Send the Snowplow

By: Lisa Kovanda

Chapter 1

Jaycee Roberts brushed aside her stethoscope as she adjusted the rear view mirror of her Ford Escape. A typical suburban soccer mom vehicle, and the four-wheel drive was essential to get around in the Colorado mountains during the winter. It had already been snowing most of the day, and now, on Christmas Eve, she was headed for her overnight shift at Pleasant Meadows Hospice. Sick people didn’t care about snow, holiday or not. There never really was a good time to die, if you thought about it.

The ring of her cell phone pulled her from her thoughts. She pushed a button on her radio console and placed the call into speaker mode. The in-dash navigation screen displayed her soon-to-be ex-husband, Derek’s, photograph and information.

“What’s up?” Jaycee tried to keep the ice out of her voice.

“Are you driving? Nothing’s open on Christmas Eve.”

She imagined his expression matching the judgmental tone of his voice.

“Some of us have jobs where going to work on holidays isn’t an option. Hospice units are one of them. Unlike yours.”

Exasperation flooded his voice. “Can’t let it go, can you? Where are the kids?”

They’d been separated for nine months, and nothing had changed. He still thought he had the right to use guilt to manipulate her while he could do whatever he wanted without consequences.

“Miranda’s with them tonight. I’ll be with them to open presents on Christmas morning, which is more than you can say.” Yeah, there was more than a little snark in her voice, and she didn’t care.

She didn’t have time to enjoy imagining his response as the Escape hit a patch of ice and skidded sideways. It spun in a series of tight donuts that would have impressed any teenage boy. Four-wheel drive might get you going, and helped with control, but once you lost traction—a spin was still a spin. She screamed and hated herself for doing it with Derek on the other end of the line. Her hands gripped the steering wheel so tight they turned as white as the snow falling in huge icy splotches on her windshield.

Derek’s panicked voice blared through her radio speakers. “Jaycee? Jaycee? Are you all right?”

She drew in a few deep breaths. “I’m fine, but I need to get off the phone.”

“Jesus Christ. You should have called in. Who goes to work in a blizzard?” Derek’s sigh came over the speakers. “I left those chains in the trunk, right?”

Still sealed in the store packaging. “You never got around to showing me how to put them on.”

“Just turn around and go home.”

There it was... that damn condescending tone where he let her know in no uncertain terms how much smarter, more in charge he was, and how much she—well, wasn’t. Ice flared through her reply, and she didn’t care. “Guess what? You lost the right to tell me what to do when you left me and the kids. Merry Christmas.”

She disconnected the call before he had time to reply. Childish? Perhaps, but she didn’t care. “Asshole.” He hadn’t heard that last bit, but so what?

The radio came back on to the ending of a Christmas song. The announcer’s voice followed. “Looks like we’re going to get that white Christmas. The entire listening area is in a winter weather advisory.”

Like she didn’t already know that?


“Jaycee?” Derek stared at the now blank screen of his phone. Typical. The going gets a little tough, and she hangs up on him. His finger sat poised to redial the call, but he thought better of it. She was driving in a snowstorm and already upset. It wouldn’t help the situation at all. Instead, he shoved the phone into the breast pocket of his jacket.

His hotel bed held an open suitcase with neatly folded piles of clothes nearby. He’d had plenty to think about during the nine months since he’d left his wife and children—and none of it was good. So, now when he had Jaycee on the phone, why did he go right back to the same old crap?

Derek pulled a small jewelry box out of his pocket and fingered the delicate bow. It was too little, too late, but he’d never know if he sat here and did nothing. Maybe it wouldn’t work out, but he had to try.

Chapter 2

“Everyone who could talk a doctor into a release pass went home with family. Should be quiet.” Betsy, one of Jaycee’s closest friends and fellow nurse at Pleasant Meadows, gave a quick shrug as the pair made their way down the halls for change of shift rounds. The muted shades of the decor were accented with designer Christmas ornaments and lights. All quite... tasteful, if not impersonal. Molly, a Chocolate Labrador therapy dog padded along beside them, festooned in a Christmas elf doggie costume.

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