“Let’s go up,” Judy said. She wanted to get to higher ground and take in the sights and get oriented. Although they’d need water and food soon. Although once they were down the hill and Especially because she’d walked so much the previous night. What she’d give for that bag of Twizzlers in Roscoe.
He nodded, then said, “Makes sense to get oriented. And, if the road just went haywire, we’ll get to my house and make some breakfast. Get more coffee.”
She nodded in eager agreement. Sausage and eggs and coffee and just being warm and holding still for a moment.
She left her purse in the truck. She didn’t have her phone, she didn’t have anything. She didn’t have lip gloss, she didn’t even have a breath mint. It was going to be roughing it in so many ways. At least she’d left her hair tied back. She could only imagine how much she would be hating her life if her hair was down right now.
She drew a deep breath, then said, “Right back.” She walked out into the thicker part of the scrub oak and found a private spot to pee. Peeing in the wilderness was the worst. But it was better than peeing herself, she supposed.
“Judy, you okay?” Stud called.
Couldn’t she just pee in peace? Although, with a bear in the area, she couldn’t blame him at all.
But she peed, then went back to him. She wiped her hands on her jeans and sighed. Camping with hand sanitizer and wet wipes was one thing, but this was completely another. She wasn’t going to be able to hold hands with him for a while now. The shudder trickled down her back.
But she wiped her hands on her hips again, then took her hair tie out from her hair and shook it out.
She hadn’t realized he was watching her and his face clearly said he fancied her. She looked away and pulled her hair back into a looped ponytail. Her hair appointment was for… today actually. God, she was going to miss her hair appointment for Vivi’s wedding. What a mess this was going to be.
But she said, “Are you ready?”
He swallowed, then nodded once. She noticed he didn’t hold his hand out to her. Which was fine with her because she wasn’t going to take his hand anyway. Because of course she wasn’t. They weren’t together. They weren’t going to She wasn’t going to daydream about him or anything. That was just absurd.
“Maybe we should go down first,” she said. She looked down the way they’d come. It was a pretty straight incline. The hills rolled a little, but for the most part, it was a walk straight down the hill.
“No, let’s go up first. I don’t want to come this way again. And, on the off chance my house is there, we’d be able to take my motorcycle.”
She laughed, then choked it back.
“Why is that funny?”
She turned to him, blushed and said, “You’re the sweetest person, but you have this weird Stud persona. Like, it’s all the stuff you would do if your name was actually Stud.” She turned away, but the blush was still across the back of her neck.
She was right. Of course she was right. She was too smart and too observant to not notice and see right through him.
“It’s an Indian.”
She nodded. “I never got into motorcycles. I just liked Roscoe. I bought him new. I divorced Kyle and then I bought Roscoe. It was so far outside of my budget, but by god, I was going to get that stupid truck that he said I shouldn’t get.”
He smiled. “Good. I’m glad.” Any man that couldn’t see her obvious worth was an idiot and didn’t deserve to
She remembered the first day she saw Roscoe. She was on her way to the divorce attorney. Kyle had said she needed a minivan and that was all she should drive and of course, she’d agreed. She couldn’t do anything but agree with that asshole.
But, that day on the way to the attorney’s office, she saw Roscoe out on the lot as she sat at the stop light. Helena was watching Celia and Judy just couldn’t stop thinking about how she hated the stupid minivan. How it meant Kyle wanted to fill it with children without any thought for what Judy wanted. That Judy couldn’t possibly know how to write software, let alone financial software. Hello world! would be the extent of her capabilities.
On the way back from the attorney’s office, she pulled into the lot and went right to Roscoe. She put her hand across the black and white truck, rubbing the chrome bumper. The salesman had been as dismissive as she could have imagined, but she ended up acting clueless and then asked him every question she could think of about the engine. The horsepower, what she could expect for mileage. All of it. He wasn’t able to answer all of her questions and needed to ask his boss. At the end of it, she said she’d think about it and went home.
The next morning, on her way to work after leaving Celia with Helena, she stopped back at the lot. The same salesman was there and he said his manager had told him to make her a special offer. She took it and traded in that dreadful minivan, despite what it could do to the divorce proceedings.
She loved Roscoe for all the things that truck represented. Freedom, her power, her abilities. She was a match to anything the world could throw at her. Kyle, this crisis, a bear, a burning distributor cap.
She just wished she could make sure her precious truck was safe. She should have left a note on the truck. If she’d known this could happen, she would have.
“You okay?” he asked.
She looked back at him. “I’m just worried about Roscoe. That truck is important to me.”
He nodded. “I can imagine. It represents a lot to you.”
She shook her head. “That son of a bitch. Kyle never wanted me to do anything but be his little wife. I should just stay home. I shouldn’t finish my degree. I shouldn’t start working. I should just have babies and that would be that. He bought me this horrendous minivan.”
“He sounds like a tool.”
“I’m glad you have Roscoe. We’ll get this all sorted out and things will be fine.”
“You ready to walk up this hill?” he asked.
She drew a deep breath, then held out her questionably clean hand to him. He took it. They walked up the hill through the low, spring grass together.