Out of nowhere a neon-orange light began flashing outside of the car! It was practically blinding, and most certainly startling.
"Hey," Gary shot upward, releasing Misty's wrist and bumping his head on the car ceiling. "I think that's a plow truck!"
Misty blinked, momentarily uncertain as to what was going on . . . her face felt hot despite the bitter chill inside the car.
Misty nibbled her lower lip, avoiding Gary's excited eyes. Her close encounter with his lips had been . . . unnerving? Flustering? Maddening? . . .?
. . . Why was she not as thrilled as he was to see that plow truck? Relief should have been flooding her like a typhoon . . . not disappointment.
Misty only sighed with confusion. Whatever the previous moment had promised, it was now wholly forgotten -- replaced by the potential of being rescued.
"I'll check it out," Gary leapt out of the car and bounded through the snow like a wild Stantler! Misty scurried along behind him, trying to keep her feet dry by stepping inside of his larger footprints.
Gary was right: the swirling light WAS coming from a plow truck! Gary waved his arms frantically to get the driver's attention! Luckily, the driver spotted his flailing arms and pulled over. Gary rushed the truck like a crazed band groupie.
The driver stepped out, looking extremely shocked to see two people running around in the heart of the blizzard. He squinted against the snow squalls as Gary and Misty approached him. The driver appeared to be in his late forties and had a big bushy grey beard. Misty smiled at his bewildered expression; the poor man was genuinely worried about them.
"Oh my gosh," the driver shook his head fearfully. "Are you two kids stranded out here?"
"Yeah, I'm so glad you came by. My car crashed," Gary gestured back towards his smashed up convertible. The driver's eyes widened with alarm.
"Neither of you were hurt were you?" the man scanned both Gary and Misty with his eyes.
"No, sir," Misty assured him, smiling wearily. "We're okay, just freezing."
"Can you give us a lift back to the Kanto region?" Gary asked, shivering pathetically.
The man hesitated. "Well, that's way out of my way, but I can take you as far as Cherry Grove City. It's not snowing down there and you can easily catch a taxi back into Kanto."
"Thank you so much, sir," Gary reached forward and shook the driver's hand. "I'm Gary and this is Misty. We are grateful for your help."
The driver then introduced himself as Mr. Dean. "I can't do anything about your car though, son. I'm afraid you'll have to leave it here until the storm clears up."
"That's okay," Gary assured the man. "I'll send a tow truck for it tomorrow." Gary turned to Misty, his azure eyes fused with hers immediately; she could actually feel how concerned he was for her. "Go ahead and get in the truck before you turn into a Popsicle. I'll go get your suitcase out of my car."
Misty nodded, feeling strangely hesitant to leave the intimate warmth of his eyes . . . but she was also eager to get inside a heated automobile. Her chattering teeth finally convinced her to look away from Gary -- she scrambled into the truck and quickly buckled herself into the backseat. Misty assumed that Gary would probably want to ride shotgun, and right now she would give it to him. She was not in the mood for a fight. She was mentally and physically drained.
Mr. Dean took his seat behind the wheel and waited for Gary to return with her luggage. Then the man turned to her thoughtfully: "You and your boyfriend were lucky that I came by when I did, miss. The temperature was going to drop below freezing tonight; you might have both suffered from hypothermia . . . or worse."
Misty shuddered at the man's words, but for reasons unknown to her she did not correct his wrongful assumption about herself and Gary's relationship.
In a few short minutes Gary returned to the truck. He placed her luggage in the seat next to Mr. Dean and then chose to sit in the backseat with her. He did not choose to ride shotgun . . . he could have, but he sat next to her instead . . .?
Misty no longer possessed the mental stamina to wonder why . . . the words tired, weary, and exhausted were far too grave of understatements to describe how she was feeling. She was fatigued to the point where she thought a coma would be a nice vacation. She felt her eyes lulling shut before Mr. Dean had even pulled the truck back onto the roadway.
Misty let her head collapse against the warm seat cushions. Mr. Dean cranked up the trucks heating system; Misty relished the warm puffs of air that blew from the vent overhead. Each puff was like a steaming massage on her face.
She shut her eyes as Gary and Mr. Dean engaged in small talk. Gary's voice was steady and smooth . . . like the beating of a wave against the shore . . . calming, soothing. She liked listening to him. Maybe that was why she taunted him so mercilessly? Because she knew that he would open up his brazen mouth and taunt her back. When he was a kid he seemed to be rudely bragging every time he opened his mouth, but not anymore. He'd matured . . . well . . . for the most part anyway. He still liked to brag and to be rude, but it was in a different way. A challenging way. A flirtatious way. A way that engaged her, enticed her, made her emotions surge with electricity . . . she liked it.
From the front seat Mr. Dean cracked some kind of joke -Misty didn't catch what it was – but she smiled to herself as Gary laughed along. She liked his laugh too. . .
. . . she liked his sweltering blue eyes. They were intense, blazing like sapphire flames; melting her defenses, making her feel vulnerable . . . making her feel incredibly sexy. . .
. . . his smile. That cocky grin, that impish way he smirked at her . . . his lips. His lips had felt hot and soft on her throat . . . they caressed her skin eagerly, expertly . . . what would they have felt like against her own? Should she have stopped him back there from completing his 'dare'? Lord knows she almost did not have the strength to tell him to stop . . . and if Mr. Dean had not driven by when he did . . .
. . . well, Misty doubted that the car would have been cold inside.
Did she do the right thing? Was she losing her mind? She couldn't be thinking clearly right now, could she? And when did Gary Oak get that hot body . . .? . . .
. . . A bump in the road made Misty stir. Stir? Had she fallen asleep? Yes, she must have. The last thing she remembered was thinking about Gary's bod and now . . . the sun was beginning to rise. It had been pitch black out when Mr. Dean had rescued them. Misty was still too sleepy to awaken fully . . . she snuggled her face back into Gary's chest . . . wait? Gary's chest? Yes, her head was indeed resting there. His chest was broad; Misty decided that it made a perfect sized pillow. She peered up at him . . . he was sound asleep.
Gary's thick dark lashes were shut and his face was completely relaxed. Small shadows and lights played across his slumbering features . . .
Misty was struck breathless: he was so handsome.
In this moment Gary was unguarded, at peace . . . and insanely desirable. As he breathed his breath stirred his long bangs. His breathing was steady; his heartbeat was like a soothing lullaby beneath her ear. She didn't want to move from this spot. She hoped they were still a long way from Cherry Grove City.
Misty sighed dreamily as Gary's arms unconsciously wrapped around her, gently pulling her closer. She shut her eyes.
The next thing Misty knew Mr. Dean was tapping her on the shoulder. "Miss?"
Misty groggily opened her eyes. Beneath her Gary was stretching and yawning. She quickly pulled out of his arms, embarrassed for being caught in them. Gary seemed oddly reluctant to let her go; his fingers tenderly grazed her knuckles as he turned toward Mr. Dean.
Misty avoided making eye contact with Gary. She pretended that she was really drowsy when, in reality, his touch had just sent a jolt of static shooting through her system. Even a triple espresso had never awakened her like this before!
"We're in Cherry Grove, kids," Mr. Dean announced merrily. "You two must have been wiped out, you've slept for four straight hours."
Four hours! I've been in Gary's arms for four hours!
Gary took Misty's hand and led her out of the truck – he held her gently as though she were wearing priceless silk gloves. She casually pulled her hands away from him and stretched her arms above her head -- she felt quite stiff after the long truck ride.
Gary was instantly busy trying to stuff a wad of bills in Mr. Dean's hand. Mr. Dean refused the money, claiming that he was headed this way anyhow and no thanks were needed.
Misty also thanked him profusely, she was astonished that people as kind as Mr. Dean still existed in the world . . . people who would go out of their way to help someone in need, people willing to drive others where they needed to go, people who . . . a thought tickled Misty's brain: Gary had originally intended to do the same thing for her. He was not headed for Mahogany Town, nor did he even really know Misty, and yet he had agreed to pick her up and drive her home.
Gary acted selfish, arrogant, and Snorlax-headed on the outside, but inside he truly was very thoughtful. He just didn't want anyone to know it.
Gary and Misty said their farewells to Mr. Dean and then they waved until his truck vanished down the roadway. When he was gone they walked silently toward a set of public benches and plopped down.
Misty now had coverage on her cell phone; she instantly dialed up Lance, the head of the Elite Four's Gym Leader conference, to tell him what happened and to expect that she would be late. It was still very early in the morning so it was realistic that –if she rushed - she could still make the end of the meeting. As she spoke to Lance, Gary was busy on his cell phone calling them a pair taxicabs home. Misty couldn't help but overhear that he had ordered two separate taxicabs.
Misty cocked an
eyebrow when Gary finished his conversation with the taxi service. He
frowned, as though reading her thoughts. "I need to skip my trip
home to Pallet and head straight for Sootopolis City. My taxi is
taking me directly to the airport; yours will take you directly to
Cerulean." Did she detect an air of disappointment in his tone?
"Oh, okay," Misty forced a smile, her eyes occupied themselves by counting the number of cracks in the sidewalk. She couldn't look at him; she couldn't afford to lose herself in those sultry blue eyes again. His eyes made her lose control and that was a bad thing . . . right?
She wasn't sure what she was afraid of exactly, she was totally . . . confused.
Gary returned her expression -- his smile also seemed forced. "Hey, I'm gonna run into that convenient store across the street and pick up some breakfast, do you want anything?"
Misty nodded. "I'm going to wait here. But I'm hungry, bring me something good."
"You're always hungry. I'm starting to think that you're part Snorlax!" Gary yelled as headed across the street.
"I noticed you didn't dare say that to my face, Oak!"
He only stuck his tongue out at her before disappearing into the store.
"He always has to get the last rude thing in!" she fumed to herself. "How . . . annoying . . ."
. . . in a cute sort of way, her thoughts finished.
Misty sighed and continued counting sidewalk cracks. So far she had counted 107.
A few minuets later, Gary returned with two steaming cups of coffee and a pair of raspberry cheese Danishes. Misty snatched a pastry from his hand, "Oak, this is my favorite breakfast! How did you know?"
He beamed proudly, faulting his pearly-whites. "Well, we seem to have more in common than I initially thought. Although, I would never admit that to anyone." Misty took a playful swing at him, but she was much more interested in her food than actually hitting him . . . plus . . . it would be a shame to totally wreck his handsome face.
Gary finished off his coffee in a few mighty swigs. Another silence lingered between them as they inhaled their pastries.
Gary glanced up at her now, something seemed instantly amiss with his expression . . . he looked shy. "You know, Misty, I-"
"Oh!" Misty was REALLY starting to hate automobiles! She jumped with surprise as a pair of taxicabs pulled up along the curb, both curtly honking their horns.
Whatever Gary was going to say had fizzled away into the morning sunshine. She eyed him curiously as he swiftly picked up her luggage and set it on the backseat of her taxi. She wanted to ask him what he was thinking. She wanted to say what was on her mind, but she didn't -- probably for the first time in her life.
Despite her regret, Misty still smiled politely as she climbed into her taxi. Gary stood in the doorway and blinked down at her.
"Well," he cleared his throat casually, "that was a memorable experience."
"Yeah, um, thanks, Oak," she murmured, unsure of what else to say. She settled for: "Take care."
He smiled thoughtfully. "You too."
With that he walked away. Gary got into his own taxicab. His taxicab sped off.
Oh well, he may be mighty good-looking but he is also mighty confusing, Misty decided. She then quickly reminded herself that he was also a no-good womanizer and that she didn't have any more time to waste on the likes of him. His pompous, annoying self was now out of her life for good. Good riddance!
"You wanted a ride to Cerulean City, right Miss?" the taxi driver asked.
"Yes, thank you," Misty answered quietly. Her frown was deepening. Her inner pep-talk about his arrogant ways was failing miserably.
As the taxi began its long drive toward Kanto, Misty couldn't help but feel as though she were leaving something important behind. She felt like there was something that he should have said to Gary Oak, but she didn't know what it was . . . and yet she regretted not saying it with every ounce of feelings inside her! What was wrong? What was the problem? She didn't know, and if she didn't know then it surly wasn't something worth getting upset over. Right. . .?
Ah, hell, Misty, if you can't admit it to him that's one thing, but at least admit it to yourself: you like him. You really, really like him.
Misty's eyes drifted downward. He was irritating. He was arrogant. He was also . . . thoughtful; tender . . . he absolutely fascinated her. But whatever had transpired between them in his stranded car was obviously not meant to be. After all, he had driven away in his taxi without giving her another thought . . . and she should very well do the same . . .
. . . This was going to be a long taxi ride home to Cerulean. Misty determined that she should try and take her mind off of Oak -- she might as well finish reading her book . . . she'd almost been at the end of it when he had so rudely interrupted her in the hotel lobby.
As she rummaged around her suitcase for the book, something caught her attention . . . it was a candy bar . . . a Right Time bar . . .? Where did this come from . . .? Misty smirked as she turned the bar over in her hands; there, on the backside of the wrapper, was penned a little note:
"I had a spare key in my pocket the whole time. If you want to punish me properly give me a call: 677-555-4577. I think that I was in the right place at the right time when Ash called me. Gary.
P.S.- I'd love another round of Truth or Dare."
A dreamy grin tugged upon Misty's lips. She quickly picked up her cell phone and punched in his number.
"Hi, it's Misty-"
"That was fast."
"Yeah, well," she couldn't help but giggle. "I've got a candy bar to share with you when you get back from Sootopolis."
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AUTHORS NOTE: Well, that's the end of my little Egoshippy Fic. Please do take a moment to send a review – even a little one. I've worked really hard on this story and I would really appreciate some feedback. Thank you ALL so much for reading this. THANK YOU! Maia