Lighting the Fire Within

(Part 1 from 2)

As if I were dreaming, I woke up shivering cold. It took me a moment to open
my eyes and realize that it was not a dream. It was harsh reality. It was as
cold inside as it was outside.

As my feet hit the cold, hardwood floor, I nearly leaped back into bed. It
was so horribly cold. I slid my feet into my slippers, wrapped my blanket
around me and went to tap on the thermostat and turn it up. There was
nothing. No noise, no click, no nothing.

Looking out the window and turning on the TV didn't give me any brighter
picture to the way today was going to go. It was snowing out, and the
weather channel said with the wind chill, it 60 below 0 degrees Fahrenheit

"It's 60 below 0 degrees inside, too," I said aloud, rubbing my arms and
trying to keep warm. I should have had something warmer on than just a
t-shirt and panties. The blanket that covered my snow-white body wasn't
helping a whole lot.

The wind outside howled in an almost inhuman manner, the type that you hear
on late night horror movies. I could hear tree branches falling off trees,
roofing flapping, and windows creeking. There was a breeze coming through
the old farmhouse that I called home.

"Ugghhh, did you have to do this on the coldest day of the year?" I asked
the furnace. I really wanted to kick the thing but figured that really
wouldn't do me much good. "Please start. It's too cold for this."

Shivering, I went to the phone and called for service. "Oh, please pick up.
Please be able to come over," I whispered, as it rang. I didn't know how
long I could stand to be this cold. Even under blankets, it was extremely
cold in the house. I didn't know how long a person could last inside a
drafty old farmhouse with no heat when a blizzard roared outside.

I was on hold for what seemed like hours after they picked up. I hoped they
weren't too busy to come over. And I hoped they could make it driving the
way it was outside.

This was one time I wished I didn't live so far out in the middle of
nowhere. My few friends and family had questioned my sanity when I moved so
far out into the country, but I had a need to live here, to be away from

"I will have someone come over some time today, Ma'am," the woman's voice
over the phone said, and I wondered what "some time today" meant.

"Okay, thank you, but please hurry. It's so cold here," I said, thinking
maybe if I stressed it enough, she would have pity on me and send someone
right away.

"I understand that, but there are others with the same problem," she said,
with no pity in her voice whatsoever.

After hanging up the phone, I ran to my room and put on a pair of pink
velour sweatpants and covered my body in a heavier blanket. "I hope they
hurry," I said, standing at the front window, watching the snow fall by the
buckets. I hoped they could make it out at all. The wind whistled through
the trees and slammed the hinges open and shut. It was annoying to listen to
but I wasn't going to go out and do anything about it.

After going over and cuddling on the sofa with a heating pad, I started
wondering if it would be the regular gasman that would come to fix the
furnace. Now there was one man that could keep me warm even without the
heat. In the five years I had lived here, he was the same person every time.
I didn't mind though. I'd had a crush on him since the first time I'd seen
him. There was just something about him that radiated around me. He was the
utility person that I had ever talked to while he was there. I just couldn't
resist his blue eyes, his long hair that was neatly trimmed on the sides,
and his lean, muscular body.

A warmth suddenly ran through my body as I thought of the times that he was
there. I'd wished I could somehow get his attention like he did mine. And
there was also a safe feeling that filled me when he was near me.

After an hour of shivering, I heard the click of the heater turning on. It
shocked me, and I ran over to see if it was okay. As luck would have it, it
was working perfectly. One minute after thanking God for heat, I cursed the
furnace again.

It happened every time. Whenever my furnace decided to stop working, it
would go back on right before the gasman got to my house to check it out. It
was getting to the point where I was worried that he would think I just
wanted him over. Well, wanting him over was beside the point. I certainly
wouldn't call him over on a false run.

"Now that man is going to think I'm stupid," I said to the heater. Rational
or not, talking to it made me feel less frustrated. I figured it was better
than what I really wanted to do with it.

Just then I saw the gas truck pull up in the driveway. If he had just pulled
up a few minutes before, he would have heard what it was doing. Now it was
going to work fine until he left. I could almost bet on it.

Taking a deep breath, I opened the door and watched him walk up the front
steps. I really couldn't take my eyes off him. Even in all the warm clothes
that donned that gorgeous body, I could see how strong he was. I wished for
his arms around me.

"What did you do to the furnace now?" He teased. There was that smile that
brightened his face and came out his eyes. It was almost mesmerizing.

The snow blew all around him and the wind howled louder. I didn't know how
he made it, but I was sure glad he did.

"Nothing," I laughed, feeling guilty that I brought him out. "It's working
fine. It went on just now." I smiled back as he brushed past me going
through the door. His body was so warm next to mine that it made me take in
a deep breath and close my eyes for what seemed like minutes.

"Sure, it did," he said, teasing me more. "You just wanted to bring me out
in this weather to for nothing." He was not only good looking on the
outside. He was great on the inside as well. There was a kindness to him
even when he was being humorous.

"I swear, it did," I said, laughing, desperately taken by the handsome man
in front of me. It was such an odd feeling to me to be that infatuated with
someone. I had given up relationship, even most of my friendships, because
sometimes they were just too much trouble. They always seemed to end so
badly. So I had become a hermit most of the time, only letting in people
that I had to.

"Well, let's see if I can see what it's doing, or isn't doing," he said,
kneeling down on the floor in front of the heater. He took the side panel
off the furnace and as he did, I never took my eyes off him. I wondered if
he could feel me staring at him through the back of his head, but I just
couldn't help it. I wanted so much to take the ponytail out of his hair and
run my fingers through it.

"Not a chance of that. It's working fine now. It just wanted me to look
stupid," I said. "It must be male," I teased.

He flashed me a quick "I can't believe you said that" look, but instead
said, "That would explain it." He smiled at me, and then went back to
looking at the furnace. I stared as he fiddled with it, turning it on and
off a few times. Each time, it worked perfectly. "I think you were imagining

I bent down at the waist, the blanket that wrapped warmly around me falling
to the floor. I put my hands under his shirt on his stomach, and he jumped
and moved my hands away in a hurry.

"Your hands are freezing," he said, with his eyes lit up and that melting
smile on his face. He glanced down at my almost exposed breasts. Through my
white t-shirt, my cold, hard nipples poked through the material. "Let him
look," I thought.

"I told you it wasn't working," I laughed, as he held tight to my hands so I
didn't put them on him again.

"I believe. I believe," he said. From the looks of things, you would have
thought we were old friends when we had really only talked a few times
before. But there seemed to be some kind of attraction and connection
between us. "Well, I'm going to order it a few things, and I will be back
tomorrow to put them in," he said.

"With my luck, it will go out again," I said, pouting. "And you won't be
here." All I really could think of was him coming back. I didn't know what
was wrong with me. I had never been very social, yet I found myself really
wanting to be with him. I had so much fun when he was around.

He stood, and I looked way up at him. I hadn't realized before how much
taller he was than me. "Wow! You sure are tall," I said, in amazement. He
smiled down at me and with one arm wrapped it around my waist and pulled me
close to him. I wanted to turn toward him, wrap my arms around his body and
melt into him. I knew that I didn't want him to let go. I stood almost
frozen, waiting to see what would happen next.

"Keep warm until I get back," he said, and then let go and walked out the

"I would be warmer if you were here to keep me that way," I said, not
knowing where that statement came from. It wasn't like I went around all the
time and tried to pick up every utility guy. I just couldn't seem to help
myself. It almost felt like destiny. I just felt like I knew I didn't want
to let him go this time. I would make sure he noticed me. This man was just
very special, and I had known it for a long time.

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