Ships in the Night
Chapter 1: A Fellow Traveler
Copyright© 2015 by Levi Charon
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1: A Fellow Traveler - Errol Hansen picks up a hitchhiker and begins a new adventure. He also picks up a new identity, Adam Conklin. Should he grab onto the chance to live in relative luxury with a sexually charged heiress, or should he keep moving to stay ahead of the law?
Halfway between Colorado Springs and Pueblo on southbound I-25, Adam spotted a hitchhiker standing at the intersection of the interstate and a dirt road that led west into the foothills. Cold wind swirled and the light snow alternately drifted down and then sideways, pulsing with the gusts. He thought, What a crappy night to be trying to catch a ride!
He rarely ever stopped to pick up hitchhikers because there were just too many nut cases running loose in the world, but compassion overtook him in this case, and he slowed his Volvo to pull onto the shoulder fifty feet past the hopeful soul with his thumb sticking out in the cold air. The guy looked small, dressed in jeans, heavy boots and a bulky hooded parka, and he had a good-sized, fully stuffed backpack sitting on the ground next to him. As soon as he saw the brake lights glow, he grabbed it up and came running.
Adam reached back and pushed open the rear door for him toss in his pack. He was pleased to see the guy was considerate enough to set his wet stuff on the floor and not the seat.
As the hitchhiker slid into the front seat and pushed back the hood of the bright blue nylon parka, Adam found himself looking at a girl; well more like a young woman in her early twenties, he guessed. They locked onto each other's eyes, both trying to get a quick read on the other. They must have been satisfied with what they saw because friendly smiles quickly followed.
She began, "Thanks for stopping. I was about to freeze my butt off out there! Miserable weather for October, isn't it?"
He stated the obvious, "Yeah, you definitely could've chosen a better night to be traveling. Where ya going?"
"Where are you headed?" She rubbed her hands together in front of the dashboard vent blowing warm air.
Adam turned the fan up to high to help with the thaw. As he pulled back onto the highway, he shrugged and said, "Not too sure. Maybe Santa Fe, Maybe Albuquerque, somewhere around that area. South, anyway. It mostly depends on where I can find some kind of work."
"So you're uncommitted, huh? Well, I'm on my way to just outside Taos."
"Yeah? Actually, I was thinking I'd like to see Taos because I've heard some nice things about it. I suppose I could take you there since it's not that far out of my way."
"Um, I think it is pretty far out of your way if you're headed for Santa Fe, but it's worth seeing. I wouldn't want to cause you any inconvenience, but I'd be happy to pay for a gas fill-up if I could go all the way with you." She blushed just a little bit, thinking of the possible double entendre in that comment, and hoped it slid by without his notice.
It didn't, but he had the good grace to let it pass. "Naw, I'm good, but thanks for the offer. Do you know Taos? Because if you do, I'll stay overnight at a cheap motel and you can give me the two dollar tour. I get the impression it's kind of an artsy tourist town with a ski resort."
"Mmm, I'm not all that familiar with it, but I've been there a couple of times, so I guess I could show you some of the high points. You're right about the art community, and there is skiing nearby. The architecture is interesting because most of the buildings, even the newer ones are adobe. I'm not sure, but I think there's some kind of city ordinance or building code that requires strict conformity to that local tradition. Anyhow, if you're going that way, I know a motel on the outskirts of town that's not too expensive. Trying to find a cheap one might be futile though."
"Not too expensive sounds like it might be inside my price range, so sure, I'll follow your recommendations. In the mean time, I was thinking about finding a place in Pueblo to stop for dinner. That okay with you?"
"You bet! I haven't eaten since breakfast and it feels like my stomach is gnawing on my spine. If you won't let me help with the gas, how about I spring for dinner? I can afford it."
"Fair enough. I'm kind of in the mood for something like a hot roast beef sandwich, so I guess that takes the fast food joints out of the picture. You okay with that?"
"A man after my own heart. I'm not a big McDonald's fan, either."
"You know, if the weather hadn't been so rough, you'd have still been standing back there on the side of the road. I almost never pick up hitchhikers."
"I hear you, and I'm grateful. I think ninety-nine percent of the driving public feels the same way. Can't say I blame you, though, since there's always a little risk involved. Maybe that's part of the appeal for us thumb-waggers." She reached over and patted him on the shoulder and added, "But you're safe with me. I'm unarmed, and I don't even kill spiders if I can avoid it."
He laughed, "Thanks, that's good to know. You got a name?"
She looked like she had to think about it for a couple of seconds. "Well, I have a first name I'll share with you since I'm going to be your tour guide. It's Willie, short for Wilhelmina. And may my parents be forever damned for dropping that one on me. I believe I was named after my stinkin' rich grandmother in my parent's bid to secure a prominent position in her will. What's yours?"
"Adam. I guess I was named after Eve's boyfriend. How'd you come to be standing out in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm? You live around here?"
"I came from nowhere near here, and my last ride dropped me there when he turned off I-25 to head up to his acreage in the mountains." She chuckled, "He invited me to spend the night out of the storm, but I wasn't so sure he was all that, um, honorable, if you know what I mean."
Adam nodded his understanding. "Sorry that happened. Obviously, it's not just the hitchhikers that present a risk. But you are an attractive woman, so I'd guess you've had some practice at fending off guys, dishonorable and otherwise."
"Thanks for the compliment. To be honest, he was an older guy, probably in his sixties, so maybe it was just a little wishful thinking on his part. He didn't really come off like a dirty old man. I mean, he wasn't crude or grabby or anything."
"Well, that's good. Would you mind turning on the radio and searching around for a local station? I'd like to get some idea what this storm is going to do."
"Sure, but I'm thinking the worst of it is up north toward Denver and Fort Collins. I hear they're expecting a couple of feet of snow along the northern front range."
"Really? Wow! I must have just missed it when I drove through that area a couple of hours ago. You should be able to get a Pueblo station from here, maybe even Trinidad."
Willie scanned the dial and found a C&W station in Pueblo. Between an old Dolly Parton song and a recent one by Garth Brooks, the DJ announced they were expecting light flurries and gusty winds overnight from Colorado Springs to the New Mexico state line. Nothing to be too concerned about for the moment, but bigger storms were expected in a few days.
It was soon fully dark and the traffic was thinning out. Adam was glad he'd picked Willie up because it was the kind of blackness outside where the snowflakes flying into the headlights and over the windshield could be hypnotizing. It was good to have a diversion, someone to talk to.
For the next several miles, they chatted about nothing much in particular, avoiding any personal probes as the Volvo slid smoothly over the rolling hills along the foot of the Rockies. Before long, they could see the glow of city lights reflecting off the clouds in the distance.
Adam asked, "Are you at all familiar with Pueblo?"
"Nope. I've been through it a couple of times, but I never stopped. I think It's a pretty good size city, though. We shouldn't have any trouble locating a decent place to eat tucked away between the fast food joints, but we might have to get off the highway to find it."
"That's no problem for me. It's just that I prefer local cafes to production line food."
They were halfway through the city and nearing the old downtown area when they took an exit off the highway and dropped down into a local neighborhood. Soon, they found just what they were looking for; a homey-looking cafe in the middle of the block with a half dozen cars parked in front.
They settled into a booth and shared a menu. When they saw hot roast beef and hot turkey sandwiches offered, they smiled at each other. The waitress came over with coffee pot in hand and asked, "What'cha havin' tonight?"
Adam said, "I'll start with some of that coffee. Then I think we're both gonna have the hot roast beef sandwich. What does that come with?"
The waitress poured his coffee and took her order pad from the pocket of her apron. "I think you'll like it. It's pretty generous and it comes with mashed potatoes - real, not instant - and a choice of green beans or steamed broccoli."
"Great!" Willie jumped in, "I'll have the broccoli. And some hot tea."
"And I'll have the green beans. Could I get a glass of water, please."
"Comin' right up! Your dinner will be here in about ten."
Adam sipped his coffee and asked, "Have I asked you what got you out on the highway traveling across the country? If I get too nosey, just tell me to mind my own bees wax."
She laughed, "Bees wax? I haven't heard that one in a while. As far as why I'm a traveling girl, that's a long story. Let's just call it wanderlust and leave it at that. How about you? Your destination seemed pretty iffy, as I recall."
"Yeah, well actually, I dropped out of school and I'm just poking around in different parts of the country hoping to find myself." He snickered, "Although to be honest, I'm not too damn sure what I'll do with me if I'm successful."
Willie raised her eyebrows and ventured, "I think we may have a lot in common, fellow traveler. What school did you drop out of?"
"University of West Virginia. I wasn't flunking out or anything, I just felt like I was spinning my wheels because I don't know what I want to be when I grow up - if I grow up. I'm still working on that part."
"There's something else we have in common, my friend. I mean about the growing up part. Last June, I graduated from Stevens College in Missouri, one of the last all-women's schools left. After graduation, I moved back in with my folks, and that was a big mistake. I suffered through it for as long as I could, but I had to get out or go nuts, so I loaded up my backpack and hit the road. By now I'm sure they know I've bolted, and I'm sure they've each shit their respective gold-plated bricks. With any luck, they'll ultimately decide I'm not worth the trouble and disown me rather than send out a search party."
"You saying you want to be disowned?"
"Yeah, I do, actually, but let's not go there, okay? I'd have to recite my whole life history for that to make any sense."
"Enough said. What's your degree in, if I might ask?"
"Education. I'd like to be a teacher, but before I do that, I feel like I need to learn a whole lot more about life an living. So far, I'm afraid I've led a rather sheltered existence, if not a blissful one."
"Good for you! If my humble opinion counts for anything, I think you're going about it the right way. As far as I'm concerned, if you've never had dirty hands, what could you possibly know about the real world?"
"Thanks for that. Encouragement is always welcome. So, what time do you think we'll make it to Taos tonight?"
Adam pulled a tattered map out of his inside jacket pocket and spread it out on the table. "Well let's see, looks like we turn off onto highway 64 a few miles past Raton. From there, it looks like it can't be more than two hours if the roads are decent. So from here, I'm thinking no more than three and a half, four hours total. That should put us in Taos between ten and eleven."
"That'll work. Be sure and let me know if you get tired, okay? I'm a good driver."
"Thanks, I'll do that."
The waitress wasn't kidding about the sandwiches being generous. Thick slices of lean roast beef were layered on Texas toast and drowned in a rich brown gravy. They were served on large platters and they were awesome! Adam barely managed to finish his, and Willie could only manage about half.
Wishing he'd stopped eating a few bites sooner, Adam slid behind the wheel and found his way back to the highway, heading south out of the city. About an hour and a half later, they passed through Trinidad, then quickly crossed into New Mexico.
As they left Raton after stopping for gas and a pee stop for Willie, Adam began keeping an eye out for the turnoff to highway 64. The conversation pooped out, and his passenger soon dropped off to sleep. When they left the gas station, she'd shed her parka and tossed it in the back. Her seat was reclined a bit and her face was turned toward her window. She wore a tan sweater that fit rather snugly, showing off a figure any young woman could be proud of. Her skin was pale and her long hair, done in a single thick braid, was chestnut brown. Adam smiled appreciatively and guessed she must have had a stable of suitors at her beck and call. And on top of her good looks, she was intelligent and well-spoken, doing justice to what was probably a rather privileged upbringing. But if she did hail from wealthy parentage, there was certainly nothing the least bit snobbish about her. He had a sense that wherever she ended up, she'd probably do well for herself. She seemed to carry an air of determination.
He wondered again why she was hitchhiking. Surely, if her folks were well-heeled, she had a car of her own. But then, maybe she thought that would make it too easy to find her.
It was almost eleven when they pulled into Taos. Willie was still sleeping when Adam pulled up to what he hoped was the "not too expensive" motel on the outskirts of town that she'd told him about. Taos is a tourist destination, but it was between summer and the ski season, so he hoped the prices would reflect that.
He reached over and laid his hand on her shoulder, shaking her gently. "Willie! Willie! We're here."
She opened her eyes and sat up, looking around and trying to get her bearings. "Oh damn, Adam, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to sleep all the way. I guess I'm not very good company, am I?"
He said, "Hey, don't worry about it. You obviously needed the sleep, didn't you?"
She rubbed her eyes with the heels of her palms and took a deep breath. "Yeah, I guess I did. So what now? You gonna get a room here?"
"Probably, if the prices aren't too steep. You gonna get a room?"
"Yeah, I guess I better. It's too late to do anything else." She looked over at him and asked, "Uh, if they have a double, we could share the cost. I don't mean to sound slutty, it's just that somehow I think I can trust you to be a gentleman. Would you be okay with that?"
"Sure, fine by me. And I've never laid an improper hand on a woman in my life, so you don't have to worry on that account. Just think of me as your big brother."
She laughed. "As long as you're not an incestuous big brother, I guess I can do that. Let's go get a shower and some serious sleep."
They were lucky because there was only one room left, and it happened to be a double. Willie took her shower first, and she was snuggled in and fast asleep when Adam finished his nighttime ablutions and crawled into his bed feeling completely worn out.