Just Passing Through
Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Ma/ft, Consensual,
Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A young man trying to distance himself from a bad situation takes refuge in a small town two states away. He finds a job as a short order cook and blends into the community - for a while. He hasn't outrun his problems.
The blue neon sign said "VAC N Y". Vacancy has vacancies, Errol thought, smiling at the weak pun. He parked his ancient, rust-spotted '65 Datsun pickup in front of the office and climbed out, stretching his back and shoulder muscles. He'd been on the road for over seven hours, and his body demanded relief. The motel didn't look like much, but then he couldn't afford much.
When he stepped into the tiny office, he smelled pizza and cigarette smoke. No one was behind the counter, so he lightly tapped the bell once and waited. He heard movement beyond the black curtain hanging in the doorway that probably led to the owner's apartment. A sixty-something woman with frizzy red hair pushed through the curtain, wiping pizza sauce off her chin with a paper towel. She was a good fifty pounds overweight.
"Need a room?"
"Yes, ma'am. One, maybe two nights. Depends on how I feel in the morning."
She let out a little chuckle and said, "Make it two nights if ya can. I need the business and I can't remember the last time this place was anywhere near filled up." Looking through the window for a passenger in his pickup, she added, "I take it you need a single. You gonna do this on a credit card?" She had a gravelly, low-pitched voice typical of heavy-smoking, post-menopausal women.
"No, ma'am, I'll pay cash."
She slid a registration card in front of him. "That'll be twenty-eight dollars a night. Local phone calls are free but you gotta go through me to call long-distance. There's ice and some vending machines down at the end. You ain't got no pets have you? I charge extra for pets."
"No, ma'am, no pets. I can barely take care of myself."
She laughed at that and sympathized, "Yeah, I know where you're comin' from." She handed him the key and pointed down the walkway. "Room number six is about half way down. Jennie's Diner across the highway is still open for about another hour if you wanna get some supper. They got decent food and it's cheap."
"Sounds like the perfect combination. The smell of your pizza reminded me that I haven't eaten since breakfast. I'll definitely check it out."
"Well, I'd offer you a slice except I just ate the last one. Jennie ain't got pizza, but she serves up a helluva bowl of chili. Have ya sweatin' bullets on the second spoonful."
"Just the way I like it." Errol counted out twenty-eight dollars even and added, "I'll let you know tomorrow if I'm staying for a second night."
"Any time. It ain't like I'm havin' t' juggle reservations."
"Well, g'night then."
"Sleep tight, and don't worry 'bout no bedbugs bitin'. Had the whole place fumigated two weeks ago so there won't be nothin' alive in your room but you."
"That's good to know. Thanks again."
Errol parked his pickup in front of room number six and grabbed his bag. The room was about what he expected; a double bed with a mustard-color quilted bedspread, a bedside stand with a cheap lamp, a TV remote, a small clock radio, and a telephone sitting on an instruction card. There was one vinyl covered armchair and an RCA television sitting on a six-drawer lowboy dresser. The place smelled strongly of disinfectant spray that didn't quite cover the odor of stale cigarette smoke, probably permanently imbedded in the carpet and drapes. And there was still a hint of the pesticide as well. The bathroom fixtures were old but clean. Good enough.
He splashed some cold water in his face, rubbed vigorously with a hand towel and headed across the highway to the diner to appease his growling stomach.
There were only three other customers in the place. Errol took a seat at the counter and grabbed a menu tucked between the sugar container and the napkin holder. It could have been a menu from just about any diner in the country, judging from it's contents.
The waitress was probably a local high school girl. Cute, perky, ponytail. She wore jeans and a pink top. She put on her customer greeting smile and said, "Evening! What'll it be?"
"Evening. Um, the lady at the motel says you have some pretty awesome chili. That right?"
"Never had any complaints. Is that what you want?"
"Yeah, but I'm pretty hungry, so why don't you add a double order of onion rings to that. And some iced tea, unsweetened. Couple of lemon wedges if you have them."
"Give me about five minutes. That's today's paper down at the end if you want to look at it."
She turned to a skinny old man wearing a food-stained white apron sitting on the end stool and said, "Did you hear that Al? Double order of onion rings."
The old guy got up grudgingly and shuffled through the swinging doors to the kitchen.
Errol walked down to the end of the counter and snagged the newspaper. The Polk Register was a semi-weekly, according to the legend at the top of the page. The big news for this edition was the peewee league's trouncing of Jefferson at last Friday's baseball game, 26 to 7. Errol looked for and found a half page of comics along with a crossword and a Sudoku puzzle. He took his ballpoint pen from his pocket and went to work. Apparently, challenging puzzles weren't what the people wanted because he had the crossword almost done before the chili arrived. He solved the Sudoku as he ate.
The chili was as good as advertised. And as hot. He wolfed it down and went to work on the onion rings, cooling his tonsils with two tall glasses of iced tea. He paid up and left a two dollar tip. As he was pushing the door open to head back across the highway, he saw a sign taped to the inside. From outside, he read "HELP WANTED".
Hmm, might be worth checking out, he thought. He stepped back inside and waved the waitress over. "Uh, about that HELP WANTED sign. What kind of work is it and who would I talk to about it?"
"That'd be Jennie. She's the owner and she's looking for a short order cook for breakfast and lunch. You had any experience?"
"Yeah, some. When does she come in?"
"The diner opens at six and she'll be here about fifteen minutes before that. Come on over tomorrow and I'll leave her a note saying there's somebody interested. What's your name?"
"Errol. Errol Hansen. Do you know what the pay is?"
"Probably not enough to get excited about, but I expect it's fair for this part of the country. Anyhow, she doesn't tell me what she pays the cook, so you'll have to talk to her about that."
"Right. Good then, I'll be here in the morning. Thanks."
She flashed him a pretty smile and said, "You're welcome. I hope you get the job because we could use some new stock in this town. My name's Valerie, by the way."
"Nice to meet you, Valerie."
Back in his room, Errol stood in the shower letting the hot water beat down on his tired, achy shoulders. He hadn't intended to stay over in Polk, but it was as good a town as any, from the little he'd seen of it. The rusty sign out on the highway said "Population 1,156", but who knew how old the sign was. Still, he doubted things had changed all that much since it was put up. Small towns just seem to keep on keepin' on.
So far, the people seemed friendly enough; well, the two he'd met so far. Since he hit the road a few months back, he found that most small towns were pretty much the same; mostly good folks, a relaxed atmosphere and an inward looking society. Pleasant enough, but no place for a person looking to go places and make a name for himself in the world. And that was just fine with Errol because that wasn't what he was in the market for anyway. He was only interested in drifting, watching and learning. And avoiding any run-ins with the law.
Truth is, he really had no idea what he was looking for ... just something else. As he dried off with a thin towel that wasn't quite big enough for the job, he looked into the mirror and pondered the guy looking back at him.
Errol Lars Hansen, twenty-six years old, Army vet, college dropout, now a possible fugitive from justice, and with no family that he had any interest in since his mom died; A young man on the road and in search of himself. So far, nothing was clicking, but he wasn't in any big rush to find his niche in the world. He was convinced that too many people either rushed into, or were pushed into life-long commitments that they were never quite happy with. He was damned if he would fall into that trap. Hell, even if he spent his life drifting from town to town and working part-time jobs, well what was wrong with that? At least he wouldn't be a drain on society, he wouldn't be panhandling on the streets.
He'd graduated high school at age seventeen, joined the Army with his mother's endorsement, and did six years including two back-to-back tours in Afghanistan. Actually, it wasn't quite two tours. He'd just made sergeant and he was leading his first patrol against a local militia when they were caught by an IED. He was the only one with major injuries; a chest wound that collapsed his lung and a broken hip. He was shipped back home and spent two months at Walter Reed recovering from the damage. Two surgeries and a metal hip later, he decided one Purple Heart was enough and opted against reenlisting.
After his discharge, he enrolled at a university in West Virginia, thanks to the GI Bill. He did okay grade-wise, but he couldn't decide on a major. He really had no idea what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, so he dropped out after two years and decided to explore the country, hoping some serendipitous event might eventually point him in a positive direction.
He withdrew his total savings of two thousand, seven hundred and thirty-six bucks, bought the old Datsun pickup from one of his classmates for three hundred, spent another three-fifty on tires and minor repairs, and headed west. No plan, no particular destination, no particular ambitions, just go and see what was out there.
Even if he got the job at the diner, he couldn't say how long he'd hang around town. Probably just long enough to build up some cash reserve, maybe a couple thousand bucks. That's what he'd done in the first two towns he spent any time in.
And that's what he was planning to do in the third, but something happened that now laid heavily on his mind. He'd taken a life. He'd taken lives before in Afghanistan, but this wasn't the same. It wasn't war. And although the life he took needed to be taken, he'd have had a hard time proving it, so he just left. He had no idea if he was even being sought, but he knew it would be foolish to assume otherwise.
And now, two states later, his cash reserves were under a thousand dollars, and in today's economy, that wasn't going to last long. First thing on the agenda, if he was offered and took the job, was to find a cheap room somewhere he could rent by the week or the month. Maybe the motel owner could steer him toward something.
He set the radio alarm for 5:30 so he could be there when Jennie showed up to open the diner. The early bird gets the worm, and that sort of thing. He crawled under the blankets wishing the bed was a little less firm, but he was bone tired and had no trouble falling into a deep sleep.
He was standing by the front entry of the diner when the owner drove up in an old Volvo. Of course it was still dark out, but the parking lot was pretty well lighted by a street lamp. Even so, the woman, presumably Jennie, cautiously stood beside her open car door a few feet away and said, "We'll be open in a few minutes."
"Yeah, uh, I'm here about the job. The waitress, Valerie said she'd leave you a note that I was interested. My name's Errol."
"Oh! The job! Yeah, well then why don't you come on in and we'll talk while I get some coffee brewing."
She closed her car door and walked past Errol to unlock the entry door. He followed her inside and sat at the counter while she went into the kitchen to flip on the lights and the outside sign. As she loaded the coffee maker, she asked, "Did Valerie tell you anything about the job?"
"She said it was short order cooking for breakfast and lunch. I've got some experience in that because I worked at the student union cafe while I was at the University."
"Oh, you're a college man, huh?"
"More like a college dropout. I only finished two years."
"Yeah? Where was that?"
He mentally picked a random school out west, the opposite direction from which he'd come. "Uh, the University of Wyoming."
"Hmm. Well this place isn't hugely busy but it's busy enough. You'd have to be able to handle a bunch of orders at the same time. You that good?"
"I think so."
"What was your name again?"
"Errol. Errol Hansen." He'd given some thought to using a phony name, since he might be a person of interest in a crime, but he knew he was going to have to produce some ID at some point, at least a social security card if he got the job.
She shoved a hand toward him and said, "Nice to meet you, Errol. I'm Jennie, as you've probably guessed. I own the place. We're just barely making ends meet, so I need someone who's fast, efficient and willing to work for eight bucks an hour. We can kick that up to ten bucks if you work out. You still interested?"
He took the offered hand, impressed with her firm grip. He was hoping for more money, but it'd do until something better came along. "I'm willing to give it a try if you are."
"I am." She reached under the counter and grabbed a clean apron, tossing it toward him. "So put that on, come into the kitchen and fire up the griddle. Everything you need is in the walk-in cooler. Go ahead and take out all the breakfast stuff while I get some oatmeal cooking. Our first rush is in about thirty minutes."
"You want me to start now? Does that mean I'm hired?"
"Conditionally. We'll see after an eight hour trial by fire. Coffee?"
"Uh, yeah. Black, please. And thanks."
He followed her into the kitchen carrying a large mug of coffee, and looked over the equipment. Impressive! The stove was a Vulcan with six burners and a large griddle. There was a separate grill off to the side, and two large ovens. He flipped on the exhaust fans in the hood and lit the gas.
Jennie was an interesting woman. Errol guessed she was in her early thirties, and just from the short conversation they'd had so far, he bet she'd never been a pampered, spoiled little girl. She was pretty enough, in a rough-cut sort of way, but she didn't present anything like a delicate, feminine air.
Her jeans and western shirt showed off a trim, shapely body, about five foot ten, maybe a hundred and thirty pounds. Her auburn hair was cut short, probably for easy maintenance, her eyes were hazel and her skin was slightly swarthy, like her ancestry might have been Mediterranean. He didn't see a ring on her finger, but that didn't mean anything nowadays. Errol was betting that if she didn't already have a husband, there were probably plenty of guys who'd be interested in the position.
What he most appreciated about her so far, was her confidence. She walked, talked and acted like a person in charge of her life and woe be to anyone who tried to impose on that.
By seven, the place had filled up with the expected assortment of farmers, truckers and locals, and Errol had no trouble keeping up with the orders. Compared to his job at the student union, it was a walk in the park. Jennie never had to bring back a single order that wasn't done right. Over easy was over easy and the omelettes were done to perfection. He never burnt a single piece of toast.
There was about a two hour lull between breakfast and the early lunch group, and she took that time to give him a detailed tour of the premises and have him fill out a proper job application.
As he filled in the blanks, she praised, "So far, so good, Errol. You certainly seem to know what you're doing."
He handed her the completed application. "Um, thanks. It helps a lot that you know how to order and you keep 'em all straight."
"Yeah, we make a pretty good team, don't we? Well, let's get started on lunch, okay? You scrape the griddle down while I whip up a fresh pot of chili."
"I had some of your chili last night. Great stuff!"
"Thanks, it's my dad's recipe. He opened this place over twenty five years ago. I took it over when he got sick and I've been running it ever since, about six years now."
"Sorry to hear about your dad. How's he doing?"
"Thanks. Anyway, he taught me everything he knew about running the place. The hardest part is finding and keeping good help. Hope you're planning to stick around."
"I got no place special to go, so you can count on me for a while." At least he hoped that was the case.
"That's good to hear. Well, here comes the first of the lunch crowd from the grain elevators. Man your station!"
Errol stood at attention and saluted smartly. "Yes, MA'AM!"
At two in the afternoon, he was relieved by Al, the second shift cook. The skinny old man who cooked his onion rings the night before must have been at least seventy, and he didn't look at all healthy. In fact, Errol mentally questioned whether the old guy should even be handling food. The way he pursed his lips when he exhaled pretty much shouted advanced respiratory disease.
As Errol tossed his dirty apron into the hamper, Jennie patted him on his shoulder and said, "Great job, Errol! You obviously don't need any OJT, so we'll just start you right off at ten bucks an hour. How's that?"
"Wow! Thanks so much for that, Jennie! I'll meet you here tomorrow morning, then."
"Great! You live nearby?"
He pointed across the road. "I just got into town yesterday and I'm staying at the motel for the time being. I thought I'd ask the owner if she knows of some place cheap but clean where I can rent a room."
"You must mean Margie. Yeah, she's a good source for any kind of information like that. Knows everybody and everything. She may look a little rough around the edges but she's really a sweet lady and she'll be honest with you."
"That's what I was hoping. So, I guess I'll see you in the morning."
He trotted across the highway, but before he went back to his room, he checked in at the office to pay for another night. He found Margie behind the desk watching soaps on a little portable TV and sipping on a Coke.
"Hi! Um, looks like I'm staying for at least one more night. I got a job across the street at the Diner. Do you know of any place where I can rent a room by the week or the month?"
"You workin' for Jennie? Oh, you'll like her. She's such a sweet girl; pretty thing, too, ain't she?"
"Yeah, she is attractive. Is she married?"
Margie laughed and said, "You work fast, don't you?"
"Oh, no, nothing like that! I was just curious."
"Well, for your information, she's divorced. Married a no-good right out of high school, but he run off with the town slut a year later. I don't believe she's trusted another man enough to let him into her life since. Doesn't even date, as far as I know. Anyway, about your question, if you're plannin' to stick around, maybe I got a little proposition for ya."
"Yeah? What's that?"
"Well, as you can probably imagine, it's gettin' harder and harder for me to get this fat ol' carcass around. Oh, I know what you're thinkin': If I spent more time workin' and less time stuffin' my face with pizza, I wouldn't be such a ugly old blob. I tried, but a can't do it. I like eatin' too much."
Errol started to protest her putting words into his mouth, but she cut him off.
"Now, if you was interested, I'd let you keep your room in exchange for cleanin' up the other units when you ain't workin' at Jennie's. I don't get but two, maybe three customers a night, so it ain't like it'd be much of a strain for ya. Might you be interested in somethin' like that?"
He gave it some thought. "Well, I'd sure be willing to give it a try for a while to see how it worked out. It's very nice of you to offer, Margie."
She smiled and offered her hand. "Jennie must'a told you my name. So yeah, let's try this arrangement for a while and see if it works for ya."
He took out his wallet to pay for the second night.
"No, put your money away! We'll start right now. The cleanin' cart and the vacuum are in the utility room next door, and here's a master key that opens everything. The only other rooms used last night besides yours were units two and nine."
Errol took the key and headed out the door. "I'll get right to it."
It took him less than an hour to do both rooms. The military had trained him well in making up beds and cleaning bathrooms, so he probably did a better job than she did. He put away the vacuum and the cleaning cart, then stepped into the office to give her back the key and ask what he should do with the dirty linens.
"Now you hold onto that key since you're gonna be usin' it every day. As far as the laundry, just leave the hamper in the utility room and I'll take care of it. I may be old and fat, but I ain't so bad off that I can't handle a little washin', dryin' and foldin'. You just check in with me every day when you get done over to Jennie's and I'll let you know what rooms need cleanin'."
"Works for me. I'll see you tomorrow."
He started out the door, but stopped to ask, "Margie, is there any chance you'd let me put a hot plate in my room to heat up some food from time to time?"
"Um, don't like the idea of a hot plate 'cause sometimes people forget to turn 'em off, but I'll tell ya what I'll do. I got an old microwave and a three cubic foot refrigerator in storage that you can use."
"Yeah, hey, that'd be great! Where's you storage room. I'll carry them over right now."
"If ya go around to the right, it's the green door at the end. Your master key will open it."