Blossom walked back to the truck on legs as wobbly as a new foal. Heart thumping like a drum, she let Earl lead her; her mind chastising Lady Cautious.
As if JB could ever be a contender, she said to the uptight, controlling voice in her head.
Maybe not, but it's still a bad idea to get in a strange man's truck. He could do worse things than fondle your breast, Lady Cautious said while filing her nails.
Little Miss Reckless lit a cigarette and blew smoke at Lady Cautious. Only if we're lucky.
Blossom stumbled and nearly fell on the pavement at this thought.
A good girl would turn right around and let herself starve to death in the woods before getting in that truck, Lady Cautious said. She jabbed her nail file at Little Miss Reckless.
Blossom recovered from tripping and reached for the door handle, but Earl was faster. He swung the door wide and had his arm around her waist to help her up before Blossom could tell Lady Cautious just where to stick her good girl advice.
Her glasses fogged. Earl was holding her just a bit too tightly and his breath fanned her face. She blinked, lips puckering in a question. Well, actually in invitation. It had been so long since a man held her protectively or even opened a door for her. She was smitten and she couldn't hide it anymore.
"Earl?" she whispered through her outstretched lips.
You know you want to stroke those adorable combover hairs and feed him chips! Little Miss Reckless shouted to Blossom as she wrestled Lady Cautious to the shag rug. Go for it!
Blossom firmly banished the two bickering personas from her thoughts. She didn't have the courage to ask for what she wanted, though.
Earl swallowed and helped her into the cab. "We've got a long road to go. We'd better start." She settled into her seat, cleaning her fogged glasses over and over again. Earl circled to his side.
When the swaying of the truck from Earl's mammoth girth stopped, he looked out the windshield and Blossom panicked that he was having second thoughts about letting her come back. She studied his sturdy profile for a while and her stomach twisted, flutters distracting her from heart to lady bits. She unbuttoned the top button of the warm red flannel and tucked her hair back into place.
"That was so brave Earl, really. I've never had a man stand up for me like that. The way you put him in his place, I just got goosebumps." She fidgeted with her dress hem as she stammered the truth. "I was so scared. You did all that for me, but I'm just a stranger. I don't know how I'll ever thank you for being so brave." Blossom blinked her eyes and twirled a loose strand of hair as she gushed her breathy thanks.
"You don't have to be afraid of him anymore. You don't have to be afraid of anyone," Earl said. The sound of his voice was harsh, as though it came up through the exhaust from the truck's hot engine. But his words were sweet and soft as down-filled blankets. She felt safe. She wasn't afraid of anyone or anything.
Except for clowns. She was still afraid of clowns, she realized with a shiver that frosted her spine.
"It's just I've never had a man protect me before. I don't know what to do to thank you."
"Then you've never been with a real man before, Blossom."
Her heart lurched up into her throat and she coughed to get it back down. Real man? Earl was nothing less. But she didn't want him to think she was a naive child. "I've been with men, well, a man before. It's not like I don't know--"
"Trust me, baby. You've never been with a real man."
Her cheeks flushed with heat. Then the heat spread through her chest, to her belly and lower to her incorrigible nether regions that had been misbehaving and acting needy since she first crawled into Earl's cab. "Oh, that's too bad," was all she could reply.
Blossom noticed Earl's unibrow resting heavily against his dark eyes and the creases in his cheeks deepened as his jaw muscles tensed. When the truck tires hummed over the pavement she felt her thoughts roll just as quickly. After a few moments of silence she decided to just be blunt.
"Earl, are you having second thoughts about your offer to take me home? I understand if you want to change your mind. A man like you probably has plenty of places to stop on a lonely night. And I know I'm nothing special." Blossom placed her hand over her heart and continued stammering, "I understand if you are. Here you just met me and I'm already causing you to get into fights at restaurants. Maybe I'm just bad luck."
She probably was bad luck, come to think of it. Everyone kind in her life ended in horrible ways and everyone else was either a jackass or a psychotic clown.
Earl lay his large dark hand over hers. Without taking his eyes away from the lines in the road he said, "This is where I want to be tonight. On the highway. Taking you home."
Her heart puffed up suddenly like a beach ball on a summer afternoon at the pool. But it wasn't hot air inside of it. It was something much sweeter.
He didn't speak again and Blossom was too uncertain to do anything but doze off for a couple of hours while the truck ate up miles with voracious appetite. She jerked awake when the truck came to a lurching stop. Another parking lot and another diner.
Earl had stopped at the end of the sleeping lot where trucks ran silently while their drivers rested before hitting the lonely road again. He parked far away from the other trucks. Blossom felt his weighty stare on her and felt a deep blush creeping up her body. She stretched away the sleep and found her newly opened eyes looking directly into Earl's.
"You awake? Let's get something to eat. Then I need to show you something."
She blinked away the crusty bits leftover in her eyes and sat up straight. "Show me something later?" she asked. "Show me first. We can eat afterwards."
He leaned close to her and the scent of grease and Old Spice made Blossom groan and lift her head towards his large jowled face. As his hand grazed her shoulder she felt electricity flow between them. She was no longer sure if she heard the gentle rumble of thunder or Earl's digestive tract, but her motor purred in sync.
She could no longer resist these urges. If she didn't get a kiss, she would die from longing.
She brushed her lips across his and as she flicked her tongue out Earl panted. "Come with me. Before we take this any further, there's something I've got to show you."
She gasped lightly, wondering if there was a motel attached to the diner, but instead he turned on a lamp, a topless hula dancer whose skirt spun in a circle.
He took her to the back of the cab and stood behind her at the false panel in his sleeping berth. Time slowed to excruciating agony. The heat of Earl's body warmed her back and she shivered when he ran his hands down her arms and then reached around her to unbutton her shirt. When her shirt fell open, he took a small door handle to open the white-board panels apart.
Her eyes fell on his den of desire.
Blossom's desire came to a halt and her palms began to sweat.
"Oh, Earl," she whispered. "I--"
A frantic banging sounded from the cab. "By St. Michael are you in there? Help! Please help us!" a woman cried.
*** Den of Desire? What on earth is Earl hiding back there? And who is begging for help at the truck's door? Someone has bad timing for an emergency! Hint - there might be nuns in the next chapter. Last question; why is Blossom so afraid of clowns (besides the obvious reason that they are freaky weird)? This chapter was written by Tammy ( tamoja ) and myself. If for some strange reason you don't know her, head on over to her profile and check out Glitz Gurlz on Deck. You can thank me later. :-) Hugs for reading and stay tuned, for a hopefully soon next chapter!!! ***
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Wild Rides - A Balding Truck Driver RomanceRomance
She kept herself safely buried in books; her life's dream was marriage and a Master's in trichology, until one night she was stranded by a deadbeat boyfriend. With no money and no alternatives, she decided to hitchhike home. He traveled the country...