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Lions and temples and wolves, oh my



 
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Dovima Bastet

Vee stared at the cell phone resting in her hand. The white numbers indicating the time and date stared back at her. Patient. All the time in the world. No pun intended. Maybe a little. She chuckled once at her own flat joke.

Growling at herself in frustration, the blonde shook her head, tossing loose locks around her face. It was only a phone call. Dial the number. Break the news. Why was she struggling to follow through? It wasn’t a big deal to tell a person they were headed out of the country… on a harebrained adventure due to vivid dreams which rocked her to the marrow of her bones.

Yeah, nothing odd about that. Like a plot from a low budget movie, and the root of her disquiet. Vee did not become unbalanced or ungrounded easily. This felt real to the point she was doing something about it.

It wasn’t as if she intended to tell him everything. Vee liked the man. Took pleasure in his company. Even trusted him, to a point. She considered him a friend. As such, the phone call.

Steeling herself, she unlocked the phone, pulled up Tucker’s name and touched the call symbol. It began to ring.

Don’t pick up. Don’t pick up. Please go to voicemail.
August 27, 2017 06:07 pm

Tucker Reid

Monotonous work.

If there were a theme that would come to define the declining trajectory of his life, it would be monotonous work. The mortuary was a symbol of ultimate deception. It's not as if he was expecting his fathers work to supplement the excitement he had been missing in his life, but Tucker was simply hoping for more. Work that satisfied him. Relationships that fulfilled him. He wanted what any simple human being wanted for themselves.

Complacency.

Which is the exact opposite of the business he was carrying out at Reid Funeral Home. The gratitude earned from loved ones of people who'd passed may have been enough to sate the dwindled appetite of his employees, but it wasn't enough for him.

There's a cog in his intellectual wheelhouse. Tucker absolutely cannot look at one more piece of paperwork, or one more number. No more requests for a Sunday service, because it's 'The Lord's Day'.

Lady, your son was a drug addict. He didn't give a sh!t about the Lord.

The ringing of his cell phone was a welcomed distraction. It vibrates against a pile of loose white papers, garnering his attention even as the name 'V' flashed across the screen.

He lets it ring for a few seconds, because he doesn't want to seem too eager to answer. The woman's company had been one in the few that he had enjoyed since arriving in the city. It was more than he could say for a lot of people that he had come across in his travels.

Tucker clears his throat and presses the green bubble on the screen.

"Hello?"
August 27, 2017 06:31 pm

Dovima Bastet

Another ring or two and Vee would leave a quick, generic voicemail outlining the trip and how she’d be back soon. She was telling him because she didn’t want him to worry should he text and didn’t receive an answer. The woman wasn’t big into social media, so the likelihood of him discovering her whereabouts through that avenue were slim to none.

The deep, familiar voice answering on the other end of the line made Vee sit up straight from where she’d began to recline. “Tucker. Hi. I...”

...was hoping you weren’t going to answer, so I could take the easy way out. The words were on the tip of her tongue, but she wrangled them into submission and they stayed unspoken. She gave herself a mental kick. Focus, woman.

“...wanted to tell you that I’m going out of the country for a while,” Vee spoke as if struggling to collect her thoughts and get out what she wanted to say. Anyone who knew her at all knew she rarely had awkward moments, or projected anything but confidence and chill. “Because I didn’t want you to worry. I don’t know what kind of cell coverage they have in Egypt and if your message or call would come through.”

It sounded lame to her. Worse than lame.

“Have you ever had something happen to you that threw you off your stride so badly that you barely recognized yourself anymore?” The question burst out before she could stop it, venting her frustration. “Sorry… I’m tired. Haven’t been sleeping well. Anxious about the trip.”

All true, despite not offering details. Vee figured the man would think she’d lost her sh-t if she explained everything.

“So. Yeah. I just wanted to let you know.”

Well done, Vee. Could you have been any more awkward? F-ck sake.
August 27, 2017 09:37 pm

Tucker Reid

Tucker sits back against the uncomfortable curve of his wooden chair. It digs into his back and is far too small for the stocky man, but it's better than standing. Pacing. Which is what he would have done had he allowed instinct to take over once he'd answered the phone.

His listening ears are on and he's tentative to her words, although he fights through confusion at first as Vee seems to stumble over her objective.

The woman is going out of the country and she doesn't want him to worry about her absence. Tucker's interest is piqued, especially because it was likely he wouldn't have known otherwise. Not unless a late night at the office resulted in his desire to slough off the day with unique company. Mostly because he wasn't the most forward type of man.

Either way, she can't see the way he simpers on his end of the phone. It affirms his gratitude for her consideration.

"Egypt?" Tucker questions now, his silence disrupted by a rough curiosity. Maybe he wouldn't have begun to prod if Vee wasn't so obviously in the trouble she had explaining herself. "What's got you so anxious about the journey, Vee?"

It's a simple question, but he's not entirely expectant in her response. Instead he backtracks, allowing silence to once again fill the air between them before he presses an alternative.

"Never mind. Would you, um-" Tucker tugs at his free ear, a nervous tick scratching at the lobe, "Can I see you before you go?"
August 28, 2017 02:06 pm

Dovima Bastet

Vee did her best to focus on Tucker. She’d been the one to reach out to him in the first place, but the nagging drive to go made it a difficult prospect. Wanting to at least try to burn off excess energy, she stood from the chair and began to pace. The exact opposite as the man on the other end of the phone, unbeknownst to either of them.

Vee’s lioness paced with her. Normally docile, she, too, had been restless since the dreams began. She wanted to run. Be free. Hunt. Stretch her claws and-

Tucker’s voice in her ear snapped her back to reality. It was then she noticed the way the fingers on both hands had curled into the shape of claws, and the beds of her nails ached. The cell phone creaked under the pressure. Her lioness wanted out. Any other day, Vee’s control was absolute. This new turn of events rattled her further.

"Can I see you before you go?"

The knee jerk reaction was a resounding NO, and so unlike her, the pacing stuttered to a halt. When did she not make time for friends? Tucker, especially. Vee never declined a visit, much to the dismay of her parents.

“Yeah,” she felt herself smile. Tucker would hear it in her voice. “I’d like that. Tell me where and when, and I’ll be there.”
August 30, 2017 10:48 am

Tucker Reid

Never mind that sitting business. Somehow, Tucker managed to find his feet while he waited impatiently for Vee to answer. He tries his best to remain level- to mask the turbulence in his voice that would give him away as being eager or overwrought.

But she agrees to see him, and though he can't be sure, Tucker is almost positive that he can hear the anxiety dissipate from Vee on the other end of the line.

"Great. You remember where my apartment is? There's a coffee place a block down. Or if my shop is closer, lunch?" It's possible that he's slipped past assiduous as the words pour from his lips with too much energy."I mean, whatever is more convenient for you."

Way to keep your cool, Tuck.
September 08, 2017 03:01 pm

Dovima Bastet

A visit. Coffee. Lunch. The prospect of such normalcy helped further soothe Vee’s nerves. Hearing Tucker’s words and intonation made her smile spread. All he needed was to clear his throat and the cliché ’awkward’ would be complete. She imaged him fidgeting on the other end of the line and found it endearing.

It reminded Vee of the day they met. He crashed into her on the sidewalk. Groceries everywhere. Awkward then, too, but also charming.

She considered the options and nodded to herself. “Your shop, since you offered it up. I can bring Thai again,” Vee grinned. The meal promised to be a hot one if he took her up on it and they both knew it. “Or, I’ll meet you there and you can surprise me. As long as there’s meat involved, I’m down.”

There was a brief pause. “Aaaand, maybe a tour of the place? Curiosity got the cat.”

If you only knew how accurate that phrase is in my particular case… The thought made Vee wonder. How might Tucker react if he knew? Could he handle the truth?
October 02, 2017 12:45 pm

Tucker Reid

Tucker is nodding on his end of the line. Seconds pass before he realises that she can't actually see him nodding, and he would need to verbally confirm the plan. It sounded fine to him. Easy. Food and conversation. Two of Tucker's favorite things.

"The shop works. I'm already here, anyway." He couldn't remember just then if they'd ever discussed that the shop was actually a funeral home. It made him wonder what she would think about the man's profession being a mortician.

Actually, he's pretty sure she's not going to mind. She might even find it interesting. People around here were weird.

"I love thai food. I think you know that." Tucker laughs quietly, "If you get lost, just give me a call. You remember the address?"
October 10, 2017 03:56 pm
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