#4 in Snooty and the Book Cover. Find the others here.
My bed jostles. Strange. I open an eye and immediately close it. My forehead and nose are pounding. My stomach is roiling. And worse, or not (all perspective here), I hear the shower in the next room running. A tiny little gerbil is running a wheel in my head and just the thought of said wheel makes my stomach lurch. I sit up.
This isn’t my room. It’s not my bed. My dress is neatly laid across a nearby chair. Glancing down, I have a momentary feeling of relief. I am in my bra and panties.
The thought occurs to me that I could be in Brittany’s room, except the rubber soled shoes by the dresser are masculine and definitely don’t look like something Brittany would ever wear.
There’s a bucket next to the bed, which I realize is for me. So this is what I’ve been reduced to? A woman who falls asleep (hopefully that’s all) with a strange man and a bedside bucket for her stomach contents? And what happened to last night?
The shower stops. The man’s humming. Well, that can’t be good, at least not for me. For him, probably good.
I bring my knees to my chest and hug them and hide myself under the sheet, which surprisingly smell nice, like something woodsy and lemony. At least he smells good.
The door opens but I don’t emerge from my cocoon. I’m quite content there, thank you. Much like a turtle alas with a very soft shell.
“You okay?” It’s Steve, the ZZ Top refugee. I literally think “OMG” not even the words, just the letters.
The bed sinks next to me and I feel a slight pressure on the back of my head.
“Nothing happened,” he says. “At least not what you’re worried about.”
“Getting drunk and not remembering last night?”
“Sorry, but that did happen. But you fell asleep in the bar,” he says with his soft Southern accent that’s oddly soothing. “I carried you out to the truck and brought you here.”
“I’m sorry,” I mutter.
“No need. Most of my evenings are not that eventful. It was a nice change of pace.”
I lift the sheet slightly and eye him. He’s grinning at me. He has puppy dog brown eyes that are soft and reassuring. It only now occurs to me that he could have done things to me, but didn’t.
“I’ve got to be at work in an hour,” he says. “It’s five-thirty.”
“Let me get dressed.”
“You can stay here for a while, if you want.”
The look in my eye must take him aback for he quickly starts filling in words, which, with his extremely slow manner, I didn’t think was possible. “This is the house where you’re staying. I just didn’t know your room and didn’t want to go through your purse for the key.”
“You’re staying in the house? Why? Are you like the maintenance man?”
“You could say that.”
“Thanks, but I’ll just go up to my room and try to regain some dignity.”
He smiles, reaches out with his fingertips and gently caresses my cheek. “Dignity’s overrated. Just get a fried egg and a cup of tea and start your writing dream.”
“You’re a nice guy, Steve.”
“Just be careful in the future, Callie. Some of the guys might not have been so nice.”
His shoulders are like an art gallery of shapes and colors. It’s a real shame I don’t like long beards or tats because underneath it all he seems like a great guy.