Category: Joe/Torri. Rpf (real person fic).
Disclaimer: Owned by others.
Author’s Note: Merry Christmas, ceruleantides! *loves*
”I could have saved so much time for us
Had I seen the way to get to where I am today”
-- Joshua Radin, ‘I’d Rather Be With You’
When Torri makes the move back to LA, he offers to go with, and doesn’t really think about the implications, much less the consequences.
After all, it’s just a road trip.
Implications catch up a few days later.
He decides not to tell Katherine. Of course nothing will happen, but he knows how it will look.
They start off on one of the few ridiculously sunny and warm days that Vancouver shares on occasion and Torri is a bit wistful.
“Goodbye for now,” she says, gives a little wave to her house. Then she turns her face to the sun and closes her eyes as he gets them out of the city.
She brightens once they’re an hour on the road, and despite having worked with her for years, he’s surprised by how easily conversation still flows when it’s just the two of them stuck together for miles. Discussions feel natural, and he finds himself telling her about college, about Katherine – things he hasn’t thought about in ages, and moments he never really meant to divulge.
“I’m giving up all my secrets here,” he tells her, warns her against using them for blackmail. After all, she’s given him more than enough ammunition of her own.
They stop for the night in Oregon and book adjoining rooms (the door between promptly opened as Torri gathers the minibar bottles for a shared nightcap). She sits on his bed, legs tucked under her and hair in a ponytail as she tosses him a vodka.
“And to think I would have had to do this alone,” she says.
The door ends up staying open, and his imagination, fueled by vodka and gin, runs away from him.
Torri’s long since gone back to her room and to bed, but he can’t get images out of his mind – the damn tank top she wore and the skin at her midriff that would show, the necklace that lay at her collarbone and the way she would run a hand up the back of her neck.
He stares at the open doorway, struggles with his thoughts until finally exhaustion rules and sleep claims him.
She drives the second leg of the trip, and he tries not to use this as an excuse to look at her more than he should. Her hair is clipped up in a way that keeps it out of her face, but allows curly strands to linger at her neck and shoulders where they continuously distract him.
“I’ll be fine,” she says, and he remembers to keep his eyes where it’s appropriate. “There’s guest star spots, independent films, theater.”
Although her leave from the show wasn’t exactly amicable (and it’s the one subject on which she’s said little), she’s content, even happy, and her outlook never fails to impress him.
On behalf of Rachel, Jason, David, and many of the others, he promises to share whatever news she passes along and to be there for support if she needs a few audience members in attendance. “You know we’d rewrite Atlantis if we could.”
She smiles then, softly.
In San Francisco, she insists on some sightseeing, and they stroll through Chinatown, take the cable car to the wharf, and unsuccessfully wait standby for tickets to Alcatraz.
He wants to believe it’s completely innocent – his hand on her back, her arm looped through his – and it’s only when they don’t correct the waiter continuously calling them a couple that he wonders just what he’s doing.
They stay in the city for the night, and agree to skip the drinking in favor of some much needed sleep.
He wakes too early, the clock only a few minutes past four, and tries to focus his thoughts on productive topics like prioritizing the house projects he’d been putting off until hiatus. It proves futile.
Close to half past five he hears Torri moving around in her room, and a quiet sound from the sliding door as she goes out to the balcony. He debates briefly, and then follows, finds her at the railing with arms wrapped around herself to ward off the morning chill.
He stands next to her, closer than he means to, and looks out at the city just beginning to stir. He knows without asking that she’s thinking about Vancouver, about the show, and having to leave it all.
It’s so easy, just a step and he’s behind her, his arms around her waist and her back warm against him.
She doesn’t say anything, but her hand finds his, fingers twining together.
They’re in LA by the afternoon, the boxes from her car in the house less than an hour later. She makes him tea in a Stargate mug, and stands with him at the kitchen counter.
“I’ll give you a ride to the airport,” she says, and it reminds him that he has a flight to catch.
His thoughts are scattered, and flying back to Vancouver feels very far away. He’s focused on the way she’s leaning into him, and the heat from the mug of tea between his hands, and how he shouldn’t turn his head to even look at her because this simple road trip has dug up something he’s been able to ignore until now.
Silence reigns, and he knows it gives him away.
Her hand reaches into the pocket of his jeans, and she hands him his cellphone. “If the flight ends up canceled, order Thai.”