Marty found that this carnival work was harder than it seemed and while he would have preferred to spend his time making Kerr blush, he found himself busier than usual. Occasionally he’d send her emojis since she didn’t do much in terms of texting, but this time he wanted to be direct. “Ever been to the French Quarter? Let me take you tonight.” It read. It wasn’t a question, he was taking her and she’d let him.
Around nine pm Marty strolled up to the tent where she stayed with a head bleach blonde and shorter than before. He kneeled in front of the door and spoke to the closed tent flap. “Don’t suppose you fancy a walk, do ya?”
Kerr had tried to sound out the text but had gotten stuck on Quarter. She’d gone to Edward for help and he helped talk her through it. Of course, that didn’t give her much time to get ready. Thankfully, Kerr wasn’t really the type of person to be overly obsessed with the way she looked- in the sense of a ‘date’, clothes were clothes. And sure, there were moments to dress in fancy dress, but two people going out… she didn’t see any reason to be special. Also, her clothes options were limited.
As she heard the voice she moved to the opening and stepped out, ducking through the opening. He looked nice, the hair was different. She kinda liked it- maybe. “Sure.” She nodded, pulling on the sleeve of her maroon henley. “You said something about th’ French Quarter in your text?”
He stood from his knees as she pulled herself out of the tent and smirked down at her. “Might be a wee different now but it’s got some of the oldest buildings in New Orleans. Even older than you or me.” He explained to her, admiring the way she wore that Henley. It was boyish and handsome and he couldn’t quite help the smile that formed on his face.
This time around his tattoos weren’t so covered up. A short sleeve button up as yellow as the sun showed his two full sleeves and the beginning of his chest piece peeking out from under the collar. He peeked at his phone as it dinged and raised an eyebrow. “Uber says it’s here, tosser’s at the other end of the grounds.” He vigorously typed into his keyboard their actual location and slid the phone back into his pocket.
While they waited he offered her another smile. “You look good.” He decided to go with this time around because ‘good enough to eat’ didn’t seem to work well on her the last time.
Kerr rubbed her neck and shrugged at his compliment. “Thank you.” It was definitely getting easier, but attention was still strange to receive. “I like the new look.” She added, glancing at him. It was hard to hide her self-consciousness when it came to receiving or giving compliments.
She followed him to the edge of the backend and waited for the Uber to come around. She did feel a little bad for him, while whatever brought Zion to a place had shored up the bayou/swamp like ground, it still was a bit of a difference from the nice paved roads the driver was probably used to driving on. She was used to it though.
“Ta, love.” He replied to her compliment back. It was indeed a bit different that anywhere else in the U.S. but Marty had been posted up in New Orleans for a few years so it wasn’t all that surprising to him. As they drove toward the French quarter he couldn’t quite help himself from staring over at her. He’d never met anyone
who wore her gender so well, so effortlessly. Of course it was someone from 1920, the people these days had no idea what they were doing.
Finally the driver stopped in front of an old building with massive plants hanging from its windows. The whole thing hadn’t much changed since he’d seen it the first time. He opened the door and offered his hand to her, ready to show her some local history.
Kerr briefly paused before taking his hand. When she did socialize, she’d grown used to people addressing her as a man, so the gentlemanly gesture of helping a lady out of a car was one she wasn’t accustomed. Technically, it hadn’t happened since she was just a child, so more of an impact. “Thank you.” She said softly, hoping her hands weren’t too cold or too rough. With all the labor she did, Kerr didn’t have soft, feminine hands.
As she got out of the car, Kerr glanced around curiously.
He let her hand go and opened his arms wide as he gestured to the world around them. “The French Quarter, founded in 1718, almost one hundred years before even I were born. Most of it would have been restored when you were but a wee child.” He looked around at the weathered buildings. A lot of them had been worn down significantly after Katrina.
“Thought perhaps you’d like to see something not quite so new.” He accentuated new like it was the worst thing in the world but it was only a joke. Marty appreciated technology even if he didn’t quite understand it sometimes.
Kerr smiled. “Thank you. Never actually been to New Orleans before now. I think there was talk about visiting later in the year.” She followed Marty to the sidewalk. “It is quite lovely.” Even with the older architecture, there were so many ‘new’ things that it seemed to conflict in her mind. “This time is quite… different. Noisier, busier… everything is just… more.”
As they walked he watched her from the corner of his eye, noticed the subtle mannerisms that suggested she might actually want more with him. Still, he kept on talking to divert attention from his obvious ogling. “You’re telling me! Everyone has the attention span of a newborn puppy these days. Can’t even sit down and watch a film for Christ’s sake.” After walking for a bit they came upon St. Anthony’s Garden, a lavish garden from an early aristocrat.
“Come on then, this is the best bit.” He encouraged, grabbing her hand yet again to lead her into the mostly empty garden. He supposed for those who remembered a childhood it might give them that magical feeling again. For Marty, it was just a mock up of those awful French gardens in the Victorian era.
The only park she’d been in as a kid was Central Park (and it wasn’t the grand park it was in 2020), but those weren’t the best of memories. Still, the garden was different and felt peaceful. Like stepping out of the loud modern world into another world. “It’s beautiful. And quiet.” She laughed lightly. Sure, the sound wasn’t completely gone from the traffic and noise of modern society, but the difference was clear.
He wasn’t wrong, he did peak her curiosity. Made her feel some of those feelings like Edward had exposed her to. But she was nervous about them. She’d only begun to learn things about her own body, she had no idea what to do with someone else’s. But that didn’t negate the attraction.
A smirk came to his mouth as they walked hand and hand through the lavish garden. “Sort of like you.” He teased, giving her hand a small squeeze. “Suppose it’s better than being loud and funny looking like me.” Marty knew what he looked like, knew the tattoos and the skinny ass wasn’t what one would call a 10 these days but at least he was charming in somewhat of a sexy way.
“Can I ask you a question?” He put his free hand up in the air in mock surrender. “Nothing too personal I promise.”
She made a face, clear she disagreed with his comment about her- and him. Kerr couldn’t see her as a garden, something as precious as a flower. She was rough and damaged. More a weed. And yes, he was forward and a bit intimidating, but he was also confident and knew who he was- something she was mildly envious of.
Her looked changed to one of hesitation as she nodded. “Sure. Okay.” She felt her pulse speed up as her mind tried to figure out what he could be asking. Not that there was any real reason to feel that way in that moment, but feelings didn’t always use logic.
He stopped her as they came up to a park bench. “If you could go back to your time, would you?” Seemed like there was nothing there but running from the law and truth be told he’d rather go back to the 1970’s then during the prohibition. “Personally, I find right now far more interesting than back then. Lots of different people.” Lots of creatures to hunt. He was half tempted to off the were Uber driver but it seemed rude to do on a date as it were.
It was honestly not something she’d thought about before. Was it something she even had a choice in? Could she leave the animals? King, Sheeba? Kerr furrowed her brow and looked down as she thought. Things were definitely different in the future, she’d learned many new things. But, if she stayed, what would she do? She didn’t have any skills that could help her in the modern world. She was just learning to read and had no formal education. “I haven’t really thought about it.” She answered after a long moment.
He watched her eyes as the internal struggle happened. It was clear she was coming to terms with a new world and realizing while she was free, she had nothing compared to most. After a long stint in prison, Marty had experienced something similar, but as time went on he picked up on the things he’d missed. He squeezed her hand a bit and brought his other hand to cup it fully. “You know, things are always going to change, whether you want them to or not. Sometimes you just have to let go and embrace what’s coming.”
Like him, though she hardly had to worry about him. He wasn’t interested in humans like her for the hunt, it was the non-humans he craved.
“I don’t think I could leave the cats… or any of them- even that stubborn ass goat.” Kerr said softly. “It sounds silly, but they’ve become my family.” She admitted. It was true, in learning more about her power, letting herself open up to it and not close it off, she’d come to really get a nice understanding of all the animals in her care. Sure, some were nicer than others- just like humans, but even the ornery ones were her friends. “So, I think… maybe… if Zion goes back…” Maybe. “I will to?”
He’d seen people do little tricks with magic when it came to time before, but never something so far into the future or the past. He wasn’t sure if Kerr would ever be able to go back, but he’d go wherever this demon was headed until he killed him dead, and that was his promise. “What if you can never go back?” He wondered out loud, letting his fingers lace with hers as he paid less attention to the garden and more attention to her.
This was a distinct possibility. Marty had seen a lot in his time but he’d never seen such a large group of people jump so far into the future. “To tell you the truth, I’d go back with you, if you had the chance.”
“Then… I suppose I’ll be staying with Zion… as long as they’ll have me.” Kerr shrugged. “Wouldn’t trust anyone around here with King.” She laughed lightly. Of course Marty didn’t have any way to know the trouble the lion had caused in December, but since then Kerr had been working extra special with him. He’d also been the most helpful with learning about what she could do. “I suppose either way is fate.”
His comment surprised her and she was taken back a bit, not sure how to reply- if she should reply. “Oh, I’m sure Zion would be lucky to keep you around… though, wouldn’t it be boring to relive things you’ve already done?”
He leaned back on the park bench and looked out into the garden. He’d taken plenty of dates here and for as long as he was here, he’d take plenty more. It was quiet and somewhat romantic. He couldn’t count the number of blowjobs he’d given and received at this very park. “Nah, it were a wonderful time though I’m more worried about running into meself back then. Didn’t have the same sense of humor.” Mostly because he was hell bent on reckless murder back then.
“Also paradoxes and rips in space and time, you know?” No she probably didn’t. Science fiction didn’t start making the rounds popularly until the 1960’s. “Not really sure how that all works but I’m sure it can’t mean anything good.” He added a smirk at the last part so she knew she didn’t have to take the things he said so seriously.
Kerr laughed lightly and shook her head. “I’m not sure how any of this works. Before Zion, things were very black and white. Very… bland. But then… found out there was this whole other world. Never thought I’d be part of it.” When she’d joint Zion, she thoughts she’d be an observer. But now, now she was part of that strange world.
“I will admit, it is tempting to think about staying here. But my life is back there.” She looked at him, hoping he’d understand and not decide that she wasn’t worth knowing if she didn’t stay.
He turned to look at her, the back of his hand coming to gentle caress her cheek. “Home is where the heart is and if your heart is in 1920 then you should go there.” She was quite beautiful and while lips begged him to kiss her, her eyes told a different story
“I can’t stop you from anything, but I can’t say the same for you to me.” It was a line but a useful one and he didn’t mind being a bit cheesy from time to time.
It was a line that she didn’t understand. Maybe it was because she couldn’t think herself as someone who could change others minds. “Same for me?” She asked, her cheeks flushing slightly at his touch.
Not being able to quite help himself, Marty leaned forward into her lips, hoping he was reading the signals right. If the two of them worked together, things could get messy if he made a wrong move and he wasn’t leaving until he hunted that demon. Her lips were lush and he wanted to take a bite out of them. Perhaps when things got more intimate he could.
Her question was ignored as well as anything in his mind and he focused solely on kissing her.
It caught her off guard, but it wasn’t unwelcome. It was different that the first time he’d kissed her, had her mind trying to remember another time she’d been kissed. It came up short. Her hand pressed on his chest as she wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. She thought back to Edward, how he’d encouraged her to listen to her own body and follow what felt good. Kerr’s eyes fluttered closed as her fingers gripped his shirt. She let herself relax a little, having started the kiss a bit stiff. Her heart hammered in her chest.
At some point (she wasn’t sure how long it had been), the kiss broke. Kerr’s eyes opened slowly as her fingers released his shirt and looked upon him. “Why did you do that?” Her tone didn’t sound offended, but honestly curious. It was as if she was asking how the idea of kissing her could have even come to his mind.
This one definitely had a low opinion of herself and while he loathed things being too easy, she was a challenge in her own right. He shrugged his shoulders at her. “Well, I think you’re fit, you’re kind, you’re brave and I like your lips.” It was as simple as that. Wild animals weren’t anything to joke around about, they were dangerous and Kerr was impressive for keeping animals like she did.
“Should I have not?” He asked her though he knew the answer, just wanted to hear it from her.
“Yes- I mean no- I mean…” Kerr shook her head. “It was okay… good.” She still felt warmth in her stomach from the kiss, a heat growing. “Sorry. I’ve just never…” Should she admit how naive she was about their current situation? How she’d never kissed someone like that before. It was nice. She’d be okay with more of it. But she wasn’t sure what her body was saying to her in order to follow it and she didn’t want him to think less of her for her inexperience. “I mean-”
He looked down at her and brought his hand to stroke her cheek. “Shh.” He offered her as she stumbled over her words. “It doesn’t matter, I’m patient.” Which wasn’t entirely true but he’d pretend if it made her feel more comfortable. He looked into her eyes and spoke with as much authenticity as he could muster.
“I’ve been around for a long time, I can teach you a trick or two.”
“I think I’m okay with kissing right now.” Kerr replied, blushing. She’d have to talk to Edward about Marty. Maybe he could help her, in the meantime she just hoped that she wasn’t bad at something as simple as kissing that she’d turn Marty off.
“Not a problem for me, love.” He replied and brought his hand from her cheek to tilt up her chin and kiss her again. There was a way to play this, to have her doting on him hand and foot so he’d play it that way because devotion caused people to do bad things.
He kept it soft for a bit to allow her to get used to it, letting his other hand release from her hand and run lightly along her side, grasping a bit at her skin as he opened his mouth for her.
Kerr tried to go with it, she felt a shiver run down her at his touch. As his lips parted she awkwardly followed his lead, but it was not good. While she could probably have been worse, she wasn’t sure how far to part and at first his lips ended up around her’s. Once she’d gotten that part done, it was probably a bit too wet and not enough tongue, then too much tongue and by the end of it, she was convinced that she’d ruined it all.
Upon parting for a good breath, she tucked a small strand of hair behind her ear. “Maybe… we
should get back.” Kerr suggested, thoroughly sure she’d completely fucked the whole situation.
His brows knit together, a sense of confusion falling across his face. Marty wasn’t confused, he could see what was going on. He immediately backed away from her on the bench to give her some space and looked down into his lap as if he were suddenly shy. “I...did I do something wrong?” He’d had worst kisses in his life but he knew the only reason she was like that was because she was thinking about it too hard.
“I won’t touch you anymore if that’s what you want…” he replied, raising his hands above his head in mock surrender.
“No.” She said quickly, shaking her head. “No… I just…” have no idea what I’m doing. “I’ve had a long day. I think I’m just getting a bit tired.” Kerr didn’t want him to write her off. “But I do like… spending time with you…”
In a high-pitched version of his own voice, sounding almost defensive. “Then why you trying to leave?” He tried not to make her think he was angry but it came out in his voice naturally. He sighed and leaned back on the bench, putting a hand on his forehead. “I’m sorry, not so good at rejection, I am.” If she’d been around she’d probably comment about how he sounded like yoda but he didn’t have to worry about that with her.
“Just thought I’d maybe had a chance with you is all.” It was a pathetic move but Marty was all about playing the sympathy card.
“No. I’m not.” Kerr rubbed her arm as her brow furrowed. Well, she’d definitely messed that up- as expected. “I just don’t know how to… I mean I’ve never…” She pushed up from the bench and paced, sort of like one of the big cats in their cages. “You’ve been kind to me, and that means a lot. You don’t think my choice of dress is strange.” Because he’d clearly figured out she was born a girl. Kerr paused and looked at him. “Look, you’re the first guy ever to show any interest in me.” Her voice had a slight tremble to it, as it tried to hold back a flood of emotion. “I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t want to bugger this all to hell, but it’s a bit overwhelming and I don’t think I’m doing any of it right. And I’m not even sure I know what ‘it’ is.”
He stood from the bench and grabbed her gently by the arm and brought her closer to him so he could address her eye to eye. “I don’t care what you know and what you don’t. I told you, I have all the experience, you’re not me first virgin.” He sighed and grabbed her other hand as they hung low between them.
“I know it’s scary but maybe if it helps, you could treat me like your teacher. If it’s bad, I’ll tell you how to fix it. First rule of thumb is to try relaxing.” He hoped he got through to her because building her trust in him was important. He brought a hand up to card through her hair and leaned his head to the side as he looked down at her. Then he pulled her closer into a hug, wrapping his arms around her smaller frame.