|You're Gonna Have a (badtime) wrote in repose,|
@ 2018-12-06 19:07:00
|Entry tags:||*log, connie gunster, hugh christian|
Who: Connie Gunster and Jeremiah March
What: boating! on a boat!
Where: repose lake
Most people enjoyed the Repose lake in the summer when they could make foolhardy bets to see who could swim the farthest or sunbathe on the smooth, sandy shore. Connie, like everything else, liked it better in the fall. There was a crispness to the air that turned cheeks rosy. A soft fog that twirled in a dance over the water lingered past sunrise, burned off for a brief intermission around noon and then returned to the watery stage by 3pm. Connie was a scientist so she knew the pressure and temperature that went into this particular foggy ballet, but she was a romantic at heart. She also liked to think it had a mind of its own.
But, the fog went running the second she started revving up her speed boat. It was a classy and fast thing, something you’d expect some trust fund baby who was going through a preppy phase in his late 20’s. Connie wasn’t that far off. She had new money now. Her rockstar scientist boss threw enough at her so that she’d spend it on something fun instead of spending all her time obsessing over time or her family or what those damn crystals were made of. The boat was a hell of a distraction. Fast, fun, sometimes a little dangerous. Wood paneling. Connie liked to think it reflected her sensibilities.
She was dressed in a leather jacket with bright red roses stitched into it, jeans and a nice white top. Connie was in her 30’s now and while she still liked to wear nerdy dresses, she was working on a cooler, older vibe these days. She figured a sophisticated hermit would appreciate it.
Her boat sliced through the lake, not another soul in sight. She did a loop around Edwards Island before docking at Jeremiah’s house. Her blonde hair a little wild from the wind and her blue eyes bright from the simple joy of fast boat going so fast. She rolled the boat in, letting the motor purr gently as she pulled it in and looked for rich boy she had invited out today. Come to think of it, Connie wasn’t even sure what he looked like. A first for a Repose native who had learned almost everyone’s face by now.
Jeremiah had been watching, and when he saw the boat pull up, he turned for his jacket, and the two beverage mugs that he'd filled with espresso. One had cream, the other didn't, he had no idea which Connie preferred, and he would drink it either way. He made his way down the stone steps from the patio, towards the boat house, and raised a hand towards her. He'd dressed simply enough, but warmly - still not entirely used to the cool of Repose comparatively to what he'd been used to in the Pacific Northwest.
The rich boy that approached her wore indigo jeans with a dark brown belt, cuffed on the hems over dark brown boots. On his top he had a green and navy plaid flannel shirt, with a chunky cardigan sweater buttoned up over it. It was a different look than what he'd normally worn in the city, but he also knew how to dress for a part, and taking a boat around the lake didn't seem like an appropriate venue for oxfords and waistcoats. His curls were reasonably tamed, although he knew that wouldn't last with wind and a boat. He'd thought about putting on a hat, but in the end decided against it, not being certain if he'd keep that on his head either.
It occurred to him as he approached the boat and got his first look at her, that he hadn't really known what she looked like until this moment. The part of him that was trying to slide away from past ways pointedly noted that it didn't really matter that she was attractive, and looked entirely in control at the helm of that boat. But she was both of those things, and the smile that came to his lips came easily was genuinely welcoming and perhaps not the sort that you'd normally see on the face of a hermit.
"Connie, right?" He asked, gathering both of the mugs into one hand, and extending the empty one for her to shake. "I'm Jeremiah."
Connie held her hand over her eyes, looking at the flannel wearing, mug bearing hermit standing on the dock. He was cute, pretty much exactly in the way she imagined and thankfully younger looking than she would have thought. He had a Stephen King protagonist thing going on, which meant she was probably doomed if she kept hanging around him. Jeremiah was practically built for Repose.
“Hi, tiger.” She held her hand out for him to shake. It was cool to the touch, like pressing your palm against the window as it rained outside. “How are you enjoying the weather?” Connie had the default tone of a professional hostess. She worked at the B&B for so long that her outer shell was something you’d expect to read on a Yelp review. Warm, inviting, smiling. It didn’t quite match the soft rumble when she called him tiger.
He grinned at 'Tiger', it was apparently a nickname he was going to have to carry in person, but oddly he didn't mind it. If anything it felt as normal as Jeremiah did, and maybe he even preferred it. Call it sentimental, but he rather liked nicknames at times, and this seemed to be one of those times.
"It's cold," he responded, laughing lightly. "Or at least it feels cold. I've been told there's actual winter here and I can't say I'm exactly looking forward to it. The one time in the past three years it snowed in Seattle, I holed up in my apartment with my cat and didn't come out until I ran out of espresso, and then I grumbled the whole way to the coffee shop." It was more or less true, but Seattle tended to shut down when it did snow, so it was just as well to stay in. He glanced back up at the house. Part of him liked the distance from town,but it occurred to him: "I suppose I might have to get used to driving in it, living out here."
He stepped into the boat and then held out the two mugs in front of him: "cream, or no cream? I've got a couple of packets of sugar in my pocket either way."
“You’ll like the winter. It’s not like up north where it gets so cold you can’t breathe. You gotta learn how to drive on the roads, though. Newbies always crash trying to do something stupid. Maybe you can avoid it and have your butler take you around?” She laughed at his story about espresso and shook her head. “I’ve never been to Seattle, but that sounds very on brand.” Connie’s blue eyes considered the mugs, even though it was clear she had already made up her mind on what to choose. She was sort of taken aback by how thoughtful he was. Bringing a warm drink, sugar in his pocket. Who did stuff like that these days?
“Cream, thank you.” She took the mug from him and then invited him onto the boat. “You can sit here. It’s heated.” Connie pointed to the seat next to the captain’s chair, which was more of a fixed stool. His chair, the heated one, was luxury in leather and red stripes. “Is there anything you want to see out there? I can show you the haunted spots, though I don’t think we’ll get any activity tonight.”
He shook his head, slightly rueful although he laughed. "Whatever you stereotypically picture Seattleites to be, I probably fit every bullet point." He reached for the sugar and as he went to hand it over he ticked points off on his fingers. "Seattle is the best city on earth, not every substance that calls itself coffee is fit to call itself coffee, I'm pretentious as fuck - I apologize in advance - and about the only thing I probably don't do well is truly hipster clothing, but that's the danger of having grown up a theatre kid I think," he shrugged, still smiling. There was a part of him who wondered if he should have admitted to the theatre kid bit, but lots of people were theater kids in their past lives, and he was a writer - it didn't not fit.
"This is lovely though," he settled into the heated chair, and as he did, made to take a sip of the coffee he'd been left with.
Haunted things again. Vampires, and werewolves, and ghosts seemed to be the talk of Repose. It was a little like being dropped in an episode of Supernatural, except, so far anyway, no one seemed to have died. And part of him still wasn't entirely certain he believed all of that, even if what happened on Halloween night defied explanation. He hadn't been high enough, or drunk enough, to have imagined it and after his conversations following it with Hannah and with Connie.
He rested the mug on his knee. "You've been here longer, right, so whatever it is you think I should know about as a resident of Repose, that I 99% certainly do not know about. That's what you should show me - and if there is any activity is just, a bonus, I guess."
Connie wasn’t used to having nice things, but she understood warm things. The seat was warm, the mug in her hand was warm and Jeremiah (despite being a hermit) was so warm to her. “When I was a kid, I didn’t spend much time on the lake. Near it, sure. But, we didn’t really have money to go boating. And, I’m pretty sure we would have sunk a canoe within seconds of having one.” She flashed him that Gunster smirk. “So, this is kind of an adventure for both of us.”
The boat gently picked up speed, not going fast enough to spit water onto the deck or even chap skin with blistering cold air. She knew the right speed to keep it pleasant. Maybe at the end she’d revv the engine for him.
“I’ll show you the route we take around Edwards Island without actually leaving the boat. It’s not really safe to be there right before dark.” Connie was serious, even if all this supernatural stuff seemed silly to him. If a teen was going to go missing? It would be on that island.
She took a sip from her mug and turned the wheel. The water made a pleasant lapping noise against the wood of the boat and Connie closed her eyes, a small smile to herself. “This place is so chaotic. Repose, you know? It gets” She didn’t have any words for what it got up to, just a hand motion in the air. “But, sometimes you can find these little pieces of quiet out here.”
There was a flash of a smile at her words. "Should I be wearing a life jacket?" He teased. Probably, but could one look stylish in a lifejacket? It seemed unlikely. He leaned back and let the wind rush through his hair. "Let's adventure away then."
He'd been out on boats before. There were friends with parents with boat docks on Lake Washington, and his father had yachts. Jeremiah didn't have a boat though, didn't know much about driving them, and wondered if maybe that was something he should work on. After all, why have a boat house attached to a lake if you didn't have a boat? It seemed like a waste.
"Why isn't it safe?" He asked, wondering if he was going to get a straight answer. She did tours after all. "I mean, is it really not safe, or is that just something locals say for mystique and all of that? And if it is really not safe, then why not?"
There were moments when he could sit back and just enjoy the story, but recently it felt as if the story that people were passing off as normal was - well - crazy. And he didn't like feeling as if he were being played. And yet, after Halloween it didn't entirely feel like that. Halloween had definitely happened. He had not been so drunk or high to doubt what happened that night, and it had been inexplicable - like some alternate form of his life that was almost certainly recognizable, but wasn't exactly him either. And that was forcing him to come back to the other ideas too.
"Up until Halloween, it felt pretty quiet," he added. "But it's like, maybe that's just the surface of things."
“Don’t worry, I’ll save you if you go over the side.” She winked at him. The water was especially easy tonight. Smooth like glass. It was cold though and the thought of a rich boy pouting in icy water made her chuckle to herself. “After I let your nice sweater get wet, of course.” Connie said. Making sure it was unclear whether or not she was serious or not. Even Repose’s favorite weirdo needed to keep her edge, after all.
She brought them near the island and it gave off a chill. It was unsettling, watching the street lamps flicker on, barely working on a desolate island. At the top were various blinking red lights, now visible in the dusk light. There was something wrong about it, but a city-slicker from Seattle probably couldn’t pick that up right away. He’d have to try to live through the night over there before he maybe believed in ghosts. That’s how Connie figured it anyway. Her scientists friends in California were pretty similar in mindset.
“It’s actually dangerous.” She slowed to a stop, letting the boat slowly drift back to the mainland. Connie held her hand out for him and Jeremiah took it. “Come with me so you can get a better look.” Connie brought him to the back of the ship, that was mostly facing the island now. There was a place they could sit together there, a long padded couch that looked like it could be easily moved in favor of coolers or more people. Speakers even.
“So, I’m guessing you don’t know the story. A long time ago, five jet pilots suddenly crashed into the lake. If you’re wondering why it sometimes smells like oil out here? Well, that’s why. Since then, things don’t really work right on the island. Cell phones get weird, clocks don’t tell the right time. It’s like a big malfunctioning computer.” Connie gave him the reasonable explanation first: “Basically, the town thinks that with so many planes going down, there had to be some weird power surge that screwed up the whole island.” She grinned. The Gunster grin was notorious in Repose. Mischievous, sure, but also like looking into a hole that seemed to go on forever. “Other people thought it was angry spirits.” Her grin turned into a normal smile. “Either way, I’ve had to save a bunch of teenagers there.”
Jeremiah's mind took in the details of the island as she told him the story. It looked more or less like an ordinary island, and having grown up in the Seattle area, he was well familiar with islands, but even with the veneer of normality on it, he felt a little chilled as she spoke. It didn't make sense, and he wasn't certain he bought the power surge explanation - was that even a possibility? But then that left the other possibilities which were more supernatural in scope, and jet pilots and crashed airplanes were easier, probably.
Teenagers could be stupid, and so might be need of rescue even if the island was normal, but if electronics were strange on it, then that would certainly explain the need for rescue. He tilted his head, glancing up at the red lights on the top. It was a little eerie, but maybe that was his imagination running away with him. Maybe he didn't believe in ghost stories, but they believed in him. Or maybe there was some part of him that wanted to believe in them because that girl he'd fallen in love with, the one who had left him because he was an idiot, would have been delighted in this whole scenario: A mystery island in the middle of a lake where there was a logical explanation, but angry spirits seemed as likely, and maybe there really were ghosts.
"What's up there?" he asked. "Or what was up there before everything went screwy?"
She sat next to him, leaning a little against his arm as he took in the island. There was a funny thing about Edwards: the more you looked at it, the more it pulled you in. Don’t you want to come peer into the shops? Don’t you want to know what’s lurking in the caves? Repose had the same feeling. Connie was drawn to both. Sure, she was here to make things right with her family, but the caves full of crystals below sang a special song for her.
“It was an airforce base of sorts. Specialized in radio communication, which was a big thing back then.” Connie admired science, it didn’t matter what era it came from. “Those red lights are sort of meaningless to planes these days, but they used to be a beacon, a warning. Now, they’re just there because the light hasn’t gone out yet.”
She tilted her head back and smiled at him. The island was pretty vertical. Like paths that kept winding up and up. No wonder it wasn’t a perfect place for government experimentation. Though, that would always be the song and dance of Repose. “I think if I was around during that time, I’d be one of the people working on the island. No question.”
There was something. Had it not been getting darker, he might have suggested they go closer in, but he also couldn't help but feel that it might not be the best of ideas. Maybe that was because of evil spirits, or maybe just the stories she'd put in his head, but regardless, he didn't think she'd agree and it was growing later. But he was curious, wondering if someone had pictures of the place before the crash.
Jeremiah turned his attention from the island to the woman next to him. He'd flirted over the network although he had no real idea what she looked like. And that had felt safe, and the banter had come easily, which was nice. For so many of the past months it felt like he'd been so tightly wrapped in not allowing himself to feel like himself. Perhaps it was some strange form of penance that no one else would really recognize as such. Particularly not here where no one knew who he was before. But she was attractive, and the energy and the banter felt restorative in a way.
"What do you do now?" he asked instead.
Connie took a sip from her mug, letting the drink warm her chest as she gave a small sigh. She was out here giving boat tours and running the B&B, but none of that was her real passion. “I’m an experimental physicist. Which is just a fancy way of saying a mess around with time and space for profit.” To the real extent to which she did was irrelevant now, living in Repose. Still, it was nice to talk about it. “I have a laboratory in California. We work on devices that might help astronauts. We try to figure out more green ways for transportation. Big picture stuff.”
She stretched her legs out in front of her and turned to look at him, leaning her head on the back of the couch. “My boss said I needed a break. I get too obsessive over my work. I’ll spend days in the laboratory without going outside. So, I came here. There’s plenty of outside and everything is cheap so I can throw my money at it until I feel good.”
Jeremiah blinked. "You're a physicist?" He didn't know what he'd been expecting when she said that she'd have been working there if she'd been around during that time, but that hadn't exactly been it. He'd obviously come to inaccurate conclusions regarding her abilities and he shook his head at himself.
"I did not see that coming," he admitted openly. "But messing around with time and space for profit… honestly sounds like the sort of science career I could get into. Science never felt creative enough for me when I was in school, but that makes it sound creative and I don't know, not just like numbers and incomprehensible theorems." Probably it still had plenty of numbers and incomprehensible theorems, and probably Jeremiah had no business even considering any science as a career, but Connie had the honor of having made it sound interesting to him for the first time ever.
"So you took a job giving tours to rich boys, and working at the bed and breakfast so that you would get outside a laboratory occasionally?" It seemed like maybe there might be more to it than that. But then there was more to his story also, but he didn't push, instead he quirked an eyebrow at her. "It just sounds to me like you needed someone to give you a reason to step out of the laboratory."
She laughed when he said he didn’t see her as a scientist. It was nice to hear it out loud from someone since she knew plenty of people were thinking it. “There’s still lots of mind numbingly dull equations.” Connie said fondly, like they were really interesting to her even if she knew it was objectively very boring. “But, yeah, we’re the rockstars of the science community. And, I’m the one they usually put in the barrel when we want to experiment with something.” She grinned. Being in the barrel was her favorite part of her job. Even if it meant sometimes getting her molecules fizzy.
“Yes. And, for the record I fell into the B&B thing because it was my job before becoming a scientist. It’s like family now.” She wagged her finger in the air, making her point by booping his nose. “But, yep, you’re right. If my boss hadn’t given me a shove out, I’d still be there.” She didn’t know how to stop science when she started it. That was always the problem Patrick had, right?
“Why leave the city for this place? Is it more of a holiday for you or did you plan on staying?” Connie thought he was better than this place and maybe some of that came through in her question. She met people from the city, she met these brilliant men and women who had moved out of their hometowns and couldn’t imagine them wanting to be here.
"I suppose that makes sense, it's something you know, and it probably is somewhat interesting, right? New people? Although I don't know how many tourists come through Repose?" Granted, he didn't know a lot about what happened in Repose at all. It was something he was slowly, quietly beginning to learn a bit, but it was taking time.
Her question gave him pause though, and the smile faltered slightly. He could charm and hide all the reasons that he'd came. He'd certainly played up stories when they'd talked on the forums, and now he was here with her in person, and it was nice to have a real live person to hang out with and he didn't entirely want to obfuscate, even if the truth was still difficult.
"I don't know yet," he admitted truthfully. "I miss Seattle. And honestly, I was going to head to LA, I would have… but this year didn't exactly turn out how I was planning, and I figured that maybe it wasn't the worst plan to take a little time and work through some of that." A beat, and he glanced over at her as he quipped: "Thus, the mysterious, sexy, hermit gig."
She caught the vagueness and didn’t dig into it. Her blue eyes just gave him a look like she understood, that she used the same kind of verbiage when she tried to dodge things. Digging now wasn’t really her place, but eventually maybe she’d ask him about it. “Well, the sexy hermit thing is working for you. Here’s hoping it takes you a little longer to work through all that stuff.” Connie reached to squeeze his hand, her fingers still a little chilly, despite holding the warm mug.
Connie stood up, turning to look at the shoreline and then the last inch of sunlight left. “Okay, let’s head back in. Don’t want any of the ghosts trying to jump up on the boat from their watery graves.” She finished the coffee, handed him the mug and then headed to the front of the ship to start the motor back up.
Jeremiah gave her a smile at her words, grateful for the space. Maybe he would someday want to talk about them, and he felt like everyone who didn't pry became a possible place that he could. It was nice to think it might be a possibility. He moved back up to the front, taking his place in the seat she'd shown him before.
"Do we have proper non-ghost equipment on board?" He asked her. "You know whatever it takes to discourage them? Holy water? Or is that vampires?"
Connie laughed, taking the wheel as the boat started up again. “You really know absolutely nothing about supernatural stuff.” She laughed again shaking her head. “I’d warn you to actually take that stuff seriously, but it’s more fun to see you get spooked.” Connie shook her head, blonde hair bouncing on her shoulders as she laughed to herself one more time and slowly started to push the speed up.
“You ready to have some fun?” Connie made sure he was going to hold on and then jammed on the accelerator, letting the motor get loud and the boat fast. It cut through the waves, an impossibly smooth rides across the water at top speeds. She reached to put her hand on his shoulder to make sure he wouldn’t go flying and did a big figure-eight, looping as cold water misted the air around them.
She turned towards the water to make sure to watch what she was doing and gave out a happy howl, like a sportsfan at a football game. Going so fast make her whole body feel good. Not quite the same sensation as racing her sports car around town, but pretty close. Sex was better, honestly, but this was a nice substitute. Going fast like this, letting time take the wheel, that was what helped her from becoming a laboratory zombie.
"It's not my genre," he laughed good natured at the rib. He could have told you anything about romantic comedies, about Shakespeare, even multiple critically acclaimed genres, but his knowledge of ghosts stopped at the ghost light in the theater, and the stories that circulated around a few Seattle theatres and the feeling he sometimes got when he was the only one on a stage.
But he reached out a hand to hold on, letting the wind fly through his hair, as the boat seemed to practically fly over the water. It was perhaps a little unnerving from the sense of not being used to it, but enjoyable - exhilarating even. He grinned, turning to try to watch her, even though it was hard with his hair whipping around his face. "You're not making me less certain that I should have a life jacket on," he laughed, talking loudly enough to be heard over the motor.
“Enjoy the danger!” She laughed back, veering the boat around the last loop before gently slowing the boat down as she steered it back towards his dock. There weren’t any other boats on the water, not even geese trying to enjoy an evening sitting on the water. It was just them in this fast little boat. Connie pulled the hair from her face and smiled down at him. Jeremiah wasn’t really her usual type (she liked big hunky action heroes), but she liked the mystery around him. The fact he was up for having some fun and she couldn’t totally figure him out was attractive to her.
Connie brought the boat into the dock, slowing it to a stop. “Safe and sound.” She teased, bending down to kiss his cheek before going to anchor the ship. She smiled to herself, back turned as she made sure the boat was tied securely to the dock and then turned to help him back on dry line.