Another random piece. . .
[1.] Lonely Roads.
She sits on the corner as it begins to rain. Sighing, she pulls her baseball cap lower over her brow, which at least keeps the water outta her eyes. It still drips on the ancient game machine that she has in her hands, though. She scrubs them back and scowls, because this dull plastic block probably means more to her than anything. She takes it everywhere with her. Even out in the rain.
It eventually turns into a pouring storm. Still, she sits on the corner, huddling beneath an awning on some doorstep, mashing buttons to a quirky, chirping soundtrack while she watches the screen. No one else is outside. Only a couple vehicles pass on the street, quick to vanish into the growing darkness on the horizon.
She sits. Waits. Maybe ten minutes later, shivering in her wet clothes, someone approaches her.
"Aren't you a little old to be playing on that?" He asks. It might be a joke.
She barely squints at him, his own cap low over his gaze, too. Some black beanie with not quite blonde hair stuck to his neck. "Aren't you a little old to be approaching underage kids?" She counters blandly.
He snorts. Her bluntness must have taken him aback. "You can't be underage." He balls his hands in his hoodie pockets as he rocks on his heels. ". . .are you?" He manages to chew out.
She shrugs. "Do I look it?"
"No." He shakes his head. "I don't know." He seems to be considering something, stamping his shoes on the step underneath hers. Moments pass. He heaves a sigh, then sits down beside her.
She almost pauses. His arm nudges hers, which does make her hesitate as she catches a glimpse into his gaze. His eyes are. . .reddish, like glass. He must be a little drunk. Even though they are probably the palest, bluest eyes that she has ever seen.
"You waiting on someone?" He wonders.
She grunts beneath her breath. "I guess." Not that it matters. It's really not his business, anyways.
He nods, like he understands. Yeah, right. She drops her attention back to her screen, but her concentration is a bit shaken. He understands nothing.
"It is kinda late, though." He says, maybe to break the silence. "I wouldn't have let you wait this long. Not on these streets." He sounds innocent enough, but his low voice still makes her suspicious. "I guess you never know who. . .or what, you might run across in the dark."
She squints at him again. "You know these things, huh?" Is her dry response.
His teeth are white, straight, when his mouth pulls back. "I'm an expert, honey." He smirks.
"Well, that explains everything, then." She mutters. Her pulse lurches through her veins with something nervous, and something. . .strange, when he gives this quiet, rasping laugh.
"Come on, dolly." He chuckles, pretending that her comment wounds him. "Cut me some slack." He pats his pockets down, then pulls out a small plastic pack.
She studies him more than the game screen now. Her hands might be hovering over the buttons, but her impassive stare is observing him as he pulls out a cigarette and sticks it between his lips.
"Want one?" He holds out the pack.
She wrinkles her nose in answer. It makes him laugh again. "Okay, okay. I get it. I was only being nice." His smirk twists. "Something tells me, though. . .being nice probably doesn't work on you." He lights up, chin out, and blows thin grayish streams into the rain.
Silence ensues as she thinks about that. He watches her, watching him, beneath low golden lashes with that same white smirk. Whatever he might be implying, well. Fuck. She scowls, because it makes no sense. Nothing about this situation makes sense. People usually leave her alone, not make bizarre small talk with her while she waits on doorsteps. He is. . .crazy. He must be crazy.
She shoots him a glare and then looks away, shoving her game into her pocket. "What are you doing?" She eventually snaps. "Why are you talking to me?"
He raises a brow. Her anger surprises them both, actually. He takes a long, slow drag, his smirk gone in a blink as the smoke brushes his cheekbones. "I don't know." He admits. His sudden calmness is almost eerie. "Why are you talking back?"
She opens her mouth, but quickly closes it again. Hot, violent color rises in her expression. "I. . ." She wavers, shakes her head. He has a point. "I. . . I don't know, either." She whispers.
He doesn't say anything this time. He doesn't have to. She watches the ocean waves devour the pavement while he reaches into his hoodie and removes something else. It looks like a whiskey bottle. He swallows the contents down with a light grimace, then presses the smooth glass into her hands without even looking at her.
She stares down at it, like she has no idea on what to do with it. Which she does, obviously, but she never. . . Not usually, at least. She knows what alcohol does. Has seen it work its poisonous spell. Yet, something grips her. Something like rage or helplessness or sheer, uncharacteristic recklessness.
Because, she might be waiting, but there is no one coming. She has no reason to even get outta this damn storm. She has. . . Well, all she does have is an ancient game machine, a worn lyric booklet, and the baseball cap on her head. Know what these things are? Really? Useless, that's what.
About as useless as she is.
Her palms are tight on the bottle. So tight, it hurts to keep holding it. Fuck does it matter, anyways? Will they even notice when she doesn't come home? Yeah, sure. Maybe in a couple days, when her picture is on the news. She raises the rim to her lips and closes her eyes.
It stings like harsh chemicals carving paths down her throat. She takes a larger gulp and almost chokes on it. Her skull buzzes. Her stomach clenches. It isn't unpleasant, but she doesn't like it. Blinking quickly, she gives the bottle back and he puts it away.
"I was going over there." He abruptly says, with a vague wave. His voice is hoarse, eyes a little brighter, a little redder. "But. . . I don't know. I saw you here, I guess." He slumps back against the door.
She tries to track his unsteady movements. It seems like his point was towards some indistinct building, an apartment building, towering over the others in the thick darkness. She squints at it, and squints at him with a peculiar look. It's an expensive block, too. Highest in the district.
"Is that your home?" She murmurs.
He crushes his cigarette beneath his shoe and tries not to laugh. Something about his expression lingers near desperation. Borders on hysteria. It's unsettling. Like, he might be splitting apart without even realizing it.
"No." His grin is wide, too wide, and those cannot be tears in his eyes. It must be the glowing street lights. "Not anymore, dolly. It hasn't been my home in months."
"Oh." She mutters. Something crackles awkwardly between them. She ducks her chin, pretends not to see him wipe his palm across his gaze. "Why were you going back, then?"
He has his hands over his eyes now. When she speaks, he spreads them out and peers at her through the cracks. "No one is coming to pick you up, huh?" He hedges her question with his own.
She blanches. "W-what?"
His smile is smaller this time. Much more bitter. "You're not the only one, dolly. No one remembers me, either."
She drops her stare, heart pounding, slamming against her eardrums. How? How does he know? How can he tell? She tucks her arms over her sweatshirt and tries to ignore her trembling limbs. Heat swims through her cheeks. Pains constrict across her chest. But, really, all she can do is bite her tongue and blink away tears.
What can she say, anyways? It's the damn truth.
He struggles to get up. Something. . .something rings its alarm inside her lungs as she tries to breathe. It's not panic. No, it's not panic whatsoever. She checks her own bewildering impulse when she reaches to tug on his hoodie and pull him back. Drunk as he is, he still sees her pause. He can still walk straight and look straight and he is looking straight at her with those blue, blue eyes while he holds out his hand.
"Come on." He cocks his head down the street. "I'll take you home."
She. . .
She believes him.