The rain came as it always does: sudden, hard, and without warning. Looking out from the living room window and into the inky darkness torn apart by the slashing raindrops, it was Fiona who first invaded my thoughts. Fiona, my wife for seven years now, I believe, was probably driving home at this very moment. No, scratch that. I knew she was driving home at this very moment. Fiona is brimming with more positive traits than I can handle, but spontaneity is not one of them. My wife is a creature of habit and routine. When she plans to get home from wherever, she intends to get home from wherever.
Patty, the babysitter whom Fiona and I have hired for around four months now, looked up from the book she was reading. The Shining by Stephen King, I noticed. Patty was a pretty kid. Still 21 years old, she was more than beginning to show some physical attributes that gave more than heavy hints of a life filled with men chasing after her, begging her to give them her hand, and promising her the world if she would do so.
Patty was attractive and sensual in a way you wouldn’t notice when you first set your sights on her. A brunette, she had pin-straight hair that she wore in a length that reached the middle of her shoulder blades. She had a figure that spoke of secret curves, a matter I sometimes thought while lying awake in bed at night that I would like to check, to explore. Of course it’s hard to be wrapped up in such thoughts when there’s Fiona sleeping soundly beside me, but sometimes, those thoughts do come alive. And when they come alive, I let them stay alive.
Fiona and I have a kid named Tanner. He’s five years old, and he’s the most inquisitive kid in the world. I’m being serious here. The little guy just won’t quit asking all sorts of questions, ranging from the mundane (“Do you think I could fly to the moon, Daddy?”) to the serious (“How are these rocks formed, Mommy?”). We have had babysitters in the past, and unfortunately, a good chunk of them simply couldn’t take Tanner’s out-of-this-world curiosity. Fiona said that was because the babysitters were total idiots who didn’t know any shit. I chuckled at that, but I agreed with her. Kids these days seem to belong to a different breed. Wherever their interests lie, reading and learning new stuff aren’t one of them. No wonder Tanner drove them mad.
Patty was an exception, and every day my wife and I gave ourselves a pat on the back for having found such an awesome babysitter. Patty looked nothing like the typical nerd who would rather spend time with books than with people. Like I’ve said, Patty got a generous sprinkling in terms of the looks department. But while she looked like she could be the prom queen if she chose to, the girl loved to read. Upon arriving home, Fiona and I would often find her curled up on the couch with a book in hand, reading with such fierce concentration she sometimes would not hear us come in.
Patty’s passion for reading earned nods of approval from my wife and I. It helped with Tanner’s nonstop questions, and there’s something about a good-looking girl who has the brains to boot. I didn’t tell my wife this, of course. As far as I could recall, I never thought of Patty in, you know, that way. But just because I have not thought about her in such light doesn’t mean I would not consider seeing her in such manner.
While the rain drummed loudly on the roof and all around the house, Patty looked up from her Stephen King novel and fixed her hazel eyes on me. I stared back without thinking of anything save for Fiona and how on earth she was going to drive the entire forty miles from her parents’ house in this sudden downpour. Fiona is moderately myopic, meaning she can’t see things clearly from far away. The rain surely isn’t helping things in her case.
“Mr. Amis?” Patty asked tentatively. “Is everything all right?” She began to fiddle with her book, but it looked like she didn’t know she was doing it. “It’s the rain, isn’t it? It’s quite frightening, I know, suddenly coming down like this. Maybe I should go check on Tanner.” She started to get up from her place on the couch.
“Oh, no,” I said hurriedly, gesturing at Patty to remain where she was. “I mean, don’t worry about Tanner. He loves anything and everything about the rain. I was thinking of Fiona. She’s probably on the road right now, driving through this difficult downpour.” I sighed. “You know how bad her eyes are.”
“Oh, my gosh,” Patty said breathlessly, and placed a well-manicured hand to her chest. Instinctively my eyes traveled to where her hand went. My eyes caught sight of a slightly rounded breast that looked small yet pert and firm. The word delectable suddenly came into mind, and just as sudden something stirred inside me.
Don’t be a dirty old man, I told myself quickly, sternly. Get a grip of yourself.
Patty was saying something, but since I was momentarily lost in thought concerning her breast, I didn’t catch what she was saying.
“I’m sorry, I just conked out,” I said apologetically, trying to get a hold on my respectable fatherly persona.
“I said don’t worry about Mrs. Amis,” Patty repeated, her hazel eyes still fixed on me. “She’s probably—”
As if on cue, the phone rang. It was Fiona. The rain had been too much, she said, so she decided to turn around and go back to her parents’ house.
“Of course I’d hurry back home if I could,” Fiona said fretfully. “But you know how my eyes are, and it’s just raining so damn hard—”
“It’s okay, honey,” I said soothingly. “I understand. I was thinking about you, anyway. I was worried how you’re going to get home in this sudden downpour. Well, I’m glad you’ll be staying at your folks for a while. At least you’ll be safe and dry in there.”
Fiona agreed and promised to drive home the second the rain stopped. I told her there’s no need for her to rush as it wouldn’t help to be on the road without a good amount of sleep. She agreed reluctantly but still insisted she would get home as soon as she can. I assured my wife again, and after a few more pleasant exchanges, we said our good-byes and good nights.
I put the phone down. “That was Fiona,” I told Patty. “She won’t be coming home tonight. It’s raining so hard, and she doesn’t think it’s safe for her to be out on the road in this weather.”
Patty nodded. “That makes sense. I’d do the same if I were in her shoes.” She glanced at the clock. “Speaking of, since Mrs. Amis won’t be getting here anyway, I think I’d better go, Mr. Amis. It’s getting late, and the rain doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon.” She began to place her things inside her backpack.
“I’d drive you home, of course,” I said. “But like you said, the rain isn’t showing signs of letting up. I don’t think it’s safe for anyone to be out in this weather, especially during the night.” I glanced out the window again. The rain fell harder than ever, and the wind began to howl its way through the trees. I’m a pretty good driver, and I don’t have any problems with my vision, but I would give myself a hard kick on the head if I even thought of going outside in that weather.
And besides, I was beginning to like the idea of being alone with Patty (in the living room, anyway) while the rain continued to rage outside. I made up my mind right then and there.
Patty was zipping up her bag. “That’s nice of you, Mr. Amis. Thanks. But I need to get home. There’s something I need to get done. I’ll walk home, don’t worry.”
I sat beside Patty and placed a hand on her leg. “No one is going home tonight in this weather,” I said firmly.