Tow Talk

It's not quite afternoon, but the day is a hot one. Desiree regrets her decision to wear a long-sleeved cotton "sweater," and has the A/C in her car cranked to the max setting. She also has the CD player blasting some good music, so that might explain why she doesn't hear the sound of her engine until the car actually starts sputtering and jerking like a drunk trying to puke. Maneuvering to the side of busy Hwy 75 isn't easy, but she finally manages as the car wheezes and gives up the ghost. The old Lexus has served her well, but she's been afraid it was long past time to trade her in. A round trip to NYC and then to Galveston was the final straw.

Desiree sits for a moment, then pulls the hood release. Steam rises from the dying car as Des climbs out into the heat. She's forced to find a towel to raise the hood, and when she does, there's some kind of sound that makes her jump back. Dancing, she knows. Cars? You keep them fed good gas and oil, and when they break, you call a mechanic. Only she doesn't have a phone book, there's no garage in sight, and it's hotter than hell outside. Most of those who could help her are night people, and she doesn't remember the number to the garage she last used. So. It's sitting in a car with all the windows and both doors open for her. At least until she can reach someone on the phone. Voice mails get really frustrating after a while.

Finally, after about thirty minutes, a bus drives by with an ad for a towing service on the side. Thanking the powers that be, she dials the number before she forgets it, only too glad when a man answers. "Oh, thank God," she says. "My car died on Hwy 75 near University Park. I'm on the side of the road and I need help." After giving him a few more details, she's told someone will be on the way soon.

Hyde is not often put on truck duty. But when the garage is empty, he is sometimes shunted into the position, as his esteemed workmates like using the opportunity to get away from his surely attitude. This, combined with the sweltering heat, does not make for a happy Hyde. But nevertheless…he's on the clock. And so, this is what he will do. His job.

He is not speedy in his arrival, although most likely, this is on purpose. Because he's a spiteful man. But soon enough, a Tow truck bearing the name: Bunker's Garage manages to roll it's way down the highway and pull up directly beside the broken down vehicle. Inside, there is a dark-haired, greasy, and increasingly sweaty man - one known as Hyde Blakeley, who has his uniform mostly undone up top in an attempt to keep cool.

"Oy," he grunts out towards Desiree, scowl etched into his features. "You the one that called to be towed, or what?"

Desiree is too relieved to react to the surly tone. She's out of the car the moment the truck comes to a halt. "Yes," is her answer, given with a wide, if somewhat over-heated, smile. "I think she's a goner, but the man on the phone said they could take a look?" She's uncertain, now. The Lexus has always been loyal before. "Might be time to trade the old girl in, hm." The last remark is added as a bit of humor. Then she reads the name of the garage. "Bunker. Wait, I've taken my bike there before. A woman worked on it." Musing, Desiree waits to hear what the man has to say, fanning herself with a straw hat.

Hyde doesn't even stick around to hear the rest, truth be told. Despite how 'rude' the action is, the man drives up ahead, before moving to back up directly in front of the broken vehicle. After all, he's not here to chit-chat, he's here to do a job. A job which he is particularly good at. With the tow truck in place, Hyde let's out a grunt as he steps out into the hot Texan air, brows furrowed. Desiree is inspected fleetingly, as is her car. "We'll see." Is all he says about having to 'trade the girl in'.

While in process of hooking the car up to the tow truck, he does turn to give Desiree a look. "Woman?" Beat. "Abbey, then. She owns the joint, messes around with shit when she can. Are you going to the garage with me, or did you call yourself a cab yet?"

"I figured I'd go to the garage, if that's all right?" She's hesitant now, uncertain how, exactly, to take this attitude. Chalking it up to the heat, she shrugs. I can call a cab from there, if this can't be fixed easily." Desiree doesn't seem at all adverse to putting herself in the tow truck, nor in the company of this dark, sullen man. "Thank you…" She peers at the uniform, looking for a name tag. "I'm Desiree DeVilliers, by the way, Mister…." Leaving off so he can supply some kind of name.

"No skin off my back." Hyde declares with a nonchalant shrug when Desiree reveals her plans. But this is the only reaction she'll get for a little bit - as Hyde is rather busy elsewhere. Once he's completed his work and set up the auxiliary back lights on top of the vehicle to be towed, he turns to face the woman. "Hyde. And leave the Mister out of the equation." There's no wonder as to why that particular prefix wouldn't endear to him, really. After checking his handiwork to make sure everything is stable and set, he grunts, heading for the tow truck. "C'mon. Unless you'd rather stand out here for the rest of the day."

"Hyde, then," Desiree says, nodding. Manners are always in order, even if the other person is borderline rude. She watches him work as the day gets hotter and traffic builds up along the busy highway. WHen he's done, all she does is grab her purse from the car and heads to the passenger side of the truck. "No thanks. I hope this thing has A/C, but I don't care if it doesn't. I can hang my head out the window if need be." Getting into the truck isn't easy, but Des is athletic enough to manage with some dignity and grace. Once inside, she buckles a seatbelt—- ignoring the grease and dirt on it. Clothes will wash, after all. What's a little grime when you consider the alternative is standing on the side of a road in the Texas summer? She doesn't hesitate. "Ready when you are."

A gentleman would have helped Desiree into the car, and wiped down the seat for her or something. But then, Hyde is not a gentleman, or anything that even remotely resembles one. So he waits for her to close the door, and then the truck roars to life. "No A/C," the man of few words grumps out. "Keep the window open and pray we hit shade." And just like that, they're off. And on Hyde's part, he is stonily silent as he maneuvers the vehicle on the open road, dark eyes flittering around with some degree of paranoid-driven alacrity.

"Two-forty A/C it is, then," Des quips, rolling the window down fully. That will play havoc with her hair, but that can't be helped. Swelter or look good—-no choice. She's not quite as talkative. There's that rather awkward "uneasy" silence of people who are strangers and don't know (or maybe want) to broach actual conversation. But Desiree is a social person, and silence isn't her forte. Finally, "How long have you worked for Abbey?" she asks, turning to look at Hyde while he's driving. There isn't much shade to be found on Hwy 75, but occasional over passes and tall buildings do provide some modicum of respite from the sun. "It's been months since I was there, but I didn't see you when I brought the bike in."

Hyde does not help with the social thing, not much. Due primarily to the fact that, where she is social and seeks out conversation, he is generally anti-social and avoids it like the plague. At least, while working he does. He can get fired if he makes fun of the customer, and since the saying goes: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all…And so, for a little while, it looks like Hyde is flat-out ignoring Desiree. Silent still for a full minute after she has spoken. Just when all hope is lost, however, Hyde lets out a low sigh. "Years. Four or so." Beat. "I don't spend all of my time at the Garage."

Desiree doesn't seem overly offended by the anti-social behavior, perhaps still chalking it up to the heat and a general working man's dislike of conversation. She's met the type before: dark, sinister, silent. It attracts some women, repels others. She takes the time to study his profile: not bad on the eyes, but not drop dead gorgeous, either. "Well, I'd hope you don't," she comments. "That would be … just plain weird. I probably came by when you weren't there. No big deal. I was just curious." She gives a soft chuckle, adding, "That's what killed the cat, and I'm probably working on my 90th life by now. It's one of my faults, curiosity." This admission comes with a slight frown, and maybe a bit of … wariness.

A hand is stuck out the window to enjoy the feeling of air, rushing past the limb. And thought Hyde remains solidly stoic once again, there's a different quality to his silence this time. It's the type of silence that is forced, like the man is deliberately keeping from opening his mouth, for fear of what might tumble out of those callous lips. Mouth purse, he darts a quick, fleeting glance towards Desiree. "You're a talker." He acknowledges, then. It's not disapproving or rude - just factual.

"And you're the still water runs silent and deep type, hm?" Desiree counters as the truck stops in the shade of a tall building. They're traversing most of Dallas, after all, and the downtown area is pretty much skyscrapers and office buildings. Her comment is likewise factual, said in a neutral enough tone. "I'd say I'd shut up, but I probably couldn't if my life depended on it." A pause, then, "No, scratch that. I could do almost anything if my life was in danger. Fight, flight—-fall down and roll over, whatever it took to live." Dark thoughts, and if he saw her expression, even Hyde might be curious for the reason. She looks out the window, and a brooding silence descends. How long it'll last, who knows?

"Perhaps." Hyde murmurs with slight disinterest and impatience as they come upon a red light. Rough, dirtied fingers tap against the rubber of the steering wheel. "Or perhaps I just don't have anything to say. How utterly inspiring to know that you've a sense of survival." Finally, the light switches, and the jalopy is off once again, though forced to slow considerably due to the traffic in the middle of the city. Does Hyde see her expression? Perhaps.

That brooding silence stretches for long minutes, until Hyde makes the comment about her sense of survival. Then she turns toward him, eyes dark and … angry? No, troubled. "Ever face something in the dark, something bigger than you are, and you know it's out to kill you?" she asks bluntly. "Something you don't recognize or even know what it is or what it wants?" Her tone is close to bitter, but tinged with fear. "I have and I lived through it. Help arrived in time to scare it off before it really got to work on me—-but I fought, just as any sane person would." And that, it would seem, is that. Her mouth clamps down, and she doesn't speak again until they're through the downtown area. "I trust there's a drink machine at the garage? If not, could you stop at a convenience store. I'll spring for drinks." It's an offering of some sort, for some unknown reason. Maybe regret for nearly losing her temper.

Hyde has absolutely no sympathy. For the newly turned werewolf…facing darkness is fairly normal. Being thrust into a world he didn't know was out there? Yeah. That's something he's familiar with. "Yes." He injects then, cutting off her bitter monologue without much enthusiasm. A second passes by, and Hyde finds himself flexing his fingers reflexively. "Are you speaking metaphorically, or was there an actual creature of the night involved?" Beat. "There's a soda machine."

Silence. "I don't know what it was-except it wasn't a vampire," Desiree answers honestly. "I was out at the lake, White Rock lake. I needed some alone time, but as I was walking along the shore-" A pause. "—-/something/ came out of the trees and the next thing I knew, I was on my back fighting for my life. It had teeth and claws, and was big and dark. It smelled horrible and I was pretty badly scratched on my legs and arms." Desiree sighs. "Whether it was an actual 'creature of the night'…? Your guess is as good as mine. Most people suggested it was a homeless person with long fingernails. Michael scared whatever it was off and gave me …" She stops abruptly, changing tact. "…gave me a ride to the hospital. Fortunately, I wasn't scarred up. I'm a dancer and model, you see. My looks are my livelihood."

This bothers Hyde more than Desiree could have known. Tightly, he purses his lips, and it is through a furrowed brow that he stares out to the road. When it becomes apparent that he has to say something, however, the only thing he can come up with is: "I see." Beat. "…How fortuitous of you, to have been cared for properly." And…that's as far as he can stretch himself, when it comes to compassion. Even then, he is left shifting in his seat awkwardly.

Desiree takes a deep breath, exhaling slowly. "It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. It could've been a rabid coyote or something. Who knows?" She shrugs one shoulder, wiping her face with her hands. "It's over and done, and life goes on. I came through it, and even the nightmares are gone. I just don't plan on heading out to White Rock Lake at night anytime soon—-at least not alone." She forces a grin. "Good." About the soda machine. "I'm dying of thirst over here. I don't envy you that coverall you have to wear. Feel free to take it off your upper body, if you'd like. I won't tell." A soft laugh, then. FOrced humor, but anything to brighten the mood. "How far are we from the garage?" she asks.

A change of subject is something Hyde can easily aid Desiree with. Particular with her bit of 'forced humor'. Slowly, he cranes his head to inspect Desiree in an imperial sort of way. "Trying to get me shirtless, I see." He gruffs out, before maneuvering the beast that is the car into a left turn. "We'll be there shortly. Not far off. Relax."

Desiree cants her head to look at Hyde in an assessing sort of way. Not rudely, but with a twitch of her lips. "Sweetie, as hot as it is, if I could take my shirt off like a man can—-well, you'd see a hell of a lot more of me than what's here, now." This is followed by a chuckle, and, "You don't have a bad physique. I won't complain." More twitching of lips, as she braces with the turn. "Oh, I /am/ relaxed. You should see me when I'm … tense." There's a dark, almost wicket glint in those green eyes. Flirting? With such an anti-social man? Sure, why not? Maybe she can even get him to grin. "I somehow doubt you're a stranger to being shirtless." Teasing, that.

"'Could' and 'can' - what, are you disabled or something? Of course you can take your shirt off, you have two arms. Do it, if you'd like to." There's something of a challenge in Hyde's sharp tone. "There's no 'can't' involved. Either put up or shut up." They're approaching the garage. Creeping closer and closer. "What's the difference between you tense, and you not tense?" As for the comment about his physique and shirtlessness? They pass by without comment. Mostly because he already thinks enough about his body as it is."

"What's the use now that we're almost here?" Desiree asks. "I didn't before because I didn't want to offend your delicate sensibilities," she quips, giving her head a shake as a breeze filters through the open windows. "I wish it would rain. That would cool things off a bit." She can see the garage, now, about a mile or so down the road. She's not exactly ignorant of the "challenge" in Hyde's tone. She moistens her lips, eyes narrowing as they focus on his profile. "You want a show—-? Well, fine. Enjoy the view." The grey cotton sweater is pulled off revealing a black swimsuit top. It covers all those strategic places, but reveals quite a bit, too. Much cooler now, Desiree leans back in the truck seat, relishing the air on her skin. "Should've done this an hour ago," she grumbles. There. Challenge met. Her eyes turn expectantly to Hyde, a challenge of her own in the green depths.

Hyde rolls his eyes when she makes such a show of removing the top - although his general attitude does not make him immune to taking in his fill of her feminine form. He isn't blind, and is very much a red-blooded male, attracted to the opposite sex. "All that fuss, and you've got a top under. Jesus Christ, drama queen." Even though it's a rather skimpy bikini top at that. Finally, however, they pull into the parking lot of the esteemed garage, and with the tow truck parked, Hyde moves to step out of the vehicle, either missing of ignoring the expectant look she fixes upon him.

It takes about ten seconds before Desiree realizes she's made a complete fool of herself. As the truck comes to a halt, she scowls and jerks the sweater back over her torso. "Drama queen?" she sputters. There's annoyance in the tone. "That's like the pot calling the kettle chartreuse. You're the dark, brooding, silent type, and I'll bet you use that to full advantage with women." Snappy, clipped words as she gathers her purse and opens her door. With the seatbelt off, she can slide to the ground without help. "So, where's this soda machine, and how long to tell me if I need a new car or not? I've got the time to wait. I just want a drink and a bathroom."

Hyde is already on the job now, working to unhook the Lexus from the pick up truck by the time Desiree scuttles out of the vehicle and snaps at him. Something she says does prompt him to stand up to his full height and toss a quirked brow of muted amusement her way, however. "Chartreuse? That your word of the day?" Heh. "I disagree. I doubt I've done a single dramatic thing all day. And…so? Your point being?" When she goes off on the rant about women. "You lot are idiots for falling for it, every single time. Ah…inside. You'll see the machine. Bathroom's to the left after it in the hall." And with that, he nods to the office building.

He has a good point. Several, in fact. Desiree is woman enough to admit that. "Well, hell's bells and cockleshells," she snaps, kicking the gravel of the parking lot. "I can't refute that it works damned near all the time—-but not with /all/ of us. Some of us recognize it for what it is, and go with the flow because it's … the thrill of the hunt, and all that rot. The games people play." She shoulders her purse, and looks toward the office. "Give me five minutes to get a cooler top out of my suitcase, and you'll see the difference between me tense and /not/ tense," she tells Hyde, answering an earlier question. "And, thanks for the tow. I know it's your job, but still … thanks." Polite to the end. She'll wait to see if she can get into her car, then head inside.

"And some of you recognize the game for what it is and still get played and flustered," Hyde mocks slightly, quirking the corner of one lip in amusement. However, when she's chasing for her belongings in the car, all Hyde does is stand back and beckon to it, as if inviting her to do so. She shouldn't find any trouble with getting her things. "Right." Beat. "You're welcome." Once she's out of the way, he can continue unhooking.

There's a retort on her lips but Desiree holds back. Rumaging through a bag, she pulls out a bit of black, stands up and shuts the door. "I'll be inside. Let me know what you find." Then, with head held erect, she turns toward the office. Hips moving with a natural sway, Desiree pauses a few steps away, turns and says, "If both parties recognize the game for what it is, the question remains—-who's the hunter and who's the prey?" A pause. "And why the need for games at all? Sometimes the fastest way to a destination is a direct line." There's that hint of wickedness in her expression again. "Don't get too over heated, now." And then she's off again, hips swaying and hair swinging down her back. Once she reaches the office, she glances back, gives Hyde a two-finger salute and disappears inside.

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