Sir Edmond Hillary Couldn't Reach You

This morning was a little awkward. I'll admit it wasn't the first time I woke up next to someone I barely knew, but it was the first time that there wasn't that weird, “so about last night” conversation.

Ethan just rolled over, hugged my blanketed feet and said, “Morning feet. Thanks for not kicking me last night.”

I responded in kind. “Hi feet. Thanks for not stinking up my pillow last night.”

After a slightly too long, yet somehow not awkward eye lock, Ethan folded up the blankets and stacked the pillows while I started the kettle.

“Tea of coffee?” I asked.

“Luv a coffee, but I don't much care for instant.”

“Neither do I. Picked up a french press for just such an occasion.”

“In that case, coffee, and lots of it.”

While we were sipping down the last of the coffee there was a sudden rumbling from the yard.

“What's that?” Ethan asked as the perfect winter silence was broken by rumbling and scraping. “Don't tell me you get earthquakes here.”

“Actually, we do, but this isn't one. Sounds more like a diesel engine and a plow blade set too low” I replied.

While Ethan stared at me like I had two heads and was speaking broken Portuguese, I made for the driveway.

“Morning' doll-face!” Ben bellowed from the cab of a plow truck; diesel engine, blade set so low it was kicking up the gravel drive.

“You going to replace the driveway you are turning up?” I hollered back.

“But of course, with asphalt!”

“You are absurd! What are you doing here this early?” I asked.

“Didn't want Madame to be trapt in her castle all day.”

“Be careful not to put me on too high a pedestal.”

“Too late!” Emma chimed in from behind me where she had been gawping with Ethan and Logan. “He's got you up so high Sir Edmond Hillary couldn't reach you in 10 lifetimes.”

Ethan and Logan, snickering, ducked into the house as Emma carried on.

“Oh! That was good! Going to have to work that on into my next book somehow. But seriously Ben, is the Humvee in the shop? Couldn't find a chopper to fly to the 'rescue' in?”

“Okay, okay!” Ben croaked.

“Thanks Ben,” I said trying to take the sting off Emma's tirade.

“Sure thing,” Ben replied before raising the blade and plowing the rest of the driveway.

“Really Emma, that was a bit much, don't you think?” I asked as we walked back into the house.

“No, it wasn't” Logan piped in. “It was the perfect start to my day.”

“You don't like Ben very much, do you?” I asked.

“Nope, but that doesn't change the fact that it was classically funny.”

As I scolded and shook my head at him, Ethan said, “Hate to tell you, but it was a gut buster and I don't have an opinion of the guy, one way or the other.”

“This is just worried I'm going to piss off the help and he won't finish plowing the drive, which, my dear Dixie dandy, is the only way you are going to be able to get out to the airport,” Emma declared.

“Dandy!? Ethan balked.

“My dear boy, you arrived planning to only stay a few hours, got snowed in, spent the night most likely on a cramped couch, awoke to no heat or hot water, yet not a hair is out of place, there's not a false crease in your pants and you smell of cedar aftershave. Dandy!” Emma explained.

“A gentleman is always prepared!” Ethan said with a grin just as Ben sauntered in from the kitchen porch.

“Sorry about the gravel. I really should have thought about that.”

“Not to worry. I have already arranged for it to be paved in the Spring,” I replied.

“Well, I'll get some more stone in here to tide you over, that is if we get a thaw.”

“Thanks,” I replied handing him the cup of coffee Emma had just poured for herself and before she could protest asked, “Who wants breakfast?”