Authors note thingie:
This is a fictional story written without any research. As such, a large amount of things are going to be inaccurate or just plain wrong. Please just ignore the massive plot holes, and take things with a proverbial pinch of salt. Oh, and skip the next 20 or so pages if you are only after the sex bits, that only happens at the end.
The rain was hammering down. If Alec had been a religious man, he would have said it was biblical. Large drops hit the broken concrete slabs in front of him, bouncing back up, such was force of the deluge.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, it was supposed to be glorious sunshine, birds cavorting in the light cooling breeze, the sound of happy kids playing in the distance...
But this wasn’t a fairy-tale, this was reality. And it was raining. And his feet were getting wet with the rain splash.
A palm landed on his back, smack bang between his shoulder blades, propelling him forward into mother nature’s wrath. Alec staggered a step into the deluge. There was no choice now but to hastily run towards the bus shelter. His light summer coat had no hood and it’s waterproof credentials were being put to the test, and failing. Failing miserably and quickly. Water ran down his neck, down his back, his chest. It wasn’t particularly cold, but it wasn’t particularly pleasant either.
He had hardly taken two steps when the door behind slammed shut, the sound of the key being turned just audible over the thunder of rain hitting ground. Further up the cul-de-sac, a car sat idling at the kerbside. It’s lights dim in the rain, it’s wipers at a speed that didn’t bode well for future longevity.
Alec shivered as he leapt into the dubious shelter of the bus stop. It was only enclosed three sides and the roof. The splash of rain continuing to soak his feet no matter where he stood. A timetable was affixed to one of the gable ends, a rolling digital screen above it telling the current time and the estimated arrival time for busses to destinations he had never heard of. He looked at the printed timetable on the wall, running a forefinger down the names, seeing if anything looked familiar. The next bus was in 15 minutes. He had no watch, but waiting wasn’t a problem, he had become good at waiting over the last 15 years.
The sodden paper bag he was holding, was in danger of tearing and dropping its meagre contents across the floor of the bus stop. He placed it on a seat and removed his coat. His plain white t-shirt was sodden and clung to him like a second skin, his coat having failed in its one task in life. He looked for a dry spot in the liner and wrapped the coat round the paper bag. Currently the only possessions he had in life, a paper bag containing some paper work, a toothbrush and a tattered Lee Child novel. He looked up at the scrolling screen, sardonically amused that there wasn’t too much difference between his current circumstances of ownership and that of the books main character, Reacher.
The car that had been idling further up the cul-de-sac, slowly started moving towards the bus shelter. Alec didn’t notice till it was almost alongside, and when he did, he ignored it at first, he wasn’t expecting anyone. The engine sounded rough, and something squealed, it wasn’t the fan belt. He looked round. The passenger window was slowly being wound down. He could see an arm jerkily moving in sync with the window. He glanced at his meagre possessions on the seat. He shrugged, he couldn’t get any wetter. He stepped out of the shelter over to the car.
Close up, the rust was obvious, as were the dents. There was a lot of both. He stooped to look inside. The car had only one passenger, who looked familiar. It took a minute. A cold shiver ran down his spine that had nothing to do with the weather.
Ah, now this is awkward.
“Hi” He said as he looked into those eyes. 15 years is a long time, but sometimes not long enough. He couldn’t think of anything to else to say.
She looked back. She was nervous, he could tell. If there was one thing he had learnt over the last few years, it was reading people.
“Hi” She replied, her voice quivered, she was close to flight. The silence drew out, the rain pounding on the roof. He watched her slowly master herself, watched her white knuckles slowly release their death like grip. He had to admit, he was impressed. It’s not easy mastering your fear. “Do you need a lift?”
Alec didn’t know how to reply, or even if he should. He leaned back and looked around. There was no one in sight, no other cars, no bus. He closed his eyes and slowly took a deep breath, held it, then opened them again as he exhaled. He looked around again, then nodded.
He stepped back away from the car, expecting it to speed of. It didn’t. He went back into the shelter and grabbed his coat wrapped possessions. The passenger door didn’t open easily and he slid into the dry air of the car. The springs of the seat were past their prime, the seat itself not endearing to comfort. It took him three tries to successfully shut the door.
The car windows immediately fogged up.
She reached over to the centre console and adjusted the heater settings. Something under the dashboard sounded like it was about to explode.
He waved a hand towards the windscreen “Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” She turned to look at him straight on. He watched as she gathered herself. Silence, then “You’ve bulked up...”
A sardonic smile touched the corner of his mouth as he looked down at his chest. He sighed and placed his coat and its contents down at his feet. “People...” he paused, there had been a lot of counselling sessions over the years, “like me...” He shrugged “Aren’t well liked...” He shrugged, he didn’t know what else to say.
She nodded. “You look good.”
His gaze dropped briefly, taking her in, before he forced himself to return his gaze to her face. “You’re as beautiful as you ever were, more so.” He groaned inwardly. “Amy, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry.” He paused “I’m sorry for everything.”
She turned from him and looked at the windscreen. Her cheeks were red.
A bus drove past, not slowing. It turned at the end of the cul-de-sac, the road incorporating a concrete island to enable their turn. It didn’t stop. Alec didn’t blame the driver, he wouldn’t have wanted to stop either.
He bent down to pick up his coat. “It’s okay Amy, I’ll get the next bus.” He reached for the door handle.
“It’s Isobell now.”
He paused hand on the handle. She turned to look at him.
“They gave me a new identity.”
He didn’t know what to say.
The windscreen was slowly clearing. The fortified Victorian splendour of one Her Majesties Prisons looming out of the murk.
“Where will you go?” She asked.
“I don’t know.” He didn’t.
She nodded. He watched as she came to an internal decision and put the car into gear. It lurched into motion, following the route of the bus round the traffic island. Alec watched his bus stop pass on the other side of the road. A light reflected on the dashboard.
“At the first opportunity, turn round...” The disembodied voice emanated from a black box stuck to the windscreen. Amy/ Isobell reached over and pressed some boxes on the screen. Alec took his hand off the door handle, and settled back against the seat. He watched houses and shops pass in the rain. The silence was awkward, the noise of the windscreen wipers sounding so alien to his ears.
He looked sideways at her. “How did you know where I was and that I was out today?”
She didn’t answer at first, he didn’t think she would answer at all. “They sent me a letter. It was just the date. I already knew where you were. I Googled the time.”
She didn’t glance at him, so he turned his gaze back to look out the passenger window. Something was lightly grinding somewhere at the back of the car. It sounded like a wheel bearing.
He took another deep breath and sighed. It wasn’t how he expected things to happen, but they had. ‘Deal with it’ as his dad used to always tell him. He leant forward to pick up his coat, untangling it from the paper bag containing his worldly goods. He turned to look into the back of the car, trying not to stare at her as he turned. Failing. He studied her profile, she hadn’t changed that much. Older obviously, slim, her nose pert and pointed, lips thin, cheekbones high. Very little makeup, eye shadow, but that was about it. Maybe some lip balm. Her hair still plaited into a single pony tail. She looked good. She glanced at him, he looked away.
There was an overnight bag on the back seat, that was it. He put the paper bag on the seat next to it, he spread the coat out over the floor, a half-hearted attempt to dry it out.
As he turned back to the front, he sneaked another look. A blue fleece, what looked like a white t-shirt on underneath. Simple grey jeans, and as she changed gear, he caught a glimpse of what appeared to be black work boots. Functional. Practical. Alec settled back into his seat, reaching over his shoulder to grab the seatbelt.
She pulled up at a set of lights. Out the corner of his eye, he saw her turn to look at him, he stared straight ahead, letting her. The lights turned green, she pulled away.
The silence was uncomfortable, he looked down to turn on the radio. It was missing.
.... There is more of this story ...