By eleven the two friends were packed and ready to go. Fred started up the car and turned on the heater. It coughed up a gust of cold air. He switched it off. "Dam! This sucks!" he complained.
"Tell me about it! Another shitty New Years Eve and this time in the snow!" added Sam, "If it wasn't for you I would never have come here."
"So its my fault now!"
"No, that's not what I said."
"Well let me tell you something. If you hadn't been checking out pretty boy we wouldn't be here!"
"Yeah, well who got us lost in the rain the first time!"
"I was not lost! The road was closed. What was I supposed to do?"
"Try using a map or maybe your brain."
"You're such an asshole!"
By the time they were back in town they were furious. Putting their anger aside momentarily, they pulled up in front of Sally's shop. Pretending that nothing was wrong they went inside. Sally was ringing up a purchase. Sam and Fred waited for the customer and than thanked Sally for her concern.
"No problem. We just weren't sure how prepared you were for the weather," she said with a smile, "so, you heading home?"
"Yeah, guess so," shrugged Fred.
"You two want to join me for a cup of coffee before you leave. I was about to ask Mark to join me," she suggested.
"That sounds great," answered Fred trying not to let his feelings towards Mark show.
"I'm trying to cut back. I'll just hang out here," said Sam with a forced smile.
He was hoping it would not seem rude. Fred and Mark were the last people he wanted to join for coffee. Sally did not seem to mind. She called her brother to watch the store. He emerged from the back of the store somewhat annoyed but the sight of company cheered him up. When Sam did not go with the others Tom leaned over the counter and asked him why.
"Uh, Coffee makes for a lot of pit stops," answered Sam.
"Oh, Yeah. Does that to me too," said Tom, "So you going back already?"
"Yeah camping's not so great in the cold."
"We were a little worried about you last night."
"We were alright just, you know, trying to get away from the city. We were hoping to spend New Year's Eve here but looks like that won't happen."
"Just because you can't go camping doesn't mean you have to leave town," said Tom looking down at the counter, " we're not a party town but I guess that wasn't want you were looking for."
Sam loved the way Tom seemed a little shy sometimes. He blushed slightly as he looked away. Now Sam was wishing he could stay a few more days. Normally he would have been able to talk Fred into it but after their drive into town he could only hope that Sally would give him a reason to stay.
"I would like to stay a while but I think Fred wants to go home," explained Sam.
Tom looked up at him and their eyes met for a brief moment. Then Tom looked away. A customer came in saving them from an awkward silence. Sam wandered around the store as Tom helped the lady find a knit cap. As soon as she found what she wanted another customer walked in followed by a couple with two children. Sam sat on a chair near the back of the shop and wished that he could spend some time with Tom.
When Sally and Fred came back Sam was surprised to see a genuine smile on Fred's face. Fred approached Sam cautiously and choosing his words carefully asked Sam if he would mind spending another day in town.
"We might as well," sighed Sam disguising his own happiness, "What'd they put in your coffee Mr. sunshine?"
"Look I'm sorry man, I thought Sally was dating Mark. That's why I was so pissed."
"You thought Sally was dating Mark?"
"Yeah, but she's not! Mark practically arranged a date for her and me! We're going to a dance or something tonight."
"I can't believe you thought they were dating! Mark's gay."
"How the hell do you know?"
"I saw him and him and Tom flirting with each other."
"Oh," Fred suddenly realized why Sam had been so unhappy, "Maybe its nothing serious."
"They all but kissed right in front of me."
"I'm sorry, Sam."
Sam did not answer. He just shrugged his shoulders. He did not want Fred's pity and did not know what to say. Sally interrupted the awkward moment.
"Are you two gonna stick around?" she asked.
"Yeah, we are," smiled Fred.