The car jumped, stalling out after making a sound like a cry for help. Emmie gripped her hands tightly around the steering wheel and looked slowly over at Silas. His fingers dug into the doorframe, and his teeth were clenched.
Emmie bit her lip and scrunched her nose as she spoke, “That didn’t sound good?”
“Not good,” Silas confirmed. “Sweetheart, maybe we could try again tomorrow. She’s tired,” he added patting the steering wheel.
“Silas McDowell, stop patting this automobile like it’s your pet. It is not a she, it’s an it.” Emmie laughed.
He moved his fingers from the steering wheel, up the length of her arm and to her chin. Turning her face gently until she looked at him straight on. “You jealous?”
Emmie’s hair fell loose around her face as she tilted her head back to laugh. His hand moved down her body, resting at her hips. He pulled her across the bench seat and up onto his lap all in one movement. His crooked grin played at the corners of his mouth when he realized he’d caught her by surprise. Heart racing, her body warmed to his touch, even after all these months, he still made her melt. She leaned in and planted a kiss on her husband’s neck, her hands sliding down his vest to the top of his pants. The only difference was that now . . . she knew how to make him melt too. The sound that escaped his throat was something between a laugh and a groan.
“Emmie McDowell, we are in public.” He chastised but there was no sincerity in his voice. “Do you want me to be arrested?”
“We’re married and it’s almost dark,” she whispered.
He laughed. “It's four thirty in the afternoon and we are in the city. Let’s take this party elsewhere.”
Emmie leaned back and smiled, shrugging a shoulder, “If you say so.”
She tilted her body to move back to the driver’s seat. He pushed her back to his lap and shook his head, “I don’t think so, Mo Chuisle. I want to get you home quickly… and in one piece.” He mumbled the last part under his breath.
“Your office is just two blocks down. I could drive us there.”
“My office?” he questioned with an arched brow.
“Your office, overlooking the river,” she leaned in and whispered.
“But when I tried to convince you a week ago you said . . .” He looked at her skeptically.
“Do you want to talk about what I said or do you want to go to your office?”
“I want to go to my office.” He laughed.
“And I can drive us?” she asked hopefully.
He swore under his breath and sighed as he slid her over into the driver’s seat.
“You are the only person I ever plan to let blackmail me into doing something I don’t want to,” he mused to himself as he helped her get the engine going. “Maybe it’s because you’ve got the best terms.”
He scooted closer to her as they began to move slowly down the street…very slowly. Her hands gripped the steering wheel tightly as she attempted to keep the car straight.
“You’re doing fine, Emmie.”
He put his hand over hers pulled the wheel a little to the right. This car wasn’t as easy to steer as the one his father had in Chicago. That would have been a better car for her. Maybe he should have someone bring it down.
He stretched his neck and looked down the road at the upcoming intersection. “The traffic is clear. Don’t worry about the sign. There’s a little hill it makes it harder to stop. Just slow down and go on through it slowly. It’ll be easier to stop at the office where the ground is level.”
Emmie nodded never taking her eyes off of the road in front of her. Silas moved his hand to rest on her upper thigh. She couldn’t help the smile that escaped her.
“Okay, sweetheart, you’re going to need to really press down to get the brake to stop the car.”
She threw down with all she had. The car finally came to a stop just at the edge of the building. He pulled on the hand brake lever and winked, “You did it.”
“I did,” she turned to look at him with a wide grin.
His hand came up to frame her face. “I’m proud of you.”
She laughed as his mouth met hers.
“Now, you have promises to keep, Mrs. McDowell.”
“I do?” She whispered feigning ignorance.
“Do you need a reminder?” He laughed, his lips close to her ear.
Emmie screamed as something tapped against the driver’s side door. A man stood bent over, poking his head through the open window. Involuntarily she moved closer to Silas as she took in the sight of the stranger. Silas swore and looked up at the younger man. Emmie recognized the fake smile he offered to the stranger. It was the same one she’d seen him often use in his new law office.
Emmie swallowed hard and forced herself to speak. “What can we do for you, officer?”
“Well, darlin’, you could have stopped at that street back there. You’re lucky no one was coming or you would have plowed them over.”
Emmie bit her lip as she turned to look at the intersection he’d pointed to. When Silas looked down he noticed her hands were shaking. “I’m sorry…” she started.
“I doubt she would have plowed someone over,” Silas repeated the police officer’s words then added, “She was going very slow.”
“She was going fast enough.”
“How fast could she have been going? You caught up with her on your bicycle.” Silas laughed.
Emmie elbowed him in the ribs.
The police officer’s face turned red and he pulled out a notepad from his pocket. “Unfortunately for you, miss, I was going to give you a warning but I can see now you need a more formal notice.”
“I’m sorry, officer. This is just a misunderstanding. This is my husband, Silas McDowell. He was just teaching me a little about driving and he was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to stop the car on that hill. But this is his office. We’re getting out here now. I promise from now on, I’ll always stop. I’ve learned my lesson.”
“He is teaching you to drive… he told you to go through the intersection?”
“Yes…” she started.
The man smiled. “Well, Mr. McDowell, it looks like I’ll need to make this out to you. You really do need to think more of your wife’s safety. I would question your judgment teaching her to drive downtown at this time in the afternoon. You are lucky no one was hurt. Next time you will instruct her to stop at every intersection. This ticket will be due in full in two weeks time.”
“No… Sir. That’s not what I meant. It wasn’t his fault.” Emmie said peering up at the man as he ripped off the ticket. “He does care for my safety, more than you know. You have no idea what…”
“Boyo, you can take that ticket and …” Silas started.
“Silas!” Emmie elbowed him again and reached out for the ticket.
It was better to pay for the ticket than bail Silas out of jail. The officer tipped his hat and left the car with a self-satisfied grin.
She turned to take in the sight of her husband. His face was somewhere between annoyed and amused. “You were a snitch.”
Emmie couldn’t help the laugh that escaped her. “I’m sorry. I’ll pay for it.”
He pulled her out of the car and smacked her thigh. “Damn right you will.”