“Hey, I’m really sorry about that,” the driver tried to look behind him to say. His voice was much louder than he probably thought. His voice filled the inside of the limo and rattled around against the wooden looking floor. It had a sincerity to it and much of the nervousness shook off from his hasty maneuver. Putting his eyes back on the road – glancing between the windshield and rear view mirror. “I needed to get this thing on the other side of the road.” He looks back into the mirror to see his male passenger’s reaction; knowing the road ahead is as clear: as clear as it’s been since Geenie made it to the intersection before the limo arrived. I had to get this beast around since I didn’t think it would be easier getting to the highway any other way. And, I figured you were kind of in a hurry.”
Looking towards the front, Jack flashed a nod the driver’s way and spoke quietly. So much so, it was barely audible.
“Right. Sorry about that,” the chauffeur took the cue as a subtle reminder to be quiet for the sake of the other person huddled near him. “Good to have you aboard. Where are you heading to. Portland?”
“Eugene,” with a very calm tone. Short and quiet.
“No kidding? Sure thing. That’s not far from here.” Adjusting his speed to make the proper on ramp. “Good thing I asked since I had a little trouble finding this place. It’s not exactly a popular road if you get me.” Twisting his head back towards the man in the back; with a voiced lowered to an almost comedic cadence, “But I guess that’s kind of what you were going for I guess.” After a pause, “Am I right?”
The driver’s delivery of the statement made Jack break down a little- with the slightest grin, shaking his head side to side and trying to look out one of the windows. “Yeah. That’s kind of what the idea was.”
“I gotcha.” Focusing on the road more intently, “Hey I don’t mean to sound rude or anything. I obviously didn’t catch your name.” Quickly adding, “If you didn’t mind I mean.”
“No trouble at all, Dee.” With a slight nod upwards, “Jack.”
“Sure, sure.” Letting his voice fall somewhat, “Jack and-”
“Just Jack is fine,” playing off the driver’s words. Being protective but at the same time trying to keep a kind sound to his voice; disguised as a misunderstanding.”
“It’s fine…” Jack felt the words reverberate from his shirt and body. Looking down, Robinson saw her head move away and look towards his eyes while slowly opening hers. Straightening herself out with a concealed stretching moment, “I’m Geenie. Nice to meet you.”
“Thanks, Geenie. It’s nice to meet you too.“ Catching himself and bridging the gap between sentences, “And you too, Jack.”
“The same.” Cracking a small grin, “It’s appreciated having you make the trip out to get us. I’m sure this isn’t part of your usual route.”
Feeling the ice breaking, he laughed out his words. “Yeah you’re so right about that.” Trying not to experience an uncomfortable silence, “So you ever been out here before? Or know the area.”
“Can’t say I have, Dee.”
“Hey, that’s cool,” looking at Jack from the rear view mirror. “We’re just ten or so miles away since you said you were heading to Eugene. But you know what?” Continuing his statement without time for either person in the back row of seats to answer. “Trying to find you two sort of put a pretty big drain on my gas supply.” Shifting his voice lower again in a more apologetic feel, “These things eat up the gas pretty good and I didn’t bother checking the second tank since I thought it was somewhere nearby. You know?” Looking between the fuel gage and the exit signs, “I hate to do this to you, but do you mind if I made a little detour and go get us some gas?”
“I don’t think that’s really a question. It was bad enough waiting out there, I don’t really think either of us want to get out and push.”
“Thanks, Jack. Geenie.” Switching gears, “Oh yeah- I almost forgot. Is it warm enough back there?”
“It’s more than fine. Actually it’s maybe starting to get a little too warm.” Jack and Geenie both make a slight fidget once the thought was placed in their mind.
“No it’s cool. I can control the seats from back here. Give me a sec.” Flipping a switch near one of his hands like some sort of command module.
The heat eased up almost immediately. It suddenly became more comfortable and these two in the back settled a little more into their seats. Watching Geenie lose her too-perfect posture to the leather seat was enough to please Jack.
“Thanks. It’s much better.”
“My pleasure. Jack. Geenie.” A giant eyesore of a gas station hovered high above – as a warmly glowing beacon in the lightly colored morning sky. Hastily narrating to his passengers in back, “It looks like the exit came up on us all of a sudden.” Hollering out without Hold on…”
Taking the cue, Jack thrusts his arm out and holds it across Geenie; similar to the bar in each car of a roller coaster which guards against flying out. The difference being Jack was pressing more with his stiffened arm, and it wasn’t exactly across Geenie’s lap. The reaction time proved not a moment too soon.
Dee makes a slaloming motion with the vehicle, fishtailing it into the next lane and then their exit. “Sorry. Sorry, really. The exit kind of just snuck up on me.” Worried of judgment, hit voice lost most of its friendly cadence from minutes earlier.
While trying to make it seem like no big deal while removing his arm from Geenie’s personal space, Jack countered with a casual demeanor. “At least we know there’s no chance of anyone tailing us now.”
Laughing off the driver’s question, “Relax, Dee. Better making the exit rather than worrying about how long we can travel on fumes.”
The driver let out a chuckle from relief while approaching the traffic light before entering the service station. His wide smile was easy to spot even from Geenie and Jack’s vantage. “Thanks for understanding.”
A smile which seems contagious nonetheless. Jack picks up and some of the tension dissipates. “On the bright side, at least none of us needs to worry about sleep from that little adrenaline move, much less coffee.”
Rolling up to a gas pump, the driver’s mood changes and he switches subjects. “Aw yeah, I knew I was forgetting something.” Dee yanks on the shifter and powers the car down – making it go almost suspiciously silent since all the sounds were finally became accustomed to their ears. Their chauffeur Twists his body almost all the way around while his arm cradles the dividing window between the driver’s compartment and where the passengers are intended to enjoy their time. Twisting his hand in random gesturing, he fits a lot of words into a short span. “I brought along a container of hot apple cider. Heated it up and poured it off into the decanter for you. It’s a regional thing, you know?”
“Very nice of you to do that, thanks.” Looking over, Jack sees Geenie trying to get comfortable in the rapidly cooling seat once again.
“It should still be plenty hot for you guys. Those decanters can really hold in the heat.” Looking like he’s about to spill a secret formula, Dee leans even further towards them while acting like he needs to cover his mouth. Dropping his voice again to the silly rhythm, “It’s just a clean recipe- but if you want, I can grab something while I’m inside if you want to add a little something- You know?”
Jack can’t help to grin as wide as their chauffeur. “It’s beyond tempting at this point. But I’m kind of on the clock if you catch my drift.”
“Oh… Right right,” waving the notion off with his words and also hand signals. “Hey I never said anything, sorry about that.”
“Quite alright, Dee. Just handle whatever you need to. We’ll wait.” He adds a little smirk to help but the driver at ease. “Make yourself at home back there. I’ll be back in a jiff.”
Geenie and Jack watch their driver scamper out of the vehicle and saunters with a relaxed attitude towards the inside of the bustling service station / mini mart. After basking in a moment of near silence, Jack flashes one of his disarming grins to Geenie – causing her to give him a slight grin in return.
“So what?” a slightly uncomfortable Geenie asks in return.
“So… Hot and wholesome, unleaded, orchard quality apple cider.” Jesting, “Regional good.”
“So,” with a tiny shake of her head.
“So… So, would you like some?”
Using two fingers to take some of the hair away from her eyes, “I don’t know….”
“I’ll take that as a maybe…” Pulling himself out of the seat, he moves to another leather-clad section to rest himself. Behind it is an outcropping of a shelf. Seems Jack knows his way around a standard limousine setup on the inside. Snaking his fingers behind the area, Jack pulls his right leg up and shifts it underneath himself for better leverage. Pivoting more upwards, he feels around and forces a loud clank to sound through the small space. Geenie keeps her eyes on him – watching Jack pull two highball style glasses out from the practically concealed area behind the seating between three fingers; placing them gently near his lap without a sound.
Jack moves his arm again towards a more open area and sees a single glass container in a nook. Geenie can see the same container once she follows Jack’s hand with her eyes. He touched it-
“Ow! Sweet mama lucia…” Shaking his hand at the wrist like playing an invisible tambourine, “He wasn’t kidding about the stuff staying hot.” Covering his momentary wince with a small chuckle. “Must be some premium drinkware.” Reaching behind, he dug his hand into a back pocket to produce a handkerchief. Smirking with, “Take two.”
Using the square of white material, Jack wraps it around the neck of the bottle and gingerly lifts it out from the shelf. Using his left hand, the glass stopper slides out with a textured scraping sound. Geenie tries not to look amused, but Jack still has a strange way about doing things. “Did you want to smell the cork?”
The wrinkling of her nose was enough to show Geenie still had unknown qualms about the whole thing.
“Suit yourself,” as Jack lifted the stopper with two fingers and dropped into one of the glasses. Taking the other highball container into his hand, he used his fingers and right hand to clench the fancily etched bottom with a prismatic sheen like crystal. With a firm stirring motion with his wrist, he gripped the decanter; with a similar pattern etched one each of the four sides on the rounded-off rectangularly shaped container. This vigorous motion mixed the contents and ingredients; causing the sediment to blend into the liquid – changing the brownish hue into a more burnt umber as if by some form of alchemy.
With great care, the contents left the decanter and flowed into the drinking glass. Geenie silently admired how the liquid seemed to still have a spiraling motion while finding its way into the fancy glass; then a momentary break before the bottle’s temperature made itself known – forcing steam to billow out like an approaching wave.
“Be a little careful. Ok?” Jack brought the drink practically into Geenie’s hesitant hand; making sure her fingers clasped the sturdy bottom section to avoid any possible burn.
Taking a slight less bit of regard towards himself, Jack grasped the lower section of the glass with the stopper still in it – spilling more than a serving’s worth of the cider into his own glass before setting the decanter back into its place with a small thud.
With a smile, “So?”
“Yeah,” as Jack snatched the ornate covering out of the glass as if the beverage was lava; causing the little bits of sediment to dance about – proving Jack was far more careless with his own pour. He slipped the warn lid back onto the fancy bottle and tipped his glass with a light gesture towards Geenie.
“Are you the type who likes to toast?”
Being put on the spot, Geenie suddenly felt nervous- dashing away any notions with, “I’m- Speeches aren’t really my sort of thing, sorry.” Feeling her hand getting warmer, “I thought the talking part was more on your end anyway.”
“I guess if you insist…” He holds the glass up and stares through it, as if inspecting it for poison in front of an entire delegation. “To Oregon. The Union; evergreens, and cold.” Leaning forward, he let his glass kiss against hers; making a clack sound. They simultaneously took a cautious sip due to the steam still faintly rising from the cider. It was well received as much as something of this quality was well deserved. It might be an exaggeration, but just having this drink at the moment – amidst this comfortable company: It just about approached being worth it – thank goodness for small moments.
Slumping backwards to nestle back in, Jack causes a small sway from inside the limo. He silently takes a candid gander as Geenie has another taste. It was likely the first good look at her he has since first introducing himself to her. Some of her seems like an entirely different person, but maybe it was because he just finally started to know her or just spend enough time in the same area. An exterior which seemed a little bit average or common in aspects, but she held up well and seemed to have some sort of confidence or endurance deep down.
Jack wondered if he would be handling himself the same way under similar circumstances: deaths, injuries, threat of personal safety, attack on loved ones – and just plain uncertainty in general. Jack knew in extreme circumstances he can keep his mettle and do what needed to be done; or flat out just rely on good old instinct. But Geenie was a simple kind of girl. Not quite a plain jane type but not the type of person who likes to hold her spark out for the world to see. She soldiered through it all so far, and in less clothing than him.
Out of his peripheral vision he saw her bare legs; one twisted over the other; while holding the glass of cider in both hands to have another sip. Her knee length dress was modest with the slightest bit of revealing her figure at the same time. Even as solidly she has pulled through so far, Jack had a feeling she had a breakable girl somewhere inside; such as an overstressed piano string which could unwind and spring apart if hit just the right way with enough force. Jack never wanted to find out if it was true or not. Part of his job was to protect her, better or worse, at any cost.
He didn’t think anything was going to come of a possible lead…
Check a place out, look for a name. Feel things out to be safe. Apparently, he may have found the proverbial needle in the haystack of history. Nothing was definite, but he’s not the only one who seemed to have an interest in Geenie. He wasn’t sure, and certainly Geenie was unaware of anything at all related to a larger picture. Naivety is said to truly reign the land and ignorance is supposed to be synonymous with bliss; though each has its own price to pay.
However… For now, Geenie is the unaware woman. Perfectly content for this moment, and almost finished with the glass of genuine Oregon cider that not so much earlier she was totally hesitant to partake it. Averting his eye line, Jack took his second taste of the cider.