Monday, August 25, 2008

A little something to heat up a cold night

Hot Cinnamon Cider

Trina pulled the old Buick off to the side of the road, her nerves shattered. Ten years ago, the Wisconsin weather wouldn’t have phased her, but things had changed. She laughed to herself, that’s what happens when you move to the South

Trina peered through the ice-crusted windshield at the blizzard beyond, pondering her options. She could, of course, keep driving. She’d be a nervous wreck by the time she got to Aunt Viv’s cabin, but she could do it. Or she could stop and find some place to stay. Looking around, she caught a glimpse of neon lights up ahead, and the decision was made. She’d get a room, call Viv and ride out the storm.

Years of travel had honed Trina’s first-impression mechanism, and she sighed with relief, sensing the Wild Rose Inn was no Bates Hotel. It was clean, modern and smelled like cinnamon. Without hesitation, she rang the bell.

“May I help you?”

The man who emerged from behind the counter was tall, dark and handsome. And vaguely familiar. Not in a Norman Bates sort of way, she chuckled silently, but in a, “I wonder how I know him” sort of way.

His eyes were kind and his smile instant as she explained her situation.

“Welcome to Wisconsin,” he chuckled, before bending slightly to take care of her check-in details on the hotel’s computer. Trina took advantage of his attention to detail to take in some details of her own. His shoulders were broad and muscular, and the faded jeans he wore were stretched taunt over powerful thighs. And there in the middle…

“And what name would you like me to put that under?”

Trina started. Absorbed in his generous details, she’d forgotten to listen.

“Katrina Walters,” she stammered quickly.

A long pause ensued as the man behind the counter checked her out. Trina felt her ears flush as his curious, appraising stare continued. She shifted slightly as a sexy smile touched his lips.

“Katrina Walters,” he repeated softly. “I thought I recognized you.”

“Excuse me?”

The man apologized. “I’m sorry,” he said with a smile, “but when you walked in, I was sure I knew you, but it wasn’t until you said your name that I put two and two together.”

Trina nodded slightly. “I,” she paused, embarrassed. “I thought you looked familiar, too,” she finished.

They smiled at each other sheepishly, then the man extended his hand, “Grady Reese,” he said. “I was on the Habitat house outside of Meridian, Mississippi.”

Trina brightened, Of course! The summer after junior year. She and her boyfriend of the week– she struggled to remember his name – Byron, yes she and Byron had spent that first week of summer in Mississippi. It had been his idea, of course. He was an architecture major. Her smile turned to a frown as she recalled the details: Byron had turned into Mr. Know-it-all on the build site, and Trina had dumped him on the way back to College Station.

“Wow,” she said, still holding Grady’s hand. “You have a brilliant memory!”

Grady’s blush was immediate. “I just remember you,” he admitted finally.

Trina couldn’t keep the pleased smile off her face.

Grady smiled back.“You’re right down the hall,” he said, dropping the card key into Trina’s hand. “ Number 27.”


“Have a good night.”

Trina reached for her overnight. “You too,” she said with another smile. “Good to see you again.”

She was midway down the hall when he stopped her.

“This is crazy, “ he half laughed, “but I had a huge crush on you, way back when. I didn’t do anything about it and I’ve always regretted that missed opportunity…” Grady took a deep breath before continuing, “so anyway – it’s okay if you say no – but I’m wondering if you’d like to come to the lobby in a little while and we could catch up over some cider.”

Trina smiled. “I’d love to,” she said sincerely. “And cider sounds fabulous!”

Grady laughed. “I’ll even get the electric fire cranked up!”

And he had. By the time Trina unpacked the little overnight bag, freshened up, and made her way down the short hall, the lobby was awash in the glow of artificial flames and two cups of steaming apple cider were on the low table in front of the brick fireplace.

Grady met her at the door, and in that moment she remembered.

He’d had longer hair and fewer muscles six years ago, and he’d been in charge of the landscape crew. She’d worked on the house’s interior, so they’d only crossed paths occasionally, but those few times, she’d felt something special in his shy smile.

Trina couldn’t help herself, she smiled.

“I remember!” she laughed, grabbing Grady’s hand in her own. “You were the shy landscape guy!”

Grady’s thumb caressed the back her hand. “And you were the beauty queen with the nasty boyfriend in tow,” he whispered. “The one I was too afraid to talk to.”

With their eyes locked, Grady guided Trina to the loveseat nearest the fire, then sat down beside her.

“This is going to sound really awkward,” he started, smiling into her eyes, “but I am so happy this blizzard stranded you at my hotel.”

Trina opened her mouth to speak, but Grady silenced her with his finger.

“Let me finish,” he said. “Six years ago, I experienced something few people every get to experience – love at first sight. But at 20, I didn’t know what to do about it.”

He stroked the side of Trina’s face gently. “Now I do.”

Trina had been kissed before. She’d even had sex before, but never in her 26 years had any man made love to her the way Grady did – with his heart.

As the warmth of new love spread over her, Trina sighed happily, hoping the roads would be blocked for a good, long while.

She had some catching up to do.


millar prescott

Hi Loring. Very nice work. I read all of your posts and thoroughly enjoyed each one. Thanks for visiting The Suppositoreum.

  © Blogger template 'TotuliPink' by 2008

Back to TOP