Snowed In

byPolyacrylate©

"...And so I had to pull out quick, and hurried out the door!" Jake finished with a laugh. Everyone at the table laughed, too.

"Bullshit," said Jess. Her husband Tyler nodded in agreement.

Sean looked up from his phone. "Totally fake. Never happened."

Lizzie, the 'Girl I'm Fucking,' tilted her head to the side. "I think it's true enough," she said after a moment of considering.

I knew Jake well enough. "True."

We were sitting in a dive bar, having a drunken orphan's Christmas, as snow fell down outside.

We were all pushing 30. Nobody had gotten married, nobody had kids yet, and we were all trying to pretend we were young enough to be out all night in a bar, drinking far more than we should.

The game we were playing featured a deck of cards, with various scenarios. "Beach vacation," "bus station," and so on. The idea was that on your turn, you drew a card, and had to tell a short story about the scenario. The group would guess if it was fact or fiction.

Jake laughed. "Completely true. You know me too well, Aaron."

I grinned and sipped my beer.

"Minus one for that round," Jess said. More of us had been wrong than correct. It was a team game.

Lizzie paused to comment, "Look at the snow come down out there! I'm glad we don't have far to walk!"

"I'm just glad I'm not going home this Christmas," I muttered.

"Your mother's got to be pleased about that, but we still could wind up snowed in here," Tyler added.

"Nah," replied Sean, "they're staying on top of the roads. Worst case scenario, we'll just get a cab back to Jess and Tyler's... if we can stay."

Jess nodded. "Let's keep playing."

And then it was my turn.

I drew my card, and showed it to the group. The coincidence produced laughter and a few comments from everyone.

The text on it read "Snowed In."

I paused, considering.

I suppose it started on my first day at work, the day after I moved here.

All the hands being shook. All the new names and faces.

"Aaron Collins. Uh, new engineer," I said, for what must have been the twentieth time that day.

"He'll be providing afternoon and evening coverage here," my boss Larry, the technical manager, and only other member of my team, reminded everyone.

Unspoken in that statement was the fact that Larry no longer had to worry about evenings, nights, or holidays.

"This is Melanie, she runs the R&D department," Larry said, introducing me to a woman in her 50s, grey-haired and matronly.

"Hullo," she replied, with the accent of an Englishwoman who has lived in the US for a long time.

"And what are you working on?" I asked, trying to appear engaged.

But she didn't answer me. "Not from around here, eh?" she replied.

"Naw," I replied. "West Virginia. My, uh... accent is stronger when I'm nervous or excited."

There's a bit of shame that tends to come with calling Appalachia home. People in the mountains look down on you for turning your back on your roots, and people tend to assume you're a bumpkin who grew up without running water.

But Melanie just laughed, "Oh, you should have seen the looks they gave me when I first came over here," she said. "But don't worry," she continued, "we'll make sure you have a good working understanding of anaerobic production processes before you get into anything major."

I held my tongue. Didn't want to appear arrogant.

"...And Maya Lawrence, Junior Chemist," Larry said. "She's been with us for a few years," his tone making it clear that the young dark haired woman in a lab coat had not earned his respect in that time.

But Maya smiled in a way that actually touched her green eyes, pronouncing her smile lines, and shook my hand. I noticed that she was as as tall as me.

"Hi Aaron, nice to meet you," she said.

"Fill him in on what you do, Maya. I have to talk with Melanie," Larry said.

"Engineer?" she asked. When I nodded, she asked, "I don't want to talk over or under you. What's your background?"

It was the first time anybody here had asked me that since Larry interviewed me. It made me feel like a person.

"We'll, I did my Master's thesis on anaerobic production of hormones at an industrial scale, so I've got a basic idea, but I'm sure there's a lot I can learn..."

"Oh, great! So you'll be able to hit the ground running," she said, as she began explaining what she had been working on, while she asked minor questions about me along the way.

She also answered my questions competently, explaining the anaerobic processes our lab had commercialized. And true to her word, she did so without talking down to me. It was the first time anybody had done that since I crossed the train tracks coming in to the place.

My time with her lasted about an hour, and then it was on to elsewhere, to continue my orientation. As Larry moved me along, I realized, with a funny sense of pride, that I had spent the better part of my time with Maya more focused on the work, rather than how pretty she was... how those big green eyes with long lashes were perfectly framed by her brunette, chin length side-bangs, with the rest of her long hair tied back, high on her head.

"Now," Larry said, leading me to our office area upstairs, "we'll want to make sure you dress in a professional manner here. No jeans, no t-shirts..."

"Don't worry," I replied. "The clothes make the man, right?" That was another thing. A good wardrobe choice could help offset my accent.

Larry nodded. "Just so. You'll have to stay clean shaven with short hair, also, so as to wear a respirator if necessary... Now, if you look out the window here..." Larry began gesturing to equipment on our property that was visible out of the large window on the back end of the office. The building had walls that were largely composed of windows, giving an almost panoramic view of our industrial park, the train tracks across the entrance, and the surrounding wooded area.

The rest of the morning passed in a blur, as I was introduced to more and more people, and had to retain a significant amount of information

On my lunch break, however, I noticed some music coming from the stairwell. Larry shrugged when I asked about it. "One of the lab employees plays violin on her breaks."

When I stuck my head in, I saw Maya, seated at the bottom of the steps, methodically sawing away at the violin. She was very good. The lab coat she had on earlier had obscured a great deal of her figure. Full breasts and hips, with long, lean legs.

"Maya, right?" I asked as I walked by.

"Yep. Hope I'm not in your way," she said, scooting to the side.

"No problem. You... sound really good."

"Thanks," she said, "My daughter, Robin - she's nine - started playing recently, and it got me interested in picking it back up. We practice by Skype in the evenings. I read with my son Josh, too."

"Oh," I replied, unsure what to say.

"They... live with my husband, a few hours west," she went on, "so we... Sorry, it probably seems like I'm unloading on you, doesn't it? I swear I'm not this big of a pain in the A."

It took me a minute to realize she called herself a 'pain in the A' instead of 'pain in the ass.' I could have laughed, but was able to keep control.

I shrugged, thinking of what all I had left behind. "No problem," I replied. I could tell she actually didn't want to talk about it. "I'll leave you to practice," I said.

She smiled at me, but she wasn't looking me in the eye, and began playing again. I left her in peace. The rest of the day went on without issue.

I called my mom that night, and talked with her. Nothing new - Dad wouldn't talk to her or send alimony, work was awful, my brother Danny was doing fine, and would graduate in two years. I would send her a little cash when I got paid. I wasn't sure when I would be home.

Then, against my better judgement, I called Kayla, my high school girlfriend. It was a moment of loneliness, I can say in retrospect. You can imagine how that conversation went, but it ended with my stomach sticky and in need of a good wipe down, and me promising to see her when I came home.

Trips home were like going back in time. I would see everyone from high school, but they were just older and with more problems, getting drunk by a bonfire behind someone's parents' barn.

The next day at work would have been unremarkable, except for a staff meeting in the afternoon - largely because of Maya.

When I walked into our main conference room - a sparse room, just off the lobby of the building, with a wall covered by windows, she was looking outside. The lack of a lab coat let me see her figure a bit - black pants and a tight button-up shirt hugged her body and showed off her form. She was also shimmying slightly, as she adjusted her pants, pulling them up slightly at her waist. I smiled as I watched with hesitation, enjoying the motion of her ass while not wanting to stare. I took a seat quietly, and tried my best not to pay attention to her, as others filtered into the room.

That would have been enough, but it wasn't the only highlight of the meeting. Discussion about a project was turning hostile. It was a basic need to treat some vapors coming off a small mixing vessel.

"I don't understand what you don't understand, Melanie!" Larry exclaimed a few minutes after the meeting started. Larry, I surmised, was clearly trying to establish himself in a position of dominance. And clearly was not pleased with how that was going.

Before Melanie could raise her voice in response, other members of her team spoke up in her defense.

But Larry shouted over everybody, and I sat pondering what I had gotten myself into by taking this job.

Maya leaned forward on her elbows, looking frustrated. The buttons of her shirt, I noticed, had spread against her bust, giving it a 'ready to pop' look.

And as Larry and Melanie argued with one another, Maya leaned further across the conference table, and I got a great perspective of her tits smooshing against the table.

Kayla was a scrawny thing - thin and short and scrappy. She wasn't the only woman I had ever slept with, but she was my point of reference for virtually all things sexual. And I couldn't help but think of how different it would be to have a shapely, buxom woman like Maya pressed against me.

But even that wasn't it.

"Larry," Maya said bluntly. "Sit down. You've yelled enough for one day. Melanie," she turned to her own boss, "listen. He's saying that what you're proposing is likely to cause a severe incident, a fire or explosion, because we would practically be passing vapors containing significant flammables through an open flame. There are better ways to oxidize it."

The mousy 'Junior Chemist' was gone. As she talked, I could practically see the gears in her mind turning. This was a brilliant young woman, who was able to stand up to authority.

I was glad I was sitting with my lower half concealed by the table.

Over the course of the next several months, I worked and learned, and spent my weekends slowly building a social life. Kayla and I maintained our communication, as it was, but it was largely understood that neither of us took it seriously.

I also developed a sleep pattern that I called 'three-three-three-fifteen.'

The basic idea was that at night, you sleep for three hours. When you've gotten that, you get up for three hours. I used that time to read, to workout, to study, to think, to clean. Then you sleep for three more hours, and then you go through a normal day. It served me well, as I was getting in the best shape I had ever been in, and was also beginning the work to pursue a PhD.

My social life left something to be desired, but push come to shove, I was happy.

And so it was a few days before Christmas, and Maya and I were closing up the lab to go home for an extended holiday.

That morning, before people started leaving, Melanie and Larry had asked us to set up some equipment for them before we left.

"This little experiment we need to run will be quite temperature sensitive," she lectured us, giving technical details about her experiment. "The reaction is a slow one, too. We will have to ensure the heating coils for the fermenter are set to operate for a prolonged period over the holiday. Just make sure it's working when you leave today."

As the day went on, everybody made their way out of the office, wishing one another Merry Christmas, or, in Melanie's case, Happy Christmas, commenting about the coming storm, and the general rush to leave early given a few days off work.

Maya, too, was a little less concerned than usual about what was being done, and was putting some of her responsibilities off on Lizzie, another Chemist on her team who was still in school, working part time.

Before long, big lazy snowflakes fell from a stark, grey sky, and thunder rolled overhead.

"The snow is coming down pretty heavy," Lizzie commented, as she and I fought with the heater for Melanie's fermentation experiment.

The idea was simple: a heating element would keep a fluid at a warm temperature, and the fluid would flow lazily through heating coils inside the fermenter. An independent system would automatically take periodic samples, record data, and shut the system down when finished. A small generator would keep everything powered through a power outage, except the heater itself, which required more power. That was tied into the site's backup generator, which would last for a few hours.

Maya was pacing back and forth, checking her phone every few minutes.

"We need to get out soon," she said. "It's starting to ice out there. It's getting nasty."

Unfortunately, nothing seemed to be working for us.

"I live close enough that I can walk," Lizzie told us. "I can finish up and get home in this storm, if you two need to go."

"I'm staying until this is done, then I'm gone," Maya said.

I sighed and nodded. "Me too."

The three of us bustled to finish setting the equipment up, as snow and ice continued to build outside. We chatted about what our plans we're. Lizzie was going across town to her Mom and Dad's house to stay for a few days. Maya was driving out to see her kids and ex-husband, and I was heading back home to be with my mom and brother. While we were talking, we could hear a long freight train rumble across the tracks in front of our facility.

"I'll be sleeping on an air mattress in our junk room, but things could be worse."

"How so?" Maya asked, looking up from her phone again.

"I could be here alone. I could be stuck with my deadbeat dad."

Neither of them responded.

"I can't wait to get home," Lizzie said. "This time of year makes me feel like a kid again." After a moment, she asked Maya, "What did you get your kids?"

Maya muttered something about an X-Box and a vacation, clearly not wanting to talk about it. "You and that guy you're seeing do presents?" I asked Lizzie.

"I don't see people," Lizzie said flatly. "Sometimes I'm exclusive, but it's never a thing like that. Just people I sleep with."

Maya actually joined the conversation, asking "Can't that get lonely?"

"Not for me," Lizzie shrugged. "I don't have to I need to go to see some boy's art show or basketball game, or even go out on a night when I'm not feeling it. I can just have someone come over when I need it and leave when we're done. Way less drama that way."

"To be in high school again," I joked wistfully.

As we we're wrapping up the project, the storm outside was getting worse.

And then it happened: we heard a crash, and that train, which had been crossing the tracks out front, spent several minutes groaning to a stop.

"Oh, no..." Maya groaned. "I don't want to be stuck here..."

"I'm sure it's nothing," I said.

"We don't have a way out!" Maya exclaimed.

There wasn't anything I could say. I tried calling the railroad's service center, but nobody there could tell me what was going on.

"This can't be happening," Maya complained.

"Look..." I hesitated. "I'll go down to the engine, and talk with the crew on the train. You can wrap this up, and just leave if the train moves and I'm not back. Maybe they can get emergency transport for you..."

"I'm going home to see my kids," Maya said emphatically.

Lizzie shrugged. "I'll come."

So Lizzie and I bundled up against the cold, and began the long walk down the side of the train. It was over a mile. We didn't talk much, but I did hold her hand over an icy patch. She smiled, a wide, sweet smile across her wide face, and told me about how she never held hands with anyone except while she was fucking them.

I'd find out a few years later, the first time I fucked her, that this was exactly true.

It took a long time to get to the engine. It had crashed into a fallen tree. Ice was bad in the area, and the engine had been damaged, but the crew was not hurt.

"It gets worse," the driver told us.

"How so?" I asked.

"We're running long trains for the holiday. We have a car derailed about two miles back. Came right off the tracks. We can't move anything, and with this storm, and the holidays, they don't know when emergency crews are coming."

I texted Maya the news. She didn't respond. After a little bit, I told the driver our situation.

"The railroad and the government only let us stay on the clock so long. They have an emergency driver coming to pick us up, and can get you a lift anywhere in town."

"Great!" said Lizzie. She gave the driver her parents' address, and he sent it in to his dispatch.

"What about you?" he asked me.

I hesitated. And I thought of Kayla, and how I wouldn't get to sleep with her if I took the lift back to my apartment. I thought of not getting home to see Danny and Mom. Staying with my car kept me that much closer to being home. I also thought of Maya, in a similar but worse situation.

"Let me ask you this," I asked, "can this driver bring some food?"

And so a few hours later, after Lizzie had been picked up, I trudged through the snow, back to our office, carrying a few bags with bread and fruit, granola bars and frozen food. In my backpack I had water, and I also slipped the driver some extra cash to get us a bottle of wine.

After a while, I made it back.

Maya was unpacking stuff from her car, and had shoveled a path through the snow in the parking lot.

I dropped the food off, and helped her unload. "Your van is full," I commented. "It's like you're moving."

She chuckled, but didn't say anything.

Once we were done, I unpacked what I needed from my truck. I was glad I had an inflatable mattress.

The lobby of the building was full of our stuff. We were also both soaking wet from all the snow and freezing rain.

"Yuck," said Maya. I couldn't help noticing her wet clothes were clinging to her form. "I need to change."

"Uhhh, yeah. Me too," I said. I grabbed a change of dry clothes from my bag, and went into our locker room.

The room was filthy. 'This will not do,' I decided. 'I'll clean, then get a shower, and maybe the train will be moved by then.' I undressed, and hung my damp stuff up to dry, then began looking for cleaning supplies. I found some bleach, a mop, and some scrub pads. I knew I must look a site, soaking wet with my dong flapping about, while carrying a big bottle of bleach, but I didn't care.

Unfortunately, before I could get started, there was a crack of thunder, and the lights flickered and went out.

"No!" I heard through the duct from the other locker room. I almost laughed. I scrambled in the dark, finding my phone and using it's light to get dressed quickly.

I stumbled out of the locker room, to find Maya outside, hurrying to put on her shirt. She must have gotten out to be in the light. The white bombshell bra she had on made those breasts look fantastic.

She made a scoffing noise, and I apologized. We both shrugged it off. "Right," I said. "Let's see what Melanie's fermenter needs, and then we can see what we can do about the building."

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