Fire in the Night Ch. 02
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As he returned with a towel to dry off her rain-soaked body, she set down her waterproof pack and surveyed the RV. “Nice ride,” she commented, mentally approving of the style and décor he’d utilized to make the motor home feel like…well, home. She suddenly realized that he was staring at her, and she flushed hotly, realizing that she must look like a drowned rat after being out in that rainstorm. Quickly grabbing the towel and trying to dry her curls, she avoided his gaze.
Of all the interesting people she’d met through hitchhiking across the country, her intuition told her that this man would be the most intriguing. When he’d pulled over to the side of the road and emerged from the RV, she’d felt her heart suddenly start to beat a little faster. Tall, with dark brown hair and an athletic build, she could see even in the dark, rainy night that he was a good-looking older man. Now that she was inside the RV, she could see that his eyes were a startling, clear blue that entranced her. ‘And he’s a cop,’ she said to herself, ‘I mean, come on, what girl doesn’t fantasize about a police officer?’
Of course, he probably thought she was a foolish, immature little girl who’d gotten herself in trouble and now had to hitchhike back to Mommy and Daddy because she’d spent all her money.
When her red curls were bright and fiery again, rather than dark and coppery, she knew her hair was sufficiently dry. She took off her trusty poncho. It had been a gift from her best friend, Shanna, to celebrate the beginning of her cross-country hitchhiking trip. “Probably the most valuable thing you’ll take with you,” Shanna had said confidently, and of course she had been right.
Jack had taken off his jacket (in the light of the RV, she could now see the emblem of his police department on it, though she couldn’t make out the city name), and she subtly admired his body – casual in jeans and a black polo shirt, but somehow so sexy at the same time. ‘Calm down, girl,’ she thought, ‘he must be twice your age.’
“Can I get you something to eat or drink?” he offered, opening the door of the fridge.
“If you have any wine, I could use a little to relax after this night,” she said. He gave her a quick, surprised glance, then turned to the fridge. “I have White Zinfandel, if that’s alright.”
She had caught his glance, and knew what it meant. “I am of age, officer,” she said, a little defensively, feeling her face flush again.
He looked over, startled. “Oh, of course…I’m sure you are,” he said.
Still blushing, she said, “I know I look fresh out of high school, officer, but I’m 23.”
He held up his hands in surrender. “I’m sorry if I offended you. You do look very young, but that’s a good thing for a woman, isn’t it?”
She took ataköy escort a breath, telling herself not to get defensive with him. Why was she getting defensive? What did she care what he thought? “I’m sorry, I just… it can get annoying to constantly be treated like you’re not even old enough to vote. It’s something I’m still not used to, but it’s my thing, not yours. Sorry.” She had lowered her eyes to apologize, and only looked up when he stepped in front of her, a glass of wine in hand.
“No worries,” he said softly, handing her the wine. When his blue eyes locked with hers, she felt her heartbeat quicken again, and she looked away hastily.
“Should we get on the road?” she asked nervously.
He smiled. “As soon as you tell me your name.”
“Oh! It’s Caitlin…I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I hadn’t introduced myself.”
He chuckled and extended his hand, shaking hers firmly. “You really must stop apologizing. And I, as you know from my driver’s license, am Jack. You can call me Jack…not officer.”
‘My God, can I ever stop blushing?’ she thought, furious at herself. ‘Why am I acting like a shy schoolgirl? What is it about him…?’
He had headed to the front of the RV, settling into the driver’s seat after removing his gun from the back of his jeans. She stared at the gun with wide eyes. She hadn’t truly believed him when he’d told her he was armed. He put the gun in the glove compartment, then glanced back at her.
“Does it make you uncomfortable?” he asked, concerned.
“No,” she said quickly. “I just…I’ve never seen one…up close, you know.” ‘Stupid, stupid!’ she cursed herself silently.
He smiled reassuringly, “I assure you, I’m fully licensed and trained to carry it. I wouldn’t dare travel across the country without it.”
She settled into the seat next to him. This RV had tan, plush leather seats for the driver and passenger, and they were amazingly comfortable. She smoothed her fiery red curls back from her face and took a sip of wine. “This is delicious,” she said softly as he started the RV’s engine.
“Thanks,” he replied, “I spare no expense when it comes to wine. I’m a bit of a connoisseur. It helps knowing how to relax when you have a job like mine.”
“I can’t even imagine,” she said. “You said you’re traveling across the country?”
He turned off the overhead lights, glanced into his side and rear view mirrors, and carefully pulled the RV back out onto the highway. The road was still deserted, though it was only nine o’clock, and she thought again how grateful she was that he had stopped to pick her up.
“Yes, I’m on leave from the force,” he answered. “I’ve wanted to drive across the country my entire life, but never avcılar escort really got around to it. Finally, last year, I said to myself, ‘I have the money, I have the time – the hell with it, I’m just going to do it.'” He glanced at her quickly, and added, “Pardon my French.”
She chuckled and took another sip of wine. “Don’t worry about it. Get another glass of wine in me and I’ll make a sailor blush.”
He laughed appreciatively, and she felt a warm tingle grow inside of her just from making him laugh. ‘What is it about him?’ she found herself wondering for perhaps the tenth time since she’d boarded this RV.
“And do I dare ask, Caitlin, why you are on this deserted highway, in a rainstorm, at night?” he asked casually.
She felt her face flush once again, and was thankful that the lights were off and her blush was hidden. “I needed adventure,” she said vaguely.
He nodded, and said quietly, “I guess we all do, sometimes.” She silently thanked him for not pushing her further.
The next hour flew by, as they talked of more superficial things – movies they liked, music they were passionate about, books they’ve read. Caitlin found that he was incredibly intelligent in addition to having a good sense of humor, and she found herself feeling amazingly comfortable with him. She thought, ‘If he wasn’t old enough to be my father, I could really…’ But even in her mind, she couldn’t let herself finish that sentence, and she pushed it out of her head.
Just before ten o’clock, she asked if he would excuse her so that she could call her friend to check in again.
“Of course,” he replied, “but it’s starting to get late enough that we may want to talk about whether we’re going to stop for the night or not.”
“Oh, you’re right,” she realized. “Um…well, Jack, I don’t really have any plans on when and where I’m going, to be honest. Like I said before, I just…need adventure. So I guess I’m willing to go where you’re going, for now.” She couldn’t look at him as she said this, unwilling to see his expression. Maybe he didn’t want her company indefinitely. Maybe he was hoping to drop her off in an hour or two and get on with his own life. After all, what right did she have to intrude on his cross-country tour?
She didn’t see his smile when he heard her response. “Then we shall be spontaneous, and have ourselves an adventure. For now, why don’t you tell your friend that we’ll be pulling over around midnight, and you can call her again then.”
She held in her relief at his answer, managing to answer calmly, “Alright, I’ll go call her.” She finished the last of her wine and got up from the passenger seat, moving into the kitchen where she grabbed her cell phone from her beylikdüzü escort waterproof pack. She then hesitated, realizing that she wanted to say things to Shanna that she didn’t want him to hear.
As if reading her mind, he called from the front seat, “If you’d like some privacy, you can use the bedroom. It’s the last door.”
With relief, she headed back that way, and stepped into the small bedroom, turning on the light. Her curiosity getting the better of her, she scanned the room slowly. He had used soft shades of blue to decorate this room, giving it a peaceful, calming feel. Several paintings hung on the wall, mostly landscapes of the ocean and shore. A single book lay on his bedside table. She sat on the bed and picked up the book, reading the title aloud softly. “The Pursuit of Happyness.” She found herself wondering whether he was the type of person who liked to read a book before seeing the movie, or vice versa. Making a mental note to ask him, she dialed Shanna’s number.
“Hello?” Shanna answered.
“Hey, it’s me. I’m okay,” Caitlin said softly.
“Good. Where are you headed next?”
“We’re driving until about midnight, then we’re going to stop for the night. It’s an RV, and there’s a couch I can sleep on. He’s a cop, and I trust him.”
“Then I trust him, too,” Shanna replied. “But still be careful. Cops can go bad, too.”
Caitlin hesitated. “He’s…a good guy.”
Shanna read into this instantly. “Is he hot?”
Caitlin blushed, and whispered, “Unbelievably.”
“Then get some!” Shanna cheered.
“He’s… he’s twice my age,” Caitlin confessed.
“So? That just means he knows where everything goes. Trust me, I’ve done the older man thing, and it’s fabulous, you’ll love it!” Shanna cried.
Still blushing, Caitlin replied, “I’ll call you around midnight when we stop again.”
“Caitlin…you deserve to let loose for a change. Relax, and if he’s a good guy, go for it!” Shanna instructed.
“Love you,” Caitlin said softly.
She could hear the smile in Shanna’s voice when she responded, “Love you, too, hon. Bye.”
“Bye,” she answered.
Tucking the cell phone into her pocket, she walked over to the mirror on Jack’s dresser and smoothed her red curls back again. ‘He’s just a man, just like any other,’ she told her reflection softly. ‘There’s no need to be nervous. You don’t even know if he thinks of you that way. He probably thinks you’re just some immature kid. So just relax and put that stuff out of your mind. Stop picturing him naked.’
She’d thrown in the last sentence as a joke to herself, but she suddenly had a brilliantly vivid image of Jack naked, lying on the bed, his hands casually folded behind his head as he ordered her to come ravage him. A deep, throbbing need began in her core, radiating outward. She shivered and closed her eyes briefly, imagining herself slowly stripping her clothes off before approaching Jack’s naked body. She opened her eyes wide, staring into her mirrored reflection. “Oh god, I’m so screwed,” she whispered.
To be continued…
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