Kelly Trent didn’t mind winter. Really. She didn’t.
Today, however, was worse than normal. Blizzard like conditions had descended on the city the night before and showed no signs of letting up. Still tense from this morning’s treacherous drive, she wasn’t looking forward to the repeat performance in the opposite direction.
Why did she have to be such a do-gooder? The sparse traffic coming in this morning proved that most people had been smart enough-or something-to stay home.
But not her. Oh, no. Saint Kelly-as her ex mockingly referred to her-didn’t shirk her responsibilities.
Her team had a project due today, so she’d had no choice but to make it into work, no matter how death defying the trip. Of course, everyone else, including her boss-who’d called around ten and said she’d managed a day’s grace on the deadline-had stayed home.
Yet here she stood, at ten to five, just getting ready to leave.
She was such a sap.
After bundling up in her bulky parka and clunky winter boots-fashion had not been an option this morning-she headed out into a freezing February evening.
She didn’t mind winter. Really.
There were only a handful of cars in the lot. When she’d arrived this morning, she’d been smart enough to park with another clump of cars. A few others hadn’t thought ahead and were boxed in by a mountain of snow, thanks to the snowplow.
At least she didn’t have to brush her car off and dig it out.
So intent on her task of clearing off her running vehicle, it took a while before she became conscious of a revving engine. Someone was stuck.
Everyone should spend a few winters farther north. They’d learn winter driving skills then. Where she’d grown up, this much snow, and more, was the norm.
Then she realized who the driver was and immediately regretted her thoughts. Raji was an immigrant. She hadn’t even seen snow until moving here last fall.
Kelly looked at her now warm car with longing. It was every man for himself, right?
Wrong. Not in her world. She couldn’t just leave.
Saint Kelly to the rescue.
It took her about ten minutes of pushing and shovelling, but Raji was finally able to pull forward.
She drove about ten feet, then stopped.
Kelly walked up to the window again. “Are you okay?”
Raji sat rigid, with hands clutched at ten and two. Tears streamed down her face. She began to shake her head.
In the perfect diction of one that had worked hard to learn a new language, she said, “No no no. I cannot do this again. I am too afraid. This is…this is too much. Too much snow. It is dark. I will have an accident.”
Kelly sighed. Why fight it?
“Listen, I pass your turnoff on the way to my place. Would you like me to drive you home?”
Tear filled eyes widened as they stared up at her. “Yes! You would do that?”
Yeah, she would do that.
Since she’d chatted with Raji a few times, she knew where she lived. Driving her home on a good day would add ten minutes to her commute. Today? Who knew?
“Come on, park your car, and let’s go.”
Moments later, they were buckled in and on their way.
More than forty-five minutes later, she pulled into the lot of Raji’s building. Every five minutes or so Raji had thanked her for being such a nice person, but other than that, the drive had been a silent one.
Now she could head to her own home.
And wouldn’t you know it? Just before merging back onto her usual route, some idiot driving too fast in the other direction hit a patch of ice and nearly creamed her. She instinctively swerved to avoid a collision and ended up straddling a small bank of icy snow. There was no way she could extricate herself. Not without help.
Of course, other than her, the only people left on the road were bad drivers and people that had no inclination to lend a hand.
Every man for himself.
Her ex’s voice droned in her head. “See what happens when you get involved?”
As she sat there wondering who to call for help, someone knocked on her window.
Startled, she looked over and saw a man standing there. A quick glance in her rear view mirror revealed a car parked behind her.
He’d stopped to help!
Grateful, Kelly rolled down her window. “Thank you so much for stopping. I can’t get out of this one on my own.”
“I saw what happened. Excellent reflexes. It could’ve been a lot worse. I’ll give you a push.” He smiled-and what a nice smile!-and said, “I take it you know what to do?”
She smiled back and nodded.
“Okay. Let’s get you on your way.”
He had to try a few times, but finally her tires found traction. Even though she’d only been gently pressing the gas pedal, her car shot forward.
Once in control, she looked in her mirror.
He’d disappeared! How could that be?
She slowed to a crawl.
There he was. Oh no, what had happened? He was laying face down in the snow!
She stopped the car, jumped out, and ran back to him.
As she approached, he rolled over.
He shook his head. “Shouldn’t good things happen when you help someone out?”
Grinning down at him, she said, “Oh, I think they do. There’s a Starbucks a few blocks ahead. If you’re not in a rush to meet up with someone, I’d like to buy you a coffee. To show my appreciation. Not too many people are willing to stop and lend a hand these days.”
Standing, he took off his gloves and whacked them together a few times to shake of the snow. Then he stuck a hand out to her. “There is no one, and I’d love to stop for a coffee. I’m Derek.”
“Hi Derek. I’m Kelly.”
Aspiring author Sherrie Kingston doesn’t have a website, but she’s willing to share her love of short romantic stories with us.