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Finding Comfort Ch. 01

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This is my first attempt at writing erotic fiction, so please leave any comment you have and vote after you’ve finished reading. A big thanks to AsylumSeeker for his very helpful editing. Enjoy!

For Lily. Hope you’re safe wherever you’re at.

— Emma —

My body is aching pretty badly from walking for the past week down the interstate and I’d eaten the last of my food a few days ago, so the travel has been taking its toll on me. As my poor legs took me farther and farther down the seemingly endless path one painful step at a time, my thoughts turn to how easy it had been to come down this very road only three months ago, before the spread of the infection that caused the people it affected to die and later return as rotting cannibals–or simply Creeps. All I had to do was hitchhike for a couple days, it would be smooth sailing.

Things are much more different now, though. Where once I could just stick out my thumb and catch a ride with relatively friendly people, now I can only hope for the off chance that someone on the road will actually stop for a complete stranger. Even if someone does stop there’s always the question of payment, which I’ve either been unable or unwilling to provide. My hopes of making it to the next town are running dry with each passing minute, almost as dry as my throat is feeling now.

The Californian Sun is relentless today and didn’t have the courtesy to hide itself behind a cloud for the shortest length of time. Looking up away from my feet to check for any cars coming from behind me, my attention is drawn to the road sign ahead and I can feel my heart nearly skip a beat in my excitement. Shade at last! My joy is so great that I trip over myself trying to get underneath it despite my foot’s protest and plop down once I arrive. I immediately begin rummaging through my backpack for one of the few bottles of water I have left, and when I eventually find one I down it quicker than I have ever done in my entire life. The cool water passing by my lips feels glorious and I nearly choke in my haste to drink it. Savoring the last few drops of water, I let out a long sigh as I put the empty bottle on the ground beside me. There isn’t much else in the world that could compare to how I feel now after having rehydrated myself. For the briefest of moments I’m in a state of complete bliss, that is until my tummy, having had a taste of water, begins bringing back the incessant pain to remind me I haven’t eaten in what seems like years.

Placing a hand on my stomach to quell the ache, I lie down and reflect on home. This is the first time I’ve ever been outside of Oklahoma, I have rarely gone more than a couple cities past my small hometown until a few months ago, and now I may never get back. I was a fool to leave in the first place, I didn’t just leave my parents and the hateful jackasses behind; I left my friends, family and everything else I ever cared about. My entire life is back there, and it was all left behind when I decided to run. I just hope everything and everybody is still there when or if I get back, I’m not sure I’d be able to deal with it if everything is gone.

After resting for a good while and feeling a little better, my resolve is renewed and I sit back up to continue walking along the road. Before heading off, I realize that in the thrill of finding shade I had forgotten to read the road sign. I move to the other side and find that the next town is forty-five miles farther down the road. Fantastic, it’s probably going to take me the rest of today to get there. It occurs to me that I might need to spend the night on the road instead of entering the town. The Creeps living there, or what qualifies as living, will be walking about the town during the night, and I can’t risk searching for a safe place to sleep with them around.

Now ready to take off again, I resume my march down the interstate, and the familiar pain in my feet join my stomach’s after walking for about a quarter hour. Suddenly, I feel Nature’s call and so I venture off the path and squat behind a bush to make water. I know there’s not really a point in preserving my modesty when there’s nobody on the road, and so few people alive even, but it’s important to me to hold onto things from before the infection, even if it’s taking a leak in private. While relieving myself I look back at the road and my eyes go wide. There’s a car coming my way! I quickly finish my business and pull my shorts back up before running back to the road and extend my hand out. It’s moving at an agonizingly slow speed and my stomach feels like its knotting up as it gets near I close my eyes and hold my breath. Please stop, please stop, please stop.

A few moments later I realize there’s a voice speaking to me. “Hello? Do you need a ride?”

Opening my eyes, I see a raven-haired woman leaning out of the driver side window and my hands immediately slide into my pockets. “Um, yeah, could you please give me a ride to the next town over?” My head dropped dops and I shift my feet. casino oyna “I have some rubbing alcohol leftover… or maybe a few aspirins?” Please let that be payment enough.

“I can’t take you into the town, but you can come with me to set up camp just outside” she says and gestures towards the car. “Come on over and hop in.”

“Thank you so much,” I blurt while unzipping my pack and walking toward the window to hand her the bottle of disinfectant. “You have no idea how much this means to me.”

She gives me a big smile and says, “It’s not a problem, just hurry up and get in. It’ll be dark soon and we don’t want you being attacked by the Creeps, do we?”

I couldn’t believe my luck as I go over to the passenger side, I’m getting a ride and I’ll have a place to stay the night at. The smell of sweat hits my nostrils as I open the door which is enough to make me almost forget how hungry I am; the car is filled with old clothes, a variety of rusty tools and who knows what else. Thank god the windows are open, hopefully the wind will push the stench out.

She must have noticed the look on my face because she laughs and says, “Sorry about the odour, I’ve been camping outside the cities and the car serves as my mobile storage locker.” She flicks a finger at the multiple hanging air fresheners and frowns. “I guess these things aren’t working as well as I thought they were.”

We take off and a few seconds later she turns her head a little to look at me and keep an eye on the road. “So what’s your name, sweetie, and where are you headed? I’m Taylor.”

“My name’s Emma, and I’m trying to get back home.” I add with a frown, “California didn’t have what I was looking for.”

“I’ve heard that story before. The cure for the infection isn’t in California. Believe me, I’ve checked.”

And I’ve heard that before as well. Most people who traveled out west were investigating the rumors that a cure had been discovered and was being sold to whoever could afford it, but I knew better than to believe that. More often than not, a group of bandits would lure them into their hideouts with promises of a cure and subsequently rob them of everything they had. No, I traveled all this way out of desperation for something else.

“I wasn’t searching for the cure.”

She furrows her brow. “No? The cure is what draws practically everyone here. If not for that why did you come here, then?

I don’t want to tell her why I’m here but there’s no way out of her question I can think of, so I decide to give her the short version. “My brother… but he’s gone, so I’m going back home.”

Taylor turns her eyes away from me for a few seconds before looking back. “I’m sorry. I know what it’s like to lose someone you love, too.”

“Pete is not dead! He’s probably with the navy somewhere still, helping to fight the Creeps.” A curious look forms on her face and after a few moments I realize I might have overreacted to an innocent statement.

A couple minutes pass by with me staring out the window and neither of us speaking a word before Taylor breaks the silence to change the subject. “So where’s home for you, Emma? Somewhere in the south, right? You sound like an Okie to me. Your accent reminds me of a girlfriend I once had from before everything went to shit.”

Girlfriend? Did I hear that right? I could feel my face getting warm.

Taylor laughs. “Are you blushing because you’re embarrassed I nailed it or because of what I just said?”

My eyes dart to meet hers for a brief second before jumping away again, I didn’t notice what a pretty shade of green they were before… I think I might be blushing even more now. Damn my pale complexion. “Um, no. I mean yes. I mean, yeah, you nailed it, I’m an Okie.”

She gives me a quizzical look and says, “Relax, honey, it’s nothing to get worked up over. In fact, I think your accent is a little cute.”

I don’t know what to say and begin trying to think of a way to change the subject. Thankfully my belly does it for me with a loud and painful growl.

“Are you hungry? We’re getting near the rest stop I was planning on setting up camp at, and I’ve got a few things to eat in the back.” Taylor cranes her neck behind the seat. “…Somewhere.”

Relieved by the fortunate change in conversation and excited by the prospect of finally getting something, even whatever it is that’s buried beneath the pile of sweaty clothes and god knows what else, to eat I gush, “Oh my god, yes! I ran out of food days ago and haven’t eaten anything since.”

But my delight is quickly slashed down. Tilting my head down and rubbing my tummy I say, “But I don’t really have much left to trade for food.”

I’m fruitlessly digging through my backpack looking for something I can part with when I feel a hand brush back a lock of mocha hair from my moist eyes. “Don’t worry about that, Emma, I’m not going to let you starve just because you can’t pay me.”

Sniffling I ask, “Are you serious? I’ve been told that before only to find out later canlı casino there’s a different kind of payment they want.”

Those mossy discs of hers widen and her mouth gapes open a little. “What? There’s no way I’d take advantage of you that way. And yes, I am serious. I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I did let you starve because, and besides, I’ve got a promise to keep with an old friend.”

Hearing Taylor say that is truly surprising, there was a time when I would have that that was something anyone in the world would do. But if living away from home, especially since the Creep infection spread, has taught me anything it’s that people are selfish by nature and generally won’t go out of their way to help another person in need when it won’t benefit them in some way.

“Thank you, thank you so much.” My voice was shaking and I quickly leaned over to wrap my arms around her, burying my face into her shoulder. “I wish more people were like you.”

Taylor gently presses her mouth against my ear. “Shhh, sweetie, it’s all right.” She brushes the hair from my eyes and wipes a droplet of warm moisture away before hooking her arm around my body to hold me. “We’re almost there now, do you think you can wait for just a little bit longer?” I nod my head and allow myself to feel comforted in this woman’s strong arms as I close my eyes. The pain gnawing at my stomach doesn’t hurt as much with her holding me tight like this.

I can feel the car slow down a little and the soft rocking of the floor; we must be off the main road, it can’t be long now. My thoughts turn to my favorite meal my mom used to make me when I was feeling down: chicken fried steak, fried okra, and mac and cheese, all followed by a heavenly slice of pecan pie… I would give just about anything on Earth to have a home cooked meal like that one last time.

I must have drifted off because my eyelids slowly part and I see these brilliant green orbs looking right at me as Taylor nudges me awake. “We’re here, hun. Come and help me get the camp set up. The sooner we get this done the sooner we can eat.”

Not wanting to wait a second more than I had to I quickly get up and step outside. The fresh air is a welcome change from the confines of the car and I suck in a big breath of it to clear my mind. Looking around, I notice the sun is setting and the lightning bugs are coming out to light up the night. The setting sun is casting a lovely glow over the horizon and onto the many wildflowers that are growing around me. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen such a beautiful place, and I’m feeling pretty happy that I’ll be sleeping here in the open…especially since Taylor will be near me.

I walk around the car and find Taylor sitting on the ground fumbling with a duffle bag. She pulls out a grey tent case, and I notice the orange one beneath it.

Kneeling down in the grass beside her I ask, “What can I do to help? I’ve never set one of these up before.”

Her eyes catch mine and she raises her eyebrows. “You mean you’ve never been camping before? How does a country girl like you miss out on that?”

My gaze drops down from hers and I pick at a random blade of grass. “I’ve gone camping before. My brother or daddy always set the camp up is all.”

Taylor lets out a chuckle. “Well, it sounds like someone is going to be learning how to tonight, then.” Looking at me biting my fingernails she adds, “It’s not that difficult, don’t worry. I’ll tell you what to do.”

With that she unpacks the tent from the bag and lays all the parts out on the ground. Together we carefully put everything together and have it set up in no time. I’m glad she helped me do it, I may need to do this again in the future.

“Wow, it’s much bigger than I expected,” I say, “it looked so small in the bag.”

“Yeah, it’s certainly an upgrade from my older tent and is pretty easy to carry around. This one is made for two, you know?”

Our eyes meet and I bite my lower lip. “T-two?”

“Yes, you’re okay with that, right? I mean, I still have my older tent if you’re not, and I’d completely understand if you aren’t.”

I sigh inwardly, I thought we were going to be separated. “No, I’m fine. It’s just that… never mind.”

Taylor puts a hand on my shoulder. “You don’t have to worry about offending me, sweetie, I know it’s awkward for someone not like me to sleep with another woman in the same tent together. Here, you can even use this one. I’ll go set up the other for myself, okay?”

She turns to walk back towards the car.

“No!”

She turns back around and gives me a puzzled look. My gaze immediately drops to my feet and I can feel myself blushing hard. “It’s fine, really. Please, forget I said anything.”

Still looking at me with the same expression she says, “Okay… let’s get inside, then. It’s getting dark.”

Following her inside and sitting on the floor I pull off my backpack and unroll my sleeping mat, resting my head against the pillow. Taylor pulls hers right next to kaçak casino mine and says, “I’m just going to get the rest of my stuff from the car. I’ll be sure to grab some food for us, too, okay?”

My belly rumbles loudly at the mention of food and I rub it with my hand; I’d forgotten how hungry I am after almost having to sleep away from Taylor. I nod my head in acknowledgement and watch her leave while reaching back inside my pack to get my sleeping clothes, a set of my favorite pink pajamas. I know it’s not the best clothing for the cold nights that follow the blistering heat, but they remind me of home and a time before my life was turned upside-down. Hurriedly removing my travel clothes before Taylor comes back, I slip out of my shorts and T-shirt to replace them with my lighter pajamas.

When Taylor comes back into the tent she has a big grin on her face and announces “I’ve got something I think you’ll like.”

She walks over to me and sets down her unzipped backpack which I start searching and pull out a bag of honey glazed pecans.

My face instantly lights up. “No way, I can’t believe you have these!”

“I forgot I had them, to be honest; I’ve never been much for nuts. I only remembered them when you started muttering something about pecan pies.”

Frantically opening up the bag of nuts I grab a couple and pop them into my mouth. I can’t remember the last time something tasted so sweet.

Taylor reaches for the bag she brought in and says, “Woah, slow down there cowgirl. Here, let me get you something to go down with that.” She lifts out a small jar filled with applesauce and twists open the lid. “I’ve always been a sucker for apples.” She pours some into a tin cup. “Try some, I made it myself.”

“You really made your own applesauce?”

Taylor’s chin tips up slightly. “Yeah, and I’ve got a bunch more in the car. It’s real easy to make, actually. All you need is a bunch of apples and a little know-how. The best part is that if it’s canned right it can last for a pretty long time.”

Raising the cup to my mouth and sampling a little, I’m surprised by its taste. It’s not as sweet and is thicker than what I’m used to, but not necessarily in a bad way. I notice her staring at me with those lovely eyes of hers and I begin feeling embarrassed under her gaze. “It’s good, isn’t it?”

Putting a few pecans into my mouth for an excuse to remain silent, I simply nod in response.

A couple handfuls of nuts and scoops of applesauce later, we start to lie down and bid each other goodnight. She is on her side facing my direction, and I don’t think I could do the same and get any sleep, so I curl up a little facing away from her.

It’s strange to me how it can be so hot during the day but get as cold as it is now at night. I can feel goosebumps form on my skin and I start shivering slightly, so I pull my blanket as tight as I can against myself and gently rub my arms. Taylor’s sudden whisper coming from behind causes me to jump.

“Emma, are you okay?” Taylor puts a hand on the back of my shoulder. “You’re freezing!”

“No, I’m f-fine, r-really.”

“No you’re not. Come here.” I feel her strong arms wrapping around me, turning me towards her and pulling me close. She’s holding me still and is burning a hole through my head with her stare–oh, those eyes….

“There, isn’t that much warmer?” My face is certainly getting warmer as I feel myself going red.

I try to hide from that gaze by turning my head into her shoulder. “It’s better, I guess. Thanks.”

Taylor slips an arm underneath the pillow we’re sharing while keeping her other draped across my side and after a long while says, “Emma, do you want to stay with me for a while longer? I know you want to get home but I’m planning on heading East after I finish gathering more supplies. It might take a while, but I don’t think you really have any other option.”

I definitely want to stay with her, I don’t think I ever want to leave but I can’t bring myself to say so. Instead, I try to act offended at her calling me incapable even though it’s probably true.

“What do you mean? I made it here before and it wasn’t that hard.”

She laughs. “This coming from the girl I found dying of hunger on the side of the road and baking in the sun. How did you even make it to California?”

“I hitchhiked when I ran–I mean left home to find my brother.”

Taylor’s mouth drops. “Wait. You’re a runaway, and from before the virus?”

I can feel tears welling up as I turn my head into her neck. With my voice shaking I admit, “Yes.” Droplets started running down my cheeks and I ask, “Will you really take me with you?”

She rubs my back soothingly. “Of course, sweetie, you don’t have to worry. Will you tell me why you ran away from your parents?”

Memories of my secret rush through my mind and how everyone reacted when they found out. I don’t want the same to happen with her, but she’s different. She’s like me. “I don’t know… I’ve only ever told two people and it didn’t turn out so well the last time.”

“You can trust me, Emma.” She cups my chin tenderly with her fingers and her eyes shift downwards to meet my teary ones. “I won’t betray you, no matter what it is.”

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