Janice Webster scraped the frost off the window of the piper cub one more time. The expanse of snow and trees seemed unchanged from the last time she looked, over an hour ago. The sun was slipping beneath the horizon, leaving a ruddy glow on the otherwise pristine white surface below her. She was beginning to regret her decision to accept the teaching job in the native Inupiat village called Kluso.
“It’s only August and the ground is already covered with snow,” she thought to herself. “What was I thinking? There will be cold and snow for most of the year and I doubt it will ever get over 60 degrees in the summer.”
Janice was not a snow person. Hailing from Nevada, she was used to warm temperatures and dry weather. Sure, she could take a ski trip on the mountain, but she if she did that it was her choice. Janice never chose to. The contract, however, was too good to pass up. The federal government would pay off 20% of her student loans for every year she taught in one of these remote villages. A person did not go to the University of Nevada for four years and escape debt free. The loan repayments represented an additional $60,000 of tax free income for all practical purposes. Five years living north of the artic circle seemed well worth it from the air conditioned comfort of the convention center where the job fair had been held.
Things were so different now. It had only been eight hours since the sun had risen and it was already setting. In a couple of months, the sun would stay below the horizon, never gracing the day with its presence. The pilot had told her that Kluso had snow on the ground nine months of the year. She could not imagine the stark plainness of such an inhospitable environment. How could anyone survive in a place where the cold alone could kill everything and everyone?
“At least the weather will match my love life,” she thought with a heavy sigh. Her boyfriend had made it clear that he would not wait five years for her to return. As Brad had put it, “Janice, we will make enough together to cover all our debts without you going to Timbuktu for five years. This is just a ploy to dump me. Well, if you want to dump me, fine. But it’s Kluso or me, you can’t have both.”
It was then that Janice realized how little he actually cared about her. It wasn’t quite, “If you loved me you’d have sex with me,” but it was close enough. Janice imagined she could still feel the sting on her hand from slapping his face. It was the last they had seen or spoken to each other. She didn’t regret losing him, if that was even the way to look at it, but she did regret being alone. She was going to spend five years of spinsterhood only to return to civilization to find no one waiting for her. Two months off in the summer would not suffice to start, let alone maintain a relationship. That prospect chilled her heart far more than any sub zero cold snap could.
There was a tap on her arm and she turned to see the pilot pointing down to the ground in front of them. His voice, in spite of his yelling, was just audible over the roar of the engine. “We’re almost there. I’m starting the landing. Make sure you’re buckled up.”
Janice gave him a thumbs up and checked her seat belt. As the plane started to descend, it also started to shake. The wind was buffeting the small craft and she could see the tension on his face as he fought the controls to keep the plane level. She could make out the bright red outline of the field. It looked like it might be red cloth strung between barrels. The barrels had fires burning in them. Unlike the field in Fairbanks, this one had no blacktop; at least none visible. The pilot lowered a different set of landing gear, which Janice assumed were the skis that she had noted just to the outside of the wheels.
She figured the pilot must be good since there was not much of a bump as they touched down. As the back skid settled firmly on the ice, the pilot flicked another level and a loud thunk was heard behind them at the same time that there was a jerk and a sudden slowing of the plane. She looked back and saw a furrow trailing behind them. The plane glided to a stop no more than 40 feet from a couple of Quonset huts in all their corrugated steel glory. Two parka clad figures ran out from the smaller one to meet the plane as the pilot turned the engine off. One came around to her side and the other to the pilot’s side.
Janice zipped her coat up and put her stocking cap on, but did not pull it over her face so she could see clearly. The person outside her door waited until she had finished and then opened the door to the cabin.
“Miss Webster. Welcome to Kluso. I’m Kumak your superintendent and principal. Let’s get you settled into your apartment first and then we’ll talk a little about the school year.”
“Sounds fine, Mr. Kumak.”
“No mister, just Kumak. How much do you have in the back?”
“Quite a bit, I’m afraid. I wasn’t sure how easy or hard it would be to buy anything that I didn’t bring with me. There’s three suitcases and two trunks.”
“That’s fine. Let me get the sled a while you start unloading your things. I’ll get you a parka as well. That coat will not do when colder weather comes.”
Janice nodded, groaning inwardly at yet another sign that she was not meant for this place, and worked her way to the back hatch of the plane. The sun had fully set by now and the temperature was dropping swiftly. By the time she had her three suitcases out on the packed snow, a roar approached, and she saw a snowmobile with a pack sled behind it pulling up. Kumak helped her put her things in the sled. Once loaded, the two climbed aboard the snowmobile and Kumak turned it away from the plane.
The rest of the village was not all Quonset huts. It became apparent that those efficient, yet ugly, buildings were reserved for community structures. The individual dwellings were more traditionally built. Janice’s was located next to one of the huts with a sign that said “school.” With a little effort, they were able to get her belongings into her apartment (though it was a stand alone building, not part of a complex).
With the last trunk inside, both stripped off their gear. Janice stood just under six feet tall. Her body could best be described as full. Most would consider her overweight and her body resisted all attempts to lose the weight or the full bodiness that was her usual physique. Her tan spoke of extensive exposure to the sun, not surprising for a native of Nevada. Her red hair fell back on her head, hanging as far down as her shoulders. However, her face was definitely pretty and she was used to being on the receiving end of men’s stares. What she was not used to was the center of those stares being lower than her face, which is where Kumak’s was focused. If she didn’t know better, she would think he was ogling her body. But surely that thought was silly?
Less silly was Janice’s unabashed stare at Kumak. With the removal of his parka, Janice was able to see the well built man that had been wearing it. He wasn’t extremely tall, only five feet, nine inches, but what a five foot nine he was. Clearly Kumak was used to physical exertion of some sort. His chest was large without the equally large belly that accompanies the overweight. His arms, while not muscle bound, were visibly strong. His legs showed no evidence of weakness or flabbiness under the jeans he wore. His weathered, native skin tone had an exotic look that Janice found she liked.
In fact, her body liked him even more. She felt a tingle that started in her pussy and spread through her body. Her mind started to conjure images of his body, naked and holding her. Her nipples, fortunately concealed under her blouse and sweater, were perking up at the sight of what could only be described as a MAN.
It was a minute before they both realized that they were staring at one another. Both blushed, though Janice’s was more pronounced, and turned away.
Breaking the uncomfortable silence, Kumak asked, “Do you need time to unpack before we talk about the upcoming school year?”
“Yes, that would be nice.”
“I’ll be back then in about, 2 hours?”
“That should be fine. Two hours.”
There was a hesitation as they found themselves looking at one another again. It was definite this time, Kumak was staring at her body, and the appreciation was evident. With embarrassment, they both turned away again. The mass of cold air from the space between the two doors of the entry caused Janice to shiver. She was sure it was the cold air.
.... There is more of this story ...