For a long time, they only stayed in a place for a few months at most. It was like a photo album of small towns no one had ever heard of, little motels where they would lay their head from time to time before moving on to somewhere else when Jesse got too nervous that someone would start asking questions. But Kaylee did need school. She needed friends. She needed a life.
That was when they found Bismarck.
It was a city, at least officially, but it had a feel that seemed more befitting to a sort of small town. If Jesse drove too far in either direction, he'd find himself surrounded by bison and cows and all kinds of farmland.
Inside, however, it was quiet and safe (and had far less people with "Fargo" accents than Jesse had thought there would be). They fit in better than Jesse had thought they would, too. Two people who had traveled a long time. The neighbors asked Jesse questions from time to time, but it dropped off as, he assumed, they came to their own conclusions.
They said that Jesse Pinkman… or rather, Jesse Gray, must be a widower, a very sad one (and so young, too) raising a little girl on his own with no family in sight. They assumed he was running from too many memories and too much heartache. They wanted to help out as well as they could, and they did.
Kaylee lived out her teenage years in Bismarck. It was home.
Except in some part of her, she must have known that it wasn't. She must have remembered that there had been somewhere else, another place, another city that called to her, beckoned her to come home. She spent a few years at community college, but when she received her acceptance letter from the University of New Mexico, she decided that that was where she had to go.
Jesse was distraught, worried, concerned. There had to be someone back there still looking for him. Then again, it had been twelve years.
But he couldn't let Kaylee go back alone. What if there was something – someone – back there that could harm her? He had to protect her.
So he departed Bismarck, too, transferring stores and finding a manager gig not far from where he had lived before. It seemed to be time for a Homecoming. He just had to hope that no one would recognize him as the scrawny punk who'd gotten in over his head so many years ago.
Brock Cantillo snapped up his head, smiling as he heard his name called and acting as if he hadn't just been interrupted from peeking at his text messages.
"I'm here." His head went on a swivel and he looked around. This was his first semester at the University of New Mexico, and he hadn't quite adapted to the reality of being able to come and go as he pleased, not to mention to encounter a whole flood of new faces. His eyes took in a dark-haired girl who looked a few years older than him, a busty knock-out. He caught his breath and paid more attention. He'd have to catch her name; he looked around intently as a few more names were called.
The girl raised her hand.
"I go by Kaylee."
Brock leaned in, propped his chin up on his fist. He'd have to pay attention now.
A piece of paper hit Brock in the neck, and he turned around, scooped it up, and opened it. He already knew who it was from, and he caught the sender's eye.
Kiira Rodarte-Quayle. She'd obviously had a thing for him, ever since orientation. She was a skinny, waifish girl with sad blue eyes and light-brown hair. Brock gave her a little nod. It wasn't that he thought she was ugly or odd in a bad way, but he only really saw her as a friend.
Brock smiled at her and gave a little wave, before opening the note.
"Today! Concert on campus. You in? Don't want to be sitting there by myself like a loser."
He gave a last quick glance back at the mysterious girl – at Kaylee, that was her name, he'd have to make sure to remember it – before tilting his nose downward and writing back, "What kind of concert? Anything good or…?" He waited until the professor had turned to the board before flicking it back over on to Kiira's desk.
Brock narrowed his gaze. He really needed to stop checking out girls all the time. That was what his mother had told him. She had said, "Brock! Your head needs to not be on a swivel all the time. Swivel it back to your homework."
He was certainly trying. College was already harder than he had anticipated and he had only just arrived here. It was bad enough that he had decided to live on campus, feeling like that was the "full college experience" and anything less just didn't measure up; now he was around so many people he didn't know and in a world he wasn't sure how to navigate. He kind of wished he had just stayed living at home and commuted. At least then he could return home every night to his Xbox and his own bed.
"Okay, that's everything," the professor announced. "I look forward to seeing your assignments on Tuesday." Brock turned his head down and looked at what he'd written. He had written a fair amount… well, at least up until the point in which he had started drawing spirited renditions of the Transformers. He'd have to ask Kiira what the assignment actually was. She somehow had the ability to doze off, draw, write and dream, and somehow still know what the hell was going on in class. Brock figured if he could extract that quality, he would bottle it and make a fortune.
But for now… The girl. Kaylee. He had to find out more about her.
He left the class in a rush towards his dorm, leaving Kiira in her seat, watching after him, her lips turned downward in a saddened expression.