Elizabeth slammed her palm repeatedly into her Jeep's horn. 

"Come on! It's just a little snow." She groaned and put her elbow to the window and rested her head against her hand. 

"Well, it is a blizzard, Lizzy." Kate said from the passenger seat. 

They were trying to get on the local highway but traffic on the ramp was stopped. Outside, snow was coming down in sheets. Some said the flakes were as big as baseballs, and they covered the roads quicker than the plows could make a second pass. There was a red Prius in the guard rail at the end of the ramp, and a blue Honda in their bumper. The cars were sideways with the Honda's back end pointing into a snow bank, making it almost almost impossible to squeeze past them. Cars started filing in behind Elizabeth, trapping them. 

"I just want coffee," Elizabeth groaned. 

"We could've made coffee at my place," Kate stared out the window at the falling snow. 

They had been roommates in college, put together automatically because they were from the same town. They had tolerated each other enough their freshman year to be roommates for the rest of their college careers, even when they got a house with three other girls. After graduation they had both moved back home. Elizabeth was working as a teacher's aide at the elementary school she had attended, while Kate was working part time at the mall. 

"Looks like we're going to be stuck until they can get a tow truck here." Kate crossed her legs and pulled her coat collar up. 

Elizabeth turned to look at her friend. Her hair fell perfectly around her face with little effort. Brown with natural highlights, and a hint of red when the sun hit it right. She wore glasses with big rims, but it only made her eyes more interesting to look at. Kate was always the one the boys would be looking at whenever they threw house parties. Elizabeth once caught an old boyfriend staring at her as she walked down the hallway in a towel after a shower one morning.  

Kate turned her eyes toward Elizabeth, "What?" 

Elizabeth shook her head and turned away, "Nothing. I just hate how pretty you are." 

Kate laughed but she didn't know how jealous Elizabeth used to get of her, still gets of her. Elizabeth felt like she was progressing in her career, but still envied watching Kate work whenever she would visit her at the mall. She was so fluid and spoke with confidence that people would buy anything she told them to. 

"You're pretty too!" Kate said. 

"Yeah, pretty with something extra," Elizabeth grabbed her stomach and pinched her skin. 

"Oh, stop." 

Elizabeth smiled and looked out the windshield. The owner of the Prius had gotten out and was trying to shovel a path for cars behind his car. He wasn't going to get anywhere, and the effort was pathetic, though appreciated. She frowned again. All the effort Kate put into their friendship, Elizabeth hadn't always appreciated. 

A blaring horn sounded behind her car and a black Dodge truck pulled alongside her car, plowing over a snowbank. 

"Where are you going, jackass? There's no room for you!" Elizabeth yelled, as if the truck driver could hear her. 

The truck reached the Prius and laid on his horn. The Prius owner threw his arms wide and gestured wildly before giving up and going back in his car. The truck slowly started to inch forward, and now the Prius was honking his horn. The Dodge hit the snowbank which covered the guard rail and couldn't go forward anymore. He tried to back up but ended up spinning his tires and jerking his truck back and forth. 

"Want me to stand in front of your car so he doesn't hit you?" Kate asked. 

"Why? So this dumbass could hit you instead?" 

Kate shrugged, "At least I'd be helping." And smiled.

"You're too good for me, but no." Elizabeth sighed and looked at her hands. 

"Hm? What's up?" Kate asked. 

Elizabeth shrugged, "Nothing."

"Come on, Lizza. What is it," Kate goaded. "Cat got your tongue? Frog in your throat? Snow storm got you blinded? Douche in a truck got you mad?"

"Definitely the last one."

Kate laughed and leaned her head back on the head rest. "Remember that bad storm in Junior year? When Alyssa's car got stuck on the road and we had to call Jason to help us shovel?"

Elizabeth stared straight ahead.

"Man," Kate shook her head. "At least he was good for something, I guess."

"Yeah, I guess."

"what do you mean, 'you guess'? Jason was a douche every other time."


"But he was pretty cute," Kate shrugged. "And good in bed."

Elizabeth gripped the steering wheel, "Yeah, he was."

"What?" Kate Turned to face her in the passenger seat.

Elizabeth sighed and took a long breath in. "Well, there's something I never told you. You won't like it."

"Tell me," Kate interrupted her. Her face had gone red.

"You're going to hate me."

"I'll hate you if you don't tell me."

Elizabeth turned in her seat and faced her friend. She looked her in the eye, deep, knowing eyes. Truthful eyes of a friend.

"I slept with Jason when you were still together."

Kate's hand shot out and caught Elizabeth across the cheek.

"How could you? I mean, I knew he cheated, but with you? Why? We were best friends!"

"You had everything!" Elizabeth said while rubbing her throbbing cheek. "Boyfriend, parents who paid your tuition, good grades, hot. All I was good at was holding my liquor, if that's even an accomplishment. I got mad at how perfect your life was and I don't know, I messed up!"

"Perfect? My parents paid my tuition to try to one up the other in the divorce. I escaped into school as a distraction. Out of all that we've been through, I never thought we'd go through this."

At this time a tow truck shouldered its way through the ramp, along with a roadside assistance van. Three men got out and started yelling and gesturing and tying chains to the stuck cars.

"Well, what do you want to do now?" Elizabeth asked. "It was a long time ago, I was drunk when it happened. The only reason I never told you was because we were roommates. After that I just kind of...forgot."

"Forgot that you betrayed my trust?" Kate threw her hair over her shoulder and turned to look out the window.

They sat in silence for a while, watching the tow truck maneuver the cars out of the ditch. They turned this way, backed up a foot, turned that way, backed up two. The process repeated itself on and on again. When the cars were finally free, Elizabeth spoke up again.

"So, what do you want to do?"

Kate sighed and thought for a moment.

"Get me a coffee. Then take me home."

January 11, 2020 03:54

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