Love Me Like That(6)

By: Marie James


“Shit,” I grunt out loud as my mental checklist has me realizing I never shut the gate to the property. I cuss myself thoroughly as I make my way back down the stairs and begin layering my flannel and jacket. Even a few minutes of exposed skin out in this weather could lead to frostbite.

Sliding my gloves on last, I pull the door closed behind me and quickly make my way to my truck. I consider turning back and just saying fuck it, but I know it needs to be closed, if anything, to deter anyone from bothering me over the next several days. Discovering what you’ve done is more like it. My mind once again goes back to my family.

I’ve only been here an hour or so but my truck has completely cooled down, and the only light around is the porch light and the faint gleam of my headlights as they attempt to slice through the dense layer of snow that is currently falling. I put the truck in gear and roll forward, activating the four wheel drive. I have no intentions of getting stuck in this shit; once again not part of the plan. The mile long hike back up the driveway would sure suck balls. They say freezing to death is very peaceful. This old work truck crunches over the snow and ice like it is made for off-roading.

The gate comes into view, and I steel myself, preparing to go back out in the freezing cold to close the gate that should be working from a manual button on my cell phone, but the storm has covered the area so thickly, cell phone reception is practically nonexistent.

I jump out of the truck and quickly shut the door, an attempt to keep the heat inside the cab. Grabbing the edge of the gate, I plant my feet and struggle to pull it closed. Keeping my footing and making progress with the gate is like trying to tow a car through quicksand.

A faint flashing glow catches my eye about thirty yards away, the gloomy orange glow reflecting off of the heavy snowflakes that have continued to fall. I release the gate and trudge across the road to investigate. The further I walk the easier it is to tell that a small car has slid into the ditch. I look around and wonder how long it’s been there since there’s no sign of skid marks or tracks on the road, having already been covered with a thick layer of snow.

I can see a steady trail of exhaust heat coming from the back of the car, and I hope that the people who were in it when it slid into the ditch were smart enough to have stayed inside.

I walk up to the driver’s side door and knock on the fogged up window. No answer. Just as I bend down to put my nose to the glass in an attempt to see if anyone’s inside the window slides down an inch.

“Yes?” asks a shaky feminine voice.

Seriously? Like you’re just out here hanging out? Like you’re answering the door after ordering a pizza?

“Need some help?” I respond.

The window rolls down further and a woman’s face, lit by the dash lights, comes into view. She has magnificent green eyes.

She just stares at me, assessing the situation.

“Can I help you?” Freezing my ass off here lady.

“Can you pull me out?” I can’t stop the laugh that rushes past my lips. She narrows her eyes at my reaction.

Fuck this is not how I saw my evening going. It’s the last thing I need considering how I was sure my night was going to end.

“No way to get this car out of the ditch until the storm passes and they can clear the roads a bit,” I inform her.

“Can you take me into town?” Her voice is pleading like I just signed her death certificate.

“We’d never make it. Come on. You can wait out the storm at the cabin,” I offer and attempt to open her door for her. It’s locked.

“Ummm,” she replies. She’s unsure about getting out of the car, but my patience is fragile seeing as I’ve been standing in the freezing downpour.

“Listen lady. I’m just trying to be nice here.” I glance inside at the dash. “You have less than an eighth of a tank of gas left. You’re lucky I showed up when I did. If you stay out here, you’ll be dead by morning.” I turn my back to her and begin to make my way across the street.

“Wait! Please!” I knew that little tidbit of information would get her ass out of that car.

“Kill the ignition but leave the hazards flashing,” I yell over my shoulder as I reach the still open gate. She walks toward me, her entire body shivering. “Jump in the truck while I get this gate closed.”

She doesn’t wait another second, leaving me to work the gate closed as she hops in the truck. Just what I need on my forced vacation, playing host to some woman I don’t even know. I need her out of here as soon as humanly possible. I’m an asshole on a good day, but there’s no way I would leave a stranger responsible when I off myself.