(Author's Note- Please let me know if anyone is reading this. I am hoping that this will become a pretty long fic, but I need encouragement! This is a Robert Downey Jr. fanfic, set right after he gets out of rehab and starts working on 'The Singing Detective'. Please let me hear any thoughts and bear with the beginning, it may be a bit slow but it is well worth it…I think!)
"Well, Dart, here we are!" she crowed happily as she saw the city limit sign come into view. Los Angeles. She had finally made it, after 5 long days of driving and sleeping in parking lots and eating fast food. Her 2 year old Siberian Husky, D'Artagnan a.k.a. Dart, looked at her, unimpressed, then laid back down in the seat and went back to sleep. His only concern was their next stop and, hopefully, another fast food hamburger. Well, she wouldn't let his lack of enthusiasm depress her. She was in a new city, ready for a new life. She had just enough money to start over and with a few bags of clothes, some pictures, a laptop, and food for Dart, she headed straight into the city.
She had had enough sense to look ahead and find a hotel that allowed pets and managed to find it with little problem. The teenager yawned heavily, obviously bored, as she handed her the room key and Chris drove to the end of the building. From the looks of it there were very few other people in the hotel, which suited her just fine. The less traffic going by her door at night the better. After letting Dart run around the parking lot for a few minutes, she hauled her few boxes and bags into the hotel and crashed heavily on the hard but welcoming bed. It may have only been 8:00 at night in Los Angeles, but to her is was midnight and she had been on the road for far too long. Within seconds she was fast asleep.
The next morning she woke long before the rest of the city and walked outside to let Dart do his business. The sun was just peeking over the sky scrapers nearby and as she lit a cigarette she breathed deeply…then coughed violently. Okay, the air was a little worse than she was used to- L.A. was far from the Smoky Mountains where she grew up. Still, a little smog never killed anyone (at least, that is what she was going to tell herself). She knew she needed to find a job and an apartment, that inheritance money would only stretch so far, but she decided that her first day in the city would be used for sight-seeing. She would need to know her new home before she could work and live there, right? She waited for Dart to be finished, and then took him back to the room. A hot shower, clean change of slightly wrinkled clothes, and assurance that Dart had food and water available and she was out the door.
Her first stop was the awe-inspiring Grauman's Chinese Theater. She so wanted to take pictures of her stepping in footprints and send them home to her mom, but there were far too many other people there. So, she settled for just looking around some, then moved on. Making her way a few blocks over she viewed the Kodak Theater and then trekked the long journey to the Arc Light Theater. She did manage a couple of pictures of the Hollywood sign, though it looked very small from where she stood. Finally she backtracked and found herself at the El Capitan. It was long past lunch by then and she was tired and hungry. Looking at the theater she saw that one of her favorite movies, 'Casablanca', was playing. Well, it wouldn't be the healthiest lunch, but popcorn and a cold bottled water sounded perfect right then. She walked inside and made a beeline for the refreshment counter, waiting patiently as the guy in front of her ordered some popcorn and a Diet Coke. Finally she got her refreshments and walked into the theater. It was breathtaking! Wooden and gold leaf everywhere, it was beautiful. She fell in love instantly and the view only got better the higher she looked. The high-vaulted ceiling was amazing and she was so consumed with looking at it that she didn't notice the same guy from the refreshment counter was in front of her again and had stopped in the aisle. Popcorn went flying as she slammed into his back.
"Damn…I'm sorry." She muttered, dusting herself off. The guy turned around and she saw, to her horror, that his purple L.A. Lakers shirt was covered in Coke and bits of popcorn. "I'm so sorry, I wasn't paying attention."
"Clearly." He sighed, trying in vain to clean himself. She handed him the two measly, waded up napkins she had thought to grab, but they were of little use.
"I really am sorry. I-"
"Don't…worry about it. It's just been that kind of day for me." He said, obviously exasperated. She frowned, embarrassed and guilty, but the lights started to grow dim. Without another word to her he turned and found a seat a few rows down. Well, crap…her first day in Los Angeles and she had already managed to piss someone off. That just wouldn't do. Her mama had taught her good manners early in life and she knew she had to rectify the situation somehow. Turning on her heel she walked out to the refreshment counter and ordered another popcorn and Diet Coke (she remembered what he had ordered). The kid behind the counter gave her a confused look but handed her the items and she paid, and then walked back inside. The guy wasn't hard to find, there were only a handful of people in there anyway. She marched over to him, plopped the drink down in the cup holder, thrust the popcorn into his hands, then promptly walked away and found a seat a few rows away. There, her karma was restored and she could watch the movie in peace.
Never before had the movie held her attention less. She loved Humphrey Bogart, knew every line he spoke in the film, but the feeling of eyes on her back kept distracting her. She occasionally looked around, but the other few people around her were concentrating on the screen, not her, so she chalked it up to the cool air inside and turned back. A few minutes later, the sensation returned and her hair stood on end. That was definitely not cool air doing that, but again she could find no other reason. She forced herself to stare at the screen for the rest of the movie and as Ingrid Bergman took off on the plane, she sighed heavily and gathered her purse and trash. Pulling out her cellphone to check for messages she once again was not paying attention and once again ran into someone. Looking up with a frustrated grunt she saw the same guy, now with the Coke- stained shirt. The only difference this tie was he was grinning, amused at her clumsiness.
"Good grief, I'm sorry again." She mumbled, turning red, but he just chuckled. It was then she finally looked in his eyes. Chocolate brown, like liquid, and she felt that same hair-raising sensation as before.
"It's okay. I was just going to thank you for the popcorn and drink. You didn't have to do that." He said, still smiling, and she blushed further.
"No problem. I felt bad about, well, covering you before and wanted to make it up to you." She replied. It didn't slip by her just how good looking he was and mentally gave herself a kick.
"Well, you don't see that very often here. I guess is just surprised me is all."
"Well, I'm not from here, so I have manners." She said and he crooked his head at her.
"Where are you from?"
"Tennessee." She replied. "I just moved here." Why the hell was she telling a perfect stranger this? Sure, he was cute, but she didn't know him from Adam…though he looked vaguely familiar.
"Ah, wanting to get into movies, I guess?" he asked and she shook her head.
"Not exactly. I mean, it would be cool if that happened but it isn't exactly my goal." She said and he frowned in confusion. Before the conversation could continue she squeezed by him. "Well, nice talking to you. Goodbye, L.A." He grinned at the name she had given him.
"Goodbye, Tennessee." He replied and watched her leave. As she walked through the door she couldn't shake the sensation of still being watched. Well, maybe she had managed not to make an enemy after all.