(Orignally published 4/14/2011)
Nora stood in the kitchen, staring at the yellow slip of paper on the table. How could she have been so stupid? It was such a beautiful day and she wasn’t really paying attention, just feeling the delightfully warm spring breeze blowing through her long blond hair, the top down and the deep blue sky above her lifting her mood after weeks of rain. The sun warmed her, comforted her. She’d been distracted by all the clothes she’d found on sale – two pairs of slacks, a lovely blouse, and, her real accomplishment, a new pair of sandals that fit comfortably and looked great. All for sixty percent off. Greg couldn’t be mad at her for spending too much money on clothes, not these, at least. She jumped at the sound of the siren behind her, then looked down and gasped. She was doing ninety-five miles an hour. She looked up at the Highway Patrol car filling the mirror, lights ablaze. Even in the daylight they hurt her eyes.
“Pull over to the side.” The voice was female, distorted through the speakers.
Slowly she worked her way over to the edge of the road and slowed way down, then turned onto the gravel. Her hands were shaking as she searched through her purse for her license.
“License, registration, and insurance please.” Her voice next to her open window was pleasant. Had things been different they might have even been friends. But instead she was about to get Nora in a lot of trouble. Nora started frantically looking through the glove compartment. She could never find those things even when she wasn’t nervous. It took several tries until everything was laying on the seat next to her. She pulled the forms from the pile, tucked her license in with them, and handed everything to the officer – Officer Laura White, according to her neat and polished name-tag.
“Do you know why I stopped you?”
Nora nodded her head. “I lost track of my speed. Please just give me a warning, can’t you? Please. I’ll be in so much trouble with my husband…”
Officer White walked back to her car and Nora tried to imagine a way out. Greg would be furious. He had said…
She jumped at the voice next to her again. “You have two previous convictions. I’m sorry, I can’t give you a warning even if I wanted to. Your little Porsche sure gets you in trouble, doesn’t it?” She handed over the ticket book. “Sign here, please. This does not indicate you admit guilt, it is your written promise to appear in court. You are free to contest the citation in court on the date indicated. You will receive a packet in the mail with all the necessary information on your fines and options. Do you understand all this?”
Nora nodded again. “Yes, Officer. Please, isn’t there some way? My husband is going to really be mad at me.”
“Well, maybe that will slow you down, Nora.” It was an unexpected and unwelcome moment of intimacy. “It’s obvious your previous citations haven’t made a difference.”
“You don’t understand. He… He told me if I did it again he was going to…” It was hard to say out loud.
“He’s going to what, Nora?” She took off her sunglasses, leaned on the window, their eyes locked until Nora looked down.
Nora couldn’t help the tears. Her face warmed – her cheeks must be beet red. She whispered. “He said if I got another ticket he’d give me a spanking.”
Laura laughed. “Good for him. Maybe that will cut your speed a little. I’ll have to check on you tomorrow and see if you’re still able to sit down. I think a twenty-two year old in an eighty thousand dollar car is a little much anyway. Have a good day.” Her boots crunched on the gravel as she walked back to the car.
It took a long time for Nora to stop crying long enough that she could dry her eyes and drive off.
* * *
Nora paced across the kitchen, then back, constantly glancing at the clock, the hands hardly moving. She’d been trying to think of some alternative, but thus far she had nothing. Having a husband who was older and much more experienced was a drawback when it came to occasions like this. She could lie. She could hide the ticket and maybe she could pay for it herself out of her household money, but if he ever found out she was lying to him she wouldn’t want to be around, and he was always able to see through her whenever she tried to even fudge a little. There simply was no way out of this. She started sniffling a dozen times, cleaning her face off and settling down for a few minutes until her throat tightened and she couldn’t choke back the tears again. Finally she tried to find the enthusiasm to make dinner. Silently she washed lettuce, sliced tomatoes, bent to get the rest of her salad from the crisper. Maybe he would let her get away with it if he was happy with dinner. She picked out two good steaks from the freezer. Maybe he wouldn’t either.
Usually the radio was a welcome diversion she worked. Tonight she simply couldn’t handle any distractions. The clock, in her random glances, crawled closer to five fifteen. She strained for the sounds of his pickup in the driveway, still looking for the magic words that would get her out of trouble as she set the table.
Nora jumped. She hadn’t heard his truck, hadn’t heard the door open, and she spun around and threw her arms around his neck. She buried her face against his chest, the delicious scent of him overwhelming her as her heartbeat raced. Conflict raged within her – he aroused her, but what he would say when she showed him the ticket? She started to cry as he wrapped him in her arms.
“Hey, what’s the matter with my princess?”
She blubbered out her day. “I felt so good cause it was so nice out today and I found some really nice clothes on sale and I wasn’t paying attention and I looked down and I was going too fast and then this lady cop pulled me over and I got a ticket…”
He interrupted her. “You what?” His voice rose. “What did I tell you would happen if you did that again?” He held out his hand. “Get me the ticket. And your keys. Now.”
She scurried over to the counter and dug through her purse, found her gold key-chain, grabbed the paper from the table. She stood, her tummy doing flip-flops as she dropped the keys in his palm, set the ticket on top of them.
“That’s a four-hundred dollar ticket. We’ll see how well you do if you have to take the bus. You’re not driving anywhere. Now, what else?”
She could not look him in the eye. She focused on the floor.
“Ummm. You said… Oh please, honey, please don’t do that. “
He pulled out one of the kitchen chairs and dropped onto the seat. He looked formidable as he rolled up his sleeves. “What did I tell you?”
“You said… You said you’d give me a spanking if I got another ticket. Please don’t do that.”
His voice softened. “I’m sorry, but you need to figure out I mean what I say. Come over here.”
She felt sick. He was really going to do it. Suddenly she was so afraid, she couldn’t face it. Not right now. Somehow she would later. She turned and bolted out the back door, tears blinding her as she ran.
His voice followed the clatter of her shoes on the garden paving stones. “I’ll be right here, honey. Waiting for you…”
Posted for Ruby Kiddell’s Wank Wednesday Flash Fiction exercise…
Wynn Scarlett Frost – Why did she run awayyyyyyy?
I feel like there’s more here to tell!
erikamoran – Thanks for the comment, because I’m still working on where this ought to go – it could drop in nicely to a short story, I was thinking…
Cherry Sweets – Ooooh, you left us dangling in suspense. You gotta finish this one. Nice story – so far
Gemma Jones – I agree with Scarlett. I kept waiting for the twist. There has to be more….
jelly292 – Fab! I agree, it could turn out to be a very intersting short story.
erikamoran- Thank you all for your comments! I got busy and finished the story and it is now posted on my website – http://www.erikamoran.com/ErikaMoran_Bolting.html – it took me a while to get it up there after I got it finished. Please leave comments here instead of there because the comment mechanism on the site is not quite ready for prime time.
Thanks to you all