Author's Note: I just watched The Blues Brothers for the first time in my life. I know, ridiculous. What's wrong with me? But I fell in love with Elwood Blues, and I needed to write something just for him. So, here it goes. I own nothing, except for Victoria.
Chapter One: When I First Saw You
It was 10 p.m. in Chicago. In this city, even such a light rain as was falling tonight felt piercing, tossed about by the strong winds. Elwood Blues was on his way home from work when he saw her for the first time, the young woman in a blue dress, holding a sweater above her head to shield herself from the rain. She was hunched over the front of a red, 1960's Toyota Stout. The hood was up, and she was peering inside with a look of desperation. He was tired, and wanted nothing more than to get back to his small room in the men's hotel, make some toast, and try to get some sleep. But she just seemed so helpless, he couldn't help but to pull over to the side of the road and shut down his car. He stepped out of the retired police car, flipped up his collar to keep away the rain, and headed toward her along the empty street. "Excuse me, miss?"
She whirled around, reaching up into the pocket of the sweater above her head, and pulling out a small handgun. "I know how to use this," she threatened, holding out the pistol in a way that assured him she wasn't bullshitting. He placed his hands in front of himself in a sign of surrender.
"Easy there," he assured. "I'm not gonna hurt you. I just wanted to see if you need any help."
"Oh." She turned her steady gaze away from him to the truck behind her, and then quickly back to him. "Are you good with cars?"
He gave her a slow, easy grin. "Yes, ma'am." She slowly lowered the gun to her side and took two steps to the side, allowing him to approach the truck.
"I would really appreciate your help," she told him, with a tone that betrayed the confidence she had just showed. "To be honest, I have no clue what I'm doing. It just died on me all of a sudden."
"Let me take a look," he told her, stepping forward and resting his hands on the edge of the truck. He could tell that it had been well-maintained over the years. All of the parts were in surprisingly good condition for the age of the vehicle. Even so, he knew he was going to have to get his hands dirty. She was still standing beside him, watching him with her steady gaze. He stepped back and began to remove his jacket and roll up his sleeves underneath. He held out his jacket to her. "Here. Stay warm."
She looked up at him, surprised. She quickly shrugged into the sweater that was still above her head, replacing it with his jacket. He was relieved to see her place the pistol back into her pocket. "Thank you," she said softly, and hesitated. "I'm sorry I pointed a gun at you."
He chuckled. "'S Okay," he answered, reaching his hands into the inner workings of the pickup. "You were just being careful. It's a dangerous neighborhood."
"Are you from around here?" she asked eagerly. He glanced at her, and she seemed to shrink back into herself, embarrassed by her forwardness. She seemed about to apologize, so he cut her off.
"Yeah. I've lived in Chicago my whole life. I've got a place over on Van Buren now."
"Van Buren? There's a great little diner on Van Buren, the Dill Pickle? They have the best oatmeal."
He grinned widely at her. "Yeah! And they have great white toast."
"You know, if you ask them to, they'll make you a sandwich by putting the—"
"—the oatmeal on the toast!" he finished for her.
"Yeah!" She laughed, looking up at him in surprise. He returned the look with a wide grin, noticing for the first time how beautiful she was. He watched a blush creep up into her cheeks, and she lowered her gaze and turned her green eyes away from him, looking back at the truck. He was surprised by the strength of his desire to get her to look at him again. "I've never known anyone else who liked oatmeal sandwiches," she said softly, shyly, glancing up at him from under his jacket. His grin widened—she was looking at him again.
"I love oatmeal sandwiches," he told her just as softly. They stood, grinning at each other for the longest time. And then suddenly, she drew back into herself, tearing her eyes away from him and looking down at the ground, though the color on her cheeks had darkened. He turned back to the task at hand, noticing a cable that must have shaken loose. He put it back in its proper place and tightened it, pulling his hands free. "I think that should do it. Why don't you give it a try?" She left her spot at his side, hurrying around to the driver's side and climbing into the cab. When the engine roared to life, he closed the hood with a satisfied grin and walked around to her open door, where she sat looking at him with her mouth hanging open.
"How did you do that?" she asked, completely astonished. He laughed in response.
"It was no big deal. Your battery had shaken loose, I just tightened it up again."
Her mouth was still open. "That's amazing! Thank you so much! How much do I owe you?"
He was taken aback by her question. Charging her money hadn't even crossed his mind. Sure, he could always use a little extra cash, and she had offered. He was sure Jake would have taken her up on it. But he could think of several things he'd like more than money from the small, shy girl he had stumbled across tonight. "I don't want any money from you. But I would like to know your name. I'm Elwood," he offered, holding out his hand. The shock was gone, but the blush was back. He liked it when she blushed.
"Victoria," she told him, shaking his hand. Her hand was a little damp from the rain, and shaking a bit from the cold; but it was soft and small, and he thought that it fit perfectly in his.
"I'd really like to see you again sometime, Victoria." He meant it. He'd like to see her every day for the rest of his life, if he could.
"I'd really like that too, Elwood," she whispered, just loud enough for him to hear. She looked down at her hands which were now folded in her lap. "Unfortunately, I'm headed out of town for a while," she said, gesturing at the suitcase in the passenger seat, which he noticed for the first time.
"Oh?" he asked, more than a little disappointed.
"My friend from college is getting married. In Kentucky. I won't be back until late next Wednesday."
"Oh?" It was all he could think to say to her.
"But maybe… Maybe, next Thursday, if you aren't doing anything, maybe we could meet for lunch? At the Dill Pickle, we could get oatmeal sandwiches?" she suggested eagerly, looking up at him for approval. He grinned for what felt like the thousandth time since meeting her, resting his elbow on the door of the car and resting his chin in his hand.
"That would be delightful," he answered. "I could meet you there at 12?"
"Okay," she replied, reaching up to push a damp curl of her dark brown hair out of her eyes. She paused for a moment, a quick expression of confusion crossing her brow, and then realization hit her. She still had his jacket! She reached up and pulled it off of her head, forcing it into his hands. "I am so sorry! Look at me, letting you freeze to death in the rain!" He laughed and accepted the jacket, shrugging into it quickly and flipping up the collar again. "Thank you again, Elwood. I'm…I'm very glad you stopped to help me."
"I am, too." He was completely surprised when she leaned out of the car and placed a soft kiss on his cheek.
"I'll see you next Thursday," she whispered. He nodded his head in reply and, grinning, walked back to the police car. He turned and waved to her as she drove by, and she waved back with a smile on her face.
Elwood was still grinning as he drove home, parked his car, and walked along the block to the men's hotel. He was still grinning as he climbed the stairs, gave the old man playing solitaire a can of Cheez Whiz, and got his mail from Lloyd at the desk. He grinned as he climbed the stairs to his room, grinned as he fell back on his bed and opened the letter from Jake, grinned as he read through the letter. And then suddenly, the grin fell from his face. He read through it again, making sure to carefully read the date of his early release, the date that Elwood would have to go and pick up his brother from Joliet.
Thursday, the 17th.