This a slow-burn romance told over several chapters but released in three parts a few days apart. There's some suspense, and action and violence will occur later in the story. Of course, since this is Literotica, there are also some spicy scenes along the way! All sexual activity is by experienced adults over the age of 18.
In literature, it always seems to happen on dark and stormy nights.
As a voracious reader, I'd encountered the scenario more times than I could count in books, and in movies and TV shows, it's even worse. There's always thunder and lightning when Scooby and the gang happen upon the haunted house, but those writers basically cribbed it from Frankenstein, Dracula, and such. Most of the time in the movies, it's for dramatic effect, but the intro to one of my favorite TV shows from a few years earlier, "The Incredible Hulk," is a classic example where there's rain, lightning, and really bad things happening that set up the premise of the whole show. In real life, you laugh at hearing of such implausible cases, never dreaming it will ever happen to you.
Until one night when it does....
It was a Friday night in November 1987 and I was tired and grumpy. With everyone on the campus of our state's ridiculously large and impersonal land-grant university trying to escape for Thanksgiving break, it took over an hour to get off campus. While sitting there, creeping up one or two car lengths at a time, I eventually came to the conclusion that any department chair that approves class schedules with 4 PM Friday classes obviously doesn't understand university life. He or she should be summarily dismissed.
Or, better yet, both.
After finally escaping that debacle, the state Department of Transportation and fate left a number of other obstacles in my path to slow me down, but I pressed onward, determined to make it home. I had a whole week off and planned to spend much of it with my dad. He'd had a lot of trouble and heartache over the past two years, with Mom's sickness and passing the previous year chief among them. I looked forward to trying to cheer him up with a deer hunt, a trip to our range in the back woods, a trip to see the new Arnold adventure that had come out a week earlier, and, if he was interested, maybe even talk about getting a new dog. Of course, though I was hesitant to admit it, spending time with him and doing those things might cheer me up, too. Just thinking about it made me smile, despite the delays.
Checking my watch and watching the gas gauge, I decided to pull off the interstate, get gas, and place a collect call to my dad. I was a little over four hours into the trip so I figured I should let him know I was running late to keep him from worrying.
"Collect-call from Mr. Rooney B. Lapely. Will you accept the charges?" asked the operator.
"Sorry, I think Mr. Lately has the wrong number," replied Dad, giving the response meaning he understood the message that I was running late. The "B" would buy me another two hours without him worrying too much and without him having to pay the outrageous reverse phone charge. I started to be "Rooney C." to indicate up to a three hour delay to ease his mind, but I couldn't believe I might have that much bad luck.
How silly of me!
Trying to put thoughts of our troubles out of my mind, I drove on, listening to static-filled versions of my favorite rock songs when I was near sizable towns and to crackly country songs from one of the south's 50,000-watt clear-channel broadcasters the rest of the way. With only a weak AM radio in the old truck, I felt fortunate to have any music at all, even if many of the tunes weren't among my usual favorites. They at least helped mask the noise of the rain that started about 60 miles from home and the incessant sound of the wipers on the glass. With periods of heavy rain making it difficult to see in the darkness, traffic slowed to a crawl.
Thus, the rain delayed me further, only slacking off to become intermittent about twenty miles from home, making it about 11 PM when I neared Sturbin, my little home town. I'd loved our town when I was little, but things started to change when I hit high school, or maybe it was just that I stopped seeing it through the naive, rose-colored glasses of youth. About 3,000 people lived in the area and called Sturbin home; they supported our school and our local sports teams, but the town itself no longer felt quite like home to me.
While my father and our farm were there, my mother and childhood dog were gone and drug dealers from the city, a little over an hour away, were trying to take over what was left. Despite Mrs. Reagan's campaign to say "No," Jonathon, my high school classmate and one of best friends, and several others from recent classes hadn't and had paid the price with their lives. There was no telling how many others had become hooked over the past few years. Alcohol, tobacco, and sex had always been ways of passing time among young adults in the area, and marijuana had been available for those who wanted it, but the coming of hard drugs had put a dark cloud over the town that I was afraid would be its end.
As I drove through town, I saw a number of businesses that had closed in recent years, with buildings abandoned and boarded up. Considering the Black Monday stock market crash of just weeks earlier, I hated to think what else might lay in store for the town and the country in the coming months if the downturn became a real recession...or worse.
A few doors down, I got a clue. A guy stood smoking a cigarette in the doorway under an awning. The glass in the door behind him was broken, and the rest of the storefront was boarded up with plywood. I suspected that the man was homeless and had broken in to get out of the rain.
He watched as I drove by and, by the way he was holding it, it wasn't much of a guess that his cigarette hadn't come in a pack from one of the local stores. The little police department in town only had one full-time and three part-time officers and, other than the chief, who'd once been a cop in the city, the officers weren't trained or equipped for much more than traffic control when school let out or football games were over, an occasional traffic stop (which was why I was diligently observing the speed limit), or maybe a domestic disturbance. The joke around Sturbin was that the part-time officers' "chief skill" was knowing how to wake up the police chief for assistance if anything significant happened when he was off duty.
Driving on by, I was disgusted that our town had fallen so far in recent years as to have drug dealers, people overdosing, and apparently homeless drug users. I wondered why the police or the sheriff's department didn't put a stop to illegal drugs coming into our area.
After such a long, grueling trip, the final straw was the train crossing in the middle of town. The railroad usually switched cars on the nightly westbound train around 11 PM, and I had the bad fortune to arrive at the crossing at 11:04. That left me sitting there in the turn lane staring at the signal, one of only three in town, running through its paces and the main drag of the train sitting on the track blocking my way home. I could drive a few miles down and take the backroads, but that would add another fifteen minutes over bad roads, and the train would be gone by then. I waited, grumbling to myself.
The locomotive cut out a string of cars for the plant, picked up the previous batch, and then reassembled the train's consist. The on-and-off rain of the past little while resumed and I saw lightning strikes somewhere to the north and west. Watching all of this, I started thinking of explosion-filled action movies of the day and dreamed up creative new methods of putting locomotives out of commission that would have made Old West train robbers like Jesse James and Butch Cassidy envious.
Twelve minutes later, the track cleared and, almost six and half hours into the usual four hour trip home, I could practically see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I was less than three miles from home for the long and much-needed week of Thanksgiving break and I became happier by the second as I left the gloom and doom of Sturbin behind me. As I did, I saw another big lightning strike in the distance, the boom of thunder arriving seconds later.
Therefore, with flashes of lightning and claps of thunder seeming to welcome me, I was only interested in getting home and into my warm bed when I neared the end of Dowdle Road where it teed into Buice Road. The road was named after my great-great-grandparents, Hezekiah and Judith Buice, the only residents at the time, and its east end still dead-ended into our barnyard. With only a couple of families on the east end, traffic was almost non-existent on it, particularly late at night. In fact, almost no one ever stopped at the three-way stop signs installed by some fastidious county road worker. Slowing and not seeing any approaching headlights in either direction, I continued on around the corner like always.
It practically scared the hell out of me when a bulky, dark shape, illuminated more by the flash of lightning than my dim headlights, stepped out into the road waving its arms like Lou Ferrigno's angry Hulk!
I've had some fairly scary moments in my life, but at that particular instant, all seemed to pale in comparison to the current crisis.
With my hands clenched on the wheel, I stood on the clutch and the brakes, drawing to a stop in far less space than I thought possible under the circumstances. That was quite fortunate since when those raised hands descended a moment later they were resting right on the front edge of the hood of my old Chevy. My eyes were wide at the thought of the idiot I'd come within a couple of feet of squashing as flat as a possum or sending flying like a giant beach ball. Of course, since I'd run the damn stop sign, the jury would have found the idiot's death to be my fault, making a bad situation infinitely worse.
Fortunately, that hadn't happened and my adversary holding onto the front of the truck looked somewhat smaller than the green muscleman now that I had a close-up view across my hood. Fear instantly turned to anger, so I was out of the truck at once, only realizing my error as the rain immediately drenched me and another flash lit the sky. "What the hell were you thinking? I could have killed you!" I screamed at the imbecile over the rolling thunder.
It must have been loud enough and conveyed with enough anger that the person cringed away from me, only then making me realize it was a woman or possibly even a girl rather than a high school prankster or someone high intent on having a laugh.
"I'm sorry," I shouted. "You just scared me to death. Why are you out here on the road?"
"My Bronco," she said, pointing into the darkness that was Mr. Chambers' cornfield. In the stark flashes that briefly lit our surroundings just seconds later, I saw a vehicle that had rolled over, possibly several times. With its tires pointing toward the sky, it clearly wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
"Get in out of the rain," I yelled, nodding to my truck.
She nodded in reply and started to run for the other door, but I yelled for her to come to my side. The floorboard and part of the seat was filled with a military-surplus duffle bag stuffed to overflowing with laundry and books that wouldn't fit behind the seat. She took my advice and jumped in. The manual gear shift was on the steering column, so she slid across as far as she could on the truck's bench seat, coming to a halt on reaching my massive laundry bag. I jumped in behind the wheel right behind her and slammed the door as another thunder boomer rolled across us.
Once in, I turned up the heat as high as it would go and then flipped on the overhead light to take a look at her.
Dressed in dark blue jeans, a dark wool sweater, a quilted, sleeveless jacket similar to the one Marty McFly had worn in that movie a year or two earlier, and a single Converse tennis shoe, she was a mess, covered from head to toe in mud and soaked through and through with her dark hair plastered to her head. She cringed when the light came on, putting a hand in front of her eyes keeping me from seeing her finer features, but not quickly enough to hide the shiner that was her left eye. It was only then that I saw the cut on her arm through a bloodsoaked rip in the sweater's left sleeve.
"Shit! I didn't realize you were hurt!" I exclaimed in surprise, turning around with my knees on the seat so I could reach behind the seatback to find the first aid I kept back there.
She looked frightened and drew back at first, but grew curious when I continued to dig, giving me a weak smile when she saw me pull the box with the cross on it up from the depths.
"Ah, yeah," she finally replied. "I got thrown around as it rolled. I'd be dead, or worse, if I hadn't had my seat belt on, but I think I just got some bumps and bruises. I'll be okay from that, but I fell on something trying to reach the road."
"Good thing on that seatbelt or I'd have never seen you and you'd have been there until morning. Looks like a corn stob may have gotten your arm. Let me see."
She held it out, gingerly, and I winced involuntarily. I'd been in the Boy Scouts for a couple of years before becoming more interested in sports, cars, and girls, and I still remembered some of the first aid training, particularly for blisters, scrapes, cuts, since those were the ones that always seemed to happen to me, but I sure wasn't used to using it on anyone else so my bedside skills were probably lacking. My reaction made her situation worse and she drew back..
"Hold on," I said. "Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. It doesn't look too deep, but it's really dirty. I don't think you'll need stitches, but it's not going to be easy to clean so you may need to go to the doctor to get it cleaned out so you won't get an—"
"No doctors," she interjected before demanding, "Do what you need to do."
I looked at her under my brow. She was lucky I even had a first aid kit, much less being willing to use it on her. For some reason, though, I knew I had to do it and to do a good job for her. Sucking in a deep breath, I let it out slowly before replying. "Okay, I'm not a doctor by any means, but I'll do my best to help you. Deal?"
She looked nervous but gave a little nod, so I reached into the kit and pulled out a pair of scissors.
"What are you doing?" she croaked even more fearfully as she drew back from me again.
I scowled at her. "Listen, you asked me to help you and that's what I'm trying to do. Your sweater's ruined so I'm going to cut this part of the sleeve off so we can bind your arm. If I try to pull it up over the cut, it will hurt like hell and will slide back down and get the dressing all wet and muddy. So, are you going to cooperate now or...?"
She seemed to see through the implied threat that I might drive off and leave her to her own devices, but she still debated for a moment, her dark brown eyes staring at me before she finally nodded. A few snips later, I pulled on the sleeve, tugging gently to try to keep from hurting her, before the cut portion fell away onto the floorboard. With the sleeve no longer catching the worst of it, blood started dripping out of the wound onto the seat, a lot faster than I liked, leading me to realize that this was worse than anything I'd ever patched up on myself. Shock prevention and direct pressure came to mind, so my hand clamped down on the wound, causing her to jump again.
"Hold still, dammit! You're bleeding all over the place. I'm putting direct pressure on it to try to get it to stop."
"Sorry. You scared me," she said, tears clouding her eyes and seemingly ready to flow.
"Stay calm, okay? Now, right behind you is my laundry bag. Try to reach in the top and pull out a towel. It was the last thing I stuffed in it, so it should be right on top."
"Laundry bag? Holy cow! When did you do laundry last? Back in the summer?"
"Towel," I demanded, ignoring her gibe. "Hurry!"
I didn't have a clue how long it had been or how much blood she'd lost, but wasn't too happy about the thought of her bleeding to death in my truck. Fortunately, she found the towel and was able to hand it to me before I had time to imagine the sight in any great detail.
"Grab this and squeeze firmly," I told her before I let go. Using the scissors, I cut the end of the towel in four places and then started ripping it lengthwise in strips.
"Look away, but keep gripping it," I added. The bleeding had slowed somewhat, but I didn't want her going into shock, either from the sight of blood or from the loss of it. I wrapped the first towel strip around her upper arm to stop the dirty water from running down her arm and then addressed her wound.
She was looking a little woozy, so I handed her the last of my Sun Drop, to which she turned up her nose.
"Drink it," I ordered. With the fluid and the sugar, I hoped it would keep her alert.
"I'm okay," she replied, giving me a perturbed look. "I know a guy who swills that stuff but I wouldn't drink it if it was the last thing on Earth."
I didn't drink Sun Drop very often, but it had the sugar and caffeine I'd needed on the long trip, so I bought a bottle when I called Dad and had been nursing it periodically since. Now she needed it.
"Listen, I don't have time to argue. You need the fluid and sugar. Close your eyes, pretend it's a mixture of carbonated water, gallons of sweet corn syrup, a dash of citric acid, and assorted flavored citrus juices that is not named Sun Drop and drink it."
She frowned at me even more skeptically before saying, "Bottled cavities," leading me to laugh in agreement. Getting that much of a concession out of me, she scrunched up her face and downed it. If she could resist like that, maybe she wasn't as close to being in shock as I feared.
Looking at her cut, there was no way I could clean it properly with what we had available, so I put some ointment on the pad and placed it on the wound. It took two more to cover the whole thing before I used the towel strips to wrap it all up fairly tight. I started to open the tape, but then saw the Ace wrap and smiled. Moments later, I was wrapping it around and around, and was starting to feel a little better about the situation.
"Say, where are you headed anyway? Buice Road dead-ends in about a mile."
Still looking away from me, she shook her head. "Uh, I think I took a wrong turn, then it was raining so hard I didn't see the tee until it was too late. I ran straight through, realized I messed up, and then messed up a whole lot worse when I tried to turn."
"How many times did it roll?"
"I don't remember. Two or three, maybe?"
"Well, I'm glad you're okay," I replied, having finished all I could do. "You'll need to get this cleaned and bound better to avoid infection in a little while, but you're not going to bleed to death."
Her head shot around toward me. "You thought I was going to bleed to death? Is that why you made me drink that puke?"
I looked down, embarrassed that I'd let that slip out. I sighed and said, "Listen, I was a Boy Scout for a while—a little while—not a doctor. I didn't know how bad it was and couldn't afford to take chances. I'm just glad you're okay."
Holding the bandaged arm close to her body, she reached across with her right hand and patted my arm before giving it a little squeeze. "That's really sweet and I appreciate it. In fact, thanks for doing this," she said, raising her forearm, "for stopping, and for all you're doing."
Something about that little gesture and the look she gave me caused me to blush. When it came to girls, I definitely wasn't a Boy Scout, but unlike most girls in the past couple of years, she suddenly made me feel like a very immature one, which was a strange feeling. Therefore, with the emergency behind us, I grabbed the opportunity to change the subject. "So...are you staying in town? Need me to drop you off somewhere?"