Authors: Colette Cabot
Tags: #Contemporary Romance
He was a known figure in the town. Not many people around there raised camels, so this set him apart—that and his obvious Native American ancestry. No one else around Nevada quite looked like him. Though only here a short time, one of these elderly cronies had stopped him on the street and managed to tell him he wouldn't look so much like an Injun' if he cut his hair short. She said it assuming that he wouldn't be proud of his high cheekbones and dark skin. He just nodded and smiled politely, knowing the woman had not understood that she had been insulting.
The group at the table realized they had been noticed when Mason waved his fingers in a “hello” gesture. They dropped their mouths in shock that they should be addressed in such a manner. The rest of their meal continued in relative silence. In short order, they left, probably having been prolonging their meal so that they could gather information to spread through the gossip channels.
“Do you know those women?” Kathy Mae asked.
“No. But, rest assured,” he said, “they know me—and probably you, too.”
“How could that be?” she said, astonished, “I'm from Borough.”
“The phone lines cross through all these towns,” he explained. “And, they have little else to do but follow the soap opera known as small town America.”
“Well, what the heck are we doing that's so darned interesting?” she asked. “We're eating dinner. Is that something to gossip about?”
“It's a scandal that you are with
,” he answered. “We are considered an inter-racial couple, you know. Seeing me with all the floozies around town is one thing. They are just scummy enough to deserve no better. But, you obviously, are a nice girl.”
“If they think that, then they don't know who I am,” said Kathy Mae, hoping that the truth wouldn't burst any bubbles in his mind. “I'm a cast-off, the spawn of two meth addicts.”
“That speaks to their worth, not yours,” he assured her.
Mason stood up, burped and realized that he had done it in front of his date.
“Excuse me, but I really enjoyed the food,” he laughed, glad to see that she laughed.
They walked out to the truck. It was dark and raining, but in a gentle way, not like the stormy conditions earlier. Mason opened her door and helped her in, gently touching the small of her back. She showed no objection to his touch which renewed the hum of their energy from their kiss in the field with the buffalo. He felt like he wanted to pull her toward him and ravish her right there in his truck. For several reasons, he did not.
The parking lot lights were too bright from the flashing Happy Garden sign directly above them, also the crowd was pouring in from the late shift at the plastics factory, and he didn't think it appropriate to expect a nice girl to roll over on her heels at the very first date—in spite of the fact that he could feel that she wanted to.
“Want to see my camels?” he asked, smiling with a raised eyebrow and curled upper lip in an attempt to impersonate Elvis. She said that she did, in spite of the fact that she had to go to work in the morning. It didn't matter if she slept at all. Every part of her wanted this night to never end.
By the time they arrived at the gravel parking pad next to the barn, the wind began to stir again. The weather just couldn't decide what it wanted to do on this night—like the two of them. Their desires ran rampant, then one or the other or both of them calmed down. She saw the colorfully painted sign on the animal trailer parked nearby. It read
Mason's Exotic Animals
. The camels stood still inside their stalls, sleeping probably, in spite of the erratic skies beyond the warmth of their shelter.
The storm became massive suddenly. It enveloped the entire county with lightening veining through the sky and the wind whipping at the door, which Mason ran to bolt shut. Any moment now, thought Kathy, a siren will sound. They would be marooned out here in the barn. It wasn't all that unpleasant a situation on the surface, as long as they didn't get killed. She looked around at the rafters wondering how sturdy it was.
“Is it safe here?” she asked. “We should probably run for someplace with a basement.”
He motioned for Kathy to follow him as he walked around to the other side of the animal stalls. They entered a doorway set in thick concrete walls. He flipped a switch, and the stairs leading down into a basement shelter emerged from the darkness. They walked downward to find a bed, a table with some chairs, and shelves stocked with supplies.
“This is as safe as you can get,” he said. “Even if the barn goes, this was built originally as a bomb shelter in the sixties. I only wish I could fit the camels down here. Believe me, I measured for it.”
Kathy Mae stood close to him, not knowing where she should go. Looking around, it seemed a comfortable place to be, a place she wouldn't mind staying in preference to her present situation at home.
“It's nice,” she said. “How do you know when the storm is over? Can you hear the siren through the concrete?”
“I have a weather radio,” he said, almost forgetting to turn it on. All he could do was look at her in the faint light of the single bare bulb in the ceiling. Then he sat on the bed, waiting to see if she would sit beside him or pull out a chair.
“What about your dad and his wife?” she asked, “Will they be joining us?”
“There is a basement under the house,” he assured her. “If they're not too stoned to make it down the steps.”
She immediately sat next to him, as he put his arms around her and began kissing her. She welcomed him; she encouraged him as best she knew how. Kissing and touching, giving herself to him—all of this had only been practiced in her mind. She dwelled on a time when this would happen, and all the details she expected had come only from romance novels.
They fell back onto the bed. He grabbed her butt, and hoisted her onto him. She loved the feel of his strong hands pushing her into the hardness she felt against her groin. Their kisses were wild now, taking on a life of their own. The heat grew intense between her legs, and instinct caused her to rub against him rhythmically, giving herself so much pleasure she almost thought she couldn't stand it. She moaned with passion.
His tongue pushed deeper into her mouth, surging with his breath, and her body’s response. Kathy Mae was a good girl, he knew, but tonight she really wanted him. He could tell that she was begging for it, literally.
“Mason, Mason,” she called through breathless panting, “I want you so much.”
Tonight the very earth seemed to consecrate their union, the thunder crashing above them, the roar of the wind surrounding them, and the siren blaring on the radio. Neither of them noticed that sound at all since Kathy Mae screamed in ecstasy along with it. She shivered and shook as she struggled to breath, gasping and recovering against Mason's chest.
“Sorry,” she said quietly. “I couldn't help it. You made me do it, you know.”
“I've never had that happen before,” he whispered. “We haven't even gotten our clothes off. I'm only seconds away from letting go myself.”
“Do it, Mason,” she said straddling him again, pushing hard against him. “I want you to.”
“I'll be messy,” he said, with a faint objection.
“I don't care,” she said, increasing the rhythm of her thrusts, “I want you to do it; I want to feel you against me exploding. I'm going again, too.” She moaned, throwing her head back and writhing with passion. And he let go. With that they both collapsed back on the bed.
“Well, that's one interesting form of birth control,” he said, “I'll say that much.”
“You must think I'm terrible,” she said. “This being our first date, and all. You probably won't believe I've never done that before—well, not with another person. I just have such strong feelings for you. I couldn't help it.”
“You do this alone?” he asked, “Now there's an image I won't forget. God, I love you, Kathy Mae. I want to marry you. Will you marry me?”
“Don't joke about that, Mason,” she said, sitting up.
“I'm not joking,” he insisted. “I've never met anyone like you. I've never felt like this before—and I know I want you with me forever. I won't give up until I make you love me, too.”
“I think I already do,” she laughed, shyly. “Isn't this crazy? I'm crazy about you.”
Then the siren stopped.
“I guess I need to take you home,” he said. “Though I don't want to. And, I need to go into the house and change my pants.”
As they walked through the barn, one of the camels came to the edge of his stall and watched them. He seemed to give them a look that said, “I know what you did, you crazy humans.”
“That's Zimmer, my favorite camel,” he said, seeing her walking toward him.
She slowly put her hand on his nose. It felt soft and tickled when he wiggled it, sniffing her. Next, she felt the lips of the animal on her palm, searching for grain. Mason gave her some. The slobber she felt oozing between her fingers didn't faze her. This is definitely the girl for me, Mason thought as he watched her face registering affection for this animal.
“That camel over there is one of the few white ones that I have ever had the pleasure of training,” he said pointing toward the stall at the end. In the Middle East, they are prized and only the greatest kings could ride them. I ride him, so I guess that makes me sort of a king.”
“Maybe, if you curl your lip while you ride him,” she said, laughing at her Elvis reference. “I'd love to learn. Do you think you could teach me to ride?”
“In my opinion,” he said seductively, “you can ride anything you want.”
She blushed. He marveled that she could be incredibly sexual, then blush like an innocent girl. It was so amazing that he had found her—it was like a miracle, not that he had ever been the type to believe in such things. A part of him already began to feel that this was all too good to be true.
Kathy Mae, likewise, could not believe the amazing things that had happened to her in less than twenty four hours. Here she was, standing with this wonderful man, in the middle of a barn with camels hulking nearby. Who would have ever thought that this would happen to her? A fear came over her that when she got home, her Aunt Anna would do or say something to ruin it all. Perhaps she would awake to the sound of the alarm and find that it had all been only a dream.
They walked to his truck, to drive a few hundred feet to the pale blue ranch-style cottage where his father and brand new step-mom lived. He had hoped to sneak inside, change his clothes, and come right back to the truck. But, Kathy Mae had already opened the door of the truck and exited, seeing that the lights were on and the television blaring. The family was up, and she intended to meet them. No, Kathy Mae, he thought. Why couldn't you have waited in the truck?
The front lawn was unkempt, weeds were everywhere. The front door even looked dirty; it was smudged and nasty. The yard was strewn with strange things. There was a broken treadmill in the front yard, a television stand, some children's toys, a trash can and empty beer bottles. Kathy felt a little uneasy now. Mason did not seem like the kind of person to come from this place.
“Well, this is my home,” he said drearily. “Try to ignore them—no matter what they say or do.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” she assured him. “Same with my aunt. Believe me she will be twice as much to ignore as both of them put together.”
They walked inside. She noticed Mason stepping lightly, and she followed suit. It would be the best of all possible outcomes for the couple in the living room to not notice them coming and going. Kathy Mae could hear a television blaring loudly, so there was hope that this would be the case. She immediately noticed that the house smelled like mouse urine, and there was dirt on the walls, debris on the floor, and clutter everywhere. This really made her crazy; at least her aunt wanted the house clean. Whether or not she actually exerted any energy in that direction was another story.