1.18 On the Run. (Bonus Alternate Chapter)
This chapter is Rated PG 13
Author’s note: This chapter is an alternate chapter, and does in no way does this bonus chapter affect the current story line. To read the real chapter 1.18, please click HERE.
I was beyond frustrated with this chapter for over a week, and I finally figured out what was bothering me with it. Madeline has definitely grown from when we first met her in the first chapter, and this chapter just seemed so out of character for her. So, I decided to start it over again, and I’m much happier with the results. As much fun as I could have had with Mika and Madeline being on the run and traveling together, I just didn’t think it was something that would be true to the characters. Maybe the old Madeline would have been impulsive and selfish enough to disappear without a trace, but Madeline has grown since then, and I just couldn’t see her deliberately hurting her grandmother and loved ones in this way. I honestly believe that I made the right decision when I changed this chapter, and decided to go in another direction with the story.
I decided to release this chapter anyways just for fun, and to say a huge thank you to all who have been reading, commenting, and lurking at this story. It means more to me then you could possibly know! 🙂
Gas station: The Sims Resource.
World: Great Bear
Somewhere in Tennessee…
“You gotta be shittin’ me!” Mika pounded the steering wheel in frustration, jarring me awake. The car gave a wheeze like it was on its death-bed, and needed a priest to issue last rights.
“What’s going on?” I asked, my eyes widening when I saw the steam rising from the hood. This couldn’t be good, but what did I know about cars? I didn’t even have my driver’s license. Mika slowly pulled the car over to the shoulder of the road, his face pinched in a frown. He pounded the steering wheel again as if that was going to help.
“Piece of shit car.” He swore. “I’m surprised it made it this far actually.” Mika let out a bitter laugh.
“Where are we?” I asked, now that I was wide awake.
“We just crossed the border into Tennessee, you’ve been out since we left North Port. You feeling ok?”
“I feel fine. What are we going do now? I mean look around, we’re in the middle of bum fuck nowhere!” I began to fret, looking out the window with worried eyes. What I wouldn’t give to see a building right now, anything. Even a run down shack habited by cannibals would be comforting at this point
Mika threw open the car door and went around to the front of the car, and I scrambled behind him. Steam billowed from the hood, causing my eyes to water.
“Looks like a coolant leak.” Mika said after he popped the hood. “Damnit. I should have been paying more attention!”
I hated it when Mika was so hard on himself, I know he was stressed, hell I was too, who wouldn’t be in this situation? But I hated to see him beat himself up over something he had no control of. I looked at his red rimmed brown eyes, the lack of sleep apparent by the heavy dark circles around his eyes, that looked like someone marked him with ink. My heart went out to him.
“It’s not your fault, Mika. It’s an old car, these things happen.” I said leaning against the hood which was hot to the touch.
“It’s all my fault, I should have checked the fluids when we last stopped for gas.” Mika sighed staring down at the hood of the car. I watched him pace back and forth wishing there was something I could do to help out our situation.
I chewed my lip, feeling tears spring up behind my eyes. “Well it’s fine. We’ll just call a tow truck.” I picked up my cell phone and frowned. I had no signal. Of course. “Check your phone, do you have a signal?” I asked, starting to panic, staring up and down the empty road with wide eyes. How I would have loved to see another car right now.
Mika pulled his phone out of his pocket and frowned, a deep crease forming between his brows. “No signal. We’re between a Mountain pass, and they must be blocking the cell signals. Looks like I’m walking to town then, huh.” He let out a short laugh, running his hands through his dark hair which stood up at odd little tufts.
“We can’t walk, are you kidding me? Look around. There is nothing around for miles. If you think I’m going to stay here alone with a broken down car you are insane. If we are going to walk then I’m coming with you.”
As Mika locked up the car and loaded a couple of backpacks with food, I turned away from the car which still belched steam and instead let myself get swept away with the sheer natural beauty of the mountains. The sight took my breath away.
“Are you sure you want to go with. It’s going to be a long walk, I thought I saw a sign awhile back that said the nearest town was 10 miles away. You sure your up for this? We can just wait until another car comes by.” Mika asked, hefting the backpack up on his shoulder.
I nodded, there was no doubt in my mind. As much as I didn’t feel like walking ten miles to civilization, the thought of staying alone in the middle of nowhere seemed to be about as appealing as eating paste. “Yeah, I’m sure.”
“I’m so sorry about this. It’s my job to take care of you, and so far I’ve been doing a pretty piss poor job of that.” Mika said sadly, looking down at the grass, when he looked up his eyes were shiny with emotion. “Are you starting to regret that you came with me?”
I shook my head vehemently. “No.” I said honestly. “But I have so many questions, and I hate the thought of leaving my family behind. Eventually I’m going to have to tell them the truth. My grandmother, Jesus! This is going to kill her, it will be like losing Melissa all over again.” I couldn’t help it. I started to hyperventilate. Where was a paper bag when you needed one?
Mika put his hands on my face and leaned in close, his forehead touching mine. “Breathe, Madeline, it’s ok. We’ll get through this. I know right now it seems scary, but once we get to the cabin we’ll figure out what to do. Ok?”
I nodded, not trusting myself to speak.
“You ready?” Mika asked.
“As I’ll ever be.” I said, my mouth set in a thin line, not at all excited to walk ten miles to the nearest town, but what did I expect? Who ever said being on the lam was going to be easy?
As luck would have it, most of our trek ended up being downhill, and went by much quicker then I thought it would. My stomach let out a very un lady like grumble as a gas station and restaurant came into view, reminding me the importance of eating. I after all, was now eating for two.
“Looks like they have a garage, maybe they have a tow truck.” Mika said hopefully, some of the tension he had been carrying on his shoulders lessened.
“Hello?” Mika asked as we stepped inside the restaurant. The place reeked of motor oil and burnt rubber from the garage next door. I found it odd that anyone actually could eat here with the overpowering smell, then again, I had super sensitive pregnancy nose, and just about everything smelled off to me.
The door behind the counter opened, and a thin man in overalls and a ponytail stepped out with an easy-going smile. “Hello there, I was just about to close for the day. What can I do for you?”
“You don’t happen to have a tow truck do you? We broke down about ten miles back. Engine overheated.” Mika began.
“You’re in luck.” The man smiled. “I can give you a tow, and bring your car back to the shop. You’re lucky you came in when you did. My daughter and I were just about to leave for the day. There isn’t another shop around for miles. I’m Jeep Wheeler. I know, with a name like that, my parent’s doomed me to live a life of an auto mechanic.” He let out a rich laugh. I smiled, when I saw Mika smile in return, some of the tension draining from his shoulders.
“Your wife is welcome to stay inside and get a bite to eat, my daughter would love the company.” Jeep smiled. Neither of us bothered correcting Jeep. We weren’t married, and I had to wonder if someday that was a possibility.
After Mika and Jeep left in an ancient looking tow truck emblazoned with the wording ‘Wheeler’s Family Towing,’ in bright yellow I sat down at the red chipped formica tables and folded my hands leaning my chin on them. I yawned and rolled my shoulders, exhaustion setting in. I would have given anything at this moment to be back home laying in my own bed. I wondered what they would do with my apartment when the next rent check didn’t come in…
“Where you from darlin'” A brunette I assumed to be Jeep’s daughter came out from behind the counter with a smile. Her blue eyes were friendly and inquisitive.
“North Port City.” I yawned, not trying to be rude. I wasn’t sure making small talk with a stranger was something I was capable at this moment. No, right now, I wanted to be alone with my dark thoughts and try to think of a way out of Mika and I’s current situation.
“Oh. How exciting. I’ve always dreamed of living in the city, but my dad needs my help, and it’s just him and I. My mom left us a long time ago.”
“That’s too bad.” I said politely, trying to come up with a nice way to excuse myself from the conversation. Her name tag told me her name was April, and she seemed sweet, but I wasn’t in the mood for socialization.
To my chagrin, April pulled out the stool across from mine and sat down happily, completely oblivious to the fact that I wanted to be alone.
“So what brings you to Great Bear Tennessee?” April asked, picking up a salt and pepper shaker and moving it back and forth between each hand. She seemed to be the type of person who just couldn’t sit still, she was exhausting.
The real story would have made April’s head spin, so I lied. “Just traveling. Our car broke down ten miles back. I don’t know what we’re going to do now…” I said honestly. “Hey, do you have a phone I can use. My cell doesn’t have reception.”
“Yeah this area doesn’t have good reception, you won’t get service again until you reach the next town. Once you clear the mountains you’ll be fine. You can use that phone there.” April smiled, and pointed to the ancient looking phone mounted on the wall.
I know I shouldn’t make the phone call, but I had to hear a familiar voice. Even for just a little while I wanted to pretend that everything was fine with the world. I picked up the phone and dialed the familiar numbers.
I could have burst into tears at the sound of my Grandmother’s voice. “It’s me.” I said simply, hoping my voice didn’t waver, the last thing I wanted to do was make her worry about me.
“What’s wrong. Something’s wrong. I can tell by your voice.” My grandmother said quickly. I smiled slightly, she knew me so well.
“I’m just a little stressed with work, that’s all.” I lied. “I know you were coming to visit in a few days, but I will be out-of-town. I’m sorry.” I closed my eyes, feeling guilty at the lie, and leaned my head against the wall.
“Oh Madeline, whatever for?” She asked, her voice thick with disappointment.
“Work. I’m sorry, I couldn’t get out of it.” I frowned.
“I really need you to be there? Can’t you talk to your boss? I’m sure she’ll understand the situation.” My grandmother begged.
“No, I’m sorry. I already agreed to it. I’m already there actually.”
“Madeline…” Her voice was thick with disapproval. I hated to lie to her.
“I got to go. My boss is calling. I’ll call you later, ok? I love you. Please don’t forget that, ok?” I spoke quickly, feeling the tears coursing quickly down my cheeks. I hung up the phone before she could respond. I felt like my heart was breaking in two.
I was reading when the bell over the back door rang signaling the arrival of Mika and Jeep.
“How long till the car can be fixed?” I asked hopefully, not that I was that eager to get on the road again.
Mika scratched his neck absently looking exhausted and beyond stressed. “A couple of days. Jeep needs to order a couple of parts. Look’s like we are stuck here for a while. Jeep says there is a campsite just up the road.”
“Camping?” I asked incredulously. The thought of sleeping in a tent in some strange place was about as appealing as walking barefoot through the public restroom at a truck stop. “But we don’t even have a tent.”
“Madeline, they have cabins. You won’t have to sleep outside and rub two sticks together to stay warm. I promised I’d take care of you didn’t I?” Mika laughed slightly.
As Jeep dropped us off at the campgrounds, even I had to admit the view of the mountains was impressive, and once again, I was grateful that this campground boasted all the amenities of a hotel, but I was so tired that right now I just didn’t care. All I wanted was a bed and warm blankets.
Jeep offered to take Mika into town to buy some groceries, leaving me alone to explore on my own. I had to admit the cabin held a certain rustic charm, and as I turned the key to our cabin and entered, I was surprised at how clean it was inside.
I pulled back the thick blankets and flopped down onto the bed staring up at the lofted ceilings. This place couldn’t be cheap, and once again I was reminded of how dire our situation really was. Our pathetic sum of cash wouldn’t last forever. Had I known Mika and I were going to be on the run, I would have started saving every pathetic penny I had earned working at the bookstore. I laughed bitterly, closing my eyes with exhaustion.
“Honey, I’m home.” Mika crawled in beside me gathering me up in his arms. I turned, snuggling into his embrace, burying my head into his sweatshirt that smelled faintly of wood smoke, and pine needles.
I turned onto my side snuggling against Mika for warmth. I could feel his warm breath on my cheek as he reached around me laying his warm hands upon mine. I knew I should be happy, Mika and I were safe, and we were together, and that’s all that mattered. But as I closed my eyes, all I could see was my grandmother’s face as she cried, sitting at the kitchen table looking at old baby pictures of me, and wondering if I was safe, or if I was even alive. How could I do this to her? But did I really have a choice?
I hoped you enjoyed the alternate chapter! 🙂