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?”
“Like getting in trouble going AWOL and not being able to use the phones, not having any electricity, running out of food, you know being stuck in the woods with bears…”
“Stop, I get it. But could we get stuck here? Should we call in?”
“Nah, we’re good. Besides everybody’s in bed down there. They trust us.”
“Are you sure?” Kate wasn’t as confident. The Air Force had rules whether you were on leave or not.
“What can they do about it anyway? Send in a helicopter in this blizzard? We might as well make the best of it. Besides, this is only the first day of our leave, we’ll worry about it if we’re still stuck on the last day of leave. We’re fine until then.” He turned sideways, parallel between the bed and the wall and did toe touches in rapid succession. He stopped and turned to her and added, “I noticed a gas station about half-a-mile down the road, I say after our workout, or maybe before, we should stock up on more food. The snacks we have were only for the drive. As a matter of fact, let’s do that first.” He looked at Kate in her shorts.
She looked like she would be ill. “Are you serious?”
“Yes. I’ll take the car and be back as soon as I can. You have my number if you need me.”
“I’m getting nervous.” She shivered.
Spencer walked over and sat next to her on the bed. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders in a reassuring hug. “We’ll be fine. It will just take longer to get Sarah.” He gave her another squeeze and got up. He slipped his jeans back on, over his shorts and put on an extra sweatshirt, this one with a hood. “This is the best I’ve got. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He shivered from a chill.
Kate got up and walked him to the door. “Be careful and come right back.” She gave him a quick impulsive hug.
He hugged her back, “I will. Stay here and try not to worry.” He left and she stood there for a minute, not sure what to do. She decided she might as well go down to use the gym since she was dressed for it and didn’t have anything better to do than worry. Kate worried for Spencer’s trip to the store, for being stuck in a hotel with a man she was starting to have feelings for, being an instant mother with no training, among other things.
The gym was set up with three stationary bikes, a treadmill and a stair stepper. In one corner a television displayed news, but not the weather and the volume was turned down low. A plastic shelf in the corner opposite the door housed wipes and the typical rough white towels found in most hotel gyms. Only one man using the treadmill was in the room.
Kate flashed him a quick smile and stepped onto a stair stepper and adjusted it for her speed. She got into her rhythm, reaching her peak before slowing back down. The other guy left, so she switched to the treadmill, ran for 15 minutes and then did a cool down. She hoped Spencer would be back soon and would have some food. He should be back by now, he’d been gone long enough if the store was as close as he said. She and Spencer had snacks several hours ago, but no real dinner. Kate was getting hungry, especially now after her workout. But after sitting all day, she had to get up and move. She grabbed a towel and dried off before tossing it into the laundry bin. She headed upstairs not feeling any less stressed.
Spencer wasn’t back yet, so she took out everything for a shower and waited a few minutes to see if he would come back. He didn’t, so she hopped in, keeping her clothes in the bathroom in case he returned. Afterward Kate dressed quickly, slung her towel over the curtain rod and removed her belongings except for her toiletries.
Kate stored her clothes neatly in a dresser drawer. She walked into the other room and switched on the television after finding the local channels listed on a card next to the television.
“We’re on generator power here at the station, and power is out all across the area with trees down, power lines dangling and—” the lights and television went black. “No!” Kate yelled.
“No, no, no.” She stumbled to the window and opened the curtains for any bit of light. She looked at her watch. It was 10:30. “Oh, where is Spencer?” she asked. “Please, please get here soon.” Just then there was a knock at the door. Kate quickly crossed to the door and looked through the peephole. It was Spencer, holding a couple of paper bags. Thank God. Of course the keys won’t work, so one would always have to be in the room or leave the door ajar.
“Oh, thank goodness. Except now, we don’t have the refrigerator power for anything.” She took a bag from him, while holding the door with a foot.
“I got here just as the lights went out, and took the stairs. The office staff is trying to get the generators going.”
“That’s good.” She closed the door and set her bag on the dresser. “What do we have?”
“We have yogurt, carrots, more grapes, sub sandwiches, soup-in case we have access to a microwave, beef jerky for me, and some dark chocolate for the lady,” which he held up with a grin.
“You’re a dear! And I got my workout in, so I can enjoy it without guilt.” She held out her hand and Spencer dropped the bag into it. “Want some?”
“I need to shower and get into dry clothes first,” he chattered.
“Oh, dear, of course! How will you—-”
“I’ll manage. I’ll have to leave the door open for what little light there is.” He looked at her, waiting for her response.
Her face felt warm. “Oh, yeah. I’ll just hang out in my room. Eating chocolate. In the dark.” She took one grocery bag though and unpacked it first. She watched Spencer out of the corner of her eye, as he took off his shoes and wet socks. “I’ll be next door.”
Until next time,