“You too, cuz.” He tossed the pillow back.
The morning alarm went off, lancing through his head like an arrow of sound. Jasper turned it off, groaning, his head pounding as if he were hungover. Being cold and wet was what did it. He was determined not to let himself get sick, but he’d been prone to stuff like that since childhood. It was one reason he’d worked so hard building up his body, so he’d be able to fight off the asthma that plagued him as a youngster.
Taking a hot shower, he dried off and downed a few vitamin C tablets before he got dressed. He drank a protein shake and felt somewhat better. He’d get a huge mug of coffee when he got to work, that should set him right.
His thoughts naturally turned to Hana. He could feel her skin next to his, her body moist and ready for him to enter her. He walked off the edge of the sidewalk, almost forgetting where he was going. If he kept that up, he’d hurt himself for sure. Taking several deep breaths, he purged the desire and focused on making food.
The others greeted him in subdued voices. Jasper realized he wasn’t the only one feeling under the weather. He hadn’t really noticed, but the sky was cloudy, the air hardly stirring. Everyone was snapping and waspish.
Early on, things didn’t go right. The griddle wouldn’t heat and Jasper realized it was because the propane tank was empty. He dug around in the storage cupboards until he found several electric skillets he could plug in and cook on. His uncle discovered the cause of the gas problem was a leaking hose. Shutting down the system, he called the propane company for someone to come repair it.
“It’s tornado weather,” Janine said quietly to the staff. “We need to try and keep folks up at the big house. It’s got the best shelter.”
“Should we tell people?” Marnie asked.
“We’ll have to. They need to know where to go in the event of a storm. I’ve got the weather radio on.”
As they served breakfast, the staff talked calmly to the guests about the weather, advising them to stay inside. Although each cabin had a storm cellar, the big house had a large basement with a reinforced roof and comfortable accommodations, like a generator and chemical toilets.
Enid and Hana opted to stay at the big house and play board games and cards with the other guests. After cleaning up, Jasper joined them. He flopped down in a chair next to Hana, kissing her.
“You look tired. Did you sleep alright?” she asked him.
“Not really. The cold rain got to me a little. I thought I was over that sort of thing.”
“You’re running yourself ragged,” Enid scolded. “You need a good night’s sleep, with lots of chicken soup and vitamin C.”
“Chicken soup? Miss E., that’s an old wives’ tale.”
“It’s nothing to scoff at. Chicken soup contains natural antibiotics. Why do you think the old wives used it?”
“Okay, I’ll concede that point. I also concede the sleep.”
I also need to get laid. He hardly thought it was appropriate to mention. He could see in Enid’s eyes she thought the same thing, but wasn’t about to say anything around Hana.
Hana persuaded Jasper to join her and Aunt Enid in a game of Trivial Pursuit. “You and I will team up against Auntie,” she said with a giggle. “Come on. It will be fun.”
“I’ve played your aunt at this. It’s not fun being slaughtered.”
“That’s why we play as a team.”
“Baby, we could put the entire room against Miss E., we’d still lose.”
“You haven’t played with Hana,” Enid grinned. “She’s almost as good as me.”
“Give me a couple more decades, I’ll wipe the floor with you, old woman.” Hana said playfully, kissing her.
“You’ll try, you cheeky minx. Just wait, I’ll get you, my pretty!” she cackled.
“Miss E., you’re the only person I know who isn’t bothered by this weather. In fact, it seems to agree with you.”
“Can’t let Mother Nature get you down. She’s a mean, old bitch—but so am I.”
They played their game for nearly an hour before the storm radio went off. Many of the guests panicked, but the staff got them lined up to go down into the basement. Hana was concerned about how to get Enid down the stairs when Jasper came back from helping his uncle.
“I’ve got you, Miss E. I’ll carry her down. Hana, can you get her chair?”
“That thing’s a monster. She can lift it, but not carry it downstairs. Fold it up, sweetheart, and let Jimmy get it.”
“Already on it, Miss E.” Jimmy grinned, whisking her chair away.
Jasper carried her easily down the stairs, setting her gently in her chair. Jimmy stood by with a cold lemonade. Hana brought their game figuring they might as well continue playing while they waited.
Everyone sat around waiting anxiously for the storm to pass and the all clear to sound. They were on edge, so Tyee, Stan and Jasper got out acoustic guitars. Tuning them up, they started taking requests.
“Ain’t No Sunshine,” one of the new men said.
©2022 Dellani Oakes