AUTHOR JOYCE GODWIN GRUBBS
Trula Kiser felt the freedom of the road as her long black hair flew backwards. It was caught up in the air tunnel created by the eighty miles an hour, the big monster cycle was maintaining. The cycle flew by the Oklahoma countryside with her, as the passenger, for her first time ever on a motorcycle. Already she was thinking she should have tried this sooner in her life, it could become addictive. But, in truth, Judd Miner was the only one who could have convinced her to trust it, and him.
She abandoned herself to the moment throwing caution to the wind and her usual reserved nature with it. The hot sun beat down on her and she unbuttoned her blue denim shirt. Balancing precariously, she was able to remove the blouse. She impulsively found herself holding the shirt by it's shoulders, above her head, letting it flap in the wind like a cape.
The tight pink Harley tank top Judd had given her that morning was now exposed . It showed off her impressive muscular body. She didn’t have a drop of silicone in her body anywhere. At the bottom of the tank top, exposed skin felt the direct air flow above her low cut . It gave the driver’s they were passing, a generous view of her derriere’ leaving no doubt to the initiated observer, she didn’t even bother with thong underwear. She was all au-naturale’.
She heard Judd laughing as he said , "You're getting the hang of this, True Love. It's meant to loosen you up."
He pulled out in the left lane to go around an SUV and she laughed at the exhilaration of being away from phones, responsibilities and on her way to a long awaited reunion.
At the feel of the cycle suddenly braking to slow down, she let her hands grab for the support of Judd's torso as she quickly wrapped her arms around his chest and buried her head against his back. The denim shirt had flown out of her hands and she tried to look back, only to see it flying onto the windshield of the SUV following behind.
The motorcycle’s traction changed as Judd braked, throwing the cycle into a fish tail movement. She heard Judd yell.
"Hold on . We're going to take the ditch."
Without a moment's delay, she found herself airborne as the cycle took the side of the road and sailed into ditch. Thankfully it proved to be fairly level and smooth. She heard voices yelling but at the moment of impact, she had lost her breath, hitting so hard, that she was stunned. Her ability to realize where she was and what had happened, were suspended as she struggled to breathe.
Trula felt the searing pain in her buttocks as her jeans were road burned into the outer layers of her skin. She began her fuzzy return to reality but was still unable to open her eyes and focus as a throbbing pain surged across her head, making her feel as though it would implode.
She could hear voices but she couldn’t assign them to anyone she could call to mind. As she struggled to gain her momentum, she heard a deep male voice shouting commands.
"Don't move. Stay there if you don't want to get hurt".
At the sound of a deep male voice, also came the realization something or someone had her pinned down, Trula's eyes were wide open now, but she could only determine the darkened outline of someone on top of her with a blinding bright light behind them.
She did hear the voice repeating, itself more loudly.
"I mean it. Don't move if you know what's good for you."
At the menacing tone, she tried to assimilate the intent of the warning. Her subconscious could only provide her with information of the past; thus, she was thrust into a memory which had become a recurring nightmare to this present moment
Her eyes sought to validate the truth of her situation, and at that moment, the shadow above her turned and the vision of a man's pony tail, falling over his shoulder toward her, became clear.
Fight and flight took over. Instantly she determined she was in danger, though unclear about the circumstances. With simultaneous actions, she found herself grabbing the pony tail with her left hand, yanking as hard as she could while bringing her knee up as he moved above her. Catching him in the crotch, she followed up with her famous right cross and hit him smack in the middle of his face.
Yelling with pain and blood gushing onto her face from his, she heard an oath of pain and anguish.
"What the hell?”
The aggressor was off of her and doubled up lying along side her. Trula was moving to escape his presence when Judd's voice penetrated her conscious .
"It's okay, it's okay, True Love. I'm here He was just trying to help you."
She looked around wildly and saw Judd on the ground just yards away, blood splattered on his face and shirt. The motorcycle was on top of him and he sounded weak. With no further consideration of the man who had fallen victim to her well rehearsed and executed self protection attack, she forced herself up and ran to the cycle’s driver.
"Oh God, Judd, I'm coming".
She tried to lift the large Harley off of him. Unable to get it up quickly, she yelled at the man still writhing on the ground to help her. "Hurry, he's hurt. I think badly."
The injured man shook his head disbelievingly. He had just been laid out by a woman. As he rose to his 6'5" height he felt the continuing pain between his legs and wasn't sure he could even take a step toward them. With effort, he forced himself to move ahead and reached the downed bike and it's two former occupants.
She was struggling with the bike and calling out to her companion
. "We'll have you free in a moment. Hold on Judd. For god's sake, you better not be hurt because I want to strangle you myself."
So much for feminine concern and caring, thought the injured Samaritan. He even entertained the thought that she could probably strangle her friend without much problem. After all, she had just dealt him a hell of a blow, and he still couldn't figure that one out.
At first he thought she was on drugs or something, but watching her rational and assisting her partner, he realized she was in perfect control. That rankled a little as she hadn’t even given him a glance or offered an apology. After all, he'd just been trying to help.
"Judd, give me your cell phone, I need to call for an ambulance ."
"Here, use mine, it's easier"
The now familiar voice caused her to turn and face him. What she saw caused her to wince. Blood was running from his nose and he was going to have at least one glorious shiner, perhaps two.
"Thanks. Uh, sorry about that. I wasn't quite sure what was happening. Nothing personal".
She turned away as she dialed 911, walking over to where Judd lay and squatted down by him. Finding herself unable to give good information concerning their location, she turned to the good Samaritan .
"Would you mind? I guess I don't have the best information about where we are. We’re from out of state."
Taking the cell phone, he quickly gave information and walked over to a vehicle that had stopped along the road. He spoke to the couple in the vehicle and they both got out running over to Trula and Judd.
"Hi, we hear you could use a couple of paramedics, albeit off duty ones out of their jurisdiction.”
The woman had a bag in her hand and had started opening it to take out supplies. The man had already started assessing Judd for injuries and getting some verbal history including his name.
"You're kidding me. Judd Miner. The actor? I don't believe it. Hey Marie, guess who is laying in the red dirt of Oklahoma.".
Marie had already heard his exclamation and was walking over to join him.
"Sorry Mr. Miner, but Austin is a redneck wanna be. He's forgetting his professional manners."
Austin looked suitably repentant. "Uh, sorry."
Judd managed a faint smile, "It's okay. I'd shake your hand but my arm hurts too damn bad".
Marie and Austin got busy with the work at hand until the faint sound of an ambulance was heard.
Marie looked over at the Good Samaritan.
"Hey Bull, how bad is it? You hit 'em?"
Trula looked over at the man she was addressing as Bull, realizing he and the good Samaritan, were one and the same. He was a big guy, at least six four or five and very fit. His long black hair was banded in the back creating the pony tail effect. He wore low cut jean and a sleeveless shirt completely open and flapping in the hot Oklahoma wind. Blood was drying on his shirt and face and there were splashes on his abdomen by his very impressive six pack.
Trula thought it was too bad they were off to a bad start as he had two of the components she admired; blue eyes and nice and tall. If this had been before her personal nightmare, she would have added the pony tail in, but now it was something that triggered her survival instincts.
"No, actually I was trying to be a Good Samaritan and help."He looked at Trula meaningfully."I was following along behind them when I saw him take the ditch and they spilled. Damn near hit ‘em though, I had a denim shirt over my driver’s window."
A pang of guilt went through her as she realized he had suffered the consequences of her still unhealed mind when she experienced a flash back from her attack; and she had almost caused him to wreck by letting her shirt fly loose blinding him . How do you apologize for decking someone when they were trying to help? And how do you acknowledge being so reckless, letting a shirt just take flight on a highway ? She knew she owed him at the least an apology, and actually a little embarrassing, humble pie, for her carelessness. But, the ambulance was arriving now and she had to check on Judd.
Moving toward Judd she smiled as she approached. He was getting the VIP treatment.
"So is this special treatment or just the usual Oklahoma hospitality?"
The star struck paramedics looked up at her and suddenly realized she hadn't even been ask about an injury.
"Are you okay?" Austin asked quickly. "Let me take a look at you."
"I'm fine" she protested.
"She was knocked out, as far as I could tell when I got to her on the ground." That deep now familiar voice was back " She didn't seem to know where she was or what had happened. Might warrant at least a head check"
He finished with a disapproving look at the two paramedics for not being diligent in their work, and yet Trula hadn’t missed the emphasis on "head check” when he said it. It could have been taken two ways.
Not to be taken to task without a come back, Austin began with a professional comment. "Well, then, Bull. I have to ask, how did you get all that blood all over you. And it looks like you'll have a hell of a shiner shortly. You say you weren’t in the accident, so what gives?"
Trula wondered if that was actually embarrassment on his face under all that blood stain? He seemed to be searching for an answer and began to stammer around.
"I did it" she volunteered.
"You?" blurted out Austin. "No really, what happened?"
The Bull was looking decidedly uncomfortable now.
"It's nothing. No big deal."he warned. He directed a look at Trula that clearly warned her off the topic.
Austin was grinning an impertinent smile as he jibed, "A woman cleaned your clock? What did you do to deserve that. Cop a feel?"
Up to now, the Bull had been congenial about the teasing, but now he looked like a thundercloud.
"Austin, what the hell's the matter with you?" Marie yelled. "Shut your mouth and check him out, if you dare get near him after that crack. I will check her out."
"I"m fine, really. Just take care of Judd." Trula looked at Marie and the look said she wasn't going to be examined, so Marie figured the ambulance guys could handle it. Marie wasn't going to insult the intelligence of the woman standing before her looking like a pretty formidable customer. After all, she did give the Bull something of a pounding from the looks of it. Marie was pretty respectful of personal space and not taking the view that women are weak fish.
The Bull only needed one look to tell Austin to steer clear. Austin was glad to do it because he had seen the Bull more than once in brawls. After all, Okies tended to think that a good black eye or bloody nose was just a rite of passage as a man. No one was going to molly coddle the Bull.
The Bull watched as the ambulance crew was busy stabilizing Judd on the stretcher to load on the ambulance. The highway patrol arrived and approached the victims for a statement. Judd was answering questions about the wreck with one trooper, as the other approached Trula. Bull tracked her with his eyes as she stepped over to the side of the ambulance and was talking. She seemed to be at ease, talking with the officers matter of factly and even smiling. That was in direct contrast to her interactions with him.For having been through a harrowing experience, she sure was calm. Either she was one tough customer, or as they like to say nowadays, ‘she wasn’t in touch with her feminine side’.
The officers were listening intently to her as she spoke, and they looked over at the Bull and smiled at one point. To his ever loving amazement, he felt himself flushing. He turned to walk over to the group and put an end to the conversation being side tracked from the accident.
The officers were trying to get a clear picture of how the accident happened. "What we’re not clear about, is why the cycle was braking, and took the ditch. “
They looked pointedly at Judd who was in a lot of pain and having trouble focusing on the conversation. Trula walked up to his side.
"Judd, the officers need to know what it was that made you slow down so quickly, then take the ditch. I couldn’t see anything except your back and actually the side of the road after I buried my face against your back"
"Did I hit them?" He asked as though not really sure of what was being asked of him.
"No Judd, you didn’t hit anything. But what were you trying to miss?"
"The Armadillos." He answered as though everyone should already know that.
"Armadillos? " ejaculated the group in unison.
"Good god man, don’t you know you almost killed yourself and your passenger over those damn things? Why didn’t you just hit them?"
The Bull seemed exasperated. "I couldn’t see what you were dodging and I barely realized in time you were braking. I couldn’t see a damn thing for that damn shirt."
"Are you always like this? Do you serve cheese with that whine?" Trula spoke sarcastically. "I’ve heard enough about the shirt, ok? We get it. I am sorry. But can you just manage a little compassion? Can’t you see he’s busted up and in pain?"
The Bull was taken aback and completely unprepared for anyone to speak to him like that; especially a woman . Not knowing how he even should respond, he was mute.
Austin and Marie gave each other furtive looks which spoke volumes. They had never seen the Bull take crap from anyone, especially a woman. This was getting more interesting as the moments went by.
Trula turned to Judd putting her hands on his face and leaned forward as though to kiss him as they prepared to lift the stretcher onto the ambulance cart. She spoke softly, with her lips near his ear so no one could hear her.
"As soon as you are back on your feet you tree hugging, Peta freak, I am personally going to kill you for taking ten years off my life to rescue a couple of Armadillo’s."
To the crowd of observers, they thought they had witnessed a tender moment with the famous actor and his sweetheart. Knowing the effect it would have had, if they only knew the truth, Judd tried to laugh, but the pain prevented it.
"Okay, okay. You win round one" he said weakly.
"We need to get him loaded and get the call in to the standby doc at the ER. We’re taking him back to Oklahoma City".
Trula quickly established that she wanted to ride with him, but asked what should they do about the cycle? The troopers said they’d have it transported back to Oklahoma City when they finished their investigation. They still had a couple of measurements and testimony to take from the Bull. They would give them all the info at the hospital.
Trula realized it was now or never for the apology, but as she was about to speak, Austin and Marie were calling her good Samaritan over to their truck and he was answering a cell phone call. She would find out later who he was and send him a thank you. Too bad they met under these circumstances. He was stirring her up inside, and that’s something Judd, had he known it, would have been shocked about.
She couldn’t help enjoying her last sight of him joining Austin and Marie. In a half trot to their truck, shirt flying open and the sweat glistening on his skin, he cut quite a figure. She had to admit, he’d fit right in with Judd’s set in Hollywood. At least as far as looks. Something told her he was a man set on a path and he didn’t let anyone tell him anything, any time. Probably a throw back from the hard headed Sooner/s who had settled this state. With one more appreciative glance, she had an irreverent thought.
"Now there’s a cowboy who could put his boots under my bed, if I ever allow anyone to put their boots under my bed.".
The paramedics slammed the doors on the ambulance as the two ambulance attendants divided themselves; one inside with Judd and Trula, and one driving. The paramedics patted the side of the ambulance to signal it was a go, and the lights and sirens began to wail.
The Bull looked at the departing ambulance and thought it was lucky for him that he had known women like her in the past. They might stir his blood but he wasn’t after any movie star’s groupie. Only a woman with some real substance could attract him beyond the obvious physical attraction. While this one had caught his attention with her dramatic introduction, he didn’t want leftovers from anyone.
He wiped his face with the wet wipe Marie had given him, and realized he wouldn’t forget her quickly. The sore nose and already black eye, would insure that. He picked up his cell phone to return the call he missed when Austin and Marie called him over.
Thoughts of her in her low riders jeans, so tightly hugging her femininity as she stepped into the back of the ambulance, intruded. Then with a shake of his head at remembering she was with her lover he tried to redirect his thoughts.
Too late the image of her braless in that pink Harley tank top had caused him a moment of unsolicited physical response. He was glad he was at his SUV and no one saw him carefully stepping into the truck for more reasons than the knee to the groin he took.Damn woman certainly would be an image he wouldn’t mind conjuring up once in a while but now wasn’t one of those moments. He was going to need ice packs on two places when he got home. Somehow, he thought she would be the kind of woman to keep him in cold showers a lot if she had been around much.
He pushed the cell numbers to retrieve his missed messages and missed calls. A last thought about her came unbidden to him as he accelerated back on to the highway.
"What was that smell in her hair?"He would never forget it."