As her co-worker was closing the store, Leah was watching the snow fall, fast and hard. Not even thirty minutes ago, a truck plowed two inches of snow off the road, there was already another inch now. The snow was pretty on the trees and bushes, creating a nice landscape for a holiday card, but it is almost the end of March. She is ready for leaves on the trees, warm days, cool nights. Seeing three inches on the branches, with much more to come was pissing her off.
Ryan came up behind her, "ready?" Together, they stepped outside. Cold, north winds bit at her cheeks, flakes landed on her nose, they fixed to her eyelashes, she wiped them off, hurrying to Ryan's car.
His car was warm, he started it twenty minutes ago, cleaned it off, now was cleaning it off again. Watching him, she thought him cute, auburn hair whisked by the wind. Chestnut eyes half closed against the wind blown snow. She saw, on many occasions, woman bat their eyes at him as he made their sandwiches. So why is he a loner?
With her, the answer was simple, her mother told her, drilled it into her nearly every day. You weren't born with a pretty face, or much of a body, so you better develop your mind. She did, too, working at the store was a stepping stone. Taking classes around her schedule. Hiding her body under baggy clothes, her face behind old glasses.
But what about him? Ryan, his eyes are sad. She sees him in the store, when he thinks no one is looking. His eyes are truly sad, she doesn't no why. Not knowing something pisses her off as much as this late season snowstorm.
Night fell fast, headlights cut beams into the dark, showing big white flakes. The back roads were deep with the shit. His car was having trouble, even with front wheel drive, the rear was constantly fish tailing from side to side.
They came to a road closed sign, her road, a mile from her house. Ryan backed up, then turned around, tires spinning in the deep snow. "Where are you going?" The steering wheel spinning in his hands like the tires. "My house."
As she feared, Leah saw the street lights wink off. Ryan never noticed the string of porch lights also go off. He was too busy keeping them from crashing. His car came to a haphazard stop in his driveway. Blinding snow greeted her as she stumbled out of the car. His hand led her to his front door, her mind already thinking what they will have to do if he doesn't have a fireplace and wood.
She felt the pressing cold inside, it was creeping through the walls. Ryan went to the wall, squinting his eyes to read the thermostat. "Do you have any candles?" He nodded as wind blew against the window. "Where's your bedroom?"
"To your left, first door on the right." His voice was panicky. "Get them, bring them to your room."
He came in, his arms loaded with different sized candles. Pink, blue, and white, as Leah was taking off her coat and hat. "Light them and get out of your clothes." She was grateful he would not see her ugly naked body. "Shouldn't we keep them on?"
"No, this is the only way."
Will they survive?