“I don’t know about you, but I’m delighted to leave that hotel behind us.” Spencer drove them toward Iowa on I-29. They were headed to a small town north of Sioux City.
“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to leave a place so badly,” Kate agreed. The day was cloudy and so breezy she was glad Spencer kept them in their lane against the strong north wind. But even so, it wasn’t nearly as awful as the blizzard that forced them to stop a few days ago.
The next morning after a rerun of the same breakfast, which Kate and Spencer were both seriously tired of, Spencer asked Kate, “Are you ok?” Kate had been pretty quiet all morning. Back in their room, they were getting ready to repack their things.
Kate didn’t answer right away. She hadn’t slept well the night before, contemplating their conversations from the day before and wondering about Spencer’s stubbornness. She looked at him, trying to find the words to explain it all. How could she consider dating this great guy and be mourning for John and wondering how she was going to get through the next few months as a single parent?
The two shoppers returned in silence, each in their own world. But once they arrived back at the hotel, Spencer told Kate he wanted to check on his car before going in. She waited for him in the lobby. Spencer walked around to the side of the building to make sure it had been returned, and sure enough it was. Except for some extra snow on the tires and the body, it looked the same. He was relieved.
Together, they rode in the elevator without saying a word. After returning to their room, Kate dropped her purchases on her bed and then walked into Spencer’s room. She continued their previous conversation. “Yes, I do have to repay you, Spencer. And I will, as soon as I get my act together.” She tossed her shoes toward her door and plopped on his bed. “And if we ever get out of here.”
After Kate took a much needed nap, she and Spencer decided to get out of the hotel for a while and took the hotel shuttle to a nearby mall. Spencer held the door for Kate in his customary fashion and walked in behind her.
Spencer thought part of Kate’s problem was she was going stir crazy stuck at the hotel and her emotions were wrung out after worrying about him getting sick, the blizzard and the other stuff dealing with John’s death and Sarah. The days stuck in the hotel and not being able to get to Sarah had to be excruciating for her. Kate was a do-it-now kind of person and Spencer could tell she was nearly at the end of her rope.
The next day, Kate woke up to a loud scraping outside her room window. She hoped it was a snow plow finally clearing the parking lot. She slid out of bed and opened her curtains. Sunshine radiated off the snow, causing a sharp glare. Hope surged in Kate at the sight of the plow moving great mounds of snow away from the parked cars. Maybe they could finish their journey today.
Kate quickly got dressed, excited at the prospect of getting out of the hotel. Then she knocked on the connecting door to see if Spencer was up. He answered, “Come in.”
Kate and Spencer sat down with waffles, eggs and juice in the cracker box sized eating area. Apparently they were the only guests hungry at the moment. Spencer said a brief prayer of thanks for their food and electricity which made Kate smile. After a few bites of her waffle Kate asked, “You go to church, right?” When Spencer nodded, she asked, “Which one?”
Noises from other guests woke Kate the next morning. She shivered and snuggled back under the covers after peeking at the alarm clock. She didn’t hear anything from next door, so she figured Spencer still slept.
She woke again an hour later when she heard a soft knock on her door. She sat upright and answered, “Yes?”
Kate stared at her traveling companion and shook her head. She got up, shut the room door all the way now that they had power to come and go and bolted it. Then she brushed her teeth and turned off all the lights except the one in the bathroom, leaving the door open slightly for some light and went to her room.
Spencer dug out clean dry clothes and took a quick shower, letting the hot water warm him up before it ran out. He stepped out and dried off in the semi-darkness, towel drying his hair. Good thing it didn’t take long to dry. He put on a t-shirt under his sweatshirt and sweatpants and dry socks. He found an extra blanket in the closet and wrapped himself in that.
“You can come in now,” he tapped on her door.
“Are you okay?” Kate was alarmed. His voice sounded weak and he still looked cold.
Photo Credit: Mark Reis / Colorado Springs Gazette
“I can think of worse things that could happen to us.” He started some lunges and Kate watched his fluid movements. He was a strong, well muscled guy, with a sweet personality.
Kate better watch herself. She took the bait. “Like what?”