Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kimmydonn Week 44: Road Trip


Picture 1

Picture 2

Kimmydon's Choice: both

Road Trip

Mounting his steed, he turned to his princess.

“Are you sure you won’t join me? The tournament is sure to be entertaining. I plan to massacre the competition.” The knight’s teeth gleamed in a ferocious grin.

“I will go no where with you. Go, come back with a prize. I may even let you in the gate.”

Her sharp tongue availed her none as he leaned from the saddle. “If you came, I would give you the best prize of all.”

She took several steps back, astounded by his temerity, appalled, and yet intrigued. This knight would be the death of her.

“What do you mean you want me to go with you?” I asked, adjusting my glasses on my nose, again. I was going to get surgery, dammit.

“I mean, Chase, I want you to see me play.” Dan, as always, took well over half the bench, all but forcing me to lean into him.

Shaking my head, I continued to doodle in my notebook. Not drawings, words. God, I hoped he wasn’t reading. Chocolate, mocha, burnt sienna. I was trying to pin down his skin tone. I needed mental help.

“Come on. I mean, do you even have plans this weekend?” I nearly ground my teeth. He’d been meeting me here for lunch since our run-in at the lake. He seemed to think it meant he should take me under those tattooed wings or something.

“No, I don’t have plans. That’s not the point. I don’t do concerts,” I glared at him and he pushed my glasses up my nose. Goddamn the things. I pulled them off and stuffed them in my bag harshly.

“Whoa. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. We’ll have a gig in town again soon. I just thought you might like to get away. It’s only an hour out, but it’s into the mountains.” He’d moved so that arm on the back of the bench was now around my shoulder and his hand gripped my bicep.

“Why?” I must have asked him a dozen times. He knew why what. Why me? Why not give up? He still gave me the same annoying answer.


“Shut up!” I yelled, not for the first time. He infuriated me. He made me want to scream and pull that dark hair out by the roots. That thick, black hair that reflected the light... No! Gah, he’d fried my brain so completely, I couldn’t even write properly anymore.

Marla had a solution to that. After I’d thrown a pencil at the wall, she’d delivered it dead-panned. “Fuck him. Get it out of your system and his.” She’d scooped another spoonful of Rocky Road in her mouth to punctuate the thought.

At the time, nothing could have been more appalling. Now, with his arm around me, his eyes locked on mine... it didn’t seem as crazy. Maybe it was all in the chase for him. Maybe if I just gave over, I’d have a night to remember and he’d finally leave me alone.

Nope. Not happening. I had standards, and if he couldn’t meet them, he wasn’t getting past the door. I grabbed my bag and rose to my feet.

“You’re leaving already?” he asked, disappointed. “You usually stay until one.”

“Projects, deadlines, things your band doesn’t have.” It was a pinprick, but I’d only managed to land a few barbs.

“Wait. Think about it?” He was clutching my hand now, holding it in both of his. “Please?”

This was new. He’d badgered, whined and needled -- he’d even tried blackmail once. He’d never pleaded. His voice was soft, something I’d never heard before.

“Um. Yeah. I’ll think about it.”

His smile nearly knocked me over. Then it turned cocky again, making it easier to go.

One night wouldn’t be so bad, right?

It turned out he, and two of the guys with him at the lake that day, were Sound Wave, the band on the shirts Marla and Dan had been wearing. They were indie and alternative, and although the recordings sounded good, I wasn’t a music connoisseur, so I couldn’t have said much one way or the other. I was being honest about not liking concerts. They were loud, crowded and the lighting drove me nuts. I’d been to exactly two in my life -- and one was a children’s entertainer.

I wasn’t off the hook, though. He called that night.

“So? Thought about it?”

I sighed heavily. “Please tell me it’s not in some dive.” I hung my head and Marla laughed from the other room.

“Well, it’s a bit of a dive,” he answered honestly. “But we’re going acoustic because it’s such a small place.” That was a plus, not screaming loud. “It’s quaint. You can write all about the bartender and his habit of hitting on Cougars.” I could hear his grin.

“What time?” I asked.

Marla’s head poked around the corner, brow raised.

“I’ll pick you up at three. We’ll have some time to look around and get food before we lug our stuff into Dino’s.”

I cringed. “Dino’s? Is he the one that hits on Cougars?”

Dan laughed. “Yep. You’ll like him. He’s creepy.”

“Great,” I muttered. “And how long do you expect this... gig to last?”

“You mean what time will I bring you home?”

“Yes.” The word was flat, cold. I’d get that idea out of his and Marla’s head. She snickered and left.

“It’ll be early morning, but if you really want me to, I’ll take you home. Fuck off, John.” That was one of his band mates. “So, was the address on you licence current?”

“Yes,” I said through clenched teeth. He would remember.

“That’s good. Sadly I didn’t get to write it down.”

I laughed.

“Please?” he asked. “Don’t make me call Marla and ask her.”

He would, too. He had gotten her number that weekend at the lake, just by asking. I gave him the information.

“Wow, that was easier than I expected. You aren’t going soft on me, are you, Chase?”

I slunk lower into the couch. “No,” I said sullenly.

“Good! I’ll see you Saturday.” I hit the call end and threw my phone across the room.

“I’ll give him 42... 42 bruises!”

Marla laughed again. “You are so silly. Give him 27.”

I furrowed my brow. What was she getting at? She didn’t tell me, just left the room again. She was going to start driving me as crazy as Dan did.

Still, I needed her help. “Marla?” I leaned in her doorway. “Help me pick something to wear?”

She laughed but obliged. Her fashion sense, while not haute couture still kicked the ass of mine. I took the long sleeved shirt happily. The skirt though...

“Where did I get this?” I asked, staring at it.

She shrugged. “It’s in your closet.”

I held the tiny black scrap up to myself, noting it covered me decently, if only just. Marla rolled her eyes and dug in a drawer. “They’re no worse than these.” She held out my favourite pair of cut-off jeans. They were as short as the skirt, I supposed. “Wear them. You can change before the show,” she suggested. “You aren’t expecting make-up help or anything, are you?”

“No, I can manage,” I grumbled, tossing both on the bed before falling there myself and looking up at the map I had pinned on my wall. I didn’t travel a lot, but it gave great ideas for exotic locations. I looked over at the ridges that represented the Himalayas.

The knight stumbled, his armor rusting where the frost had eaten away at it. He threw a wrapped bundle down. “There. There is your jewel. Told you I’d get it.”

The princess unwrapped it carefully. There was blood on the cloth. “What happened to it?”

The knight was divesting himself of armour in a series of clangs. His feet, now free, were obviously bandaged, and he flopped in a chair, sighing. Many pieces of shiny metal still covered him. “Nothing happened to it,” he said snidely. “Something terrible happened to the sorcerer who had it though. Tried to bring a mountain down on me. Like that would work.” He scoffed and threw another chunk of armour to the floor. “Think you could get someone to stoke this?” His gauntlet was pointed at the hearth before being dropped to the ground.

“Perhaps. Are you cold?” she asked, eyeing the pile in distaste.

“It was a snow covered mountain,” he grumbled.

I woke with the sun bright in my eyes, groaning. The story had been coming so well, I’d stayed up into the wee hours typing it into my computer. Of course I was nothing like the snooty frigid princess and he was even more insufferable than her knight, but it was fun to write.

Rolling, I checked the clock. Crap, it was one already. I sprang up and hit the shower, nearly running into Marla.

“I was starting to worry,” she said dryly.

I didn’t answer, but started the shower, pulling out my loose tail of hair while peeing. Under the stream of water, I took a few deep breaths. He wasn’t coming for two hours. Granted, I also hadn’t eaten anything yet, but I could do this. Food was the next thing I took care of, with a bowl of Cheerios and the last of Marla’s coffee.

“How do you drink this?” I asked, choking it back.

“It’s better fresh,” she answered.

I scowled, knowing better than to touch that remark. It was true after all. How long had this sat in the decanter? I peered into the mug and tried not to think about it.

An hour later, my hair was dry and straightened. I didn’t have time to touch up my roots, but I didn’t think they were too bad. Why had I decided bleaching was a good idea, anyway? It did set off my eyes... Those were not behind glasses now. I’d put in my contacts after the coffee, as soon as I could open my eyes wide enough to get the damnable things in. Surgery -- it was the only answer. Still blinking more often than I normally would, I was putting on mascara; the rest of the make-up, sans lipstick, was already in place.

A knock at the door almost made me poke out my eye.

“You expecting someone?” I asked Marla, who couldn’t hear me over her music. Sighing, I trotted to the door.

Dan stood there, dark tinted glasses reflecting me in my torn button down and tiny cutoffs. Oh fuck. I slammed the door and ran for my room.

“Chase!” he yelled, but I didn’t come out again until I was dressed, and that didn’t mean tiny skirt or cutoffs. They were comfy as hell, but showed way too much leg for how he looked at me. He was standing in the doorway still, but his glasses were gone. No, they were in his hand, one lens shattered.

“Oops,” I said sheepishly.

“Really. You couldn’t just invite me to sit and wait for you? I wouldn’t have minded. I can occupy myself for a minute or two. It’s not like you were naked or anything.” He stepped in and flounced into one of my chairs. His arrogant attitude took care of any guilt I might have had. “I liked the shorts, by the way. Why’d you change?” His eyes seemed to dare me to put them back on.

“Seemed too cool out.”

He barked a laugh. “Scared I’d try to feel them up? Or you forgot to shave?”

Marla came out then. “The first. She was going to wear them. You opting for the skirt now?”

I cringed, remembering the tiny black skirt. “Right... I’ll change back.”

Waiting for laughter behind me, I was surprised when there wasn’t any. Instead, there was quiet chatter.

“Is she always like that? I mean, I know I come off strong, but she doesn’t bend for anything.”

“That’s Jenn. She doesn’t take anything she can’t give just as well. Especially bullshit.” I could hear Marla’s satisfied grin as I pulled the shorts back on. The skirt went into the bag with my other shoes. I would wear Adidas for the afternoon.

I tried not to flinch as Dan’s eyes stared at my painted toes. At least I’d gotten a pedicure last weekend. Obviously there hadn’t been time to get one today.

“Aren’t you a little early?” I asked, tapping a toe.

“A little,” he shrugged. “Hoped to get lucky.”

Marla barked a laugh. “Keep hoping.”

That made me grin. “I have a little more time then?” I hadn’t gotten to my lips or brushed my teeth yet.

“A little,” he said, not taking his eyes off me.

Keeping my head high, I turned for the bathroom, sure I could feel his eyes on my ass. Knowing he was waiting, I took my time, lining my lips carefully after scouring my teeth. When I finally poked my head out, I ran to him. He had a pen and was writing. He was writing in my notebook!

“Excuse me!” I roared in indignation, thinking he was editing my work. Snatching the paper away left a dark scar on the lines. It was a fresh page. “Oh, sorry.” I handed it back to him, recognizing the lyric nature of the short lines. It wasn’t anything I would write.

He laughed at me. “No sweat. You ready?” he asked looking at the bag I had put on my shoulder.

“Um, yeah. You want that page?” I asked, planning to pop the notebook in the bag.

He shrugged, handing it to me. “I know where to find it.”

Trying not to grind my teeth, I put the book away.

He held the door for me, something I hadn’t expected and then opened the passenger door of the van. This was because he had to unlock it, I realized as I got in.

“I’m glad you were nearly ready,” he said pulling away from my place. “I forgot I have to pick the others up.” He stopped in front of a dilapidated house and tooted his horn. He left me staring after him as he exited the van. I caught on quick once he opened the back doors. John’s head poked in, setting a drum down.

“Hey, Jenn,” he said smiling. He was replaced by Eric, who also nodded in greeting, setting several smaller items - cymbals? - next to the drum. The procession continued until the back of the van was quite full.

“I thought you were playing acoustic?” I asked Dan as he hopped back into the driver’s seat.

“We are. That’s why you have a seat. The amps go there.” He pointed to Eric who smirked.

“And I go there.” He pointed to my seat.

“Oh,” I managed to mutter.

John snorted. “Like you wouldn’t have just picked her up in your car.”

I’d worried a little about the hour drive, but no one seemed surprised that I pulled out my notepad once they started discussing the set list for the show.

Not only had Dan started a new page, it wasn’t the next page. Opening to where I’d left off, I could just keep on going. That was good. The princess needed to teach her champion some manners. He had some, those chivalry dictated, but he pressed even those as far as the rule of honour would allow.

“Chase,” Dan said, causing me to lift my head suddenly from my book.

“I have a first name,” I said irritably.

“Yeah, but you don’t answer to it. We’re here.”

I looked up and saw the mountain rising in the distance. “Where is here?” I asked, confused. We were in the middle of empty highway, but he was pulling over.

“Trust me,” he said with another smile. “I have all the answers, remember?”

Biting my tongue, I did get out. “You know it’s not every man that can take me out of the city on a first date,” I muttered, stomping after him through brush, scratching up my legs in a few places.

“I don’t mind being the exception,” he replied with another grin. I sometimes wondered if he had any other expressions. Well, he had scowled after I broke his glasses, and his leer was definitely a different grin. John and Eric disappeared on the other side of the Highway.

“Where are they going?” I asked.

Dan glanced over his shoulder. “To take a piss.”

That was my hero. “So where are we going then? I don’t need to pee yet,” I answered snidely.

He chuckled. “Don’t want to bare that pale bottom to me?” His laughter wasn’t malicious, only slightly infectious. I huffed a small chuckle. “We are going to that little clearing there. I wanted to read something to you.”

He pulled my notebook from his back pocket.

“How do you do that?!” I cried indignantly. He’d palmed my licence, my phone, my bracelet, now my notebook. I didn’t even remember putting it down. Of course, now I knew that was because I never had set it down.

“Practice,” he said coolly. “Sit with me?” he opened his arms and splayed his legs as though expecting me to sit in the V they made. I sat beside him, crossing my arms. The grass tickled my legs and I wasn’t positive ants weren’t crawling on me. I didn’t really like being on the ground much. Picnic tables and park benches were much better.

He opened my book to his writing and began to read. He described someone aloof, someone scared, someone solitary. He wasn’t singing, but as he got further into the poem, the words seemed to pick up a natural cadence. I hummed to it.

He grinned. “You have a nice voice, Jennifer.”

I blushed a little. “No wonder you call me Chase. My friends call me Jenn.”

“And am I one of your friends, Jenn?” he asked leaning over the arm that separated us, his nose very close to mine.

“No, but you can call me Jenn anyway. You can be the exception,” I teased.

“I swear to God, Chase, you push one more button...” Suddenly I was atop him, not in his arms and prostrate against him -- that might have killed me with shame and shock -- but on his feet, in the air, dangling. I started to kick my legs, trying to get down, and he caught my flailing arms and wiggled his toes, which were jammed into my ribs.

“No! I’m tick...” The word was lost in the peals of giggles erupting from me. They were echoed by his own as I tipped even further forward, our foreheads colliding in an audible thump. He rolled to his side then, letting me fall in the grass. I rubbed the spot that would probably bruise, still laughing.

“I push your buttons? I have never had anyone drive me to violence like you do.” For good measure, I punched his bicep twice. He cupped a hand over it, wincing between chuckles.

“Yes, you push my buttons. Every time you flip your head, look up your nose, god, push up your glasses - nice contacts by the way - it makes me want put a pin to the balloon of your head.”

My mouth opened and closed indignantly. “I do not have a swelled head!” I argued, sitting up.

“Well, you have a high opinion of yourself,” he retorted.

Did I? I didn’t think so. I usually thought I was average, or less than average.

“I mean, what’s so wrong with me?” He sat up beside me, a slight pinching to his eyes I didn’t recognize. “Really? Am I that bad?” His voice pained me slightly.

“No,” I whispered. “You just...” He just drove me crazy.

A caterpillar started crawling on my bare leg. Tiny legs tickling like fine hairs, moving slowly up. “Ack!” I screamed and jumped, shaking my leg. “Get it off! Get it off!”

Dan was startled at first, jumping up himself. Then he started to laugh at me. “Hold still! I can’t get it if you don’t hold still.” His hand kept brushing my leg and making me jump again. “It’s gone, Jenn. It’s not there. Settle down.” His arms were around me as I convulsed, fighting the urge to vomit.

“Go-good,” I stammered, shivering. “I HATE bugs.”

“I would have never guessed,” he said dryly.

It occurred to me then that I was hugging his neck and practically climbing onto him. Snapping back, I apologized.

He chuckled again, shrugging. “No problem. There’s another song, they guys don’t think it’s ready, but I’m squeezing it in tonight anyway. You’re going to love it.” He nudged my arm with his, starting us back for the van. John and Eric were just hopping in the sliding door.

“I guess I never thought of you as a writer. I don’t know why. Lyrics and poetry are different from prose, but difficult, too.”

Dan grinned. “Does that mean you liked it?”

Shrugging I said, “I’m not much of a music buff. I don’t really know what’s good. The words struck me. Who was he?”

“Who?” he asked, leaning on the side of the van while I wrenched open the door.

“The person in the song. Could be a she, I suppose.” It hadn’t been definitive.

He snorted and rounded the front of the vehicle.

“What?” I asked indignantly.

He just shook his head, continuing to chuckle to himself.

I read over the lyric again.

Eyes dart away
hover, avert
feel like dirt
Pierce like pins
when they strike
Can’t help but wonder
what it’d be like
If you could see me.

It continued, but there wasn’t any indication of sex or relationship, maybe a desire for one. Instead, I flipped back to my story and continued.

The knight stood before the charging beast, hand out. The princess peered around him, sure they were both about to be ground into the dirt. Instead, the knight pushed up and out, the winged creature folding and rolling at the odd gesture. The princess stared at the pale underside.

“Go on,” he urged. “It won’t hurt you.” His smile was kinder than she’d seen before.

“How?” she asked, running a finger along the belly. The beast let out a growling mewl, definitely of satisfaction.

“Sometimes it’s possible to push the right buttons.”

In case you also missed it: 42+27 = 69 Marla's wicked. :D