My boyfriend and I wake up in his old bedroom at his parents’ house in the country.
We are very cold, so he steps out of bed to check the thermostat.
It is even colder with him out of the bed so I tell him, “Come back to bed and keep me warm.”
“I’m coming right now,” He replies.
We hold each other until the hunger pangs get the better of us.
Slowly we walk to the kitchen.
His mom is putting pancakes and bacon on the table.
The silence is awkward and tense as we eat.
At one point, my boyfriend says, “I think the furnace is broken.”
“No, it just needs more oil. Why don’t you make yourself useful and go to the hardware store and pick some up?” His mom tells him coldly.
He then looks at his watch and asks her, “Does it still open at eight in the morning?”
“Then we’re going right now. I have to get a new bulb for my flashlight anyway.”
“Charge the oil to your dad’s account,” His mom says in a cut and dry tone.
We get our coats then walk to my boyfriend’s old car.
He opens the passenger door for me, to which I step in, then he enters the driver’s side and we leave.
We drive into town and arrive at the hardware store just as it is opening.
There is a long line, so my boyfriend browses around.
Suddenly, my phone rings. The caller ID shows that it is my dad, so I go into a corner of the store and take the call.
“Hello princess. I understand there was a terrorist attack. Are you all right?”
“Yes. I’m fine. My boyfriend and I evacuated to his parents’ house in the country.”
“Good. I’m glad you found him and I’m glad you’re with him because he is a really good young man.”
“And he loves me. Well I love him too, you know.”
“Yes, I know and I’m so happy for you princess.”
“We would have gone to your house, but I knew mom would be on edge.”
“I know. It is also your eighteenth birthday, which your mother totally missed out on because of her addiction. I hope that could be a wake up call to her. I doubt you’re enjoying it, but I hope there was some goodness to your birthday.”
“Yes, before all this happened my boyfriend bought me dinner.”
“Well we are going to throw you a party at some point and I want him there too.”
“Okay, Daddy that will be good.”
“Where are you now.”
“I’m at a hardware store in the country. My boyfriend is picking up some oil for his parents’ heater.”
“Well keep in touch with me and call if you need anything.”
“Now I have to go check on your mother, so let me go.”
“Let me know when you’re back in the city.”
“Bye princess an Happy Birthday.”
“Bye Daddy and thank you.”
I hang up the phone and go browse around the store with my boyfriend.
Finally someone waits on us.
He and my boyfriend converse, “Long time no see. What can I get for you?”
“As many First Alert Ready-Lite bulbs as possible and some heating oil.”
“First Alert Ready-Lite, that’s something you don’t hear of anymore.”
“Well, it came with the house I bought in the city.”
“Wasn’t there a terrorist attack there last night?”
“There sure was. We were ordered to evacuate and here we are.”
“That’s a drag. I enjoyed living in the city when I played football at the university on scholarship, but then I was injured and my career was over. Now I work for my dad’s hardware company and try to be the best salesman I can be.”
“It’s a shame how something that happens in an instant can alter a person’s life.”
“Well, I guess it’s for the best. At least you can return to the city when the evacuation is lifted.”
“Yes but to a God-awful job.”
“Where do you work?”
“The Downtown Grocer.”
“Oh yes, I’ve seen their commercials on TV.”
“Don’t let the commercials fool you, they are dirty people. I hate working for them. I’d really like to be a writer.”
“You always did. Some of my teammates knew how their girlfriends were impressed by your writings and were very jealous, so they began to spread false rumors about you.”
“Yes, I am well aware of that. Can we not re-live it? You should have the oil, which I’ll be charging to my dad’s account. Do you have the bulbs or not? If you do, I’ll be paying cash.”
The clerk checks the computer, then says “I have five packs of bulbs left in stock.”
“I’ll take all five,” My boyfriend clearly says.
The clerk then suggests to my boyfriend, “Could I interest you in a Mini Maglite LED flashlight instead? It runs for five hours on 2 AAA batteries and gives off 111 lumens. Your Ready Lite’s battery only lasts about an hour and there might not be any electricity available at your house to charge it up again.”
“Man it sure sounds tempting, but I don’t have enough cash for both the First Alert bulbs and the Mini Maglite.”
“Charge it to your parents’ account.”
“They’d be livid if I did.”
I then tell my boyfriend, “I’ll pay for that flashlight with my grocery money.”
“Baby, you don’t have to do that.”
I put my finger on his lips and say, “But I want to, because I can tell you’d really it. You can pay me back for it the same way you plan to pay me back for the gas money-all night long! Don’t think I haven’t been keeping track!”
He blushes, then I kiss him lovingly.
“All right baby, you know my payment is good,” He tells me.
He looks at the clerk and says, “Charge the oil to my parents’ account. I’ll pay cash for the bulbs and…”
“I’ll pay for that flashlight with my debit card,” I interject.
“Thank you, baby!” He tells me. He then holds me by my waist and kisses my head.
After our items are paid for, we leave the store.
He opens the passenger door for me and I kiss him as I step in.
He then gets in on the driver side and is about to start the car when his phone rings.
“Hello,” “What do you mean?” “Who called exactly?” “No, people need to mind their own business, that’s one of the reasons why I got out of the godforsaken country and moved to the city.” “But it was a blessing to me!” “Because it was a strategic target.” “Whatever you say.” “All right I am coming.”
He then hangs up.
My boyfriend starts his car and begins to head to his parents’ house when I ask him, “What’s the matter?”
He then tells me, “Now I am not mad at you at all. However, when you are in a small town you need to watch what you say and do in public because everyone is always watching and they are all busybodies.”
“What do you mean?”
“Several people overheard us talking about the flashlight you bought me and how I plan to pay it back. They called my mom and now she is even more angry with us.”
“Oh, my God, what have I done?”
“Don’t beat yourself up, baby. It’s not your fault, you’ve probably never been to a small town, so you just didn’t know that the people would be watching much less how they’d react.”
“I feel terrible, but I’m glad you’re not mad at me.”
“I’m not mad at all. In fact, your awesome combination of kindness and naughtiness turns me on so much that I plan to pay you back all night long and with interest compounded nightly included and tips.”
“I love you so much!”
“And I love you just as much! Now, what did your dad call you for?”
“He was just making sure we were all right because of the terrorist attack and that he’s glad I was with you instead of my mom.”
“That’s a relief. I know you’re eighteen now, but I still want to stay on his good side.”
“Just love me like you do now and I think he’ll have no problems with you.”
We are now pulling into the driveway and his mom is about to confront us.