A/N: Yes, another challenge response (from my LiveJournal page). I wasn't going to get around to writing this up this quickly...but being sick is a pain in the ass and I don't have anything better to do. (One can only sleep for so long. Believe me, I tried.)

So here is Lori's story! (Yes, Lori as in the cousin from Marsupial Summer, my last challenge response.)

The challenge was:
1. New Jersey public bathroom/highway rest stop.

i. parrot
ii. business cards
iii. the color purple
iv. college pre-finals party weekend
v. matchsticks

The challenge was issued by emma789 on LJ (who is, I believe, TinuvielDork on FP) so this story is dedicated to her.

Jersey's Wild

- One-shot -

It was noon by the time we pulled off the highway to ask for directions.

The tiny rest stop did not give me too much hope that we had been headed in the right direction. If we had been getting closer to the city, the rest stops should have been getting bigger, not smaller.

I looked at Brent with irritation when he stopped by the only gas-pump at the place, giving no indication of getting out of the car.

"Stop staring at me, you fucker, and just go find out where the fuck we are."

Clearly he wasn't in a great mood, although it had been he who had gotten us lost. If I had had my way, we would have stopped and asked for directions...oh, two hours earlier, when I realized the houses in the area were becoming more and more spread out.

Instead of bothering to respond - he was the owner of the car - I shoved out of my seat and walked into the small wooden structure, marveling at how neat the region was kept despite it being in the middle of nowhere.

The interior was split in the middle by a column of shelves, with more shelves lining three of the four walls. All the furniture seemed to be made of strong oak wood, including the counter where a functional antique cash-register sat.

"Excuse me?" I called out, looking for the clerk. "Hello?" I walked towards the back of the store, looking for an employee's lounge of some kind. "Anybody here? Hello?"

"Hold on," somebody snapped from the front.

I frowned and went back, still not seeing anybody. "Hello?"

"What part of 'hold on' do you not comprehend?" the voice snapped again, and I realized two things. One: It was a female voice. Two: It was coming from behind the counter.

"Sorry," I murmured, leaning over the counter to see a blonde head - presumably attached to a body - crouching behind and stacking something on the lower shelves.

She looked up at hearing my voice so close and I took a quick step back at the anger I saw in her brown eyes. "What do you want?" she asked, standing up as I backed.

"I-" I wanted to bash my head against the wooden walls for being afraid of a girl. "Something wrong?"

The girl placed her palms flat against the desk and leaned so that her face was much closer to mine than before. "I. Fucking. Hate." She sounded serial-killer-esque, and I felt my manliness drain away as I fought not to gulp. "Matchsticks." And suddenly a matchstick was held in between our faces.

"You what?" I demanded, staring at the small object in her hands.

"Look around, genius," she snapped. "We're in a building made entirely out of wood. Then some retard orders a shipment of matchsticks, and then the morons who shipped them managed to damage the packaging and let the matches come out of their little boxes. So I have to fuckin' shove them back into their packaging without setting this stupid hole-in-the-wall on fire." She dropped the one she held into a plastic cup of water that sat on the table. "Hello and welcome to Jersey's Wild. My name is Lori. How may I assist you today?"

I blinked at her sudden change in demeanor, looking around to see if her boss had appeared or something. But no, there was nobody else in the store, and I concluded that the girl was just completely insane. "Listen, I-"

"What the fuck man, how long does it take to-" Brent stormed into the store, only to pause at the sight of Lori. "Well hello there. What's your name?"

"Lori." I saw her eyes drift to his shirt and back up. "Frat boy, huh? Nice emblem." Her eyes moved to me again, and she raised an eyebrow in question. "Where's yours?"

"At home," I responded wearily. "Listen, we just need-"

"Hey babe," Brent interrupted. "Do you got some friends nearby? We guys can show you country girls how to party." He winked at the end, as if that was going to cover up that he was looking for a booty-call.

Lori snorted. "I see one guy," she said, nodding at me, "so where's the plural?"

It took Brent a minute to realize what she'd implied. "You fucking bitch!" Then he grinned. "I like you. You're a bitch, but you're all right."

She laughed and slid onto the stool behind the table. "So what can I do for you boys?"

I followed her motions with my eyes as she sat and crossed her legs, noticing that they were lightly browned and encased in a pair of tiny shorts. "Nice legs," I commented without thinking.

"Thanks," she responded casually. "I worked on them on vacation. Australia," she added in explanation, "with my Canuck cousins."

"Mm-hmm...well we need directions to get into the city. Trenton."

"Trenton?" she asked, surprised. "You're all the way on the other side of the state!"

Brent groaned. "Shit man, this is just great! We can't miss the fuckin' party - I need to unwind before finals!"

I glared at him. "And yet you refused to listen two hours ago when I said to stop and ask for directions."

"Boys and their brain-farts," Lori commented. "No wonder GPS systems are so in demand these days. Y'all are too stupid to follow basic signs."

I ignored her insult, choosing not to anger her in case she refused to help us. "So whereabouts are we exactly?"

She grinned. "Another half hour to the North," she pointed in what I assumed was the northerly direction, "and you'll be across the border and into New York." Her grin grew wider. "Don't you read? There are signs all the way along the highway announcing 'New York' in extra-large letters."

I jerked a finger in Brent's direction. "I read, he doesn't. He's deaf as well."

"Fuck off," Brent responded. I noticed his eyes were drifting to Lori's legs every few seconds. "So how do we get back? There's a chillin' party tonight that we can't miss. You should come," he offered. "All the guys will stop in their tracks at the sight of you." He winked. "None of us had any clue they grew country girls like this."

"They don't," Lori said, "because I'm not a country girl. And I doubt that you're going anywhere tonight...since your car just pulled out of its spot by itself."

Brent and I frowned at each other and then ran to the door. Sure enough, the bumper of his BMW could be seen disappearing around the winding path that led to the highway.

"What the fuck?" I demanded, finally letting out the curse I'd been holding back. "Did you leave your fucking key in the engine?"

Brent was still staring after his car. "Fuckin' A. Yes, I left it in...who the fuck would have imagined that somebody would be waiting to carjack in this shit-hole?" He whirled on Lori. "Does this place have a phone at least?"

"None that you can use," she responded cheekily. "Come on, you frat boys should have cells, right?"

"Bullshit roaming charges," Brent responded, pulling it out anyway. "Pops' going to be a mofo about paying that shit."

"Does he always swear?" Lori asked me conversationally as he moved outside to get better reception. "I mean Phoebe - she's one of those Canuck cousins I mentioned - keeps saying I need to have my mouth washed out - again - but that friend of yours is a million times worse."

I shrugged and checked the reception on my own phone, noticing it was very low. "He's rich, girls consider him good-looking...he thinks he can get away with anything." Something occurred to me and I frowned. "What's the nearest town and what are the chances of us getting a rental out here?"

"You can get a rental, all right, but it'll take some time to arrange for one. At least a day." She put a finger in her water and twirled the floating matchstick around. "There is one thing I can do, but...hey, you never did tell me your name."

"Sorry, it's Dillon," I said, sticking a hand out to shake.

She eyed it for a moment before sliding her fingers into them and squeezing. "Middle-class, huh?"

I raised an eyebrow. "Yes...how did you know?"

"You don't have baby-soft hands," she retorted, still squeezing my fingers. "But you're still cute."

"Er...thanks." I took my hand back, finally taking a proper look at the girl. She was blonde with brown eyes, as I'd noticed earlier, but what I hadn't paid attention to was her long oval face and pointy nose.

Lori noticed my observation and touched her nose. "My biatches back home want to do plastic surgery to get a nose like this," she informed me. "And guys always tell me they want to bite it."

I chuckled at her matter-of-fact comment, feeling a clenching in my stomach as I realized that I, too, wanted to bite it. There was something about this girl that screamed sophistication even though she was sitting in a pathetic little rest stop store by the New Jersey/New York border, wearing clothes that immediately screamed trailer trash.

"What's that solution you never got around to telling me?" I asked, resisting the urge to confirm to her that her nose was tempting me. I leaned against the counter, my palms flat against the wood.

She looked to the side as if thinking, and then beamed. "Oh yes. Well I'm going to head on home to Trenton, and I can always give you boys a ride." Suddenly I felt intense pain as her fist came down hard on my left hand.

"What the fuck?" I demanded, rubbing it to alleviate some of the pain.

Lori smirked. "Not that kind of a ride, you pervert!"

I glared at her. "I wasn't even thinking that way, so that makes you the pervert!" But now that she had mentioned it, it was definitely floating around my head.

"Just making sure," she simply said, shooting me a wink. "So where was I? Oh yeah...so, yeah, I can drop you guys off so you can have your drinking binge."

"And the catch is?" I snapped, knowing this crazy bitch wouldn't be so generous without slicing our necks or doing something equally gruesome.

She grinned and came around the desk. I resisted the urge to step back. "Aww, are you grouchy because you're in pain?" she taunted. "Would you like me to kiss it better?"

And then the maniac pulled my head down to nibble on my bottom lip. Of course, that wasn't enough for me, so I grabbed her head in my hands and pulled our lips into alignment, slipping my tongue into her open mouth. Half expecting her to bite down on my tongue, hoping with all my might that she wouldn't, my hands tangled into her hair to pull her body flush against mine. And, amazingly, she cooperated, her fingers moving just along the waistband of my shirt, both tickling and driving me insane with desire.

"Stop that," I snapped, pushing her away.

She took a couple of steps backwards and stood with her thumbs in her shorts' belt-loops. "That was...more enjoyable than usual," she commented. "We're going to have to try that again."

Her words shot straight through my system, making me want to grab the cup of water and dump it over my head. "What's the fuckin' catch?" I demanded instead.

For the first time, Lori looked a little sheepish. "Well, you see..." she muttered. She cleared her throat and tried again, "Well I drive up through New York and into Canada to visit my uncle...and when I drove up last last last time, I might have...thrown a rock through the window."

"Might have?" I snorted.

"I did," she confirmed. "Some guy from the nearest town grabbed my ass when I stopped here to answer nature's call, so I threw a rock at him. And missed." She looked gloomy at the memory.

I shook my head. "You're a miserable creature."

Lori beamed. "Thanks!" She chuckled when I muttered under my breath. "Anyway, so I talked to the owners and told them what happened - yes, on my own - and they're this elderly couple so they decided that they'll charge the guy for repairs because they know him and know he's a complete creep." Her cheeks turned a little pink as she spoke. "But I felt bad, ya know? And I wanted to be accountable somehow, so whenever I drive to and from Canuckistan I make sure I stop by this place and help out."

"Look at you," I said with a grin that made her fidget, "being all charitable and guilt-stricken."

"Shut the fuck up."

My grin widened. "So where are the owners now?"

She became more red, if that were even possible. "I sent them to get lunch. They should be back in a bit, and we can leave after they get here."

"I'm surprised they let you in here...I would think you'd make off with whatever you could."

"Fuck you."

Usually my response would have been a cheerful 'I'd love to', but this girl was so unpredictable I figured she might just pull me behind a shelf and try it. "Brent's taking a long time..." I said instead, making her choke with laughter.

"I set you up for that one, and you're just going to let it slide by changing topics?" She shook a finger at me. "What kind of a man are you?"

I ignored her and turned to the door. Through the glass, I could see Brent shaking his fist and shouting into his phone. I took it that the news from whoever he was talking to wasn't good. Chances were, it was his father telling him to stop being a baby and handle things himself.

"Shouldn't your car be out here if you drove?" I asked her.

Lori came up behind me and slid her arm around my waist. Either the girl was trying to make me uncomfortable, was extremely promiscuous, or she was seriously into touching people. "It's right around the corner," she said, pointing to the left. "You would have seen it as you pulled up to the pump."

I thought back and then started laughing. "That heap of purple junk?" I managed in between.

"Yep," she responded, pulling herself closer into my side by tightening her grip. "I hate the colour purple, so I painted the car purple as a symbol."

"You're a bit weird, you know?" I told her, placing my arm around her shoulder just so she didn't squish it with her body. (Or so I told myself.) "Why would you keep around something you hate?"

She sighed and looked up at me, meeting my eyes. "Well I hate my grandma - she's an old witch who insists on me cleaning her toenails every week - but I still have to keep her around. Don't set a bad example for me, Dillon."

I snorted and looked back outside, just in time to see Brent's eyes widen in my direction. Okay, so maybe I wasn't in the habit of picking up strange girls after one meeting - I was more into the old-fashioned dating thing - but it wasn't as if Lori was what you would call a normal girl.

"I don't think your friend managed to find a way out of here," Lori stated, pulling away from me to open the door. "Hey you, frat boy!"

"I'm not fat, you stupid bitch!" Brent called back cheerfully before hanging up and walking back to the store.

Lori rolled her eyes about me. "I see what you meant with the deaf comment." A beat-up old truck pulled into the parking lot. "Nan and Joe are back."

"Nan and Joe?"

"The owners," she said as an elderly man climbed out of the truck and hurried - well, that's an exaggeration - to the passenger side to help an old woman out. "Get what you need?" she asked Brent while the couple walked extremely slowly towards us.

He shot her a look that made me want to punch him out. It wasn't a good sign that I was suddenly thinking 'mine', especially when I knew that Brent put on the asshole act just to make himself look more masculine. The end result was pure sleaze, but some girls just dug it.

"What I need," Brent emphasized, "is to get laid. Care to take care of that need?"

"Brent-" I began, but Lori shoved me aside. Literally.

She fluttered her eyelashes at Brent. "Right now's not a good time," she said, indicating Nan and Joe while moving into his personal space. Although I'm sure Brent didn't mind. "Here, take this." Her fingers slid into the back pocket of her shorts - making my eyes get drawn to that spot - and pulled out a couple of small cards. "Give me a call sometime when you're free and we'll hook up."

I couldn't help but grab one of the cards from her fingers and glance at what was on it. In bold purple - seriously? - letters, the card read: Lori, Personal Ass-istant, 201-808-6011.

"You made business cards?" I asked incredulously.

Lori grinned and wagged her fingers in my direction. "It helps when I'm drunk and can't remember my own name."

"Ass-istant? You couldn't be more creative?" Brent asked, chuckling. "But really, you're some crazy chick Lori." He took a step forward and closed the space between their bodies. Before I could throw him through the window - screw it, yes, I was jealous! - Lori's eyes widened and she stepped back so that I was in between them. "You're all talk," Brent confirmed, and I realized he was testing her. "Dillon, she seems to trust you, so hold onto her. Lori seems like a keeper."

"Nobody's keeping me, you wanktard," Lori snapped. "If anything-"

I noticed that the elderly couple were almost at the store. "Guys-"

"Shut up!" they both shouted at me. I saw the couple look at each other in resignation, probably used to Lori's...issues, for lack of a better word.

"Give that number a call," Lori told him, "and you'll get what you have coming."

I felt anger build up at her words. "Listen, nobody's calling-"

"I'm not calling that number," Brent cut me off by saying. Before I could give him my surprised thanks, he continued, "because I know it's the New Jersey rejection hotline number."

I blinked and looked back at the business card. Sure enough, I recognized the number, having heard some of the other guys receive it from girls at clubs. "Of all the-"

This time I was cut off by the door being opened by Joe.

"You don't need this," Lori said, grabbing the card out of my hand. "I've decided to keep you."

Keep me?

"Did you call your friends over?" Nan asked as she walked through the door her husband held open for her.

Joe entered behind her and let the door close behind him. "Which one are you keeping Lorraine?"

"It's Lori," she hissed, but the harshness of her voice was offset by her taking Nan's arm and gently leading her to sit behind the counter. "And I'm keeping the one who looks shell-shocked," she added, grinning at me.

Joe looked between us and nodded. "You look pleasing together, a nice couple." His eyes landed on the matchstick floating in water. "Shouldn't you be leaving?"

"One can only handle small doses of me," she told Brent and I in a stage-whisper, although we'd already figured that out for ourselves. "Are you guys coming?"

I nodded and then explained to Brent that Lori was headed to Trenton as well.

"Shotgun!" he immediately responded.

Lori waved goodbye to the couple and walked outside, calling, "Only if you want to get shot. I have a gun in my glove compartment." She grinned. "True story!"

"She probably carries her dead cat's carcass around too," Brent muttered, following her.

I turned to see Nan and Joe watching me. "Um...nice meeting you," I said politely, a little unnerved by their undivided attention.

Nan stood up creakily. "You take care of that girl, boy, because she's a true sweetheart underneath it all."

"We're not-"

Joe laughed. "Oh, she's taken an interest in you, and that means she won't rest until you give in. Although," he shared a look with his wife, "it doesn't seem like she'll have anything to strain herself over since you look at her like a very sick man looks at cough syrup."

"How?" I asked weakly.

They chortled. "A lot of longing, with a hint of disgust mixed in."

And that just about summed how I felt, so I didn't bother arguing. "Have a good day..."

With that, I quickly made my exit, rounding the corner until I came upon the purple monstrosity that was Lori's car. Lori was already sitting inside, with Brent sulking beside the door of the right-hand back passenger seat.

"I've been told never to get into a car with strangers," Brent commented. "And we both know that I'm willing to jump into one if a hot girl's at the wheel, but this is ridiculous. The girl's a freak." He snorted before pulling open the door and slid in.

Lori must have heard his comment, because she turned and bared her teeth in his direction as I climbed in and slid my seat-belt into place. I could have sworn I heard Brent whimper at her expression, but I definitely heard the yelp he released when Lori started the engine.

"What was that?" I demanded, having heard the same noise. It had been a strange squawking sound, coming from inside the dashboard.

She laughed and backed out of her parking spot. It wasn't until she switched gears and began moving forward that she pressed the button that triggered the cup-holder.

However, instead of the little circular rings that were supposed to hold cups, a small stuffed parrot slid out.


"You keep a stuffed parrot in your cup-holder?" I asked, staring at the bright red and green object. "Let me guess, you hate parrots so you're keeping it around as a...symbol?"

From the back, I heard Brent mutter 'stupid bitch' under his breath.

Lori grinned in response and hit the brakes, making Brent curse and rush to put on his seat-belt. When I craned my head to look into the backseat, Lori grabbed me by the neck and pressed her lips to mine in an intense kiss.

"It has voice recordings stored inside it," she said, pulling away after Brent started complaining. She ran a finger over my lips before turning back to the road and releasing the brakes. "And you and I...well, we're going to have to take this someplace good."

She sped up as she neared the ramp to enter the highway, and I turned to watch her profile. I was intrigued and definitely attracted, so I didn't see why I shouldn't try my hand at a relationship with the psychopath.


I sighed and sat back in my seat as we headed further and further from the rest stop.

Life sure was going to get a hell of a lot interesting.

A/N: It's not too unbelievable, I think, because Lori's a...strange one. Don't hate on Brent, because I actually like him despite him being a potty-mouth and creeper (but that might be the medication speaking).

* Cocoa Puffs is a breakfast cereal manufactured by General Mills Inc. I do not known the cereal, the company, or the motto "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs".
* I do not own New Jersey or New York, but I consider myself the ruler of Canada. (Okay, no, I just wanted to inject some humour into this.)
* I've never been to New Jersey, so I have no idea what their rest stops are like. I pretty much dropped a rural rest stop I visited (in Canada) into New Jersey and named it 'Jersey's Wild'...which brings me to my next point...
* If there's a rest stop named 'Jersey's Wild'...oops, I didn't know you existed. The name and place is purely fictional in this story.

Everybody's probably going "Since when does Rebekah do disclaimers?" I don't, but I didn't want to get sued for using the catchphrase...and I got carried away as I started writing.


Poll on profile, other stories on profile, LJ link (also) on profile, facebook at Rebekah Ravina Evans, review button below. Good day.