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Old 04-14-2010, 12:17 AM   #1
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Lost Highway - Chapter 9

Title: Lost Highway
Authors: 1screamingangel & wo_speaking
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: Ain't my Irishmen! Ain't true at all!

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The afternoon sun was starting to lower in the sky and they made their way back to town as quickly as possible. It was a good mile, maybe more, but looked closer. It was like they were heading to an oasis . It was a very warm afternoon and Sam and Mel didn’t talk much on the way back into town.

The girls walked around the back of the buildings across the street from the Broken Horseshoe as they could see the door open and a couple of cars parked out front. Just as they disappeared behind the hardware store across from the bar, Paul looked out the window and saw them headed for the motel. He stood for a minute and wondered where they had been walking in this heat and he turned around to make sure his friend hadn’t seen them.

Instantly, Paul tried to remember when he had left the motel and how long the girls had been out towards the brick house. During the whole time his friend over there had been playing pool. Paul was able to pull him into the bar after their discussion. No one was home, even if the girls had gone out to the brick house. Paul hoped the door had been locked. What had they been doing all this time? he wondered.

Sometimes Paul wasn’t sure who was taking care of whom. He was the one who always made rash decisions without thinking things through. That was why they had come out here, to get away and think things through, alone. Maybe they had been here too long. His friend was falling apart on him – he needed an outlet for his creative energy, which he just wasn’t getting in this town. At least Paul had the bar to keep him busy.

Now as he looked at his friend, he was a little concerned that he was going to focus on Sam and that worried him. Paul knew when he focused on something he wouldn’t ease up until he felt he had made it perfect. When he focused on someone? Well, that could be a real problem.

Paul had a feeling that the girls had been out to the brick house and looked around and found things they had no business finding. Mel didn’t seem like that, but Sam did and Lord only knows what happened in the motel last night that may have led her to snoop around his house.

In a rare moment of self-doubt, Paul thought he should have taken the responsibility of the passports and locked them in a safe deposit box at the bank. He meant to, but out here, who they were just wasn’t that much of a concern. No one knew them. They were just two strange guys that rode into town one day and didn’t leave.

He should have been more careful with the papers, he wasn’t usually the one to take care of stuff like that. So no matter how it may have crossed his mind, he didn’t follow through. Dave usually made sure they had their papers in order. All these years and not once had Paul ever worried about things like where his passport was. God, he thought, I really needed to get back some control of my life.

Later, as it was almost fully dark out on Main Street, Paul looked up when the girls walked into the door of the saloon. He came around the bar and reached for Mel’s hand, offering her a soft kiss on the cheek. He was glad to see her and took a step back to see the look on her face. She appeared glad to see him as well.

Paul thought he could detect a subtle cautiousness in her eyes that hadn’t been there last night as they talked all those hours over candlelight in the Bodie saloon. Mel embraced him to give her a moment to hide her thoughts and keep what she now knew to herself. Obviously, the two men knew each other and for some reason pretended not to. With the same accents though, did they think they could hide in this small town? Paul did hide his accent pretty well when talking to the locals. He had done that to them last night when they arrived. Mel made a mental note to listen to him talk to the couple of townies in the bar that evening.

She pressed her body against Paul’s much longer than a proper welcome hug. She could feel the heat of the day on him and as she reached around to hold him close she felt the sweat on the back of his neck. At that moment Mel did not care what she knew or how he lied. The only thing she thought was how her body was responding to being held so closely to his.

As for Paul, the only thing he could think about right then was how good she smelled and how her curly hair was wet from the shower she must have just taken. It was not the fact that she may know more about him than she should because she was out snooping around in a place she had no right to be in. That thought promptly left his mind.

He walked the girls over to the bar and went to get them each a beer.

Sam looked over her shoulder, trying to be casual, but being rather obvious, to see her no-name cowboy practicing the same pool shot she watched him rehearse over and over again last night.

Except tonight when she saw him, her stomach flipped, the sweet memories of last night came rushing back into her head and she could almost feel him biting her ear. As this thought was passing through her mind he looked right at her. She froze and couldn’t look away. Was he thinking the same thing as she was?

Of course he was. He had heard the door slam when they walked in but wasn’t about to look up and acknowledge her. He wanted to wait and see what she was going to do. As her eyes adjusted to the bar’s dim lights he stole a glance up from underneath his hat to see that she was standing there, looking even more beautiful than she did last night. He was going to have to do something about that before the sun came up in the morning, that was for sure.

He went back to his pool shot as Paul greeted Mel and walked them over to the bar to have a seat. Once they were seated he looked up and stared at Sam only to find her eyes questioning him.

Mel sat and watched Sam turn her head towards creepy guy. That is what she still called him in her head. Now that she knew his real name and knew that these two boys were obviously friends, she had a hard time thinking straight about this.

She and Paul had had such a nice time last night. He worked some kind of magic on her and a minute ago when she was pressed up against him she felt the spell starting to work again.

Who cares if they are friends? But why hide it and pretend you aren’t friends? Maybe creepy guy is an axe-murderer and she and Sam should run away as fast as they could. Her instincts were not working properly. If she thought that it would mean she would not get to check out Paul’s intensity, which she desperately wanted to do this evening.

Maybe creepy guy was wanted for crimes in other states or other countries for all she knew. They were both from Ireland. She saw that on their passports. Were they possibly IRA members on the run? Mel tried to remember when the last bombing had been. Mel wrote down their names when she got back to the hotel room while Sam was in the shower. At least then she could look it up when they got back to civilization.

Had she spelled their last names correctly? She quietly said them over and over to herself all the way back from the brick house so she would remember. Creepy guy’s name was easy. But Paul’s last name was harder to remember. Probably because when she started to think about him, many other things came to mind besides how his last name is spelled.

She reached into her purse now to feel the piece of paper with their names on it, as if the paper would give her the answers she was looking for.

Mel did not know how long Paul had been standing in front of her.

“What’re you thinkin’ ‘bout Mel?” he whispered as he brushed her cheek with a kiss. “I missed you today and more than once wanted to find you and …” he looked into her eyes trying to detect any change.

“You look deep in thought.” Paul inquired.

“Just still tired I guess. You keep a girl out all night, have her wanting to spend the day with you, leave her empty, and then wonder why she is a little spaced out. I missed you today, by the way.” Mel was back under his power and just wanted to touch him, so she tucked away an errant hair which had fallen loose from his ponytail.

Paul stepped back with a smile to Mel. “Would you ladies like a sandwich? Same as last night?” he asked them.

This time he actually looked at Sam, and found her gazing over at the pool table. Mel noticed the lines of concern between his beautiful blue eyes. He told Dave earlier that he really needed to come over and introduce himself properly to this girl and to quit being so mysterious. Paul had no real idea about what had transpired last night – except that his friend’s hat was missing.

There was only one thing that could make him forget or lose his hat. It had taken him hours and hours to find just the right style. They had been in the store for the longest time. Paul would have just chosen any old hat, but Dave had to look and think about it, and look some more. Dave had to explain to him several times that you didn’t just go into a store and find a perfect Stetson like that on the shelf; you ordered one straight from Texas – custom made – size 7 3/8.

Before Paul or Mel had a chance to talk about food with Sam she had gotten up off the barstool and they watched her walk over to her unnamed cowboy. Paul and Mel followed her with their eyes then looked back at each other. Both concerned for very different reasons.

Here was where Mel wanted to blurt out to Paul that she knew they were friends, had seen their passports, and ask him just what the hell was going on?

But she didn’t, because just then he took her hand between his and electrified her skin with his touch.
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:33 PM   #2
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Paul is pretty amusing when he's suspicious...
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