What Goes Up

Magic Hollow 
#1
Outfit.
@kiew-boo


 "Mother fucker!" It was more of a bark than anything else, a quick outburst that was out of character as she pushed the turn of the key in the ignition and listened to the automotive equivalent of a heart monitor flat-lining. It wasn't surprising after how far she'd pushed the damn thing, it just wasn't the time for it. She thought about all she'd done so far, the items sold and the fine skirted. It all came down to a financial gain and while this could have been a case of run of the mill misfortune, it was hard to shake the feeling that this was her own doing.

 It was just shy of three and things had been going decently enough. Off work at a reasonable time, no rain overhead, hot but not oppressive - and she had even treated herself to a pint of mint chocolate chip. A pint that would probably turn to some sort of milk-based ooze. As well as a handful of frozen dinners and a half-gallon of almond milk an- her hands bunched into fists and she sneered, face-pulling as she resisted the urge to growl out her frustration and kicked the passenger side front tire once before she lifted the hood.

 She rubbed down her face, mindful to avoid her eyes to make a mess of her makeup as she looked over - well, that was the engine. And somewhere in the tangle of wires and tubes was a radiator and ... something about belts. She glanced sideways to the meter that said she still had eight minutes left. It took an act of God to not scream. Again.
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#2
 Severin had only recently started taking up those yoga classes that Naz had offered him so many months ago. She was never around, and while he had anticipated never landing one of her classes, he was still a little sad about it. Where had his crocodilian heroine gone off to?

 He was also keenly aware that he was the one and only old white dude in these classes. It was not too weird, not really, not with all the encompassing things he thought he knew about yoga. But a little bit weird.

 This was the aftermath of one such class, Severin stepping out feeling like he probably sweat more than anyone else in the room, yoga mat tucked under his arm, when he heard a very loud and pointed curse from some young woman. He considered her, all curly hair and a summer dress and apparent fury!

 His shirt and shorts were all sweat, not the neatest appearance he'd ever sported, but he figured it was nothing to keep him from seeing if he could help. Slowly, but not too slowly, he'd approach from the side, already sporting a small, friendly smile. "Hi, excuse me - do you need some help?"
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#3
 And then just as the heavens rumbled their discontent and a drizzle threatened to turn to a downpour, the clouds parted and from the beams of sunlight slid down ... an old man. She turned, looked him over and pouted a bit to herself, lost in thought as she glanced briefly back to the mess of car parts in front of her. He looked like some b-actor from a commercial for the newest ED prescription, here to show you could continue your lifestyle in every facet.

Still, beggars couldn't be choosers and there was only so much she could press, well, her luck.

"You could say that. I don't know much of anything about cars other than mine won't start. If you think you could help with that, I'd certainly owe you one."
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#4
 Severin was no licensed mechanic, but after so many years sticking his hands into the innards of countless airplanes, he had a pretty good idea of what to look for. He smiled a little for her response, eyes crinkling gently with the expression. "Sure," he responded, genial. "I've got a volt meter in my truck. I'll be right back."

 His truck was only a few spaces away from her sad little car, and he'd go to it to put his mat away and rummage around for the volt meter - a little yellow rectangle with a screen, a knob, and two wires with sharp prongs on the ends of them. With that, and a handful of universal tools in hand, he would saunter back to her car with that same old guy soft smile.

 "Oookay," he said thoughtfully, poking at the terminals on her battery. "Go ahead and turn the ignition."
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#5
 She imagined he owned a lake house and worked on some old rust bucket of a midlife crisis muscle car while the grand kids beat the shit out of one another with sticks on the peer. Wholesome, and in turn it made her accepting of the idea of a stranger poking around the innards of her car. Nodding as she went to settle back in the driver's seat and left the door somewhat agape.

 Per his instruction she turned the key, made a face to herself at the sound all over again. A death rattle, the sharp and then absent breathing pattern of a patient on their final wind. She hoped she was wrong for once.
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#6
 Sensitive ears picked up the different sounds - the clinking of her key as it turned in the ignition, some automotive whisper, the sad choking noise from the car. He kept his eyes on the volt meter, and found that the numbers did not climb up to the proper twelve point six volts. It read at eleven seventy-five instead.

 "Looks like you've got a dead battery," he called to her, bent around the raised hood. He didn't know if she had roadside assistance - this car looked worthy of little more than liability, honestly - but also, maybe offering to give her a ride to the store for a new battery was creepy.
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#7
 A dead battery - that was common ... commonish? She remembered it happening in the past to Gideon and her father far before that, the stupid little things that you didn't need to hold onto but did all the same. Leaning to the side to stick her head out the window she frowned as she got a look at a slice of his arm and shoulder and not much else. "Is that expensive? It sounds expensive, Mister ...?"
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#8
 He began to wrap the wires around the meter, chuckling a little as she responded. "Severin," he informed her, with the same congenial smile. "And it's probably not too bad. I think you can get a decent battery from Walmart for about fifty bucks." Which, really, who was he to say whether or not that was expensive for her - maybe that was the grocery budget. He looked at her with an expression of uncertainty, still teetering between moral ideas. "Is that.... feasible for you?"
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#9
 "Well, it's not exactly cheap but it's not going to make me break down into tears so, take from that what you will." The true horror was the idea that she would soon be setting foot inside of a Walmart. A generally unsavory stroll through a hell that she tried to avoid as much as possible. "Sorry, Severin - Loretta." She waved with just her fingers, a drumming sort of wiggle to replace a shake as he seemed hard at work packing up from his quick performance of hero of the hour.

 "Not to pester you some more, but you wouldn't by chance know the way to the closest Walmart on foot, would you?" She thought to reiterate that she was new to the area, relatively speaking, but decided it should have been more or less implied if he cared enough to pay attention.
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#10
 Severin chuckled under his breath for her response, eyes crinkling softly again. It sure wasn't the same as spending fifty bucks on something you really wanted. He nodded his head in acknowledgment for her name - Loretta, like the old country singer. Hard to forget that one, probably.

 "Uh, well. It's about..." he trailed off, staring absently down the street as he tried to think about his commute here from the Glenn, grasping for the memory of where exactly he'd seen the big blue and white atrocity. "Ten or so miles back north. Off the interstate a little ways." His gaze tilted back to her, and he decided that maybe at this point, telling her good luck and toddling off was the more rude option here. She could turn him down if she wanted. "I would be happy to give you a ride, if you're comfortable with that." Maybe it was old fashioned of him, but the idea of some pretty young lady in a dress hoofing it along the highway just didn't sit right with him.
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#11
 She was quiet as she looked down at her keys while he thought it over, the distraction enough to mask her horror at his final answer save for the lift of her brows. Ten miles. Pardon the French, but, fuck. And while normally she would make the logical assumption that someone (particularly some relatively random man), offering a free ride, was most definitely interested in sawing her into little bitty pieces and sprinkling her across the map, he felt safe.

 Or perhaps that was just the fact that he had a nice smile - clean cut even if he was disgustingly sweaty. It didn't hurt that he seemed to be older, made her think it would be that much easier to fill him with some crippling sense of dread, drive a fist into his throat, and run like hell.

"... It wouldn't be too much of a hassle?"
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