Charles is woken up at 5 a.m. in the morning by a call from Nora, an old friend. She's at Greenwood and asks him to drive 200 miles up and meet her there right away. She insists he come right away and tells him that he can have the house... if the house likes him.
As he drives, Charles considers what she's said and remembers the Duchess bringing him to Greenwood in the past for elaborate parties hosted by Nora, who greeted her guests at the door, naked. As the Duchess entertains herself, Nora puts her clothing on and Charles accompanies her as she describes the house. They ended up in bed together.
Charles arrives at the Greenwood house and notices there are no lights and no shrieks of excitement. He realizes that the house has changed. Charles finds Nora sitting outside in the garden and she tells him that the house won't let her come in. He wonders where her party is and she tells him that the party was the previous night. Charles points out that her parties go on for days, but Nora explains that her last great party ended the previous night. She describes what happened and how 97 guests arrived, but by midnight they were gone. The house refused to let them have their party. At midnight, all the doors opened and "invited" them to get out, collapsing beds and tainting wine. Everyone fled outside and drove away, and the house slammed its doors behind them.
When Charles wonders why, Nora invites him to go inside. The doors briefly close in his face but he opens them. Nora refuses to go in and tells him that the house is his if he wants it, but he has to go in alone. Charles enters and Nora wonders what he sees. She directs him to various decorations and he confirms that each one is there. Nora insists that they're not there, and he can only see them because the house likes him. Charles runs outside and Nora explains that Greenwood burned to the ground four years ago but it has been rebuilt. She then tells him that when she came into her money at 18, she didn't believe in conscience and guilt. Nora explains that the house collected the guilt but no one was ever happy there, and each partygoer left their sins behind.
The house burned itself down in despair four years ago and Nora rebuilt Greenwood. But the house ruined the celebrations of everyone who entered. Nora has realized that it's over and gives Charles the keys, but warns that he can only stay if the house allows. She says that if it likes him, he can stay, but he'll have to stay alone. Charles agrees and goes inside.
As night falls, Charles looks down from the window and sees Nora leave. He lies on the bed and remembers making love to Nora. The door swings open and smoke pours in. Charles runs out and watches as everything within the house starts to burn. He runs outside to where Nora is dozing. He dozes off as well and the next morning they wake up. Nora realizes that the house didn't want him either, and Charles admits that he's too old. They watch as the door opens and then closes, and Nora realizes it's not for them. She wonders if one day a young girl will come there and the house will welcome her. They drive off together.
Some time later, a young girl walks down the road and notices the house. The front doors open for her and she approaches. Share this article with your friends