A/N: After much encouragement from kkolmakov and Wynni I'm finally posting this story. When I did the final edit today I could see why I wasn't getting around to posting it. It has such a lonely feel to it. It has a funny inspiration, like of a combination of the movie Cars and the book White Oleander. I had a main goal with this story, which was to work on fully developing Reese's character as she appears in WTFB.I don't even really expect people to like it, but I liked writing it. Reese's backstory is different, but her coping strategies are the same. This started as a one shot and is now 11000 words. So I'll post it on its own and break it up.
Reese sighed as the sun crept over the horizon. She'd been up since dawn, working a split morning dinner shift that week. She didn't have family so offered to work the split morning and night shift, often responsible for both opening and closing the restuarant. She pulled the dusty vinyl blinds down over the windows a bit more to block out the blinding eastern light.
She'd been working at the Husky House in Whitewood, Saskatchewan, for 18 months, far longer than she'd expected and than she'd ever stayed in one place as long as she could remember, even when she was growing up.
Reese came from BC, in Western Canada, and had been working her way east, staying for spells in various small towns that had truck stops where it didn't matter that she was the new girl just passing through because that was everyone's story there.
Reese never stayed long at any of these places, six months at the most. She didn't like to make attachments, didn't know how to actually. And after about six months she began to feel the itch to go. She'd been like that her whole life. She'd been called a runner when she was younger, always taking off from the foster homes in BC, hitchhiking from town to town, before usually being picked up on the streets of Vancouver and put in a new home. That wasn't how it was now for her. Now, no one was looking for her. No one cared what happened to her. She was a friendly face, an understanding smile, a girl who poured the coffee. And she preferred it that way.
When she moved on, she usually ended up at a truck stop again. They were perfect for her. She wasn't one to make generalizations about people, but there was a reason why she felt so comfortable with truckers, mostly men. She felt like they had no judgments or expectations, mostly because they all moved on the next day.
The guys always sat in a group in the restaurant. It was an unwritten code that even if you'd never been seen there before you could walk into any truck stop and join the group, shooting the shit, or just sitting not talking.
Nobody made plans. There was no past and there was no future, just what was happening at that moment in the restaurant. And it was fine to her that that was her world. She wasn't looking for much more, dind't have roots in the past or ties to he future anyway. Her parents were dead, and she didn't keep in touch with any of the foster families she'd lived with before hitting the road when she was 17. They weren't interested keeping touch with her, either.
She loved the social aspect too, being one of the unofficial group that formed at the restaurant wherever she worked. She took a great deal of pride in getting to know the regulars for the time she stayed there. But when it was time to go she ad no trouble moving on. She usually went far enough that she was on a completely different route than before, a completely different crowd.
It took about six months for people from the town she was at started to get too familiar with her, inviting her to baby showers and bachelorette parties. When that all started, she'd give her notice, pack her one backpack and cat carrier, and hop the next bus to wherever the whim took her, always going east. Always another truck stop. She knew she was forgotten quickly. Just as she had always been. And she didn't mind. She liked it that way.
"Morning, Reese," a man growled as she settled at the counter.
"Morning!" she sang cheerfully, happy to get started with her day. She hoped it would be busy. She loved being busy and run off her feet. She loved the sense of purpose it gave her. She glanced over her shoulder as she put a cutlery roll and cup of coffee before the trucker, who grunted in thanks.
One of other waitresses arrived as well, a woman from the town who smiled at Reese tiredly. Reese did her job well, and that was what mattered. She was friendly as well, always managing the conversation so that the other workers loved her but didn't pay much attention to her own story. "How's your boy?" she asked the woman.
"Still has a cold! But his daddy is home today. They'll spend the day playing video games."
"Ahhh, a good man," Reese said, and the woman laughed.
"He would be if he'd get the dishes done, but I promise you there'll be a mountain in the sink when I get home. Do you think there's something in their brains that tells them that they have to use a different glass everytime they have a drink of water?"
Reese shrugged and laughed. She wouldn't know, to be honest. She hadn't ever been with a man long enough to find out. She kept her dalliances brief, never with someone from whichever town she was in, always with a traveller who was just passing through. Low expectations was what she strived for, and she was an expert at achieving it. That's what others had always had of her in life, and it worked well.
Reese hadn't even finished high school. Books had never been her thing. She preferred to learn by living rather than by hearing about what others did. She'd always had trouble concentrating anyway when in school, and even then she'd been moving from school to school, rarely finishing the academic year, so teachers weren't very interested in helping her figure out how to do well.
She didn't mind terribly. Not having a highschool diploma so far hadn't gotten in the way for her. She didn't see how it ever would either. She'd have to be interested in staying put to have any kind of job that required highschool or university.
Even for the six months or so she stayed in one place, she didn't put down any roots. She always took a room in the motor inn attached to the restaurant. She didn't have very many posessions except her cat, Silver, a fat black puff of hair with pale green eyes and a shrill yowl that could be heard for miles. Everything she owned fit into a camping back pack and her cat carrier. She could be packed up in five minutes if she needed.
Reese glanced up at the large round man who settled at the counter. "Morning Bill!" she trilled. Reese didn't even ask the trucker what he wanted, scribbling a note on her pad and pinning it to the order wheel in the service window. "Order up!" she called. Julie turned with a scowl and snatched the order from the wheel. Reese smiled at her cheerfully as Julie huffed and turned away.
Julie knew Reese's type. Julie had owned the Husky for 15 years, was famous for her cinnamon buns, and had nine kids, all blond curly haired boys that tore around town in their quads, dressed head to toe in camoflauge. Sometimes Julie's husband, Adam, came through the Husky, and Reese always loved visiting with him. He'd stroll into the kitchen and give Julie what he called an "energy pill," which was a firm smack on the bum that made her squeal and curse. Reese always loved hearing Julie and Adam talk, cursing more than not, especially since they were so devoutly Baptist. It was the best paradox. The kind Reese couldn't get enough of.
Adam's nickname for Reese was "Swizzlesticks," she had no idea why, and he loved to tease her. He and Julie both knew that Reese's presence was temporary. Despite that, and despite Reese's trying not to create ties and adament avoidance of religious communities, they'd taken her in like a stray dog. She was a frequent fixture at their dinner table, which was a wild affair, a feeding frenzy, where ten boy-men fought to the last bone over mountains of food that made the table groan, all presided over by their tiny raven haired matriarch. Reese was addicted to these dinners. She'd never known what it was like to have a famly, and you couldn't get much more family than these affairs offered. She'd watch in silent fascination as they bickered and laughed, sometimes breaking into arguments that ended in a physical fight, ended promptly by a swat with a wooden spoon from Julie. Not always before a nose had been broken though. Reese knew she sometimes attended just to get the family feel that she'd missed her entire life. This world was so different from the ones she'd grown up in.
However, things hadn't gone according to plan at Whitwood. She'd stayed far longer than she'd planned, and she knew she needed to move on. She'd never been in one place so long in her life, and she felt confused and vulnerable. But she couldn't bring herself to go. It was as though an invisible barrier prevented her from packing up and hopping the Greyhound. She had a Greyhound pass that she never let expire, and she knew exactly what the bus schedule was, always aware when the next ride out of town was coming through. She could be gone in an instant, but she wasn't able to anymore.
When she was honest with herself she'd admit that she had fallen in love.
At first she'd only been attracted to Kili, the young trucker the others called "kid," even though he was well into his 30s. She wasn't a stranger to being intensely attracted to men, and he was stunningly gorgeous. Who wouldn't find him impossibly sexy? He'd taken her breath away the second she'd met him, and she hadn't been able to help flirting with him. They'd fallen into a friendly banter whenever he arrived at the restaurant, and over the six months since Reese had met him he stayed later and later. On the days when Kili passed through, he became a fixture as she closed up the shop, and he was often the first person there in the morning, sitting at the counter before the first pot of coffee had been brewed.
He hauled something that was shipped to Halifax all the way to Edmonton. Whitewood was about three quartres of the way to Edmonton for him, so he'd make two stops at her restaurant, about one week apart, followed by a span of about four week before he came through again. She'd memorized his schedule in the first six months she'd been there, the amount of time she'd normally start getting itchy feet to move on.
Reese knew Kili was from the Martimes, although his Mack truck plates were from Ontario. Trucks were often license in a different province than the destination. Kili had maritimer accent, charming, holding his vowels in the back of his mouth a bit. It wasn't too noticeable, only when he said words like "car" and "bar." She'd heard him talk once to another guy from Nova Scotia and had marvelled at how they'd seemed to slip into their own language. She believed they were speaking English, but it wasn't a language she'd heard when growing up in Vancouver where everyone sounded posh, even snobby, with their haughty drawn out "o's."