It was his luck. His absolute best, and ironically worst, luck that he would get tasked to transfer a prisoner from Ottawa back to Toronto and back to the 15th. With McNally. And it was only fitting that the heavens dropped buckets of rain, ice, and snow on them after they’d gotten off the 401.
What was it the US Postal service said? “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…”
Yeah, well, the first two were causing them to look for a cheap motel to hunker down in for the night and he’d pay good money for just a little heat. It was the end of May, anyway, where the hell was this weather coming from?
He was pissed, uncomfortable, tired, and surrounded by whatever shampoo or perfume or potion McNally decided to wear or use or whatever women did with their scents. Some spicy cinnamon number with hints of vanilla and it was all he could smell. And he couldn’t roll down the window for relief unless he wanted to let in the Wrath of God storm they were currently driving through. He was going to kill someone.
Through the fog and mist and drifts he saw the poorly lit sign of the motel and whipped the car dangerously, angrily, into the spot adjacent to the office.
“Stay in the car.” He snapped, and slammed the door for good measure. He took a moment to breath deeply of the non cinnamon-infused air before stomping into the front office to see about two rooms.
It was five minutes before he stomped right back out again. With one key. He let out a grunt of frustration and kicked at a small snowdrift that had built up, sheltered from the gusts of wind passing through the motel complex. His good/bad luck continues.
The pimply-faced teenager behind the counter was very sorry, sir, but the motel is packed with people taking shelter from the storm and we only have one room…no, sir, it only has one bed. But HBO is free this evening and it has a small sleeper sofa. It’s a suite! Like that was a saving grace for this shitbag place.
He looked back at the car where McNally was waiting patiently for him. Munching on a Snickers bar she probably found in the glove box. She liked to snack on chocolate during long trips. He usually found that endearing; today he found it (and most everything else she did) irritating.
So he walked back to the car and opened the driver’s door, leaned down but didn’t get in. He refused to sit in there…with her and her scent.
“Come on. We got a room.” Closing the front door and opening the back, he grabbed their bags and walked toward the stairs. The “suite” was on the second floor, sir, with a view of the park in the back. The “park” was a small patch of grass where travelers with dogs could let them out to shit. It was a really big litter box. He found no reason to put a positive spin on any of this.
He found the room, tucked away in the corner as if to allow a semblance of privacy, and used the key card to let them in. Flicked the light switch, dropped the bags, and let out a humorless laugh.
“What?” She was behind him. Very close behind him, trying to peak around his shoulders and see what the room looked like. “Oh.” Her voice was small as she realized their sleeping arrangement for the night. One bed. One, not-so-large, bed.
He sighed and let her enter ahead of him. “Yeah…apparently, this is a suite.” A sarcastic grin crossing his face as he surveyed the layout and found the sleeper sofa.
Sofa was a generous term. It was no bigger than a recliner and if it even had a bed folded in there, Sam wasn’t betting on it being bigger than a bench seat. And he wasn't sleeping on the floor. So, the bed was the only option. Wonderful.
“A suite.” Her tone reflected the disbelief he was feeling. “Yeah. Totally.”
“Yeah. Okay. Sure. You wanna take the bathroom first?” He refused to look at the bed. If he didn’t look at it maybe it would morph into two beds….or at least get bigger. Yeah, and he had ocean front property in Oklahoma.
“Sure.” And she scurried to the small room with her bag in tow and he was left to sit at the table with two rickety chairs, flipping through the channels on the TV. The picture was fuzzy due to the storm, but he was able to find a news station and a weather report. If there was a bright side to any of this, it was that they would be out by morning. The worst of it was past them and moving Southwest.
The motel didn’t have a restaurant, but helpfully provided pamphlets of delivery services. Sam risked a glance outside and nixed the idea that anybody would be willing to deliver in this. As he heard the shower start, he figured he would go in search of some kind of nourishment. All they had on them was a few protein bars and some stale chips.
When he returned ten minutes later, arms loaded with cans of soda and all the pretzels he was able to get out of the vending machine, the shower was off but the door was still closed. The quick “food” run afforded him the time to clear his head and release some of the tension he’d been carrying around all day. Not her fault they were stuck in this. Not her fault he couldn’t control his own thoughts. And it wasn’t her fault that…
…the door opened and steam billowed out behind her. The open soda can was halfway to his lips when he looked up. She was wearing sweatpants and a white shirt. Her hair was still damp, framing her face. He quickly averted his gaze back to the TV, yeah, totally her fault.
“It’s all yours. Thanks.” She started past him to put her bag by the door and that scent surrounded him again. Shampoo. It had to be her shampoo. His mouth was watering, and it had nothing to do with the Coke he was now gulping down. The pain from too much carbonation in his throat was welcoming. Eyes watering, nose burning, anything to take his mind off pushing her up against the wall and finding out if she smells like cinnamon everywhere.
The damned scent was permeating the bathroom. It was everywhere. In the shower, behind the towels, even in the cabinet under the sink when he checked for extra toilet paper. Everywhere. She was everywhere.
In the solitude of the bathroom, he yanked the water to just above freezing and stepped in. The cold took his breath away and he figured if he couldn’t breathe, then he couldn’t smell. Oxygen, an acceptable sacrifice. He used too much of his body wash in an attempt to drown out her shampoo. He took a deep breath of the mountain pine stuff he bought for a buck and reveled in something that wasn’t Andy McNally.
She was driving him crazy and she didn’t even know she was doing it. Simply by being she was testing his will power. Annoyed and cold, Sam shut off the water.
By the time he stepped into the main room again, wearing only athletic shorts and a tank top, she was sitting the on the bed with the remote control and an empty bag of pretzels next to her on the table.
“Thanks for…dinner.” She motioned to the empty pretzel packet. “The next vending machine meal is on me.” She smiled at him and his cold shower was suddenly a waste of time.
A grunt served as his answer as he went about straightening up the room, putting their bags by the door, hanging up his uniform next to hers in the closet, and making sure his boots were untied in case he needed to put them on in a hurry. With nothing left to clean or straighten he finally looked at the bed.
And found her eyes starring right back at his. “Sam…have I done something to piss you off in a way that’s more than normal?”
He sighed and trudged over to the bed. “No, McNally. You’ve done nothing out of the ordinary to piss me off. Let’s try to get some sleep. Prisoner transport in the morning.”
Hoping that would appease her, he tried to arrange the pillows, blankets, and sheets in a way that would advocate no bodily contact in the middle of the night. He shouldn’t be allowed to touch her right now.
She angled her body towards him and a wave of cinnamon assaulted his senses. “Then why are you are you acting like I pissed in your coffee?”
He looked at her, her big brown eyes showing how much he’d hurt her during the course of the day. Her hair had dried in waves around her face. She was beautiful and she wasn’t even trying.
“Its…it’s not you, McNally. I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to-” he stopped talking as she grabbed her hair to fix it up into a ponytail. Before he could even think to stop himself, his fingers were intertwined with hers in the strands of her hair.
Time passed and they sat frozen. Both of them shocked.
They could have been carved in marble for the amount of time they sat there motionless. Andy, with her hands still in her hair and her mouth open wanting to question his action but having absolutely no idea where to start. Sam, supporting his weight on one arm while his other hand in her hair. He was leaning closer to her as the seconds passed and she didn’t push him away.
“Sam…” her voice was what propelled him to move, and not in the direction she was expecting. Her eyes grew wider. He leaned farther into her personal space. She was forced to remove her hands from her hair and place them on his chest so he wouldn’t collapse onto her.
He said nothing. Braced against her hands, he leaned all the way into her until his face was buried behind her ear and finally. His eyes closed, his brain shut off, and his hand caressed her skull trying to entice more of that amazing scent into the air around him.
He moved without thinking. His only goal was finding more. His motions pushed her flatter on the mattress, beneath him, pliant and willing now. In the back of his mind he felt her hands moving across the muscles of his back. Up and down, across and over. He left the spot behind her ear and moved lower, towards her neck. The cinnamon was here, too, but a little spicier. He was dying to taste her. Just a small taste…he needed to know. Just…needed.
The second his tongue touched her skin, her hips arched into his and his name was like a curse on her lips. Sam…Jesus.
Dimly, he was aware of the increasing pressure in his shorts and her hands were yanking at his tank top now, demanding more skin to touch. But he couldn’t let go of her, he couldn’t lose this smell. God, what was that smell…
“My shampoo. God, Sam, just…move.” She was panting beneath him, thrusting her hips against his…trying for any friction she could get.
“McNally…” Her name, drawn out like it was sixteen letters across his tongue instead of the seven that was on her name tag. He gave her what she wanted and moved his hips in time with hers.
How did she do this to him?
He felt drunk, his world was spinning out of control. He closed his eyes as his tongue traced the muscles in her neck. The mutinous hand that had started all this was still in her hair, tangled, locked. His other hand was at her back and sliding down towards her sweatpants. He skirted the waistband and let out a dark chuckle when she groaned.
His mouth traveled around her neck and into her hair on the other side, determined to soak up all of it. Mine…
He was so utterly lost in her. Her legs were wrapped around his waist, finding just the right spot every time their hips collided. Her arms were around his shoulders, hands in his hair.
Forcing himself to regain a single strand of control, he brought his head up to look at her. Her eyes were closed in pleasure. Her bottom lip was between her teeth, making her perfect lips look an even darker shade of red. Her nails were digging into his scalp and her hips wouldn’t stop the gentle rocking rhythm they started.
“Andy. Look at me.” Her eyes opened, and he grinned at the extra second it took her to focus on him. The hand in her hair moved to frame her face and he marveled at how perfect her skin was. His thumb traced the smooth expanse of her cheek, moving to her lips. “You…”
She got tired of waiting and pulled his lips down to meet hers and suddenly words weren’t necessary. And if he was honest, they’d never needed words anyway.
This he remembered. The way she threw herself into a kiss. Overwhelming. She gave everything. So trusting. And it was this knowledge that forced his head out of the clouds and brought his body off of hers.
He lifted his weight off her, groaned at the friction the movement caused. His arms shook, strained with the sexual tension. They were both breathing hard, starring at each other.
“McNally…Andy…we need to stop.” She licked her lips and it was almost his undoing. But then the walls came down and he saw her shut herself off. Hurt.
“Not because I don’t want to. I want to…believe me. I want you.” His voice was rough. Like he’d swallowed sand paper. “The first time we…the first time shouldn’t be in a shitbag motel. You deserve more than that.”
She smiled and brought him down to lie beside her; head pillowed on his chest, leg thrown over his dangerously close, “Sam. When did you start being a romantic?”
“I think it was right around the time you arrested me and blew my cover.” It was said with a grin. An old joke.
Later, when they were almost asleep, he felt her shift against him and the scent washed up to him again.
“Hey, McNally.” His eyes closed, his arm around her waist. His big spoon to her little one.
“Hmm?” Her voice mumbled, tucked up against him for protection against the chill in the room despite the best heater in the place, sir. You won’t feel any of this weather. Stupid kid.
“Don’t use that shampoo tomorrow. Drives me crazy.”
Her shoulder shook with a laugh, but she nodded. “I’ll save it for when you ask me on a date.”
“We’ll never get out of the apartment.”
“Fine by me.”