Driving back from Fort Benning, BeachHead and CoverGirl share a deuce-and-a-half cargo truck. CoverGirl isn't very pleased to be on crutches after a nasty fall off a loading dock at Benning, thus she can't drive. They've delivered the important cargo and now they have miscellaneous odds and ends in the truck to take back to the Pit.
For information purposes, Fort Benning is in Georgia.. and I'm using a Arizona location for the Pit. So this is a 20-30 hour drive, and as such with only one driver to begin with, there will be a stop-over. The Army deuce trucks are big loud rumbley cargo things, with a frame back and a canvas covering over the frame, you've probably seen them on MASH and other Army-type movies. I want to own one so badly.. as soon as finances are available, I'm liable to buy myself one, just because I can't buy myself an actual tank.
I own no rights to the GI Joe franchise, nor do I make any funds from my writings.
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CoverGirl sighed... again. She was looking out of the passenger window on the cargo truck, chin propped in her hand, elbow propped on the edge of the window, and one really shapely leg with it's bandaged foot propped up on the beat up dashboard, despite BeachHead's repeated fussing about it.
BeachHead leaned back and tried to stretch his back a little, driving the deuce on an unending highway, he wasn't tired as much as stiff and bored. They had a long ways to go yet. It wouldn't be more than just a long boring drive to him, except he had the passenger sitting there sighing and doing her best to irk him at every opportunity. So far he'd turned down playing "I Spy" about fifty times, and declined to participate in the gossip she'd tried to chatter at him.
"I'm sorry I can't spell you, Beach. I'd drive.. you know I would.."
He looked over at her, his solemn brown eyes gazing at her placidly. "I know. It's fine. Not like ya meant to sprain yer ankle. Maybe it'll be better tomorrow mornin' and then ya can drive some." They'd already HAD this conversation eight times today. But considering some of the conversations they'd had, and ended with yelling, he'd rehash this one instead of cutting it off and letting her start up again about why he couldn't see spending time off-base singing in a bar full of drunks as 'fun'. Karaoke made NO sense to him. CoverGirl thought it was something he should do, seeing as she'd overheard him singing a Johnny Cash song to himself the day before.
"Well.. it's just not fair that you're doing all the driving."
"Okay. Are you hungry?" She turned a tentative smile on him and he immediately went on guard. That smile did NOT mean she was shyly thinking of something that she'd like but wasn't sure was allowable. THAT smile meant, 'I'm about to wrap you around my little finger and get you to do something terrible you will regret later on'. BeachHead had been the recipient of more than one of her ill-conceived schemes.
He looked at the highway stretching along in front of him. "Not really." He waited.. she would push whatever she'd thought up.
"I was just thinking.."
"Knew I smelled something burnin'..."
"Shut up. I was thinking that it's close to lunch.. and we're getting near the turn off if we wanted to head to Biloxi..." Her casual tone didn't fool him in the least.. she'd started twisting a bit of hair in her fingers.. and THAT was his 'tell' on her scheming. He'd NEVER let on that she had a few 'tells' that gave him the slightest bit of advantage in keeping up with her.
"No, we're not stopping in a casino."
"But.. they have cheap good buffet food.." She blinked outrageously beautiful eyes at him, luckily he was immune to that particular tactic. He'd fallen for that once too often a long time ago with someone else.. it had bitten him rather badly in the back too. Again, he wouldn't let on to her that he wouldn't ever fall for 'big eyes' treatments. Okay.. little June didn't count at all.. she was five years old and skewed the grade curve on manipulating adults. But he certainly wouldn't reveal CoverGirl's few 'tells' that let him know she was up to something. He needed every advantage he could keep.
"No. No casinos. No Biloxi. It's only ten in the mornin'."
"Beach.. didn't we cross a timezone? It's technically eleven in the morning.. and it's been FORever since breakfast. I'm starving." She put her foot down off the dashboard, sitting more upright and shifting herself around to face him better.
He tilted his head to check his side mirrors. There didn't seem to be any possible hostiles around, but he was always on alert that there could be. They didn't seem to have any tails, no suspicious vehicles. Not that they should.. the cargo wasn't exactly top-secret or super dangerous. Most of it was harmless ammo, parts and two cases of dive gear for the GI Joe SEALs. Torpedo had been fussing over replacement bits and things for his dive gear. BeachHead had made certain the cases were put on the truck this time, just to shut the SEAL up finally.
"BeachHead.. please? Let's stop and eat." Her voice wasn't whiny.. never whiny.. unless she was sick for real. Then she was unbearably whiny, as he had the misfortune to find out. She had gone to pleading though.. which told him that she really meant it.
"Are ya SERIOUSLY that hungry? We haven't crossed any timezones yet, and when we DO cross 'em, it works the other way.. it won't be later.. it'll be earlier. Come on.. it's only been a few hours." He gazed at her for a few seconds before turning his attention back to the road and the stupid SUV which kept inching over the white line into the edge of his lane. He eased the big truck over towards the edge of the road, just in case the smaller vehicle drifted too far. "How about.. we stop in an hour?"
CoverGirl thought that over. "Just an hour? Not an hour and a half because we just stopped for gas.. or two hours because we're really close to a better stop over..?"
He sighed, caught out in his plan. "One hour."
"Okay.. starting from right now?"
"Yeah yeah. Starting now." He agreed, fairly happy to have gotten an hour out of her.
They drove on in silence for exactly eight minutes. She turned to look at him while he drove. He kept his eyes forward. "So where are we going to stop for the night?"
"I dunno. A motel. Duke gave me a voucher.. or said he'd reimburse if they won't take the voucher." He shifted back in the seat. "Watch fer signs fer West twenty.."
She pursed her lips and got out the map and he clamped his mouth shut. She hummed softly and pointed at the map. "We should take.."
"We're takin' West Twenty." He glared at the SUV driver who suddenly decided to move ahead of him and get into the far lane. "Our itinerary is SET. No findin' some better route. I called it in, Duke signed off on it, and if we disappear, they know which roads to search on."
She sighed. "Why do you ALWAYS have to go by the book?"
"Because that's the regulations. Ya know.. yer IN the same Army I am." He shut up suddenly. She just wanted to argue with him because she was bored.
"I know I'm in the Army! Just because I'm 'just a corporal' doesn't mean I'm an idiot!" She sat back and crossed her arms, confirming that she was spoiling for a fight.
He sat there for a few seconds and then suddenly decided that if she wanted a fight, he was going to give it to her. "I didn't CALL ya an idiot! But if ya don't want folks thinking yer stupid, stop saying stupid stuff!" He saw her eyes flash darker and felt a slight bit of regret at falling for her needling.
"Stupid? Because I want to stop and eat a meal? Wait.. I know!! I KNOW!! We'll just dig out some MRE's and eat on the road without stopping!! We won't stop for gas either, when the truck runs out, I'll get out and PUSH it! That'd be great, wouldn't it? You'd love that.. no stopping at all!" She slung herself back in the seat and huffed angrily, staring out the window.
He waited for her breathing to slow. "Are ya done now?"
"Done!? Done with what?!"
"Done with pickin' fights with me fer a while. This's the second one this mornin' already. I'm tryin' ta get the timin' down so I know when one's comin' up." He very carefully kept his expression neutral. "I know yer bored.. I know yer mad cause ya hurt yer ankle and ya can't drive the truck. But I'd appreciate it if ya would stop takin' it all out on me. I don't wanna be a total prick the whole drive back.. but I will if'n I gotta."
She stared at him, knowing that he was getting perturbed because his accent was getting thicker with every word. She thumped her back against the seat twice. "Fine."
She glared at him. "Fine Sergeant Major BeachHead SIR!"
He glared back at her. "So.. no, yer gonna still pick a fight now?"
"It's not tha' Ah mind tha' much. Yer awfully spunky lookin' when ya get all wound up." His casual tone made it sound like he was totally calm and cool. His accent dropping all the 't's and mangling the vowels told her he was losing it.
"Fine, Beach.. you win. No unplanned stopovers off the route." She looked at him. "Happy now?"
"Blissfully happy. Never been happier." He took a deeper breath.
"Can I pick where we eat?"
He thought that over a little bit. "As long as it's not a bar.. or looks like somewhere I'll get arrested.. yes. You can pick the lunch stop. Happy?"
She smirked at him. "Blissfully happy."
"I thought so. There's a sign for Twenty.. was it west? Did it say west?" She looked behind them, then grabbed the map up to peer at it. "Yeah.. that HAD to say West. Five miles." Folding up the map she tucked it into the box in the foot of the truck and watched for more signs. "Why is there another lane suddenly? That should have been a exit lane.. now it's a lane-lane. You should be in the right hand lane.. you're going to miss the exit!"
He checked the mirrors again. "I can't get over until that car moves.." He tried to slow a bit. "It's in my blind spot.. is it still there?"
She grinned at him. "If I said no, and you ran it off the road.. who's fault would it be on the report?"
He frowned. "On the police report, my fault. On the report to Duke, your fault. On the report I'll kick into your behind fer lying to me.. your fault." He waited. "Is it still there? Lean back outa my view!" Instead she leaned further forward. "CoverGirl.. come on.. lean back."
She sat back finally. "It's clear." He looked anyway and flicked the turn signal on before he eased over into the lane carefully. "Beach.. you drive like a grandma."
"Who has over fifty tickets on their record? Would that be me.... or you?" She snorted. "I thought so.. shut up about mah drivin'. Wait.. did that sign just say East? Did you just put me into the East exit lane?" He growled under his breath. "Look!! That sign says East.. dang it Barbiedoll!! Can't you read a map?" He turned on the signal again to ease back into the middle lane. "Where's the West exit lane? Is it further on?"
"I don't know!! I never drove from Fort Benning! The sign before said West.. I know it said West. The exit is probably just another one up." She suddenly pointed. "See!! See!! It says West!" She suddenly shut up.
He growled. "It also says LEFT lane!" Leaving the signal on, he began to work his way over across two lanes of traffic. "Move move.. I gotta get over.." He leaned and watched the car sitting to his left and grumbled. "How far until the exit? Why won't this moron MOVE!?" He slowed down slightly but the car still was in his way. "MOVE!!! Stupid.. I hate civie drivers!" Beach stepped on the gas and pulled ahead slightly. "Awww come on!! COME ON!!! REALLY!?" The small car began to speed up and he growled.
CoverGirl spotted a sign. "Beach... two miles.. you better get over now.."
He snarled. "I'm tryin'! Get outa mah way, ya stupid pogue! Danged civie drivers don't know ta get outa the way.. MOVE!" He suddenly slammed the gas pedal and pulled ahead, the big deuce truck's engine roaring. Pulling over ahead of the annoying car, he moved into the exit lane just as the exit came up.
"Alright... finally. What a danged trial." He settled into the seat and puffed out a breath. CoverGirl heaved a sigh. "What? What now?"
"Nothing. I just sighed." She looked around and dug out a notepad. "Where's the pencil?" Beach reached up and pulled it off the visor. "Thank you Beach." She began to scribble on the notepad.
Several minutes later, BeachHead looked over but couldn't see the writing. She had her head bent over the pad, writing continuously. Since she was being quiet, he wanted to ignore her. He sniffed slightly and checked his mirrors again, looking at the cars within view and mentally comparing them to the ones that had been nearby before they had merged onto this interstate. Nothing triggered any alarms in his head and he settled back in the seat and began to ignore CoverGirl's writing again.
After half an hour, he let out an exasperated breath and gave in. "What are ya writin?"
"Nothing." Her pencil never stopped writing.
"That's a lotta scribbling fer nothin'." She smiled and he sucked back a sigh that would have told her he'd fallen for the bait. "Good ta know ya can pass time quietly."
"Uhhh hmmm.." The noncommittal noise made him crazy. She flipped another page and continued to write.
"Alright.. alright.. what are ya writin'?" He watched her smile. "I admit it.. I'm curious, it's drivin' me nuts.. so tell me."
"If you MUST know.. I'm writing a letter to a friend." She scribbled again, waiting as he relaxed back into driving, having lost interest. "I'm telling her all about the loud smelly Ranger that I have to ride back to base with." She enjoyed the stiffening in his neck.
"That's real nice, Cinderella. Real nice." He refused to say more, which did disappoint her a little. She went back to writing her letter. He went back to driving and brooding about the surrounding traffic.