Delays – No. 80

Winter smacked into Marshall’s face as he followed Bridget, and her lipstick-red roller bag, out of the hotel.

“Are you sure?” asked Bridget.

“Do you want to stay?” asked Marshall. He hunched in his jacket, and avoided wetting his loafers in the snow accumulating on either side of the awning-covered sidewalk.

Bridget snorted, and clutched her knee-length coat around her curvy frame. “Just check okay? I know you’ve got yours out, it’s like your goddamn hand.”

Scowling at the truth in her insinuation, Marshall cradled his iPhone. A scathing retort scampered along with his remaining body heat, so he glared at their flight details. “It’s still on time.”

“It better be.” Bridget twitched her heels and panty-hosed legs as a frosted gust swept through the urban cavern of skyscrapers. The wind cut through Marshall’s slacks like scissors.

A doorman lumbered over from beneath a heat lamp posted at the curb. His snowman body, covered in layers, left only a woolly outer coat and wind-burnt cheeks exposed to the elements. “Morning,” he said, his greeting muffled behind a scarf. “Can I call you two a cab?”

“One for me, yes,” said Bridget.

“Me too,” said Marshall after the doorman cast him a quizzical glance.

With a tip of his ear-muffed cap, the doorman sauntered toward the curb, one gloved hand raised.

Marshall grimaced as Bridget beat him to the vacated heat lamp. Stowing his iPhone, he retracted into his jacket and button-down shirt like a frightened turtle. His carryon weighed down his shoulder, but provided a bulky buffer against the weather. He determined the next Ice Age had settled by the time a canary yellow cab glided to the curb.

The doorman opened the backdoor.

Marshall darted forward and nearly collided with Bridget.

“Whatever happened to ladies first?” she asked.

“If you were a real lady, I’d think about it,” said Marshall. “At the moment I’m freezing and it’s warm in there.”

“You can wait for the next one.”

“Like hell, I’ll be a popsicle by then.”

“Might not be a next one anytime soon,” said the doorman with an unconcerned shrug.

“See?” Marshall straightened so he towered over Bridget’s pouty scowl and handed his bag to the doorman. “Anyway, we wait any longer we both are going to miss the flight.”

Bridget narrowed her eyes into unflattering slits of clotted mascara. Shoving her roller-bag at the doorman, she swooped down into the cab.

“Slide,” said Marshall, heaving in after her.



With a slam, the doorman blockaded the storm behind worn leather and scratched aluminum.

“I can’t believe this,” said Bridget while the doorman stowed their bags into the trunk.

“What did you expect in this weather? A parade?” Marshall waved at the blizzard descending outside.

The cabbie flipped open the dividing window.

“The airport,” they said in unison.

Bridget gave Marshall a glare. Ignoring her, Marshall waggled his fingers at the cabbie, who then turned and started into the screen of snow. Bridget crossed her legs and tugged the edge of her skirt over her knees. Marshall gave her calves perusal, and earned the expected scowl.

“Get a good look now,” she said, “you won’t ever get a better one.”

Marshall smirked. “Thoughtful as ever, Bridget.”

She huffed and folded her arms before staring out into the passing blocks, her gaze as cold as the flakes outside. Marshall shook his head and dove into a game of solitaire on his iPhone. He didn’t look up until the cabbie started cursing. By then, the line of brake lights stretched before them like a polka-dot tie against a sheet of white.

Bridget knocked on the dividing glass. “What’s going on?” she asked, even before the cabbie had the divider opened.

“Road’s closed getting to the highway,” said the cabbie.

“Isn’t there another way around?” asked Marshall.

“Of course, but it won’t do you any good either.” The cabbie gave them a wry grin. “Airport just shut down too.”

“You’re kidding me.” Bridget’s gaze shot across the backseat like a javelin.

Marshall’s email dinged, drawing him back to the screen. He scrolled and winced. “Flight’s canceled.”

“Well, what are we supposed to do now?” asked Bridget, gesturing to the cars strewn across the road.

Marshall rubbed at the film clouding the window and noted the few blocks they’d actually traversed in the half an hour they’d been in the cab. “Back to the hotel, I guess.”

“You want a lift?” asked the cabbie.

“No,” said Bridget. She exited the cab and slammed the door.

“$24.50 then,” said the cabbie, his humor vanishing into an expectant glower.

Marshall glared over his shoulder, through the back window, to where Bridget pounded upon the trunk. After fishing out his wallet, he paid the fare, braced himself and ducked outside. He snagged his bag from the trunk while Bridget struggled with her roller-bag.

“I can’t believe I’m stuck here with you,” said Bridget.

Marshall closed the truck with a spike of agitation. “That makes two of us.”

With a primal growl, Bridget hauled through the bumper to bumper lanes. Marshall kept himself from laughing as Bridget teetered on her heels in the thickening snow. Reaching the sidewalk, she flicked her chin down either end, spotted the right direction and stormed off at a jagged wobble.

With thoughts of the doorman’s heat lamp and the hotel bar held tight, Marshall trundled in her wake.


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