Knight in Shining Armor

April 25, 2017
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He didn’t even notice his car slowing down until it chugged to a complete stop in the center of the deserted highway. And, honestly, at this point, he was too tired to feel any emotion involving temper, so anger and frustration were long out of the picture. He sat there in the driver’s seat, stiff and motionless, while the vestiges of the earlier snowstorm swirled in tiny white tornados under the buttery glow of streetlamps flickering in the night. His hands were frozen to the steering wheel as the stinging cold crept up slyly, gluing his fingers in a vice-like grip.
In his half-delirious, sleep-deprived, energy-depleted state, he at least had the sense to punch the hazard lights. Their red blinkers joined in with that of the streetlamps, creating enough rough sensation on their own to fill the noticeably vacant hole in the air. He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping to pull himself out of the fog slipping into his mind. He groaned and slammed his face against the steering wheel when he opened them and saw the fluorescent icon on his dashboard screaming that gas was needed. The horn blared, long and angry – more feeling than he thought he could ever muster.
“Brilliant,” he muttered, mentally scolding himself.
Holding back tears because all he really wanted to do was crawl into bed at home as sleep for a million years, he fumbled in the passenger’s seat, pulling up his bookbag and sifting around for his phone.
As he drew the device into his lap, he wondered what exactly he’d do. It was past 2 o’ clock in the morning; no one would be awake. But he needed to get home – needed sleep before his next class in four hours, so he reluctantly hit the call button and waited for her to pick up. He’d started shivering violently as the heat mischievously escaped the car.
The line clicked on the fourth ring, and a yawn ran through the speaker.
“Are you OK?” She sounded mildly concerned – probably still too drowsy to register much. 
“So far,” he replied. “I, uh,” he stammered to a stop, contemplating what to do next.
“Are you still at the library?” she asked.
“No, I’m on I75. My car ran out of gas.”
“What?” She was suddenly alert. “Stay there, I’m coming to get you.”
She hung up abruptly, leaving him alone again with the chill and the silence and the tiredness. His eyes slipped shut, and he fell into a light slumber against the window, temple pressed to the frosted glass. It wasn’t for another 20 minutes that he was jerked to consciousness, a rap on the door startling him. She stood out in the darkness, wind whipping at her hair and clothes, curled strands slapping her face gently. She wore one of his sweatshirts, too big and falling off her thin shoulder, and her feet were shoved into clunky boots. A smile, as radiant as ever despite the bags under her eyes, danced on her lips, and he felt a sudden surge of love flood his heart. He cracked open the door, the metal grasping desperately at the frame. He pulled her into a hug, and she squeaked in surprise. “Thank you,” he whispered.
She chuckled, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Anything for my damsel in distress.”
He grinned, planting a light kiss behind her ear. “And how may I repay my knight in shining armor?”
Pulling back, she slapped his bicep playfully. “You can start by calling a tow truck. In my car. With the heat at full blast.”
He shook his head, briefly pondering why he hadn’t thought of that in the first place.
“Good idea.”
“Oh, yeah. And I brought hot chocolate.”
He stared at her in awestruck fascination. “You are amazing; do I ever tell you that?”
It was hard to tell, but he was sure she blushed in the dim lighting. “Every time you look at me,” she breathed.

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