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Author Topic: An Unanticipated Road Trip (for vix)  (Read 680 times)

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Offline NightBirdTopic starter

An Unanticipated Road Trip (for vix)
« on: May 12, 2008, 01:29:41 AM »
It had felt like a long day in the car by mid-afternoon, and that was long past by the time Nick saw the sign by the side of the road announcing that the burg up ahead was 'Bean Station, Tennessee' and proudly proclaiming the local population had reached the staggering total of 1358 souls. After pulling one last draw from his second-to-last cigarette, he ground it out in an overfull ashtray, the quantity of butts offering mute testimony to just how long a day it had been. The ashtray was what decided him it was time to stop. Out of nowhere, the pile brought back memories of a time when he'd not have wasted so much as a quarter inch of smokable tobacco. Before his mind could bring back any other memories of the Pacific, he forced his gaze to the dashboard. It was clear that a gas station wouldn't be a bad idea, and if he was lucky, there's be a diner next door. Maybe a meal would chase the memories away enough for him to make it to Maryland. A break for the night there, and he'd be back in New York by dinner-time tomorrow.

Twenty minutes later, he was jingling the keys in his pocket and whistling tunelessly on his way across a small parking lot, a pleasant smile on his face not quite making it all the way up to his weary blue-gray eyes. The diner looked well-kept from the inside and out. Maybe the pie would even be as good as Maddie's had been... but that was another thought with too many memories attached.

A string of bells on the door jangled cheerfully as he pushed it open and headed for the counter. A woman was there already. The sight brought a ghost of a real smile to Nick's lips. Some company while he ate was just what he needed to put the demons back to rest again. Hat and coat were quickly removed and placed on a stool three down from where the woman sat, revealing tousled black hair that he absently ran his fingers through to neaten, and a suit that looked more like it came from a department store than a quality tailor's. A waitress came by to fill his coffee cup and rattle off the specials of the day, then disappeared into the back, presumably to take his order to the cook: steak and eggs, medium rare, hash browns and a slice of cherry pie.

That matter taken care of, Nick turned his head to get a better look at the lady, nodding politely, but letting his eyes linger a bit here and there as he did so. He figured he knew the answer already, but it was as good a way as any to start a conversation.

"Evening, ma'am. You from around here?"
« Last Edit: May 12, 2008, 01:35:12 AM by NightBird »

Offline calamity

Re: An Unanticipated Road Trip (for vix)
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2008, 07:33:20 PM »
Perched upon a stool like some origami bird, the waiflike creature chewed at the inside of her cheek, hands wrapped around a steaming cup of coffee.  The journey had only just begun, and already her skin felt grimy, starved for the steam of a shower.  From her lips came a throaty humming, some faraway blues tune pouring from her lungs like fresh honey.  Large pupils were focused on the countertop, which was covered with a Rand McNally of the continental United States.

The jangle of bells sent her eyebrows into a furrow, the merry cacophony interrupting her inner monologue.  Straightening her posture, Bella drew her legs up and sat Indian style upon her stool, fingers digging into a purse made of quilt patches.  Eventually, those digits returned victorious and the cigarette was placed between her lips, tongued gently, and lit with no rush.  With similar slowness, the girl made eye contact with the stranger and allowed her mouth to curl into a sweet smile.

"No, sir.  I'm from a little further south, and I'm tryin' to get real far from there."  Turning her head, Bella exhaled that first drag and watched the cloud float up like an upside-down waterfall, climbing toward ceiling tiles.

Offline NightBirdTopic starter

Re: An Unanticipated Road Trip (for vix)
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2008, 10:22:23 PM »
The way she moved, like the exotic, tropical birds and fish he'd seen, bright spots of beauty between the episodes of horror that had been Guadalcanal and Iwo, the sight of it lifted a few of the hard-worn years from Nick's face. He found his own movements slowing down in response, losing a bit of the New York City rush to ease down on a stool that still left one between the two of them. He'd not completely forgotten how to be a gentleman... but it felt odd, like the suit he'd put on the first day out of uniform.

The coffee arrived just then, giving him time to dump in three packets of sugar, stir it, take a gulp and wince at the taste. Black tasted better, but a bus driver down in Mobile had told him that sugar in the coffee 'could half wake a body from the grave.' He'd tried it and decided the man had been right, but it still tasted wrong. The whole time his hands were busy, though, Nick's eyes never really left her, just moved from her hand to the line of her throat, to the plume of smoke escaping her lips... to the way her legs flexed in the unconventional way she sat on the stool. She was mana to a man lost in the desert, but there was one more question he had to ask before he could get to the one that stood out most strongly in his mind.

"How far you thinking of going? If you don't mind my saying so, ma'am, I don't recall seeing another car parked out front. Are you waiting for someone?"

Offline calamity

Re: An Unanticipated Road Trip (for vix)
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2008, 11:03:06 PM »
It was unclear whether she did not notice his stare or whether it simply gave her no cause to object - in any case, she did not react.  Her syrup-smile evolved into a low chuckle as he spoke, and it was a long moment before she replied.  In that silent space, she watched the cherry of her cigarette as it was dragged along the glass of one of the diner's cheap ashtrays.  She enjoyed its shedding of ash, the way the ember dulled so long as she didn't pull air through its filter.  Inside, she imagined Paolo and Francesca reaching for one another, and the brief flash of sadness in her eyes made its way into her speech.

"Yes, sir, you could say I'm waitin' for someone.  Just don't know who, yet."  Inhaling deeply from her cigarette, she tilted her head toward the door.  "I figure when he comes, he'll come through that door.  And I'm guessin' after he does that, he'll sit right about there."  Gesturing with the cigarette, she pointed at her new companion's own seat.  Picking up her mug, Bella gently swirled the black coffee before bringing it to her lips, letting the bitter liquid warm her tongue and then her throat.

"As for where I'm goin'..."  She laughed again, shoulders rolling into something like a shrug.  "Up, up, up!  Anywhere the snow comes when it's time for it."