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"A Road Story"
Title: A Road Story
Summary: Tina is stranded in a backstreet town where she makes the acquaintance of a young musician.
Oh no, you couldn't wait until we got home or even to an actual city, you had to do this HERE! And where was 'here' anyway? Tina slammed the door hard enough to rock the blue Galaxy on its springs before she turned and angrily slumped against it. Perfect. Would this vacation torture ever end? First the California to Florida drive, then a week with the family who couldn't stay out of her business and criticized everything she did or was doing, then the drive back and now the one dependable thing in her life decided to overheat somewhere in far west Texas near the New Mexico border.
"Shit," She mumbled, while rubbing the sides of her head to fend off a slow throbbing ache that was threatening to take hold. Food, that's what she needed. A bite and a rest, but were either available in this town? She walked around to the front of the tiny service station that had closed for the day. Seven in the evening and the whole town looked deserted. She went up the main street for a little way in one direction and then another as twilight came down. There wasn't much to see. Several vacant buildings, and the few remaining businesses looked to be barely hanging on. No restaurants and definitely no hotels. Now what? Tina happened to look down a side street and noticed several cars and pick-ups slant parked in front of a grubby brick building. Hmmm... what's this? She found herself in front of the Longhorn Tavern. No thanks, She thought until a sign in the corner of the window caught her eye. 'EATS' blinked on and off in green. Her stomach rumbled in response. It was this or nothing.
The Longhorn was any and every small town bar in the southwest. It was dark and smelled of beer, cigarettes, and grease. Signs advertising various brands of alcohol and smokes were spread about the room. There was a pool table in one corner and a mute jukebox near it. Several men were engaged in a game of eight ball and others sat at the bar watching the TV mounted to the wall behind it. Tina felt uneasy as several pairs of eyes turned to size her up as she entered the building. Great. She would get in, get her food, and get the hell out.
"What'll it be?" The bartender asked.
"Cheeseburger, fries and a Coke, please." Tina replied. It was either that or chili; so said the worn, hand-lettered menu on the wall. It was tacked up near a window to what was presumably the kitchen. If the rest of the place was any indication, she was glad the kitchen was hidden from view.
When her dinner arrived, it was surprisingly good. She forgot her initial unease as she devoured the food. Maybe this wasn't such a bad place. No one was bothering her, and no fights had broken out yet. And check out THAT guy. He had come from the back and was wearing a stained white apron over a black shirt and jeans so faded they looked more white than blue. The green hat seemed a peculiar touch, but it was more stylish than a hairnet or one of those dorky paper hats. She watched as he collected empty plates and glasses. Yow. He spoke to no one and they did likewise as he went about his business. He could go about it for as long as he wanted as far as Tina was concerned. She watched with avid interest as he leaned across a cluttered table to get an empty bottle on the far side. Mmmmm... Eddie should look so good, she thought with a trace of resignation. There was another topic of discussion, (actually, argument was a better word to describe it) for her family. Eddie had been her boyfriend since college and questions about when she was going to quit her job and marry him were a constant source of annoyance. She wondered what her folks would think if she told them what a dud he was. Tina had been meaning to break things off with him but kept putting it back, figuring one was the same as another. Maybe she had been wrong about that last part. Damn, but this one was some kind of fine looking! She found the longer she watched the harder it became to look away. He paused to brush the shiny dark hair from his eyes and Tina wondered what it would be like to run her fingers through it. It looked soft and silky as opposed to Eddie's which was hacked off way too short in an out of date style resembling a crew cut. The show was over in just a few minutes and Tina's mind went back to a more pressing problem. Where was she going to stay? Lucky thing the Galaxy had an enormous back seat. She'd just put the top up and crash out there. The next day she could see about getting someone to take a look at it. Well, it wasn't exactly late but maybe it would be best if she... stayed right where she was. He was back, but this time was free of the apron and carrying a guitar instead.
Most of the regulars paid him no mind and went on with their games and discussions. He sat down on a worn bar stool placed against one wall and immediately began to play and sing along without so much as a word of introduction. It was some old Hank Williams tune that Tina didn't know the name of. Interesting. His singing voice was much higher than she would have guessed. The way he sang the words, a person would think he had done quite a lot of living. She mulled the idea over. He was pretty close to her own age. Yeah, but not everyone lives in the same rut I do. She was pulled from her reverie by an old, gray fedora being plunked down on the bar in front of her.
"Passin' the hat." The bartender said, and then nodded in the singer's direction, "Kid's tryin' to get to California."
She couldn't blame him for that. Tina fished around in her purse and came up with a crumpled 10. What the hell, she wasn't hurting for money. Maybe it would fix up the ol' karma. She placed it in the hat under the lone dollar bill and small pile of change. Wow. From the looks of things, he should have enough for bus fare in another year or so. If he was lucky, that is.
The music went on for about half an hour before a few of the rowdier customer's demands for food became greater than the need for entertainment. Too bad. The last song was finished and then he disappeared into the back again. Wasn't that always the way? People never appreciated what you loved, only what you could do that benefited them. Now it WAS getting late and the atmosphere had begun to shift a bit. Tina noticed with her familiar unease that some of the other patrons were really beginning to feel all the beer they had put away. She was surreptitiously watching the rest of the room and was quite surprised to find herself face to face with the mysterious busboy/singer when she turned back to her Coke sitting on the bar.
"Hi." Was all she was able to get out in her surprise
"Hi." Came the response. He had the darkest eyes she had ever seen and those lips! They were so full and looked so soft. Tina thought they'd feel like velvet against her throat. "Listen, I just wanted to say thanks."
"For the contribution and for acting interested." He could hardly meet her eyes.
"Who's acting? You were good. Really. And how did you know that was from me?"
"Because I've been here long enough to know that it'd take a gun to get that much out of these guys, and even then they'd still try to fight you for it."
Tina snickered at that. Oh, she had to keep him talking. The accent was adorable. "I'm Tina," She said extending her hand.
"Mike," was the brief reply as he took her hand and gave it a gentle shake.
"The bartender says you're going to California,"
"Yeah, that's where you have to go if you want to make it big."
She felt herself on the verge of offering him a ride but then the caution relentlessly ingrained since birth made her stop.
They made idle chit chat as much as business would allow. It was late, and that car wasn't going to get any more comfortable. Mike had gone back to the kitchen and Tina was hearing the call of nature. A quick pit stop and then she'd have to make her goodbyes and get out of here. Too bad. Mike was very interesting. They had covered a wide area in their broken conversations and he was just getting to where he would look her in the eye. For the longest time he would look away whenever she focused her attention directly upon him.
Tina exited the tiny restroom and was headed back to her seat when a rough hand grabbed her wrist and pulled her backward.
"Hey, baby. Where you goin'? A slurred voice asked.
The owner of the voice was an average sized man, but one who was extremely strong from many years of working in the nearby oilfields. His large, rough hand was all the way around her wrist and the grip was not loosening.
"I'm just on my way out, so if you'll excuse me...." Tina said trying to pull her arm free without being obvious.
"Awe, what's your hurry? It's early yet. Here, have a seat!" The man said as he pulled her down onto his lap. His friends seemed to be finding the whole thing hilarious. Fuck. What was she going to do? The front door was pretty close. The only option seemed to be to wait for this jackass to get distracted and then make a sprint for it. The distraction came a lot sooner than she expected.
"Let her go, Red." A voice said from across the room. It immediately got quiet as the other patrons watched in anticipation.
"Get your scrawny ass back to the kitchen." Red replied, without turning to look.
"Let her go."
"Why don't you mind your own business, son?" One of the others at the table said.
"Ain't nobody talking to you, Don."
Tina was surprised to find herself released and roughly pushed away as Red got to his feet. "You sayin' you wanna go a couple rounds with me, boy?"
"If that's what you want." Mike said, nonchalantly as he removed the apron and tossed it away.
Tina glanced at the bartender. Surely he would stop this before it got out of hand. He merely shrugged and shook his head. He could have told Mike several stories about what happened to others who had run afoul of Red but it was no use. The kid was going to have to learn the hard way. Hopefully it would be quick and do a minimum of damage to the place.
When things started to happen, they happened fast. Without a word, Red swung at Mike. It would have been a powerful blow if it had landed. In his drunken state he was a lot slower than normal. Mike easily dodged the swing and quickly landed a couple of punches himself. Red was more pissed off than injured and came back that much harder. Mike was doing a pretty fair job of avoiding most of the various strikes in his direction. Maybe his adversary would tire quickly and lose interest. Red was getting more angry and finally abandoned strategy in favor of a full out leap. Mike moved aside just fast enough to avoid being flattened and to see Red land on a table that was surrounded by some of the regulars who didn't like to be interrupted. Suddenly the number of combatants increased by three and then three more when Red's buddies joined in to even things out.
Tina was watching events unfold with an amazed wonder and supposed if she had any kind of sense she would have gotten the hell out of there as soon as Red let go of her. Oh shit, now furniture was being brought into play. The rickety wooden chairs fell apart as they were used as weapons. She was relieved to see that Mike was scraped up and bleeding a little but still holding his own. Or he would be until the scruffy guy sneaking up behind him brought that bottle down onto his head. Without even thinking, Tina grabbed an abandoned pool cue and hit the man behind the knees as hard as she could. Mike turned in time to see him go down like a sack of rocks. He looked at Tina with surprise and then smiled. A section of chair sailed overhead as he grabbed her hand and they ran for the door.
"Quick, down there!" Tina said pulling him in the direction of the garage. They got there without being seen and collapsed on the front seat of the car out of breath and tired. They looked at one another and were suddenly giggling with relief. There were a few shouts out on the street but they were faint, and besides, someone had probably called the sheriff by now. The Longhorn was not far from a residential area.
"Are you ok?" Mike asked.
"Yeah. What about you, you're the one who's bleeding."
"What are you gonna do now? You can't go back there can you?"
"Mmm... yeah, I'm probably fired, and Red ain't one to let bygones be bygones."
There was silence for a few moments and then:
"Why don't you come with me?" Tina asked suddenly.
"I live in California. I can take you as far as Oakland."
"Are you sure? I don't have much money so ...." His voice trailed off as Tina flapped a hand at him.
"Don't worry about that. C'mon, it's the least I can do after you bailed me out back there."
"Ok. Wait here and I'll be right back. I have to get my stuff."
It was crazy, but she had done it. She could imagine her family's disapproval at such irresponsibility. This was not the way she had been brought up. No, it wasn't and the change felt great. Now to see if the car would be ok. It started easily enough and had cooled down considerably. About then, Mike came tearing around the corner, pausing to throw his few belongings into the backseat before leaping over the door.
"Go! They're right behind me!"
The car shot into the alley, tires throwing up clouds of dust and spraying gravel everywhere. Red and one of his cronies caught the full barrage as they rounded the corner of the building.
The highway was deserted in both directions as the pair headed west. They were an hour and a half out of town and it looked like no one had decided to come after them. It was a good thing.
"Uh oh." Tina said.
"It's getting hot again. It was doing that before, that's why I had it at the garage."
"Is it bad?"
"Not just yet but it'll get there pretty soon. Man, there aren't any towns for a long way according to that last sign we passed."
"We can just pull off somewhere and wait it out." As though cued by his suggestion, a dark shape loomed up in the desert night. The car pulled into the parking lot and the headlights revealed an abandoned motel once known as the Cactus Flower Motor Lodge. It was divided into two separate buildings and the gap between them was large enough to ease the ailing car through. Tina didn't care that no one had followed, it seemed best to stay out of sight. The lights picked out a large wooden picnic table surrounded by various bits of discarded furniture and other trash before they were snapped off. The total silence was gradually diminished as night noises from the desert and the abandoned buildings began to assert themselves.
The pair left the car and began to aimlessly wander around the open space. The wind quietly whistled through the empty windows and carried the sound of coyotes howling their songs. Mike sat down at one end of the rough, wooden table and leaned back to look at the sky. Tina watched him for a few seconds and then sat down at the opposite end.
"You could look all night and never see them all," Mike said quietly.
"Look at that one, it's green almost."
"Right there," He said, pointing toward the west.
"I don't see it," Tina said, leaning in his direction.
Mike scooted closer and gently placed a hand on the back of her head to guide her gaze. "See it right over there?"
Tina could hardly concentrate with him so close and touching her, but at last she saw it. The star actually did look green and it twinkled a little in the moving air currents. Was it a sign? Suddenly she was aware that he wasn't looking at the sky, but at her. The hand began to gently stroke her hair and she turned toward him and waited to see what would happen. He slowly leaned closer, giving her an opportunity to move away if she wanted to. The kiss was soft and with an expectant quality. When she didn't pull back, he did it again longer and more forcefully. It went so long, she could hardly breathe. It was fabulous. For a brief moment there was a nagging guilty feeling, but she mentally kicked it aside. She wanted this and the many years of having what "nice girls" did and did not do ground into her was not going to get in the way.
Now she found herself turned so that her legs were dangling off the end of the table. Mike had gently moved them apart and was standing between them as his hands came to rest on either side of her face tilting it upward to meet his lips in another of the deliciously long kisses. Even as her head was spinning, a thought occurred to Tina. It was not pleasant, but she had to know the answer. Lightly, she stroked her tongue against Mike's tender lips and slid her hands from his lower back down onto his ass where she firmly squeezed. He pulled back a little and looked at her. Damn! It was the wrong thing. She should have known. A quick glance proved otherwise. He was smiling at her.
"I had you pegged as the shy type," He said.
"Oh, no. Not at all,"
"Good," She replied, and could hardly believe her own boldness as she pulled him close again. Anytime she had tried to take the initiative with Eddie it was 'Quit acting like a whore' and then about 2 minutes of action and that was that. Tina would have never guessed it could be so good. She was determined to explore this newfound freedom as much as possible. Each had the other mostly out of their clothes in just a matter of minutes.
She could feel the strong but gentle grasp of Mike's hands on her hips as he guided her onto him one last time. He was insatiable and it suited Tina fine. She hissed quietly as she slid onto his enormous rod. She'd be feeling this tomorrow for sure, but that was a long way off. They had fucked in a number of different ways and she had finally gotten what she had always wanted when he went down on her and expertly brought about a series of orgasms that left several seconds of dizziness in their wake. Mike was rhythmically meeting every thrust she made now. They were both covered with a thin layer of sweat despite the cool breezes from the desert. She watched his reaction as the hard, rapid motion finally made him come. He arched his back just a little and kept her still as he tried to go still farther inside.
The faint spasm of his cock subsided before Mike finally relaxed back onto the table looking spent and very satisfied. The table was not made for comfort, so the pair got mostly dressed before retiring to the back seat of the dusty Ford. Mike produced an old army blanket from the duffel bag and threw it over the both of them. No words were spoken or needed as they quickly fell into a heavy slumber beneath the stars.
The day started with dazzling sunshine and a cloudless sky. It was going to be another hot one. Tina awoke to find herself alone but still covered by the blanket. As she sat up and looked around, the soreness she felt all over confirmed that all that the night before hadn't been a dream. She was about to get out and see what was going on when a metallic sound from beneath the open hood of the car got her attention. Mike was doing something under there. He edged around to the driver's side with his upper half still hidden by the hood. Tina stretched and took in the view. As he went about whatever he was doing, Mike would shift his weight back and forth. The sight of his long thigh muscles flexing beneath the faded denim stirred something within Tina. As soon as she was home Eddie was history. It was astounding that she had been willing to settle for so little. She knew that after they got to Oakland she'd probably never see Mike again. That was ok. Last night she had experienced such wonderful things and had thought them over before falling asleep. So what if she never saw him again? He couldn't be the only one out there worth her attention. The time had come to live a little.
Mike withdrew himself from the engine and closed the hood with a bang, after he noticed his audience. "Good Mornin'" He said.
"'Morning," Tina replied around a yawn.
"What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?"
"I found what's causin' it to overheat,"
"You've got a radiator leak,"
She wrinkled her nose. "That sounds expensive,"
Mike shrugged. "I think if you're careful we can make it with no real problems,"
"Sure. We might have to make a lot of stops to refill the radiator and let it cool off, but other than that...."
Tina nodded. A lot of stops, huh? That would be quite a bit of time to kill. "So what do we do while we wait?" She said, with a mischievous smile.
"I'm sure we can think of somethin'," Mike said, as he eased himself down onto the seat beside her.