“Oh, he’s not my husband. We just happened to pull up together.”
“Oh, I see. Well, we can fix that. It’s never too late…Married life is great.” The old man winked at his wife and raised his eyebrows up and down. Alli blushed.
“Ed, you’ve embarrassed the poor girl.” His wife elbowed him in the ribs gently. “He is good lookin’ though. If you ain’t married you should ask him out,” Eliza whispered a little louder than she had intended.
“Oh, he’s as single as they come,” came a deep voice from behind Alli. If she wasn’t embarrassed before, she certainly was now. She wasn’t sure what to say to that comment, so she chose to say nothing. She looked at the old woman for help, but the couple behind the counter just chuckled at the awkward moment they had just created.
“That will be $37.42 miss and I’ll even throw in a map of the area for you.” Ed smiled as he bagged her items at snail speed.
Alli rushed out of the store as quickly as possible and tried to get into her car before the mystery man walked out. She shook her head in disbelief as she looked into her car. There on her seat were her keys, and as luck would have it, the door was locked.
At this point, there was no avoiding more embarrassment, so Alli tucked her tail between her legs and walked back into the store.
“Well, it looks like I locked my keys in my car. Is there a locksmith or a towing company around here?”
“Not at this hour sweetie. Nothin’s open this late.” Alli looked at her watch. It was only 7:30. Surely there had to be a 24 hour towing company. She pulled up several listings on her phone and called a half dozen companies. They were either too far away or weren’t available for a lock-out call until the morning. The night was turning out splendid.
The tall, dark and single man spoke hesitantly, “Where are you headed? I could give you a lift home to grab a spare key.”
“Thanks, but it’s an hour out of town, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have a spare there. I’ll just call a cab and have him bring me back in the morning.”
“It’s going to be hard finding a cab in this area too. Maybe you should let this young man drive you home,” Eliza prodded.
“I’m sure I can find something. Thank you though,” Alli replied with an uncomfortable smile.
“Well, let me at least wait with you until it gets here. It’s too cold for you to stand outside and these folks probably want to get home. Come on, you can sit in my truck. I promise not to abduct you.”
Normally, she wouldn’t have climbed into a stranger’s car, but no other options presented themselves. He opened the passenger door for her and climbed in next to her on the driver’s side. He noticed she was shivering so he cranked up the heat.
“Thanks. This is really nice of you. My name’s Alli by the way.”
“No problem at all. I’d hate for you to get embarrassed and stranded all in one night,” he joked. He had a nice smile and like the store keeper noticed, he was quite attractive. Alli didn’t want to stare, so she flipped through her phone and called several places before finding a cab that would drive out to the middle of nowhere.
“I’m Bryce.” He extended his hand. “Nice to meet you.” Alli shook it cautiously.
When the cab pulled up thirty minutes later they were engrossed in conversation and didn’t see the driver until he honked his horn impatiently.
Alli tucked her hair behind her ears and thanked Bryce for the company and conversation. She waved goodbye as she climbed in the cab. Bryce flashed his lights at her as she drove off. He had wanted to ask her for her number, but chickened out at the last minute. He put his truck in reverse and started to pull out when he noticed a glint of light reflecting off of something on the floor. He slipped the truck back into park and leaned over to find Alli’s phone. A smile crossed his face when he realized he now had an excuse to track her down. He scrolled through her list of contacts for a home number. Alli’s mom, Lucy, answered and he explained how he came to have her daughter’s phone. It was the only means of communication Alli had at the cabin, so Lucy reluctantly gave him the address.
“I’ll have her call you as soon as I return her phone, so you know she’s alright,” he promised.
Bryce drove the familiar road, but passed her cabin. He continued two miles up the lane and pulled into the Olsen’s driveway. He laughed at his private joke as he unlocked the door and slipped inside the garage. There, hanging on the wall were the snowshoes he’d converted into Bigfoot stamps as a kid. He slipped them on and stuck Alli’s phone in his pocket. He laughed as he crossed the stream that led to the Johnson cabin.
Lights flickered from the media room as he approached. He threw a couple of pinecones gently at the window and then scratched it with a stick. Alli jumped up to see what was going on. Bryce moaned and howled and just as Alli got to the window, he made his way to the front of the house. She immediately saw the fake footprints and knew one of the Olsen boys was in town. She rolled her eyes and laughed.
Moments later, the doorbell rang. She opened the door to find her phone with a note on it.
Dinner tomorrow? 7pm… Bigfoot’s place.
PS- call your mom, she’s worried I’m holding you captive.
Alli smiled so big it hurt her cheeks. She laughed as she listened to Bryce howl in the distance.
Be sure to check back tomorrow to see how dinner with Bigfoot goes!