Snowy Embrace

Check In

By the time they parked the car in front of the halo of angelic light seeping from the motel’s front door, even Hawke came to agree with him. “Holy Maker, that was…did you see that?” He kept describing their near miss of slamming into a light post while drifting down main street.

“Yes,” Fenris groaned. He glanced up at the mass of white flakes already accumulating on his hood. More concerned about the state of his favorite shirt/jacket/lifestyle than his hair, Fenris tugged the faded black hood down. Not as if anyone would be able to spot the difference between his snowy locks and the real stuff.

With a bound in his step, Hawke dashed into the Dream Inn. As he yanked back on the glass door, the scent of cleaning fluid and fluorescent light struck Fenris. Some people claimed they couldn’t smell the difference between acrid fluorescent and incandescent, but he knew it well. Scowling at the light bashing in his skull after the hour or so of darkness, Fenris retreated deeper into the collar of his hoodie while Hawke moseyed up to the counter.

In his rustic, Carhartt jacket he looked like the typical fare to stop at a cheap-ass motel in the middle of farm country. The barely trimmed beard, apple cheeked smile (even more rosy than usual thanks to the cold) and bright blue eyes landed him into adoptable son for the fair town. Fenris knew where he stood, which was out — as was typical. He never stopped long enough for someone to point out all the reasons he didn’t belong.

From a side door came a young woman — maybe twenty at most. As her eyes swung over to Hawke — the man with one elbow planted on the counter, his chin in hand — she perked up. “Well, hello,” she smiled wide, showing off a set of teeth bleached whiter than Fenris’ hair.

“Hello back to you,” Hawke chuckled, clearly enjoying the attention. Was there anything Hawke didn’t enjoy?

“Checking-in?” she asked, fingers poised above the keyboard.

“Not entirely,” Hawke confessed. “We ran into the storm outside…”

“It’s awful, isn’t it?” The woman confided in Hawke as if he was a random fellow bar patron and not a customer. “They say we’re liable to get a whole eight inches tonight!” she gasped at the thought.

Here it comes. Fenris folded his arms, anticipating her eyes clearly trailing the muscles even Hawke’s bulky winter jacket couldn’t disguise. The counter kept her from inspecting what she was trying to insinuate, but she certainly tried. As was typical, it all flew over Hawke’s head.

“Maker, I hope not. The shovel I keep in my bed got nicked by Merrill for some garden emergency and I never got a new one.” It was hard to say if Hawke was talking to him or her, or just talking in general. Filling the void with words was his preferred state. “Anyway, we need rooms for the night, but don’t have any reservations.”

“I see,” she brightened at the s added to the room part. Pounding into her keyboard, she mulled over whatever options were there while Fenris paced around in the ‘lobby.’

Bolted to the wall were two chairs with ripped plastic upholstery. There was what looked like a magazine rack beside them, but nothing inside it. And along the wall was a coffee cart, the pot scorched black from years of use.

“Hm,” the woman announced, “I’m sorry to say that we only have one room available.”

“Seriously?” Fenris scoffed. Who would swarm into such a town to the point of overbooking a squalid motel? When he felt the hostess glaring at him, he shook his wet head and turned to face the blizzard. It was more interesting than watching someone fawn over Hawke.

“Is that going to be a problem?” she asked, as if they had any choice.

“Nah,” Hawke’s words grinned. His damn entire being glowed bright as he nearly hopped onto the counter. “We’ll take anything at this point.”

“Okay.” She nodded, inputting whatever they needed to let people sleep in a bed for a night.

Fenris’ blood ran cold. One room. Did that mean…? He strode towards the chuckling Hawke who was giving her his info, and snickered, “Let me guess. One room, snowy night, abandoned on the side of the road.”

“Hey, me and ol’ Blue got us here in one piece. Assuming the bumper didn’t fall off again.”

Not glancing at Hawke for fear of his reaction, Fenris asked the woman, “There’s only one bed, isn’t there?”

She chuckled, her golden hair shaking in the light. It was the same color as the damn abomination’s. “No,” she laughed, “there are two queen sized beds.”

“Oh,” Fenris faded back, his lips pinching at a rise and fall of… He didn’t know, but whatever the emotions in his gut were he wasn’t pleased with their visitation.

“How will you be paying?” she asked, plunging another icy dagger into Fenris’ heart. He’d been scraping by as of late, taking whatever temp jobs he could and playing the ‘which utility can I survive a month without’ game.

“Here,” Hawke dropped down his credit card and slid it towards her. “Put it all on that.”

Fenris hustled at that, hands digging for the ratty wallet in his back pocket. “No, no. I can cover half…”

A hand landed on his bicep, keeping Fenris’ wallet stuck in place. As he glanced to Hawke’s eyes, the man smiled, “Don’t worry about it. I can cover it. Besides, it was my foolish idea to head off on this road trip.”

“That’s…” He despised owing anyone anything. Pay up his debts, move on, don’t look back. Hawke’s baby blues crackled at the edges, the shattering carrying to the sides of his eyes as he gazed at Fenris. Releasing the grip on his barely enough cash, Fenris relented, “That’s true.”

“I’m glad you agreed to come,” Hawke said, fingers drumming on the countertop. “Otherwise it’d just be me all alone in some strange hotel room with nothing to do.”

Fenris turned just in time to watch the woman damn near scatter the key cards. A smile churned in his gut at the thought of ruining at least her plans. Of course, Hawke seemed unaware of the subterfuge occurring, his shaggy head turned towards the downfall building into two foot tall drifts outside.

“Here,” the woman coughed, struggling to lower her voice from the shock no doubt building up her throat, “here are your keys. Room 216.” She passed over the little envelope slip crammed with two of them. “If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call.”

“Thanks,” Hawke picked up both, the pair vanishing in his meaty hand. Nodding his head to Fenris, the two turned towards the truck. While they didn’t have any luggage to pull in, it was probably smart to get it parked before the snow buried it in place in front of the lobby.

“My name’s Sandy!” the woman called, her hand shooting through the air.

Turning on a dime, Hawke threw on his brightest smile, pointed at his chest, and said, “I’m Hawke.”

With a groan, Fenris nudged him in the ribs. “She already knows that.”

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