2007-05-19: Left and Leaving

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Gwen_icon.gif

Summary: As arranged before everything went awry, Niki and Gwen meet in the desert after the heist.

Date It Happened: May 19th, 2007

Left and Leaving


Somewhere in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada

A lone pick-up truck rumbles down a dark highway that cuts through the Nevada desert. The night is hot and dry, true to the desert itself; it's so late that evening has since turned into the ungodly hours of the morning. The sky, however, is pure night: black as pitch with stars scattered like glitter, visible now that the city is out of sight - if not out of mind. The past isn't so far away for Niki Sanders. It's a small blessing that the truck needs little guidance, the road being straight as it is; she can't handle much fancy driving. She's holding a hand to her lower left leg, her pants and hand sticky with the blood she's trying to stop. Instead of pain, though, her face is blank, lifeless. Seeing a signpost telling her a certain turn-off is twenty miles ahead, she turns, instead, at the sign itself. This is the place. The truck cuts through the desert, riling up a cloud of dust. Five minutes later it approaches some parked cars.

One of those parked cars is the bullet marked stolen Benz that Gwen high tailed it out of the casino in. It's obvious she's been here waiting for a little while and she's thirsty, her hair is mussed up and she's anxious to make sure that the police haven't followed her here. However, she's not so anxious that she's not going to wait awhile to make sure that Jessica and D.L. are coming with the money. She's got priorities. She came to Vegas for money and she sure as hell is going to leave with money. The moment that the familiar truck pulls up, Gwen slips out of the driver's side, slams the car door shut and then leans against it. Her arms are crossed in front of her as she waits for the woman to pull up alongside and she doesn't seem to notice any change in her demeanor. She /does/ notice D.L. not being with them and that's a bit of a problem. If he got pinched, the rest of them are screwed.

The truck's tires come rolling to a slow halt with a dull crunch of sand. It's seen better days, too: it's missing the driver's side window and it's spattered with notches that can only be bullet holes. When Niki shuts the engine off, she sits in the eerie, dead silence for a few moments, closing her heavy, burning eyes. Even when Gwen's door opens and slams, she doesn't move or open her eyes right away. When she does, it's prefaced with a deep, tense breath. She eases the door open, swings herself around with the help of the steering wheel, and hops down on her leg that /wasn't/ shot. When she closes the door behind her, jagged shards of glass from the broken window fall into the sand by her feet. The woman has since lost the gold-hued vest with the nametag she had on at the casino, and the arms of her blouse have been ripped off and used as a makeshift bandage around her arm. A… very makeshift bandage. Red has long since replaced white. The whole thing is soaked, just like her pantsleg; that's only less obvious because it's black. "Are you … alright?" she asks Gwen, her voice cracking. "If anyone followed you…"

While Niki doesn't move, Gwen doesn't move either. Because, well, she can wait. Sort of. When Niki steps down from the truck, she eyes the blood and the limping. "Jesus. If you keel over on me, I'm going to be pissed." What is she going to do with an unconscious woman? She certainly can't take her to the ER. "I'm fine. No one followed me. I made damn sure of that. And I've been waiting here for awhile. They'd have snagged me by now if they knew where I was." Or maybe they were waiting to get a hold of both of them, but either way it doesn't look like it. "Did you make it out with the money?" That's obviously the most important question.

Niki, moving to the side just a bit - which is not an elegant move by any means - braces herself against the hood of the truck. She just stares blankly at Gwen while the woman talks, asks questions; it's like she's looking past her or, more accurately, through her. She's in another world. Furthermore, she doesn't even know this woman. "Yeah," she says quietly, dismal. "It's still in the back. Just… go. Take your part."

While she's no genius, Gwen can see that Niki is taking no overt joy in the huge heist that they just pulled. However, she's not exactly one to care about human emotions other than her own. While she watches Niki, she goes to the back and starts pull down bags that should be her take. "Where's the bald dude? Laying low?" Because if he's arrested, well, she's high tailing it out faster than fast. Whatever that may be. "And you should get your wounds taken care of. You pass out, they're gonna find you." And that means they could find her.

"He didn't--" Niki's voice fractures. She looks ill. A raggedy breath is taken and she looks at the ground before continuing. "—I had to leave him behind." She watches Gwen take her share, not paying much attention to what's being taken or how much it all amounts to. She shakes her head; her hair, messy from all the pandemonium and sweat, sways limply. "What'm I supposed to do, go to the hospital?" Hi, doctor, I got shot after I robbed a casino and tried to escape with millions of dollars, can you help with that? Shakes her head again, a little more insistent. "I gotta keep moving."

"Huh." Gwen doesn't seem to hear the significance of leaving D.L. behind. She never quite understood the whole Jessia/D.L. thing. Married? Not married? Together? Not together? It was exhausting enough that she just figured she'd let it slide. A couple bags and she tosses them over by the wheel of her own get away car. But, then, she frowns and decides that she probably shouldn't get out of Las Vegas in the same car she was seen leaving the scene of a robbery in. So, she eyes the other parked cars. Instead of going for the nicest, she goes for the crappiest, about to fall apart looking one and tries the door. Wonder of wonders, it opens all of it's own. Who would steal that POS? Well, Gwen would. Dropping down, she starts fiddling with the wires to try and get the engine started. A getaway car doesn't do much good if it doesn't get away, right?

Unfortunately, it being an old car, it's a little bit harder for her wire properly. Groaning, she decides to let it be for now and just pops the trunk to start unloading. "Well, whatever you end up doing, I'd make sure it's done at 65MPH." Bags get tossed into trunks. "Cheer up, honey. You're a millionaire. You're looking like someone just ran over your puppy."

Niki leans against the truck and folds her arms - tightly, as if against the cold; the cold, notably, is nonexistent. The air is arid and warm and likely won't cool for several hours yet. She watches Gwen, unsure what the woman is doing, though it becomes clear enough pretty soon. At least she didn't try to hotwire /her/ car. She doesn't exactly feel up to stopping her. "A millionaire," she repeats miserably with a hint of cynicism, one shoulder lifting in a half-hearted shrug. She rolls her eyes at Gwen, and by the time she's looking up at the night sky she's on the verge of tears. "I don't even know what to do with it." It's dirty money now. Maybe Jessica will handle it, but who the hell knows? She can only rely on herself — this part of herself which, unfortunately, happens to be the most broken of all.

After the bags are safely stashed away in the trunk of her new car, Gwen goes back to the wires. This time, she finally sees where she went wrong, connects the right wires and the car sputters to life. It's going to be a long drive to New York. But, it doesn't have to be this car the whole way there, right? That done, she straightens and gives a look at the broken Niki. What a silly question. "Well, you spend it, honey. That's what it's there for. You get your kid something nice, buy yourself a mansion and live happily ever after." Duh.

"Right," Niki says under her breath, looking off to the side into the desert. "Because millions of dollars in stolen money isn't going to draw attention," she comments bitterly without glancing back again. It's probably not the best idea to admit things like, say, her newly lessened criminal instincts to Gwen, this… thief or whatever she is, but there it is. "Look, can you…" She walks around to the back of the truck, but it's with some considerable effort and wincing that she tries to hide, her feet scuffing through the sand all the way. "…can you help me get this stuff in the car?"

Making sure the doors are still all unlocked, Gwen shuts the car door and stares at Niki. This is the woman that just /organized/ their little caper and she doesn't know what to do with her stash? What the hell is going on? She pauses and watches Niki work for a second before she steps forward. They just robbed a casino together, she might as well help before high tailing it out into the desert. "What are you doing?" Because 'stuff' isn't really that descriptive of a term. Not enough to tell Gwen what she should be doing.

"I'm changing cars," Niki clarifies blandly. Much like Gwen ditched the Benz, she can't very well hightail it out of state in the telltale truck with bullet holes in it. She leans over the bed of the truck and grabs onto one of the bags and hauls it off. That part's easy. The added weight puts undue pressure on her injuries, though, and she muffles a cry through harshly gritted teeth. Remember you have superhuman strength, woman. Use it. "Over there," she nods to the car beside the hotwired vehicle. Dark, pretty nondescript, nothing fancy. She takes a few laboured steps, trying to hand the bag off to Gwen.

With an exasperated sigh, Gwen takes the bag from Niki. The things she does for people who got themselves shot. "Look, sit down, Jessica. You're going to bust something important or something." And that wouldn't do anyone any good. Though it wouldn't be past Gwen to leave a liability behind to bleed to death, it's messy. And she's not a huge fan of mess. Especially if she's the one left to clean it up. Walking the bag over to the car, she drops it by the back before heading back over for another load.

Niki, not Jessica - though she doesn't correct Gwen; what's the point - leans against the truck heavily, holding onto it with one hand, the other sliding down her thigh, just trying to keep stable. She lets herself crumple so she can sit against the back tire. She drags a forearm over her face. Basically, she's a mess.

Not aware that there needs to be any sort of correction, Gwen just stares at Niki in the face of her bald emotion. Shit. What do you do in this sort of situation? She doesn't wait very long for Niki to try and control her emotions. Instead, she just kind of puts a hand on her hip, stays where she is and give a longing glance at her getaway car. "Honey, you need to get a grip and get the hell out of here." That's really her own solution for everything, so it should work for her partner in crime.

The discrepancy between the woman who ran a casino heist in Vegas and the woman sitting on the ground in the desert, trying to keep a frayed thread of courage from snapping, is distinct. It takes her a few seconds to respond to Gwen in any way, but she does look up at her with reddened eyes full of damaged, heart-rending expression. But no tears. Her voice, however, is harder. "I know." Without D.L. But not without the rest of her family. On that note— cell phone. Car. She struggles against the truck to get up and get over to it.

Oh no. More emotion. Something that Gwen just does not like to deal with. At least there's no crying. God she hates seeing people cry. It's so messy and emotional and…ick. "Great. Good." Even if Niki doesn't really look like she's fine, the other blonde will just pretend like her words speak for everything else. "It's about time we blow this popsicle stand." She looks past Niki to the road. "They're not exactly gonna let us go easy with all this money missing."

The bloodied blonde makes her way over to the car only to have it dawn on her that she doesn't have the keys. D.L. was going to drive. The simple realization brings about an abrupt clenching of her eyes; she brings a hand to her many-furrowed brow and takes a moment. She whirls around, eyes still shut, leans against the car door and slams her fist at her side, solidly into the door. It dents as if it was made of crumpling cellophane and not metal or some crazy plastic alloy cars are made of these days. "D.L. had the keys," she hisses. "We probably have some time," she tells Gwen with a certain reluctance. "After you got away, there was… everything went to hell. We have some time."

Woah. If that woman can do that to the side of the car, Gwen does /not/ want to see what she can do to other people. "Fine. Just. Chill out. I can hotwire your car for you." As for everything going to hell, well, things do that after she leaves. Or at least, that's how it goes in her mind. "And then we get the hell out of dodge." Motioning for Niki to move so she can go about doing that, she eyes the damage. "Uh, you might want to open that for me. Since you're the one with the crazy break you in half strength."

Chill out? Chill out. Niki is nowhere close to chilling out. She's not going to reach that point for a long, long time. Right now, she just wants to get to Micah, and she doesn't even know where he is. She shoots Gwen a look that is, simultaneously, wounded and resentful before she pulls on the car door's handle. It takes a second, and then it gives. Hopefully it'll still function afterward. She holds it open for Gwen. "Thank you," she says quietly in spite of the glare a moment before, managing to drum up the gratitude.

The two have much the same desires. However, Gwen's is more simply a desire to be out on the road with the windows rolled down and the reassurances that her money is in the trunk. The look that she's given is taken in stride with a level stare of her own. Once the door is yanked open, she exposes some wires, fiddles with them a bit and in a couple moments the car is running merrily. Or as merrily as a car that is about to be filled with an emo stripper can be. "There. Just, touch the red and blue wires together if you need to get it back on again." Hotwiring for dummies. "Don't get caught." That's all the advice she's got to spare.

Niki looks at Gwen without a word for a few moments, on the verge of speaking, but what's she supposed to say? 'I hope you don't get caught either'? She's not really at peace with what's going on. The theft, all of it. She wishes it never happened, that it still wasn't happening, that she could turn back time. "Be careful," she eventually does say in the end before sinking into the seat of the car so she can bleed all over this one, too. First order of business: find the phone. That determines everything else.

Well, Gwen doesn't have that much invested in this whole heist. Not her family, not her life…only some stolen money and some time. So she certainly had mostly a win-win situation. "You too," she tells the other blonde. She's almost certain this will be the last time they'll speak. She's certainly not going to search Jessica out again of her own free will and she's pretty sure that the other woman feels the same way. But, she's not one for weepy goodbyes. Or goodbyes of any sort. So as soon as Niki is into her car, Gwen tosses the bag into the back seat and then makes for her own car. It's still running, so all she has to do is slip into the seat, flip it into gear and be off into the sunset. Or, well, wherever it is she's heading off to. The car does some stops and starts and then swerves a little but it does move forward. That's a plus. And off she goes back to New York City. How she makes it there, and if she makes it in one piece, is the real story.

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