Ain’t No Rest, part 8/? (2015-09-29)

Carlos wakes up to a persistent ringing noise, a small furry face huffing dog breath right into his nose, and in a bed that definitely isn’t his. He’s not sure which problem to fix first–isn’t sure if he should even bother to fix anything. He’s on the edge between sleep and wakefulness and it’d be pretty easy to slip back down into sleep.

Except for that damn ringing noise.

Carlos groans, alerting Dude to his conscious state, and he has to move his head away from Dude’s well-intended but currently unappreciated doggy kisses. Might as well stick his head underneath the pillow to muffle the noise as well.

Prey having escaped, Dude jumps down off the bed and out the slightly ajar door. The doorbell, for that’s what the ringing must have been–though the doorbell at Hell Hall sounded different than that–stops, too, leaving Carlos in peace.

For about three seconds.

Because then Dude starts barking and growling, and then there’s the Knight’s voice saying something, and someone else’s voice–a woman’s–shouting back and nope. No way is Carlos going to be able to sleep through this.

Quietly–not that he would be heard over the ruckus happening outside his room–he tiptoes out of bed, straightening the sleeping clothes Ben loaned him as best he could. Without the tough leather of his jacket, or his steel-enforced boots, he feels soft. He feels vulnerable with his gang so far away–they’ve never been so separate before, even before they became a gang, the Isle is so small.

But Evie said he would be safe with the Knight, with Ben. He smooths his hands over the soft, plain shirt, before stepping closer to the bedroom door.

The voices become more distinct–actual words instead of just noise–and eavesdropping is a perfectly legitimate form of information gathering.

The woman’s voice curls around Dude’s continuous barking and growling, “–can’t believe you still have this mutt. This whole kind to animals phase was acceptable in high school, maybe, but we’re adults now, Benny–”

“Dude isn’t a phase!” Ben interrupts, almost a growl of his own, “And how did you even get in?”

“You gave me a key, Benny-boo, don’t you remember?” The woman says, high, lilting, like she owns the place.

Carlos can feel his muscles tense, preparing to flee. It reminds him of their mothers, back on the Isle, how everything they wanted was so easily taken.

“That was when we were still dating, Audrey, I asked for my spare key back.”

“And I gave it back,” the woman, Audrey, responds coyly, “After I made a copy, of course…” And maybe that was meant to be flirtatious, the pause in conversation implying some kind of seductive motion that Carlos can’t see, but instead:

“Will you shut that mongrel up!” She shouts, clearly irritated by how unromantic a barking dog can make a situation.

For some reason, it almost makes Carlos smile, even though he peeks out the door in concern for Dude. He knows what it’s like to be on the wrong side of that kind of irritation. Knows what it’s like to be on the wrong side of that phrase, actually.

The apartment size and layout being what it is makes guest bedroom door visible to the rest of the apartment. Extremely so.

So despite how quiet Carlos is in comparison to their argument, his movement is still very obvious. Three pairs of eyes catch on him and immediately Carlos regrets his actions.

To be honest, Audrey doesn’t look like much of a threat; she doesn’t look real–all pastels and perfectly put together–it’s entirely different from the world Carlos is used to on the Isle. Where grays and browns are the default, and colors are bright and loud and poisonous.

But Dude runs towards Carlos, wheeling around and standing guard, hackles raised and growling in her direction. Even Ben, from his spot further away, takes a few steps closer.

“Carlos–”

But Audrey is already near, and Dude not much of a deterrent. She turns towards Carlos, and smiles.

“Carlos, is it?” She asks, and there’s something in her hand, something she’s pointing in his direction. “Benny didn’t tell me he had a guest over.”

“Damn it, Audrey, I said no comment!”

But Audrey ignores him, focussed entirely on Carlos, “How about an interview?” She asks, recorder already on, “An escapee from the Isle of the Lost? My ratings will go through the roof!”

~

A/N: Ta-da! Ain’t No Rest update.

Surprise, Audrey is in journalism.

Also, bigger surprise, I actually barely made my midnight deadline! Wooooow.

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