Copyright 2012 JT Lewis
We met over the files of a drug bust. You see Betty was a cop, a sergeant actually. She had made the case for the bust to her Chief after doing extensive leg work, some of it on her own time. I was looking over the case for the prosecutor, but was having a hard time keeping my thoughts on the files. Besides being a knockout, she was smart and dedicated with an uncanny knowledge of the details pertaining to the workings of the busted drug ring.
After finally getting through the files on the case, we separated and went back to our respective jobs. Although I went back to the same office, with the same desk, the same files and the same cases, my life would never be the same.
Over the next year and a half, Betty and I saw each other frequently, doing the dance between being professional friends…and something else. What else it could be was quite limited it seemed, as she was married.
For my part, I made myself available to be on her radar every chance I got. If we needed a file from the department I would volunteer to go pick it up. If I saw her out at a restaurant on break I would suddenly feel hungry or in need of a coffee. She always greeted me with those blue eyes, eyes that shined with intelligence and friendliness. I didn’t classify myself as stalking her, but there could be an argument made that I was in effect doing just that.
But who has time for arguments.
For her part, she seemed to be making an effort to keep in touch with me also. Most calls to the prosecutor were directed to my extension even though any one of the other investigators would do just as well. Meetings would be scheduled over coffee at one of the local coffee houses; after all, did we really need to be in an office to discuss most of these routine cases?
I did get to spend some time with her however at a Christmas party she held, and was amazed yet again how comfortable I felt around her. As the party wound down she pulled me aside and asked if we could meet for coffee some time before Christmas. I readily agreed and we set a time and place two days later.
I had wanted to give her a Christmas present, but had not a clue as to what she needed or may want. While attending her party I noticed that her Christmas tree was predominantly covered with angels, so I determined to get her an angel unlike any she had ever seen.
Over the next two days I spent my off time running store to store doing my Christmas shopping. Throughout this time I kept my eyes open for any unique angel ornament or figurine that I might surprise her with, but found none that seemed to scream ‘I’m the one!’
Three hours before I was to meet her I still did not have the present that I thought she should have. As I thought about my predicament I began to wonder if I could make something that would do.
As a young man, I had worked with my dad as an electrician. Occasionally on breaks and during lunch, I would take scrap wire and twist it into interesting figures of animals, and even humorous renditions of some of my coworkers.
“Had it really come to this?” I thought to myself when I finally came to the conclusion to make her an ornament…out of scrap wire!
“Wow factor will really be working for you tonight,” I thought dejectedly, if only I had spent more time at the mall…
As I set about finding the wire and tools needed to make my gift, I was filled with the foreboding of someone that was looking down the hall as his last meal approached.
You know you want to eat it, even though in doing so, it spells your end.
She would surely look upon this cheap gift as a frail afterthought on my part, a gift coming from someone that had given so little thought to her gift that all he could come up with was a wire angel.
As this thought rolled around in my head, I continued to work on my creation, determined to make it the best that I could. After all, she probably wasn’t expecting anything from me anyway as we were just casual friends. Finishing up my project, I determined that it wasn’t half bad, and had I had more time I may have been able to do a little better.
I found a gift box to put it in and went to get cleaned up for the meeting. On the trip to the coffee shop I cleared my mind of doubts (Rule #4) and tried to take a positive attitude about my little present. While I was certainly in the mode of trying to impress her, our relationship to this point was based on mutual friendship, and I was more then likely putting too much pressure on myself.
When I arrived 10 minutes early Betty was already there, eyes bright and a huge smile on her face. As we sat across from each other over our coffees, we fell right into our normal comfortable banter about just about everything.
God, she was wonderful to be with.
I had completely forgotten about my gift until it fell out of my coat pocket and hit the floor with just the slightest metallic ‘twang’.
As I picked it up and sheepishly handed it to her, I told her that it was just a little something that I had whipped up for her for Christmas. As she opened the package I was surprised that the palms of my hands were sweating, my throat was dry and I was light headed.
What was this all about? I had been shot at in the line of duty, and had apprehended and hand-cuffed men twice my size without having a reaction anywhere close to what I was now experiencing.
As I was mulling this over she got the box open and a huge smile crossed her face as she admired her gift.
“I love it!” she exclaimed as she inspected my little gift, explaining that she had really never had anyone build her anything before for a present. I could tell by the glow on her face that she was being truthful, and that she did really like my effort at a Christmas ornament. Leaning quickly over the table, she planted a kiss on my cheek.
Now I too felt a glow inside.
Slight concern seemed to pass over her face, telling me her gift wasn’t near as thoughtful. As she handed me a gift wrapped box I was overwhelmed, having given no thought to receiving a gift from her. I quickly opened the package, which revealed one of the most perfect gifts I would ever get.
Having been on more than a few crime scenes with her, I was forever looking for my flashlight, having either left it in the car or at the office. She had noticed and had found a little flashlight and holder that clipped to my leather shoulder holster.
It was the perfect gift, and I thanked her with a warm smile.
As we left our little party, we embraced in a hug, whispering Merry Christmas to each other in the process. As I drove home, I was both thrilled at the way we seemed to mesh with each other, as well as a little sad at my sudden realization that as “friends” this would be the extent of our relationship moving forward.
“Buck it up Gabriel,” I thought, as I reminded myself that this was a very good relationship, better then any I had ever had save for with Clair. If this is what I had to endure to keep a great friend like Betty, then that’s what I would do. Overall, I determined it had been a great Christmas.
Over the next several months we saw each other often, each of us seemingly working to make sure we could get together at least a couple of times a week. Sometimes she would spend most of this time airing her tales of her ongoing divorce story, while at other times we would talk of anything but. We became fast friends and enjoyed each others company immensely.
About this time I had seen an ad for a traveling antique show coming to town the next Sunday. Knowing she loved antiques, I mentioned this to her and suggested that we go together. She agreed that it was a great idea but wanted to get there early so she didn’t miss any good deals. I agreed to pick her up at her apartment at 6:00 Sunday morning and to bring a thermos of coffee with me.
It was early October and Sunday morning dawned a bright but cool morning, the first real jacket day of the year. Betty met me at the car wearing a jacket, jeans and tiny little work boots (she had the smallest feat of any woman I knew). She suggested we take her Jeep for our jaunt as it was perfect weather for it, and I agreed wholeheartedly (there is nothing sexier then a pretty girl in a Jeep). We drove to the fairgrounds, sipping on my hot and hearty brew as we walked around for a couple of hours investigating the various treasures displayed. We had a great time looking at antique glass and boxes which were her passion, and some old tools that interested me a bit. Betty found a couple of pieces of glass she liked and bought these for her collection.
After a time I realized that my stomach was growling and that I had not eaten yet that day. I asked if she had any interest in breakfast and she admitted that she was getting hungry also. I recommended Leo’s for the best breakfast in town; she had never been there but had always wanted to try it.
We got in the Jeep and drove to the restaurant, where we enjoyed a lovely meal of eggs and biscuits and gravy. We stayed for an hour filling up on free refills and talking about just about everything. Afterword we returned to the antique show and spent another couple of hours shopping for deals.
It was starting to cloud up by the time we left, a small cause for concern since there was no top on the Jeep. Betty didn’t seem concerned in the least, asking if I would like to take a ride through a local state park. I readily agreed and we spent a long time driving the various roads throughout the park. She regaled me with stories of Sundays long ago when her dad would take the family for picnics and exploring the trails. From various other discussions I had had with Betty over the preceding months I knew that most of her early family life was anything but normal. Both of her parents had experienced problems with alcohol periodically, leading to job loss and some serious mental abuse of their kids. Her subsequent focusing on the one happy normal activity of her childhood was more then understandable, and more then a little sad.
Realizing I was getting hungry again, I suggested we pick up some sandwiches, to which she wholeheartedly agreed. We drove by Lenny’s and picked up a couple of
Stromboli’s and headed back out. I asked her where she would like to eat and she just smiled and told me she had the perfect place in mind, if I could trust her to make the decision. I had enjoyed every minute of the day so far and could think of nothing I would like better, and told her so.
It took about a half an hour of traveling, leading to a one lane gravel drive with trees and brush scraping the side of the Jeep as we inched along. I was definitely intrigued and Betty had an ear-to-ear grin going on so I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. The gravel drive had disintegrated into a dirt cart path by this time and my interest in our destination increased with every yard we traversed. The brush finally gave way to an open hay field, and there was an old barn on the property with the grey weathered siding mostly intact.
She pulled up to the barn, shutting off the jeep and asking me what I thought of her farm. In all of our conversations, I didn’t think she had ever told me about owning a farm.
She said a girl should always have a few secrets. Her and her ex had bought it on land contract a few years ago, but he had long ago lost interest in it. Since he wouldn’t come with her, she very seldom came out, and they had agreed to give it up due to their divorce. She had decided this was the perfect opportunity to come see it one last time with me, since I was a captive audience.
Pulling a blanket out of the back of the Jeep, we took our food and walked to an idyllic spot under a big oak tree at the end of a meadow about a hundred yards from the barn. She spread out the blanket and we sat down to a wonderful lunch of
Stromboli sandwiches and a bottle of wine that had mysteriously appeared out of the blanket. Minutes turned into hours but seemed like seconds as we whiled away the afternoon drinking wine out of paper cups and talking about everything; although I doubt I could relate to anyone exactly what we did talk about.
Throughout the afternoon the sky had continued to build its crescendo of dark grey and blue clouds in its unrelenting effort to grow itself into a hell of a storm. For our part we barely noticed as our conversations melded from one to another as in a symphony composed by collaborators on a deadline. Eventually we almost simultaneously became aware that something was happening; immediately stopping our conversation as we found ourselves looking up into the sky.
We were staring up into the tree as the lightning struck it full force; seeming to attach itself to the uppermost tip and work its way down to the trunk in slow motion. In what seemed to take minutes, the lightning danced down the tree while pieces of the bark were being blown off, the whole show culminating in a huge explosion of dirt and bits of wood as it finally went to ground.
Momentarily stunned by the show of light and sound, we came around as we were showered with the remnants of the explosion; immediately followed by a downpour of cold, wet rain. Quickly we grabbed up our stuff and took off on a dead run for the barn. We found ourselves yelling to be able to hear each other, our ears ringing from the explosive force of the lightning. My heart was beating a thousand beats a minute as we entered the barn laughing.
The next few moments were spent catching our breath and nervously laughing at how close we had come to death. When our breathing returned to normal, I took the blanket and wrapped it around Betty’s shoulders, the closeness of her tingling on my skin. Looking down at her, our eyes locked on each other, those beautiful pale blue eyes of my dreams.
She was shaking, “Are you still cold?” I asked, my eyes never leaving hers.
The rain pattering the metal roof surrounded us with sound as she quickly shook her head before reaching for the back of my neck with her hand and gently pulling my lips to hers.
Electricity crackled around us as a bolt of lighting struck the roof at that exact moment, surrounding us with flashes of blue as it made its way around the inside of the barn, dancing gaily along the beams before diving into the ground.
Looking back at Betty, she was smiling, whispering only “WOW!” as she pulled my lips back onto hers.
Thunder echoed around us as our souls joined as one, the electricity in the air and the close call of earlier feeding our passion for one another to a fevered pitch. Caressing each other passionately, we started exploring each other’s bodies with a fervor that up to that point in my life I never knew existed.
Building in crescendo as we try to satisfy the pent-up hunger for each other, our whole beings climax as a clap of thunder engulfs our noisy release of joy and emotion, rumbling the ground beneath us in apparent approval.
Long past being cold any longer, we lay naked on the blanket in each others arms, our souls also entwined, forever.