Chapter 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Oriental Female, First, Oral Sex, .

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A short little tale of a man who finds love in an unexpected fashion. This IS NOT a stroke story. If that's what you're expecting--pass this one up. Its slow to start but he gets where he needs to be. It's a slice out of a person's life.



When I bought my new house, I figured I would have the time to mow the yard and do all the things that a new homeowner does. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. I didn't buy some huge mansion with acres of yard to take care of. I searched around for a while before I decided on the neighborhood and the house. It was an out of the way subdivision, right on the edge of town. It was quiet because the access street was a dead end, so there wasn't any through traffic to worry about.

I picked an empty lot that had tons of trees on it and contracted it out to have something really nice built. I specified a few details with the architect and the price was agreed on. Eight months later I had my house, although I had to finish it myself. I had rented an apartment while the construction was going on and I frequently made myself an annoyance to the general contractor, until I fired him, that is. They hated to see me show up. My thoughts on that were simple, don't try to fuck me over with cheap shit when I paid for the good stuff and we'll get along just fine.

I eventually had to take the guy to small claims court over some fixtures that were specified in the blueprints but he had tried to substitute them with cheap knock-offs. It went on constantly; I caught the electrician trying to install Romex when the blueprints said conduit and solid #12 copper wires. He tried to switch the nameplates on a cheap GE main panel box when I specified a Square D commercial grade instead.

During my many trips out to the job site I would see the school bus drive by and drop off the high school kids at the corner. The first few times I ignored this and paid attention to the crooked bastards that were building my home. Just before school was going to be out for the summer, I started to pay attention a little more. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a pervert, I was looking for the kids that would be trouble once the daily babysitting was over.

I remembered what I had done as a teenager when a job site was available to plunder at night after all the workers went home. So I was looking for the kids that would do the same thing. I knew I'd recognize the look when I saw it. That calculating stare that said the brain behind the eyes was planning something not altogether kosher. What came as a complete surprise was the fact that it wasn't a boy that I caught looking over at the job site like that, it was a girl.

She was dressed about the same as the others but she was always off by herself, walking behind the others. None of the other kids talked to her or even paid that much attention to her. Her medium length black hair always covered most of her face as she walked along the street towards her house. I had ignored her like the rest of the kids did and it was by pure accident that I managed to see her looking over in my direction.

I was yelling at the contractor again because I had spotted the fake European bathroom fixtures in the back of his pick-up and had torn into him for trying to cheat me out of what I had paid for. My back had been to the street and before the argument escalated to violence, I spun around and walked over to my car to grab the cell phone. I was planning to call my lawyer again and see about what it would take to get an honest contractor in this town.

I had just placed the call when the kids went walking by and I caught her looking right at me. Her dark, almond shaped eyes were taking in everything, like she was memorizing every detail. This caught my attention and I turned to look at her and then the look was gone. She went back to hiding behind that shiny black hair. I muttered an apology to my lawyer's secretary and went on to explain why I called this time.

Due to the unions having everything locked up I couldn't get an honest contractor. I had to do something because nothing was getting done and I hated losing money to those crooked bastards. After working some details out with my lawyer, I decided to finish the house by myself with some general laborers. I hired a private security company to keep an eye on the place at night.

Two weeks went by with me getting very little sleep from all the sore muscles and planning out the next day's work schedule. I had to do a lot of remembering from my days in high school shop to complete the work. I picked up a hardcover NEC (National Electrical Code) book to help me with the electrical work. The general labor I managed to find weren't the smartest guys in the business, but they did work hard for the seventy-five bucks a day I was paying them.

Since I was so busy keeping the laborers busy and doing some of the more complicated work myself, I didn't have an opportunity to keep an eye on the neighborhood kids. However, one day I was up on the roof doing the final wiring on the attic exhaust fan when I spotted the dark haired girl watching me. She was sitting in the shade under a rather large willow tree across the street. Her back was against the trunk and she was reading a book, or at least she was pretending to.

I was under the roof attaching the last coupling on the conduit run into the junction box when I spotted her. She had the book up on her knees but her eyes were on me. When I poked my head up out of the hole and looked towards her. Our eyes met for a brief moment, and then she looked down at her book. I thought to myself that she was really cute and I wouldn't mind having her stare at me some more.

That stopped me for a moment when I realized I was thinking those kinds of thoughts about a girl that was in high school. It was obvious I wasn't the only one who thought she was cute because I noticed that the guys were giving her some attention too. She didn't return their stares like she did mine. She ignored them and only seemed to pay attention to me. Interesting.

After being up in the attic area for two hours I was dizzy from the heat. I decided that I'd leave the rest of the work until tomorrow morning when it would be cooler. I'd had enough for today and I wanted a bit of peace. So I told the crew to knock off for the day. I went over to the water spigot and after the hot water was cleared from the hose, I washed my face. I felt instant relief as the cold water raced down the back of my neck. I soaked my shirt and pants but I didn't care, the cold water felt invigorating. I drank from the hose before shutting it off.

That was a mistake. I had been so thirsty that I drank until I was full. Now I had a stomachache and my head felt like it was full of cotton. My legs felt rubbery. I didn't think I could stand up for much longer. I staggered over to the shade and plopped down against the side of the house. That's the last thing I remember.

When coming awake I felt a soft hand stroke my cheek. I groaned and tasted bile in my mouth. When I opened my eyes and looked around there was no one there. Strange, I thought. Well, I had obviously suffered a minor heat stroke and the touch could have been a form of hallucination. I slowly sat up trying to figure out if I was going to be okay. I had puked while I had been unconscious and I could feel that awful gritty sensation on my teeth.

I stood up, feeling a little unsteady, but I managed not to fall over. I went over to the spigot and rinsed out my mouth. My shirt was a mess and I stripped it off. I gave myself a quick shower standing there in my yard, not caring if anyone saw me. I wasn't about to take my pants off in public. I washed them off as best I could. I didn't want to take the chance of driving while feeling this crappy. I wobbled back over to the shade. That's when I noticed the small footprints in the dirt.

So, the touch on my cheek hadn't been a hallucination. Even more interesting, I thought. Did that mean she liked me? Or was it simply a case of her being a Good Samaritan? What did I want it to be? The safe thing would be the latter but a small part of me wanted it to be the former. I leaned against the side of the house and looked around again. Movement caught my eye and I pretended not to notice. Someone was hiding around the corner of the house next door.

I stared at a point down the street and waited to see if the person hiding would peek out again while my head was turned. Sure enough, a few seconds later a patch of dark hair appeared and one eye looked in my direction. Again, I pretended not to notice and continued to stare down the street. I decided that if she wanted to look, I'd give her something to look at. I stretched out my arms and arched my back. I slowly twisted side-to-side and popped my back and loosened up a bit. That did feel good. I rolled my shoulders and leaned back against the house.

The entire time I did this, I had watched her in my peripheral vision. She had poked her head out completely and her eyes missed nothing while I stretched. I couldn't help grinning while I did this. I think she finally saw the grin and her head disappeared behind the house again. I chuckled to myself and realized I felt pretty good. I stood up and stretched again. That was a mistake. My vision blurred and spots danced in my eyes. Whoa. That's not good.

The dizziness didn't go away and I suddenly found myself on my knees. I caught myself on my hands before planting my face in the dirt. The urge to heave up the water in my stomach briefly washed over me and I fought it off. I felt a pair of hands touch my shoulders and I slowly turned my head to look. The girl had come over and was kneeling next to me and looking at me with concern on her face. I gave her a small smile of thanks and grunted.

She blushed when I smiled at her. A tiny, high-pitched voice asked,

"Are you okay, mister?"

I nodded but didn't say anything. That voice sounded like it came from a little girl, not a mature teenager. She backed away a couple steps when I sat back on my heels. I massaged the back of my neck and tried to gather my wits. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched her bring her hands up and she sniffed her fingers. My first thought was that I had missed something when I had washed off earlier. A tiny smile formed on her face as she sniffed her fingers.

That action dashed any notion that I had about missing a spot. She caught my strange look, blushing furiously; she dropped her hands. For a few seconds, she seemed unsure of what to do or where to look. I tried to be a gentleman about the whole episode and pretended not to care about her actions.

Coughing and clearing my throat, I tried to think of what to say. It was odd; I hadn't felt this unsure of myself in a long time.

"Uhm... thanks for looking out for me."

Her blush returned and she nodded, but kept silent. She had one foot idly making small circles in the dirt and her head bowed, looking at me through her bangs. I was frozen in time, looking at this cutie. A very strange feeling washed over me while I looked at her. There was helium in my brain and lead in my feet. This had never happened to me before. I tried to convince myself that it was due to my heat stress. But I was lying to myself at this point. It was her. All her.

I couldn't breathe. I watched her every move. She grinned at my reaction. I wanted to take her right there in the yard. Right in front of god and everyone. I didn't care what anybody thought. I suddenly remembered my manners and shook my head to clear out the fog of lust that filled me.

"What's your name, angel?"

I didn't think it was possible, but her blush darkened even further.

"Li Yung Quang."

The high lilt and singsong cadence of her response sounded strange to my ears. She giggled at what must have been a very odd expression on my face.

"Lie Young Qwahaung?" I tried to repeat. This brought on a fit of giggles and she shook her head.

"No. Just call me Sunshine. Everyone else does."

"Okay, sorry I messed up trying to pronounce your name. I've never heard anything like it before. When you say it, it sounds beautiful. But I'm afraid my thick skull and fumbling tongue can't get it right."

She smiled at my self-depreciation. I lost myself in her smile for a moment and realized that she was waiting for me to tell her my name.

"Oh, um, sorry. Forgot my manners for a second. I'm Peter Branhagen."

"Peter Branhagen. That's a nice name."

"It is when you say it like that."

My comment made her blush. She seemed to shrink into herself for a moment. A very lusty thought flashed through my mind but I quickly dismissed it. I didn't want to frighten her away now that I had her talking to me. She seemed rather perceptive. Of course, I'm also not very good about hiding what I'm thinking either.

"Sorry, I wasn't making fun of you. I mean it. You have a beautiful voice and I like hearing it. It matches the rest of you."

I watched as she thought about what I said. The genuine smile that spread across her face sent those funny sensations through me again. Her jaw moved back and forth with her tongue pushing out her cheek. Oh god. I think I'm in lust. Whoa. I'd better get a hold of myself before I do something really stupid. She's in high school. I'm not. I am so not supposed to be looking at her with these thoughts.

I think she saw the guilt and conflict on my face. She looked around quickly to see if we had an audience. I stopped myself from doing the same. No sense in looking totally obvious. She gave me a quick nod.

"I'd better get home now. Maybe I'll see you around some other time."

With that, she left. I tried not to bore holes in her cute wiggling butt. I failed. Oh damn. What am I going to do now? I looked away before she could catch me staring. I put my hand against the side of the house and pushed myself up. I got the spare emergency blanket out and put it over the seat in my truck. Now I wouldn't have a wet seat going back to my apartment.

Later that evening I was sitting in my comfy chair slowly sipping on a beer. I had showered and was now trying to recover from my earlier stupidity. I rubbed my stiff one through my boxer briefs while thinking about her ass. I tried not to obsess over it but I couldn't help it. It was perfect according to the Pete scale, and 'little Pete' thought it was even better than that.

I tried to rationalize my feelings for such a young girl. The thing was, she had been watching me for several weeks. Granted, at first I thought that she was scoping out the place for mischief, but now I knew she had been watching me. So what does this mean? Could I have a relationship with this girl? Hmmm. I had no easy answers for these questions. Finishing my beer, I tossed the empty into the trash and went to bed.

The following morning I packed some extra Gatorade in my cooler. As fond as I was of having Sunshine being near me, I didn't need a repeat of yesterday. Sunshine. Yeah, she was that all right. I spent the morning finishing up the attic work before it became a blast furnace. When I took a break at mid-morning, I casually glanced around the neighborhood. I didn't spot my dark-haired angel. Perhaps she was hiding especially well.

The thought that I might have frightened her off last night slowly occurred to me. Damn. I shrugged and went back to work. When it was lunchtime the gang loaded up in their vehicles and went on a burger run. Since I had brought my lunch today, I stayed behind to keep an eye on the place. I rolled an empty cable spool over to the porch to put my feet on while I relaxed. I ate my egg salad sandwich and pretzels in peace. I opened up my 'special' cooler that had several cans of soda floating in brine water and ice. I rinsed off the brine and popped one open. Ahhhhhh, nothing beats a Dr. Pepper slushy on a hot day!

I was stupid. I chugged it. Brain freeze! Ugh. While I squeezed my eyes shut against the sudden ache, I heard someone snickering. I opened my eyes and found my angel of mercy standing in front of me. Her grin was so cute!

"What's the matter, Peter? Got a headache?"

"Yeah. I drank my Dr. Pepper slushy too fast."

"Dr. Pepper slushy? Where'd you get one of those?"

"I made it myself. Would you like one?"

She blushed and nodded. I got off the cooler and fished out another can.

"Rinse off the can before you open it. There's salt water residue all over it."

"Oh, so that's how you got them so cold. Neat."

After she rinsed off her can, she walked back over to me and sipped hers. I grinned.

"Not going to chug yours?"

"Nope. I don't need to induce any dain bramage."

"Hah! Good one. Funny and beautiful, a winning combination."

She blushed and hid behind her bangs again. Although it was cute the first couple of times, I was getting a little tired of trying to look at her face through that veil. I decided I was going to do something about it.

"Sunshine, do me a favor. Please don't hide your beauty behind your hair."

She slowly looked up at me. She almost hid her smile.

"You think I'm beautiful?"

I almost screwed up. Almost. I kept my smartass answer in check.

"Yes, I do. I like losing myself into those dark eyes of yours and I definitely bask in the warmth of your smile."

Shit. Where'd that cheesy line come from? If I had said something like that to one of the women at the singles bar I would have gotten nothing less than a derisive sneer. However, to a teenage girl, it was poetry. She got a dreamy look on her face and blushed again. This time she made the effort and looked right at me.

"Much better, Sunshine. Thank you."

I dropped my feet off the cable spool and she sat down. I flipped open my lunch box and retrieved the last item, a sack of chewy chocolate chip cookies. Sunshine's eyes lit up and she smiled when I offered her one.

"Thank you. These are my favorites."

I nodded in agreement and stuffed one in my mouth. We both hummed while we chewed. We grinned at each other at our reaction to the soft chewy goodness of the cookies. A slightly uncomfortable silence settled between us. I wasn't sure what to say or do from here. I was mildly attracted to her but just couldn't bring myself to cross that line yet. She seemed to sense my unease.

"Thanks for the slushy and the cookies. I gotta go now. See ya later, Peter."

"Um, okay, Sunshine."

I watched her walk away and couldn't help myself—I stared at her wiggling rear end. Very nice. Just as she reached the sidewalk, she glanced over her shoulder back at me. I wasn't fast enough; she caught me staring. It was my turn to blush. She gave me a quick grin and continued down the street.

The crew returned from their lunch and I got back to work. I couldn't stop thinking about that little grin she gave me. She knew I had been staring at her butt and she didn't mind. I really needed to concentrate on my work and what the others were doing. I pushed those thoughts about her butt aside.

Sunshine visited me during my lunch break every day for the rest of the week. We shared chewy chocolate chip cookies and Dr. Pepper slushies. She was very curious about me. I didn't mind talking to her since that meant she spent more time sitting with me.

"Why are you building your own house?"

"Because none of the contractors in this town are honest. They're just a bunch of crooked bastards."

"So that's why you were always yelling at them? I thought maybe you had anger management problems."

I laughed at that observation.

"Yeah, I can see where you'd get that impression. No, I'm only like that when someone is trying to screw me over. I'm normally a nice guy."

"Yeah, I noticed that once those guys were gone, you didn't yell at anybody."

I nodded.

"How about you, Sunshine? Why do the kids ignore you? I've seen how they never talk to you after you get off the bus."

"I'm not part of their clique. I sort of hang out with the geeks at school."

"Does that mean you are really smart?"

"Hah, I wish. No, I just prefer those guys to the rest of the kids. They aren't so picky about what I wear or the music I listen to. But I don't have to worry about that anymore."

"Why not?"

"I graduated last week."

"Oh. Okay, well, great! Congratulations!"

I felt a wave of relief shoot through me when she said that.

"Thanks."

"So, what's next? College?"

"Yeah, maybe. I don't know."

"You got good grades, right?"

"I guess. I managed to get A's and B's. Mostly B's."

"Nothing wrong with that. I remember getting a few C's and the occasional D."

She thought about that for a few moments. She tilted her head and frowned.

"What do you do for a job? I mean, why aren't you at work now? Are you taking vacation to do this?"

I smiled to myself at the change in subject.

"No. I don't really have a job. At least, not a job where I have to be somewhere to work, anyway. I work for myself. I invented a couple little gadgets that made me a bit of money."

"Cool! What'd you invent?"

"Oh, some little widget that makes a bigger widget work better."

She punched me in the arm.

"Come on! Tell me. What'd you invent?"

"It's embarrassing. Let's just say I made something for grown-ups."

"Hey, that's not fair! I'm grown up. Tell me. I really want to know."

I didn't really want to spill the beans about my inventions. Once people found out what I came up with, they tended to shun me. That was the mild reaction. More often than not, I was treated like a pariah. I didn't know if I could trust her enough not to freak out. I also didn't want word of my inventions to get around the neighborhood. Nobody had tried to tar and feather me yet, but there was always a first time for everything.

"Can you keep a secret, Sunshine?"

She frowned. After a few moments of silence she answered.

"Yes, I can keep a secret, Peter. You can trust me."

"If I tell you, you can't tell anyone else. I mean it. Especially, your parents. Most people treat me like crap after they find out what I made. I don't want to be chased out of the neighborhood before I get a chance to live in my new house."

"Whoa. It's not something bad is it?"

"No, it's not bad. It's just that a lot of people get very uncomfortable when something like that is made public."

"How come people get upset about it if it's not bad?"

"Whew. You aren't making this easy for me, Sunshine. Its adult oriented."

"Ohhhhh."

Giggling, she turned her head and gave me a sidelong glance. She was grinning, her tongue pushing against the inside of her cheek. My inner voice groaned. She was so damned cute when she did that.

"Yeah, okay. At least you didn't run screaming for home."

"You got rich from inventing something like that?"

"I wouldn't say I'm rich, but yeah, I'm not hurting for money."

She giggled again.

"So, lots of people buy your invention but shun you in public?"

I snorted.

"Yep, that's the way it works, Sunshine. People are hypocrites."

"That's messed up."

"That's just the way the world works."

"Well, that sucks."

"Sure does, Sunshine."

We stopped talking as soon as the work crew got back from their lunch. Sunshine gave me one more of those cute looks and then left giggling at my embarrassment. The guys gave me a bit of grief over that. I cured them of it, though, by threatening to make them dig a moat around the house. I didn't hear one word about her for the rest of the day.

On Friday, I brought something special. I had learned through our short discussions that she was partial to root beer. I had a small container of Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked ice cream and two bottles of Sioux City Birch Beer. Thoroughly decadent, but worth it. I also had brought along a pair of camp chairs. The really nice ones with fold out leg rest.

When Sunshine showed up right after the crew bugged out for lunch, she watched me set up the chairs. A really nice smile was on her face when I turned around to see her watching me. Of course, me being the gentleman that I am, I had to say something.

"My Lady's throne is now ready."

She giggled and blushed.

"Thank you, kind sir."

She sat down in the chair and grinned up at me. I put my feet up on the rests and opened my lunch pail. The really nice thing about Sunshine was that she never tried talking to me while I ate. Always waiting for me to finish before breaking the silence. She gave me a strange look when I brought out the tall cups and a scoop. When I opened the cooler and brought out the ice cream and the sodas, she squealed with delight. I laughed at her excitement.

She squirmed in her chair while I scooped out the ice cream and poured the Birch Beer. After placing bendable straws in each cup, I handed her one. She was smiling at me, but when she took that first sip, I swear she had an orgasm. She hummed and wiggled some more. My first thought was, I have to do this more often.

We sat on the porch and enjoyed our root beer floats. Sunshine would occasionally look over at me and hum. When we had finished our drinks, she thanked me again and left to go home. The sugar rush from the ice cream and soda hit me. I managed to get quite a bit done in spite of it being a Friday. Since I didn't want to pay for overtime, I let the rest of the crew have the weekend off.

Saturday morning I was walking around the jobsite looking over the previous week's projects and double-checking to make sure they had all been done to my satisfaction. I didn't have to correct too many things. The window installers were scheduled to come Monday and I made sure all the openings were finished and ready for the casements.

Before lunchtime, I looked out to the west and noticed that there was a line of huge billowing thunderheads building up. One had already topped out and was making the classic anvil shape that signaled a heavy storm system. The bottoms were turning blue-black and I could see the occasional flash of lightning. It was already 95 degrees and with the appearance of those storm clouds, I knew there was a possibility of hail or even a tornado.

I went over to my truck and turned on the radio to the local weather station. The National Weather Service was already issuing severe thunderstorm advisories. As I sat and listened to the updates I could feel the breeze shift directions and the distinct scent of rain and ozone wafted by. Oh shit, I thought, this is going to be bad. The temperature was dropping fast and goose bumps formed on my arms and neck.

I grabbed several tarp sections and started running towards the house. I started the air compressor and grabbed up the staple gun. I managed to cover the two skylight openings and most of the upper floor windows before the first large raindrops started to fall. The thunder had been rumbling for at least twenty minutes and was getting louder by the minute. I maneuvered the air compressor onto the front porch out of the rain and continued to staple up tarps.

The sharp pop of something hitting metal was my hint to get inside. I ran for the porch. The air hose caught on something and like a dummy, I forgot to let go. I tumbled to the ground, skinning my knees and hands. I jumped up, leaving the staple gun behind. I only got hit a couple times before getting under cover. I watched with a sinking feeling as the hailstones got bigger. In a few seconds, golf ball sized hail started falling from the black sky. A huge bolt of lightning hit down the street, nearly blinding me. My ears were ringing from the ripping boom that filled the air.

The wind was picking up fast and I started to worry about tornados. The hail finally stopped but the heavy rain continued to fall. I could barely see across the street. It looked like a wall of white haze coming towards me as I stood on the porch. I heard a familiar voice call my name but I couldn't see her. The second time she called, I spotted her under a car about fifty yards up the street.

I ran to the truck and got my umbrella from behind the seat and ran towards her. I popped it open and she crawled out. She smiled her thanks and we both ran back to my porch. The umbrella didn't help much since the wind had really started to blow, causing the rain to come down sideways. Once on the porch we stood looking at each other for a second and then we started laughing. We were soaked to the skin and looked like we had gone swimming with our clothes on.

As we were laughing at each other, I heard the distinctive warning tones from the radio in my truck. The tornado warning sirens started going off all over town. We stopped laughing and started looking around to see if we could spot the funnel cloud. I think I was the first one to hear the low rumble coming from the northeast. I grabbed Sunshine's arm and hauled her towards the door. She squeaked in surprise.

"COME ON! We need to get to the basement right NOW! It's headed our way!"

She didn't say anything but her face was pale. She followed me as I rushed for the stairs leading down into the basement. I went over to the alcove that was meant for the hot water heater and pushed her into it. I grabbed a tarp and got inside next to her. I spread out the tarp to cover us and listened for the rumble to get louder.

The wind was howling through the window openings as the sound of a dozen jet engines got louder. I looked out the casement portal in front of me and I could see debris bouncing across the yard. It was definitely getting closer. My ears popped and Sunshine squeezed my arm tightly. She put her head against my shoulder and I put my arm around her. The sound became deafening as the twister got closer. There was a very loud grinding noise followed by a crash. Dust and small pieces of debris came flying through the window openings.

The air pressure changed and I could feel the air getting pulled from my lungs. Sunshine yelled something but I couldn't make it out. I had to pull the tarp over us completely to keep the worst of the debris from hitting us. There were more loud bangs above us but I didn't poke my head out to look. We stayed huddled together under the tarp while the storm raged above us. Finally the rumbling whine started to fade. When I could just barely hear it, I slipped the tarp off of us and stood up.

Dust still swirled in the basement but I didn't see anything flying around outside. Just a gentle rainfall was coming down now and the wind had died down to a stiff breeze. I helped Sunshine stand up and I hugged her.

"Are you okay, Sunshine?"

"Yeah. You?"

"Nothing a good shower won't fix. Let's go outside and see how bad it is."

"Okay."

When we stepped out onto the porch and looked around, I was speechless. The neighborhood looked like a war zone. My truck was gone. So was the car that Sunshine had hid under. I stepped out into the yard and surveyed the house. Other than losing the tarps I had stapled up, nothing looked damaged. I could hear the sirens from emergency vehicles all around us but I didn't see any of the flashing lights.

The cold rain felt good on the back of my neck as I stood in the middle of my yard. Sunshine grabbed my hand.

"I need to go check on my parents."

"I'll go with you in case they need help."

"Thanks Peter."

She started jogging down the sidewalk, dodging around tree branches and broken furniture. I looked ahead to make sure there weren't any downed power lines in our path. People were coming out of their houses now and looking around at the devastation. Most were standing around with a dazed look on their faces. Several of the houses had their roofs missing. Cars and trucks flipped over in the yards or the middle of the street. When we had traveled about two blocks, I found my truck. Or more accurately, what was left of my truck.

It was on its side wrapped three fourths of the way around a tree, completely destroyed. Sunshine spotted it too. She turned to look at me.

"Whoa."

"I guess I'll be shopping for a new truck next week. I don't think I'll be the only one either."

"No, I don't suppose you will be."

"Let's get to your house so we can see how your parents are doing."

She nodded and continued down the sidewalk. We went down the street another half a block and she stopped. She was looking at a pile of timbers and brick. It wasn't in the shape of a house anymore. She ran towards the pile of rubble yelling out something in Chinese.

"Mawmaw! Bawbaw! Knee mon tsai naw lee!

She was looking for a place to get into the pile of rubble but neither one of us could see an easy opening. I asked Sunshine where the basement stairs were located. I started pulling boards and other debris out of the way. A few of the neighbors saw what we were doing and came over to help.

Within a few minutes there were more than a dozen people helping us clear away broken two by fours and bricks. Sunshine continued to call out. I had tried using my cell phone to call for help but all I got was a pre-recorded message saying, "All circuits are busy. Please try your call again later."

After an hour of careful removal we found the stairwell opening and heard a faint voice coming from down below. Sunshine yelled down and they answered back. Since she was still using Chinese, I had no idea what she was saying. I held onto her shoulder and told her to stay put. I pushed the broken section of a door out of the way and managed to crawl into the stairwell. Some thoughtful soul handed me a flashlight and I started down the stairs.

I kicked aside broken bricks and glass shards from the steps as I went. I certainly didn't need to slip and bust my ass. When I got to the bottom of the stairwell, I could hear water dripping and I could smell gas. I yelled back up the stairs for everyone to clear out and not to light any candles or cigarettes. I moved past the semi-collapsed door frame, making sure not to disturb it any more than I had to. I called out to them so I could locate where they were.

I heard a groan coming from a doorway to my left and I rushed over. As I played the beam from the flashlight around, I found two people huddled inside a bathtub. Several ceiling joists had fallen over the top and they couldn't get out. I set the flashlight on top of the broken toilet, and tried moving one of the joists. It moved enough for the lady to wiggle out of the tub. The gentleman couldn't move because of a shattered wall stud, it had him pinned against the side of the tub. I turned to the woman.

"Go up the stairs, there's gas leaking and it's too dangerous to stay."

She didn't seem to understand what I was saying. I motioned for her to go up the stairs and she shook her head. I turned her towards the doorway and pushed her gently.

"Go on. I'll get him out and be right behind you."

I think she finally understood what I was trying to convey. She nodded hesitantly, and slowly made her way out. I turned back to the tub and looked around on the floor. I picked up a four-foot long section of two by four and used it to leverage the shattered stud away from him. He groaned in pain but managed to slide out from behind it. I helped him stand, careful to not pull on his arm. I could tell it was broken from the un-natural bend in his forearm.

I pulled his good arm over my shoulder and helped him walk out. The woman was waiting for us at the bottom of the stairs. As soon as she saw me helping her husband, she went up the stairs. I helped him go under the sagging doorframe and got him out of the basement as quick as I could. The smell of gas was getting stronger, and I was starting to feel the effects of exposure. Once we were at the top, Sunshine rushed up to us and took my place.

"Thanks for all the help everybody. We need to get away from here, the gas is building up down there and it might go up any second."

People started backing away quickly. I turned to Sunshine and her parents.

"Can you make it to my house?"

Sunshine translated my question to her parents. They nodded and we started heading back up the street. It took us a bit longer to get there and I had taken over helping Sunshine's father to walk. Once we were inside my house, I had Sunshine set up the camp chairs for them. They nodded gratefully to me and sat down with a sigh of relief. Luckily, I had put my cooler inside the house instead of leaving it in my truck. I got out sodas for everyone.

I assumed they were thanking me for the drinks, but I couldn't understand a word of their singsong language. Sunshine took pity on me and translated. I guessed right. I smiled and nodded.

"I'm just glad you are safe. If I have anything that will help, you are welcome to it."

They thanked me again for my generosity and the help I had given them. Sunshine said something else to them and both parents gave me a penetrating stare. I thought I had done something to offend them but they smiled when they saw my look of concern. I saw her father wince when he tried to shift in the chair. I tried to think of anything I had around the worksite that might be of any help. Since my first-aid kit had been in my truck and it was now wrapped around a tree, I didn't even have an aspirin to give him.

I heard a large truck drive by the house and I went outside to see if it was an emergency service vehicle. No such luck, it was a mobile TV news van. They had stopped about a hundred yards up the street and people were gravitating towards it like ants to sugar. The crew got out and a cameraman started filming immediately. I told Sunshine to stay with her parents and I was going to see if they had a radio so I could get help.

By the time I got to the news van, the reporter had started talking to people. One of the seven immutable laws of the universe was being enacted. The reporter had picked out the dumbest sounding hick and was asking them to describe what the tornado had looked like. I went around to the other side and found the engineer monitoring his equipment.

"Hey buddy, can you radio for an ambulance? I have a friend who has a broken arm and he needs medical attention soon."

"Yeah, just give me a minute and I'll see if I can find one that's available. I don't know how long you might have to wait, though. This town got its ass kicked today and they are short handed."

"At least make the call, please. I don't want to try and re-set his arm myself and he'll go into shock."

"Okay, I'll try."

"Thanks pal."

I stood off to the side and waited to make sure he would make the call. As soon as the reporter had his star redneck interview on tape, the engineer called for help. After several denials, he finally found a crew that could be here in about 45 minutes. He looked at me and shrugged.

"That's the best I could do."

"Hey, thanks a lot. I really appreciate it."

I jogged back to the house to relay the good news. Sunshine's father wasn't looking too good. I scrounged around and found a plastic bag. I filled it with ice from the cooler and gently placed it over the break. I hoped it would numb it a little and keep the swelling down. I had Sunshine retrieve the tarp from the basement and draped it over his shoulders. It was the best I could do at the moment. He tried to smile but it was more of a grimace. I patted him on his good shoulder and said it would be okay.

I stood out front waiting for the ambulance to show up, leaving Sunshine with her parents. It gave me a chance to think about what I had been doing and the potential for disaster. Sunshine's parents seemed like decent folks and I didn't want to make them angry by doing something foolish with their only daughter. Her father wasn't much older than me. I didn't think he would be too pleased to find out I was thinking of going beyond casual friendship with his daughter.

I was still debating with myself over what I should do when the ambulance came around the corner. I jogged down to the street and waved at them. They sped up when they spotted me. When they pulled up in front of my house, I told the driver what I needed. Him and his partner got the stretcher out and followed me into the house. They took one look at his arm and got out a sling to immobilize the arm. They got him onto the stretcher and headed out. All of us followed them to the ambulance.

They would only let one person ride in the back. There was a rapid-fire conversation between mother and daughter. Finally, her mother got into the ambulance with her husband and Sunshine was left standing next to me. Sunshine looked up at me and she was trying not to cry.

"Mother says I'm to stay with you."

"Oh. Um, okay."

There was a lot more said than that, but Sunshine wasn't telling me anything else. I looked up at her mother and our eyes locked. She didn't say anything. The driver closed the door and turned the ambulance around and headed off to the hospital. Her mother was looking at me through the rear window. I didn't look away from that gaze until the ambulance rounded the corner and was gone. Sunshine wrapped her arms around my waist and put her head against my chest. I could feel her tears soaking through my shirt. I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and stroked her hair.

"It'll be okay, Sunshine. I promise."

She nodded but didn't say anything. We stood there in the middle of the street hugging each other until we had to move for the TV crew to leave.

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