Firstly this chapter does contain some bad language - so just a little warning in advance. Secondly, I suspect I will have to upgrade the rating of this story to M, perhaps quite soon, and probably without any further warning. So, if it disappears from the main screen you know where to look.
On another note, as you might have noticed I am now in the process of writing two stories, which is dividing my attentions and pushing me on the limits of my multitasking and imagination. Please be patient if either story goes quiet for a while, I may just have writer's block or I may just need time to think, or get back into the right mode for whichever story. It's getting a little easier, but not greatly.
Also, I am going to aim to alternate between the two stories, but they might only be a day apart, or a few hours apart. If I have updated this one it doesn't mean I haven't updated Scars recently! Saying that, Scars got an update yesterday, and before that on Friday, and things (believe it or not) are really hotting up, so to speak, and I don't want you to miss anything.
But now, another JD chapter for you to enjoy, kinda. Nothing exciting, not yet.
Chapter 4. Road trip.
"See you in a couple of days, sis."
A few hours after hanging up the phone and her case was packed. There wasn't that much to put in it, really, aside from a change of clothes or two. She stood there for a while at the bathroom mirror, assessing the state of her over-bleached, shoulder length hair which was currently tied in its normal way – in two pig tails. Her dark roots were already showing, but she wasn't in the mood to deal with that right now.
Chantelle tossed the home hair-colour kit into her toiletry bag, adding to the usual accessories within. Her toothbrush, battered and with only half its bristles remaining, was the last thing to join it, along with the flattened remains of a tube of toothpaste. Oral hygiene had never really been her thing, much like her father.
Wandering around her dingy room for one last time to ensure she hadn't missed anything, the woman stuffed the toiletries into her small roller-wheel case and zipped it up for the final time. This motel had been her home for the last month or so, a cheap establishment that didn't' exactly cater to high class customers. Most of her neighbours had been one-night only visitors, tired long-distance commuters needing a bed, or other randoms just wanting somewhere private to do their business. Couples, adulterous or otherwise, prostitutes, runaways. One night there had actually been a fairly ordinary family, clearly caught short in need of a place to stop en-route to somewhere much more suitable.
The place was dire, and she was glad to be leaving. Not even the swimming pool had provided any entertainment, for it had been drained months ago to be cleaned and now was filled with old shopping carts, rubbish, and the remnants of numerous illegal activities. It would take a haz-mad team to get this pool back into public service.
She pulled back the thick, smoke-yellowed curtains to peer out the window. Any minute now and her ride would show up, she hoped. Still no sign. In frustration Chantelle threw herself back down on the bed, which she hadn't bothered to make up, and lay on her back with her arms crossed.
If he's late again I swear I will bust him in.
Her rising temper quickly faded at the sound of the car horn outside. Grabbing her bag and yanking open the door, the relieved woman practically dived at the vehicle and barely even looked back long enough to shut the door. The key card was been left on the desk, so she had no need to stay a moment longer.
"Rob, glad you showed. Get me outta here quick before I puke at the sight of this dump."
The man stepping out of his car, a modern-looking sedan with signs of wear. Second hand luxury, it was the best he could afford. The man himself fitted into the same theme – nice looking clothes that were almost certainly from the likes of Goodwill. His lacking finances didn't mean he had to be unkempt (unlike the woman he was collecting). He had dark, short cut hair, was clean shaven, and his soft brown eyes held an allure all their own. At over six feet, and with a lean, muscular body, no one really cared about the hand-me-down goods he possessed. A six pack more than made up for it, apparently.
"Nice to see you too, Chan. What, am I some kind of chauffer?" Rob frowned as his passenger shut the car door without having even asked if he would mind helping with her suitcase. Right, talking to myself again obviously. Why the heck do I bother?
It had been a few years since he last saw this woman, but clearly time had not changed her – at least not for the better. In his youth he had lost track of the amount of times she had asked, begged or demanded his attentions, and for many years he spent his time as her own personal taxi service. She had never bothered to learn how to drive, preferring to twist the arms of willing males to get her where she needed, and rarely even offered money for gas.
It had been that behaviour that had caused them to split. There was only so much a guy could take around someone like her. Manipulative bitch.
Then, out of the blue, she had called him. Of course she had turned on her old charm, the tears, the pleading, childlike voice – you name it, the works.
Rob had agreed this one last time to help her out, if anything just to get her off the phone. If he hadn't he felt sure she would have rung him night and day until he gave in anyway.
"Alright then, Chan" he said, climbing behind the wheel, "Where to? Better not be f****** Texas again, you know I can't stand the heat."
"Eeww, no, not there. Chicago. That's where I want to go."
The man raised an eye brow but didn't question it. From what he had heard the last time this woman had been in that city all hell had broken loose, and she had fled the state with her tail between her legs. Or something. It had been something to do with family, anyway, and he guessed it probably was this time around.
"Fine, but I don't care how much you pout I get to choose the tunes alright? And the rest stops. I ain't going to stop every ten minutes just so you can check your mascara."
Chantelle pulled a tongue, but muttered thanks. "Don't know what i'd do without you, Rob."
"Grow up, i'd hope. This is the last time, I swear to god. I have a life of my own to lead you know."
Rob had grown up in the same neighbourhood as his passenger, and went to the same school. He was in the year above her, and on the hockey team, and from the moment he saw that mousey-haired girl with her pink pom-poms and sports vest, cheering on his team, he knew. She was madly in love with him. Like, a total stalker.
But at fifteen he was flattered by the attention, and she wasn't too bad looking. Slim, big busted, bursting with life and overflowing with a bubbly personality. She was popular enough for him not to be ribbed about her infatuation, and so after a lengthy period of glancing across the dining hall at each other, he finally plucked up the courage to ask her out.
They dated for a while, on and off, her obsessive nature always leading them into fights and tantrums and dramas. After high school they had drifted, him going to college and her... doing whatever, he didn't know – nothing useful that's for sure. Then when he returned home for summer break she had pounced on him, and he was still unattached. And lonely.
And so it went on for a while longer, until this whole thing with her sister and Chicago came about.
Madeline was some eight years younger, and almost a complete opposite to her sibling. In looks, and personality. Quiet, reclusive, bullied at school. She wasn't bad looking either, but very thin and delicate featured, with heavy bags under her eyes that the kid didn't bother covering with make-up.
She probably was just misunderstood, just a pity things weren't different for her.
"How's Madeline?" He asked almost a little too abruptly, as he thought maybe as they had several hours stuck together whilst he drove her cross country he might as well make conversation.
The woman wrinkled her nose a little before answering. "Fine, probably, I didn't ask. I'll know soon enough – i'm going to visit her."
"She's in Chicago? Still?" Rob was confused. The last thing he had heard was she had gone out west somewhere, and no one had seen or heard from her in several years now.
"Yeah, still." The shortness of the answer was indicative of the bitterness Chantelle felt over this fact. If it hadn't been for her sister then she wouldn't have had to leave the city in the first place.
"Right, sore point huh? I don't quite get it, Chan, if you hate her so much why are you bothering to go see her? It's an awful lot of effort just to go have a fight when you could just have it out over the phone."
Chantelle huffed and turned to stare out of the window. Just because she had asked for the man's help didn't mean she had to tell him everything.
"Just leave it, OK? It's private." She mumbled, trying not to sound too ungrateful for the man dropping everything at the last minute to go on a road trip with her.
Rob rolled his eyes and turned up the stereo. He wasn't really that interested by the drama going on in his ex-girlfriends life, but it would have been nice to know what the hell was so damn urgent that she had to be in Chicago by the end of the week.
If it's anything like last time i'll probably find out on CNN.
"Have it your way." Rob muttered, his favourite track coming on air and taking his mind off the dour-faced female in the seat next to him.
They pulled into a motel late that night, still around four or five hours out east of the city limits. Chantelle had accepted, rather begrudgingly, that they would be renting separate rooms for the night, and also that they would be setting out at a reasonable time. Rob knew the woman hated getting up early, but he wanted to drop her off and still be able to make decent headway back home before having to stop again.
Luckily, for both of them, the man was owed some time off from work, having pulled more than his fair share of overtime in recent weeks, so it wasn't a big deal taking the days at short notice. He worked in logistics, and though he hadn't climbed the managerial ranks he was still well-known, well-liked and trusted within the company. His boss had been nagging him for weeks to take a break, and was more than happy for his impromptu road trip to go ahead.
However, Rob didn't want to waste his free time chaperoning needy college drop-outs halfway around the country; he wanted to get back home, to his wife and his two children, and spend some long overdue quality time with his family. The family he had not told Chantelle about.
In the morning, after a quick stop for a luxurious breakfast of coffee and doughnuts (for Chantelle anyway, who thought any and all food was a luxury to be taken full advantage of), they headed west again. The traffic was moving well, and by the early afternoon the man had dropped off his passenger at yet another motel, and drove away quickly before she could change her mind about letting him go.
Thank goodness for that. I don't know what's worse, her whining voice or hours and hours of moody silence.
They hadn't exactly spent their time together reminiscing about the good old days. Probably because they never really happened. Not in his mind, anyway.
The bleach-blonde woman stared at the back of the sedan as it pulled out of the car park. If she hadn't had such important things weighing heavily on her mind she might have been upset to see him go.
She entered her room and set down her case. It was just like all the others, aside from the colour scheme, and she sighed softly taking it all in.
Just a few more days, she thought, and maybe I will finally have a place to call my own.
A place that by rights is mine already.
She opened her purse, its cracked, old leather suggesting it had seen better days, and pulled out a small envelope and then its contents.
Chantelle lay back on her bed and gazed lovingly at the wallet sized picture. Beside her was a folded piece of paper, the delicate handwriting written on it just showing on one corner. It said 'To my dear daughters..."
Note: I recognise that the majority of my readers are from the USA, and I so try my very best to use words and such directed to that audience - but in this case I had forgotten something. I suspect 'toiletry bag' is more commonly referred to as 'wash bag' or something. Hey I try my best, i've watched a lot of American t.v. shows but I am still from the UK. Oh and the Texas reference - no offence to anyone from that region but I went there last year and didn't have much fun with the heat. It was there I discovered a lot more phrases I didn't even realise were a British thing, lol.