Potholes along the way.

(continued from here )

Jillian didn't feel too guilty having Drew accompany her shopping. It had been his suggestion, after all, even if she jumped on it before he could take a breath. So far, other than the older Alpha, his date, and Hammer...all who were way outside of Jilli's peer group, Drew was the only person she had she might have had anything in common with, that she had spent more than ten minutes talking with.

Yes, there were a couple people in her classes that seemed nice enough, and who she spoke more than two words to, but as of yet time in class was as far as those friendships had gone. She hoped eventually she would fit in, and these school time relationships might blossom, and turn into more than just an occasional 'hi', and 'did you read that chapter last night'? But until they did, she was content to let things progress at their own pace.

Getting to know Drew better was better anyway, since they had the similarities in their backgrounds...the whole werewolf connection. This was something Jillian was only now starting to see as a possible hindrance in the way it could effect relationships with others. She wasn't anywhere near ready to make any commitments to someone, but it would come to that eventually...and then what?


"Almost there...I think...I drove by what looked like a mall on the way to the library, but didn't really give it much thought...which was kinda silly since I knew I had to go shopping at some point or another...I guess my mind was focused on Beowulf...though that didn't seem to last too long."

If she didn't know herself better, and realize that she would get back to the book probably later tonight, she might have had reason to be irritated for dropping her studying for shopping. But she did know she was a good student, and after having gone this route several times in her past, had no qualms about putting off her reading a little bit.

The parking structure was right where she remembered, and she breathed a sigh of relief pulling into it.


"There...not TOO painful, right?" Now that they had reached their destination, Jilli felt safe in looking at her passenger. Had she looked earlier, and seen him in too much discomfort, she probably would have driven slower. But then the ride would have drug out, and any pain Drew suffered would have been prolonged as well. All she could hope for now was that he still had that sense of good sportsman ship she thought she picked up on earlier.

Drew 14 years ago
He hadn’t been expecting Jillian to be an aggressive driver. It wasn’t like the Indy 500 or anything but, it was still a bit of a surprise. At least he didn’t white knuckle the whole way and embarrass himself.

“Now that’s a gift focusing on Beowulf over anything… or not letting anything distract you from Beowulf.”

Drew gave up trying to explaining himself, for some odd reason he couldn’t get the words to come out right. But they’d arrived and that was probably best for everyone. In his case, it meant he’d get circulation back to his ankles and he practically leapt out of the car and indulged in a long lanky leisurely stretch. That was much better.

“No worries at all. Not that I’ll be volunteering to drive cross country with you anytime soon, but around town we’re golden. Now, where to first?”

He pointed to one of those store lists with the typical ‘you are here’ dot on it and made –very- sure to note the section they’d parked in. He might not be able to get them back here but he could at least remember where he was looking for.
Jillian 14 years ago
She laughed to think focusing on anything was a gift, though then she thought again, and realized maybe it was. Unwilling to think about it either way, she just shrugged.

"Thanks, but I think if I had anything else to think about at the time, Beowulf would have lost."

She couldn't help but giggle to see how quickly Drew exited her car. Poor guy...he really was a good guy to go through that. Or she thought so until his next remark, to which her tongue peeked out of between her lips, directed toward him.

"And what was wrong with my driving? Cramped quarters aside? Did I break any laws?"

She asked vehemently, then quickly reran the drive in her head, making sure she hadn't missed any stop signs, or gone beyond the speed limit...by more than five miles.

Moving over to check out the directory, she also noticed the stores on each side of the doors from which they entered. Once was a baby clothes store, and the other was a cigar store...neither of which held any interest for her at all, but would be easy to remember.


"Ok...we're here...and...hmmm...AH! They have a Pottery Barn, and right next door is a Crate and Barrel...perfect."

She pointed at the letters that corresponded with the store names, and that they were just a few stores down from where they now stood.

"Oh! And look...there is a food court a little ways beyond, and a steak restaurant next door to that. How convenient!"

Promise the man meat, and with luck he'd not mind being a pack mule for a couple hours...she hoped.

"Ready?"
Drew 14 years ago
Drew laughed at the misunderstanding.

“OK let me rephrase that I’ll drive with you any where… in a different car. Legroom is my friend. Better?”

He grinned at her reaction to the mild confusion and skimmed the store list himself. Hmmm good one or two electronics stores, sports equipment and one geared for gamers. Not today, but if he needed something he’d be more or less OK here, that was good to know. He also noted the cigar store, the Old Dude had a birthday coming up, at least Drew thought he did. Eh, he’d call one of the sisters, they’d know.

“Then we start at Pottery Barn.”

Although if he saw one more ‘hand made’ pot in his life time he’d probably scream.

The store wasn’t anything he’d expected. Not at all, very little pottery and the furniture and such were much higher quality than he was used to at the few discount stores around home.


“OK you promised me not heavy lifting so how about we start with sheets and towels? Or maybe lamps. If you’re in school nothing beats a good desk lamp.”

He could use some sheets and towels himself now that he thought about it. Well not ‘need’ but it might be nice to mark his territory as it were.
Jillian 14 years ago
Someday, maybe, if she lived so long, Jillian Molinero might learn to hold her tongue and think more before spouting off. Feeling duly chastised for misinterpreting his comment about riding with her, Jilli blushed. Lucky for her, though her cheeks felt hot as a wood stove, she didn't think Drew would notice.

"Better." She smiled apologetically, caught his eye, then looked quickly away.

Walking in to the store, Jilli found she loved the scents all around her. Baskets, potpourri, wood, iron, all kinds of things that were put together to make furnishings, and lovely items people could put around their homes to make them unique, and homey. She had looked through catalogs for these stores ever since she could remember, but this was the first one she had ever actually been inside of.

Catching herself, Jilli turned to see where Drew was, and hoped he hadn't noticed her naivety.


"No worries Drew...sheets, towels, and maybe a frame or two...that's really all I need."

Looking around she saw what looked to be a large four poster bed off in the near distance, and started walking to it. It stood to reason sheets should be around beds, right? She was rewarded with shelves of sheets in the most beautiful colors she could imagine, and all of which reminded her of home.

"Help?" She cried in a tiny voice, then looked for her friend. "Sandy beige, sunset orange, waterfall blue...I can't decide! I'd buy them all, but...I really only need one set, for now. The suite came with a white set."

Looking at Drew with big eyes, Jillian really couldn't decide, and hoped he would have a more definitive opinion. "Would you choose? And then I'll just get towels of the same color." It really shouldn't have been such a difficult decision, and whatever was decided wasn't going to change the world, but even knowing that didn't make the choices any easier.

"I'm a pretty sad case, huh?"
Drew 14 years ago
“I still say you need a lamp. No eye strain for you.”

He had a mission, an odd one but a mission nonetheless and started to amble toward things with plugs. These were some damned strange lamps, did that one have a plant in it? It had better be fake. You know what, on second thought he didn’t care and didn’t want to know.

At the word 'help' he half charged to her. His instinct when someone asked for help was immediate and he wasn’t expecting it to be a color thing. He felt rather sheepish for over reacting but done was done.


“Whoa now, color picking was not part of the bargain. Lifting, toting, and reaching that’s what I signed up for.”

He teased her. But he did scowl at the sheets and try to make a decision, truth of the matter he didn’t much care about colors. Well, maybe a little now that he thought about it. White always made him feel like he was at a cheap hotel.

For a few seconds he chewed at his lower lip and actually considered the issue.


“I can think of sadder. Why not mix and match though? I sort of like the brown ones and the orange ones, get one of each.”

They reminded him of home. Although so did the blue but not as much.
Jillian 14 years ago
"Well maybe...there is a desk, but I thought the overhead light from the ceiling fan would work."

Jilli imagined sitting at the desk, using her laptop, writing papers, and researching. Back home there had been a desk lamp, but she sort of took it for granted she guessed.

Distracted again by the color of sheets, the desk lamp went on a back burner.


"Brilliant! That is such a fantastic idea...mixing and matching!" And Jilli was completely and seriously in agreement with his idea. Except for one thing...

"But I'm going to nix the orange for the blue, well, they're not really blue blue...more of a greenish blue. Anyway, I think the brown and the blue will go together famously!"

So okay now, she was going just a little overboard with the whole sheets and colors bit, but she couldn't help herself. Since she decided to drive east and meet up with her pack's Alpha, Jillian really hadn't made any other decisions.

Her classes were chosen by what was available, and what would be required for whatever major she finally decided on. Her suite was already furnished. Picking out sheets and towels wasn't anything that would have a lasting effect on her life, but it would definitely be something that would 'color' it...give it more depth...maybe even enhance her comfort. It was a little thing, this bit of decorating whimsy, but for Jilli it was symbolic of the beginning of her new life.

Before she started theorizing about how colors effected moods, and how important it was to create a soothing environment for sleeping, sure she would bore poor Drew to tears, she grabbed up the now customized sets, and thrust them into Drew's hands. After maneuvering him to the towel section, and selecting the same colors there, she piled them on top of the sheets.


"You're such a good guy, doing this for me. I think I'll skip the lamp today, and reassess the situation when I get home before making that decision. Lets go look at frames!"

And with that, Jilli was off. She had to change the subject because she had almost suggested Drew come to her place and look things over, knowing his opinion would probably make the choice for her.

It was a tricky rope to walk, this friendship thing, Jilli could already see how easily she could become dependent on him, using him as a substitute for her parents, when she knew darn well she had to learn to live on her own. She was NOT Drew's responsibility any more that she was to Xeph. It was just easier to avoid dumping that problem in Xeph's lap, because he was always so busy, and harder to catch time with.

But if Jilli wasn't careful, she was afraid she might just drive her new friend to the point of avoidance. And that was the very last thing she wanted.

So back to the frames, and why she needed them.

There were a couple paintings on the walls of her apartment, one over her bed, and one over the dining area. They were nice, but what was missing were photographs of her mom and dad. She had a couple photo albums nearly full of pictures, and had already chosen a few to display. Her favorites were of her parents on their wedding day, and one a friend had taken of the three of them shortly after Jilli's third birthday, seated on the couch, the happy family. There were a lot for her to choose from, but those two were just more important than any of the others. Those were the ones she wanted hung sooner, rather than later.
Drew 14 years ago
He was about to comment that it was all about the task lighting but she was off and running with colors. Drew was a little fascinated with her obsession with the sheets and almost went off into a tangent about the use of color and they symbolism behind them but he now had his arms full of sheets and it seemed inappropriate. Oh look towels.

Now he felt just at home. He got that ‘good guy’ line a lot. But he didn’t mind, he kind of liked it.


“No problem-o. Yeah I’m thinking we can do better on the lamp any way some of those are strange looking. Defiantly not desk appropriate.”

He cast another dubious backwards glance at the ‘plant lamp’. Some one had –way- too much time on their hands to design something like that.

“Frames it is. Are we talking art museum or snap shot? And do you have the pictures.”

Being the helpful nice guy meant Drew had been along on more than his share of shopping expeditions. Other than being helpful it wasn’t… well not his first choice but he liked being helpful. The side effect was he’d picked up more than he should about this sort of thing.

“Since you’re looking for color maybe some of those.”

He pointed to some enamel inlay frames. Way too much to spend on a frame if you asked him, but then he’d also just put a picture up on a cork board with a thumb tack and be happy.
Jillian 14 years ago
Jilli also cast a skeptical glance at several pieces she passed by in her foraging. She guessed the designs must go with someone's decor, or it didn't seem likely they pieces would sell. And if they didn't sell, then why would the store stock so many different but similar varieties.

"It does make you wonder what the rest of the house looks like." Grinning at him, she shook her head in dismay, and found the frames.

"Just family photos...but special ones. I don't have them with me, but I know the measurements."

When he mentioned colors, Jilli almost responded back that colors were reserved for sheets, towels, and pillows. But he was really being so sweet and helpful that this time she kept her mouth shut, and looked at the frames he showed her. Much to her amazement, she liked them.

"Huh...those really are nice." Looking at Drew, Jilli tried not to sound too shocked, but Drew was turning out to be a constant source of surprise.

"You have good tastes, well, I guess they're good, since I agree with them." She laughed, and had to wonder what other talents her friend had hidden.

"I think though, for the one's I've got in mind, simple might do better."

Picking up one of the enameled pieces, Jilli looked it over carefully, and ran a fingertip along the embellishments, appreciating just how well the frame seemed to have been crafted.

"But you know what? I'm going to get one...the small one..." They really were more expensive than Jilli had comfort in paying, but the small one was within her budget, as long as she stopped now.

"I don't have a photo for it yet, but I know the one I want to get for it."

Trying not to be too mysterious, Jilli would try to find a way to get her picture taken with Drew, and then put the framed result on her desk. Already the little things she was picking out for her home, were blossoming into just the touches she had hoped to find.

"That will have to do for now. I need to add up all that I've spent here today, and see what I have left, before I go overboard."

The settlement she received from the insurance company had been set up in trust, and she received monthly allotments, which would continue until she was twenty one. Once she became of age she would get the remaining five million in a lump sum. For now she was doing pretty good at living within her means.

"Have you worked up an appetite yet?"
Drew 14 years ago
Drew shivered, well pretended too at the idea of a house decorated to match those lamps.

“Good deal that’ll make it easy.”

Family photos, maybe he could think about that. Even away at school he’d never really kept any pictures about, not really it might be a good idea. Come to think of it did he have any, sure as hell not on him. Maybe he’d add those to his list… maybe… maybe not.

“I’ll take that as a ringing endorsement.”

He grinned at her.

Hmmm… simpler, he didn’t see anything much simpler. He also wasn’t sure if she really liked the frames or if was humoring him, but he was in the mood to be humored so either way was fine by him.


“If it doesn’t work out you can return it right? So no problems.”

Part of him was relived to be getting off with one store but he didn’t want her calling it on his account.

“Not so famished we couldn’t hit that other place if the damage here isn’t too bad.”

Drew understood budgets and it was all good. And hungry or not he wasn’t convinced a food court in a mall would cater to his peculiarities. He had yet to find one that did after all, well he could make due with what ever if he had to.
Jillian 14 years ago
Making comparisons between this shopping trip, ones Jilli used to make with her mom, and the few her dad went along on, this one seemed very enjoyable. Other than running to the market for a few odds and ends, Jilli just never shopped alone. She would have to try that too, now that it was a more likely possibility, but she didn't think it would be as much fun. Having another set of eyes, and opinions gave her insights she might miss otherwise.

Taking her booty to the register, once paid for she was ready to tackle another store. She could probably eat now, but it wouldn't kill her to wait either. Handing the bag to Drew, with a grin Jilli began the short trip to the next store.


"Oh, and by the way, I really HATE returning things, unless they just don't work...and I mean that in a mechanical way, not in a decorating way. I'm only telling you this now, because those things I don't return sometimes make their way into the hands of others, as gifts."

That was one of the bad habits she had picked up from her mother, who came up with the idea as a matter of expedience. Being pack Alpha, her mom was often in need of some small favor to give to someone in the pack who might be celebrating a birthday, graduation, wedding, etc. For the most part gifts were chosen specifically for the giftee, but on occasion her mom just didn't have time to find just the right thing. It was those times she relied on the small store of gifts they kept in their basement. It save her mom the time in returning the item, and in going out to buy something needed in the spur of the moment.

"Not that I would give 'you' something like that..." How embarrassing would that be, to give Drew something he was involved in the purchase of?! "Just in case you were to see this frame at Xeph's place, for instance." At least, whether they knew it or not, the recipient would be receiving something Jilli loved, even if she hadn't truly bought it with them in mind.

"Kinda tacky, huh?"

Oh well, now that she was living among what seemed to Jilli to be a more wealthy bunch of people, she might have to put her small town ways away. What had worked for her mother, might not work for her.

The next store was larger than the first, and seemed to have more choices, but also seemed to have more dining and kitchen things. At least that was what she saw on the ground floor...there was an upper level to this store that they couldn't see from where they were now.

Wandering around, Jilli saw a LOT of pretty glasses...all sizes and shapes, apparently for any kind of drink imaginable. Knives, forks, spoons...lots of different shaped ones of those too. Plates with so many patterns, and colors, and utensils! Oh wow, but they had so many things, and some pretty funny looking, that Jilli would have no idea how to use, and for what.

Holding up some random item, and giving Drew a very blank look, Jilli 'escaped' that part of the store, and headed for the escalator up.


"I guess I'll know where to come if I find I'm ever in need of one of those things." Which, as she might later come to find out, was a 'zester'.

Jilli had learned a few things at her mother's, and father's knees, but they were all basic things. Looking through her mother's cook book, Jilli had only recently decided to try her hand at something a bit more elaborate.

"Do you cook, at all?"
Drew 14 years ago
“A regifter! We have a regifter here!”

He wasn’t really shouting, he was however being goofy and dramatic. It wasn’t actually re-gifting the way she described it and it certainly wasn’t a bad thing. She’d taken the time and trouble to pick something out after all.

“I’ve heard tackier. At least it isn’t the rotating fruit cake thing.”

He grinned and shrugged it off.

Carrying the bags, he followed along to the next store.


“Me? Cook? Well a bit but mostly out of self preservation and not even much then.”

His own dietary preferences didn’t exactly call for great culinary skill. Raw good, cooked not as good. Was a bit of hell going out to eat with friends though.

“I guess you could say I’m a picky eater. It got to be a running joke when a group of us went out that I wanted every thing rare, even the desert. I mean some one once gave me a glass of milk and a graham cracker and told me it was a rare cheesecake.”

And he’d eaten it any way, just to prove a point.
Jillian 14 years ago
"Hush!"

Jilli was laughing as she punched Drew in the arm. He wasn't really being too loud, but loud enough that she knew anyone close would have heard him. She could feel her face flame.

She wasn't upset with him at all, finding just as much humor in the statement as he seemed to have in making it.

It was also becoming very apparent that Drew was not anyone to judge. His acceptance of her faults, as she seemed to be exhibiting them one by one, was incredibly generous. She wished she had known him a little better before she had ever intimated anything prejudicial about him at dinner that night. She was so relieved to find her new friend was compassionate and accepting.


"You sound like my dad..." Her mind drifted sadly to her father, but she returned quickly. "I think he would have eaten everything raw, if my mom had let him. Personally, I can go either way, but what usually decides it for me is how hungry I am."

Yes, Jilli had eaten elaborate Thanksgiving dinners that had taken hours to cook, and she had also taken a steak from its packaging, and eaten it tartare. The thing was, when she was hungry her concern was to eat, and not necessarily anything specific.

"I do enjoy food, but I HATE that gnawing feeling I get in my stomach when its been too long since my last meal." She laughed again, about to give away another one of her less than fashionable flaws. "Kind of makes me think of what it might be to have my stomach get so hungry that it would turn on the rest of my body, from the inside out!"

Okay...definitely not the best kind of conversation to be having with a cute boy in the middle of a store.

His definition of raw cheesecake had her laughing again.


"I'll have to see if I can make my mom's cheesecake recipe, and have you over to test it out on. That was something she could make better than any other I've ever tried."

Conversation died down a little when Jilli's eyes caught some colorful dinnerware. Though she had boxed up her mom's china, and had it with her, it wasn't really the style that Jillian felt was 'her'. She would never part with her mom's china, knowing how it had been treasured, and she knew she could still use it for special occasions, but having something more practical seemed a good idea now too.

Inspecting the plates , Jilli was excited to see some placemats and napkins on the next table over, that she thought would look smashing together.


"The power of suggestion can be a heady thing, my friend." Looking at the plates, almost in awe, Jilli decided on a small set of four: red, green, blue, and purple.

"My place now is rather muted...you know, earthy colored furniture, carpet, and like that...this would be fun to have for meals, as a way to brighten things up a little...don't you think?"

Until now she had been so absorbed in the pretty dishes and colors that she hadn't been paying attention to Drew. Looking up, to make sure he was nearby, and hopefully looking as well, Jilli snickered as she remembered he was a boy, and probably not too interested.

"Good guy, funny guy, and so patient too boot! As old as you are Drew, I'm really surprised some girl didn't lasso you in a couple years ago."

Of course, since she knew next to nothing of his history, she also knew there could be any number of reasons why Drew was still unattached, including the fact that he just wanted to be. Or...he could be gay...he could be recovering from a nasty romance...he had yet to find his soul mate...

Jilli blinked and looked up after finding herself daydreaming again. Hopefully Drew wasn't finding her too scatterbrained.
Drew 14 years ago
Drew just grinned and rubbed his arm she she’d punched him. It wasn’t much of a sting.

He thought he saw a shadow of something cross her face when she mentioned her dad. Maybe he’d been imagining it but he thought there was something there. Although even if there was if Jillian wasn’t going to dwell on it he wasn’t going to harp on it. Talking was therapeutic but talking and talking and talking and worse yet being forced to talk probably just made things worse.


“Right note to self let the lady set the feeing schedule from here out. It sounds like you could be dangerous when not well fed.”

That sounded good, the cheesecake that is and he licked his lips.

“If you find it I’ll test it. Free of charge even.”

Hmmm the plates and placemat were different. Again he chewed his lip and mulled over the colors.

“I dig the placemats but I’m not sure about the plates. I’m not sure I could eat off something blue, it seems sort of… … odd.”

He really did picture, or try too, dinner on blue plates and it was distracting sort of like eating the cookie monster. The green and red weren’t much better.

Huh what? Drew did an excellent deer in the headlights imitation, he was half afraid he was being set up and just didn’t know how to respond. Reprocessing what had been said he decided he was actually safe. … well for now. And safe meant he could laugh.


“Way too young for that… and a few have tried but I’m a wily sort. Keep escaping.”
Jillian 14 years ago
Seriously addressing the issue of feeding, Jilli nodded sternly.

"Seems to be a consensus. Whenever my dad would call me in to dinner, he'd open the door wide, and stand back to the side, out of my way." Ending her statement with a grin, Jilli then also winked. What she didn't reveal was that her fervor during the dinner hour had been caused by a combination of hunger AND the need to get back outside before daylight disappeared and she would be called back inside for the evening.

It was encouraging to see Drew anticipated her cheesecake, and gave her the added incentive to make it soon. She could offer it as a small repayment for his kindness now, in helping her shop. Jilli never wanted anyone to think she took such things for granted.

Trying to see food on the plates was easy for her, but trying to see how it would be unappealing was not.


"Then for you, Mr. Andrew Denaly...I will serve with only my best china."

In fact, if she were ever lucky enough to have guests for dinner, she would do that without question. These plates were going to be for her to use daily, and she couldn't see the problems he confided.

"Although...it would seem to me that raw steak on the red plate might look very appetising. Or, if you look at the green as a huge lettuce leaf...?"

It didn't matter to her what she ate off. Food was food, even if served on the floor. Of course there was the matter of dirt on the floor, and hungry or not, Jilli wasn't that much of an animal.

A giggle erupted from inside her when he looked so shocked by her question. She couldn't imagine what was surprising about it, but listened to find out.


"I guess mid twenties can be too young for a guy, even if my dad was still in his teens when he married my mom. Everyone is different..." And just because he didn't have a steady girl now didn't prove anything, except possibly what he had confessed to.

And just because her mother had married at about the age Jilli was now, didn't mean her thoughts were even remotely close at this time of HER life. Giving Drew an appraising look, Jilli nodded.


"Yea, you do have the look of someone who would be difficult to corral. But I'll bet when you meet the right one, you'll be more than willing."

Her eyes twinkled as that idea formed a picture in her mind, and she considered how lucky the girl would be, who one day roped in her friend.

Now that she had looked at the dishes for a considerable time, comparing them to others in the store, Jilli decided she would buy them, and the place mats, and that would be the end of her buying power for now. Getting a sales woman's attention, she asked for a box of the dinnerware, and picked up the place mats she needed. The walk to the register was short, so they had to wait a few minutes while the dishes were brought up from the stockroom, but soon had everything in arm, and paid for.


"I think I've done enough damage for now, so either we go someplace for you now, or we eat."

Her gaze was expectant and she knew she would be fine with either decision. She didn't mind more shopping, as long as she didn't need to be doing the paying.
Drew 14 years ago
“I can see where a little thing like you could be deadly when it came feeding time.”

And he could too, although he was teasing mostly.

“And failing china I can round up some paper plates.”

He countered. Truthfully, he never really noticed what he ate off of, just so long as it was clean.

“Red detracts from the color of the meat it self.” He said sagely, “But as long as you don’t expect me to eat the lettuces, well at least not much of it, we’ll be fine with the green. I think.”

Drew just couldn’t imagine getting married so young. Lord, he still had a ton to do before he could even think about starting a family.

Giving his best wise old man, one he’d learned from his grandfather, nod he agreed.


“Difficult in the extreme that’s me. But did you consider no one would have me?”

Which wasn’t strictly true, but Drew didn’t like to over estimate his box office appeal either. He fell into the good guy/friend category more often than he liked to admit, not always but enough to keep him humble.

Helping, or trying to help, as she boxed up what ones she liked he helped with getting things to the register and with out thinking about it just added the box of dishes to the goodies from the other store. In short, living up to his promise to be a pack mule; not quite a mule she didn’t have that much.


“Saving most of my cash for a ride, so as long as you promise not to trample me on the way to the food court I vote we eat.”
Jillian 14 years ago
"I'll remember my hand signals."

Jilli laughed to imagine high-tailing it to the restaurant with no regard for anyone in her path.

It was inconceivable for her to think of anyone not having a car. Maybe it was because her pack compound in Elko had been pretty far from anywhere else, but Jilli had access to a car as soon as she was big enough to drive, and once she had her license, her parents saw to it that she had a vehicle of her own.

Looking back, it was difficult to see some of the things she drove, and call them cars. But technically that's what they were, even if one had no back window, one had no air conditioning, and one barely had a back seat. At least they were all safe when it came to being driven, even if they had been UGLY! And, they all got her to where she needed to go.

More interested in the steak house, than the food court, Jilli directed them in that direction once they left the store. The conversation about his qualifications for a 'partner' were left alone for now. Whether he saw himself as 'couple' material or not, Jilli did. But then she still didn't know him very well...perhaps he had a side that she hadn't seen...one that would make him less than desirable.


"Any thoughts on what kind of car you want to get? How about a motorcycle...they're considerably less expensive? But before I forget, if you do ever need a ride, and I'm around, you can call me up, and I'll be happy to oblige."

It was the least she could do, to offer services she could provide, in return for the favor he was doing her.

"It's not like I don't have a lot of free time, when I'm not in school, or that my social life is so full and exciting that I have anything else at all to do."

Walking through the mall, Jilli's mind was focused on the conversation, even if her eyes were busy taking in all the sites. Not only were the stores of interest to her, but the people! So many people, and so many looks to them! One girl passed by, in a small group of other girls, all of whom seemed to be covered in piercings, and tattoos, and dressed in black, with black hair and nails as well. Jilli did a good job of stifling her surprise, and distaste, but she certainly noticed them.

"Wow, I...just...hmmm...that all seems like it would have been so painful."

Looking up to Drew then, and to him as a source of experience and knowledge, if for no other reason than his age, Jilli wondered how he felt about such things.

"I mean, the tattoos can be pretty...but..." Shaking her head in confusion, Jilli just couldn't wrap her mind around why someone would want all those silver studs, and rings stuck all over their faces. There had been a few people in her pack who had gotten their noses pierced, and a couple guys wore an earring or two, but that was the extent of what she had been exposed to.

She quickly scanned Drew's visible body parts to see if she had again stepped into it, and insulted him by her lack of sensitivity.
Drew 14 years ago
Drew was happy enough to be pointed in just about any direction right now and so simply followed along.

“Well I had a pick up back home and I’m half looking for the same here. I suppose it isn’t terribly practical for city life though.”

Hmmmm a motorcycle, he hadn’t thought of that. It would be easier to park and better on gas, but it would be a pain in the cold and rain though. Still might bear thinking about.

“I hadn’t thought of a bike, seems like they’ve got some serious pros and cons. I might just consider it though. I’d also have to learn how to ride it and get a license but I won’t rule it out.”

Her offer of a ride was sweet and he appreciated it. He’d also take her up on it if he was stuck but for now he laughed.

“Yeah you say that now and then a big test comes up and you can’t get away or you wind up with a date and then I wind up feeling guilty and awkward…”

His eyes followed hers and he wasn’t surprised at the one who seemed to catch Jillian’s attention. He may have been from a back water town, but at least he’d seen one or two good sized cities and Flag had their own set of college odd balls so he wasn’t so taken aback.

“They tell me some of them are, at least at first or to get. At least as far as the piercing go. Well the tats too actually, it depends on where you get them is what I understand.”

Catching the quick scanning look Drew made what he though was a pretty fair guess of what she was thinking and chuckled at her.

“Nope, none for me not yet. I’m sure I’ll wind up with some ink but I’ll also have to live with it a long time so I want to make sure its right.”
Jillian 14 years ago
She was glad to see her suggestion of a motorcycle had merit, and that maybe she had been helpful to Drew.

"Well if you do get a bike, I get first dibs on a ride!"

That only seemed fair, and Jilli really liked riding on motorcycles. Hearing the subject of dating come up, was kind of coincidental, since she once had a pretty mad crush on a boy who had a bike. But up till now he was about the only boy she had shown any interest in, and as far as he had been concerned, Jilli didn't exist.

"I don't think you have to worry about me being busy dating...that's not anything I'm interested in right now, and I don't see that changing any time soon."

Jilli shrugged as they walked. It was a bit of a relief when THAT subject went by the wayside.

"Do you really think you'll get a tattoo?" Her eyes were filled with awe, and a new interest in the subject, once she heard Drew wasn't adverse to the idea. It couldn't be that terrible if he was considering getting one.

"Have you thought about it long enough to have anything in mind?"

There was an entrance to the steak house from the street level, as well as the mall, and as they approached Jilli got a good whiff of grilled meat. Until now she hadn't thought she was very hungry, but the way her mouth began to water changed her mind.

The door to the place was propped open so Jilli proceeded to enter and tell the hostess there were two of them. The place was pretty crowded but they managed to get seated just minutes after arriving. Once shown to a nice booth, Jilli sat, and picked up a menu.


"Seems better than fast food...at least they have a nice selection to choose from."

Perusing the menu, it didn't take her long to make a decision. Closing her menu she looked over at Drew to see if he was having an easy time with his choices.
Drew 14 years ago
“You are either very brave or slightly crazy. But if I do you’re on.”

Drew wasn’t 100% sure, he wanted to be his own first passenger if he got a bike. But they could cross that bridge if and when they came to it.

He just snorted at the idea she wasn’t interested. It probably wouldn’t be hard to change her mind, but maybe not until things settled down for her a bit. Losing both folks undoubtedly would take the wind out of anyone’s sails


“I play with the idea now and again. Since I keep coming back to it, I’m sure I’ll do it eventually, it’s just a question of when. I’ve more or less ruled out anything tribal, for obvious reasons.”

No way in hell was he going to be branded as some kind of freaky poser or trend follower, nope he was the genuine article thank you very much.

“Well maybe but it would have to be ours and it wouldn’t be on display.”

No armbands or biceps, something like that would probably go on his chest where it wouldn’t be seen too often.

“And I’m thinking I’d pass on anything lupine. But you never know. Whatever it is it would have to hold some significance.”

It wouldn’t be just art for him. Some people could do that and more power too them, but if Drew was going to let any one stick a needle into him repeatedly it had to be for something that meant something.

He let Jillian take charge and get them settled and made a quick scan of the menu. OK meat, good done, now to talk them into extremely rare. Most places hated that, damned health concerns.


“What about you no ink? You know with the black light tattoos, and I even know some people who have all white ones, it’s a lot easier to get away with in a corporate environment. If you planed on being a suit or something like that.”
Jillian 14 years ago
Giving him a slight smirk, Jilli let Drew draw whatever conclusion he might between her possible bravery, or craziness. Although she was a little pleased that he might see her as brave, she couldn't recall ever having done anything brave in her life. But it was a rhetorical question that didn't require a response anyway.

Talking about tattoos left Jilli feeling a little unsettled. She did have to admit from an aesthetic viewpoint there was something intriguing about having something like that adorn your body. If you did have a pretty picture of something you loved, you could enjoy it all the time, anywhere, at any time. Maybe if there was something like that out in the world that she felt really passionate about, it would be easier to consider. But there wasn't, and, well, why would she intentionally have that kind of pain inflicted on her body!?


"I'll have the double house burger, rare, everything on it, an order of cheese fries, the hot wing appetizer, and a chocolate shake. No, better make it an ice tea."

The waitress was prompt and smiley, and Jilli was glad to see they wouldn't have to wait. She fiddled with her napkin while Drew ordered, still thinking about the whole tattoo deal.

"Maybe...if I ever had something in my life that I wanted to think about forever after...I guess I might consider one. And I have to admit, the idea of a white one that didn't show up except under a black light...that does make it all a little more appealing, but then you miss out on all the pretty colors." Another laugh bubbled out as the rest of his comment caught up with her.

"I have some ideas about what I want to do when I get out of school, but being cooped up inside, wearing a suit and heels isn't one of them. But seriously, do they have tattoos like that, or are you teasing me?"

She wouldn't have minded being teased, but she would want to know about it before she were to possibly make a fool of herself by asking about a black light tattoo some day. She narrowed her eyes, waiting for Drew to come clean, and tried to keep the grin from claiming her face. At this point Jilli doubted Drew would ever be mean to her...tease yes, intentionally make fun of...well...not in a mean way.

She hoped.


"If you do decide to get one, and don't mind a tag-a-long, I'd like to come watch."

Jilli smiled as she invited herself along with him on a second outing, and then frowned when it occurred to her that she was acting like a nine year old little sister. Ugh, she was really going to need to make a conscious effort to make more friends before she drove the only one she now had away. Pathetic, thy name is Jillian.

Saved when the waitress returned with drinks, Jilli stuck her straw in her tea and drank heavily.