Blizzard — Chapter 1 by Redsliver* * *
I was enjoying the snow day. It had to be really bad for me to call off work. It was! It really was! It amazingly was! I was laying in bed: playing Netflix on my desktop, watching porn on my laptop, and reading comics on my phone. The apartment shook with the tempest. After three years, I hardly noticed. There was a loud bang. I feared my front door had blown open.
I slid out of bed and looped around the railing to hurry down the short flight of stairs to my door. I lived in a cheap walk-up studio apartment. I was surprised to find a girl at the bottom of the stairs. Girl, woman, she was tall, and slender, and not dressed for the weather. My first thought was “Get out of my apartment!” My second thought was “Pull your boxers up from your ankles!” Finally I thought: “Help her!”
I did just that. She saw me, hopping and not well covered, as I rushed down to force the door shut against the storm. Snow swirled around my bare feet and her leather boots. Click. I threw the deadbolt for the first time since I had moved in.
“You alright? What the hell were you doing out in that?” My words were harsher than my tone. She was shivering: her green dress had a purposely shredded skirt which hardly reached the tops of her knee-high boots. “C’mon, I’ll get you a cup of tea and put on some pants.”
“Thank you,” she said with a trace of an Irish accent.
“Do you have a phone?” I asked what I assumed was a stupid question as she followed me closely up the stairs. She was beautiful, early- to mid-twenties, as tall as I was, six feet, but her boots did have significant wedge heels. She was a ginger, fair skin hinting of freckles, and had her hair tumbled over her shoulders in dark curls.
“I, uh, no,” she mumbled. “I shouldn’t have just barged in but—”
“The weather,” I nodded. “It’s OK. I’m more embarrassed to have a girl over when my place isn’t the tidiest.”
My clothes were mostly in the front closet but many were scattered on the floor. I walked over to my bed and closed the laptop that was thankfully muted and facing away from the entrance. I paused Netflix. I stepped into yesterday’s jeans and pulled them up. I grabbed my phone and turned back to her. There was only my computer chair and a fluffy armchair to sit on. She had perched her butt on the time-worn green arm to take off her boots.
The table, right in front of her, was a beaten-up coffee table. Its mission in life was to hold up my feet, stack dirty dishes, and count beer cans during hockey season. My phone spun to a stop right in front of her knees. I grabbed a sweater from the closet and tugged it over my head.
“There: better suited for company.” I clapped my hands and she looked up with a smile.
“I like your shirt,” she said. Her eyes were glittering green.
“Right, I promised you a cup of tea.” I was a bit overrun by an easy smile and dark red lipstick. Tea, because I didn’t own a coffee maker. I plugged in the kettle and grabbed a couple of mugs out of the cupboard and teabags out of blue tupperware. I turned back from the little kitchenette to see her waiting still perched on the arm of my chair. “Oh my god, you must be cold and soaked. I’ll—”
I rushed to the bathroom and was thankful there was still an unused towel from the last time I did laundry. I took it from the rack and carried it back to her. She hadn’t picked up my phone.
“Thank you,” she said, patting down her hair and shoulders. She actually seemed to have missed most of the weather. I smiled.
“You’re not calling anyone?” I asked.
“I’m pretty sure I have to wait,” she told me.
“Yeah, that’s snowmaggedon out there,” I agreed. The kettle whistled, and I lifted the lid and tossed in two bags. I realized I needed to wash both coffee mugs, despite having put them away earlier, and started vigorously scrubbing at them. “I’m sorry everything’s so scattered and messy. Probably needs a woman’s touch. Or three.”
“Yeah?” she said, looking around. I worried she was going to start cleaning or something. “Maybe.”
I poured the tea from the kettle and carried the two cups over to the coffee table. That’s when the power went out.
It took a few minutes to find both my sleeve of steel-bottomed emergency candles and a lighter. We placed the candles on every surface: the stovetop, the refrigerator, the computer desk, the window sills, and the coffee table. Against the dark whiteout night, it was pretty.
“I was going to ask if you were hungry next,” I apologized as I placed the last candle on the stovetop. It was an electric oven. No power, no cooking.
“I am, actually.” She sipped her tea happily. Her fingernails were dark and sharp. I sighed, but grinned when she cocked her head to question me.
“Right, milk and cereal,” I announced. “Honey Nut Cheerios, OK?”
“You treat me like a Lady,” she giggled.
I took that as a good sign, and smiled back. Luckily, bowls and spoons were clean. I carried our meal to the coffee table and bade her sit in the armchair before I rolled my computer chair over. She shook her head.
“This is the chair of the head of the household,” she announced, and pushed me down by the shoulders. Looking up at her was fun—she was very tall and slender. And her tits...
“And where does the lady sit?” I joked. She giggled again. She sat down on my left lap. I froze until she handed me a bowl and spoon.
“Wow,” I said, after she smiled broadly around her first spoonful. “My name is Gene.”
We ate until our bowls were empty before she acknowledged me. She pushed me down by the head when I tried to follow her up and carry the bowls back to the sink. She didn’t wash them; that actually would have embarrassed me into acting. She came back and sat on the coffee table facing me.
“Thank you, so much,” she smiled.
“You’re very welcome.”
“I won’t forget, I promise.”
She leaned forward and kissed my forehead. I fell instantly asleep. I woke up hours later, the storm still blowing. I was tangled up in the blanket from my bed. My bed was empty. I would’ve called for her but she just wasn’t there. The power was back on and my front door was still deadbolted. I worried. I went to my armchair. I fell back and moaned, uncertain and a little scared. I opened my eyes sometime later, sure she was just a dream. She had been a pleasant dream, despite the evidence: the candles were beginning to burn themselves out. More than that, her boots were still by the railing.
I didn’t tell anybody about her. Three days later, the sidewalks were clear enough that I could walk to work instead of taking a cab. It was supposed to be sunny for the next few days, but on the way home, the wind came before the clouds, and the snow came as hard as it had with my mystery woman. I was running, trying to get home, behind a gaggle of three college girls I assumed were doing the same. One of them stepped on a patch of ice; she slipped and fell into a heap.
“Sam!” shouted one of her friends. I skidded to a stop to help.
“I’m OK, I think,” said the fallen girl from the ground, and grimaced as her friend helped her to her feet. She hardly seemed fine. Her eyes flew open when she put her weight on what was probably a twisted ankle. She would have fallen a second time if I hadn’t caught her other arm.
“That looks bad,” I said forcefully over the wind. “My apartment’s right there. We can get some ice, and call an ambulance if we have to.”
“We don’t know you,” said the one who hadn’t helped.
“No, you don’t,” I agreed. “I’m Gene.”
“Samantha,” grunted Samantha. She clamped tighter on my elbow. “Please don’t let go.”
She made the decision for the three of them, and the wind got worse. I carried Samantha’s left side and the helper carried the right. I nodded to the complainer and flicked my eyes to the door; she opened it for us.
“Stairs...” moaned Samantha. I slung her arm onto my shoulders and picked most of her weight up by her hips. There wasn’t room in the stairwell, so helper girl fell back as I carried Samantha up. Even if my otherly visit had been a dream, I had learned my lesson. The apartment was near spotless. The fridge wasn’t bare. The towels were fluffy and still had tags on them. Hell, the bed was made. I was steering Samantha to the armchair, but she shook her head and made me hop her over to the computer chair. She stretched her hurt foot out on the table.
“The bitches are Maxine,” the helper, “and Alexa,” the complainer. Samantha smiled at me. “I think I can handle this with some rest and some Advil.”
“It’s store brand from Richardson’s,” I apologized. “I can put on a pot of tea if you like. And there’s Diet Pepsis in the fridge.”
Alexa had thrown the deadbolt and come up just after Maxine. The three of them were all about the same height, five foot seven. Maxine had light red hair, pale blue eyes, freckle-swamped cheeks, and soft attractive curves. Her breasts appeared the biggest, I couldn’t help but notice, even though these girls were a decade younger than me. At least. I’d been trying to not let my eyes wander too far. She was hanging up her pink parka next to my sport coats and showing off a black knit sweater over a deep-collared white t-shirt. Her legs were beautiful, in tight jeans, and stuffed into fur-lined boots with buckles around the ankle. She knelt down to unzip those and stow them next to my last guest’s. She flickered a smile, and I realized she was relieved to see another woman’s boots.
Alexa was platinum blonde, with long mildly curled hair. She was the darkest, even with Samantha’s tan. Maxine, a redhead, feared the sun. Alexa was the skinniest, the least curvy, of three fit builds. She was still tightly bundled up in her leather belted jacket and over-the-knee boots. She was the only one wearing slacks and not jeans.
Samantha thanked Alexa for stripping our damsel in distress out of her coat. It was a pretty new ski jacket in white and red. Her jeans were a dark blood red and her undershirt was a black long-sleeved heavy metal tour shirt. Her breasts were the same size as Alexa’s, but Samantha’s waist and hips were more defined. Gene! Eyes off the teenagers, old man!
Samantha licked her dark lips and stroked back her fair brown hair. She had large grey eyes, and I kept eye contact a few heartbeats into ‘creepy’. I smiled weakly. She waggled her dark painted nails and asked me to help her with her boots. I kept the smile and plugged in the kettle as I let Alexa do the chore. Samantha pouted, and quietly giggled something to Alexa. Alexa laughed back, more loudly, her body jiggling where it should in her tight white sweater.
I jumped, not expecting cold hands to reach up and grab my collar. I forced a chuckle at myself. I almost succeeded in catching up to the girls’ genuine laughter. Maxine pulled my winter jacket off of my shoulders. She stood on the heels of my snow-soaked sneakers as I stepped out of them.
Maxine had hung up the remaining jackets. She headed for the washroom, and came out with towels which she handed out to her friends. The power flickered, flickered and flickered, then stabilized still on.
“Here.” Maxine offered me a second towel. I frowned. She tilted her head to the freezer. Oh, right. Duh! I took the towel from her and folded it around a handful of ice cubes. Alexa had taken off Samantha’s left black sock. Her ankle looked a shade of angry red but wasn’t swollen. I reached down and touched her foot.
“How’s the ankle?” I asked.
“Slightly tender, but not as bad as I was worried it would be,” Samantha said. I lifted her heel and packed the ice-filled towel around her anyway.“But it doesn’t look like we’re getting to the liquor store or the party tonight.”
“Gene’s got a quart of rum in the back of the fridge,” Maxine beamed. “No reason we can’t still party.”
“Maybe,” Alexa grumbled. I nodded and shrugged. She almost smiled. “Well, yes.”
“OK, but no embarrassing pictures, Alexa,” Samantha warned. “We don’t want Gene in trouble with his girlfriend.”
“I don’t have a girlfriend,” I admitted.
“Oh, those are your boots?” she laughed.
“I don’t think she’s coming back for them,” I said. “Did you want some tea? Or are you warm enough yet?”
“I’d love a cup,” Alexa nodded.
“Me too,” Samantha grinned.
“I’ll start with the rum.” Maxine had taken out the bottle and was mixing a rum and coke on her own anyways. She seemed embarrassed to realize she had assumed she could simply help herself.
“Pour me one too,” I said, easing her mind. The wind hit the apartment.
“Jesus!” Samantha squealed.
“That isn’t good,” Alexa agreed.
“No, there was no spillage,” Maxine announced. “All is good.”
I took out the candles and Alexa helped me distribute them. Maxine sat down on the table by Samantha’s ankle, while Samantha sipped her tea. We had just situated and lit the candles when the power went out.
“Good thinking,” Alexa grinned.
“Yeah, I do that sometimes,” I smiled back. She led me back and sat me down in my chair. I had tried to offer it to the girls but they weren’t having it. Maxine apparently had been texting everyone they knew between sips. She yawned, stretching wonderfully.
Alexa moved on to rum the moment she had her third sip of tea. We were all pretty quiet until Samantha finished up her cup. Alexa was on her phone. Maxine delivered new drinks.
“Thank you,” I said with a smile. “I mostly favor beer now, but rum and coke was my drink in college.”
“Rum and Diet Pepsi,” Samantha said, watching Maxine pick up her phone as well. Samantha dove forward, wincing, and grabbed both devices from Alexa and Maxine’s hands.
“Hey!” Maxine grumbled as she watched her phone turn black. Samantha pitched the phones onto my bed. She turned back. Alexa was sitting on my coffee table at my knee. Maxine was at Samantha’s foot. Samantha raised her glass.
“To our new friend and today’s hero: Gene!” She smiled warmly at me and her friends did too. We raised our glasses.
The next hour or so was just us getting comfortable. I told them about my job, my hobbies, my favorite drinks. I learned a little about each girl. They were all adults, all the local drinking age: 19. Samantha was the eldest at 19 and almost four months. Maxine was the most closed up; I only knew she was in engineering. Samantha was prodding everyone forward: she was an English lit student, and Maxine’s dorm mate. Alexa was a theatre major or, as she joked, a soon-to-be professional waitress. Samantha drank slowly, Maxine drank quickly, we other two were in the middle. Alexa walked around the apartment, never sat still, repeatedly she went to my bookshelf. There were lots of board games and science fiction novels.
Maxine handed me my third drink. Samantha tried to hide that her glass was empty but Maxine delivered her first replacement anyways.
“Do you want to do something fun?” Alexa asked.
“Yes, please,” I nodded.
“He’s got lots of games.” Alexa dragged her finger along the boxes. “A whole bunch of these are called ‘Ascension’. Says it’s a deck-builder. I like those.”
“My favorites, yeah. Really fun-to-win more than the fun-to-play type,” I frowned.
“What’s the difference?” Maxine asked.
“A fun-to-win game requires everyone at the table to be invested in playing the game well. You can still suck and have fun, but if you aren’t trying to get the game finished with you on top, you miss out. Monopoly can be fun if everyone’s really cutthroat and you don’t play with any of the make-it-less-harsh rules,” I sermonized.
“Yeah, these two wouldn’t sit down without Free Parking on,” Alexa agreed.
“Fun-to-play means it’s more about the company, the game only forces you to be competitive in a more social way, like Cards Against Humanity,” I suggested.
“Oh, I love Cards Against Humanity,” Maxine said cheerfully. “Let’s play that.”
“Not here,” I frowned. “I left it at my brother’s. He can have more guests than me. Has a real table to play on.”
“I’d like to play one of these,” Alexa said, and held up Ascension: Storm of Souls, my favorite of favorites. “Are these four-players?“
“The big boxes are, yeah,” I nodded. “I wouldn’t mind playing something for beginners, though.”
“I’m not a beginner,” Alexa bit back.
“We are.” Samantha shook her head. “I’d rather play something fun-to-play.“
“How about fun-to-drink?” Maxine suggested with a smile. “Get me a deck of cards, we’ll play Sociables.”
“Sam, put together the list.” Alexa volunteered Samantha by tossing a ringed notebook and a thin-tipped sharpie onto Samantha’s lap. Maxine failed to catch a still-in-the-box pack of cards that rebounded off her tit.
Sociables is a game where you draw a card, and perform a task based on its face. Twos: share a drink with someone at the table, Threes: play ‘never have I ever’, Fours: one-word pass-it-along stories, all the way up to King: Sociables! Everyone takes a drink, and Ace: add a rule to the game.
Maxine spread the cards around in a pile on the coffee table, effectively destroying her own seat. Alexa refilled everyone’s drinks. Samantha kept asking questions as she ran down our thirteen rules.
“And our king pulls the first card,” Maxine grabbed a card face down and dropped her butt on my chair’s arm. A king. Sociables! I suspected Maxine cheated but we all clinked our glasses in toast and had a little sip. Alexa drew and we played add-a-word story for a few laps before Samantha got stuck on: Gene is verifiably handsome (me) and the lady’s underthings (me) moisten—Alexa was giggling madly at how Samantha refused to say ‘moisten’.
Samantha and I shared a drink on her two. Never had Maxine ever had sex with someone she just met that night (and all four of us took a drink there). I was conflicted: these girls were even more attractive, friendly, and innocent than I’d have wagered from looks alone. I drew a seven and we played the alphabet game on words for ‘under the influence of alcohol’: Annihilated, Blitzed, Cracked (I had never used it but I let Alexa get away with it because I didn’t want to sound old), Drunk (Maxine was less creative), Embalmed (a favorite of my mom’s), Feeling-No-Pain, Gone, Happy, Inebriated, Juiced, Knighted—
“Drink!” Maxine, Samantha, and I shouted and pointed at Alex.
It was a fun game. Maxine and I were about 5 drinks in, Alexa 4, and Samantha still nursed her third. I had a feeling that our bartender, Maxine, wasn’t using a full shot of rum per drink. I was Happy; I wasn’t Embalmed. Halfway through our ninth go-round, Alexa drew our first 6 of the game.
“Alright, Gene.” She leaned forward, her broad cleavage showing in the v-neck of her sweater. She bit her lip; it was adorable. She made her voice as sexy and sultry as she could, which was a lot. “Fuck, marry, kill: Me, Max, and Sam?”
Since the introductions, this was the first time I had registered their names. I had been hammering the long versions in my brain over and over again. Alexa, the cutest, youngest-looking. Maxine, the redhead who tried to keep herself from smiling. Samantha, who wouldn’t stop watching me, and had put the most amount of time into her makeup. Now I could get away with “Sam” and “Max”. I was going to mix up their names any minute now.
“Well, Alex...” She seemed to expect the shorter name, and welcomed it with a smile. I stalled just a moment as I looked over each of these girls once again. They noticed. Max blushed and frowned. She blinked a lot. Samantha, in her black top, rolled her shoulders back and sat up straighter. That pushed her towel-wrapped heel into the pile of face-down cards. Alex brushed her hair with her fingers, settling it all over her left shoulder. She leaned forward a bit and nodded with a bright perfect smile as I couldn’t stop myself from checking out her cleavage again.
I swear, I was just trying to be the friendly safe guy, the simple uncomplicated white knight, the decent upstanding citizen, helping someone in need. I registered more with every drink that these were attractive girls. My instincts and hormones aside, I retained no illusions of, or ambitions to, anything more than a thank-you hug. I had played it safe with the card games, focusing my picks on alcohol or the game itself rather than even the moderately sexual questions the girls asked. They were waiting. I decided to play it funny and overconfident.
“I believe there is only one right answer here,” I pointed out. “And that’s fuck the law, I’ll marry all three of you, and we’ll kill it in the bedroom.”
They sat in silence for a moment. I felt a little sweat on my palms. I kept my hands in my lap, as I had most of the night with Max leaning her butt against the arm of my chair. Alex was caught in thought. Sam was looking to Max and Alex on whether she should say something. Max reached over and tousled my hair.
“I do,” she grinned.
“I do!” piped in Alex before Sam could chuckle her own “I do.”
“Uh,” I laughed with my alcohol, “sure, I do too.”