He took advantage of a break in the storm, pulled his jacket lapels around his neck as a feeble defence against the snowfall and trudged the short distance.
She watched his progress with mild curiosity as he shovelled his swank Italian shoes through the mini snowdrift. However, her interest increased when she realised he was approaching her door. Sliding off her glasses, she squinted into the mirror to check her make-up. It’ll have to do. Her furtive hand slipped the spectacles into her bag.
“Hi,” he said, “I’m from...”
“Yes, I saw. Good evening.”
“Good? Are you certain?”
She smirked. “Maybe good is an exaggeration.”
“I’m Jonathan,” he announced, as he held out his hand.
“Julie. I’m pleased to meet you.” Urgh, why am I so formal?
“I’ve come for a cup of sugar.”
“Really? Where’s the cup?”
He held out empty hands and offered her a lopsided smirk. “To be honest, I don’t need sugar, although it seemed the perfect excuse to visit.”
She smiled. “It’s freezing; come in.”
He thanked her as he stamped off the snow.
While he hand-brushed snow-flakes from his raven hair, she peered through the murk at the snow filled road. “It seems to be easing off.”
“Let’s hope so.”
She motioned him in. “Close the door after you.” Stupid thing to say, she thought. He was unlikely to leave it open in the middle of winter. Calm down, Julie, stop your waffle. She tended to ramble on when confronted by a fine looking man, in particular a dark handsome man.
“Thanks Julie, I appreciate this.”
“Are you warm enough?” she fussed, “I can turn up the heat.” He didn’t appear to be cold, outfitted in his winter suit, an extravagant grey with blue threads striped into the material.
“No, I’m fine.”
She had a friendly smile, flanked by dimples. “Would you like a drink?”
He frowned. “Oh! Please. A scotch would be welcome ... no ice.”
She chuckled. “That’s a pity. Ice we have - plenty, however we’re out of whiskey.”
“Not to worry.”
“I would offer tea or...” She shook a jar of Maxwell House, “coffee ... but...” She shrugged. “Milk instead?”
“No, honest. Nothing thanks.”
There was an awkward muteness, which Julie filled with a nervous cough. “Your car ... it’s ... I love it.”
“The Carrera. Yes, the Germans build great cars.” He grinned playfully. “Actually, I’m a little self-conscious about owning a Porsche.”
“You know what they say about a man and his car - an extension to his...” Jonathon left the word dangling and watched her response.
Her face was flaming.
He grimaced. “Julie, I’m sorry. I’ve embarrassed you. I never know when to keep my mouth shut.”
She thought cold, even studied the ice, although it didn’t help, her skin colour wouldn’t return to normal. Her phone rang and she grabbed it like a lifeline. “That will be my husband. I’d rather he didn’t know you were here. Do you mind?”
He gave a reassuring grin, as if trying to recapture her goodwill, and placed a hush finger to his lips.
“Thanks,” she mouthed.
While she talked, Jonathan scrutinised her. She was prim - tweed skirt and Jaeger turtleneck sweater with over-fussed chestnut hair. Her eyes were chocolate - large and bright - apart from which there was nothing spectacular about her. Despite that, he couldn’t take his eyes from her.
Her husband spoke.
“Oh, hello darling,” she replied. “ ... You’ve heard? ... No idea.” She shot Jonathan a glance. Why does he insist on staring? He’s making me even more nervous.
“I said, I don’t know ... Well, it’s not my fault! ... What am I supposed to do? ... Bill? ... Bill?”
Julie felt foolish. “He was cut off. That’s the trouble with mobiles ... the reception; not reliable.”
“Bill won’t object to me being here, will he?”
“No, of course not,” she lied. “Must be neighbourly, after all.”
They talked of inconsequentials for a while until Julie, not daring to look up from her lap, whispered, “Would you like to stay? I’d be glad of your company.”
“I hoped you’d ask, but are you certain?”
Julie replied with a hesitant “Yes,” before she added with certainty, “yes, why not? Bill will never know.”
He chuckled. “I promise not to tell if you don’t.”
“That’s settled then.”
She resumed staring at her lap. “Jonathan, I don’t like to ask and realise this sounds ... forward, but I don’t think I could tolerate being alone ... in the night. Would you stop with me? ... Please.”
“Yes, of course.”
“Really? Oh, thank you, thank you so much.”
He glanced at his watch. “Now that’s decided, what time would you normally go to bed?”
“Around midnight, although in the circumstances...” She giggled. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“An early night?”
“Yes, that’s right. It would suit me.”
“It would be sensible,” he reassured her. “I doubt we’ll sleep much.” He winked slyly and she jerked her head away to conceal her blush.
It appeared his earlier guilt had vanished. “Julie.”
She gave a guarded, “yes.”
“I don’t have my pyjamas, however...” There was a slow wanton wink. “They will probably be superfluous.”
It had become a habit - she blushed.
Julie woke with a start. She lay in Jonathon’s arms and wondered if she’d been weak-willed and foolish. She could have resisted - couldn’t she? Bill will understand. Ha! No, he won’t! Without success, she tried to force away the irrational guilt. She gave up. Oh well, too late now.
As slow as she could, she stretched out her arm so as not to disturb him. Finger tips rubbed the window as she stared into the inky blackness. Despite the snow, it was too dark to see.
“Good morning,” said the sleepy voice beside her.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“Not at all, I was ... ah!” A pained expression screwed up his face.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing serious. It’s only my arm. Pins and needles.”