A black challenger pulled into a boring lot. Nothing around it seemed very exciting or unique. However, her father had taken her to a hole in the wall place once that had food that was absurdly delicious, Phoebe’s Diner. It was a bit of a drive from where she came from but she could relax in the diner without anyone she knew being there.
Ali entered the store and waved at the staff who recognized her before sitting down at a table. A cup of decaf, a bowl of shrimp & grits and a possibly slice of some sort of heaven for dessert was all she wanted right now. A tangled mess of headphones came out of her pocket as she started to zone out to peaceful folk music. A sigh of relief. “Everything is perfect.”
A world ending voice interrupted her comfort from behind her. “I’m sure. Since I’m here.” She turned around to see JC and Will standing there to her horror. Ali pulled her earbud out. “No. No, you can’t be here.” JC pulled a chair over and sat down on it backwards. He leaned forward to smile at her. “And why not?” Will pulled over his own chair and relaxed. Ali looked at the two of them desperately. “Because this is my happy place. Mine.”
JC cracked up laughing. “Happy place? I mean come on… You just hand these things to me on a silver platter.” Will shook his head. “Be nice.” The waitress came over with a large smile on her face. “Ali, who are these two fine gentleman you brought along.” Will smiled at her. “Her cousin.” The waitress turned to JC. “And you, handsome?”
With a quick smirk at Ali, he smiled at the waitress. “Her cousin’s single friend.” The waitress giggled to herself. Ali groaning. Will, however, seemed to just scan over the menu. He was too used to this. The waitress smiled brightly at him. “My name is Cherry… In case you were waiting to ask.”
JC leaned forward to gently take her hand in his. As if he was acting out a romance movie he gracefully shook her hand. “JC.” Ali watched her face turn a pale pink. It was disgusting. She turned to look at Will exasperated. He was supposed to be the one who kept him on a leash. Will looked up at the waitress. “Some tacos please.” She nodded her head.
JC taking a peak at the menu. “Pancakes.” The waitress nodded her head. Before walking away he dropped a line that should have not come off well but somehow entranced her. “I have a bit of a sweet tooth… I may need a Cherry on top.” She disappeared clinging the menus to her chest and giggling like a school girl.
Ali put her head down on the table. “I can never eat here again.” JC’s face appeared next to her. “You’re welcome.” She sat straight up. Her attention turning to Will. “Isn’t this too much? I lost my father, joined your cult and got your magic tattoos. Shouldn’t something of mine be off limits?” Will sighed. “I’m not allowed to lose you two.” JC turned his chair so he was now sitting properly. “You should be honored to spend all your time with us.”
Ali looked completely exasperated. This was too much. Way too much. She was being caged like a some sort of flighty bird. “I will disappear if I have to be stuck with you.” JC seemed to find it as a challenge rather then a fact. “You can try.” Will coughed to signal Cherry’s return. Ali gratefully reaching out for the coffee. The magic of caffeine was not to be underestimated.
She put her earbud back in resigned. The music and even the food that eventually came was not enough to cheer her up. Every time she looked up she either saw JC trying to capture their waitress or Will scrolling through his phone. When she was done eating Ali finally spoke again. “You two can at least pay the bill.” JC turned to look at her. “Why do you think I brought Mundane money?” She turned to look at Will. He shook his head no as well. Her fist clenching beneath the table. “You two ordered food expecting me to pay for it…” They both nodded their heads. Ali gritting her teeth. “Did you two ever stop to consider I may not have the money for it.”
They both turned to look at each other. Will being the one to remark. “We’ve never had that problem.” I groaned. These two were the worst existences on this planet. JC leaned forward. “Don’t look so mad. It’s not like we don’t have a reward waiting for you.” Ali sighed. If he said the reward was him… JC’s face lit up. “You get to train tomorrow with me.”
She slammed the money on the table startling the rest of the guests. Ali reaching forward for Will’s glass of water and dumping it over JC’s head. “No, just NO.” She walked out of the restaurant. Will quietly smiling at his parabatai. “Aren’t you playing it up just a bit too much?”
JC cracked up laughing as he ran his fingers through his hair. The females of the restaurant swooning a bit at the sight of him. “I can’t help it. She really is fun.” Will shook his head. “You’ve known her for two, three days now. You can’t know what she will do if you push her too far.” JC only smiled. “That’s why you aren’t pushing her as well. Right, Mr. Supportive and Loving Cousin?”
Will narrowed his eyes at JC. “We were ordered to keep them bound to The Clave. Don’t push them too far.” JC only stood up and smiled. “Relax, Mr. Strategist. I know how far I can push her. She’ll completely run into your arms for support.” Will stood up annoyed. “You are too confident in yourself.” The two leaving the restaurant to see Ali in her car waiting. JC smiled at Will. “See.”
Will smiled at Ali, completely ignoring JC’s comment. “Thank you for waiting for us.” She rolled her eyes at him. “You are going to follow me anyways.” JC ran around to the other side of the car. “Will, you can take the truck. I’ll go with your cousin.” Ali immediately locked her car doors. “No chance.” JC only shrugged. “Guess I’ll have to draw runes on your car door.”
Ali turned to Will. He looked at her sympathetically. “Just let him in for the ride home. I promise to give you and Christian a reward you actually like.” She narrowed her eyes at him. “How do I know you can actually give me a reward I’d like.” Will smiled at her. “If you don’t like it you can freely stab JC.” JC looked up at him annoyed. “Et Tu.”
Ali nodded her head immediately. She had never realized until that moment that violence was a form of stress relief. Cutting up JC was going to be a great reward. She couldn’t wait for Will to fail. Ali unlocked the doors to spare her car from his wicked runes. “One ride, Creeper.” JC ignored her and slid into the car. Will shaking his head and heading to their truck. Ali pulling out of the lot.
JC leaned back into the seat as they were driving. “At least your music choice isn’t that bad.” She ignored him. “Your driving isn’t so bad either. Ali you may make a wonderful chauffeur for Will and I.” Ali continued to take deep breaths doing her best to ignore him. Soon she would either get a true reward for putting up with all of this or get to cut this moron up.
JC continued talking. “I guess for long lost relatives you can score about an 83. Higher than Christian. I’d give him about a 67.” Ali’s grip on the wheel got very tight. “Don’t talk about him like that. Don’t let his name even leave your lips.” Christian was hers to protect. He can’t say such things about him.
JC laughed. “Are you sure you aren’t his over protective mother?” She took more deep breaths to ignore him. “From everything I’ve seen you don’t really have your own life. Your a mother and a clock maker’s assistant. Becoming a shadow hunter may save you from your tedious existence.” Annoyed Ali sped up and drifted the car.
She turned to see JC smiling. “That was fun.” Ali drove off the highway road into the desert and parked the car. She turned off the car and hopped out. Her screams fading into the night. “Aaaaaaaaaaaah!” Ali crouching down to the ground. This was too much. Way too much. She can’t remain calm anymore. She can’t remain collected. “Daaaaaaaad.”
The most unwelcome voice appearing behind her. “Calling for dad… That says a lot.” Ali stood up towards him. JC looked unbelievably calm. She couldn’t stand it anymore. Ali swung to hit him. “Shut up. Shut up and go away already.” The two beginning to fight.
JC didn’t seem to struggle that much in the beginning. He was calm and focused. Everything about him was part of the fight. Ali on the other was rage and frustration in the beginning. She was letting everything spill out. “Because of you my father is gone! My mother is gone!” Ali lunged towards him.
JC sighed and caught her in a hold. Ali struggled. “You idiots forced me into choosing to join a cult. You made behave to work harder to protect Christian.” He spoke for the first time since they started fighting. “Did we? You made all those choices alone.” Ali began to hit his body to no avail. “What was I supposed to do!”
Tears formed in her eyes. JC could feel them dropping onto his arm. “That’s my job. That’s always been my job. I protect Christian.” JC sighed and turned her to face him. “How can an incompetent child like you protect Christian. You don’t even know how to protect yourself.” Ali looked up at him. Barely able to make him out clearly through the tears.
JC swiped her leg so she fell onto the ground. “See? You can’t do it. Give up.” Ali kicked out at him. JC jumping up to avoid it. She shouted at him. “I hate you.” He crouched down and sighed. “Nah. You don’t. You do want to be me though.” Ali lunged at him. JC rolling her so she was beneath him. “If you wanted to be this close to me there where other ways to do it.”
Ali struggled against him. “As if!” She tried to pry him away with her knees. “I am never going to like you.” JC pinned her down harder. “Fixing your denial is too much of a hassle. Just stay down and calm down.” Ali kneed him as hard as she could. Besides, a grunt of pain from JC he remained on top of her. He was very intent on keeping her pinned down. “Can’t you just be grateful that I am going out of my way to help you.”
She head butted him. “You aren’t helpful at all.” JC looked down at her annoyed. “I’m not? From what I can see you need to shout and cry.” Ali glared at him. JC was the truly the worst creature on the planet. “Stop talking as if you know anything.” He stayed on top of her but sat up, freeing her arms. “I know enough about someone needing to shout and work of stress” Ali didn’t move. She only looked up at him.
He smiled down at her. “Even over protective mothers have to stop for a moment to scream.” Nope. She was never going to have a good opinion about him. Ali sat up so she was facing him. “Are you going to get off me any time soon?” JC’s smile got wider. “Are you calm enough to enter the Institute, not freak out over your son’s trauma, and enjoy a night with Will.”
A smirk appeared on her face. Will, huh… “I get it now. You are obsessed with Will. You think we are similar because of him.” She cracked up laughing. JC looking irritated for the first time. “What are you even talking about. Have you gone crazy?”
Ali continued to laugh. “How could I have not seen it. This entire time. You just want me to think about Will.” She fell back down onto the ground laughing. “Your the Mr. Annoying and he’s Mr. Wonderful.” Different sort of tears began to fall. “Ahaha.”
JC looked down at her completely annoyed. “Don’t think we are the same as you two! We are not the same.” Ali continued to laugh. “Right… Completely different.” JC leaned back down towards her. “We are different, mundane. Do you understand me?” She shook her head no. “Yea, I get it. Mr. Annoying and Mr. Wonderful are different then us.”
Now JC was the one looking exasperate. “How am I supposed to explain how she went insane.” Ali pushed JC off of her. It was surprisingly easy this time. The piled up weight of the last few days had started to fall away from her. She would never say it out loud but he was right that she needed to scream it out. All of it had to be released if she was going to be able to stay controlled through all of what was to come.
She headed back towards the car. “Come on.” Ali and JC headed back towards the Institute. When they pulled into the lot a more refreshed looking Ali turned to JC, “Nothing has changed. I still don’t like you.” He could only smirk at her. “That’s because your head isn’t right.”
TaKe Me To Texas – George Strait
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