It was cold and rainy outside and she stood there with her hands in her pockets and her back up against the 7eleven. She was soaked and so cold. A duffel bag sat at her feet. She just wanted to get the fuck out of that town. She kept asking herself how she got in this mess anyway. What to do with herself was the question. She had turned eighteen Friday and it was now Saturday.
She despised her stepfather and was tired of dodging his crazy ass. Her mother was an alcoholic and she had been married to her stepfather for two years. A tax deduction is all she was to them. When he came to her room and told her it was time to put out or get out. She chose the latter alternative. She had nowhere to go so she threw what clothes she could into her duffle bag and took the money she had been saving from her babysitting jobs, and hit the road.
She had spent the day roaming the aisles of Walmart, casually picking up things to check the price. It didn't matter what the charge was she wasn't buying anything. She was just killing time trying to decide what to do. Soon she felt like she was being watched when she looked up and saw a man dressed in jeans and a dark blue t-shirt. He continued giving her the evil eye and it just gave her the creeps. It was just time to leave.
She walked six blocks until she came upon the 7eleven. That's when the downpour started. When she entered the store she thought she could spend some time in there and get in out of the rain, but her old boyfriend was working behind the counter and he wanted to rekindle their relationship. More like he wanted to fuck her. He even told her he could close the store. Oh hell no, she thought. She knew a bus would be coming along any time now so she decided she would just wait outside.
Feeling like a drowned cat, she watched as the red Camaro pulled in the parking lot and came to a stop. She watched him as he jumped from his car with his coat over his head, and hurried inside. She looked at the car and noticed that it had an out of state license plate. It hit her like a ton of bricks. Six, seven, eight, she ran over to the passenger side of the car and pulled on the door. It was unlocked and she said a silent prayer of thanks. She opened it and threw her duffel in the back floor board and eased herself in with it. She peeped around the front seat, looking to see if anyone was watching her, but could see nothing because the store windows were so fogged up. She hunkered down to wait; her breathing was the only sound.
The driver's door flew open and he ducked inside slinging his coat in the back seat. He had a Slurpee and a moon pie. Who drank a Slurpee in the middle of a rainstorm? She watched him as he fired the engine up and backed out of the drive, heading for the interstate. It seemed like they had been on the road forever when she felt a sneeze coming on. She tried her best to hold it, but before she caught herself, she let it go. She could see him looking in the rearview mirror before pulling over to the side of the road and getting out.
She heard the passenger side door being pulled open and held her breath. Knowing she was at the mercy of this stranger, he flipped the seat back and reached for her pulling her out of the car.
"Who the hell are you and why are you in my car?" he asked her as they stood there in the pouring rain.
She said nothing as he pushed the seat back and pressed her into it. Oh fuck she thought. Now what was going to happen to her? She watched him slam the door and run around to the driver's side and jump in. He just sat there and stared at her.
"I know you; you're that girl from the store. Why the hell are you in my car?" he asked harshly.
"Please, I can explain."
"Let me guess, you're a run away and you think you can just hop in anybody's car and move on down the highway. Well, we're coming up on the exit for another town. I'm dropping you off and you're on your own whatever the hell your name is."
"My name is Erica. Please won't you let me go with you a little further down the road?" she begged.
"Well, Erica I happen to know that there is a Greyhound bus station there and I'm going to let you out there. What you do from then on is totally up to you." he told her as he gave a right hand turn signal and took the exit.
What was she going to do? She was alone in the world and no one cared. After a couple of turns she found herself with her duffel bag standing alone in front of the bus station. At least the rain had stopped. He drove off and left her sitting there on a bench. She had been strong up until that point, but she found herself sitting there crying as people moved all around her. It wasn't long and all those people had boarded buses as she watched them drive out of sight.
She was so tired, and she wondered if she could just stretch out on that bench and sleep. Lying there with her head resting on her duffel bag she heard a car come to a complete stop. Her eyes were closed and she listened to a car door open and slam shut. She could feel someone watching her so she opened her eyes. It was him standing there looking down at her.
"Get your stuff together. You're coming with me. I probably need to have my head examined for doing this, but I can't leave you stranded." he said as he took her by the arm and led her to the passenger side door and helped her get in his car.
She watched as he came around and got in the driver's seat and fired up the engine. He spun away from the drive. She was so happy she almost cried again. Didn't matter to her where he was headed she just knew that she would go as far as he would let her. She leaned her head back and rested against the seat emitting a soft sigh.
He looked over at her and shook his head. "My name is Zach and I'm on my way to California. San Diego to be exact. So any time you want to get out is fine by me. Hell, you can go all the way if you want, just don't expect me to look after you or anything." he said looking back at the road.
"Thank you Zach. I won't be any trouble I swear it."
"I hope you're right Erica. How old are you anyway?"
"I was eighteen yesterday."
"I'm nineteen and I hope that doesn't bother you."
"It doesn't bother me at all Zach."
They moved on down the highway listening to the radio blast maroon 5. She liked maroon 5. They were one of her favorite bands, but she thought the radio was a little too loud but she didn't dare say anything. She found herself nodding off.
"Hey Erica I'm stopping at the next motel we come to. You don't have a problem with that, do you?" he asked as he switched lanes.
"No, I don't mind, but I don't have a lot of money so I don't know how much I can put in to help pay for the room" she said looking a little worried.
He looked over at her and broke a smile. "I have enough money to pay for a room so don't sweat it. The only thing is I can't afford a double so not sure how we are going to work that out."
"I can sleep on the floor that's no problem. I'm just glad that I don't have to sleep outside."
He pulled up in front of a Motel 6 and got out. She watched him as he moved through the double doors and went to the check in counter. She felt a little strange about sleeping in the room with a complete stranger, but she got the feeling that he wasn't a bad guy at all. They just didn't know each other was all.
After putting the keyboard in his back pocket, he returned to the car, got in and drove to the back side of the building. They got out both reaching in the back for their bags. He locked the doors and they headed for the staircase that led to the third floor. When they reached room 306 they stopped and he pulled out the keycard and unlocked the door, letting her go in ahead of him.
When they got inside, they dropped their bags on the floor and Zach locked the door. She was so tired and she felt so dirty so she asked him if she could take a shower.
"Sure," he said as he flopped down on the bed and watched her grab her duffel bag.
"I won't be in there very long," she said, giving him a shy smile.
"Take your time, Erica. I'm not in a big hurry." he told her as he took the remote and turned the television on.
When she finished her shower, she returned to the room and noticed he had found a movie on HBO.
"I watched this movie before. It's kind of sad," she told him as she sat down on the side of the bed.
"Well, so much for that. No need to watch it now since you told me what it's about." he said as he turned the television off. "We should go to bed because I want to get on the road early in the morning," he said as he stood and started to strip.
Wearing nothing but a t-shirt and panties she stood and reached for a pillow. Making her way to end of the bed, she threw it down and stretched out. He was perplexed as his eyes fell on her. He looked at the bed and back at her.
.... There is more of this story ...