I have only one thing to say: R&R

Stuck in the middle of nowhere

Oh dear god. He could not believe how bad that went. It was a disaster. Not typhoon, tsunami or hurricane could compete with his Girlfriend Mandy. She was so... he couldn't even find words to describe her. He knew they had went to fast in this relationship. But they seemed to connect perfectly! First date: Wonderful and she was so kind and romantic. They talked for hours, though that was not his style. They didn't even had sex on the first date. Now usually that meant you didn't need sex to like each other, right? But even WITH sex, it still sucks, he now realises. Second date was perfect, they did had sex that time, great, fantastic. Everything was fantastic till the thirteenth date when she asked him to go on vacation with her to her cottage in the mountains. When they arrived there, he realised how he had misjudged her. She wasn't romantic. She was superficial. All she cared about was how she looked! And all the time she had kept her cell phone close, she had her own company and needed to be reachable, always. Like they couldn't miss that loud-mouth for one weekend.

The worst thing of all was that she was oblivious to the fact that he totally disliked her now. He couldn't wait to get started at work again, at least that would make a good excuse for not coming to her lame dinner parties. Did he mention she downloaded her agenda in his organiser? After the fifth date! He should have known then. She is obsessed.

Why didn't he stick to boys? He figured he was gay by the time he was sixteen and did just fine with them. But when he had met Mandy... she was so graceful. A real lady. Femme fatal. She walked the walk and she talked the talk and he always liked that in a person. But nothing lay underneath that thick layer of make-up and it made him angry now. For wasting his free weekend. He didn't have a lot of free time. His work swallowed him. And though he liked it, it didn't mean he didn't cherish those few moments on his own.

And now he was finally alone. But he was more alone then he wanted to be.

Duo looked through the windshield, keeping his eyes on the road, trying to concentrate on finding his was through these god forsaken lands. All he could see were large plains of grass and at the horizon were mountains, standing high and proud, at their feet lay hundreds of square kilometres of forest. And he drove on a sandy road right through this wilderness. He wasn't even sure if it was an official road or grass just didn't grow here because herds of cows walked over it everyday. Yep, the picture even included cows. Big, brown, horned, cows. He hated cows.

Why, oh why had he wanted to take the car! Mandy took a plane home. She was already in New York after a two hour flight. And what did he say when she said she had booked their flights back home?

'I'm afraid of flying.' He repeated to himself in a whiny voice, he was angry at himself. How could he say that? He loved flying, just not with Mandy? So had hoped to have a quiet ride back home, but no. He was mistaken again. Mandy was happy to exclaim: 'Oh! But that's great! Heather is afraid of flying too! You two can drive back home!'

No, Heather was not some hot chick he could use to cheat on Mandy. Nope. Heather was a chick alright and maybe she did turn the heads of many men, but to Duo, the only thing hot about her was her breath that went passed his neck. It was hot and it smelled... bad.

'You better not shit on my new seats.' He warned and looked in the rear view mirror at the big German Shepherd sitting on the backseat. Heather cocked her head and rolled her tongue out of her mouth, panting. She looked at him with large brown eyes. Mocking him. He could practically hear her say: 'Ha! You thought you could rid yourself of her, no? Payback time mister! Didn't you know that after a while pets resemble their owners!'

Heather was just like Mandy. She was loud, disobedient, a little to large for his liking, mean, snarled at others, snarled at him and her breath smelled. She didn't RESEMBLE Mandy. She WAS Mandy!

But he couldn't blame it on the dog. He was the one that fell for Mandy's act in the first place. But he did like taking his anger out on the dog. Not that he hit her. No, he just wanted to stop the car, dump the dog and drive further. She should be able to take down one of that cows for dinner, she certainly is large enough to do the job. But then he would have to face Mandy's wrath. And he disliked her already.

But thinking about how he disliked Mandy and her dog didn't help him find his way. He couldn't remember going down this road before. Maybe he should have gotten off the mountain on the other ride. When he left the cottage he was already doubting at the first T split. He went left, maybe he should have gone right?

He looked at the fuel and sighed. Almost empty, the car was already running on it's resources. Fantastic. Now how can a man get to New York on a empty tank?

After another hour of driving, taking turns into directions he thought would lead him to civilisation, but they didn't, the car finally gave it's last gurgle before slowly coming to a stop. On an empty, sandy/grassy road ten minutes past nine pm. It'll be dark in lest that one and a half hour.

'You know,' He turned around and looked at the dog, 'this is all you fault. You realise that, right?'

Heather just licked his nose.

Duo pulled back, disgusted and wiped the thin layer of smelly saliva off of his nose, before turning back again, looking ahead, looking at the sun that started to hide behind the large mountains. Only ten half an hour later the burning, constantly exploding, planet was out of sight and the sky, that was now a mixture of pink, purple and orange turned darker by the minute. Around eleven pm all light when out. Not only because the sun was long gone, but also because the battery of his car died... and he mourned for it. God knows he mourned.

He shivered as it was now midnight and it had gotten quite chilly. He was actually thinking about sitting next to the dog, to keep warm. But it wasn't that cold and he wasn't THAT desperate so he just glared at the animal for a few seconds. After a while the dog started to whine, so Duo figured she had to 'do her business'. Sighing he got out of the car, into the cool evening air and opened the door to the backseat. Heather immediately jumped out of the car but instead of pooping in the bushes she run off. Fast.

'Heather! Heather! Here! Uhmm... Come back!' He knew that it didn't matter what command he'd give. She wouldn't listen, especially not to him. There was only one thing he could do and he didn't like it...

He run after her. But she was much, much, faster Duo and soon she was out of sight, he wasn't even sure if she had followed the road or went off of it. 'Stupid dog!' He shouted, leaning over, putting his hands on his knees and panted loudly. There was no sense in trying to look for her. She was a fast animal. She could be anywhere by now. She probably likes it here between the damp grass, cows and mosquito's. He turned around and walked back to the car. When he entered it, he couldn't help but feel guilty. He knew he hated Heathers guts now, but maybe, if he got to know her, she was a really sweet dog. Mandy adored her, Heather meant more to her then he even will. Thank god.

Within twenty minutes he fell asleep. Now without the protection of a large Shepherd with sharp rows of teeth. Who knows what might sneak up on him...

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God had spared his life. When he opened his eyes he was still in his expensive black car and the sun was making it known to this side of the world that it was going to be a warm day. He reckoned it was about eight or nine am but already he could take off the jacket he had wore through the night.

He fished his cell-phone out of his duffel bag that sat in the passengers seat. Why he hadn't thought about calling someone last night was beyond him, but even though he had to sleep in the car, he was well rested. Maybe the environment had a good influence on him?

He booted the small telephone up and wondered why he ever thought this simple answer would save him. His battery is always dead in bad situations. This was his cruel faith. He will die from dehydration and starvation and the last memory on his mind will be: God what does Heathers breath smell.

He opened the door, wanting to get out because it still smelled like dog breath. But when he had it opened halfway a high whine could be heard. He frowned. What the...? With a bit difficulty he got out of the car and stretched his arms out, loosening them, ready to bolt if it was a wolf lying next to the car. And yes, he did know that running away would have no use, and yes it would be smarter to get into the car. But Duo wasn't the smartest person on this planet and he wasn't one to give a flying fuck at the moment.

But what he found was either worse or better, depends on how you look at it. Brown eyes mockingly looked at him as a pink tongue rolled out of a mouth with sharp teeth, tail wagging.

'Hello Heather...' He said and she looked at him, almost expectantly.

'Give me a moment. I'm still contemplating on whether I like you returning to me or not.' He said dryly and leaned with his back against the car, folding his arms and stared up ahead. But her returning to him was the last thing on his mind. He just wanted to get out of this place where time had an arrears of about two hundred years. Which wasn't good because Duo is a man of Technology. Big flat screen tv's. High tech cell-phones. State of the art laptops and organisers. Yes, life was wonderful if you weren't stuck here. Stuck here with a dead car, a dead cell-phone... soon the only thing still alive will be heather, death sounded like a release to Duo right now. But he was just exaggerating.

'Soon,' he told himself, or the dog, your call, 'some old farmer will drive down this road with an old tractor and he will help us out and we'll be on a plane and back in New York before sunset.' He sighed, not believing his own words. 'Yep... any minute now.' Just as a joke he looked left, then right. He was about to look left again when he turned his head back to the right, amazed, surprised, shocked, dumbfounded. All the ways you can describe it. Nearing him was a blue tractor and the man driving it seemed to be pretty old, at least he had grey hair.

He blinked a few times, but he still saw the tractor. He rubbed his eyes. But it was still there. It wasn't hot enough to be an illusion so that meant he was right!

'Don't look at me like that.' He told Heather. Heather just barked at him and it probably wasn't a compliment, then she stood up and walked to the middle of the road, looking at the tractor, barking loudly.

Duo pitied Mandy's neighbours for he barking seemed harder then a jet plane flying over their heads. But that was just his imagination talking. He had the gift to find a downside of every animal. Usually more. He didn't really liked having pets. They only distract you from work, don't you think? Of course you'll agree with him on this one.

'What do you want young fellow?' the man, definitely old, asked him, getting out of his vehicle.

Duo already held out his hand to shake hands with the man. But the man walked to the dog, a few feet away from her he stopped, turning to Duo, asking: 'She isn't dangerous, right?'

'I haven't found out yet.'

The man looked strangely at him for a whole second before nearing Heather again. He commanded her to sit and, god forbid, she did. She sat down without question, without cocking her head and mocking him with her eyes. The old man smiled and rubbed her head, immediately she wagged her tail. He crouched in front of her and ruffled her fur even more.

Duo used to think he was a dog in a previous life, for he loved it when people close to him touch his hair, but he thought better of it now. He wouldn't like someone messing up his hair like the man was doing with Heather, but she seemed to enjoy it.

'What's your name gorgeous?' the man asked.

Okay, the fact that he called Duo gorgeous made him feel a bit uncomfortable, but what were the chances that another human being would pass him by again soon, so he had to be nice to this one. 'My name is Duo Maxwell.'

The man turned to Duo, raising his eyebrow 'I wasn't asking YOU.'

Oh my god he was asking the dog... Duo thought to himself, beginning to think that it might be better to risk his chances and wait for someone else. But no, he wanted to get away, he wanted to get away now. 'Since she won't answer you: Her name is Heather. Do you like dogs?' he asked, trying to start a conversation, win his trust, win a trip to the nearest garage or phone.

'Oh yeah. We got a lot of them at home on the ranch. They're nice companions, don't you think?'

No 'Uhm, yes, men's best friend.' He answered politely.

'If I may be so bold to ask: What is a city boy like yourself doing here?' The old man stood up, moaning a bit as he strained his old muscles.

'I'm actually a bit lost and my car is out of gas.'

The man looked the car over. 'There is a lot more wrong with that thing.'

'What?' Duo turned around 'Shit!' smoke was coming out from under the hood. Oh god what was wrong now! A bit of petrol was no problem but this was more then he could handle. He felt himself getting angry from stress and he started cursing every single dirty, bad, word there was in all the six languages he spoke.

It left the man staring at him in the end. Looking disapprovingly. 'Now I would never want my sons to talk like that!' He said and then walked over to Duo and held out his hand.

Duo was a very bad man when pressured by stress and his anger made the matter worse then it should be, but he contained himself and with a deep intake of breath he shook the man's hand.

'Bob Market.' He said, giving his hand a firm squeeze.

'Duo Maxwell.' He repeated, smiling politely. 'I hope you don't mind me ask but... Do you know where the nearest garage is?'

De man laughed 'You're kidding, right? You won't find one for hundreds of miles around!'

Duo cursed inwardly, he should have known that he was in deeper shit then it looked. 'Do you know where I can make a phone call?'

Bob scratched his head 'I'm sorry boy, but I don't have a telephone at home.'

Duo sighed. What kind of primitive man was he talking to? Not a telephone? Sure he'd have electricity, right? Right? 'Well, can I at least charge the batteries of my cell-phone at your house. I'm stuck and I really want to get out of here.'

The man shrugged 'I guess that's alright, hop on.' He motioned to the tractor.

'But... what... what about my car?'

'Don't worry, no-one will steal it around here.' Bob said, laughing as he climbed on the tractor.

'I'm not concerned about thieves but about cows... with horns... damaging my brand new car.'

'City men...' Bob complained softly.

Duo sighed, he had no other choice but to surrender. This was his only option. He locked the car, praying that he will find it in this vast wilderness once it was out of sight and then begged Heather to jump into the trailer behind the tractor. It took a little... persuasion... for ten minutes straight but she finally jumped in and they could take off.

It was a slow, boring ride, through the lush landscape. Finally they passed a large meadow with high wooden fences around it. Bob told him that that was where they kept the horses when they weren't in the paddock close to the house where his sons and himself trained and brushed them. Or saddling them for a ride. Bob was very enthusiastic while talking about his house and his life. His sons and daughters and his second wife. That was something he hadn't expected. A divorce in such an old fashioned family. But apparently everything was possible.

As he saw the house, he realised just how detailed Bob's description was. It was JUST like he expected. Fitting his mental picture perfectly.

They went through a high wooden fence that surrounded the house, to keep out wild animals Bob explained talking till, and after, they arrived at the large dark brown house. An elderly woman was sitting on the front porch, but she was at least ten years younger then Bob and had Asian traits. She was peacefully reading a book and only looked up when then stepped up onto the porch, before looking up, she closed her book and lay it besides her. The back of the book parallel to the edge of the bench she was sitting on.

On the other side of the porch lay a large dog. His coat was a bit long and brown/black spotted, the colours of the coat giving him a dirty, nasty, look. It looked like an old dog who had done a lot of work. Seeing his master he immediately stood up and walked towards them, not excited, like a young dog would, but cautiously as he didn't trust the strange man and his German Shepherd alongside his master. He let out a low growl and Duo stopped dead in his tracks.

'It is okay Bo, these are guest of mine.' He gave the dog a pet on his head.

Instead of even giving Duo or Heather a sniff, or greeting them, Bo just obediently stood next to Bob, wagging his tail slightly.

The woman looked up, her lively blue eyes sparkled in a dying sea of grey. She smiled and nodded to him but first she looked at Bob 'How did it go?'

'Good, but Sherman still doesn't want to sell me them horses.'

'Did you offered him an honourable amount of money for him? It is a beautiful steed.' She said with a calm voice that seemed to echo in the fresh mountain air.

'Honourable! I was willing to pay twice it's worth!' Bob complained and then turned around to Duo 'This is a city fellow I picked up. His car refused to go any further.' He said, like Duo was riding some stubborn donkey. 'He wants to 'charge the batteries of his cell-phone-'thingie...' He said, like he was talking about aliens landing on his balcony.

'Hello, I am Li Sin Market.' She introduced, but still she didn't stand up. She wanted to, but her husband motioned her not to.

'I am Duo Maxwell.' He said, shaking the hand she held out.

The sound of a horse, protesting against his master called for Duo's attention and he whipped his head around, his braid flipping around, over his shoulder. Not far from them, in a muddy paddock a cowboy, at least he looked like one, rode on a horse that seemed to be quite wild. It pranced and even rolled over, trying to get the, to him, weird creature off of his back. A young boy was riding it, he was dressed like a cowboy Duo had seen in movies, but his hairstyle was quite unusual, his bangs on one side of his face, defying gravity.

'That's our oldest son. Trowa.' Bob said proudly as his eyes twinkled while he watched his son, trying to break the stubborn white/brown horse. Sitting firmly in the saddle with no difficulties, no matter what tricks the horse pulled. It only hurt itself in the progress and noticed that, slowing down, coming to a stop.

Cowboy Trowa finally looked up. His face was emotionless as he stared at Duo, interpreting him. Duo felt like an intruder with Trowa's green eyed stare on him.

'There is a cowboy contest up soon. He'd love to win, he has been training for the last two months.' Li Sin said proudly, then she picked up her book again. Not even worried when the horse started to protest again and could seriously injure her son if he'd fall off.

Duo watched in fascination, never did he believe people really could ride a horse that good. He himself had never been within twenty yards of a horse, let alone ride it. There was no need for Trowa to see him an opponent or an intruder. But he obviously did as he gave him the same look again, while the horse pranced. It was pretty impressive.

'What a beautiful Dog you have mister Maxwell.'

Duo was shook awake by her quiet words. He didn't expected her to speak up as he thought she continued reading. He appeared to be so absorbed into Trowa that he didn't even noticed Bob entering the house, though he now vaguely remembered he slammed the screen door quite hard.

'Uhm, thank you. Her name is Heather. She isn't mine though. She belongs to my girl... to a friend of mine.' He said at the last moment. There wasn't use in telling them Mandy was his girlfriend as she would no longer be when he saw her the next time. He looked down at heather, and she looked up at him, but when her mouth neared his hand he pulled it up quickly, startling the dog that took a step back.

'You shouldn't be afraid of her. She looks harmless.' Li Sin said and stood up for the first time. Bending in front of Heather and scratching her head. 'No, this is no dangerous dog.' She said. Straightening again with a bit difficulty. Strange, because she didn't look older then fifty, though her face was pale and her black hair bordering on grey, she had a young face. 'Do you want a cup of tea?' she suddenly asked.

It took a while for Duo to answer, as he watched Trowa again. The horse had given up.

'You know, there is no need in hurrying to charge the batteries. You can stay here for as long as you want.'

Duo again tore his gaze away from Trowa, who seemed to be able to captivate him over and over again. 'Thank you misses Market. I appreciate your hospitality. Thank you.'

He had a guess that he would 'accidentally' break his cell-phone over the course of the day. He'd like to meet Trowa, and the rest of the family for that matter, a little bit better.

So, what do you think of my tenth story? Worthy to continue?

PS: School starts again so I might have trouble keeping up with my updates. Sorry, but this is going to be the toughest year so far.