Roadtrip with St. James

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Diana, Apr 9, 2015.

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  1. Ruby St. James. Independent American Woman.

    And that INCLUDED in Alaska, even though at right that moment, Alaska was NOT her favorite place to be.

    She was sitting in a rental car. Jeep, SUV... something large that was supposed to be able to travel well on icy snowy roads. Granted, if she were honest with herself the error was on her side. Ruby was a New York City native. Driving wasn't exactly necessary nor her strong point. Driving in blizzard conditions on Alaskan roads after the clerk at the rental desk tried to warn her it was a bad idea... wasn't smart.

    But she NEEDED to make it to her next seminar on time and Ruby was not one to sit around and wait when she still had the power to do something.

    Right now that something involved staring angrily at the snowbank she drove in to when she slid on the road and in to a ditch. There were no bars on her cell because Alaska apparently had terrible cellphone service. She would have to wait until someone found her.

    Nope! Ruby St. James was not a wait-around kind of girl. The universe would provide if she got off her ass and worked for it!

    So she shoved open her door and climbed out of the jeep wearing nothing but a pair of high heels, some slacks and a sweater. (She wasn't supposed to be laid over in Alaska so long! Grrr.) Ruby marched to the truck to take out her suitcase and slammed the trunk shut again.

    Just in time to see some very large headlights in the distance.

    She grinned wide, trudging up the bank to the side of the road so she could flag down the approaching vehicle.

    Right on time, Universe.
  2. The rumble strips on the edge of the road shook the cab of Harlan Becker's eighteen wheeler as he carefully drifted the truck over to the edge of the road. He had seen the tail lights of the SUV reflecting in his own headlights as he had drawn close, and he had been planning to pull over long before he had seen the figure of the woman flagging him down on the side of the road. Harlan might have been on a deadline, but in Alaska the only people who were ever there to take care of you out on the open road were the other drivers. It was the unspoken code that you never, ever left someone stranded.

    He hopped out of the cab of his truck, pulling his heavy denim jacket closer around his body before grabbing onto his tan cowboy hat as the wind tried to grab it and carry it away to the depths of the cold Alaskan wilderness. He hurried over, careful not to slip on one of the patches of ice and sleet.

    "Hey, you alright?" he checked with the woman. "You really shouldn't be out here driving right now. I've got a radio in the cab, we can send out a relay with some of the other truckers to get a tow truck here for you."
  3. Ruby hadn't been out of that jeep more than five minutes and her toes were already frozen. So were her fingers, and her ears, and everything else. But with pure willpower she kept her teeth from chattering and the only hint of her distress was in how stiffly she was standing.

    Her brain was a little slow to catchup, though. Maybe because she was expected some big hairy mountain man to jump out of that rig. With a beard, bear hands, and south Alabama accent.

    "No. YES. I mean, I'm perfectly fine. I just lost control on the ice." A tow would be excellent, but that was going to take her backwards to get to the nearest rental chain. Ruby didn't want to go backwards!

    "Say, you're headed south, aren't you? You wouldn't mind a temporary passenger would you? I'd only need a ride to the next town with decent transportation services." she even flashed him her best winning smile. No one could resist a smile from Ruby St. James.
  4. Harlan couldn't help but let out a faint laugh. "You want to go on a ride with a random trucker who just pulled over on the side of the road?" he asked with a friendly smile. "I don't know whether to call that ballsy or foolish." Harlan shrugged away the thought, tilting his head slightly to study the woman. She certainly didn't have the look of an Alaskan native. For one thing, no local would have gone driving in this kind of weather without a truck that was built for it, and chains around the tires. And if that wasn't an obvious enough giveaway, then the clothes she was wearing certainly were.

    All the same, Harlan liked the woman. She carried herself with confidence, and clearly had the charisma that the trucker had always lacked. He was concerned about her desire to come with him, but nor was he about to turn her away. The long roads were empty, and a companion would be a welcome relief. All the same, Harlan couldn't help but feel that the traveler didn't exactly know what she was getting herself into when she made the request.

    "You just left Fairbanks, and the next major city is across the border. You 'd do better to go with the tow."
  5. "I'm not a helpless female. I have pepper spray in my purse and I know how to break your thumbs if you even dare try to grab me." she explained, her mouth turning up in to a satisfied, haughty sort of smirk. In fact, to prove it she went ahead and pulled out the keychain from her and displayed the little canister to have it ready.

    "Going back with the tow will simply NOT do. I have a strict schedule and resetting the dates would be nearly impossible. A few hours with a damsel in distress wouldn't be too bad, don't you think?" Going from 'not helpless' to 'damsel in distress' was a wicked thing for her to do, but Ruby knew how to get what she needed.

    "And I'm freezing." she finally admitted with a quick honest bounce. "I'd be waiting forever for a tow back, and we could already be miles on our way. Pleeease?"
  6. "Alright," Harlan finally agreed, raising his hands in surrender. "If you are that certain you want to come with me, I'm not about to stop you. Come on." Harlan guided Ruby back to the cab of his truck, having her crawl in first so that she would be able to slide over to the other side of the cab before he hopped in behind the wheel. There was a single long seat within the cab, almost like a bench, except comfortably covered in an old weave. There was a large indent on both sides of the cab where it was clear many people had sat for an almost uncountable number of miles.

    The inside of the cab wasn't exactly the cleanest, but it didn't smell and there was very little stuff actually on the seat. Most of it was down in the wheel-well where Ruby's feet would go. "Feel free to just push the stuff out of the way," Harlan said. "None of it should be all that important." Satisfied that Ruby had taken a seat, Harlan grabbed an old radio that was sitting on the dashboard.

    "10-45, this is Drifter. Anyone in range?"

    "10-2, Drifter."

    "I've got a four wheeler on the west side of the road just past yardstick 102. The civilian will be riding 12 with me to Whitehorse, but the four wheeler's gonna need a tow. 10-5 back to Fairbanks?"

    "10-4. Enjoy the road."

    "My name's Harlan, by the way," Harlan said once the radio had been returned to its cradle. "Who're you?"
  7. Ruby was glad her suitcase wasn't that large. The cab of the trunk wasn't too cramped, but a large suitcase still would have been and awkward fit. She shuffled things around on the floor with her ridiculously high heels until the was enough room, then she tucked her suitcase down there under her legs. Because she was short enough, there was still enough room for her legs without feeling too cramped.

    If she took off her shoes.

    She was still thinking about that.

    Ruby rubbed her hands up and down her arms quickly trying to get some warmth back in her. A few moments outside and she was freezing.

    "Ruby St. James." she responded almost through her teeth. She peeked curiously at the radio before glancing upwards at him. "I don't believe I've ever heard trucker talk before. What's all the numbers mean?"
  8. The engine purred to life as Harlan turned the key in the ignition. It was a deep noise, more felt than heard, but for Harlan it nearly faded into the background. It was a noise that had accompanied him every day for the past five years, and it was almost like the sound of his own heart or breath. As the engine roared a rush of warm air came from the vents on the dashboard. At the sight of Ruby's shivering, Harlan reached over, blindly turning a knob which caused the heat to blast out, stronger and warmer. If he left it running like that indefinitely the cab would soon be sweltering.

    "Well, almost all of those were 10-codes, which are common phrases that were used so much that people just assigned a ten, followed by a number, to mean the same thing."

    As he spoke the giant truck rumbled slowly out into the road. As it picked up speed Harlan shifted nearly every couple seconds, ratcheting up through the first 15 of the 18 gears over the course of the next minute. The motions were comfortable and easy, and he seemed to not even notice he was doing it.

    "10-2 means that the person on the other end can hear what you are saying well. 10-45 is a call for all available units in range." He hesitated briefly, trying to think back to what other numbers he had used. "10-12 is a code for a visitor, so if you are riding 12 you are my passenger. 10-5 is a message relay. 10-4 is a confirmation that the message has been heard and that its OK." He glanced at Ruby. "Was that all of them? There's a 10-code for pretty much every number from 1 to 100, except for some odd ones that were skipped in the 70's. Don't know why."
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