Author's Note: A huge thank you to Intrigued Writer for proof reading this for me! And you should all review because I've just come home from a seven hour tattoo session and I'm feeling sorry for myself with my mangled, swollen arm. Enjoy :)
Kathryn Philips had slept fitfully, waking up on numerous occasions throughout the night a wave of concern crashing over her whilst beside her, Trevor had slept soundly, breathing heavily his body pressed against her own, muscular and lithe, reassuring, the rock to which she could so easily depend upon, mentally holding on to him in a manner largely similar to that of a drowning man clinging desperately to a lone piece of wreckage at sea. In the weeks since moving in with him she has come to love the night; it is a time when he shows her an ounce of affection, when neither one of them is pushed to their very limits rapidly approaching breaking point in a bid to return to what had once been, although, with time it has become easier, and often she lies awake long after he has fallen asleep enjoying the feeling of his strong arms around her as he, unaware, holds her in his sleep.
A part of her, a small irrational part, had hoped that they would perhaps settle down that she could finally call an end to her frequent moving around the state never spending longer than absolutely necessary in one place, and it had come as a shock when, returning from the store with Wade, a curious but pleasant man who is highly strung and child-like, they had abruptly left their makeshift home on Vespucci Beach for Sandy Shores via the Vanilla Unicorn off Strawberry; two weeks later she is yet to hear from either Wade or his cousin Floyd a quiet man whom Kathy rather enjoyed spending time with and whom, in Trevor's opinion, Kathy liked because he did not talk back.
Much like the rest of rural San Andreas, Sandy Shores is a quiet desert town with beautiful weather and incredibly scenery bordered by magnificent mountain ranges, sprawling forests and calm lakes, but there is nothing at all idealistic about this town; rundown with masses of burnt out and derelict buildings the town is spared little thought by the bustling metropolis to the south and is run primarily by a dwindling motorcycle gang and ruthless arms and drug dealers causing the crime rate to skyrocket, far surpassing that of Los Santos in terms of population. In typical small town America fashion the town boasts a handful of bars, a predictably well-frequented ammunition store and a tattoo parlour. She rather enjoys living in the town, revelling in the level of respect, and in some cases disdain, she receives when she informs the locals that she is Mrs Trevor Philips, her husband a seemingly ominous presence within the small community.
After nine years it came as somewhat of a surprise to return to living in a trailer, and it certainly stirs up memories and this is further exacerbated by their way of life in Blaine County. She vividly recalls the beginning of their marriage when, both unemployed, they had been unable to afford the electrical bills forcing them to light a dozen candles at night in order to see and wearing the same clothes for a week or often more to avoid using the washing machine any more than was necessary, but at the time they were deliriously happy; they were happy sitting on the rooftop at night throwing rocks at passing vehicle, they were happy sneaking into neighbouring trailers while the occupants slept to steal beer or, when their neighbours became wise to their behaviour, siphoning petrol from their trucks to inhale in order to get a buzz. As much a shock to the system as it was to resume her former, and almost forgotten, way of life she is happy and perhaps Trevor, too, is reliving those long buried memories as she has noticed a distinct change in his attitude.
She stands before the mirror, cracked and hanging crookedly on the bathroom wall above the sink that is thick with grime and coated in spilled make-up and wiry dark facial hair, running a brush through her hair, auburn of colour, sleek and straight to her shoulders with a short fringe that does little by way of aiding her appearance, drawing more attention than is necessary to her crooked nose, shortening her long face considerably and rounding off her sharp jaw line. She observes herself, the image in the mirror rather distorted, and sighs loudly, when Trevor had come to her declaring that he required her help in another of his ridiculous schemes she had been quick to imagine something glamorous, but she was not at all close. Trevor simply needs her because she is female and women are, in his opinion, much easier to trust.
She steps out of the bathroom, tugging on her dress that now stained and loose-fitting from almost two weeks of constant wear hangs awkwardly on her narrow frame and she nods at her husband indicating that she is now ready to go. Sprawled on the couch, a cheap beer in hand he gestures to a large paper bag on the dining table propped up against a crate of beer that, bought the previous evening, is now almost empty.
"Put it on," he orders and she does as he says, unzipping her dress and letting it fall to the floor that is littered with empty beer bottles, cigarette ends and damp pages of newspaper presumably used at some point to mop up various spillages. Trevor watches her intently and she looks at him from the corner of her eye seeing his dark eyes tracing her figure taking in her long legs, her flat stomach and her pert breasts as she empties the contents of the bag onto the table.
She dresses quickly feeling the tension in the room rising and turns to face him as she is tucking her shirt into the waistband of her pants. Her outfit is simple, a pale blue long-sleeved blouse, navy pants and a navy windbreaker with NBTS in bold yellow lettering across the back; her shoes are flat devoid of the heel that she has become so accustomed to, and the wig, finally in position after almost an hour spent adjusting it, makes her head itch dreadfully. She has dyed her eyebrows for the job, darkening them to a light brown, and her make-up, applied with striking precision alters her facial features drastically. Her eyes appear narrower, her cheekbones, high and sharp enough to cut through paper to the untrained eye look much lower and well-rounded and she has spent a considerable time applying her make-up in order for her cheeks to appear full rather than sunken, the product of years of eating poorly. She wears a pair of narrow, wire-rimmed glasses with non-prescription lenses and for all intents and purposes she looks an entirely different person.
Likewise, Trevor is dressed in a similar manner, black aviator sunglasses, black pants and a windbreaker with a loose-fitting charcoal shirt that is unbuttoned at the throat to reveal his tattoo and she steps forward taking a hold of the end of his shirt and pushing it into his pants with the care of a mother. She feels him stir beneath her hands and immediately she recoils instead beginning to focus on buttoning his shirt fully ignoring his loud protests.
"What kind of agent has a neck tattoo, Trevor? Let me sort it," she tells him her tone almost scolding and in a manner much like that of an unruly child he sighs and looks away allowing her to cover his tattoo. She steps back and looks him over pushing her glasses further up on the bridge of her nose as she does so and nods her approval. "You look good. Do you have our ID?" she asks glancing around the room though it is difficult to locate any one item within the clutter.
"Right here," he grunts and reaching into the inner pocket of his jacket he extracts two small leather booklets one of which he tosses to Kathy. She snatches it out of the air and opens it scanning the information. The identification picture is grim, an unflattering shot of a serious ginger woman against a stark white background. She reads aloud, "Agent Ruth Levitzki, thirty-nine, NBTS San Andreas branch." She looks up and frowns, "Thirty-nine, really?"
"Lay off the smoking," he snaps and continues, "Now quit whining and move." He pushes her roughly towards the door and hands her a small Government Issue pistol in one movement. She follows him out of the trailer and around the side to an awaiting car parked in front of the garage; rather than his ageing open top truck they are using an inconspicuous car, a black Bravado Buffalo, a typical Government vehicle with untraceable plates. Kathy tucks the end of the handgun into the back of her pants smoothing down her jacket to hide the bulge and slides into the driver's seat while Trevor gets in beside her.
She turns the key in the ignition and begins to pull out of the driveway but he stops her abruptly and, puzzled, she looks over at him offering him a questioning look. "Hold on there, eager beaver. Wait until it's down." She nods and he asks if she is excited and she sees that he is waiting on tenterhooks to begin, radiating a child-like glee and she cannot help but to smile. Everyone has a hobby, some people collect stamps, others fish, Trevor's hobby is slightly more out there, robbing and murdering people.
"Yes, but I'm nervous," she admits and he laughs cruelly at the admission.
"Stick with me and you'll be fine, kid," he tells her and proceeds to run over the plan one final time. "It's going to be in the rear disguised as a black box, you'll know it when you see it because it'll be bigger than the others. Get it and get the fuck out, if you kill a couple'a those reptilian fucks in the process, great!" He pauses and looks at her for several long moments before asking, "You sure you want to do this?" He quickly redeems himself adding scathingly, "I'm not going to go in there and have you start crying about your hormones and shit."
"If you're in, I'm in."
The vehicle is rocked by a violent explosion in the distance and Kathryn starts, looking around wildly for the source of the disturbance. She hears a rustling in her ear, a static sound followed by Michael's voice and she adjusts her earpiece to hear him clearly. "Plane's down by the Alamo Sea, South West of Grapeseed," he tells them. "You've got about ten minutes before Merryweather show up. I'll find a vantage point and cover you. And K, keep calm and don't do anything rash. If Trevor tells you to do something you do the opposite, alright?"
"Fuck you, prick," Trevor growls as Kathy puts the car into gear and speeds out of the driveway.
Her fingers drum nervously on the wheel as she weaves in and out of traffic oblivious to the cacophony of horns blaring behind her as she abruptly swerves in between two semis narrowly avoiding an oncoming tanker. She pulls off of the main road and onto a back road that, although a less direct route, will take them to the crash site much quicker and she asks, "What is it the plane's carrying?"
"I don't know," he replies and her brow furrows in confusion. When she further presses him on the matter he snaps, "I don't fuckin' know what's on it, Kathy, but it's something big. Heavy security at both the ingoing and outgoing airports, that ain't for nothin'."
"You talk about Merryweather a lot," she tells him after a brief silence and she catches him looking at her wondering where she is going with this. She continues, "I don't think you care what's on that plane, I think you just like to fuck with them. Am I right, Trev?" He does not reply and she knows that she has struck the nail on the head and she laughs. "So, who are Merryweather?"
"Who are Merryweather?" Trevor repeats with a loud scoff at her ignorance. "How about the New World Order's private army? A fuckin' reptile militia operating on US Soil?" He continues his rant and she falls quiet not interested on getting on the wrong side of him by saying something that he would deem as stupid.
She turns the wheel sharply to the left to avoid a young coyote that has run into the road but despite her efforts she clips it and, upon hearing the hollow thump of the animal striking the right headlight she gasps loudly glancing in her rear view mirror seeing the wild dog crashing limply into some brush by the roadside whilst Trevor merely laughs gleefully. "Looks like it's coyote for dinner."
The dirt road is quiet and aside from the occasional dirt bike, dune buggy or cyclist they meet little traffic, although despite its quietness the road is extremely treacherous, narrow and winding and uneven, broken in some areas, and the large potholes and covering of stones rocks the vehicle's suspension, and by the time they see their destination her back aches from the way in which she has been tossed around in her seat from the uneven road surface coupled with her speed.
Dark smoke rises in the distance, billowing clouds on the horizon that stretch upwards into the clear sky and darken the surrounding area in their shadow and when she pulls up several hundred yards from the crash site she is overwhelmed by the smell that hangs in the air. It is the distinguishable and unforgettable smell of an air crash, a terrible assault on the senses; the pungent scent of burning rubber, the bitter chemical stench of leaking aviation fuel, and the sickeningly sweet smell of charred flesh. The smell clings to her clothes and burns her nostrils and immediately induces a throbbing headache.
Getting out of the Bravado she checks for her weapon and unfastens her windbreaker that hangs loosely from her shoulders further exacerbating her slenderness. The air is thick and heavy, stiflingly hot and as she follows Trevor she cannot tear her eyes away from the sight of flames licking at the crooked wings. The cockpit windows are cracked and bloodied and the nose cone has become detached during the impact exposing the weather radar on the front end of the aircraft. The cargo plane has broken into three pieces; the front section lies only metres from the main fuselage, whilst the tail section lies discarded one hundred feet behind the remainder of the aircraft.
One of the four jet engines is still running spinning powerfully ingesting tons of dirt and sand in a final heart breaking attempt to save the stricken aircraft and she keeps her distance from the wreckage following closely behind Trevor as he proceeds towards the tail section not in the least disturbed by the sight before him. Kathryn does not think she could ever get used to such a terrible sight. She hears the dull drone of engines in the distance beneath that of the jet engine and she glances over her shoulder seeing numerous headlights rapidly approaching them.
She pauses by the rudder watching as Trevor uses a remarkably undamaged elevator to pull himself up and begins sifting through the wreckage at the very rear of the aircraft. This section of the vehicle is largely unscathed and studies have shown that when sitting in the rear of a plane one has a significantly higher chance of surviving an impact. She looks over her shoulder again at the military vehicles that have stopped behind their own car and he shouts down to her, "Are you going to help or just stand there looking pretty?"
When asking for her help he had said something very similar telling her that she had little purpose other than to look approaching and begrudgingly, she ducks into the wreckage and begins to sift through sharp pieces of metal, hydraulics systems and wiring searching for the eye-catching orange boxes and relief surges through her when, after several minutes of searching she uncovers one of the orange boxes beneath a sheet of metal, it is the Cockpit Voice Recorder, a potentially incriminating piece of evidence for Merryweather but it is not what she is looking for, nevertheless she removes it and sets it on the ground nearby.
Kathryn pauses upon hearing footsteps behind her and she straightens turning to see two large men in army attire approaching her. Their demeanour coupled with their bullet proof vests is altogether threatening and immediately her eyes dart to the semi-automatic rifles clutched in their hands.
"This is a restricted area, ma'am," the larger of the two tells her firmly. His voice is deep, a growl from deep within his throat and, although Kathryn herself is six feet tall he dwarves her standing a full head taller than her, he is bald and wide and the arms of his jacket strain over his muscular arms. The man by his side is greatly similar in appearance, two inches smaller, a set jaw and watchful, hawk-like eyes, large and muscular his hair is closely cropped.
She reaches into her pocket and flashes her badge. "Agent Ruth Levitzki, National Board for Transportation Safety, and this is my partner Agent Daniel O'Connor." Trevor waves down at them and promptly resumes his search carelessly casting pieces of wreckage aside whilst the Merryweather personnel scrutinize Kathy's badge. Her heart hammers in her chest and her mouth is dry. She swallows trying desperately to calm her nerves and she struggles to contain her relief when her identification is passed back to her with a swift and unreadable nod.
"This is a restricted area, Agents. You need to leave. We will escort you from the area," the taller of the two tells them and she takes a step back wracking her brain for something to say. They had spent hours going over the plan, Trevor ensuring that she fully understood what it was they were doing although this had not been discussed, not even fleetingly, and not once had they considered the possibility that they may be requested to leave and she is at a loss, nevertheless, she tries.
"This is NBTS jurisdiction, sir. This is my scene and you are contaminating it," she tells him authoritatively, her expression severe and greatly mirroring that of her photograph on her identification. "I'm afraid I am going to have to ask you to leave."
The smaller man who up until now had remained quiet raises his weapon, not to use it but rather as a warning of the consequences if she chooses to disobey them. "Agent Levitzki," he begins but he does not complete his sentence as he is silenced by a quiet popping sound from above. Kathy jumps in fright as the man falls, a single bullet wound in the centre of his forehead and immediately after his companion crumples to the dusty ground victim to a similar affliction. She turns and looks up at Trevor in surprise and he simply shrugs.
"Hurry the fuck or we're going to have a real shit storm on our hands," he tells her gruffly. He points to the weapons still in the men's hands and says, "And pass me one of them, will ya?" She does as she is told and throws one to Trevor and tucks the remaining rifle into the front of her pants. With the presence of the two weapons beneath her jacket the bulge is prominent and unconcerned with disguising them she returns to work.
They work quickly and efficiently salvaging the Flight Data Recorder also and, still looking for the remaining container she hears Michael's voice in her ear. "K, T, you got three coming toward you." The crack of three gunshots in quick succession snaps through the air followed by shouting and footsteps rushing towards them.
"You look," Trevor tells her quickly as he pushes her aside and emerges from the wreckage his weapon drawn and the safety off. "I'll get these bastards." She nods although he does not see her and quickly she begins to push various items of wreckage aside painstakingly searching for the remaining metal box. Her heart rate is high and she pauses momentarily when she hears Trevor shouting followed by a serious of gunshots.
"Michael, help Trevor," she demands glancing over her shoulder as he darts back in beside her using the edge of the tail section as cover. She climbs up to a higher level and tosses a hydraulic control to the ground. She has caught her pants leg on something and the cool air hits her leg through the wide tear on her knee, her hands are dry, cracked and bleeding from the extensive search discarding various pieces of sharp edged metal but she pays no mind focused solely on pleasing Trevor and salvaging what they are desperate to find.
Blocking out the gunfire surrounding her she searches frantically safe within this section of the aircraft and out of sight of the eyes of Merryweather, and finally, she sees a glimpse of orange; concealed within the walls of the aircraft she pulls at the aluminium, it is thin, mere millimetres thick but deceptively strong and it gives only slightly beneath her hands. Spurred on by the sight of the metal box within and the thought of the look on Trevor's face when he opens it later she is relentless, cutting her hands and wrists on the metal and she eventually pulls her pistol equipped with a silencer, although it is not at all required at this point in time, and shoots, piercing a hole in the aluminium siding.
"K, you see anything?" Michael asks her.
"I'm nearly done in here," she replies raising her voice over the gunshots resonating all around her and, mustering up every ounce of strength within her she tears the metal back exposing the orange box. Unmarked unlike the previous two she pulls it out surprised by the weight and the thickness of the metal, possibly three inches thick, and she uses the slope that she is standing on to slide it to the ground jumping down effortlessly beside it.
"Trevor," she shouts excitedly over the radio. "I've got it."
"Whoopdee-Goddamn-dadoo," he responds but she does not miss the fleeting hint of glee in his voice. She looks up when he joins her once more, breathless and sweating, and she watches as he lifts the large metal box his arms straining from the effort. The muscles in his arms protrude through the thin material of his jacket as he hoists the container up and holds it against his hip so as to have one arm free to defend himself with.
"We're comin' out, Mikey," he tells his friend and quickly gestures to Kathryn to follow him. He turns quickly but she does not miss the ghost of a smile on his lips and she hurries to keep up with him exchanging the pistol he had given her before leaving the trailer for the weapon taken from one of the men from Merryweather.
"In here," a man's voice shouts and Kathryn freezes raising her gun and pointing in the general direction that the voice had come from. When he is in her line of sight she opens fire, the first shots miss him but the third bullet catches him in the neck and he collapses his weapon clattering to the ground inches from him. She rushes after Trevor and darts in front of him to protect him her arms painfully stiff as she holds her gun out in front of her, her index finger resting lightly on the trigger. She has become more accustomed to guns recently, and since moving to Sandy Shores Trevor has sent her out on a daily basis with his neighbour Cletus, a man who is the epitome of redneck with almost as many tattoos as Kathryn herself, who takes her hunting in the surrounding forests presenting her with various tests each one more trying than the next, and she is no longer unnerved by the prospect of handling a firearm able to shoot a mountain lion's eyes from two hundred feet, but under this amount of pressure her first shots miss zipping past the intended target, but with time she does redeem herself.
She shoots wildly twisting her body to cover a wider area and she takes down several men in the process. Firing so frequently she is quick to run out of bullets, and she drops to the ground grabbing a nearby weapon from one of the many bodies littered around the crash site and instantly she is up again concentrating hard on her targets and with repetition the majority of her shots hit their intended target first time.
"Hold it close to your body, K," Michael tells her. "You can control it better and control the kickback." She does as he says and she finds that Michael's method is much easier offering a greater amount of precision and the weapon no longer feels unsteady in her hand, although her chest aches tremendously from the violent kickback of the high powered rifle.
She looks back at Trevor who is close behind her his own weapon held steady despite the use of one hand and the muzzle of his gun flashes brightly as he fires. She hears the dull roar of a helicopter in the distance which forces her to move faster and she begins to sprint her long legs covering a great deal of ground.
A bullet whizzes past her and catches one of the men crouched behind a vehicle whom neither Trevor nor Kathryn had seen and she snaps, "Fuckin hell, Michael, be careful or I'll come up there and skull fuck you with your own Goddamn gun." She hears Trevor roar with laughter over her earpiece as they rush towards their vehicle.
She jumps into the driver's seat reaching over to open the passenger side door as Trevor drops the metal container into the trunk. Before he has closed his door she slams her foot onto the accelerator and begins to flee the crash site kicking up a cloud of dust in her wake whilst several Merryweather vehicles proceed after them. They are relentless taking out anything in their path and the engine temperature skyrockets as she pushes the vehicle further than it has been built to.
"I'll see you at the meeting point, T," Michael tells them and she pulls the earpiece from her ear tossing it onto the floor at her feet. The window on the passenger side is open and her hair blows into her eyes momentarily blinding her and the car swerves precariously on the narrow road. She hears the unforgettable sound of a bullet piercing the car and Trevor, leaning from the window, curses loudly.
"Keep it steady, Kathy," he tells her angrily. He says something else but his words are drowned out by gunfire. She hears an explosion behind them which jolts the vehicle and she glances in the mirror to see a ball of fire tumbling from the sky and Trevor ecstatically shouts something unintelligible.
She tries desperately to keep the vehicle steady despite the winding road ignoring Trevor's shouts when she is forced to twist the wheel for a sharp corner and when she looks again in the side mirror she sees that they are being followed by a long vehicle. The vehicle is full of gun men and shots ricochet against the rear and sides of the car whilst one stray bullet shatters the rear windscreen and, in her panic, Kathryn fights to regain control as the car swerves between lanes.
She hears the sickening sound of metal crunching and Trevor slides back into his seat dropping his weapon into his lap and rolling up his window with a loud howl of satisfaction. "Fuck! That was fan-fucking-tastic," he says, his voice rising in his excitement and Kathy offers him a grim smile. Easing off of the accelerator she fumbles in her jacket pocket for her cigarettes and her lighter and, lighting one, she inhales deeply to calm her nerves.
"No, no, no," Trevor tells her and reaches out to swat at the cigarette but Kathy turns her upper body and blocks him. "That's bad for you, don't you know?"
She exhales slowly and deliberately and lowers the window slightly to release some of the smoke and finally, she speaks. "That was, I don't even know what the fuck that was, but what a fucking rush," she tells him her voice loud and her speech jumbled in her excitement and Trevor laughs slapping the dashboard as he does so. Her hands are shaking and her entire body is tense, almost humming from how uptight she is but it has been some time since she has felt so alive and she wonders if this is how Trevor feels every time he commits a crime, if he is overcome by a rush of exhilaration and adrenaline, the sort of feeling that no drug can ever aspire to recreate. The feeling is fantastic, heightened by how close she feels to her husband at this moment.
"Take a left up here, Rambo," Trevor tells her sarcastically and she makes a sharp left almost missing the turn off that is largely hidden by trees. The road worsens considerably as they ascend following a winding track through the woodland and the suspension creaks beneath them as the car struggles with the surface. She stops the car five feet shy of Michael who waits leaning against a red coupe arms folded and dressed in dark jeans and a mauve polo shirt.
Trevor gets out of the car before it has come to a full stop and crosses to Michael, he is standing tall, his back straight and there is a pronounced self-assured swagger to his stride and he extends his arms shouting something that, still in the car, Kathryn does not hear but from his posture she knows that Trevor is elated in his own curious way and, finishing her cigarette she joins them.
"Well, if it isn't Mulder and Scully," Michael says with a quiet laugh when they have both joined him. "You did good, K," Michael tells her and she nods watching Trevor as he leaves the pair and opens the trunk extracting the orange box. "Just remember what I said about how you hold your gun, alright? There's some spare clothes in the car," he says and gestures to the large car parked beside the red coupe. The sight of the vehicle takes her breath away and she turns on Trevor who tosses the large container to Michael. The older man falters momentarily beneath the weight but regains his composure and he turns his back on them as he rests the metal box on the hood of his car and begins to open it. Trevor hovers over him and Michael makes a scathing comment regarding his personal hygiene or lack thereof.
"Suck my dick, you fat fuck."
Kathy pays little attention to the contents of the box glancing over briefly to see a small oil painting in an exquisite gold frame but for the most part her attention remains firmly locked on the other vehicle. Rust eaten with low suspension and tinted windows, a cracked windscreen, matte black with two wide orange racing stripes on the hood and roof and one light tilted slightly to the right covered by a plastic box the result of a run in with a deer in Ludendorff, it is undoubtedly her car, the one found by the Los Santos Police Department in the wilderness north of the city five weeks prior and which since then has been in police storage treated as a potential crime scene in the, as of yet, unsolved disappearance of Kathryn Philips.
"Trevor, that's my car," she says drawing his attention from the artwork and his loud, zealous complaints over what is now deemed as art in this day and age.
He shrugs and wipes at a line of dirt on his face that is slick with sweat further smearing it. "Nothing gets by you, does it?" he says in a mocking manner and he continues, "Franklin picked it up last week."
She pulls off her wig and tosses it on the ground letting her hair, silver in the sunlight, fall around her shoulders in unruly curls. "Trev, thank you," she says squealing in excitement a child-like glee taking over her and whether it is the product of the aftereffects of their attack on Merryweather or the sight of her car, the one she has had for seventeen years in which she learnt to drive, attained multiple DUI's and had her fair share of sexual encounters with Trevor, she rushes to him. He looks momentarily panicked as she pushes her body against his and kisses him one heavily tattooed arm around his neck and her remaining hand gripping onto his jaw in order to stop him from casting her aside wholly uncomfortable with her closeness. The kiss is largely similar to their first in its fervency and for a brief moment he kisses her also, he tastes of cheap beer and greasy takeaway and the light dusting of stubble on his jaw scratches her chin, but just as quickly as he had begun he stops, wrenching himself from her grip and lightly pushing her hands aside but she does not miss the gimmer in his eye, the look of satisfaction that no amount of scowling or angry words can disguise and she finally sees that he is happy, perhaps not as happy as he had once been, but he is content with this new way of life that she has presented him with.
Behind them, Michael clears his throat awkwardly, unaccustomed to witnessing such displays of affection from his old friend. "As I said, there's new clothes in the car, get dressed and destroy the Bravado. Merryweather will be looking for male and female NBTS agents, you do not want to be playing dress up when they start looking, trust me," he tells them and Kathryn nods in understanding.
Michael bids them goodbye informing them that he will take the artwork into the city and Lester will hopefully find them a buyer, if all goes well their cut should be in their accounts by the end of the week. They watch him leave in silence and Kathryn watches the clouds of dust rising long after Michael's car is out of sight while Trevor opens the trunk of her car and pulls out a bag of clothes. She is not at all surprised when she sees that the clothes he has chosen for her are her pyjamas.
"Those are pyjamas, Trevor," she tells him now having become weary with this argument over her choice of sleeping attire and he shrugs.
"I'm sorry, did I forget your fuckin' top hat, too?" he asks with a grunt as he begins to change stripping down to his underwear and, as he had done earlier in the day, she watches him, intently observing the keloid scar on his abdomen, the result of a knife wound from a robbery gone wrong twelve years previously which she had stitched up when he refused to attend the hospital for treatment, the scabs and sores on his stomach from his drug use, the tattoos on his arms and the poorly done tattoos on his neck and hands, his long legs and slim waist, the scars on his face that tell his troubled life story and in that moment she sees him for what he really is. She does not see him as others do, a criminally insane sociopath who frequently oversteps the line between sanity and insanity, between good and evil, but rather she sees him as the lonely man he is, troubled and broken, getting by the only way he knows how through criminal acts and frequent drug use, and she feels for him. She knows the feeling, that feeling of desperation and isolation, the void in one's life that cannot be filled no matter how much alcohol or mindless sex one partakes in, living each day on a prayer hoping to get by.
Kathryn changes also, grudgingly dressing herself in her pyjamas and Trevor takes her clothes, wig, glasses and badge and tosses them into the backseat of the Buffalo along with his own before setting the vehicle alight with the aid of a jerry can he has stored in the trunk of her car and fires at the gas trail until it ignites engulfing the vehicle in flames. She staggers when the car's gas tank explodes and for several seconds all sound is blocked out by the ringing in her ears, birds fly frantically, terrified, from nearby trees at the disturbance and when the tinnitus subsides she realises that Trevor has been speaking.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"I said we should go home. If we're lucky that coyote's still at the side of the road and it'll be fresh enough," he tells her and she begins to laugh until she realises that he is indeed serious. It has been a long time since she has eaten road kill, once upon a time they would take her car or his truck into the North Yankton mountains and try to hit any animal unfortunate enough to cross their path. They would store it in the freezer until such a time as they were low on food.
"Sure," she says and follows him to the car. She had accepted her car as being lost and the relief upon sliding into the driver's seat is indescribable, a feeling of pure joy as though she has been reunited with an old childhood friend. The engine splutters to life and she drives out of the woodland and towards Sandy Shores following Michael's fresh tire tracks.
The road is quiet and this far from civilisation it is nothing short of picturesque and it is hard for her to believe that less than an hour before this area had been the setting for a violent gunfight between Merryweather Security and the Philips'. She lights another cigarette as she drives and for the first time in months she feels contentment, no longer exhausted and alone, moving around the state on a near weekly basis hoping for some information on her husband, and it is a great relief to finally draw that chapter of her life to a close, to start afresh. Without one another they have become two entirely different people, no longer who they were in Ludendorff and in a way this change adds an element of interest to their relationship and will undoubtedly push them to work harder in order to live alongside one another as they had once done.
It is a short drive to Sandy Shores and she pulls up outside of Trevor's trailer behind his truck and she follows him in waving a greeting to his neighbour Ron who is standing on his patio with a radio. "Kathryn, Trevor, you gotta hear this, I found some real good stuff," he calls but Trevor has already entered the trailer unconcerned with the bespectacled man's most recent conspiracy theory.
Kathy leans on the railing of the porch and calls to him, "Maybe another time, Ron. You keep up the good work." She hears him shouting informing her that he will indeed continue with his work, though what that is exactly she does not know, as she too enters the trailer.
The trailer is not much, squalid and damp, dank and dirty, but it is certainly uniquely them. Kathryn and Trevor know who they are, they are well aware that they are trailer trash, the most lowdown, sordid form of person that humanity can possibly spit out, but they would not change a thing. The previous evening they had sat up until the early hours of the morning discussing 'The Big One' as Trevor so fondly put it, and, making plans for the future in some curious backward way without actually acknowledging that they were planning to make a go of it together, they had agreed that there would be no big house in the city, no expensive cars lining the driveway, no fancy clothes and unnecessary gadgets, no lifestyle that stank of Michael Townley because they were redneck through and through, the sort of people that her late parents would have given a dollar to in the street thinking them to be homeless.
"Dress up a shit, it's still shit," Trevor had said and she had laughed agreeing with him wholeheartedly.
Trevor and Kathy are not good people just as they are not classy people, they are well-spoken, intelligent, Kathy herself had attended private school, and attractive in their own unique manner but they are both criminals by nature. Kathryn assisted in her mother's murder, during the first year of their marriage she would pose as a prostitute demanding the cash up front before running to Trevor's awaiting truck around the corner, she has just killed two dozen men. They are terrible people and she finds some joy in the fact that, if karma does exist, it has certainly passed them by allowing them to waste away their lives together, although Trevor's opinion on the matter is vastly different he claiming that perhaps they are already in hell forced to spend the remainder of their lives together tormenting one another incessantly.
"You did good today, Kathy," he tells her as he opens a bottle of beer with his teeth and spits out the bottle cap offering the bottle to her to which she declines. He finishes his beverage in three large, noisy gulps and she watches him from her position leant against the counter in the kitchenette.
"Didn't know you had it in you," he says and reaches for another bottle but she stops him by placing her hand over his. He offers her a questioning look and she moves slowly towards him backing him into the corner and invading his personal space knowing how he hates it and that it will produce some reaction from him.
She feels his breath on her face, sees his eyes narrow in barely contained irritation and she kisses him, her lips pressing against his neck, dancing across his ear and along his jawline before settling firmly on his mouth. She kisses him passionately releasing every single feeling that has built up within her all these years, feelings of anger, sadness, pleasure and pain pour out of her as she holds him and kisses him knowing that if she is to stop she may well breakdown becoming a pathetic sobbing mess on the floor of the trailer. Every single thought and feeling she has experience since he had walked away rushes from her until she is left fatigued, her breathing heavy, feeling a pleasant emptiness as though in that instant she has become a new person, and perhaps she has, she thinks.
"I love you," she tells him whispering in his ear and she feels his body respond. "I do, I really do. You don't know how much I need you. Don't you ever leave me again, Trevor, do you understand?" She tells him she loves him again, repeating it over and over not knowing what else to say in this moment, and finally, he responds.
"I do too," he says it quietly as though not wishing to admit it and she draws back to look at him. She studies his face, the weather beaten skin, the narrow scars and the thin lines that surround his eyes and mouth that were not there before, the thin, severe lips and pensive dark eyes, the face she had come to know and she recalls waking on her first morning without him wholly and completely lost without him by her side. He is a sincere man, honest, often too much so, always trying to do the right thing but going about it in entirely the wrong way without the understanding that he has done anything wrong, childlike in a sense, and until he was gone she had been unaware of how greatly she relied on him, depending on him to keep her safe, to hold her when she cried, even to simply compliment her on a new dress she had bought.
"You do what?" she asks determined to hear those words, the words that no matter how many times she may say them he cannot bring himself to repeat.
"You fuckin' know what I mean, Kathy, don't start," he snaps and his eyes close when she slides her hand beneath the waistband of his jeans and takes him in her hand moving her thumb in a circular motion. "Oh, fuck, yes. I love you." She kisses him and he repeats himself, his tone indicating that he is still ashamed of the admission, but his voice is louder, stronger and fades out to a low groan when she slides to her knees.
Author's Note: I loved writing this chapter, I work with planes and it was a lot of fun to include them in a chapter even if it was just for a few paragraphs.