I tried to focus as I opened my eyes. Where was I? What happened? My body shivered beneath the old afghan I was wrapped up in. "Hey, you're awake. Thank goodness."
I squinted as the light reflected off the mounds of snow outside the back window. He stepped closer and his face came into focus.
"Yeah, it's okay. You're going to be alright. Here, drink this," he said softly, as he handed me a steaming mug. I waved him off, the effort almost too much for my body to bear. My breathing labored as I tried to speak.
"You passed out. Or something. I don't know. The line went dead so I drove over here as fast as I could."
"We were on the phone?" He nodded. "I don't remember." He gave me a shy smile as he helped me up. "Was it snowing?" Another nod. "How did you get here?" He laughed. I should have known better than to ask. Matty was always up in all kinds of dangerous behavior. A little snow wouldn't stop him.
I turned to the window. This was not a little snow.
I looked around the living room. The fireplace glowed and the cats were snuggled up on top of each other on the rug in front of it. One raised his fluffy little head to look at me, settling back down shortly after.
"Useless," I laughed, but it hurt. "Here, let me help you sit up." I moved slowly, leaning on him for support. My labored breathing caught me by surprise. Was it the pain, or being so close to him? What was he even doing here? I was on the phone with him? Matty and I hadn't spoken in ages.
"Matt ... why did I? Why were we ...?" He laughed as I struggled for words. "I called you?" I finally blurted.
"Sort of. I don't know - it may have been an accident. I think your butt dialed me, or something. All I know is I said hello, and eventually you answered, but then you sounded funny, and the line went dead."
"So you came straight over? How did you even know? How did you get in?"
"I still have my key," he answered without looking at me. "I guess I should have given it back, but I ..." I started shaking my head. "You didn't answer so I came in. Found you on the floor over there." He nodded towards my kitchen. I couldn't remember any of it. "Anyway, with the snow coming as hard and fast as it was, I didn't know who else to call or what else to do. So here I am."
"Do I need a doctor?"
"I don't think so. I don't know. But even if you do, we can't go anywhere. We're totally snowed in." I heard him whistle softly. "For a while," he added.
"Think you can try to drink this now?"
"What is it?"
"Warm water with lemon and honey. Didn't quite know what else to make. You should try to sip it at least." I nodded and he came closer. "Here," he placed the mug in my shaking hands and wrapped his hands around mine. Slowly, together, we lifted the mug to my lips.
Have his eyes always been so blue? I shivered.
"I'm okay. I mean, I've got it." I looked down to our entwined hands. He didn't let go. "Matt."
"Uh, yeah." He stood up quickly. "So, what do you have as far as supplies in this place, anyway?" I looked up at him. "Bottled water?" I shook my head. "Canned goods?" I shrugged. "Flashlights?" I think I laughed, but I can't be sure.
"Candles. I've got loads of candles."
"Great!" He jumped up. "Where?"
"Most of them are upstairs. In the closet next to the ..." My voice trailed off.
"I'll find them." He practically bolted out of my line of sight.
I stood up slowly and made my way to the rug, picking up one cat and then the other. "You traitors," I whispered. "He's here like ten minutes and you're already eating out of his hand, aren't you?" They purred against my touch. "Traitors, the both of you."
"Ehem." I looked up. "Sorry." I could swear I saw a slight blush creep up from beneath his collar. "They remembered me, I guess." I nodded. "I found these, these okay?" He held up some pillared candles. I think I shrugged. Could he remember when we last used those? The last time he walked up those stairs, the last time he was in my house? Did he remember any of it?
"Huh?" I drifted back to reality.
"In the kitchen, the drawers --" He didn't need me to say more. He knew. Things had not changed that much since he was here last. People don't change that much that they move around where they keep their stash of matches, right?
He set everything on the kitchen island, to have at the ready for later. Later. Was he really stuck here? Seriously snowed in? We made eye contact.
"So, the radio declared a state of emergency, and they've asked everyone to stay off the roads." It was as though he had read my mind. I nodded. "Looks like you're stuck with me, kid." That sheepish grin again. I could do this. I could totally do this. Right?
"So, what's for dinner?" I asked. He laughed. I watched him pull a bunch of seemingly bizarre items out of a huge duffel bag. "Yours? What did you ...?"
"Ah, I'm always prepared, ya know?" I shook my head. "I was supposed to be going hiking this weekend. Yes, in the snowy weather. Didn't expect it to be quite this bad."
"I ruined your plans."
"Nah, Mother Nature did that. You gave me something else to do." He winked.
I could totally do this.
I was totally going to do this.
** This has been written for this week's writing prompt over at the red dress club. **