LOUDER THAN THE RAIN 9
The ring went off and he reached to grab the phone, putting it to his ear without moving his head from where it lay. "Hey you."
He rolled over onto his back moving his blanket over his legs to cover them. The bus hadn't quite warmed up yet so he stared up at the ceiling to see if he could get his mind on something else until the goosebumps on his legs settled down. Yet another night on the bus. At least tonight he'd have someone to talk to since Meredith and Justin were out front again. "Hi," he said with a yawn.
"Long day and late night," he said and moved his hand across his forehead and scratched his ear. "We've got a ride ahead of us. I'm sorry I haven't called yet."
"It's ok. Want some company or are you wanting to go to sleep?"
"What's wrong?" he instantly asked pushing himself up a little and moving his pillow behind his neck so that he could be comfortable while he talked, but not be in a position to go to sleep again.
"Had a bad day," she said, "I hate dumping on you like this, but it's like no one here understands."
"Awe Carrah," he said taking deep breaths. He could say so many things to make her happy, like that he would have a plane ticket out to see him waiting for her at the airport if she wanted it, but he knew how she hated that. He could totally take her out of the misery that she was in, but she wasn't one to run from her problems so he wasn't going to help her. "Tell me."
"It's just so hard to deal with her," she said.
"Deal with who?"
He heard her take a frustrated breath. "Do you ever listen to me?"
"Carrah calm down. I listen," he said, "There are more than a few people back home that you have issues with...I take it from your attitude that it's your boss again."
"Yes," she said, "I hate her. You know what she said about me?"
"She's talking bad about you?"
"She said--" He could hear her trying not to cry. He knew this was going to be important. "She said that me being blonde made me see air-headed."
"What?" Lance said. He knew that the comment was true about some people, but not Carrah. She'd graduated at the top of her class and had been doing well in college until she decided that she needed to take a little time off to save up to pay for her schooling. S something that he didn't like at all considering that he could have loaned her the money. That was just Carrah, there wasn't a manipulative bone in her body and even getting a loan from him seemed to be taking advantage of him.
"She was being really nasty, I think her boyfriend was out of town or something...I don't know...when he does leave town it seems like we all suffer."
Lance moved out of his bunk to see what was going on in the front room. He thought he'd ask Justin and Meredith to turn up the heater, plus he needed to get a drink of water or something. "Well did you say something back to her about the comment?"
"You know how I get," she said, "It was hard enough for me not to cry right then and there."
"Why don't you just pretend she's me. You always can tell me off," he said with a laugh as he stepped over Justin's feet and moved towards the kitchen ducking a little so that he wouldn't get in the way of the movie they were watching.
"That's because you don't hold my career in your hands," she said.
"That's not by choice," he said.
He grabbed out a soda and opened it with one hand then stood there for a moment leaning against the counter and let his eyes fall on the television's reflection in the window across from him. They were watching a movie with Elizabeth Shue and some blond guy who he'd never seen before. He knew from just watching those few moments that it was Meredith's night to pick because Justin would never pick anything so girly.
"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked.
"What happened today to make you all upset?" he asked.
She sighed, "I got some paperwork--"
"Want me to have the lawyer look them over?" he asked.
"No," she said with a growl. "It's just a reminder of my school loans. Since I'm gonna graduate soon they wrote me to remind me of my payment schedule and stuff and it just depressed me."
"Carrah I offered--"
"I know you offered and I'm not complaining. Is that what you think this is? That I'm rethinking my decision and that I called you to--"
"Whoa Carrah," he said, "Whoa. What happened today to set you off like this?"
Justin looked up from where he was laying with Meredith against him. "Is she ok?"
"Yeah," Lance said.
"Who's there?" she asked.
"Just Justin and Meredith," he said.
"Can you please not televise my problems?" she asked.
"I'm sorry," he said with a comforting vote then moved across the tiny space and went back towards his bunk hoping that it would make her feel better to know that he was out of public view.
"Where are you?" she asked.
"About to crawl back in my bunk," he said, "Hold on a second." He climbed into bed and moved the sheets and blanket around a moment then moved his pillow before he tool a breath, "There, now what were you asking me about?"
"Do you really think that I'm calling you for money?"
"No," he said, "I don't think that way at all and even if you were calling me for that I wouldn't at all hold it against you."
"You can't be superman," she said.
"You can't be superman to me so stop it," she said.
"I don't understand," he said.
"That's right," she said, "You don't understand. You don't understand that you can't swoop in here and protect me from everything and everyone because you have the money or the celebrity to call up someone and make things happen--"
"I never do that," he said.
"Yes you do. You do it all the time," she said, "You do it and you don't even know about it."
Lance put a hand over his eyes. "I...I..."
"Look," she said, "I'm gonna go to sleep...I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"Wait Carrah...Carrah don't hang up--"
The sound of the phone being cut off met his ears and he took a deep breath. He didn't know what her problem was. He wasn't trying to be pushy. He'd never told her that she had to take his money. He just didn't understand why she wouldn't take the easy way out and solve her troubles or at least put off some of her debt until later when she could really afford to pay off a loan as big as one that would pay for college.
He would have called her back, but he knew it was too late to do so. He should just let her cool off and see if the next day he could repair whatever gash had just come between them.
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