, and the fresh flowers on the table by the front door hadn’t convinced me the place obviously had a woman’s touch, the framed family photo did the trick. The beautiful wood-framed picture showed Mr. Bear’s strong arms wrapped around a gorgeous woman and tiny baby tightly, displaying his beautiful young family with pride. The adorable, squishy baby Bear had dark hair just like both his parents, and his grin lit up his face as his mom and dad both watched him with a loving gaze that only parents have.
My stomach sank when I saw how happy they were. And an immediate sense of guilt washed over me for the amount of highly inappropriate thoughts I’d had about the tempting patriarch of the beautiful family.
But he had just hired me to make a chair. Did it seem like he was flirting with me in my shop yesterday? Yup. I suppose the wink he shot me when he’d mentioned the amount of “hard wood” strewn about my shop, and how he’d leaned so close to me I could actually feel his hot breath on my neck, could not have been flirting, but… I mean? No, he was definitely flirting.
I shook away the lusty thoughts because once I spied the photo, desires for anything other than a professional relationship with the adorable family should’ve dissipated.
I made my way to the bedroom, thinking maybe the chair was in there but I didn’t see it. Instead, I found three beds, each labeled “MaMa Bear,” “PaPa Bear,” and “Baby Bear.” I ran my hand along the intricately carved names and marveled at the impeccable woodwork, before it dawned on me how weird it was that MaMa and PaPa slept in separate beds. But again, who am I to judge, right? I don’t know their life.
Beginning to wonder if I’d been lured to this cute cottage in the woods for some sort of untoward reason, I made my way back to the living area. Unbelievably, I discovered the chair I’d been searching for sitting in the middle of the room. There were actually three of them, not just one. The cottage is tiny, so I couldn’t tell you how I’d missed the chairs on my way to the bedroom, but the only excuse I have is that I was taken aback by learning Mr. Bear has a family.
Feeling completely out of place, I shook away the odd feelings that settled in my chest, and tried to accomplish the task I’d been called there for. I thoroughly inspected all the chairs and did I sit in them? Sure did. I sat in the huge one and the middle-sized one, to get a feeling of how they rocked and examine the carvings and inlays on the arms. I didn’t know which of them was the one he wanted to model ‘grandma’s’ chair after, but when I felt certain I had a good idea about both of their vibes, I made some mental notes and was about to leave. I was fairly certain the tiny baby chair wasn’t the one that used to belong to Mr. Bear’s grandfather, but I liked the inlay, so I turned it over to see who the maker was, and it just fell apart! It was clearly already broken, because I barely touched it. So I didn’t believe it was my fault, but I felt terrible about it being broken none-the-less.
I only went into the kitchen to find a piece of paper to write them a note that I’d fix the baby’s chair for free, I never went anywhere near their porridge. If it was on the table, I didn’t see it, and I have no idea where that part of the story came from. Plus, I don’t even like porridge.
Anyway, as I searched around for something to jot a note on, I heard the family giggling as they walked up outside the front door. I can’t explain my next actions in any way they will make sense, because honestly, I don’t even fully understand them myself. I can only guess that my own guilty feelings for my inappropriate yearning for PaPa gave me the immediate urge to flee. But since the only way out was the way they were coming in, I had no other choice but to run into the bedroom. And since the bedroom was tiny, the only place I could find to hide was in one of the beds. Baby Bear’s just happened to be the closest to the door. It was a complete fluke I’d hopped in his!
I listened as the family made their way through the house. And MaMa was very boisterous about her disgust that some “crazy person” had broken their baby’s family heirloom. I can’t tell you why I just didn’t come out and tell them what happened, but I was overwhelmed by feelings of panic and guilt and I couldn’t bring myself to. So, instead, I just laid in the bed, until they came in. When they found me, I freaked out and ran away. All the way back to my shop without stopping.
Ok, ok, admittedly, this was a completely crazy thing to do. I should’ve just talked to them, but it wasn’t as if I’d broken in. I was invited. And the door was unlocked.
The stranger thing was what happened next. Not only did PaPa Bear never come back in to discuss the chair he’d ordered—which coincidentally, ended up becoming my best seller over the next year. But he never went back into that candle shop again either. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve seen him since. And as the legendary story made its way through our village, it became more of a warning about not leaving your door unlocked than what it should’ve been. Which is don’t make plans to stray from your hot wife, who apparently wasn’t out of town visiting grandma like she originally planned, because baby Bear had a cold.
I don’t know if anyone will believe my version of events, but the truth is, I am the victim in the story. PaPa Bear’s advances toward the single lady at the quiet local furniture shop were by no means on the up and up. And Marissa Machelle Bear, aka MaMa, was not much better with the rumors she spread about me in order to keep up their perfect family appearance. But, the joke’s on them, because I have more business now than ever. People stop by daily to check out the ‘kleptomaniac,’ who feels entitled to other people’s stuff. And since Thor is an intimidating salesman, my little shop has never been more profitable.
Rose Rayne Rivers (RRR) has always been passionate about writing and storytelling, and she loves reading even more. Her favorite genre to read or write are steamy romance novels—the more she blushes, the more she loves them. Her first novel, The Cupcake Cowboy (seeking representation), was inspired by her true life love story with her husband who she’s been living out her happily ever after with for over twenty years. Her nom de plume is a compilation of the tiny humans who hold her entire heart in their hands—her kids. She began writing later in life when inspired by her oldest to follow the advice she had been pedaling for years - chase your dreams at full speed, no matter how implausible they seem.