Freezing cold rainwater dripped on my shoulder. Drumming rain staccatoed onto my car’s roof. I shivered as I listened to the ringtone of my brother’s phone. It was pressed up so hard against my left ear, I was sure I was going to have a permanent dent in the phone. It answered.
“Matt’s busy Indy,” I could just make out the voice of my brother’s best mate, Samuel over the phone, “What’s the problem?”
“I’ve run out of gas,” I shouted into the phone. Sam’s deep chuckle came over the line. “It’s not funny,” I protested. I moved closer to the car door in an effort to shield the phone from rebound spray. “I’m on the side of Forest Drive,” so-called Forest Drive because it was lined with tall, dark and foreboding trees.
“What the fuck are you doing out there,” he demanded.
“I am on my way home from a party.”
“And you didn’t think to put fuel in your car,” I could have almost heard him say dumb blonde, except I wasn’t blonde. I was a redhead.
“I thought I did, I was sure I filled it up a couple of days ago.”
“Where along Forest Drive are you,” he demanded again.
“About five miles from town. Sam,” I paused and waited for his growl. He had a sexy growl and he growled every time I called him Sam. “It’s raining and it’s dark.” Ugh, I was so stupid sometimes. I was tempted to hit my head on the steering wheel.
“Sit in the car, lock the doors and keep the phone on beside you. I’m five minutes away.” He said it like I was an idiot.
I took several deep breaths before I responded. He had every reason to treat me like an idiot. I’d made some shitty choices previously and I was only just starting to get a decent life. I needed to change the tone.
“Five minutes, good, because the sunroof is stuck open,” I retorted. Sam let out an outrageous laugh. “Glad you find it so amazing; I’m the one wearing a damned white dress.” The laughter intensified. I shivered, but not because I was cold. Sam so very rarely laughed. I could picture his bright sexy eyes as he did.
“I’m turning into Forest Drive,” he said when his last chortles faded away.
“Fuck you, Samuel,” I said unimpressed. He didn’t reply but the road was straight and flat. I wanted to change the tone, not to be laughed at. Guess I should have chosen another topic. “Why are you so close?” The rain was bucketing down and the drips through the sunroof were now a steady stream leaving my dress completely see-through, I suspected.
“I have a house off Forest Drive,” he responded. I barely heard him.
Shit, I’d forgotten that.
“Why do you have Matt’s phone?” I shouted. It was getting harder to talk over the noise of the rain.
“Your sister in law went into labor. I volunteered to cover Matt’s phone.”
“I think I can see your lights.” I changed the subject. Damn, I guess I was still stupid and self-centered; Matt was years older than me and worlds apart. Of course, Samuel had Matt’s phone. Beth, his wife, was 41 weeks gestation. I liked his wife. She was down to earth, completely unlike me. I, apparently couldn’t even remember when I put gas in my car last. The dull glow grew stronger through the rain. My teeth started to chatter, stupid sleeveless dress.
“Flick your headlights on,” Samuel said, all humor gone out of his voice.
I turned on the head lights.
“Yep,” he responded. “That’s me. There is another car coming up behind you.”
I spun around and peered out of the back window trying to stay out of the stream of water coming through the skylight. Two tell-tale lights were in the distance. It was hard to judge how far, because of the water.
“Stay in the car until I get there,” Sam ordered quite unnecessarily.
I translated it to don’t do anything stupid. I hadn’t done anything stupid. I gave myself a stern talking to. Just because I’d been wild in my teens did not mean I was wild now. I’d left the party because it was turning into the type of party I no longer frequented, and I hadn’t forgotten to full up with gas, I had forgotten Beth was due any day so I guess it was stupid to think that Matt would be available anyway. I watched the lights from both directions. Both drivers were going to get to me at the same time. I wondered if the person behind me would stop.
Both Sam’s car and the vehicle behind me slowed down, Sam’s auto pulled onto the road verge. The car traveling in my direction pulled to a stop on the road – front doors, just in front of mine. I was glad Sam was there.
Two doors opened and closed. I got out of mine, handbag gripped tightly. Not that there was anything wrong with stopping to check on anyone. But stopping where he did? Yikes.
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Stories about the challenges and adventures of a traveling, mid-life, unexpected widow