Copyright Notice: This is uber so the characters and story belong to the authors. All rights reserved, as the saying goes.
Disclaimer: No sex between consenting adults yet, but our protagonists will get around to it eventually.
This vignette is a sequel to Incident at the Antiq**s and Eats Truck Stop; you will need to read that story first to make any sense out of this one.
Comments, feedback, constructive criticism may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Life is a Two-Lane Highway
By Cassandra and Bik
They had been driving along the highway for several minutes in silence. Their wind-blown hair whipped about their faces. Momentarily some of the black and blonde strands became entwined like chocolate swirl ice cream; only to separate as the tall, dark driver started to slow the Mustang convertible. They were approaching a town. Zeena knew these were prime spots for small-town speed traps, and she had already gotten more than enough tickets for one year. She had even paid some of them. She was never sure if she should feel proud or ashamed of that.
Now that she was driving at a speed somewhere within nodding distance of the speed limit, or as she would put it, driving like a Sunday school teacher, she took a quick look at her passenger. The young blonde woman had a rapturous look on her face as she stared straight ahead; one hand was slowly caressing the leather seat beside her, feeling like she had been born-again.
Zeena slowed further as they got to the town limits. She didn't think Podunk, or whatever the hell its name was, had any police; but you could never tell about county deputies. They lurked in dark corners and pounced on good people who were only driving the way God meant cars to be driven.
She stole another look at the woman sitting next to her. She smiled to herself as she thought how casual she had been back at that truck stop -- 'Do you want to look at my hair in the light?' 'Sure, why not?' She had almost gone right by the truck stop, but she remembered she didn't have any beer. She had one more night on the road before she would be home, and enough beer might make even the Weather Channel interesting. So she stopped. If Zeena had been a philosopher, she might have wondered about the cosmic workings of fate. But since she rarely thought even five minutes ahead, all she knew was that it was beer that had brought them together.
And she had remembered the blonde cashier from the monster truck race, even though her hair had been more red then. The way the woman had examined the different trucks before the race started, showing proper respect and awe, had impressed Zeena. She had looked for her after the race was over, but she hadn't seen her. Then their eyes had met across the truck stop counter.
Zeena knew on some instinctive level that she was in trouble. She had always avoided long-term relationships - she usually didn't even bother asking a name because she wouldn't remember it in the morning anyway. But from the moment their eyes locked, she felt this time would be different. Zeena had almost lost her grip on the six-pack of Rolling Rock, her workouts finally paying off in a practical way to avoid this catastrophe. She was a little scared, too, and wanted to go slowly with this girl, Gabrielle or Bri (she wondered again what kind of cheese that was). She knew if she started anything with her, it was going to last a lifetime; and she didn't know if she was ready for that. Bri looked so young and innocent as she fondled the leather seat.
They were almost through Podunk and Zeena knew she had to say something soon. The driver cleared her throat. "Uh, Bri, should I take you back to the truck stop now?"
Bri was startled out of her reverie. Reality has a way of doing that. Her green eyes got big as she turned to look at her rescuer. That was how she had been thinking of the tall, dark, beautiful woman. In her daydream Zeena was a knight in shining armor who had swept the peasant girl off her feet and into a desert gold Mustang convertible with black lettering on the side. And they would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. At least that's how it should happen.
She was beginning to realize that imagination is much superior to reality. She looked down at her lap, trying to gather her thoughts. The only clear thought she had was that she wanted to stay with this woman forever. She had known that from the first second she had seen her at the monster truck race. She had planned to talk to her after it was over, but the people she was with had got bored (she couldn't understand that; she had found it exciting) and left early. She thought she would never see this intriguing woman again. Then Fate brought them together and their eyes met across the truck stop counter.
Bri looked up at her companion and lost herself in the stormy depths of her eyes. She knew she was breathing heavily again; she seemed to do that a lot around this woman. She finally managed to choke out, "I guess I don't have a job any more. Not that it was much of a job to begin with." She started laughing.
Laughter was the last thing Zeena had expected from the little cashier. "What's so funny?" By this time she had pulled her car over at the edge of town. She didn't want to go any farther until she knew where they were going. She had always been practical that way.
"I was just thinking of that poor tourist I left standing at the cash register. I wonder if she ever got that figurine." She laughed some more.
Zeena didn't remember anybody else being in the truck stop; she had only had eyes for the woman behind the cash register. But she liked the sound of Bri's laughter; it reminded her of some wind chimes she had heard once. At the time they had irritated her because she was trying to concentrate on the sound of an engine she was tuning. Now she realized that it was the most beautiful sound in the world.
"So, where do you live? I'll take you home." This was Zeena's subtle way of getting her address.
Bri stopped laughing. Her brain started going a mile a minute. She hadn't thought this hard since she had faked most of the final of world lit 101 at the community college. "My parents won't be happy that I quit my job. I still live at home," she explained to Zeena. "My boyfriend, Herbie, won't like it either." Her face brightened, "I know! I'll tell them I'm staying with a friend for a few days. That is, if you don't mind?"
"No, I don't mind." Her voice sounded even huskier than usual to her ears. Never much of one for thinking, Bri's smile had thrown her brain into complete turmoil. She sat still, staring.
When nothing happened, Bri said, "Shouldn't we be going? I need to get to a phone and call my parents."
Zeena blinked several times. "Right. Going." She pulled back onto the highway. Driving calmed her down; it always did. The fatal word finally worked its way to the surface. 'Boyfriend! Bri has a boyfriend?' she thought. 'I guess I don't have to worry about going slow. But... she wants to spend time with me ...Huh?' After a few minutes she said to Bri, "I'm staying at a motel in the next town tonight. Then I'm going back to my place tomorrow. You can let your family know where you are."
Once they got to the motel room, Bri started calling while Zeena got ice to chill the beer. She was managing to keep some priorities straight. Bri called her parents first and told her mother she was staying with a friend. She hung up before her mother could ask too many questions. Next she called Herbie and was glad she got his machine. She left a message that she wouldn't be able to go to the movies with him Friday night. Then she called her former place of employment. Her boss was really mad and tried to fire her, but she said she had already quit. She hung up while he was still cursing. She thought it was against the law to use that kind of language on the telephone.
That evening they sat in their room, drinking beer and watching television. Zeena was right - with enough beer, even the Weather Channel could be fun. Especially if you were with someone who made silly remarks about everything.
Zeena was gathering up the empty beer bottles when Bri suddenly realized something.
"Zee? Do you mind if I call you Zee?"
The tall woman stopped her clean up job and smiled. "No, I don't mind." She didn't, either, even though she had spent most of her life fighting off - sometimes literally - all attempts to give her a nickname.
"Zee, there's only one bed. What are we going to do?" She knew what she wanted to do.
"It's king size; you won't even know I'm there." Zeena was proud of that response; don't rush it had become her motto.
Bri tried again. This was turning out to be more difficult than she had thought. "Zee, I don't have anything to sleep in." She looked down at the uniform she had worn at the truck stop - a pale green skirt, a white blouse with pink trim, and her name sewn on the left side in almost indecipherable lettering.
Zeena looked at her and smirked. Her resolve was crumbling a little. "Is that a problem?"
"Well, I don't like sleeping naked! Prying eyes annoy me." Bri wondered if she was being too coy.
Zeena turned and rummaged in her bag. She was muttering to herself, "Don't rush it; don't rush it." She pulled out a clean t-shirt and smiled crookedly as she handed it to Bri. "Here, if you don't mind having something of mine covering your body."
Bri took it, her fingers brushing Zeena's for a second. Then she went into the bathroom. Zeena let out a long sigh. This was going to be harder than she thought. She put on her sleeping shirt and got into bed, being careful to stay on her side. She turned out the light.
When Bri came back into the room, Zeena pretended to be already asleep. Bri sat down hard, bounced really, on her side of the bed. When this didn't get any response from her roommate, she let out a long sigh. She got under the covers.