Author's Note: This was inspired by the title of a song which tune I can't remember, by a band whose name I can't recall (not just pretty words, read the story then it will all make sense... hopefully)
Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans.
You could almost set your watch by her. Consistent as the sunrise and just as stunning. He would wait, every Tuesday for that call, "33 Jump St" and pick her up, just like clockwork. It always came precisely at 5:46pm and he would arrive there at 6:15, just to be consistent in return.
He tried to guess where she was going, but she dressed waveringly. A power suit one week, jeans and a shirt the next, track pants and a sweater the next, an evening dress the next. But she carried herself the same, that same elegance, that same splendour. It took him a straight 3 weeks before he talked to her, asking about minutia, the weather, her day, the traffic. She would smile, reply politely and resume what she was doing. But it was never awkward, they would only speak if either one were compelled.
"Driving taxis was a back up," he said once, "to set me through college. Acting, you know. I just pick it up when there are no auditions to fill my time." There hasn't been an audition in 8 months, he doesn't tell her this. She doesn't need to be told.
Sometimes he would listen to her conversations on the phone. Not creepily, but in a curiosity associated with children.
"I'm sorry Dick," she would say, "I couldn't get that deadline... I know this was- I tried, I did. But they weren't biting. Stupid Marlboro's got to them first, goddamned packet bastards... I can nail this account, trust me. Our pitch'll- yea sure I'll hold..."
She hung up that day, grumbling in frustration. They didn't speak the rest of the ride, her silent sighs filling the circulated air.
"Ok, have you heard the one with-"
He told her jokes, corny and not funny. She would roll her eyes at his attempts at humour and retort with a quick quip, making him burst out in laughter. They annoyed her, she told him so but he never stopped. Every week she could look forward to two things on Tuesdays, that ride and his jokes. Each joke flawed, unfunny and predictable, the punch lines anticlimactic, but people who live near airports tune out the sounds as they sleep and people who live near dumpsters can't smell the rancid food.
He never asked where she went, or what she did there, or why. When something good comes along, you don't question why.
They became friends, growing accustomed to the sight of each other. But he couldn't help but look ahead, each day wondering if it was their last, if whatever she did on Tuesday evenings would end and he would never get that call again. He fought for that ride, often refusing calls if they were too close to 5 or too far to make it back in time. And she in return always called their company, faithfully as an old friend.
One day, she came in tears. His worried glances falling on her from the rear-view. Her own eyes staring out the window, quiet sobs struggling to be kept silent echoing through the back seat. Her face scrunched in such a way the she didn't want people to know she was crying. He didn't ask, she simply caught him watching during a red light and gave him a faint smile.
"Turn here," she said at the next stop. He looked over; she had never given him directions before. Her eyes seemed to plead with him. 'Take the long way,' they said, 'I need a moment'. And he did, driving through the park 'til the sun set. He eyes watching the rolling green around them, the colour calming her thoughts and settling her tears.
"You know I used to hate this colour," she said, a single finger on his window. He didn't speak, didn't say 'don't touch the windows', didn't ask 'what changed your mind about it', and didn't nod to show he was listening. This wasn't about him, so he drove on. She stroked the glass as if she could feel the texture of each blade of grass, the ridges on each leaf.
"It used to annoy me, irritate my eyes in painful stings that you get when you look at something for too long. It was the colour of the walls in my old house, that very green. So youthful, it mocked me."
His driving slowed as the headlights came on with the street lamps around them. The green dulling in the darkness.
"But, I always took advantage of that green. Never thanked it for its company, I just left and led my life. Without the green it needed. But now looking at it, it feels like home."
She stopped to smile and look at him through the rear view. His driving had slowed to an almost stillness. The taxi was no longer moving, it was the park that moved around them. The waves of green of the darkened park moved about, fleeting at the corners of their eyes as they watched each other through the mirror. The roar of the old engine seemed to drown out, the colour absorbing the sound.
"Now it reminds me of what I had known but almost forgotten…" She watched his eyes, looking for something. Or waiting.
"You think you're alone, but you're not," he finished. He didn't know why, it came like a memory. Ephemeral and striking at once like he knew it before. Like he said it before. His eyes, slits in the confines of the glass, squinted as they searched hers.
She snapped out of it and the moment disappeared. The stillness broken by the slow forward jerks of the car, their silence interrupted by the return of the engine. She shook her head and looked down at her watch.
He stops the meter, stops the car and turns to look at her, an arm resting over the passenger seat.
"Let's get out of this car," he says, "walk with me, outside." A single nod as she reaches for the door, he hurries to open her door for her but he's too late and she rolls her eyes at his attempt at gallantry. But she takes his arm anyways and they walk, to some unknown destination with no particular hurry to get there.
She looks up at the trees as they walk beneath a canopy, "I want to see the moon," she says, "Take me to the moon." He nods and they walk towards a clearing, an empty space in a crowded wood. There she sits, feeling the prickly grass poke and prod against her bare thighs, her fingers running through it like she would a man's head. He watches her, his eyes swimming over her figure.
He sits. Beside her, casually as if he had the right.
"I had an awful day," she begins, "first I wake up an hour late because of paperwork I had to finish last night. Then I spill coffee all over the mail. And just when I think its about to get better…"
She trails off, he doesn't press on.
"My day was pretty bad too. No, that's a lie, it was so-so. I haven't gotten a single call from my agent; I'm beginning to think she's forgotten about me. But that only means I drive this taxi longer," he turns to her with a smile, wiping away her old thoughts.
"And now, well now I'm sitting here with you. I think that makes up for everything," he leans back against his palms looking up, "you spoke in the car so I'll fill this in for now."
"You know when I was younger I could never sit still like this? I would always have to be moving, doing something. I spent a lot of energy getting into trouble, pulling pranks and pissing people off," he laughs at the image of a younger self, "I never wanted to grow up. Like Peter Pan, you know? I wanted to be a kid forever."
She slowly lets her arms fall, the pillars holding up her body collapse as she listens to his voice. Her legs stretch out; arms curl around her head like pillows. Turning to him she rests a hand on his, gently tracing the lines of wrinkles on his fingers. It gets quiet, quieter than a silent room, not a sound penetrating it. The stray blades of grass peeking through the faults in her position tickling her neck, her legs. He looks up at the sky, speaking to some sleeping god.
"My friends did, they were more mature than I. They couldn't wait to grow up, to become adults. But I never saw the point, I could do everything adults did, and some things they can't. So I got angry."
Sprinklings of stars littered the sky, faint and dying; each telling forgotten stories.
"And only one thing could calm me." 'Her voice,' he thinks. Whose, he can't remember, but that much he did, "One thing that compelled me to grow up."
He turns to look at her then stretches out beside her.
"I can't remember much of my childhood," she recalls. Her head tucking close to his, their hands still together, one casually lays over the other as if it were a stone or a ball.
"Neither can I."
"It's funny, I almost remember then it goes away. Like some dream I can't recall."
"You want to go back to sleep, but you can't."
"And when you do, it's a different dream"
They speak as one, each almost smiling now. Rest settling on both of them.
"I've wanted to take you out for so long," he says smiling, "but I could never ask. I could dream up scenarios in my head but I could never make them real. I always felt so stupid, not good enough. You were so mysterious, I could never guess. I could never ask."
"You aren't stupid," she smirks, "Well, you aren't very stupid."
They laugh, and for a moment, a brief crack in time and the stars recall their stories. They tell them with vigour and excitement, as if knowing they were about to lose them again. A look in the eye of time and memory, a blink and they're gone. The moment passed, the stories lost again.
"O God, I've missed it," she scoffed, "I seem to have lost track of time, I'm sorry I've been wasting yours."
He stopped the meter, stopped the car, and turned to look at her, an arm resting over the passenger seat.
"I won't charge you; it's been a long day. I'll take you home now, if you wish."
She faintly smiled at the image in the mirror, a piece of the whole but not its entirety. She seemed to have remembered something for a second but forgotten it, shaking her head and smiling.
"Yes, that would be nice. Thank you."
They were friends, here in this car. Inside the metal confines of the taxi, remembering as if there were memories to be had. But outside of it were alternate realities, alternate futures and alternate endings. Time passed as he drove back to her house, a familiarity in the turns and stops. Regularity drove him to remember, repetition kept it fresh in his mind. They would remember as long as they had todays, but tomorrows were unknown. Tuesday was all that existed, and all the difference in between.
They reached her house, a smile, farewell and a fare paid.
"I'll see you next Tuesday."
A/N: This is where I say what kind of crack I was smoking when I wrote this, right? This was reminiscent of In Paris that I wrote long ago in terms of style and content. Much deeper, more dramatic. I have a long winded explanation coming so if you would bear with me.
People have often asked for me to continue the oneshots but I (usually) wont because I like to leave it to you. The section in italics is meant to be there, it can be considered an alternate ending. So this is me replying to people ahead of time who will ask me to continue it.
At the same time, it also can be read as tying into the story. The meaning can be read two ways, its a love story or it's a story about time. The love story should only exists where there are no italics, the other story, the one about fleeting moments and distant memories, includes them. I wont tell you what I think as a writer about what it means, or what I mean it to mean. You can tell me that yourself.