It was past eight when the travelers walked through the door where Gloria met them, and graciously ushered them to a table.
The woman thanked her when she was seated. “Are you people aware of what the weather is doing out there? We stopped here because the roads are getting too dangerous.”
“What do you mean, dangerous?” Gloria looked out the windows and saw the heavy snowflakes blowing sideways in the wind against the outside lights. “Oh my, I had no idea.” She ran to the kitchen. “Quinton, Ben! There’s a blizzard outside. I mean a real blizzard.”
The men ran to the window to see the storm hurling the snow, drifts already collecting along the sides of the highway. Cue turned to Ben. “Give me the keys to your Jeep, Ben. I won’t be long, so get a fire going while I’m gone. I still have plenty of wood stacked next to the fireplace.” He grabbed the keys from Ben’s hand and ran to the door, shoving his arms through his jacket armholes as he made his way out of Sticks.
Outside, the storm was relentless, but Cue shoved the gears into their 4-wheel drive, and slowly headed down the road toward the local motels. He’d gone maybe five miles when he saw the lights. Pulling into the parking lot, he left the car with the engine still running, and ran from room to room knocking and announcing that he would take them to Sticks where they’d find music, a warm fire, and people to help turn the storm into an enjoyable event. He found several takers and filled the car, promising to be back for the others. Working his way back to Sticks, he made a call to an old friend. “Jim, call your buddies. I need a band tonight, Sticks is having a blizzard party. Have you got a way to get your gear there?”
“Look, man. I’ll see what I can do but this gives new meaning to the phrase, last minute notice.”
Knowing that his singer friend would warm up to the idea, Cue hung up, feeling confidant it would all come together.
It was during Cue’s sixth trip as a taxi driver that his singer friend returned his call. “That’s good. I’ll be by to pick you up within the hour.” Each time Cue unloaded the Jeep, there were more cars and trucks parked at Sticks from travelers who had given up on their stormy travels. His last trip was to pick up the band. They had a van that could make the dangerous trip, so they packed the instruments and started the caravan. It was nearly ten when he helped them unload their gear, making their way through the now packed restaurant.
The band was finally entertaining the crowd when Cue stood in the doorway of the kitchen and smiled at Katie. Looking up, she ran to greet him with a hug. “Cue, we’ve never had this many customers, you’re amazing.” She backed herself into the kitchen. “With your ideas and our incredible friends, Templeton doesn’t have a chance, does he?” She danced around the room with a wooden spoon leading her way.
“Ok, enough of that. Come on, let’s close the kitchen and grab ourselves a real dance.” He pulled her close and kissed her, then led her to the dance floor, not noticing how she’d frozen up during the kiss.
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