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Dreaming Of Kerouac
Working together within their unofficial network, being friends, Cindy had seen a lot of sides of Lindsay Boxer. She had an easily inflammable temper and a startling vulnerability you didn't get to see until you were allowed to take a closer look. She took her job seriously. Cindy loved her with all her heart which wasn't ever going to change even if she had to realize that what she knew was far from being all.
Lindsay had once wanted a home and a family, and maybe she still wanted these things, but she was taking to the concept of their shared escapism surprisingly easily. Cindy hadn't expected that; it was a little puzzling, and also challenging. A different motel almost every night, being on the road a great deal of the day, Lindsay seemed to enjoy it. Cindy sometimes thought that she, on the contrary, was almost ready to go home.
So much had changed; she felt she needed a little time to process. Especially with that other new side she'd found to Lindsay: a passionate lover. Yeah, right, she couldn't even think it without her cheeks heating.
Giving her a quick sideways look, Lindsay asked, "Fond memories?" The smirk on her face spoke volumes.
Cindy rolled her eyes. "You're reading my mind now?"
Lindsay chuckled. "It's not that hard."
Of course. She was good at that, too, and didn't she know it.
"I was wondering if we could stop somewhere, for a few days," Cindy said.
"Depends on where exactly we are right now. You want to take a look at the map? Come to think of it, I'll do it."
"Just because I go by memory it doesn't mean I can't read a map," Cindy said defensively. "The last time I only got the wrong direction because you kept--"
"I can read it alright. You--"
She was kind of startled out of her defense when Lindsay parked on the side of the road. "I was joking, okay? I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."
Giving her a speculative gaze, Cindy asked, "How sorry are you?" And just like she'd known, Lindsay leaned over to kiss her.
Figures that after hours of being almost alone on the road, a car passed them by slowly, its occupants male adolescents who obviously couldn't contain their enthusiasm at the sight of two women kissing. Cindy blushed at the shouts.
"If we were in San Francisco, I would have checked the license plate for unpaid tickets or worse," Lindsay said, lazily leaning back in the driver's seat. "We should get going, too."
"Sure," Cindy said, but she was feeling slightly uncomfortable.
It was only a few more miles before they met again, the same car with a group of others. It wasn't hard to interpret the scene: It was an illegal car race about to start.
Cindy saw the look on Lindsay's face and started to protest. "Oh no, we're on vacation. There's nothing you can do her on your own anyway."
"Maybe there is."
Cindy struggled to keep up with Lindsay who had already exited the car and strode purposefully to the group, the young men they'd seen earlier, and a few girls.
"Hey guys. What's all this?"
Feeling awkward with the leering glances directed at them, Cindy stayed nonetheless, because she figured if Lindsay was out of her mind, being close was the least she could do.
"Hey," one of the guys drawled. "Quite a show you two gave us."
Cindy had a few choice words for him, but Lindsay held her back. "Well, I was hoping the show was here. Got a little race going?"
"You bet that lady. Wanna watch?"
"Actually, I'd like to take part."
Disbelieving laughter was the answer. Cindy was speechless. She wanted to yell or maybe slap Lindsay and get her out of that strange state she'd somehow gotten into, but she was too blindsided to do any of it.
"Actually, it's really not for chicks. They girls are here to cheer."
"Oh I've got my girl to cheer," Lindsay said.
"Lindsay? Can I talk to you for a minute?" Cindy couldn't believe the scene that was unfolding. Who was this woman?
"In a few, baby. First I need to show this young man how to drive."
"Really?" He turned to his buddies, all of them cracking up. "You hear that?"
"$100 for the winner," Lindsay declared. "You're afraid or what?"
This moment, Cindy was quite sure that she would wake up soon in a reality where they'd never even left San Francisco, never made love, and at the end of the first day Lindsay would remember that there was no way in hell she could take four weeks off.
She stood, still baffled, while Linday kissed her briefly, waved and then got into their rental.
"Holy shit, where the hell did you learn to drive like this?"
Lindsay leaned out of the window, putting her sunglasses back on. "In the police academy."
The young man practically shrank away.
"That's right. You better think twice about these shows in the future, you never know who might come. And keep the money, you don't want to be seen trying to bribe a cop."
She was still laughing about his expression when they were back on the road. Cindy was all but amused.
"That was fun, right? You know, I think you're right, we should stop somewhere for a couple of days at least. I feel like going out tonight."
When a few moments passed without any answer, Lindsay turned to Cindy, surprised. "You okay?"
"I'd be more okay if you kept your eyes on the road."
"Are you out of your mind?"
Lindsay sighed. "Come on. I would have left him in the dust when I was a first year rookie."
"I don't doubt that. You're a cop! What if somebody had actually called the cops or worse, something had happened? These races are illegal for a reason!" Cindy was annoyed to feel her eyes burning with tears. Maybe it was just fatigue. Maybe she was starting to feel really worried about where this journey was about to go.
"Nothing happened," Lindsay said quietly. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to..." She shook her head, frustrated. "I don't even know. I didn't mean to scare you."
"Well, you did."
"I know. You're still going out with me tonight? After we found a place to stay?"
"It's not like I have so many alternatives," Cindy grumbled, but she had a hard time stifling a smile. Lindsay did that so easily. Even when out of her mind. "Okay. Let's find a roof over the head and then get wasted."
Lindsay gave her a sly look. "That a promise?" she drawled.
"You ain't seen nothin' yet," Cindy said, and for the moment, the crisis was averted.
It might not be the place to stay for long, but tonight, they couldn't go any further. What seemed like the only hotel in town was a less than a five minute walk from what seemed to be the only bar in town. It would have to do for the moment.
In the lobby there sat a middle-aged couple, watching them openly while Lindsay paid for the room. Cindy hoped she wouldn't notice, but no such luck.
Key in hand, Lindsay turned to lean against the counter, studying the man and woman in return. "You know what? It actually is what you think."
"Linds? Let's go see the room now?"
"I'm going to marry her. Take that."
Cindy gave a smile to the slack-jawed couple and hurried after her girlfriend, intend to give Lindsay a piece of her mind. She needed a stiff drink first though.
Maybe a few hours of sleep would have been the better thing to do after a lack thereof in the past few days and the time spent of the road, but neither of them didn't feel much like it. The bar seemed cozy enough with the vintage style, the giant jukebox in the corner and the pool table.
Just their luck that their 'acquaintances' from earlier this afternoon had chosen the same place to kick back a few. Or maybe it was just because there wasn't really any alternative.
Cindy felt too aware of them being aware of their presence, so when Lindsay leaned in to kiss her, she drew back after a few moments.
Shaking her head, Lindsay reached for her drink. "You're no fun tonight, Thomas," she mumbled.
"Maybe I've had all the fun I can handle!" Cindy covered her mouth with her hand. She hadn't meant for this to come out quite this harsh but it had.
"You're worried about them?" It wasn't really hard to guess what the topic of conversation was for the young men standing by the pool table. "You're the one who's into all these pride, 'be who you are' things. So why?"
"I don't know. We're a long way from home."
"I thought that was the idea. Hey. Don't worry." Under the table, Lindsay took her hand, squeezing it gently. "They are too scared I could report them."
Despite herself, Cindy had to smile. "You couldn't. You took part!"
"So what." Lindsay shrugged. "So, how about a game?"
"I'd rather not attract any more attention tonight," Cindy admitted.
"How about we play, loser pays for the drinks?"
Cindy thought that it didn't bode for anything good when Lindsay got that gleam in her eyes. "We play, you pay anyway," she told the guy. "The lady gets a Cosmo. You owe me 100 bucks, remember?"
The couple was still or again sitting at the bar in the lobby when Cindy came rushing in, only to realize that she had to wait for Lindsay who had the key.
She also noticed that the woman was looking at her rather sympathetic. "What?"
"Oh dear. She ain't marrying you after all?"
Lindsay arrived just in time to catch the comment. She raised her index finger at the woman, but obviously couldn't come up with an appropriate retort. "Just don't," she warned and turned on her heels to follow Cindy up to their room.
"Okay, so tell me, what did I do wrong now?"
It had started to rain lightly, and there was the smell of thunder in the air. Literally and otherwise, Cindy thought unhappily. "I never said you did anything wrong," she defended herself.
"But that's what you're thinking, right?"
They should have waited for the next day to continue this conversation, but somehow, Cindy couldn't muster any more patience to hold back what had been on her mind for awhile. "I'm not sure I know you anymore."
Lindsay all but jumped up from where she'd been sitting on the bed. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"You used to be the most reliable person I knew! Now you're doing all these... things." Being more sober would have definitely helped her making more sense, but Cindy couldn't turn back now. "Like that stupid race. You kept challenging that guy, you couldn't have predicted what would happen!"
"I can't believe that," Lindsay said, and she sounded like she really couldn't. "I've been trying really hard, you know," she continued, her voice rising. "You were the one telling me I was drowning in routine. You wanted us to get out here in the middle of nowhere, find the true inner self. I love you, Cindy, that's as true as I can get. I'm sorry if that's not enough."
The confession caught Cindy completely off guard, like so many things in the past few days, so for once, she didn't have the right words ready, and Lindsay didn't wait for her to catch up.
She yanked the door open, and before Cindy could think of anything to stop her, slammed it closed behind her, angry footsteps retreating. Sinking back on the bed, Cindy wished she'd had a few more drinks. Oblivion sounded like a good concept right now.
When the storm picked up a few minutes later and Lindsay hadn't returned yet, Cindy couldn't bring herself to wait any longer. Even if she suspected Lindsay to be sulking in the car and returning any moment now... Even if she'd needed to give voice to the way she felt... The guilty conscience was killing her. Because maybe Lindsay had a point too when she'd said that it was all Cindy's fault that they had ended up here.
"Are you crazy?"
Lindsay sat on the hood of the car, her knees drawn up to her chest. She had to have been sitting there the whole time, judging from the way she'd let herself get soaked from the rain. "Maybe," she said.
"You could have gotten struck by lightning!"
Lindsay frowned, but there was the hint of a smile in her voice when she said, "Back home we knew storms. This is nothing."
"But these days with the climate all screwed up you never know--" Cindy stopped the moment she realized that Lindsay was trying really hard not to laugh, and wasn't she right, talking about the climate at a moment like this was kind of absurd indeed. Cindy sat next to her, wincing at the contact with the damp surface. "We need to talk," she said. "I don't know, maybe we need to... go home."
They turned to each other at the same time, meeting in a soft kiss that within no time turned intense with a touch of desperate. "I've never felt this much like being home," Lindsay whispered. "We have to--" The last words of her sentence where drowned out by the noise of the thunder now right above them.
"Oh my God!" Cindy exclaimed.
"You got that right. I think She's telling us that it's safer inside. Come on." Lindsay took her hand, and together they ran across the street to the hotel's front door, breathless and laughing at their own silliness. They made it inside just before the hail started.
The storm kept them company all through the night, from the warm shower they shared to ward off the chill of the rain and an uncertain future to seeking each other's embrace afterwards, desire, comfort, over and over again.
In the distance, the thunder was only a low grumble, flashes of light far away when Cindy whispered, "I love you, too." She'd thought that Lindsay was asleep, but quickly realized that she wasn't when Lindsay tightened her arms around her.
Cindy didn't think she'd ever felt this safe before. Maybe she'd had to learn it about herself on this trip, destination unknown, how much she'd craved this feeling.
Another thing to learn about Lindsay, that she, just like Cindy, had been waiting for this moment a long time.
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