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A Jog in the Woods

February 18, 2012

Cheryl Autumn at the cabin

This is the latest installment of The Cold Bite of Autumn, my serial fiction story. To get caught up, look to the right and find The Cold Bite of Autumn in my “Category” cloud, click on it, and read all the previous posts. Once you get caught up, jump on in! This story will be updated every Saturday morning at 9:00am EST. (my apologies. Some quirk of my late-night eyeballs scheduled this post a day late…so it is getting up about 12 hours late once I caught the error…)

The chilled air caught his lungs and sent an ice-wind sword down his throat. He paused and followed the vapor trail of his breath to the moon. Stars speckled through the trees. As picturesque as this night loomed, he knew she would stay out until he slipped under the covers in about a half hour.

They fell into a rhythm of small talk and grunts since she revealed information about the wreck. Her mistake of revealing such facts, while not entirely enlightening to him, caused her to guard her tongue as per her training. He didn’t blame her. In fact, she appeared to grow more attractive each day.

The fact she treated herself as ‘one of the boys’ when dressing didn’t help much either. Lately he went outside to collect firewood when she dressed. While he loved the curves, he knew he couldn’t handle the road…

“So, where are you off to this evening?”

Her voice startled him. “Just checking out the stars and going for a jog.” He shuffled his feet and worked hard not to look her in the face.

“A jog sounds nice.” She maneuvered in front of him to where he could no longer look away. “How about some company?”

“You ready to go?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

A hint of resignation tailed off in her voice. I better watch what I say or we’ll come to blows again.

He hit his normal trail at a good pace with her on his heels. Before long, she settled in beside him.

“What brought this on?”

“You know we can’t go on like this. Either we split up or you keep playing boy scout for me until I’m fully healed. I already told you things that could get you killed.”

“I can take care of myself.”

“Yeah, you’re not too bad.” He glanced her direction and caught an impish, wry smile. The moon lit her eyes like two soft candles adorning her face. He focused back on the path ahead.

“You’re acting pretty…loose this evening.”

“Hmm. I haven’t been called ‘loose’ for quite a while, although there was a time…”

He came to an abrupt stop. She slowed to a stop, turned and faced him.

“What’s going on here. For weeks you don’t give me much more than a good morning grunt, and now you’re all talkative and ready to be friends.”

“What’s wrong with that,” she cooed with a girlish tease.

“Women. You’re all trouble. Your moods change with the wind, and even then, they may be false.” She continued to stand with her right hand on her waist. “What do you want from me?”

“I’m sure you can come up with a better question.”

“Ok, what’s up with you?”

She unzipped her jacket, shrugged it off her shoulders and let it fall to the ground. Her fingers started on the top button of one of his flannel shirts she liked to borrow. “Maybe I’m horny.”

“What…?”

“Race you back to the cabin.” She bolted, leaving the flannel shirt in her wake. “Can’t come in unless you’re naked,” came from over her shoulder as he fumbled with his jacket and stumbled over his feet.

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