Passages 18

Oceanside - Starfish Cove Wellness Center: 6 AM

R's Journal

I thought someone would try to stop us. The people who run around in the freaking dark before the sun comes up, a couple of them looked at us, watching the Toad throw suitcases in the truck bed, but nobody said anything. Jimmy strapped the Martin down like it was a baby, like he thought it might try to crawl out on its tuners and hurt itself. If my dad hauled it all over the place for years I doubt it's going to break just sitting in the back of a truck. Excited, this feels like an adventure, like I need more of those, but I'm glad to be leaving this place. I didn't even ask where we were going, and Toad was quiet and worked fast.  It was chilly, goosebumps on my legs, dew on the grass so wet and shining and full of those spiders who only spread their grass webs in the dew and the dark.  Why am I still writing in the journal? Maybe because it helps make sense of what really makes no sense.  It's me making my web in the grass.

Bridgewater - 10 AM

Must have fallen asleep because then it was full daylight and hot and Jimmy was pulling into a gas station and telling me to run inside and get some drinks and something to eat. "We need gas, and me I could use something to eat. You got some money?”

The truck engine was ticking in the heat, waves of heat wiggling over the hood, and my legs were stuck to the plastic seat. Sweaty. I don't know why I hadn't thought about money, but of course I'd need money. I felt stupid and embarrassed, and groggy and strange. I didn't know where we were.  I told him no, thinking about the credit cards, pretty sure they weren't working anymore; my dad would have cut them off. “Then you better get some while we’re here," Jimmy was going on. "They got a machine right there. I’ll get the gas; you pick up sodas and something to eat.”

So I get out of the truck, still sticking to the seat, watching Jimmy. He seemed really on edge and uncomfortable, serious, not joking or teasing me. Leaving with him might have been a mistake. He's got what, an old beat up truck and for all I know he lives in a trailer. And probably expects me to pay for him. Feeling down, I thought I might as well try the cards, maybe one of them still worked, when of all people in the world, well almost all people in the world - I can think of a couple who would be worse - Cruz walks out of the place and sees me. And he was with a girl. He was looking at me, and then looking past me at Jimmy, and Jimmy was standing next to the gas pump and looking back at him. “What are you doing here?” Cruz asks. “I thought you were, uh, in a place.”

I knew I was gross. I was sweating, greasy sweat on my face, makeup running, and I was hoping I didn't smell. Cruz wasn't sweating. He was just as buff and glossy and tan as he'd been the first time I ever saw him. The girl wasn't sweating either and she was pretty. I'd never seen her before, but she was sort of obviously with him since she was standing right behind him. It was annoying. She could see I was talking to him. I told him, “I’m taking a break.” He leaned back against his bike and took his time and finally said, "Is that guy giving you a ride to your break?” The Toad had quit pumping gas and was standing with his arms crossed now, staring at both of us. “It’s either him or I walk, and I might have to walk. I don’t have any cash.”

He flashed that long, white, deliberate smile at Jimmy, pulled out his wallet, peeled off a couple of hundred dollar bills and put them in my hand. He closed his hand around mine as he did it. “That would be a damned shame if you had to walk. Here you go.” That was strange and humiliating, but I took the cash, and then decided I'd better say something. He was still looking at Jimmy. The girl walked off. Cruz didn’t pay any attention to her, or to me either, doing the stare down with the Toad I guess, which was ridiculous. "Cruz,” and I was trying to be quiet, “don't tell anyone about seeing me here. Please don't do that. I just need a little time to think about things."

He sliced another long cool look at Jimmy and shrugged. "I won't, if that's what you want."

Jimmy flicked a cigarette in the direction of the gas pump despite about a hundred DO NOT SMOKE signs. He didn't say a thing, just looked at Cruz, and Cruz looked back and smiled again. "Be careful," Cruz said. "You know how to reach me if you need me."

Then he did that thing he does when he's getting on his bike, using it, mounting it, letting it idle between his legs while the engine rumbles and he controls the gas. Every move is sex. He did some business with the brake, slid one last glance at Jimmy before easing slowly out of the parking lot, disappearing down the road fast toward the city to the east. At least, I think that's where the road goes. The girl didn't go with him. Maybe he was fixing her car. Or something. Probably or and something and fixing both or and something at the same time.

"You done with him?" Jimmy jammed the key in the ignition and started the engine. It stalled. He stomped on the clutch and forced it hard enough to flood it, poor old truck, but it did start.

Judging from the way I felt, the way Cruz smiled, the girl with him, I wasn't sure. Did I want Cruz? Maybe. Why? Because he was with another girl? Because he reminds me of his father? Wasn’t that what I did to Ryan? And how do you get 'done'? When had I ever been done? Nothing was ever done. It just went on and on, tangling and knotting and strangling and tripping me up. So I told him, "Shut up, Toad. Shut up and drive."

Think I’m going to start hiding this journal.


NEXT CHAPTER: Rising Above Chapter 12


Dinuriel said...

That rehab place doesn't have much going on in terms of security, does it? :P

It was great seeing Cruz again, and it's interesting how there's already some animosity between him and Jimmy. Is Cruz not over Rayne, perhaps? There are definitely still some sparks there, with the way she was talking about him getting on the motorcycle and everything. "Every move is sex" indeed :)

S.B. said...

well the places I'm familiar with sure don't, not unless it's one that comes with bars LOL! You walk out of most of them anytime you want. You're paying to be there.

Cruz isn't over Rayne. Her feelings for him were always mixed, not so much love as the hope of love. She definitely appreciates some things about him! And he made a point to throw something at Jimmy, if only the fact that he's bigger and badder.

Phoenix said...

MAAAAAN!!! Was the tension ever thick! LOL!!

I like that Rayne is still keeping a journal. It shows a little bit of growth on her part that she's thinking about things after they happen ya know? Instead of just walking around in a daze!

Cruz and Jimmy doing the stare down thing just about killed me. Neither one of them needs to be thinking about having any sort of relationship(or thing) with Rayne right about now.

I loved, LOVED what you did here. I adored the shots! I don't care what you say!:P Wonderfully, wonderfully done!

S.B. said...

oh thank you Phoenix, and THANK YOU for the car pose box!

Rayne's thinking. A little bit. More about what she wants and why she wants it than about what anybody else is thinking or feeling, but it's a start.

Cruz and Jimmy did eye each other. Cruz knows he doesn't have any claim on Rayne, but he was there before Jimmy, and he's an alpha type.

Jimmy didn't expect Rayne to take him up on the offer to 'run off'. He was flirting. But she did. So now she's sort of with him and, as uncomfortable as Cruz made him, he wasn't about to get back in the truck and hide.

Thank you so much!!

Gayl said...

First of all, you know I love everything you do. I wish you wouldn't underestimate your talent for seeing the shot and making it work with your words, which really drive the story. You always manage meaningful, stunningly wonderful images.

It was funny to see how Rayne thought about Coop's guitar and how he dragged it all over. I think Jimmy's reverence for it is more the man who owns it, not the guitar itself although it is a work of art.

Rayne is beginning to see things, not everything, but she is thinking things through even if they are still rather egocentric. And Toad's obvious jealousy over Cruz, you have to wonder what is going through his mind there...aside from the obvious regarding Cruz. And hello??? Cruz's attitude is so Gabe AND his mother!

S.B. said...

You're right. To Rayne, it's a guitar, a very good guitar, but she doesn't have any sentimental attachment to it. To Jimmy that's COOPER'S guitar.

Thought about Jimmy's reaction to Cruz for a while, and you know we both thought about it. I can't see him backing down even though there's no girlfriend relationship yet with Rayne. Cruz doesn't know that. It was a challenge.

and hell yeah! Cruz's attitude is so Gabe and his mother! Doesn't matter if he doesn't want it right now; if he had it, and might want it again, he's going to make sure any other man knows he can take it.

thank you about the shots. this time they had to be secondary.

Lotus said...

PERFECT. Absolutely perfect.

The pictures look excellent. Vibrant, warm, and sexy--exactly the mood that fit the text and the events. I love the showdown between Cruz and Jimmy. Cruz really represents stability and safety here and I think that's part of what makes him so sexy in this scene. Jimmy's force when starting the vehicle hints to jealousy or resentment. Whichever, there are definitely negative feelings bubbling under the surface.

As for Rayne, I can't help but hope she takes a plunge with Jimmy, even if she's better off playing safe with Cruz. On one level, I want her and Cruz to reconcile, but on another, I want the drama that Jimmy is sure to bring.

Good work, Beth!

xtinabobina said...

ah, what a transition piece. im anxious to see where jimmy and rayne end up! seems like he's got some changes going on in his world.

aislen looks great ^>^

i love the tension and slight possible jealousy in this update..great work SB!

Qui. said...

I guess Jimmy was right. as long as they are getting their money, who cares if they leave?!

Of all people to see! It's still crazy to me how he looks so much like Gage!

Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy... even in anger he still captures my heart lol.

I can't wait to see how this "break" goes!

Thanks for the words you sent me.

The Lunar Fox said...

Uhm, what are you talking about? Your shots were as perfect as they always are!

The use of the journal to give Rayne's point of view worked so well here. From the get go something sounds off. She's getting out, but she almost doesn't seem to believe it.

I love the image of a spider spreading their web in the grass in the dark.

And whoa... alpha male indeed. Cruz was very sexy here. There was definitely a lot of tension between Jimmy and Cruz.

Mela said...

I don't know, I think the shots are fabulous in this one. And it really suits the entire scene. I'm digging on Rayne's perspectives here. And gaaawwwd, the attitude between the two men... holy crap, amazing. I know it's juvenile, but I gotta say i'm so digging on the Toad right now. :)

S.B. said...

Lotus, thank you!! I'm so flattered!

Cruz does represent stability and safety. So did Ryan. So did Rayne's fantasy prince. Jimmy offers something else, and something she might ultimately find more fulfilling. Jimmy and Rayne don't know each other yet, and both of them are sort of surprised to find themselves in this situation together. He doesn't quite know what to do with her and she doesn't know what she thinks of him. I like their chances!

Jimmy definitely did not like being challenged by Cruz. It wasn't hard to pick up on the heat between Cruz and Rayne, so yes, he was resentful and a little jealous.

again, thank you so much!

S.B. said...

xtina! thank you! They're all in transition, including Cruz. And yes Aislen looks wonderful thank you so much for her!

S.B. said...

Qui, you're welcome. I'm really enjoying what you're creating!

Jimmy's a doll! And Cruz does look so much like his father, although I see a great deal of his mother in him too. And yeah, places like that don't care if you leave. Unless it's court ordered therapy, nobody cares. Thank you!!

S.B. said...

Lunar Fox, I knew I wasn't going to be able to capture every action in a shot, not without a huge effort, and I didn't want to tear up what I'd written, so I did the shots differently, using what I hoped was a representation of the action instead of every detail. Actually, your work sort of inspired me. You do that so well. But I wasn't at all sure I could make it work. I went round and round on the point of view, wrote it another way originally, but using the journal device felt like the best way to capture both the emotion and the action. I'm glad it all worked.

Cruz is absolutely the alpha male. Making sure Jimmy knew he was allowing him to leave with Rayne, that he could stop it if he felt like stopping it. And Rayne didn't quite believe she was leaving with Jimmy. Nor did he quite believe she was going through with it LOL!

Thank you!

S.B. said...

LMAO Mela! Nothing juvenile about digging on the Toad! I think he's fascinating and pretty damned hot! And thanks on the shots. Once I got into that lot, I realized I wasn't going to be able to do what I thought I was going to be able to do, but I was tired of fussing around with lots and just went for it.

thank you so much for leaving a comment for me. I really appreciate it.

radsims said...

Hooray for an update, and my three favourite characters of the moment all coming together. Palpable tension indeed... but Toad or Cruz? Gah, I love them both.

S.B. said...

It's hard to choose...Toad or Cruz. Hmmm...too bad she can't have both LOL!

thank you Rad!!

~Drew said...

Shots were fine as always, no complaints here, and the journal was bang-on, capturing her fractured thoughts well.

Cruz is walking sex, a total bomb, the acorn does not fall far from the tree. Love Jimmy's response to the still obvious pull between Rayne and Cruz.
Nicely played!

S.B. said...

Hey Drew! Thank you on the shots and the writing!

I see a lot of Gabe in Cruz but I see almost as much of his mother - he got some explosive genes from that mix. I'm not sure how strong the pull is between Cruz and Rayne. Cruz is probably more attached to Rayne than she is to him, not that Jimmy knows that. Cruz was marking his territory, making sure Jimmy knew he's bigger and badder, and he is. Both guys are in the dark at this point.

thank you!!

Muzegoddess said...

I like the gas station actually and Jimmy's world in general. You did a good job there. I also love the pissing contest Cruz tried to start with Jimmy. There's definately "something" still there between him and Rayne. It's interesting that Rayne is still using the journal, she must be finding it useful in some way. I'm enjoying her POV.

I'm very intested to see where these two will end up and what will happen between them on their way.

S.B. said...

thank you Muzegoddess. I have a couple of ideas to make the journal continue to work. Buying "Guitar" magazine showed me something that's workable.

There's something there between Cruz and Rayne. He does represent safety, but he also represents a lot of pain. None of which he's responsible for.

thank you!

AtomicSpaceKitty said...

I had forgotten how much I like Cruz. "Every move was sex", indeed!

Love the tension in this one. And the fact that it seems like Rayne is having some second thoughts about this "adventure".

I also love all the descriptive phrases you used. I can totally relate to that "groggy and strange" feeling you get when having fallen asleep while traveling. Ugh!

S.B. said...

ASK, this is such a small piece, I'm really in apology mode for posting it. Thank you so much.

Cruz is a presence. Apart from Rayne, apart from his father, he knows who he is and he's damned if he's going to let anybody else pull one over on him.

Groggy and strange yeah. Also drooling while sacked out in the passenger seat with your head on the window, or maybe that's just me LOL!

Thank you. More than I can express, thank you for your support.

Penelope said...

I am worried about Cruz's whole attitude towards the situation. I would have hoped that he would have been more concerned. On the one hand, I know that Rayne has completely given him the run-around and he has gotten her out of tight spots with no real pay off and that he is probably through with being a knight in shining armor to a woman who doesn't entirely appreciate it. On the other hand, he was right there in the midst of her leaving rehab with some sketchy, greasy dude in a crap pick-up and all he said to her was, "Here's a couple hundred bucks. Have a nice trip. You have my cell number."

I also have to wonder about what contingency situation he was imaging here where Rayne would need to call him so that he could save her ass. I mean, he didn't know Toad. Toad could have been anyone. And Cruz just let her putter off into the sunset with that dude. Toad could be a serial killer. Rayne's next phone call could have been, "Tell my parents I love them." Did that possibility occur to Cruz? AAAHHHHH!!

Penelope said...


I AM FLOORED BY THAT SET! Never stop being amazing!

S.B. said...

Pen...the set? I love the place, and tried to recreate it. Thank you thank you! It was a labor of love. It really was.

Cruz though. The girl dumped him. Twice. Hard. He has no obligation to take care of her, protect her from greasy guy in a crap truck. He ought to wish Truck Boy good luck with her and drive off. And, from Rayne's point of view, that's exactly what he did. Doesn't mean that's what he did. It just means that's what Rayne saw him doing. He can't grab her and run off with her, and he's not going to make assumptions about anything.

if I were him, I'd let her go and take her chances. He might not.

You always make me think, and think again, and yet again. Thank you!

S@ndy said...

Really nice shots, all of them worked beautiful with your writing!

I'm glad Cruz walked away (not really) but I love he didn't get in her way... I seems like he really understand what she is trying to do... she needs her time, he is giving it to her... but of course he still there if she needs him... I do agree, he represents everything nice and support and stability while Jimmy is everything else!!!

I also love what someone said about wanted Rayne to go back to Cruz, but at the same time I'm so dying to read all the drama with Jimmy!!!

Wonderful update like always!!!
Really great shots!! and fantastic writing!!

S.B. said...

S@ndy, Pen made a very good point. Cruz would have a hard time walking away, not knowing if Rayne was driving off with a serial killer. Not that she hasn't been running all over town flirting with men he doesn't know, but this is different. How different though? Different enough for him to make an effort to find out who Jimmy is, I'm sure about that. I don't know if he understands what she's doing but he can't control the situation.

Jimmy's unsure of himself, and much more erratic and unreliable than Cruz is. He's got something to offer that Cruz didn't though.

The shots...well thanks. They didn't turn out the way I'd hoped but I'm done worrying about them!

Thank you so much!!

cheripye said...

The shots matched the writing perfectly and you captured Raynes fragmented thoughts her minor worry about leaving with him. LOL! probably lives in a trailer.

Cruz??? What was he thinking giving her cash unless he was trying to give her a way out from the toad.

I do have to say I am a bit disappointed she left the rehab, but we all gotta do what we gotta do. 80)

Great Update!!

S.B. said...

Hi cheripye! What was Cruz thinking when he gave her cash? That he had the cash to give, that the other guy evidently didn't, and that he was in a position to give the girl the money right in front of Other Guy. That gesture was more for Jimmy's benefit than Rayne's.

Rayne wasn't ready to leave. She's still impulsive and immature.

thank you!

goodbye_sun said...

I really liked the setting for this - Raynes reaction to the heat, the sun and her being groggy just really set the one for where she is at just now, uncomfortable in her own skin and a little bit lost still.

And Cruz vs Jimmy was just so funny to me, both of them puffing out their chests and trying to be the bigger man, and Rayne is just trying to deal with her own personal reality check.

S.B. said...

Thanks G_S! That's exactly what's going on. Rayne's uncomfortable and struggling. She's not really focused on either of those guys. But they don't know that. The interaction was mostly between the two of them with Rayne as the bystander.

Francesca Dean said...

I'm so glad they are out of rehab, but I hope Rayne is going to be ok.

When I was reading the part about the motorcycle idling between his legs, it was so sexy, and then you went over the top and said it was all sex.

The heat and the tension. it was good.

S.B. said...

Francesca, I may have gone over the top, you're right. I'll watch it from here on.

thank you!!

Emily said...

Getting caught up but I wanted to stop and shout out for a sec! These shots are freakin gorgeous! I absolutely forgot that it's a game...really, fabulous job on those, especially the headache I know they can be with all the monitor issues etc. you had!

But the writing was spot on too, great compliment to the beautiful shots, I am liking the first person journal style, you do it really well and it isn't jarring or confusing at all.

And hey, Cruz + motorcycle = SEX! Not over the top at all, the boy can't help it if he just oozes sex! :D
I for one loved that line, if that's over the top I say go for it baby!! LOL!

*scurries off back to RL, promises to finish catching up later!* :(

S.B. said...

Emily, your comment means so much to me. I've been kind of drifting, not sure what I'm doing.

Cruz is definitely one extremely physical and sexy young man LOL!

So glad the shots worked for you! Wow! Thank you!!