Prompt: I was feeling really inspired to continue the story from October 22nd, so I did just that. 🙂
The look of pure shock didn’t leave Lydia’s face for at least five minutes. “So please explain to me how the hell this just happened?”
Mags just smiled as the truck continued down the highway. “Well I was set to meet y’all at around seven, but I ended up getting in a little early and decided to eat. Then I saw you and figured it might be easiest to just play dumb for a little while.” The truck turned off the highway and rode into a small town. Lydia didn’t speak as the pulled into the parking lot of the only eating establishment that seemed to be around. “Okay, so I am truly starved.” Mags put the truck in park and killed the engine. “How about before you freak out and make a mad dash to the highway, we have some lunch and talk about how things are going to work.” Lydia was hungry enough to just nod and head into the restaurant.
Lydia stared at Mags over a limp salad in the booth of some non-descript diner. “So how did you even know it was me?” she said.
“Well, they did give me SOME information before you got here, such as a picture. They also told me that it may be difficult to get you to come back with me, which I can understand. Being a city girl is not going to be easy back at The Fort. It’s quite a bit different from the bright lights.” Lydia just couldn’t even imagine the hell-hole she was being dragged to, but images of hillbillies drinking moonshine and cuddling with their sister-wives kept crossing her mind.
“So,” Lydia pushed her salad around the plate uninterested. “Do you have a farm or something?” .
“Or something is more like it.” Mags replied. “Look I know that you don’t want to move to Fort Fraser with me, but I have a proposition for you.” Lydia looked up for the first time since sitting down.
“Okay.” The hesitation in her voice was evident as Mags shifted in the booth, leaning in closer to Lydia.
“One summer, that’s it. If you give me one summer and you still hate everything about the town by September, I will let you go back to the city.” Lydia was not willing to even give a summer to this god forsaken town that she imagined as a giant pit in the ground. However, it was not like she was going to be escaping from here, so she too would play along.
“Okay. One summer.”
Mags smiled and leaned back into her seat. “Well we have about 4 more hours of driving to get back to the Fort, but we need to make a detour and get you some things. I called Alison and they will be shipping your belongings up to the house, but that may take a few weeks. If we are going to make it back before dinner we should get going though!” With that, Mags threw a $20 on the table and started for the truck. Lydia was a little slower on the uptake and was feeling more shock and confusion that she had in a long time. Mags already had the windows down and the engine roaring; Lydia hopped in and tried to relax. It would have been easier if she had just been a serial killer.
They pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot about an hour later, and the ride had been mostly silent. “So,” Mags sighed as she grabbed a cart and headed towards the front of the store. “what do you eat? I want to make sure we have your favourites.” Mags’ smiled was so genuine that Lydia smiled back slightly.
“Well, I am a vegetarian, is that okay?”
“Of course it is! As long as you don’t mind if I eat meat every once and a while.” Lydia just shook her head and aimed for the produce section. Mags truly let Lydia pick what she wanted: Kale, organic bananas, even some tofurkey. They also grabbed some deodorant, toothbrush, a new hairbrush, everything Lydia might need.
“Last stop: Clothes.” Mags pushed the almost full cart into the correct section. “Pick out two outfits, whatever you want but you need to get a pair of work pants. Cargo pants would probably be best.”
Lydia hadn’t worn cargo pants in years, but she rifled through the racks to find the least ridiculous pair and threw them in the cart. The shirts will be a bit more difficult as her style had evolved into a mix between goth and hipster-punk and Wal-Mart didn’t usually stock its shelves with ironic shirts. Lydia finally decided on two shirts that were not awful and turned to Mags. “Thank you for these Margaret.” Lydia mumbled.
Mags just simply raised her hand in protest. “No thanks needed. Now remember it’s Mags. Forget again and I will make you wear that.” Lydia looked up to what she was pointing to: A Hello Kitty tee-shirt in bright pink. Mags was clearly just joking, but Lydia just shrugged and pushed the cart down towards the checkouts.
The truck was loaded and they were back on the road when Mags tried to strum up some conversation. “What’s you story Miss Lydia?” This is something Lydia was used to being asked by almost everyone when she moved into someone else’s life.
“Mom left when I was 12, drugs for the most part, then I was placed in the foster care system, didn’t work out for various reason with various families and now I am here.” Lydia sounded like she was reading an ingredients list off a soup can rather than sharing a personal story.
“Well I got most of that from the file they sent me. I was hoping for a little more than that.”
Lydia just shrugged and leaned her shoulder into the window of the truck, her hair blowing out the window. Mags seemed to let the subject go, and opted to turn up the radio instead, which Lydia was grateful for.
Fort Fraser was small; Infinitesimally small. No malls, no movie theatres, not even a Starbucks. Just a church, a diner, a small grocery store and a clothing store that seemed to mostly sell workwear.
Lydia’s culture shock must have been evident on her face as Mags tried to pat her shoulder reassuringly. “I know it’s small, but boy does it have character.” Character? Lydia felt like laughing and screaming at the same time, which resulted in a snicker. How am I going to survive even a day here? First chance I get I am getting the hell out of here.
At this point it seemed plausible that Mags was psychic, as she seemed to know exactly what Lydia is planning. “Well, I know that you are not going to go back on our deal, mostly because there is no way out of here without a car. No greyhound, no airport, no nothing.” Mags was still smiling even though what she was saying sounded like a mild threat. “Give it a chance, you have nothing to lose by doing so.”
They turned down a small gravel trail that crunched beneath the truck’s wheels. In five minutes they were at the top of the hill and Lydia could see the house that was supposed to be here new home. House might not be the right word; Cabin might fit better. It was built completely out of wood and styled after old log cabins that you see at a summer camp. The front porch had a stereotypical rocking chair on it and upstairs bedroom had a small balcony that gazed down the hill and across the surrounding forest.
Lydia was geniuenly shocked; She had never been surrounded by this much nature. Never been camping, hiking, or anything even remotely outdoors, unless you count sleeping on a park bench once. “So this is our place.” Mags opened the front door and went inside with some of the bags from Wal-Mart, but Lydia just stared at her surroundings. “Well, are you coming in?”