Speed Writing #9 – Inappropriate Apparel

The air was more than crisp as I stood at the bus stop, embracing the predawn stillness.  I’d had to haul out my hat and gloves this morning, and I could smell a hint of snow with each inhalation.  I tipped my head back and yawned, admiring the deep blue of the sky, where only the brightest stars and Venus could be seen. It was so quiet that everyday noises came across as intrusive.  The crunch of gravel and scrape of rubber soles against concrete warned me that someone was coming up the sidewalk behind me.

I glanced at him… well, it started as a glance but turned into straight out gawking.  The young man had sandy brown hair that would’ve fit right in with the skateboarders back when I was in high school.  He looked about twenty-four, roughly my age, and he hadn’t dressed anywhere close to appropriate for the temperature.  His short shorts and T-shirt showed off his very fine limbs;  He was obviously an athlete, but didn’t have weirdly bulky muscles.  He was several inches shorter than me, and had his head down, eyes pointed at his trainers, so I don’t think he noticed my lapse in manners.

He stopped a few feet away, and didn’t continue on as I’d expected. “Good morning,” I said, my Minnesota nice upbringing taking over before the rational part of my brain could stop it.

He raised his head slightly, looking oddly cowed as his eyes met mine. “Hi.”  He wrapped his arms around himself, his hands briskly rubbing against his biceps.

“Aren’t you cold?” I asked, unable to keep the question from leaping out of my mouth.

He shrugged, his hazel eyes darting to the left.

“Dude, it’s like thirty degrees out here,” I said in shock.

“Not much I can do about that,” he said, shrugging again.  He turned away, clearly not interested in continuing the conversation.  He looked so miserable and pathetic, wanted to do something to help him out, but if he didn’t want to talk to me, there wasn’t much I could do.

We stood in silence for a few minutes, the sky just starting to lighten with the rising sun, when a gentle breeze picked up.  I heard a gasp, and a stifled curse.  He was rubbing his arms more vigorously, but it didn’t think it was helping.  “Oh for fuck’s sake,“ I muttered, slipping my backpack off my shoulder.  I unzipped my jacket, a layer of Gore-Tex and a layer of fleece.  Under that I had a dark blue hoodie.  I took that off and draped it over his shoulders.  He looked up in surprise.

“Put this on,” I said sternly, grabbing one of his hands and shoving it into the sleeve.  I would not be accepting any kind of polite refusal, and I wanted to make that clear.  I quickly pulled my own jacket back on, and tried not to think about how nice his hand felt in mine for that brief moment.  The cold had made him clumsy, so I zipped myself up quicker.  I reached over and took care of his while he was fumbling with getting his hands out of the overlong sleeves. “No, don’t.”  I caught one of his wrists.  “Stay tucked in there.”  I tugged the hood up onto his head.

“Thanks.” His voice was barely a whisper.

“It’s nothing,” I assured him, realizing he was looking at me now. God, he was like a puppy who’d been left out in the rain, pathetic and adorable.“Is it a little better?”

He nodded immediately, smiling shyly.  “It’s still warm, uh, from you wearing it.  It’s lots better.“  

Written with DragonNaturally Speaking

Prompt: I catch you at the bus terminal shivering your ass off because it’s 30 degrees and for some godforsaken reason you’re wearing a short sleeve t-shirt, so out of pity I lend you my hoodie, and you look so surprised.  It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, setting aside the fact that you’re a goddamn idiot.  Do you want to get sick?

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Author of adult and young adult speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, dark fiction)

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