A/N: My streak of obscure fanfiction seems to be lasting. Yesterday I watched Guys and Dolls for the second time and was once again somewhat fascinated by Sky and Sarah. So here they are, direct from my brain to your computer screen.
Shills and Decoys
After all that— after all of Cuba— the trip in the car to the airport turns out to be the fun part. Sister Sarah— he's given up calling her that to her face, but his mind still rings with it— clings to him across the slick upholstery of the breaking-down taxi, unsteady rattling and clunking beneath them, bits of tarmac and pavement in the deeps of a deep warm southern night.
Sister Sarah says, "It's going to be late when we get back." A tone of voice that suggests it will be alright, this lateness; and it might be alright should they fail to return at all. This is the Bacardi speaking.
Masterson keeps still, doesn't move any more than he absolutely needs to. "So late, it will be early." If he talks any louder, if he leans forward just a little, her lips will touch his again; again, sliding back there in the loud clunky back seat, just the two of them in Cuba, leaving Cuba, chasing their tails all the way to the airport.
Sister Sarah dips her head, her hair brushing his chin, and examines the loose buttons on her jacket— not quite a uniform, or at least not quite as much of a uniform as her other uniform, but uniform nonetheless. She wore it on the ride here like a badge of purity, the closely buttoned jacket and the carefully folded hands. Her nails are cut trim. Her hair just so. Now she's loose and getting looser, and her head is tilting up again so she can grin at him, gleaming in the light from the smudged windows.
"Sky," she says, "Sky Masterson." As though it is a joke. And it is, maybe. A pun. A flub. A riddle. A label. Of sorts.
"Sister Sarah," he says, "it is no laughing matter." She giggles anyway, and gives a slight hiccup. The Bacardi must still be racing around her insides playing catch up. Well, and she has a lot of catching up to do. For the first time he feels a different sort of warmth towards her, not so much of the here and now— a bit, instead, of contentment. A piece of the pie. In his stomach, no longer on the plate.
"I'm glad you're honest, Sky," she tells him. "If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is a dishonest man."
He tilts his head, slightly, towards the window so the light will fall on her face. He's beginning to love that face, not all at once, just maybe the part that has her left eyebrow in it, and her lower lip. He's beginning to love it like a tide coming in, with a feeling like standing on a skyscraper and looking down.
"I'll lay you even money not everyone would say I am an honest man."
"Well," says Sister Sarah, making allowances, "it's true that you're a gambler— but you're honest about being a gambler, aren't you? Why, you told me right from the beginning, I never had any doubts."
"Never had any doubts about what?"
"Why you were here."
"I see." He's quiet a moment. "And why am I here?"
Her smile is a flash of light in the dark car. "To win a bet."
"I see," Masterson says again, and as he's conveniently distracted with speaking Sister Sarah leans in; and she kisses on him sweetly, and hangs on his neck, and in the back of the car they are sliding from side to side and jolting so violently he nearly hits his hat on the ceiling but she does not want to let him go. The ceiling has left a dent in his hat and he puts her away from him after a moment and draws it off. Directs his gaze into the felt depths as though it is a wishing well and will tell him what he wants to know. Sister Sarah goes back to playing with her buttons. Masterson pulls on the felt, mashes the dented hat in his hands. It will go back into shape.
He puts the hat on her head and it does go back into shape, and she smiles at him from under the brim and he will allow himself one more lean forward, in the car driving to the airport so they can go home at last and leave Havana behind, with its music and its hot night and its mission bells and her easy weight on his lap and his arms around her. The sickly vertiginous feeling has not lessened but has adapted somewhat to where he can breathe a little easier. And because he can breathe he can kiss her again. One more time.
He has won the bet and that is not all he has won. Masterson could fly them home on his own, airplane or no airplane, he thinks. But he doesn't say that. The night is still warm and it is so late it is early and they still have hours ahead of them of darkness and slick seats.
Sister Sarah takes the window seat, and waves goodbye to the ground beneath them as they climb.