RADIO TURNED UP, Julia drove along the dark, desolate highway, and wondered if she’d lost her mind.
Occasionally her headlights caught a drift of snow crossing in front of her, adding a tiny splash of light to the void around her. Void. Such an apropos description. There were no twinkling lights from farm houses. No other traffic. Just pure darkness. Not even a star in the sky. She felt as if she was the only person in the world. And that was more than a little eerie. She wished now that she’d stayed in a hotel instead of driving through the city.
She yawned. Shifting in her seat, sitting up straighter to keep herself awake. She reached for her cup of coffee and regretted instantly taking a sip. It had cooled down, but not at a temperature that was still tolerable. Nope, it tastes like cold ass. She yawned again, and decided what she needed was some cool air. Setting her cup back in its holder, she hit the button and lowered the window a crack. The snap of crisp freezing air burst through the heat of the car like a bully on a playground. The weather report stated the temperatures would dip down to a bone chilling minus thirty Celsius and guaranteed it would feel like minus forty-three with the wind-chill. From the feel of it, she couldn’t argue that it would be that cold when her face already felt chilled. Before she developed frostbite, she decided to close the window. The temptation to turn the heat up was strong. But she knew that would only make her sleep. Instead, she clicked the radio on, and turned it up good and loud in hopes that would help to keep her awake. When a song that reminded her of her sister, came on, she shut it off.
It had been nine months since her sister had died tragically. But to her heart, the sound was still raw.
Sniffling back the tears, Julia took her cup and as her lips touched the strong dark liquid, she instantly regretted it. Undoing her seat belt, she unzipped her heavy down-filled coat, then quickly took her hands off the steering wheel to pull the first arm out. The car drifted to the side, but she caught it before it ran off the road. Holding the steering wheel with one hand, she tried to shimmy her other arm out of the sleeve. Which proved to be more difficult than she’d thought. Hand still on the wheel, she grabbed the sleeve of her other arm and tried to wiggle free. The car drifted again and she corrected it.
It was then that a flash of blue and red lights cut through the void and startled her.
Slowing down, she came to a stop at the side of the road.
“Fuck!” Taking her wallet from her purse, she pulled out her I.D. and rolled down the window. The blast of crisp air slapped her in the face and instantly woke her.
She watched the officer saunter toward her from her side mirror and if she wasn’t so pissed at being pulled over, she’d admire the sexiness of the man in blue.
“License and registration, please, ma’am.”
He even had a deep sexy voice. “Here you go officer.”
He took the cards, correcting her. “It’s Chief Davis. Have you been drinking miss… Wilson?”
“No. Not a drop. Just some crappy cold coffee.”
“You were swerving quite a bit. Please step out of your car so I can administer a field sobriety test.” He opened the door for her.
“Honestly. I haven’t been drinking.” She stepped out of the car, her jacket dangling from one arm. “Damn, it’s cold.” Julia slipped her free arm into the sleeve of her jacket. “See, I’ve been driving non-stop for six hours and I was getting really tired, so I tried to take my jacket off which caused the car to swerve.”
“I’m going to need you to walk nine steps, heel to toe, arms flat at your sides away from me, then turn and repeat it.”
“This is crazy, but okay.” She did as he instructed, and when she approached him, she saw the name on his tag. Chief Victor Davis.
“Good. Now stand on one foot and count until ask you to stop.”
Could he be? Is he whom she had come to find? She did as he asked, then switched to the other foot.
“Okay, Miss Wilson, I’ll let you go. I suggest you pull into Passion, the next town and get a room for the night. It’s too dangerous on the highway at night when you’re tired.”
“Yes… yes sir. Thank you.” She climbed back into her car, shut the door and window and took a few deep breaths. Her heart pounded so hard it felt as if it were thumping in her throat. It was him. Dear God, it was him.
Her hands shaking, Julia put the car in gear, and slowly pulled onto the road.