Kelly met Frank on a snowy night in January because Megan kept her late at Patrick’s bar.

“Megan, it’s snowing. We need to go.”

“Just one more,” Megan pouted like a kid, her lips full and red.

By the time they left, Kelly’s windshield wipers whooshed and whooshed against the heavy snow.

A block from home, her old Chey slid and got stuck.

“This is all your fault.” Kelly banged the dashboard.

“Lighten up, Kelly.”

“Yeah, you’re my best friend. But I don’t ever want to be as light as you.”


Then Frank and his two brothers walked down the street, laughing and talking.

Frank’s older brother had a cabin in the Poconos where’d he’d take his brothers to practice shooting bottles hung from trees.

“Stay away from those crazy Italians and their guns,” Kelly’s mother said. “They could be gangsters.”

One of Frank’s brothers pointed at the car and laughed. Frank shoved them aside. “Don’t be assholes.” He banged on the window. He wasn’t wearing a hat. The snow lined the edge of his hair. His eyes shone in the moonlight and the reflection from the falling snow. “Hey, hon, you need some help?”

“He could help me,” Megan whispered.

Kelly rolled the window down. “I’m stuck. Like you didn’t know it.”

Frank laughed. What kind of man could stand in the freezing cold and blowing snow and laugh like that?

Kelly walked out. “You can wait here,“ she said to Megan.

“Let’s go,“ Frank said to his brothers. “We’ll take care of you, babe.”

One of his brothers mumbled something about taking care.

Frank grabbed his arm. “Watch your mouth.” He turned to Kelly. “I’ve noticed you watching us when we wash our cars on the street. I’ll bet your mom has a lot to say about us Italians.”

If she wasn’t bundled up, Frank would have seen Kelly blush.

“You don’t have to tell me. But I’ll tell you what we say about you Irish girls.”

Kelly flinched.

“We say they’re the most beautiful women on earth.”

She smiled. “Well, I’ll tell you, we say Italians are masters of the blarney.”

Frank laughed and his loud laugh echoed in the soft silence of the falling snow. To her surprise, Kelly laughed, too.

“So, is this a party, or are you going to take me home?” Megan stood next to them.

Frank smiled.

Kelly said, “I’ll take you home. “

Frank whispered and asked for her number, and she whispered it back.

“I saw you looking at him,” Kelly said to Megan when she got in the car. “He’s mine. I gave him my number.”

“You’d better hang on to him.“ Megan said.

Kelly had plans. Become a dental assistant. Find a nice Irish boy and settle down. In the 60s that was what nice Irish girls did. She figured she had slipped, but she could just put Frank off if he called. But she also knew even if she married someone else, there would be nights, especially in winter when snow fell, that she’d watch the blowing snow, and think of Frank, and the snow, and his laugh. So, when Frank called and asked if she’d go out, she said yes.

They soon became a couple. Megan hung around with them.

Frank took her and Megan to his brother’s place in the mountains for a day. He held a gun. “You girls got to try.”

“No,” Kelly said.

“Lighten up,” Frank said.

Frank put his large, warm hand around her hand. “You can do it, babe.”

She did, and the bottle shattered, and Kelly jumped and laughed, and Frank hugged her, and she was glad she took a chance on him.

Then one day she noticed. Frank and Megan always seemed close to each other. Were they whispering?

Frank often ran off for an hour or two. Too often he’d come back with a vague excuse that made no sense.

When she’d complain, Frank would say, “Lighten up, Kelly. Just lighten up.” Like he’d heard it before. From Megan?

Megan lived half a block away.

Kelly knew she shouldn’t do it, but one afternoon, when Frank said he had to run for a few minutes, she went and stood outside Megan’s. She saw him go in.

What could she do?

She went home. She spent the afternoon drinking. The hard stuff. Gin and tonic. More gin than tonic.

Frank had given her a gun, for safety, he’d said.

When Frank came back, she cursed, held the gun, shaking as much as the first time.

“You bastard,” she said, and she was almost shocked when the gun fired. It was so loud. A burst of blood shot from Frank’s leg.

“Get a towel, “he said, “And give me the damn gun. Do it,” he said when Kelly didn’t move.

Frank stood by the door, holding the gun when the cops came. He waved Kelly away.

She found out he told the cops he’d been holding the gun when it went off. She found out because Megan told her.

That was the end for Kelly and Frank. But not for Megan and Frank.

Life went on for Kelly. She found a nice Irish boy. She married and had children, like she should have.

But after ten years, there are winter nights when the snow floats before their bedroom window where Kelly lies next to her husband, and she sees Frank’s smile and the flakes on his hair.

Ed Kratz is a retired computer specialist who has been writing for a long time.

Patreon makes Every Day Fiction possible.

Rate this story:
 average 4.6 stars • 16 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction