“Trust me, the thought ran through my mind,” I said.
“Good thing you didn’t,” Mina said.
“Yeah, you’d have ended up a popsicle in a hurry,” Hawk said.
“I meant because it would have meant I was stuck there alone,” Mina said.
“Oh. Right. That too,” Hawk said.
“I’m glad too,” I said, and for the first time, I saw emotion cross over Mina’s eyes. Maybe she did feel the same way I did.
I put my arm around her, and she scooted closer to me in the seat. The bag of laundry and our duffels were making it a little tight in the cab of the truck, but the back had been filled with snow equipment, so I didn’t want to put anything back there.
Hawk put the giant truck in gear, and we started rolling to the road he had just plowed. As we got out of the driveway, I looked back one last time at the hospital. I would have to go back and gather my equipment, most likely. I didn’t think they would send someone else for that, not unless I was completely let go for everything. So, I would have another chance to go in there and maybe see Mina one last time.
Yet, I still felt a pang of sadness. The further we got away from the hospital, the more I wished the generators had stayed on and we could have spent more time in those walls. Then, they were disappeared up the hill, and I looked ahead to the tiny plateau where my hotel was at.
When we finally reached it, Hawk pulled me right up to the entrance and parked the truck. I gathered my bag in my lap and reached over to shake Hawk’s hand. I thanked him again, profusely, and then reached for Mina.
“I’ll get out with you,” she said.
“Oh, okay,” I said.
My heart was tugging at me. I needed to do something. I needed to tell her how I felt, how I wanted to keep her. How I would rather stay in that hospital with her and no electricity than be back here at the hotel with it and without her. But the words were too hard to form, and time was low. Hawk was waiting in the truck, and now I was standing outside of it, looking into her eyes.
I held out my arms, and she fell into them, and I held her tightly. We stayed that way for a few moments, tears stinging the corners of my eyes. I had to do something. Anything.
“Stay with me,” I whispered.
She pulled away from me, and instantly I thought I had ruined everything. This was the point where she slapped me and got back in the truck never to be heard from again.
Instead, her eyes darted back and forth between mine as she breathed.
“Please?” I asked.
Emotion flooded her face. Tears that had stood in the corners of her eyes now spilled down her cheek. They would freeze before they hit the ground. But a smile stretched across her lips.
“Really?” she asked.
Turning, she opened the door of the truck and leaned in, holding out her hand. Hawk took it uncertainly and shook it.
“Thank you very much,” she said. “I’ll be staying here.”
“Oh?” he said, then looked at me, looked at her grabbing her bags, and then looked at her. “Oh.” He grinned. “Well, you two have fun waiting out the rest of this storm. It might be a few days before the road out here is cleared enough to go anywhere.”
“I was kind of hoping you would say that,” I said.
Mina grabbed her bags and hopped out of the truck. Shutting the door, we waved at Hawk until he drove the truck back on the road leading to the mountain and was out of sight, then turned toward the hotel.
“Room 127,” I said. “That’s me.”
Giggling, she ran behind me as we darted in the door of the hotel. All the lights were on, and it was warm in the hallway, indicating that they had electricity. Thanking whatever lucky stars I had, I brought us to our room, used the key card to get in, and shut the door behind us. I no more than took one step in before she was in my arms and our lips were pressed together.
He scooped me into his arms and carried me to the bed while I kissed his lips and cheeks and neck. I was giggling the whole way over, and as he laid me down on the bed, I was overwhelmed with the desire to just strip naked and be with him as long as the snow took to melt. I didn’t need to be anywhere anytime soon. No one had called requesting my presence at any of the other hospitals, and even if they had, I wasn’t going to go. I was stuck in a hotel, on purpose.