He stood in the kitchen looking out the window at the large snow flakes falling upon the already covered back yard. The trees were coated and looked like those one might see on a Currier and Ives Christmas card.
They had been calling for snow and it must have started during the night to have this much on the ground. As he took a sip from his coffee cup he was glad to be inside with nothing to do today. He had already started a fire in both fire places and was well fixed for wood with two full wood boxes.
He took his cup back to the great room and set it on the table beside his chair near the fireplace. The fire was well established and gave the large room a cozy feeling.
He took a sip of coffee as he searched for the weather channel to get the latest information. Once he found it he relaxed and listened. There had been heavy snow since about two this morning and there was no sign of a let up. There was about eight inches on the ground with drifting to three feet in some areas. If it continued at it's present rate there would be two feet by the time it tailed off.
Well it looks like I'm in for the next couple of days at least. It will take that long for the plows to get back in here and get the roads cleared. Once the roads in front of his property were cleared he would be all right because he had a snow blower that would clean off his driveway, the walks, and the decks.
All the tables, chairs and umbrellas were stored in the outbuilding except the table for twelve and the benches which were built into the deck.
Normally he would not be here this time of year but he had come up night before last to do final winterizing when he heard about the unseasonably early winter storm that was coming in. He had finished up late yesterday and had decided to stay the night. It was snowing this morning when he got up and he made up his mind to wait for the storm to blow itself out before starting back to the city.
He had just turned his attention back to his book when he heard a noise outside.
"What the hell can that be," he thought. Animals from the woods would not be moving around in this weather and surely no one's dog was out. Then he heard it again. Someone or something was coming up on the front deck.
He got up and moved along the windows to the door. He saw what looked like a person just outside. Before he could get to the door there was a knock. Not a knock exactly, more like pounding. When he opened the door there stood a greatly underdressed woman. She had on only a light weight jacket, jeans and no boots. She appeared exhausted.
"Where the hell did you come from?" he asked. "Oh, forgive me. Come in. Please come in before you catch your death if you haven't already."
"Thank you. God, thank you. I've been wandering around for I don't know how long. I was coming down Burning Tree Road when my car skidded off the road and got stuck in the ditch. Your entrance road was the first I saw and I took a chance I could get help somewhere up here."
"How far did you walk?"
"Close to a mile I would guess."
"Good Lord. Well come in and sit by the fire and get warm. Why don't you have on a heavy coat and some boots?"
"When I left from Hickory early this morning the weather hadn't turned so violently cold and the snow wasn't this heavy. I would ordinarily have been in the city by now."
"Here give me that wet jacket and put this throw around you. Would you like some coffee? Just made."
"I would love some. Anything that's hot would be wonderful."
He left her by the fireplace after telling her not to get too close because her clothes would start to steam and would roast her.
He looked out the window just to satisfy himself. Sure enough there was no car anywhere to be seen. He poured her a mug of coffee figuring she could warm her hands as well as her insides with a mug instead of a cup.
"Here try this," he said handing her the mug. "I can add a little brandy to that if you like. It will help warm you up."
"Please do. Oh, this is really excellent coffee. What kind is it?"
"It's from the mountain area of Jamaica. It's ridiculously overpriced but well worth it."
"I didn't know that Jamaica had mountains. The only thing they ever show in their ads are beaches and luxurious hotels and fancy restaurants and from what you hear people are smoking joints everywhere. But this is really good coffee. Why have I never heard of it."
"The Japanese love it and by overpaying have priced it out of the regular market. They buy about ninety per cent of the crop every year which leaves only ten per cent for the rest of the world.
"If you are in Japan and order a cup don't be shocked by the $45.00 per cup price."
"Here let's get you out of those clothes. The bathroom is down that hall on the right. Take everything off and I'll see what I have that you can wear."
Without questioning him she did as he told her. Once she had closed the door she took off everything. It was all soaked including her panties and bra. She was so cold and tired she did what he told her without thinking.
It suddenly dawned on her she was standing there stark naked in the home of a complete stranger. She looked around saw towels on a shelf and took one and wrapped it around her.
There was a knock on the door. "yes," she answered.
"Here are some clothes that I think will fit. Sorry but I don't have any panties or a bra for you."
She opened the door and he handed her a pair of sweat pants and a flannel shirt and a pair of heavy wool socks.
"Come on down by the fire when you are dressed and bring your things and I can put them in the dryer."
She finally relaxed and looked around. There was a huge glass enclosed multiple nozzle shower. A large counter with oval sink with a wide mirror. There was an upscale toilet with a bidet next to it. This latter was somewhat of a surprise as there were no signs of a woman in the house.
The music that she had heard when she came in was playing in the bathroom as well. He must have a whole house stereo system that he has on all the time.
She removed the towel and hung it on a hook. She turned and looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair was a mess but otherwise it wasn't too bad. She didn't look bad for a forty-eight year old broad. She had firm breasts though gravity was working against her, no rolls of fat around her middle and nice hips even if they were a little wide. They still drew looks when she walked by. Her stomach was no longer flat but still smooth all the way down to her pubic hair.
She brushed her hair with a brush from her purse then picked up her wet clothes and found her way back to where he was seated by the fire.
"Do you keep all women's sizes here for just such emergencies."
"Not exactly. I let friends use the place from time to time during the year and it seems that they are always leaving some item of clothing or other here when they leave. I have a small collection. Here let me get your things in the dryer."
When he had disappeared through the doorway with her clothes she looked around at the cozy room. She went over to his chair and noticed the copy of Virgil's Aeneid laying open. She picked it up to look at the page and it was in the original Latin. Perhaps a scholar of some kind she thought. One wall of the room was bookcases filled to overflowing.
When he came back he asked if she would like some more coffee. She told him that would be nice and handed him her mug.
"More brandy?" he asked when he returned.
"Please," she said holding out her mug.
He poured in a good slug and said, "I'm Josh Baxter by the way."
"Please forgive my bad manners. I'm Emily Hawkins."
"Nice to meet you Emily."
"Shouldn't I be calling someone about my car, Josh?"
"We can call Hank Thurston and ask about him getting it out of the ditch but it will probably be a day or two before he can get to it. These roads back in here are the last to get plowed in this kind of weather because there is so little traffic in this area."
"A day or two. Are you serious?"
"As a heart attack. But don't worry we have plenty of food and drink and I just finished putting in the winter wood for the fireplaces yesterday. So we'll be O.K. until we can get out."
"But I have a product launch campaign in two days that I have to be there for. I can't be here when I should be there."
"Well, we'll just have to pray that this stuff stops coming down soon so they can get back in here for us to get out. Let me go in the kitchen and call Hank. What kind of car are we talking about?"
"A red BMW sedan."
When he came back from the kitchen he poured them both more coffee and brandy.
"Just as I suspected. There is no way he can get out here until the roads are plowed. He said the snow is supposed to continue throughout the night but we might get a break tomorrow and if we do the roads should be clear by the day after. Said he would get to it as soon as he can. Hank is pretty reliable. He'll get to it at the first opportunity. I told him if it was operable to tow it up here. He'll probably come by to get the key when he comes after the car."
.... There is more of this story ...