Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Clearing the Air
Trevor sat at the trailhead, completely unimpressed with the vista before him. He was probably the only one. Visitors of all sorts were gaping at the majesty of the mountains, the nearness to wilderness, the chance of spotting wildlife. A group of Asians were invisible behind the constant flashing of their cameras.
Trevor took another drag on his cigarette and looked over his shoulder into the backseat of his van. There he had a dry change of women’s clothes, a six-pack of beer and a bag a fast food take out. He tried not to look too closely at the couple saying goodbye to their family as they set out down the trail. It didn’t matter that other people used this trail system, there was only one person he wanted to see.
She was late, but one couldn’t time these things perfectly. She would come today and he would be here to welcome her. However, as one cigarette turned into six, his patience began to wear thin. He ate the lunch and packed up to zip into town and buy another. When he came back, she was leaning on one of the cars left parked while their owners explored the mountains ahead.
She held a stub between her fingers and waggled it at him. “Smoking? Really? I thought you’d given that up.”
“Not mine,” Trevor lied, hitting the button to open the side door.
“Your tracks are right here,” she told him, stripping in the back while he watched with appreciation in the rearview. Her khaki river pants were caked in mud and her boots were worse. The t-shirt that hadn’t seemed adequate when she left a week ago was patchy white with crusted sweat. She peeled it all off to reveal a dingy sports bra, that went in the pile with the t-shirt and a pair of underwear that her mother would never want seen had Jessie been in an accident.
“Not mine,” he lied again.
Jessie pulled the clean shirt over her head, skipping the bra, and didn’t bother with pants over her panties before digging into the burger and fries.
“Damn, that’s good,” she mumbled. “Now get me somewhere I can crack open one of these.”
She clinked glass beer bottles together.
“You got it.” He pulled away while she searched for her clean pants.
“You trying to get me fined for indecent exposure?” she asked when her search turned up empty.
“No, you’re decent. More than decent.” Trevor examined her legs closely, toned, bronze, straight and long. They were perfect.
Jessie reached past him into the chair to tug her pants free from under him.
“I wish you could have come with me,” she complained as she climbed out of the van toward a picnic table.
It took a few more minutes for the ramp to lower and Trevor to roll up to the table, taking a beer gratefully. “Yeah, maybe next decade,” he complained.
“No, next month. They’ve finished the Chester loop. It’s not paved, but it’s near enough. We just need to get your some all-terrain tires.
Trevor scoffed, choking on his beer. “I think I’ll need a damn lot more than that.”
Jessie grumbled and refused to let him stay in the dumps. “Yeah, you’ll need me.” She leaned over and kissed him, popping a french fry in his mouth after.
Trevor sight and did his best not to dream.
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Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege, and it's sequel Duty and Sacrifice. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com