FIC: Lost Souls, Part I: One Way Ride (2/2)
- Disclaimer, etc., in part 1
The coffee warmed her up considerably, and she and Fred shared the
entire bowl of pretzels. She finally decided she didn't have frostbite,
and she considered her next move. Obviously buying that car was a
mistake, no matter how cheap it was, and that was a mistake she would
take care of right now.
She grabbed her bag and coat and motioned to Fred. Marjorie swapped
several dollars for quarters and pointed her toward the pay phone.
Unfortunately, it was all the way on the other side of the building.
Halfway there, she paused, drawn almost against her will toward the
Inside, two shirtless men were grappling. One of them, the taller one
with reddish hair, was pounding the second man, who was on his knees.
She watched in sick fascination, feeling almost sorry for the second
man, though God knew it was his own fault for getting into that
He turned her way, and her eyes met his. They were filled with pain and
disgust and something she couldn't quite identify, and they held hers
for a second. She felt ... something. A tug. A connection.
Then it was gone. He looked away, sending an elbow into the taller man's
gut. Standing, he punched the man, and Marie frowned at the almost
metallic sound that came just before the horrible crunch of the man's
He was down for the count, and among the jeers of the crowd she heard
the announcer say the winner was the Wolverine. Looking at the victor,
she could see where the name came from, and she wondered that anyone
would dare fight this man. He had an almost animal look to him, and his
wild head of dark hair and bushy sideburns only added to that
impression. And that bare chest made a woman want to lick the sweat
right off of him and find out if he was just as hairy all over his body.
Yowza! Marie yanked her mind out of the gutter and flushed as she
realized the Wolverine was watching her watch him. He sent her a slow
smile, as if he could read her mind and would be happy to show her
anything she liked. Heat rushed through her body, and for a moment she
believed that spontaneous combustion was actually possible. Then his
smile morphed into a smirk, and anger overtook the brief spark of lust.
Her mood didn't improve when she finally made it to the phone and found
three other people waiting to use it. Sighing, she went to the end of
the line and leaned against the wall. Fred sat down next to her, his
chin leaning on her thigh, and looked up at her adoringly. How the hell
did he get the idea that she knew what she was doing, anyway?
Half an hour later, she got her turn at the phone.
She dug the card out of her bag and fed some quarters into the phone.
The receptionist at Diamond's Auto Sale-O-Rama apparently was used to
irate customers. She had a strategy all worked out.
"Wait!" Marie yelled. "Don't put me on hold. I"m at a --"
Too late. Marie fed more quarters into the phone and wondered if they
were hoping to keep her on hold until she forgot that the car she bought
was broken down on the side of the road. Oh, great. Lionel Ritchie. She
was going to have "All Night Long" in her head for days. It must be part
of their evil plot. Drive the customer insane, and you won't have to
take responsibility for your criminally crappy cars. If she had a
business, she'd never put people on hold. And if she did, she'd have
them listen to Dido or Letters to Cleo, or something that didn't
"I need to use the phone." A low voice came from behind her.
"Wait your turn," she snapped without turning around. Oh, God, she
thought as the music in her ear changed. Not The Carpenters! Bring back
"I. Need. To. Use. The. Phone." It was a growl this time, and she turned
to find the Wolverine behind her. Showered and changed -- shirt on,
unfortunately -- but still rather animal looking.
If she had the sense God gave a goat -- and Lord knows her Momma'd told
her often enough that she didn't -- she would have been afraid.
Apparently goats the world over had more sense than Marie Gordon.
"Wait. Your. Turn," she said, matching his growl rather admirably, she
"Hey, you're that hitchhiker," he said suddenly.
Her eyes widened. "You're that bastard who left us out there to freeze."
He winced and almost managed to look guilty.
"You know," she said angrily. "It's not like I planned for that piece of
-- hello?" She turned back to the phone. "Is this Jimmy? How ya doin'
Jimmy? It's Marie Gordon. Remember me? Yeah, I'd be the damn fool who
bought that rolling disaster from you, oh, a week ago?"
Jimmy did, in fact, remember her, though he apparently forgot that she
was supposed to have two weeks to return the car if she wasn't satisfied
with her purchase. She reminded him.
"News flash, Jimmy. Cars are much better if they actually run. Now, be a
good boy and call the credit card company, 'cause if that thing shows up
on my bill, I will sue your ass from here to Mississippi and back, and
don't think I'm playin' with you, buster."
She gave him vague instructions on where he could pick up the car and
hung up the phone, feeling better than she had in weeks. Nothing like a
verbal ass kicking to clear out the cobwebs. Her mood soured
considerably when she turned around to find Fred making friends with the
"Fred," she told him. "You have the worst taste in people of any dog
"He likes you," the man said, and damn if he didn't sound amused. That
just pissed her off more.
"Like I said, bad taste," she said. "C'mon Fred."
The building had emptied out since she'd been on the phone, but Marjorie
was still there. She told Marie she thought there were a few truckers
still outside, and just about any one of them would be willing to give
her a ride.
There were, in fact, several truckers standing over to the side talking
and laughing. She and Fred were headed that way when she heard the sound
of an engine that didn't want to start. She glanced over, and sure
enough, it was that Wolverine guy in his truck.
She tried to ignore it, but she was pretty sure she knew what the
problem was, and of course, Momma took this opportunity to remind her
that the Bible said to pay back evil with good. Marie always thought
there was something off about that, but now she hoped it was true
because wouldn't that mean someone as evil as she was should be getting
a big bucket of good pretty soon?
She was afraid her conscience wouldn't shut up, and one more dab of
guilt was likely to send her right over the edge, laughing like a
freaking loony. And the fact that that didn't sound as bad as it used to
scared her enough to propel her over to the truck.
She went to the window, amused to see him beating on the steering wheel.
Yeah, that'll fix it, wolf boy. She motioned for him to roll his window
down, and, frowning, he complied. "What?"
"Pop the hood," she said.
He just stared at her. "Pop the hood, damn it. I'm freezing my ass off
out here, and I don't have all day."
He looked startled, but she heard the hood click open. "When I wave at
you, start the truck."
She fiddled under the hood for a moment, then waved at him. He turned
the key, and the engine caught. He was out of the truck a second later.
"How'd you do that?"
"My Dad has a truck just like this," she said, pointing. "You gotta
jiggle that thingy, and then press on that doohickey. Then it'll start.
But you need to have this jobber replaced."
"I don't remember what they're called," she said, scowling. "But it got
your stupid truck running, so back off."
She picked up her bag and started to walk away.
"Wait." When she turned around, he said quietly. "Um, thanks. And I'm ..
uh. I'm sorry about before. When I didn't ..."
"Whatever. Come on, Fred."
The dog sat at the man's feet and tilted his head at her. The traitor.
Fine. That was fine. She didn't need a damn dog anyway.
"Wait," he said again. Sighing, she turned around. "Um. You want a
She almost laughed at the look on his face, like he couldn't believe
he'd just offered her a ride. He looked like he desperately wanted to
take it back, so she decided to accept.
"Better late than never, sugar."
~end part I~
Amy (graciously) criticised the artistic parts of the story, and offered
hints for a sequel, which unfortunately couldn't be carried out, as the
hero and the heroine were dead.
~~ Little Women