Passages 24

Sandy Point - #6 Big Tree Lane; Midnight

"Why did you go up on the roof?"

"I don't know."

"Weren't you afraid of slipping off?"

"Guess I was more scared of something else."

Early morning

"This is the deal," Jimmy was saying, leaning forward on the porch rail in the cool morning air, his bare chest and stomach warm against her back. "We got no money. Doesn't sound like we're gonna get anything out of Cooper, doubt that's gonna happen now."

She rested her hands on the damp rail, it was still drizzling off and on, and gazed out, doubtfully, sleepily, at the surf. Jimmy had enough coffee to make four cups, but no coffee filters. He'd used a paper towel. Her mouth still tasted like paper towels. There was half a loaf of 7-11 bread and some nasty cheese but nothing else to eat. "I could get a job."

He lit a cigarette, he still had plenty of those, snickered, and asked, "You ever had a job, Rennie?"

"No." Rayne glanced west past the pilings toward the pier: it lit up at night, some kind of restaurant and bar that always looked crowded. "I could go see what they have at that place. I could be a waitress."

Propping her up on the rail, her legs wrapped around his waist, Jimmy slid one hand down her thigh and grinned. "You would be one real lousy waitress; you don't never do what anybody tells you to do without bitching about it."

"Don't be naive. Depending on how much I'm wearing, it wouldn't matter if I mixed up the orders or forgot the ketchup." Leaning into him a little, she teased, "Let me down. It's raining on me."

Jimmy shifted, exhaled smoke thoughtfully. His blue eyes caught and held the color from the water and sky, sometimes turning dark, sometimes looking almost purple, but right now they were clear and calm. Reflecting her own deep, quiet peace. Emotion swelled in her throat and Rayne circled his neck with her arms: capturing and holding the heat. "You got some naive going there too, Rennie," he said, still smiling. "We are not pimping you out. Me, I got some ideas but you keep your clothes on."

He got up, walked to the end of the porch, scratching one bare foot against one long leg, knocking off sand and peeling paint, looking east. His house was tucked down under the bluffs; you couldn't see the bridge to the mainland from here, but sometimes at night Rayne could hear the traffic. "Come on sweetheart, get on up. We're going on a little road trip."


"Damn," Jimmy breathed, his truck backed up in the driveway, stubborn door finally slammed shut, "didn't think you were in a dorm but damn...what's that place?" Rayne spared a quick glance to her left. Wyatt's beautiful rental soared above her own, three elegant stories of glass and stone. "My brother. That's where Wyatt lives." "One guy lives in that place? In college?" He was still staring at it. It was sort of annoying. "He's not exactly hunting under the couch for spare change, get real Toad. You know who we are. You said you wanted to come here, we're here."

The door shut behind them, and she stood there, dust dancing through filtered sunlight, the glimmer of the pool beyond the arcade, scent of summer flowers and polished wood, every surface gleaming. Someone had moved her Fender Strat, probably the cleaning service. It felt strange to be back here, walking back into time. She'd sat in that chair and talked to Cruz on that phone about something that was a hundred years past now. Looking up at Jimmy, trying to shake it off, she asked in a voice close to a whisper, "Toad, what are we doing here?"

He glanced at the kitchen, toward the room with the pool table, and then gruffly said, "Ren, we need us some cash. I need time to put things together, and you got all this. We got to sell it."

Aghast, Rayne looked around the living room, the sofa, the rugs, the stereo, the plasma TV, the Fender Strat leaning against the wall. Paintings. Stuff in the kitchen she'd never touched but it was the kind of stuff she'd grown up with, china and silver and and a Jura that made coffee you could probably drink even if you shoved a paper towel down its throat. "This is all I want me to sell it? Why don't we take it and sell yours?"

Jimmy was not looking at her, looking at the room. "Because mine ain't worth shit. You grab what you can get from upstairs; I'm taking some of this out to my truck. Go on, Ren. We don't want trouble."

She stomped upstairs, makeup, perfume, bed linen and towels, but she couldn't haul all that downstairs without making multiple trips and she did not intend to march up and down the stairs like some moving man...her photos, she couldn't leave those, soap, shampoo, as if she was going to sell that stuff, she needed that stuff. If Jimmy wanted the big things, he could just come up here and get them himself.

He'd already grabbed more than she thought he could and piled it up in the truck bed, swearing over the dining room table, when she slammed out the door and there, of course, had to be, no way it could not be, fate was like that, it was going to be Wyatt. And it was.

"Rayne, what's going on?"

Jimmy dropped the table and stepped back, sat down on the table, lit another cigarette, looking at Wyatt, looking at her, waiting. "I'm dropping out," Rayne told her brother. "I'm getting a few things I need. That's all."

Wyatt looked at her, then strode over to Jimmy and said, "Need a hand with that? I'm Wyatt, Rayne's brother."

Toad slid up off the table, moving slowly, stretching. "Jimmy Breaux. And no, uh, don't need the help thanks. We're done here."

"I've heard of you," Wyatt said , quiet, casual. "Impressive work you've done. If Gemma is as good an agent as I think she is, a lot of other people will know your work too."

"Thanks," Jimmy said. "Likewise of course." It didn't sound like he meant it; Rayne was sure he did mean it, who wouldn't be impressed with Wyatt, but Toad wasn't enthusiastic. He was tired and hot and and grimy and neither of them had had anything to eat, and he was saying thanks to her brother who lived in the glass castle while he was trying to figure out what he could sell or pawn so they could eat. She went over there and stood next to him and put her arm around his waist and he felt thin and sweaty, and he put his arm around her too and leaned into her.

Wyatt didn't seem to know what to think, looking at both of them and at the chairs and tables and guitars piled up in the truck. He finally looked right at Jimmy and tossed off something easy, smiling. "If you're with my sister, I hope you know you're entering the event horizon."

Rayne laughed; that was an old silly family joke about black holes, sharing laughter with her brother who laughed along with her, and then she looked at Jimmy.

He didn't have a clue what Wyatt was talking about. He was standing there, looking lost, trying and not getting it. She knew it. Wyatt knew it.  It went wider and deeper than 'event horizons'. Jimmy wouldn't understand anything they talked and laughed about. Jimmy didn't have one single book in his house.  Wyatt looked at her, and he was still smiling, but the smile had gone cool and quiet and considering. Rayne knew that look: he wanted to offer to help but thought he'd better not.     

"I'll call you," she said, uncomfortable and seeing the gulf, and refusing to look down into it, "I'll call you later."

Sandy Point - Night

"He has everything I've ever wanted."

"Yeah? I thought you said his momma died, he fell over her in the back yard. You want that?"

"That was when he was a kid, Jimmy. That doesn't matter now."

"I don't know. You been chasing that Gabe dude since you were a kid and making one big damn deal about it. Things you see when you're little, they stick. He's got some ghosts just like me and just like you. Quit thinking he's got it all, I'm telling you he doesn't, I don't even know him and I'm saying he doesn't."

She nestled unhappily against him, furniture bumping around in her mind, furniture she wanted and couldn't get back, furniture spinning around, stretching out, ripped apart and sucked down. I love you, she thought, and you don't fit in my world. Does that matter? "You don't understand," she whispered.

Jimmy laughed at her. The floor was almost cold but the air was full of heat, still and pressed as full as a barometer about to burst. "Dollbaby, you won't miss your damn rugs and chairs. Give me a couple days and see if I don't come up with something you like better than a bunch of pretty dishes. You gonna trust me I can do that?"

Surely she didn't care that much about the rugs and the chairs and the dishes. Ornaments hung on her life, loosely attached, the first to go flying away, but the larger and more important pieces would inevitably follow. It didn't matter; it was just a hole in the air. "I will. I love you Toad."

"You sure about that? You gonna tell me what's a fucking event horizon?"

A mathematical concept turned real. Infinity twisted inside out. A place where nothing makes sense and you can bring nothing with you but what you feel. A bed with bad sheets where someone with a scar on his mouth holds tight and says I love you Rennie, tell me you love me, say that to me. There is no answer. There is no time. There is no certainty. There is only this kiss, this moment.


NEXT CHAPTER: Sessions Chapter 25


Gayl said...

I am beyond words...they are so different, come from entirely different worlds, but they fill the empty spaces in each other like no one else can.

Stunning and beautiful.

S.B. said...

thank you...they really are very different, and there are going to be some uncomfortable moments for both of them, but they fit each other.

Sinclair said...

Round of applause for Jimmy's abs. Beautiful :)

And yay for Wyatt not being judgemental and douchey. Its nice to see him mature.

But what are these two going to do? Rayne is not one to ruff it out. As much as they want to I doubt she would actually be ok doing it.

S.B. said...

Sinclair, oh yeah...Jimmy's abs are a wonder to behold LOL!

Wyatt's not going to be judgmental. I think he wonders if she knows what's doing with this guy, who doesn't seem to fit in with her at all. And what are they going to do? You are right. Rayne is not one to ruff it; no camping out for her. Right now she doesn't have much choice, but things may change.

Dinuriel said...

I agree, it's good to see that Wyatt's being an adult about the whole thing. It might have been nice for Rayne if he'd been there during the confrontation with Cooper and Beth, but that might not have worked as well in a literary sense.

Lots of love for Jimmy and Rayne, as always. They're like two misplaced puzzle pieces under the couch that just happen to fit together (Van = Queen of Horrible Similes and Metaphors). Here's hoping that they can take whatever comes their way.

S.B. said...

Van, that is a great simile/metaphor!! Puzzle pieces that are little grotty from being under the couch too long...

I'm not sure Wyatt would have been much help in any sense. He doesn't know much about Rayne's personal life, and might have sided with Cooper.

Qui. said...

I agree, Jimmy's abs are...WOW! If he was real and I saw him like that, he would have gotten the "Meow!"

I was a little shocked at the way Wyatt handled that! It brought a smile to my face when they shared a laugh. I like calm, friendly moments between Rayne and Wyatt.

S.B. said...

You know Qui, I like the calm friendly moments too, and I generally cut them out because they're not dramatic. Something I'm probably going to quit worrying about.

Jimmy is definitely hot! Can't wait until we get him up on a stage...

Qui. said...

Understood. I can't wait either!

thelook said...

Every comment above equals agreed! But selling Rayne's stuff'll be quite sad won't it? They might be material things but even those hold memories. Like the chair and talking to Cruz. Which you could say, inevitably led up to all of this. ;)

S.B. said...

thelook, yes it will be sad. She's giving up more than material possessions. Jimmy comes from a very different background. Rayne may have dropped out of college, but she's been brought up with more than just expensive furniture. There's a reason there are no books in Jimmy's house.

and yes! that conversation with Cruz led inevitably to this. Thank you for catching that! There really are very few detours in Rayne's life. Every encounter, every decision, led inexorably onward. The only wildcard was Jimmy himself. If she hadn't met him, I believe she would still be chasing Gabe. Probably with homicidal intentions, but she'd be doing it.

AND....I love your first chapter!!!

Phoenix said...

OMG!! I think I just feel hard(er) for Jimmy myself. He so badly wants to take care of her and he's doing the best he can with a bad situation. That says a lot about a man. I like how Toad is now Rayne's pet name for him!:)! I didn't think he was going to react so well. I'm pleasantly surprised and worried at the same time. Is he going to go back to his father and tell him what he just saw? How's that going to go down?

And isn't it amazing how we hold onto stuff only to realize how shallow it is? I still do that. Never use it but can't throw it away because...:P

Seriously Beth! I loved this piece. The writing, the shots, everything just melded together into this wonderful piece. Not everything is about the dramatic hook. Sometimes it's about the calm(before and after the storm.).

S.B. said...

thelook, yes it will be sad. She's giving up more than material possessions. Jimmy comes from a very different background. Rayne may have dropped out of college, but she's been brought up with more than just expensive furniture. There's a reason there are no books in Jimmy's house.

S.B. said...

Phoenix, Wyatt's got something else on his mind besides Rayne and Jimmy. Very much doubt he'll take his father's side.

Jimmy is a doll. He wants to take care of Rayne, and she wants to take care of him. It's mutual.

And yeah, Toad is now her pet name for him. An endearment.

It is amazing how we hold onto stuff. When we lose it all (and I've been there), it is just STUFF. Nostalgic, sentimental, all of it, it is just stuff.


Rad said...

Interesting update, with a lot going on under the surface. I love Toad but I hope Rayne has enough balls to not just let him call all the shots. Astute observation about Wyatt, it's nice that the siblings' paths have crossed again.

S.B. said...

thank you Rad. Very much doubt that Rayne will let anybody drive her anywhere, not for long. Falling in love makes you a different person, at least for a little while.

Christi said...

I loved this. Sorry it took me a while to catch up, but catch up I did!!

Jimmy's abs are... ::whoosh:: ... amazing! And the writing and sets and pictures... just blows me away. Great, great job. :)

Muzegoddess said...

First I have to say that as usual you've drawn me into this world; the colors, the scenery, the description of everyday things that make such a difference. Really makes me feel like a fly on the wall watching all of this happen first hand.

As I was reading this I had two conflicting gut reactions:

1)Is she crazy? Selling all of her stuff to rough it with the Toad? That's the straight laced sensible part of my brain. 2) How absolutely ridiculously romantic. The kind of naieve faith that everything will be okay just because you want it that way. The two of them in their own world playing by their own rules; them against the world. Failure a distinct possibility but certainly not an option in their minds.

This has evoked a lot of emotion for me and takes me back to that time in my life.

Brilliantly done as always.

collidingwithme said...

I actually felt sad for Rayne when she realised Jimmy was going to sell her furniture. :( I hope this sacrifice is worthy and Jimmy's plan really works, coz I would hate if they couldn't pull through this period and have to go begging someone else for help. I don't want other people, especially Rayne's parents, to go "I told you so" or something like that. >:(

Whoa, saying those three words sounds like a very huge step for both of them. I didn't read a part where Jimmy said it back though. Or was it that I missed it? o_o I don't know about Rayne, but to me, saying "I love you" means you want to be committed in a relationship. Is she and Jimmy considered an item by now? :)

Also, I love that Wyatt's being such a lovely brother for her! :) He seemed to be a very sensible person, knowing when to step forward and when to retreat.

P.S. I knew all along Jimmy had tattoos, but I never knew he had this uber cool guitar one on his wrist! :D

Valpre said...

I loved this chapter; everything flowed so well, the words and the shots were amazing.

I was a little sad when Rayne had to pawn her stuff so she and Toad can get by. I understand that it's all material stuff but some of it has sentimental value and giving it up is like giving away pieces of hersef. But I guess that's what making it on their own means; they both have to make sacrifices and I just hope the sacrifices won't be coming from Rayne's side only.

S.B. said...

Muzegoddess, Rayne is, obviously, a romantic. She wouldn't have spent years dreaming about some kind of prince if she had more than one practical bone in her body. I'm with you; I was there, once, and remember it, but wouldn't go back again.

Jimmy fits right in there with impractical decisions. If he'd been practical, he wouldn't have thrown away a chance at a record deal by insulting Cooper and setting up house with his daughter.

That kind of idyll never lasts long.

S.B. said...

ning, I think it's going to be very hard for them to pull it off successfully. Even if they sold everything Rayne owns (and a 1957 Fender Strat in original condition could fetch something close to $60,000), the money won't last very long. She doesn't know how to take care of herself.

Jimmy's "I love you" was referenced 'offstage'. They do consider themselves an item - kind of hard to turn back now.

Wyatt's always been kind of close to his sister; he covered for her, tried to help her. She's not a child, so her choice of boyfriend is well, her choice, and Wyatt doesn't see anything all that bad about Jimmy.

LOL I like everything about Jimmy, including all that tats!

S.B. said...

Val, thank you!

Jimmy has already sacrificed something a lot more valuable than Rayne's furniture. When he stood up for her, getting in Cooper's face, he pretty much committed professional suicide. He did it anyway.

But you're right, it's more than just 'stuff'. Rayne is looking at a very different lifestyle, and she brings almost no skills with her. Plus, despite the affection and attraction between the two of them, they are from wildly different backgrounds. It's not going to be easy.

thank you so much for the compliment on the shots!

S.B. said...

Christi, thank you! Jimmy is definitely a doll! Those two sets really work well for us.

S@ndy said...

Everyone has already said what I wanted to say...

So I will only repeat it again... this was fantastic, brilliant!

After the storm comes the calm! It was really nice seeing them (all Wy included) so calmed and relaxed... Jimmy doing the best he can to make sure Reinie will be alright, doing his thing, taking care of her, making the best of their situation, thinking with his head instead of something else! He really is something... an amazing and very complex character.

And Rainie! She said she loves him! YAY... he didn't say it back...but I'm sure he does love her back... his actions are saying more than words could ever say....

selling her stuff might be hard, but I do believe the Toad will bring something better into her life! He already did...

Awesome writing, lovely shots... and WOW!

S.B. said...

thanks S@ndy! Those two are very easy to work with, people I understand. Jimmy is definitely a complex character, and he does love her back. He knew what he felt before she did, really he was smitten from the time he met her. It took Rayne a while to see it.

Selling her stuff is a symbolic as well as a literal loss. Jimmy is accustomed to living on a shoestring; Rayne is not.

This is a beginning for them. Neither one is very strong yet.

and thank you so much for the compliments!

jerzibot said...

My heart tore a little bit when Rayne realised she had to part with her possessions. She seemed so reluctant to sell them for survival in her new life. I'm really hoping things work out for her. It would be terrible if she went through all that she has recently, only to go crawling back to her family, 'friends' and former life. Though, theres a little part of me that thinks Wyatt would try to help keep her on her own two feet.

Rayne really didn't strike me as a commitment type of girl. Earlier on she seemed the type to ward off the L word with a stake and cross - if necessary. Well, I'm sure there was a certain formerly mysterious man she would have liked to say it to and have it returned. However, to see her say it - and to Toad of all people - was interesting to say the least. I'm really starting to root for their success.

Another amazing chapter with amazing shots. I'm just going to wait patiently for more word and picture filled treats from you.

The Lunar Fox said...

Those first few pictures and those last few pictures-- wow. These two have some SERIOUS chemistry. (And yes, those abs. Yum. lol!)

So much underwritten here. The event horizon joke sealed it. The difference between Rayne and Jimmy is huge, and sometimes not so huge at all. It just amazing how even in differences there are similarities.

Maybe she needs to see how other people live, especially someone like Jimmy. I wonder if it can really last long term, but I love that she seems intent on giving it a try. It would be amazing if it managed to work out and she can look back and remember this time way back when.

And I was surprised to see Rayne use the L word too. And surprised he didn't say it back. It almost feels as if she's using this moment to take control of her own life, to push her parents away, but still gripping onto someone who will help hold her up while she works on treading water after taking a huge leap off the yacht.

S.B. said...

jerzibot, Rayne has never been a commitment sort of girl, you're right. She never even thought of the L word in connection with her mystery man. I'm not sure she really is 'in love' with Jimmy (she barely knows him), but she's young and romantic and coming off a huge emotional crash. She needs him. He needs her. They care about each other (both of them recognizing another wounded animal), and they have some remarkable chemistry!

It will be hard for her. It will be hard for Jimmy too.

Thank you!!

S.B. said...

Lunar Fox, that is what Rayne is doing. Holding onto Jimmy while she tries to figure out who she is and what she wants, find some sort of identity beyond Girl with Mystery Man and Cooper's Daughter. Ideally people do that on their own instead of getting so involved with someone else so quickly, but I'm not sure Rayne's up to that.

The differences between the two of them are huge, and it is, as you noted, not limited to who has the best coffee maker. It's very very difficult to see how that relationship would work long term, but it might. Despite the differences in upbringing and education, their interests are very similar. Rayne is not an intellectual, and Jimmy is intelligent.

Thank you!!

~Drew said...

Will Rayne and Jimmy be a big car wreck, or maybe, just maybe, there is something 'there' there, to bind them close. The easy affection is very telling. Great emotional shots. They can't stop touching each other, love that.
great update~

S.B. said...

Hey Drew!

They're certainly affectionate. They have some conflicting motivations though, and they're both very strong willed and both fractured. So we'll see.

It's great to have you back!

cheripye said...

Well Raynie is definately taking it to the extremes :) I am happy she's at long last found love but am a bit concerned with her thoughts over him never fitting in her life. Though it is true, they come from different worlds :) and I love the paper towel coffee taste LOL! been there done that and have to agree 100% lol

S.B. said...

Hi Cheripye! I was astonished and delighted to see a comment from you. Does this mean you're writing...hmmm? *hint hint*

People don't always adapt easily or gracefully to sudden and unpleasant changes in lifestyle. Rayne was a spoiled brat. She knows it. But still, that is one big step down for her. Jimmy and Rayne do share something very important so they have a common ground, a common interest, apart from physical attraction, but they are different. And that difference will be magnified once the first rush of 'in love' wears off.

The paper towel...a memory I won't forget either LOL!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment. The support comes at a time when it is really needed.