Thank you to blackrandl1958 and Pixel the Cat for their superior editing skills.
Thank you, D, for the constant feedback.
“Something’s comin’, huh?”
I looked up from filling my gas tank. A beefy older gentleman leaned against his car and watched me closely. I didn’t particularly feel like answering, but he was waiting for my response with sharp eyes that glinted with unfriendliness in the late afternoon, even if his mouth was stretched wide in a smile.
“What’s that?” I asked.
He took off his hat and scratched his head, then tipped his chin up at the gray sky. “A storm, kid.”
Just as he spoke, a fat raindrop fell against my skull.
I pulled out the gas nozzle. “Guess you’re right. I didn’t know it was going to rain.”
He stepped toward me. “Not rain. Storm.”
Nodding, I put the nozzle back and reached into my pocket for my wallet. I’m not sure why the hell I did that, considering he was intimidating the hell out of me, but I guess it was some kind of reassurance thing. “Right. Storm. Listen, do you know where a diner is around here?”
He laughed. At least, I think he laughed; it was an incredibly unattractive an indistinguishable sound that could have been a cough. “Diner? Nearest diner is about two hours away. Looks like you’ll just have to come into my store and make do with what I have in there.”
Ah, so he was the owner. I tried not to take his mistrust to heart, but really, I was probably the most clean-cut guy around, let alone the cleanest person. Maybe that was unfair, but I was getting sick of the way he was staring at me. I pushed away from my car and headed to the dilapidated hut he called a store.
An old man sat in a rocking chair outside. The man ignored me as I passed him, which was fine by me. My overactive imagination was going wild, and I was certain that locals were going to hop out of the bushes with guns and torture me. The front door barely stood on its hinges, but the inside was clean enough. Some of my anxiety dissipated.
After I ran to the bathroom, I came outside and studied the snacks. That’s when I saw her.
She had brunette hair that just touched the top of her plump ass. From what I could see from her side profile, she also had full cherry-colored lips and long eyelashes. She peeked at me, probably because she could tell I was staring. We shared a shy grin. I told myself to cut it out and focus on the snacks. Dina was waiting, and I was admittedly taking longer on this trip than I thought I would. Plus, she looked to be about twenty, maybe nineteen; too young for me to be ogling.
But then she spoke.
“Are you getting a Deliverance-vibe here, or is that just me?”
I laughed and rubbed the back of my neck. “Uh, definitely not just you.”
“If you hear a banjo, let me know, okay?”
“Definitely. I think we’re safe, though. Wasn’t that the south? Not Indiana.”
Her blue eyes examined me from head to toe. “You don’t look like you belong here.”
Grinning, I gestured at her. “Neither do you.”
“Ugh, well, I definitely don’t want to be here. I’m waiting for someone to give me a ride, but no one has been around all day.”
Temptation swam inside my head and stomach. I fought against the words, but they came out anyway. “Where are you headed?”
She bounced a little on her toes, and I am not proud that I was captivated by the way her breasts danced with her movement. “New York. My mom’s sick. I don’t have a car, and I don’t have enough to fly, so I’m hitchhiking.”
“That’s dangerous,” I said automatically. “Sorry, I didn’t mean...”
“For sure, but I’m really careful about it. Done it before. I usually ride with women and families.” She looked me over again. “Or really, really cute guys. It’s a fact that cute men are rarely ever serial killers.”
She made me laugh again, which was a tough task. “Actually, I’m not too sure about that.”
She grabbed a bag of chips and wrinkled her nose in an adorable way. “Whatever you say. What’s your name?”
Inside, all sorts of alarms and red lights were going off. I shouldn’t be flirting with this woman. I had a beautiful wife waiting for me in New York. We would get through our rough patch, I would get out of my funk, and everything would be back to the way it was. Talking to this chick would not help the situation. Still, I gave her a smile and moved closer. It was involuntary at that point. “Lincoln. What’s yours?”
She bounced on her toes again. Due to the air-conditioning being on full blast, I could make out the hardness of her nipples. I was sure that if I stepped a little closer, I could even make out their shade. She answered, then, and my eyes reluctantly lifted to meet hers. “I’m Louise, but everyone calls me Kit.”
My smile grew. She was just so fucking cute. “Kit” fit her. “Nice to meet you, Kit.” I turned toward the snacks and tried to ignore the crackle of attraction sparking between us.
She leaned against the wall and watched my feeble attempt at ignoring her with amusement. “So, Lincoln, where are you headed?”
“New York.” I glanced at her and knew what was coming, so I beat her to it. “I could ... drive you. If you want. I can promise you that I’m not a serial killer.”
Kit lifted her eyebrows with a toothy grin. “That’s exactly what a serial killer would say.”
I turned so that I was fully looking down at her. For a moment, I was distracted by her smooth lipgloss-covered lips and the tight young body filling sexy jeans and a tank top. Kit’s grin softened into a knowing smile. I shook my head and tried to regain some dignity. “Seems like you have a decision to make: stay here and possibly hear some banjo music, or come with me.”
Kit wrapped her arm around mine. “Easy decision. Let’s go.”
The man was still outside, still keeping his ugly eyes trained on me. He crossed his arms. “Bye, Louise.”
She sighed under her breath, then gave him a bright smile. “Bye, Kenny.”
She got into my car and thrummed her fingers on the dashboard. “Take me away, Lincoln. Take me far, far away.”
“So, Lincoln. Why are you driving to New York?”
I leaned back in my seat. “Well, my wife and I are moving back to New York from Chicago. We grew up in New York, so we’re happy. We both grew up in the city, actually, but we’re moving to the suburbs.”
Kit was digging through my glove compartment, being extremely nosy. If it were anyone else, I’d have been annoyed, but she was so damn cute. “What’s your wife’s name?”
“What does she do?”
“What do you do?”
“I work for an insurance company. What do you do?”
She shut the compartment door with a smack, then began rooting around my center console. “Oh, I’m a waitress. Nothing too exciting. Got any kids?”
“No, no kids.”
“You never answered why you’re driving. You look like you can afford a plane ticket.” She tossed me a little grin. “I don’t mean to sound rude. I’m just confused.”
We drove past more corn and a whole lot of nothing. “I just like to drive. Better me than some stranger or some moving company.”
She leaned back in her seat and put her bare feet on the dashboard. “So, you like control.”
“Ha. My wife says it has something to do with a desire for control, too. Maybe she’s right, but it doesn’t feel all that complex to me. I just like it, you know? Like a hobby. I always volunteer to drive people around.”
Kit bit her nails. She was always moving, I noticed. “Why isn’t your wife with you? Nina, right?”
“Dina,” I corrected. “She’s a terrible passenger and she didn’t think this sounded like fun.”
“Oh.” She shifted into her seat to get a better look at me. “Do you guys fight a lot?”
I laughed and shook my head, glancing at her quickly as I changed lanes. “Holy shit, you ask a lot of questions.”
“Sorry! I don’t mean to be so nosy. My mama always says it’s my biggest flaw. I’m just curious about you. Kenny was curious about you, too. That’s why he was staring at you. He told me about you when you were in the bathroom. Said you were probably dangerous and I should be careful.”
I laughed again. “What? You can’t be serious.”
“Totally am. Kenny’s paranoid about strangers. No idea why he owns that store.”
“How do you know him?”
She played with the lock on the door. “Oh, just around. Small town like where I’m from and you know everyone.”
We didn’t talk for a couple of hours, except to say nonsense things like, “I really like this song,” or, “I had no idea Ohio looked like this.”
By the time we hit Pennsylvania, I was exhausted. I was tempted to bring up stopping at a motel, but I wasn’t sure if she would think that was too forward. There was also the money situation, seeing as she’d already said she didn’t have any. I didn’t mind sharing a room with her, but I was afraid of the pull I felt toward her.
Then the rain started. I had to pull over to the side of the highway.
“Holy crap,” Kit whispered. “This is some storm.”
I rested my head back and watched the rain pound against the window, falling in thick streams. “Definitely. I have no idea how long it’s going to last.”
Kit thumbed through her phone and checked her weather app. “Fuck. There is a flood warning for this area.”
I tried not to look at her, but of course I couldn’t resist. She was already looking at me, waiting for the words.
“We could ... stop somewhere.”
Her eyes sparkled in the minimal light of dusk. “And how would we do that? I don’t have money for a room.”
“I know. I’ll get a room with two beds. Okay? And I won’t ... I won’t try anything. I promise.”
There was a pause as we regarded one another in the faintly air-conditioned car. She took a few deep breaths, then her eyes dropped to my wedding ring. “Are you sure about that?”
“Yes, absolutely. I have excellent self-control.”
She scooted down in her seat. She wasn’t quite smiling, but I knew I had her. She wrapped a strand of hair around her finger and stared at me. I shifted uncomfortably, but I kept my eyes locked with hers. I wanted to reach over and gently push against her slightly damp lips with my thumb. I wanted to pluck the strap of her tank top. I wanted to do a million things, but I just sat there and tried to focus on the hum of the air pushing through the vents. I had excellent self-control, for sure.
“We’ll see.” Before I could answer, she was speaking again. “Let me look up the nearest motel.”
We pulled into the motel parking lot. I was blaring some pop song to make Kit laugh, deliberately messing up the lyrics. Her laugh was infectious, and I caught her snorting once or twice. She flushed the most delicious pink when I called her out on it.
“You know what we should do?” she asked, deliberately changing the subject. “We should do the Kiki Challenge.”
I pulled into a spot and turned off the car. “What the hell is that?”
She giggled and scrolled through her phone. “Let me show you.” She leaned toward me so that I could see the video on the phone. Some guy was running outside of a moving car, singing along to some song I didn’t know and didn’t particularly like. “It’s Drake,” Kit murmured distractedly, as way of an explanation.
“I don’t know it.”
Kit’s eyes widened. “You really are old!”
“I’ll be thirty-seven next month,” I confessed. Maybe I did it as a way of establishing some type of boundary between us. She didn’t appear to be fazed, however. Her smile grew and she bumped her shoulder into mine.
“Well, you look good for your age. I like older guys.”
Fuck. “And how old are you?”
She fiddled with her hair. “I’ll be twenty in a couple of months.”
“Holy crap.” I fidgeted awkwardly.
Kit looked up at me through squinted eyes with a giant smirk. “I thought I was safe with you. Didn’t you say you had excellent self-control? What difference does my age make?”
“Come on, troublemaker.” I stepped out of the car and entered the office.
For a terrifying minute, I thought they wouldn’t have a room with two beds. Luckily, they had one, though it didn’t make me feel overly safe. Kit was watching me with an indescribable explanation, one that seemed to sizzle every time I looked her way.
There was a crappy little restaurant attached to the motel. We went there straight after booking a room. It was surprisingly crowded, and we had to wait a good twenty minutes before a booth cleared up. Kit and I waited in silence. We played the peeking game. I would glance at her and catch her staring; her gaze would become fixed on some spot above my head. Then, I’d find myself enthralled with how tiny and delicate her neck was. She’d swallow and I would become even more fascinated with the movement of her throat. She would inevitably look back up at me and then I would be the one running away.
We broke our silence once we slid into our seats. Kit bounced as she looked over the menu. She liked to bounce around a lot, I noticed, which was a sweet torment.
“What are you getting?” she asked.
“A giant steak covered in butter.”
She laughed. “You’re starved, huh? Our snacks didn’t fill you?”
“Not quite.” I leaned back and studied her. Against my better judgment, I wanted to know more. “So, tell me about yourself, Kit.”
She shrugged a shoulder and looked up at me. “Not much to tell. Just a girl looking for a change of scenery.”
Huh. “I thought your mom was sick.”
Kit sat up straighter and averted her eyes. “Yeah, right. That, too.” She put her menu down. “I don’t really want to think about Mama right now.”
“Understandable. What’s your favorite movie?”
She smiled at my topic change. “Pretty Woman.”
“Pretty Woman? I definitely wasn’t expecting that. I thought you were going to say Mean Girls.”
The waitress came over then. I ordered my steak and a beer; Kit asked for a burger and a vanilla shake. She was killing me. We didn’t talk until the waitress came back with our drinks and Kit took a giant gulp. She had some shake on her cherry lips, and I watched in agony as she licked it up.
“Let me guess. You like 2001: A Space Odyssey, or something like that. Oh! Or The Godfather. All guys like The Godfather.”
I blinked, then remembered what we had been talking about. I regarded her closely for a minute. I couldn’t figure her out. She was incredibly intelligent and very worldly for a girl from a tiny town.
My phone buzzed. Dina was calling. “I’ll be right back,” I said to Kit. I stood up and walked to the front of the restaurant. “Hey,” I answered.
“You were supposed to call me hours ago. I’ve been worried. Finally, I just gave up and decided to call you.”
“Sorry. I got stuck in a storm so I’m staying at a motel. I’ll text you the name later.”
“I can’t wait for you to get here. My mom is driving me crazy.”
I looked over my shoulder and saw Kit beckoning to me. Our food had arrived. “I can’t wait to get back to you, too, baby.”
“I’m not pregnant,” she said flatly. “Took the test this morning. Nothing.”
I had to remind myself not to sigh. “It’ll be okay. We’ll keep trying.”
“You sound distracted. You don’t even sound upset about it.”
“Well, I’m in this crowded restaurant and the waitress is waving me over because my food is ready. I’m upset, I promise.”
She sighed, but then she didn’t have to worry about me blowing up at her about it, like she would have done to me. “I’ll let you go eat. Text me later, okay?”
“Yep. Talk to you later, Dina. Love you.”
She hung up as I was speaking.
By the time I got back to the table, my appetite was gone. Kit had impressively eaten most of her burger and was reaching across the table to try my steak. She blushed when she noticed me standing there.
“It just looked delicious.”
I sat back down and tried to smile. “No problem.”
She tilted her head and studied me. “You okay?”
“Definitely.” I cut into my steak and wracked my brain for something interesting to say. Luckily, Kit was eager to be playful.
“I’m curious. What’s your astrological sign?”
A real laugh burst from me. “Oh, boy. Don’t tell me you believe in that shit.”
“Sure, I do, to a certain extent. Let me guess. You’re a ... Capricorn.” Her grin brightened. “I’m so right, aren’t I?”
I sipped my beer and waited a beat, then I grinned back. “I’m a Sagittarius.”
“Of course you are! That was my next guess.” She took my beer from my hands and took a sip without asking. I couldn’t help but be beguiled by her. She was something else. “I’m an Aries. We’re a match made in heaven, Lincoln.”
My wedding ring glowed hot on my left hand. I ignored it. I hadn’t had fun like this in ages, and I couldn’t remember being so attracted to a woman in a long time, either. I loved my wife, but things had been so heavy and gloomy lately. Kit was sunshine personified, truly. I felt warmer and happier just sitting by her. She was special, and judging from her little looks, she was interested in me, too.
“Match made in heaven” kept echoing in my head. Something inside me wanted to jump up and run away from this. It was a mistake, I kept telling myself, but a mistake I really, really wanted to make.
“Do all Aries drink before they’re legal?”
She put my beer down. “Do you mind? I just really needed a drink. Think you could buy me some and bring them back to the room?”
“You’re dangerous,” I almost whispered.
Kit leaned over the table and showed a little cleavage. She was definitely a witch or something. I didn’t mind. “You have no idea.”
The two beds were close together. Kit immediately collapsed onto hers. I sat on mine gingerly, feeling acutely off-center.
“Those bedspreads are filthy, you know.”
Her dark hair fanned out beautifully against the pillow. She started moving like she was making snow angels on the bed. “You really are such a control freak.”
“Don’t you ever see those specials with the blacklight?”
She rolled her eyes, but she hopped up to tear the bedspread off. Then, she sank into the sheets. “Better?”
Was it ever.
I had decided to buy wine because I thought it would take her longer to drink than the beer. If I was being completely honest with myself, the reality was that I was trying to be seductive. I opened it with a flourish, which made her laugh, and presented her with a full glass.
I poured myself some and settled onto my own bed. Kit picked up the remote and flipped through some of the channels. I became aware of her peeking at me now and then, and I fought the urge to look back.
Then, she let out a deep breath and turned off the TV. “Lincoln?”
I looked over. “Yeah?”
“Mind if I put some music on instead of the TV?”
“Not at all.”
She stood and poured herself some more wine. She definitely wasn’t drinking it as slowly as I’d expected. She turned on a Rihanna song I didn’t recognize, but the lyrics were certainly a message to me.
Kit danced along to the beat, seductively swinging her hips and chugging the wine.
I cleared my throat. “What song is this?”
A little smirk flirted with her lips. “It’s “Kiss It Better”. You like?”
“It’s ... um, very good. Provocative.”
I shifted and tried to hide my hard-on. “Uh, that, too.”
She approached me, looking hot as hell as she moved. “Does it bother you?”
“I don’t know what to say. This doesn’t seem like...”
She put her little finger against my mouth. “Shh. Don’t talk.” She climbed over my legs and sank onto me. “I know how you’ve been looking at me.”
One of my shaking hands clutched her hip; she ground down onto my dick. “Kit. Even so. We can’t do this.”
She took my wine glass from me and put it on the bedside table with her own. Then, she slowly lowered her chest down to mine. “Why not?”
My laugh was dry and humorous. “C’mon, Kit. Think.” She smelled so delicious that even I was struggling to think, like sunshine and clean sheets.
“I don’t want to think. Do you?” Before I could answer, her soft lips were pushing against mine. I opened my mouth, but I’m not sure if it was to protest or to shove my tongue down her throat. In any case, I wound up doing the latter.
When we broke for air, I groaned and dropped my head back. “This is very bad. I can’t do this.”
“No one has to know. I want you, Lincoln.” She licked her lips. “I’m horny.”
“Fuck. I’ll know. It’s wrong.”
Her hand snaked down my stomach and unzipped my jeans. “Let me make you feel good, Lincoln. I want to, so please let me.” She turned the light out, but I could make out her body from the faint light filtering in through the window. Her magical body.
A more honorable man would have protested more, would have said absolutely not. Might have even left the room and asked for another, or even more wisely, would have hopped into his car and sped away leaving that devil in female form behind in the dust. I was not an honorable man.
I ripped her clothes off as she did the same to me. In minutes, we were naked and touching each other’s bodies. I grew frustrated and rolled her over so that she was under me. We both heard a clap of thunder and jumped. We laughed into each other’s mouths. Seconds later, I was driving hard inside her little body. All rational thought was gone. All fleeting thoughts of decency and rectitude vanished. All I felt was her body, her tightness fluttering on my hardness and the animalistic urge to come inside her. Flashing lights from the lightning illuminated the room in bursts as I moved on top of her, and the rolling thunder seemed to be egging me on.
I knew I needed to make her orgasm before I could let myself go. Luckily, it didn’t take long. She squeezed my cock as she screamed and thrashed her head. I smoothed her hair down before clutching it hard in my fists, then rode her hard until I was ready. I pulled out and came with a slick glide against her soft stomach.
We remained still for a few minutes as my cock softened, then I sank onto the bed beside her, letting my hands rove over her body and her perfect tits.
“That was amazing,” she panted.
I had to agree. Then, a scary thought entered my head. “I should have used a condom.”
“I’m on the pill. It’s okay.”
“Okay, Mr. Sagittarius. I promise I’m clean.”
I rolled over so I could face her. “Risky for you. You need to be smarter, Kit.”
She snorted. “You’re seriously going to lecture me after fucking me? You’re not my dad, and you’re not my boyfriend. Relax.”
I kissed the tip of her nose. “Sorry.”
She moved closer to me and draped a leg over mine. “‘Kay. It’s time for sleep. Night-night.”
I kissed her mouth, this time, before letting my fatigue take over. The storm had ended, and now only soft rain hit the window.
“You’ve never had a hot dog?”
She squealed with laugher. “No! I’m a picky eater. They just look weird.”
Things were thankfully not awkward in the morning. We woke up around 5 AM and had sex again. Any guilt I had was assuaged by the mysterious feeling that this was all right somehow. She was perfect, funny, beautiful, and she was interested in me. It was exactly what I needed at that time. I knew it wouldn’t last, that I would go back home to Dina and the exact memory of the touch of Kit’s skin would drift away like sand in the wind, and I was okay with that. For now, it was amazing and I wouldn’t waste the feeling worrying about reality.
Reality was that my work had been going well on paper, but I felt extremely uninspired and stagnant. I was nowhere near where I wanted to be by my age, and I walked around convinced I was a disappointment. Dina was trying to get pregnant and it zapped all the intimacy out of what were supposed to be intimate moments. I couldn’t help but feel like I was letting her down. Did Dina look at me and think that I was a disappointment, too? It certainly felt that way sometimes.
None of this was justification for cheating on my wife. I was aware that I was the lowest scum, and that I was potentially taking advantage of a much younger sweet girl. That wasn’t enough to stop me.
“How do hot dogs look weird?”
Kit sat up. She looked into the rearview mirror, and her entire demeanor changed. The smile faded, and her body tensed.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing,” she answered quickly.
My eyes flicked up at the rearview mirror. The sun was glittering bright in the midday sky, so it was difficult to make out who was driving, but the car looked vaguely familiar. “Is that car following us?”
“No,” she said, too quickly again. She started biting her nails. “Maybe you should drop me off at the next exit.”
“Kit, what’s going on?”
I could tell she was deliberating telling me. She let out a long sigh. “He’s my ex. He’s a total psychopath. He’s been following us since we left. I thought we lost him when we got to the motel. I thought wrong.”
“You’ve noticed him following us ... and you didn’t say anything?”
Tears appeared on her cheeks. “I’m sorry!”
I put my hand on her thigh to comfort her. “Don’t worry. It’s okay.”
“No, it’s not okay.” She shook her head. “Shit! You have no idea. Burke is literally a psychopath. I’m not just throwing that term around.”
“Did he hurt you?”
“Of course he hurt me. He hurts everybody. He’s going to hurt you, too, unless you drop me off.”
My eyes went back to the mirror. It couldn’t be my imagination that he was getting too close to us. “Jesus Christ, I’m not going to leave you with him.”
“Then he’s going to drive you off the road, or worse. He’s a cop, too. Fucking immune. No one is going to help us. Believe me, I’ve tried.”
Clarity burst inside my brain. “You don’t really have a sick mom, do you?”
“Sure, I do.” Kit waited a minute. “Back home. She’s no help with this. I have to get away.”
She snickered. “No, you don’t. That’s not your fault, though. This is my fifth time doing something like this. He’s gonna kill me.”
“I’m not going to let him hurt you,” I said fervently. “I’m driving us to the nearest police station and...”
“Damn it, Lincoln! You don’t get it. The crazy prick has everyone on his side.”
“Even in Pennsylvania? Or Jersey? We’re going to be in Jersey soon.”
Kit wiped tears away. “I’m begging you. Drop me off, for your own sake.”
My car’s low fuel alert dinged. “Shit.”
“Yeah, you’re definitely right about that. He’ll follow us and beat the shit out of you. Drop me off!”
I ran a hand through my hair and tugged it until it hurt. “I said no. I’m not leaving you with your abusive boyfriend.”
“I shouldn’t have told you about that,” she whispered. “He’s never going to leave me alone.”
A sign for a gas station appeared on the side of the highway. I took a deep breath and got off at the exit. Her boyfriend’s pickup truck rode closely behind, following me down the exit ramp. We pulled into the gas station and it was the moment of truth.
Her boyfriend pulled into the island across from us. He stepped out of his car and immediately sprinted over to us. He latched onto Kit’s arm and yanked her to him. “Not in the mood for this, Kit. Get in the damn car,” he said.
Kit wouldn’t even look at me. “Damn it, Burke! I don’t want to do this anymore.”
I found my voice. “Leave her alone.”
Burke’s black eyes found mine. He wasn’t the slightest bit intimidated by me, that much I could tell. He punched me in one smooth movement, and I collapsed onto my knees.
“For God’s sake!” I heard Kit shrieking. “You never fucking learn, Burke! I said I didn’t want to see you anymore.”
I ran into him, crashing into his gut. He must have been prepared for it, because he only stumbled back a step or two. Still, it got him away from Kit, who looked tremendously frail when she was in his arms. He pushed back at me and laughed when I landed on my ass.
“Got yourself another hero, huh, babe?”
“Leave him out of this,” she ordered in a low voice. “He’s no one.”
“Just a no one you fucked?” he spat. “Dirty slut.”
Before I could get up on my feet, she punched him. They scuffled back and forth in the dirt of the parking lot. Then I saw Kit pull something metallic that glinted in the sunlight out from her bag, and she used it to slash against the man’s arm. He grunted and covered the spilling wound with his other hand.
“You fucking bitch!” he screamed.
“It’s just a cut, you baby. You should be grateful I didn’t cut something else.”
I stared at her with shock.
The gas station attendant who’d dumbly been staring at us finally about-faced and ran back into the store. I saw him pick up the phone. Burke noticed this the same time I did and sprinted off to his car.
“This isn’t over, Kit!”
“You bet your ass it is, Burke! Go home and leave me be.”
Burke pointed at me before he got into his car. “You’re going to be sorry, you dumb asshole. You have no idea who you’re dealing with, and I don’t just mean me.” He got into his car and sped off.
Kit and I stood in silence. I couldn’t bring myself to look at her, and she seemed to be avoiding glancing my way, too. I’m sure she was embarrassed. I was feeling a mess of emotions. I unknowingly picked up a girl in the center of a shit-storm, and someone else knew I cheated on my wife. I felt awful, deservedly so, and I had begun a volatile and possibly disastrous journey toward my likely destruction.
The cops came and took our names. They looked between Kit and me suspiciously, and I was certain they knew the true nature of our relationship, but they accepted our false statement that I was just being a nice guy, giving Kit a ride to New York. They asked for Burke’s last name, and Kit said she couldn’t remember it. The cops didn’t buy that, either, and neither did I. Still, she couldn’t be persuaded to give it to them, and she also left out that he was supposedly a cop, too.
I heard one cop ask Kit something about what Burke could have meant about me not knowing who I was dealing with, and if there was something darker in the bigger picture. Kit peeked at me and then tucked a piece of hair behind her ear.
“I have no idea what he meant,” she whispered.
The cop looked at me, then focused on Kit again. “You sure?”
The cops packed it away, warned us we should get a move on, and told us that if we noticed we were being followed again, to call the cops right away and drive to the nearest police station. We nodded and watched them speed off to their next emergency.
Part of me wanted to tell Kit we should part ways right there. I would call her a cab or something. Anything. Those alarms that were going off earlier the day before were back full blast, but now I recognized that the warning was about more than just the temptation of Kit’s body. She had lied to me, and to the cops, and something frightening and black scraped its threatening claws against my spine. She was danger personified, and she was part of something much bigger than your average domestic dispute.
A bigger part of me wanted to be the nice guy. I couldn’t just desert her, and it wasn’t her fault she had a dick ex-boyfriend. Besides, she was too innocent to be involved in anything too bad. Burke’s vague threat wasn’t more than just that: a vague threat. He was trying to scare me, and I had to brush that off.
Kit looked at me, and I looked at her. There was so much going on in our stare. She was still the beautiful, magnetic young girl who had enticed me beyond reason. Her brunette hair shone almost red in the afternoon light. There were also many questions floating around in her sparkly eyes. I answered one question silently as I unlocked the car doors and waited for her to get inside. We didn’t speak as we drove toward New York, and hopefully, far, far away from Burke.
Kit didn’t speak until we were in New Jersey. “Lincoln? Do you think we could stop for something to eat?”
I reflexively looked into the rearview mirror. No one was behind us, but that didn’t comfort me. I had the feeling that Burke, or whoever Burke was affiliated with, wasn’t done with me. “Let’s go a little further.”
She touched my arm. “I’m sorry I involved you in all this.”
“No, it’s not. It’s not okay. I really am sorry.”
I noticed a diner and turned my signal on. We pulled into a spot and I moved to look her in the eye. “I know you are.”
Kit reached for me over the center console and gave me a sweet little kiss. When we parted, she was smiling. “Let’s get something to eat. I’m starving.”
Nothing of note happened during our meal, but I was constantly looking over my shoulder. Burke’s face stayed at the front of my mind, and I was certain that everyone walking by us was him.
Finally, Kit sighed and took my hand. “He’s gone. You don’t have to worry about him anymore.”
“Why did you lie to the cops?”
Kit ripped her hand from me. “I already told you, he’s dangerous. He has connections everywhere. It just would have made it worse.”
I looked down at my coffee and tried not to shout. “Yes, he’s dangerous, but there is no way he has connections everywhere. And he said I had to worry about more than just him. You seemed to know what he was talking about. I want to know what that was.”
Kit scoffed at first and sipped her vanilla shake. It was funny to me, in some sick way, that I had been so aroused by her drinking the shake only twenty-four hours before. Now, it was only annoying.
“Answer me, Kit. I have a right to know if you’ve endangered my wife’s life, and my own.”
She scoffed again. “Now you care about your wife?”
“You have no right...”
“Please. Spare me,” Kit cut in. “You weren’t worried about what you were involving yourself in last night, or this morning. I already apologized for not telling you everything, but you made your own bed, Lincoln. You’re a grown-ass man.”
“Excuse me? Again, you have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Kit’s smile grew nasty. She leaned over the table. “I know exactly what I’m talking about. You let your dick do the thinking, and now you regret it. Too bad.”
“I don’t regret what we did. I just want to know what your ex was talking about.”
“And I already told you it didn’t concern you.”
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “You said you didn’t know what he meant.”
Kit licked her vanilla lips so that they looked damp and delicious beneath the light. She pursed them. “Is there a difference?”
“Don’t play dumb.”
She stood and tossed her napkin on the table. “I gotta go pee. I’ll be right back.”
I think I knew even then that she was about to disappear, but I played along. Later, I told myself it was because, deep down, I really did want her gone. I wanted her smirking cherry-colored mouth and her long brown hair out of my sight. I wanted to pretend none of this had happened. I wanted to return to my monotonous life and have this just be a pleasant dream.
Kit stood and tugged her skirt down. My eyes were drawn to the action, and the sight of her shapely legs. She laughed a little and my gaze drifted up.
“I’ll be right back,” she repeated, but we both knew she was lying.
“Sure,” I said.
She walked across the diner and vanished through the swinging doors that lead to the bathrooms. I waited twenty minutes before I paid the bill, then I waited another thirty in the parking lot. I offered a little prayer for whichever sad schmuck agreed to give her a ride, and then I forced myself to put her out of my head.
Six weeks later, I had successfully become re-accustomed to my life. Dina was once again my charming wife, even if she was still disappointed there was no baby yet, and work was too busy for me to feel any kind of displeasure.
At night, I thought back to Kit’s body, to her laugh, to the way she made me come, but by morning, I put every single memory of her back into the dark chest in my brain that housed anything to do with that brief period in my life.
Sometimes I remembered Burke’s threat with a small hint of foreboding, but I was sure that enough time had passed for me to consider myself safe.
I was wrong.
Dina cursed under her breath as she tried to hang up the picture frame. She sighed louder every time she attempted to do it and failed. I had offered to help her, but she had insisted on doing it herself. I refused to offer again; besides, I was busy with work. Someone had messed up big time the day before and my boss said it was up to me to fix it.
The picture frame slipped from Dina’s hand and the glass shattered everywhere. “Fuck!”
“I told you that you should have me do it,” I muttered as I typed away. Dina rolled her eyes at me and went to get the broom.
“You could have just helped. You don’t need my permission.”