Yielding No More in the SnowstormbyAugustMacGregor©
"I've got mace, so don't try anything funny."
To prove her point, the lady with the cute face pulls out the keychain from the steering column and holds up what could very well be a cylinder of mace spray. The keys jingle against each other.
I hold up my gloved hands in the universal surrender gesture.
"Hey, I just want to be warm." My words come out in frosty clouds. My lips quiver. My teeth chatter. "No funny business. Promise. I need some heat for awhile, then I'm out of your hair."
She studies me hard, thinks it over. Finally, she nods. "All right. Just for a little while."
I thank her, get in the passenger side, and close the door. Blessed warmth surrounds me. Now there's one less lonely straggler in the world.
I had been losing hope of ever getting warm. The line of cars stopped on the highway stretched forever. Us stragglers huddled into our coats as we walked, weaving around the cars, our boots crunching on the snow. My taps on windows received shaking heads and waving hands telling me to move on. No one let me in.
Until this lady with her pretty face and her threat of mace. This lady with auburn hair flowing underneath a brown wool cap with a light pink stripe. This lady wearing a caramel-colored coat that looks expensive and soft. Maybe cashmere. Hello, New England finery.
The scene outside appears even more surreal. Maybe because the car's warm interior feels so real. Heavy snow pelts the traffic jam and entombs cars. The stragglers still stuck out there could be zombies in an apocalyptic horror movie. If only a director would shout "Cut!" into his megaphone so we could congratulate each other on a great scene and hit the caterer's table for a peppermint cappuccino.
"Thank God you still have gas," I say. "I ran out awhile ago."
I strip off my gloves and hold my naked hands next to the Volvo's heat vent. Car vent: 1. Mittens: 0. If only I could strip naked and the vent were body-sized. Now that would be some serious warmth.
"Man, that feels good," I confess. "Thanks for letting me in. Seriously, I don't want to hurt you or do anything stupid. I'm just a cold guy trying to get warm. That's all."
She nods. She still looks guarded, but I think her face softened just a little bit.
"Name's Patrick." I offer my hand to show that I'm a friend, not foe. "Thanks for this."
"Ellen. And you're welcome."
She shakes my hand in a gentle gloved grip. Impossible to tell if she's wearing a wedding ring or not. When the gloves are on, we're all single. No child car seats in the back. No "Yield" signs so far. Funny. I'm nearly frozen solid and I'm weighing my chances. Some animal part of my brain still works. The kind thinking of stripping naked next to a body-sized heating vent.
I ask, "How 'bout a joke to repay your kindness? When I'm not walking aimlessly on highways, I do stand-up comedy."
Well, surprise, surprise. Pretty little Ellen pauses as that sinks in. Hey, a total stranger who just got in your car could be anybody.
Which makes a very good argument for mace.
"You're a stand-up comedian." She says this plainly, as if trying out the idea for herself, contemplating it.
"No fooling. I'm one of those crazy fools who try to make people laugh for a living. So I'm actually in the funny business. But I know what you meant when you said no funny business. None of that. How about a joke?"
Her face relaxes. "Sure. I could use a laugh."
"A grasshopper walks into a bar."
No disappointment shows on her face to tell me that she's heard this one before.
I keep going: "The bartender goes, 'Hey! We have a drink named after you.' And the grasshopper goes,"—using my best Irish accent—"'Great day in the mornin'! You've got a drink called Seamus?'"
Pause. Pretend crickets sound. Then she chuckles. Nothing that'll bust her gut, but I'll take anything at this point. I'm begging over here. Is that a score for the fighting Irish? Certainly not a whole one.
Me: 1/2. Nah, make it 1/4.
"God, I could use a drink," she says.
I lower my jacket's zipper and stick in a hand. Her red eyebrows frown. She grabs the mace. With the flair of a magician yanking a rabbit out of a hat, I make a bottle of water appear.
Her frown turns into mild surprise. Gotcha again, sweet, cautious Ellen.
"Not exactly a grasshopper, but..." I offer the water, and she takes it. "I've also got some granola bars. The chewy kind. With chocolate chips."
Her brown eyes narrow as her puckered lips give a blowjob to the bottle of water. Lucky fucker.
I clear my throat. "I usually take 'em on trips. Saves money from stopping at McDonald's. Like some?"
Her lips let go of the bottle without spilling a drop. So she swallows. The cleanest looking ladies are usually the dirtiest. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking. Told ya part of my brain is still working.
"Christ, yeah," she says eagerly.
I hand her a granola bar and put the remaining three bars on the center console between our seats. "What we need is a bunch of those Saint Bernards. You know, those big, hairy dogs that save skiers in Switzerland? The ones with barrels of whiskey strapped to their necks?"
Ellen chuckles. "Right, right! But I'd take gin, though. And a huge lobster." She closes her eyes and sighs. "I can almost taste it."
Then her eyes quickly flutter open as she probably realizes her vulnerability. Lobster fantasy's finished.
Silence descends as we imagine huge dogs bounding around the cars, delivering their potent gifts. Well, maybe Ellen is. I'm imaging babes in bikinis and furry hats and boots delivering potent gifts. If only they were out there when I was walking.
I realize it's been awhile since I've heard any predictions about the snow or clearing of the traffic jam. "Have you heard any news lately?"
"Not lately." Ellen punches a button, violin music stops, and then radio stations fly by. "I needed some soothing music. Ah, here we go. The all-news station."
It doesn't take long for the commentator to get around to the Mass Turnpike. The outlook isn't sunny. Tow trucks are having a devil of a time cleaning up the mess miles ahead of us. A tractor trailer had slid on the ice, jackknifed, and overturned—creating a huge target for vehicles to slam into. The resulting massive pile-up isn't going to be cleared any time soon. Not with snow falling at an inch an hour.
This isn't how it's supposed to be. Cars are supposed to race merrily along the highway, wheels blurring in forward progression, yielding to cars from entrance ramps, and slowly curving onto exit ramps. The whole flux of the highway has gone screwy. We're yielding no more.
Snow falls so heavily, I wonder if it will ever stop. As it accumulates on the windshield, I get the sinking feeling of drowning in a frozen lake. A worse death I can't imagine. First you hear the ice crack, then you slip through, plunging into teeth-clattering cold water, lost in the darkness, pounding on the unyielding ice ceiling, tiny bubbles fluttering from your unheard cries for help.
But that's bullshit thinking. I crack the icy silence. "I wish I had some cards. We could play some poker. You could whip my ass and take all my money."
Ellen frowns at me. "Poke her? I don't even know her."
Huh? I stare back as if smacked by a hidden hand. She's still deadpan. Laughter erupts out of me with such force, I double over. My forehead rests against the glove compartment. My eyes tear up. Almost as good as an orgasm. Almost.
"Didn't see that coming," I choke out. "But, damn, that was good timing."
She smiles a big, genuine smile. She's not just being polite. "Tell me some more jokes. I could use the laughs. I bet both of us could."
A fantastic idea. I launch into a sit-down routine scrubbed cleaned of anything that might offend her. Pissing off a bunch of drunks in a club is one thing, but Ellen is quite another. I want to stay in her warm car, so I stick to the safe stuff: self-deprecation and stories about my wacky family. I have miles of material from growing up with two brothers, a sister, a melodramatic mom, and cheapskate dad. Most of them were friendly with booze (once us kids became teenagers), so they did and said plenty of stupid things. Of course, I was right there with them.
Ellen responds quickly. She's eager for distraction. I don't offer soothing violin music, just plenty of giggles.
Soon, I'm in the zone that comes with responsive audiences. So I bring in the doozies. Tim, John, and Alison's dates gone horribly wrong. Something about romantic shenanigans get 'em every time. If I had to pay my siblings in royalties, I'd be deep in debt.
Ellen's cheeks turn a rosy glow from laughing. Genuine laughter is the sweetest sound in the universe—save for the cries of a satisfied woman. The few stragglers walking by must think we escaped a loony bin and found the idea of being stuck in a blizzard hysterically funny.
Finally, I wrap up my last story and Ellen thanks me several times through fading chuckles.
"My pleasure," I reply. "Feels good to laugh."
Then she asks, "Does it seem stale in here? I'm going to open the windows a crack to let in some fresh air, okay? But I'll turn up the heat to compensate."
I nod. We look out the windows to see if the world changed while we were busy laughing. It has. The gray sky has become dark gray. Night's coming. And bringing colder temperatures.
Jesus. This stuff only happens to hikers who get lost deep in the woods or mountain climbers who break a leg.
Do the bastards in their houses know how lucky they are? They've got no place to go. Soup's steaming on the stove. Flames crackle in the fireplace. Stack of DVDs next to the TV. Bed upstairs promises to be warm and comfy.
"I don't know what to do," Ellen says. "But I don't want to leave my car. Who knows what'll happen in the night?"
"What if we leave the car and go up to those houses? Ask for some New England hospitality."
"Hmm. I don't know." Frowning, she thinks about approaching strangers in their houses.
"Beats freezing to death."
"Do you have enough gas to last through the night?"
She checks the gauge. "Not really."
"How 'bout if we turn the car off for a while? When we get cold, turn it back on and blast the heat. Then turn it off again. We'll go in cycles. Conserve gas."
She mulls that over.
An idea flashes, and my words race out in a higher gear. "And when the heat's off, we'll think warm thoughts. That way, we'll last longer without gas. Seriously. A buddy of mine is a hypnotist."
Ellen's got suspicious eyes. Good title for a song.
"Okay, hear me out," I continue. "I'm not going to hypnotize you. I couldn't. Let's just imagine we're somewhere warm. Like when you imagined tasting lobster. Remember that?"
She tries to read my face. Then she raises the windows all the way up, turns the ignition key, and removes it from its slot. The Volvo calms down to stillness. Her keychain settles in the nest of her lap.
"All right," she says. "Let's see if this works."
"Good, good. Keep an open mind. Now, lean your head back. Close your eyes if you want to. I am." I can feel her eyes on me. "Breathe in through your nose. Real slow. Real deep. Now breathe out. Think of a beach. But not near Boston. One in ... Jamaica. One with palm trees and white sand and a bright, bright blue ocean. Turquoise blue. Jesus, it's beautiful. Waves roll in. Nice and gentle. Sky's totally clear. Not a cloud up there. Your skin is warm, incredibly warm from the sun."
"What're we doing?" She sounds a little more relaxed.
"Just lying here soaking up the sun. Smells like coconuts. Gotta be the suntan lotion. And there's a band playing. Not your violins, but some um..."
"Reggae. We're in Jamaica, after all"
"Okay, reggae it is. The music's coming from the bar. Soon, we'll go up and get a drink. One of those sweet tropical ones. But that's later."
"No, no. I want a drink now," Ellen replies.
"Okay, no big deal. I'll get it. Be right back. The bar's not far at all. Okay, I'm back. Here's your piña colada."
"Strawberry daiquiri," Ellen replies.
"Okay, you got it. Here's your strawberry daiquiri." I hope that she's just teasing me, not being difficult. "Okay, we're here with our drinks. Piña colada for me. Strawberry daiquiri for the lady." With my emphasis on her drink's name, Ellen gives a little giggle. "We're listening to the waves. Smelling coconuts. Feeling the hot sun. It's so hot that—"
"How hot is it?" she asks, becoming a more rambunctious audience.
I peek at her. She has a little grin. But her peepers are closed. Good.
"Oh, it's hot," I answer. "Ferocious hot. Tropical hot. Heat pounds into our skin. Sweat drips from us."
"What're we wearing?" Her voice is soft.
"Um, I've got on black swim trunks. And you're wearing... um... a bright red swimsuit."
"I don't look good in bright red. Wrong skin tone."
Grrr. "Okay, not red. Silver, then. Yes, silver. It glitters in the sunlight."
"Bikini or one piece?"
Uh-oh. In a month-long second, I try to figure out the consequences of either answer, and end up deciding to go for broke. "Um... bikini. So you can feel the sun on your stomach. But I'm not looking at you. My eyes are closed. Shut as tight as a bank vault."
"Why aren't you looking at me?"
I brave another peek. Her head swivels toward me, her eyes open, and a bigger smile plays at the corner of her lips.
It's The Look. The one that guys desperately hope for during a date. The Look that huskily whispers, "Kiss me." The Look that clicks on the green light for the sexual road ahead. Her Look shocks the Jamaica out of me. I'm back in stalled traffic in a frightening blizzard with a woman I barely know. And yet, I don't hesitate to lean forward. For some reason unknown to me, it feels like the most natural thing in the world.
We meet over the armrests and kiss a tender, cautious kiss. A first date kiss. It feels wonderful, like she's offering me the beach and sun on her lips. When our lips finally part, we remain an inch away, our noses nearly touching. Our breaths come and go in short trips. She's stunning. Relaxed face framed by a brown wool cap and auburn hair.
"Thank you for the beach," she whispers, her breath hot on my mouth and chin.
I kiss her again because it feels so good, so far away from the snowy apocalypse outside.
Afterward, she says, "But next time, I want a pink bikini. Soft pink, like a petal. Not too bright."
"Anything you want."
I smile and touch her cheek. It's a simple gesture. My fingertips barely touch her cheek, and yet it causes fire to spread from through my arm to the rest of my body.
Jesus, it's been cold.
My fingers slide to her neck, grazing the soft skin, then behind her ear, then slowly reverse the course back to her cheek. Are my fingers warming her like her skin is warming me?
I break away from staring at her and take a look at the backseat. It's the backseat of a sensible sedan. If only it were the backseat of an obnoxiously large car from the '70s—one that could fit four of your buddies, and all of you would go barreling down to Florida to see what trouble and pussy you could get into.
When I return to her eyes, I know she understands my intentions completely. But not the Florida part.
Still, I can't keep my mouth shut and simply move to the backseat. "I read somewhere about some hikers that got stuck in a blizzard. To keep from freezing to death, they laid against each other to keep warm. And they survived."
A smirk plays across her lips. "So this is for survival?"
"You've got so much to live for."
"Get the fuck in the back."
The way she says "fuck" excites me. I love her friskier side.
"But you said no funny business," I said.
"I did," she says. "So you better not laugh."
"Are you sure?" I ask. "Seriously. You didn't trust me when I came in the car." What the fuck am I saying? Do I want to screw this up? I can't stop talking. "You looked like you were about to spray me with mace. But now, you're telling me to get in the back seat?"
Her smirk vanishes. She knows I'm being serious now.
"Instinct," she answers. "Yeah, I didn't trust you. Then you told all those stories about your family. You've got a way about you. You looked sincere when you told those stories. Yeah, you're making fun of your family. But you love them. I can tell that. That really settled me down."
"You're telling me to get in the back seat and you bring up my family? What kind of nut are you?"
She rolls her eyes. "Are you gonna get back there or not?"
"All right, all right." I squeeze between the front seats and sit behind the front passenger seat to give her room.
Ellen gazes out the back window. It's too dark outside for anyone to spy on our shenanigans. Then she turns her attention to the backseat, glances back and forth. It dawns on me that she's measuring the space to figure out what position would be most comfortable. Ah, the practical Ellen can't help herself.
"Get back to the middle," she instructs. Now she's the teacher dealing with the naughty student after class. "And lose the pants."
So the student's not the only naughty one. I feel weird sitting bare-assed on a cloth car seat with my dick in full view, my puffy jacket still on, and my jeans around my ankles. It's like we're back in high school. But at least I'm not cold—it's downright toasty in the backseat. I unzip my jacket, careful not to catch my dick, which is already hard.
Ellen studies my erection, says, "That thing better warm me up. I'll toss your ass out of here if you're a bad lay."
"Damn, lady. Don't give me performance anxiety or anything."
Grinning, Ellen slides between the front seats. It's awkward as hell. She's hunched over, yet she still manages to unbuckle her tan pants and whisk them—along with a glimpse of light pink panties—down her legs. I catch flashes of creamy thighs and dark carrot-colored curlies as she wrestles her pants and panties off and tosses them onto the backseat next to me.
The heap of clothes, her approaching me—how did all of this happen? The situation blows my mind. As do the auburn pubic hairs in better view. I realize that I've never had sex with a natural redhead.
Her fingers lightly slide up my shaft, feeling the goods, and her fingertips lightly hold my knob in place as she lowers onto my lap.
I can't believe this. And yet, it's happening. Down she goes, taking more and more into her. As her hot ocean surrounds my cock, we sigh in unison. Not just any little "my, this feels good" sigh. These are sighs boasting of huge releases of tension.
"Mmm," Ellen purrs. "You're warm. You're lucky." Her hands rest on the top of the seat on either side of my shoulders.
I bring back my Irish accent: "Ah, bless my lucky Irish cock. And bless your beautiful pussy, my lady."
No laughs, no chuckles. Instead, a tender smile down at me.
We kiss again. Deep, wet, aching. Heat emanates from her lips and the snug, warm glove of her pussy. The Volvo's vents can't hold a candle to Ellen's bonfire.
Pussy: 1. Car vents: 0.
Her mouth moves to my neck. She slowly rocks on my lap. The roof's too low for wild bouncing, but maybe that's not her style anyway. Her cashmere jacket rubs against my wool sweater, threatening to start yet another fire with the friction. I yearn to feel more skin, so my hands cup her ass cheeks. Tight and firm. The lady's in great shape, probably no stranger to a gym. My hands are eternally thankful. Mittens were never this good.
Ass cheeks: 1. Mittens: 0.
Feeling her on top of me, with portions of our skin touching, I flash back to the beach.
We're still on towels on the sand. Palm trees still sway. Ocean waves still break on the shore. But this time, I'm not only looking at Ellen, I'm touching her. I spread suntan lotion all over her, delicately working around her pink bikini. Right before my eyes, right underneath my hands, her pale freckled skin darkens to a succulent light brown. Somehow, the heat of my fingers creates a perfect tan.