Keep Them Warm


AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a submission for the Winter Holidays contest. I had to hurry and finish this to get it done in time. Would have made it longer, but I'm sure you'll like it anyway. If you do, make sure to vote!


Fatigue set in well before the last shot, which seemed to take forever. Those of us not wrapped for the night stood shivering in the night as our once-warm coffees sat cold and forgotten on the steps. The cabin was lit only by a couple 1K's, casting a sliver of light on the gloomy staircase which leads to the porch. The poor girl had run her lines a hundred times and we all had hopes that each take would be her last, and she would finally get the warmth she and the rest of us wanted. And shooting a week before Christmas didn't help.

I don't know why they saved this shot for last. It is such a simple shot, made complicated only by the extremely late hour. She walks up to the door, looks inside, then opens the door. That's it. Doesn't take two hours to shoot.

But what do I know, I'm just the writer. They've already gutted the thing to save time and to cover up laziness, but as long as I don't completely freeze my balls off, I'll gladly accept a reshoot at this point. The actress has already flipped out once, the camera's last battery has drained twice as quickly as expected because of the cold and the director herself is getting noticeably loopy. We didn't have long before yet another probably-critical shot would get scrapped.

It wasn't supposed to go this way.

I took this gig as a favor to an old flame. Why I thought it was a good idea to do a favor for my ex, in spite of how much her husband approved of the idea, is beyond me. She was the sort that attracted damaged people, and that should have served as a warning to me as well.

But Rea didn't seem the type. Not at first, anyways. She my ex's friend, the director of the movie. She struck me as the sort of normal girl that everyone knows and no one dislikes. She's not all that social and nobody can remember the last boyfriend she even had. Not that she's gay, but she just hasn't done a whole lot of dating, and she sees no pressing need to do so. She likes her work, this I can tell, and she's good at it too.

She's about the least offensive person you'll ever meet.

Even now, with everyone on their edge, she is still coping like a saint. She yells wrap, and it sounds like the ending of a suspended note that had been hanging in the air all night.

I helped the crew pack the lights and bring them back into the main cabin in no time, and I found Rea by he fire arguing with Jay, the production designer. She was past her patience, but didn't have the energy to stand up to the production designer for much longer.

If Jay had a super-power, it would be bitching. Never in all my experience on movie sets have I encountered a more argumentative, time-wasting gum-flapper than this one. The sound of her voice grated on everyone. She had the look of a girl I might otherwise find insanely attractive in a librarian sort of way, with her thick-rimmed glasses and her dark, chin-length Velma-like hair. I imagine a version of her not tainted by whatever boyfriend broke her heart and made her a hateful bane on the planet. I would take her home myself, if only she wasn't so vile.

I moved to the fire while everyone continued packing things away. "If you don't need me anymore, I'm just gonna go back to my cabin and..." I started to say to Rea.

"Could you hang on a minute? Jay, we'll finish this in the morning, ok."

"What time? You need to tell me what time so that I can know when to start setting up my stuff. I can't have people in the kitchen when I'm trying to get it ready for the breakfast scene. If we don't start with that scene, I can..."

"Jay. 8am. I will see you at 8AM. Got it?"

"Ok, I was just emphasizing that..."

"Good night, Jay."

Jay made a brief glance at me, as if for support, which took me aback for a moment. Then, in a firm and calculated but dramatic gesture, she stood up and walked out.

"I didn't envy you tonight, Rea."

She laughed and took another sip of her hot chocolate, then held it in her lap. She was sitting cross-legged and looked positively exhausted. Her tiny ears poked out from her long but unkempt hair, and I found her disinterest in brushing to be very endearing.

"Thank you for all the help," she started again. "You've done way more than you were expected to."

"It's no biggie. You forget, this thing's sort of my baby too. I just wanna make sure it's as good as it can be."

I was only sort of lying. I did see it as my baby, and I did want to make it awesome, but I felt like too much had been lost from the project. A whole scene was cut because someone -- guess who -- couldn't find a dead mouse, and so the scene wouldn't have worked. Had miss prissy-pants told me in advance she was having trouble finding a dead mouse for that scene, I would have helped. After all, I didn't write anything that I thought would not be realistically filmable for a student film.

"I really want a shower badly." That's when it changed. I couldn't put it out of my mind anymore, because she looked different to me.

Again, this whole project was just a favor to an old friend. I didn't know Rea and, frankly, I assumed she would be terrible at making this film. She is, after all, just a student. She's 23, about to be the first graduate with a degree in anything creative among her entire family. All of the men in her family are engineers and business types, and the women all do some form of social work. Very strange to me to meet someone struggling to be creative when she has no roots for it whatsoever. It's a story I relate to.

Yet she has proved to be very talented, and unperturbed by the unreliable and outright lazy attitude of many who were supposed to be helping her this week. Most of all, I respect her. She kept her composure when even I would have gone ballistic.

"O joy," she joked. She grabbed a phone from the mantle beside the fire and said, "Jay forgot her phone again."

"She'll be back here in the morning though, right?"

"Not without this, it's her alarm." She was laughing as she tossed it back down on the carpet. "I just don't even care. I'm so tired of picking up after people."

"Do you even really need her help tomorrow?"

She sighed. "I don't know, I really just want to take a shower and sleep."

"You want me to walk you?"

She turned and smiled, then looked down. She had the look of a girl who just caught a cute guy checking her out. "No, I'll be ok. It's not far. You can take this to Jay, though, if you want to. It's the last cabin on the end."

That was probably the first moment I knew I wanted Rea.


"Jay?" I said into the dark cabin. I thought I had gotten the wrong one until I heard some clicking, followed by muffled expletives.

I opened the door, and the light I let in revealed Jay, kneeling before the fireplace. She was trying to start her fire, but she clearly wasn't getting very far.

I was opening the door when I said her name again, and she screamed. When she saw it was me, her face curled and without looking at me, she said, "what do you want?"

"I didn't mean to scare you, but you forgot your phone."

"I didn't forget it," she said, walking to grab it from me quickly. I could see as she came close that she was in her pajamas, and she knew I could see it too.

"I'm sure you didn't. I'm sorry. I'll see you tomorrow."

I was already on my way back out, when she said, "Wait." She grabbed my hand.

Without looking at me, she began speaking to me in her typical pissy-business voice. "Nobody showed me how to make this fireplace work, and I told Rea that if I was going to be staying in a cabin that there had to be a heater. She didn't say anything about a fireplace."

"You'll figure it out, I'm sure. Goodnight."

"No, wait. Please. Look..." She was becoming very aware of her situation, and my presence in it. She needed me. She suddenly looked angry with herself. "Can you just do me this one favor, and I swear I'll pay you back. It's bad enough I have to sleep alone. I suppose that's my fault. I'm kind of a bitch sometimes. I just don't want to freeze tonight, ok? It's supposed to get into the twenties tonight."

"What are you going to do for me?"

She was still holding my hand when I said this. She stepped in closer and said, "what do you want?" She was no temptress at all. She was quite clumsy in her seduction, in fact, and I could see it in her face. I almost felt bad for her.

She could feel me pulling away, so she took my hand and put it to her belly, then slid it down into her PJ's until I felt her clit beneath a patch of soft hair. She was looking me in the eyes, and her eyes said, please, for the love of God, don't reject me now. She was absolutely vulnerable in this moment, and she knew it. She was shaking, and she wasn't even wet.

It was too much. I made a fire for her, and neither of us said a word. She felt that I was rejecting her, even as I made a fire for her. She started to cry. Not profusely, but enough that she tried to cover it up with the movements of wrapping her body in a blanket.

I brought some wood in from outside and placed them by the fireplace and showed her how to work the bellows, in case it should die down. I moved to leave, and she grabbed me from behind, gently. She said, "So what do you want?"

Her hand was sliding down to undo my belt, but I stopped her. "That's ok. You don't have to. Just stay warm and get some sleep, ok?"

She shed another tear, looked down, then shook it off with a couple of nods. I made my way out of the cabin and she followed me out. She said, "Hey," and I turned to look at her. "Thanks."

I nodded and went back to my cabin.


I was staying with Rea's uncle Rob and cousin Jamie, who had both volunteered to do sound for the movie. The last two nights, they decided to steal away for a bottle of Jack and we drank the day off with stories and jokes.

When I came back to the cabin, I found Rea sitting on my bunk with a Dixie cup and a smile.

"Geez, why does it take so long to bring back a phone?" she joked.

"Oh, she couldn't get her fire going, so I helped her out."

"Seriously?" Rob asked. "That girl needs a lesson in humility, let me tell you. Did you know that we had a twenty minute argument about tree branches, even though it didn't have anything to do with what she's doing?"

"I remember that," Jamie chimed in. "I kept thinking, 'Dude, you're not even doing sound, so why do you give a shit?!' That bitch is crazy. Where did you find her, Rea?"

"Tank recommended her. I never even met her 'til the production meeting a week ago."

"Well there's always one," I said. "I don't let her get to me."

Rea looked shocked. "You're joking, right? You blew up more than anyone else. I heard you railing on her about moving the fridge because we needed more room, but she wouldn't let you because it would've been a continuity issue."

"I know, that bugged me. I mean, I'm the script superviser, right? Isn't it my job to say whether we have a continuity problem?"

"With you, 100%," Rob responded.

"I would pull rank, but I'm not really sure where I rank." Everyone laughed.

"Well you don't rank at all unless you finish off that bottle. You've got some catching up to do!" Rob was already grabbing a can of Coke out of the cooler, and I happily did as he asked.

"Here's a toast," I said as I finished the last drop of the bottle, "to one hell of a Hitchcock parody. May Spaz be the greatest student film ever made!"

All replied, "Here here!"

I took a drink and turned to find Rea looking at me. "What?" I asked.

"Nothing. I'm just glad to know there are sane people up here." If this was flirting, it was lost on me completely. It would make her just as bad as me.

We talked about the movie for a while before we realized that Rob and Jamie were very likely asleep, and the light was already out by that point.

"Would you like me to walk you to your cabin?" I whispered to her.

"No need, I'm sleeping here tonight. I'm not about to build a fire if I don't have to."

"Fair enough. I'll see you in the morning."

I took off a layer of clothes and slipped into my sleeping bag in my long johns. My head was facing the side of the cabin with the fireplace, which was next to the bunk Rea was already sitting in.

The only light came from the fireplace, which was not much. But it was enough to see her undress, which I did not expect her to do. I wondered if she knew I could still see enough of her body in the light. I wondered if she even noticed or cared that I was watching.

Her uncle and her cousin were both sound asleep, and I wonder if she noticed that too. I was left to assume that she did not know I could see her, but I could not turn away from her. Even the simple act of her undressing seemed very regal to me, like she was mature enough to be seen doing it and not make a big deal out of it.

She undressed as any girl probably does in the privacy of her own room. I did not even realize she was undressing at all until I saw her turn to one side and I saw the silhouette of her exposed breasts in the flickering light of the fire. She bent over to pick up her pajama top, which she could not see at first. It placed her breasts right between me and the fire, and I could see that her nipples were hard.

She still seemed to be in no hurry, and only slightly annoyed that she couldn't find her top. She was so calm, in fact, that I had half a mind to help her look for it.

She found it, and after putting it on, she flicked her hair back. As she began to unbutton her pants and pull them down, I became aware of my own erection. When she had them off, I could see goosebumps start to form on her legs which I wanted to touch. She must have been getting cold, because she took her panties off quickly and looked for her bottoms. Every impulse in me wanted to grab my penis and start rubbing one out. It wouldn't have taken long. Still, it almost hurt to be in my pants.

As she bent down and away from me to look for her bottoms, I reached into my sleeping bag and pulled my long johns down as discreetly as possible. I felt the slightly cooler air on my penis and the cool of the sheets on my rear as my penis sprang back to rest on my belly.

As she stood searching for the waist band, I had a clear view of her neatly trimmed bush, but it was mostly in the shadow of her leg. Much as I wanted to rub one out, it wasn't long before she found the opening and started to put the rest of her pajamas on. She was shivering when she finally put them on with haste.

I wanted to throw my arms around her and keep her warm, and for no other reason than she wouldn't have asked me to. I heard her slip into her sleeping bag and I grabbed my penis, but it was already softening in the cold.


"You're shitting me, right?"

I had just stepped into the main cabin, and already I could sense trouble.

"Hey, chill out, ok? It hasn't been a problem yet, has it?" Tank, the cameraman was at it again.

"You forgot a whole scene on Wednesday!"

"It'll work out, it always does."

"You realize how much a reshoot is going to cost? Do you realize... oh hell, let's just start shooting something before I shoot someone."

Rea had walked away when I heard someone say, "You better chill with the weed, Tank, or she's gonna cut you. Don't you need this DP credit for your capstone?" It was Lizzie, the freshman who was assisting Tank on the camera. She was a tiny, sweet-looking girl with a voice that sounded like a bird chirp. It might have been the first time I really heard her say anything all week.

"She won't cut me, she loves me," he remarked with a sly grin.

It was no secret that Tank was trying to get with Rea, but then again, he tries to get with anything that has a pulse. If not for a windfall from a recent death in the family, he might have skipped his parole instead of go back to school. Tank was an interesting guy because he always did what he wanted to do, regardless of who it pisses off, but he was still likeable.

Rea had moved into the bathroom, where the first scene was set to take place. It was not particularly well-lit, and so the light coming through the window put her largely in silhouette. She flicked her hair behind her turtleneck collar with both hands and leaned on the counter with both hands, looking into the mirror. While she took a breath to prepare for the day, I couldn't help but notice the smooth outline of her chest. Her lips and her skin looked soft and creamy. She looked like she was in a painting, and I would have done anything for her in that moment.

"Um, Rea?" It was Jess, the AD.

"Yeah, what is it?"

"Well, there's a problem." Rea turned to look at Jess, not surprised at all that there's already a problem.

"So Nicole is actually naked in this scene, right?"

"It's a shower scene, Jess."

"Well I know, but... well, I just talked to Nicole, and she's not aware that she's doing a nude scene."

"How can that be? We had a whole conversation about the shower scene. Where is she?"

"She's still getting ready, she'll be here in a couple of minutes. I just thought you should know."

"Goddammit. So is she not going to do it?"

"Didn't seem like she would. You can ask, though."

"Great. Well, what's our plan B if she says no?"

"Well, we can reshoot the shower scene later. We wouldn't be able to do the tracking shot in one take like you wanted, and we..."

"We're not reshooting anything else."

"Ok, well, we could rewrite the scene to have it start after she's out of the shower."

"But then it's not a shower scene. It's supposed to be an Alfred Hitchcock spoof. We might as well murder her in her sleep. What else?"

"Well, unless you scrap the scene, I don't really see any other options. Unless..."

"Unless what?"

"You have one of the crew stand in. As long as you don't show her from the head up."

"Well the only person on the crew who would even be close is..."


When Tank came back, he seemed pretty confident he'd talked her into it. It had been five minutes, and Rea was wondering if I would go and check on her. She told me to figure out what she would be comfortable shooting, and that she trusted me as the writer to come up with a way to make it work.

Seemed like a good idea at the time, but I don't think she took much convincing.

When I entered Lizzie's cabin, she was brushing her hair in a small mirror. She was completely naked.

When she saw me, she eyed me up and down, and smiled. She put the brush down and walked quickly over to me. She put her chilly hands up my shirt and made me jump. She giggled.

I grabbed her hands to pull them off. She moved in closer until her chest touched mine, then let out brief laugh. It disarmed me for a brief moment, but in that moment she sped up.

I heard a pop, a zip, and before I could even look down to see what she did, my pants were past my knees.

She was about to pull my underwear down, which already revealed a massive erection, when I grabbed her hands again and pulled them away.

"Lizzie, what's gotten into you?" She let out a series of gleeful chirps, and her hands went limp in my hands. This caused me to loosen my grip, and she brought my hands to the sides of her face.

Then she quickly left them there and pulled my underwear down. Before I knew it, I felt the warmth of her mouth on my penis.

My hands never left her face as she moved my penis in and out. It felt so good and I didn't want her to stop, but I pushed her away from me. Or at least I tried to.

I had pushed her almost all the way off of my penis, but she moaned, repositioned herself, and fought me to put it back in. There was no stopping her. Her voraciousness and her moans grew, the rapid-fire dancing of her tongue, and a minute or two later, I came. I couldn't help it.

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