He was ready to marry her before they shared their first conversation. He blew in off the road that night, wasted and worn. He wanted a shower, a coffee and to wait until his hours rolled back over so he could finally shed this load of cars he was pulling and get onto the next haul. When he laid eyes on her, a thunderclap of clarity smashed his reality and he knew he would never be the same.
He could see in her eyes that she felt it too. The air between them was charged with their passion. The storm roiled around them, tossing emotions like dinghies in a tempest.
Her name, I bet it's something so sexy... it's got to be Roxie or Candy... something I can moan into her ear.
The place was packed and it took her a while to get to him. He could see she wanted to get closer, could see the longing and interest, even as she glided from table to table, feigning interest in the other customers, doing her job when all she wanted was to be there with him. She was definitely a good girl, he could tell. She kept a distance between her and the other truckers that filled the tables in the too-bright lights. She knew too, that she was his. It was in the very way she moved. Finally she moved closer, little white tennis shoes shining below her blue waitress dress. He could see how she was walking for him, so seductively, tight little steps. He raised his gaze slowly to her face.
God, her eyes, who has eyes like that? Violet depths and golden flecks... a wit and a mischievous light. So young, her body so lithe. God!
“What canna getcha, darlin'?” her voice was as soothing as honey, every syllable dripping slowly from a mouth perched like a bow on her perfect face.
“Coffee. Cherry pie.” His own voice was husky, he knew. He could feel the storm building to a crescendo inside. When she reached over the table to fill his cup from the pot in her hand, another jolt of lightning ran through him.
“Don't got cherry, just chocolate and coconut.”
His eyes met and held hers as he intoned his intentions, knowing she would understand. “I know you have a cherry somewhere. You've just been keeping it for me.”
Her eyes flickered and he knew she had gotten his message. He could tell in the way her body language subtly changed. . She feels it too. Oh baby, this is gonna be so sweet.
“Sooo, how bout I just bring you a piece of both the kinds we got and you can just trust me on the rest?” Her tone was light and controlled. She must be worried about her boss the way she's looking around like she's being watched. Don't want to get her in trouble but love at first sight can't be denied.
“Sure, honey, just whatever you need to do. I'll always see to your needs.” He winked so she would feel at ease that he'd gotten her message. As she turned to skip away, obviously run ragged by a difficult job, he tried to catch a glimpse of her name stitched on her pocket, but only caught sight of an “A” before she was gone. Amanda, I bet Or Amy. Yes. Oh Amy, honey. I'll take you away from all this. I'll take care of you... and you will only have to take care of me.
A few minutes later, a busboy dropped two pieces of pie on the table. He looked about for Amy, but didn't see her on the floor. All the tables had left and the rush seemed to have receded into nothing.
“Where's my waitress?”
The busboy looked dully at him and mumbled something about her shift being over. Oh! She must be waiting for me! Gotta get out there! He dropped a ten dollar bill on the plate and pushed back from the table in a rush, almost toppling the busboy in the process.
“Move! I have to find her!”
At his exclamation, a tall, broad man with a hateful, hairy ugliness emerged from behind the counter with a resigned sigh. “Hold up there, partner. Why not just slow your roll and enjoy that pie you haven't touched?”
He's going to try to stop me! He can see I'm going to take her away from this drudgery and make her happy! He's been hurting her! He's been using her!
He launched himself toward the door, attempting to put as much space between him and the fearful obstacle as possible. He almost made the door before he felt ham-fists tighten on his bicep. He tried to fight, tried to call out to his love. Amy oh god! I have to save you from this man! I'm so weak! I need you! You need me! AMY!
“No! No! I have to have her!! Let me go to her! Let me go! AMY!!!”
The busboy started and met the big man's gaze. “Heph... who's Amy?”
Hephaestus turned, shrugged and bodily adjusted the man into an unbreakable hold. “Aeneas, go and retrieve your mother, please. I think she's done it again.”
The young man winced. “Do I have to Heph? She's already pretty put out with me.”
“Now. We can't leave him like this, poor soul.” Hephaestus held on firmly as the man went from fighting to pathetically sobbing for his one true love. Aeneas disappeared into the kitchen door and after a short interval, practically ran back to Hephaestus and his restrained victim, now gone limp with grief.
“She's coming... but she's, well... she's really herself right now.” Aeneas looked furtively at the door then back at Hephaestus apologetically. The next instant, he was out the door into the darkened night beyond.
The waitress practically flew through the swinging door, head lowered over glowering eyes and intent as angry as the trucker was sorrowful.
“WHY CAN'T I HAVE ANY FUN?!?!?” She bellowed as she stormed over to her waiting husband. Her beauty was at full storm, her hair practically sparking with electricity and her dulcet tones raised in ugly words. Hephaestus stared at her coldly, not taking her bait.
“My dear. Kiss your trophy here and let's get to closing. It's all been great fun, but now it's time to turn him loose.”
The woman gave her husband a glowering stare. When he didn't react, her face softened to acquiescence, but only just. Her eyes playfully darted from her husband to her prey and back. “Jealous, Heph? Just a wee bit?”
Hephaestus growled, not entirely in exasperation. In softer tones he gave up a little ground. “C'mon, honey. He's only human.”
“Fine.” Her pout turned her lips into the perfect kiss. The trucker raised his eyes and found one pure moment of joy in hers as she kissed him deeply on the lips. His last sight as he drifted from consciousness was the entirety of her name, embroidered in red on her little blue dress... Aphrodite. How lovely...
- - -
The trucker awoke in the cab of his truck around 2 am. The fluttering neon of the diner sign proclaimed “Hammer & Anvil Cafe” but the lights inside were long out and the closed sign turned out on the door. He awoke refreshed and drained all at once. He stretched and shook the cobwebs from his head.
“Damn, never even made it inside! I must have been wiped!” He checked his logs, recorded the time and put the truck in gear. Heading out on the highway, he kept his eyes peeled for an open truck stop. All he could think of was a shower, a cup of coffee and maybe a nice piece of pie.