2008-07-26: The Scariest Thing


Trina_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif

Summary: Coffee. Cars. Confessions.

Date It Happened: July 26th, 2008

The Scariest Thing

Warehouse Garage — Waterfront — NYC

Jack is the luckiest man on the face of the earth. He has a beautiful fiance who has not only forgiven him for his faults time and time again, she's given him a truly wonderful present. She replaced his classic car. Since the first time he saw Julia II, he hasn't been able to go more than a few minutes without thinking about the fixer-upper GTO. That's why he woke up early and crept out of bed, leaving Trina a note to let her know that he'd gone to Ron's waterfront garage.

Mechanical work is an awkward proposition when you're stuck in a wheelchair. He spent most of an hour struggling around the issue before he came up with a perfect solution. Now his chair is perched on a raised motorcycle lift, providing him with the necessary height to see and reach in under the hood. His fitted white t-shirt and grey denims are streaked with oil and grease, as are his hands and forearms. There's even a drip of oil trailing wanly down one cheek.

'Hi honey. Took a cab.'

It's not precisely how Trina would have wanted to blink away the bleary vestiges of sleep. Such might be apparent by the way she patted the empty space on the bed and cursed. And then looked out into the front end of the bar. And then cursed. And then found the note. And then cursed some more. Early morning enthusiasm: Just one more service she offers.

She took her time in getting ready, reasonably assured that the car would at least serve as a reasonable babysitter and keep her fiance in one place. Living in the bar is not conducive to one's feeling of femininity, but neither can that particular situation be helped at present. Thus, other things become important. The ritualistic art of cosmetics. The meditative strokes of a hairbrush before dark, ebony hair is captured in a darkly wrapped bit of elastic. The minimalistic choice of accessories: silver hoop earings and a pair of large-lensed sunglasses. This is how the mundane subconsciously and miraculously transforms into the sublime.

When Trina finally arrives in her beat-up jean shorts, black army boots, and raggedy beer distributer shirt, she looks like a trucker in carmine lipstick and eyeliner. From her lips, a cigarette dangerously hangs, seemingly entirely unaware of the oil slicks that mark the concrete floor of the garage. Settled on her shoulder and held in place there is a medium-sized cardboard box. It isn't until she's well into the warehouse-turned-garage that she frowns and plucks the cancer stick from it's place against her lipstick — the filter now encircled by a ring of red — and speaks. "You're gonna kill yourself bein' all precarious like that."

Grunting, Jack wiggles and pulls on a stuck-on radiator hose until it comes free. He holds it up to the light, inspects it briefly, then tosses it over his shoulder and into a rapidly growing pile of discarded parts.

He's so wrapped up in his work that he doesn't notice Trina's arrival until she speaks. Because he's raised up several feet off the ground, Murphy's Law dictates that he be thoroughly surprised. He straightens up abruptly, bangs his head on the underside of the hood, curses, and nearly falls backward off the lift. Balanced awkwardly, he pinwheels his arms briefly to regain his balance. When he's settled, he rubs his head and grins ruefully at his lover. "Ow," he comments eloquently. "You look beautiful today. What's in the box?"

Finding a free bit of counter to set down her box, Trina talks around her cigarette. "Told you," she tells him smugly as the sound of bone against metal resounds across the warehouse, the corner of her mouth curling up in amusement. The compliment didn't go unnoticed, but she doesn't really reply to it anywhere except in that tell-tale mark of her quiet delight. Once she's got the box out of her hands, she starts pulling things out. Another box emerges, more specialized to its precious caffeinated cargo. A cup of cream finds its way to light next, followed by a handful of sugar packets and cardboard cups. Pepper-speckled bagels, wrapped up in paper towels and foil, sandwiched around a filling of cream cheese and chives. More cigarettes. Foil-wrapped bacon. Paper plates. "Figured you probably didn't eat."

"Ooooh!" Jack exclaims, thoroughly delighted by Trina's choices. He leans down and fumbles at the lift's release until he finds it. With a hiss of pressurized air, he sinks slowly to the ground. Grinning widely, he rolls down the ramp and over to his girl. "You know me too well," he says, giving her bottom a playful swat.

The majority of the oil is rubbed off of his hands and onto a rag before he takes one of the coffee cups. As he takes the first sip, he lets out a groan of appreciative pleasure. With his eyes still half-lidded, he glances at Trina again. "Mmm. Love you," he murmurs. "Hope you don't mind that I headed out this early. Just couldn't stay away from Julia."

"An' I love you," is Trina's easy reply, turning her sunglasses up onto the top of her head and then plucking out her cigarette again and dropping it to twist beneath her toes in order to bend down and claim a kiss as payment. It's only after she has secured her fee that she starts divying up the picnic breakfast between the two plates. "I don't mind," she assures. "You gave me a right scare, though. I'm glad you had somethin' you wanted to do, but next time wake me up. I might give you shit for it, but I'd rather come with you." To help keep an eye on him is not low on the list of reasons.

Jack returns the kiss and grins again, this time impishly. "Yes ma'am," he replies, saluting her. When the food has been divided, he snags a plate and immediately goes to work on the bagel. Despite his nonchalant attitude, he attacks the food hungrily, tearing off a large bite and swallowing it almost whole. "Mmm," he says again. "You really do love me."

"I been tellin' you that for months, and you're only just startin' to figure that out?" Trina starts with the bacon on her plate, toying with the floppy bits of meat and fat before chewing it more pensively. There must easily be a pound of that stuff, wrapped up all neat and pretty in the foil and paper towels, a temporal testament to artery-clogging love. Once she's gotten that first pensive bite down, she leans back against the counter's edge. "So how's the work goin' this mornin'? You get me a list of parts, I'll see about startin' to get 'em for you."

"Excellent. I already started. It's right…" Jack clamps the bagel in his mouth and starts fishing through his pockets. "…here," he finishes, digging a stained scrap of paper from his pants and handing it over. "There's something else I wanna talk to you about, though. Remember all that fuss about Peter Petrelli?" He pauses and arches an eyebrow, but barrels on a moment later. "He's still missing. Something. Nobody really knows. I've started talking to some other people. Baby… if he's in trouble, I owe it to him to help out." The last bit is almost apologetic, but he has to do what he has to do.

With her bagel still half-hanging out of her mouth, Trina takes hold of the ragged page. She looks it over for a second. "Mis shouldn' make me mong," she mumbles, slipping it into her own painted-on back pocket and leaning against the counter anew to keep eating. She chews as Jack talks, but the light-hearted amusement leaves her gaze. "I don't wanna talk about Peter," she finally decides, her voice low. "Doesn't he have other friends?"

Jack lets out a long, low sigh and bows his head. "Yes," he answers. "But he's my friend, too. Wouldn't you want him to help me if the situations were reversed?" He's gone from nonchalant to almost desperate in very short order. Peter's not only a friend, he's the man who saved Jack from many things. His father. His drug addiction. His own recklessness.

"Baby…" he says quietly. "Please. If it weren't for him, I never would've been around to meet you, and even if I were, we could've lost each other more than once."

"If the roles were reversed, my list of options would be a hell of a lot shorter," Trina reminds, poking her half-eaten bagel hald in Jack's direction. She snorts. She growls. She looks generally unhappy as she wolfishly crams the last of her bagel into her mouth with her thumb. And then she sets down the rest of her food, having suddenly lost her appetite. In a painfully transparent attempt to steer away from the conversation, she moves towards the car. Her hands are wiped down on the back of her Daisy Duke shorts, and then she leans in to look at the engine block to start doing her own inspection and comparing it against the list of parts she's got rolling in her head. After reaching inside, she pushes more thoroughly into her attempt to distract. "I better add some new belts to the list, too. They're feelin' a little rough."

Jack sighs again, more briefly this time, but he nods and accepts the change of subject. "I agree," he says, setting aside his food as well and wheeling over to Trina's side. "There's a crack in the back of the radiator, too." He reaches over the lip of the hood and runs a fingertip over the crack, locating it by touch. "By and large, the new Julia is in much better condition than I thought she'd be. A little warping around the exhaust manifold, a bit of wear and tear. I figure we can have her up and running in a week or so. A couple of days for painting and interior work. Total, two weeks. Tops."

"If you can give me a little longer, I can see about gettin' some cheaper parts." Slender shoulders, left bare by the way she's torn the sleeves off of the tee, shrug as she slides her fingers into her back pockets. Trina's head tilts to one side. "I mean, there's Ron. But I can go back to Tito. It's been a bit, yeah, but he should remember me."

"As long as the parts are solid, it doesn't matter much to me where they come from." Jack frowns as he fingertips come into contact with a flake of rust. He hooks the tip of a fingernail under it and peels it away. Still, he's smiling when he turns back toward Trina. "You did good, baby. Real good. She's the best present anybody ever gave me. I can't wait to get her on the road."

"Me, neither," Trina admits, although she's not entirely certain how, exactly, Jack expects to be driving it. Now that she's had her time to think and simmer down from the first compulsive rally against talk of Peter, she frowns. "I ain't tellin' you 'no' because I don't want you to help," she offers, her voice barely more than a whisper.

Without looking away from Trina's eyes, Jack's hand finds her and squeezes reassuringly. "I know," he replies. "You just worry about me. I can't really blame you, I've given you plenty of reasons." Now a slightly guilty expression spreads across his face and he does look away. "I'm trying. I really am. It's just that I've never really had to worry about someone else's feelings before."

Trina turns her feet pigeon-toed, and beneath the worn and diveted leather of her boots, her toes curl and uncurl. Her blue eyes affix themselves there as she finds a synergy with Jack's feelings of awkwardness, and now she feels herself awash in it. "'m sorry."

"So am I," Jack says, wrapping his other hand around Trina's as well. He lowers his head sheepishly and scrunches up his shoulders like a bashful schoolboy admitting a crush. There's even a faint blush around his nose and cheekbones. "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me. Sorry I can be such a reckless pain in the ass."

And then there it is: the tiniest flicker of a smile hidden in the corner of her mouth. Trina's fingers finally curl to twine themselves through Jack's. Then, very slowly, she lowers herself down to a crouch in front of him. "Y'got a cute ass. It's why I let you get away with it." She moves to rest her forearms over her fiance's legs as she heaves a sigh. "It's just it was bad enough with you runnin' around, gettin' into all sorts of trouble when you were… Y'know." Not in a wheelchair. "Now, I think I'd go crazy waitin' for you to come home. Losin' you is one of the scariest things I can think of, baby. S'all."

Now Jack grips Trina's hand even tighter. "I understand," he murmurs. "That's why I don't want you to have to wait for me anymore. I don't want to keep things from you. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I want you with me all the way." He smiles and lifts their joined hands to nuzzle his face against them. This morning he left in a hurry and didn't bother shaving, so his face is as stubbly and scratchy as usual.

Trina's eye close as she drinks in the sign of affection as though it were ambrosia, savoring the warmth of his hands and his face against her cooler ones. "I dunno how we deal with this, then, honey," she confesses. She waits until her hands are back to resting upon his lap before she then moves to rest the side of her face against his lap. "Everything's such a mess."

"I know baby," Jack replies softly. He frees up one of his hands to tenderly stroke Trina's hair back from her face. "We'll figure it out. Promise. We just have to take things a day at a time." As reassuringly as he can, he smiles down at her.

Amidst the thick and cloying smells of oil and cigarette smoke and dirty jeans, Trina finds herself content and — although unaware of it — her lips curl up into a smile to mirror Jack's as he gently fusses over those stray tendrils that escaped both her ponytail and the headband a la sunglasses. A day at a time is something she can handle. It suits her well, a way to get through the years by letting tomorrow worry after itself. Everything's just about right here. No Bad People. No trouble. Nothing threatening to kill them. Nothing threatening to tear them apart. "A day at a time's good," she agrees. And then she slowly, as though pained, pulls herself away from Jack and goes back towards the counter to make herself a cup of coffee after a kiss is pressed against his knee. "Alright. Let's see what else needs buyin'."

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