Ain’t No Rest, part 10/? (2015-10-16)

All of this is very surreal, Ben thinks, as he carefully pokes at the scrambled eggs in the frying pan in front of him. Him, in pajamas, standing in his kitchen cooking a very late breakfast. His ex-girlfriend, perfectly dressed, sitting poised in one of the tall chairs for his dining table across from his current houseguest. An escapee from the Isle of the Lost.

“The season that you took over was my favorite, really,” Carlos says candidly, before smearing a thick layer of jam on his toast and shoving half of it into his mouth.

An escapee from the Isle of the Lost who is somehow better at media runaround than Ben–even though he’s been trained on this since childhood and again as part of Knight lessons.

“I’m not surprised, that season was the most popular even in other countries. A fresh face does wonders for a dying series. Although, I didn’t know you got reception on the Isle,” Audrey preens, delicately sipping at her no-pulp orange juice and leaving a pink lip stain on her glass.

Beneath the table, Dude has settled into a reluctant silence, his Audrey-induced growling abated mostly by Carlos’ gentle and rhythmic foot nudging.

Bemused, Ben turns back to the frying pan.

“We don’t. Well, not really. It’s more like we don’t have TVs on the Isle to receive signal. But I’m pretty good with machines,” Carlos says through a mouthful of food.

In disgust, Audrey looks away, “I suppose you don’t have manners on the Isle, either?” Half-heartedly she adds, “Is that why you left?”

Even Ben knows how much of a reach that was, and he figures the eggs are as good as they’re going to get. He turns off the heat, scrapes them onto two plates, and sits himself at the table as well. One plate goes in front of him, the other in front of Carlos.

“You sure you don’t want any, Audrey?” he asks, mostly sarcastic.

“As if,” She scoffs, “If I remember your cooking correctly, those eggs are probably somehow runny, rubbery, and burnt all at the same time.”

And… well… she’s not wrong. Ben pushes around the mess on his plate.

“They taste okay to me,” Carlos volunteers, after trying a bite. It must not be a lie because he keeps eating them, but Ben can’t help but mirror Audrey’s skeptical expression.

“Really?” Audrey asks, no longer a reporter but a person honestly mystified.

“They smell okay, so it’s already a lot better than the eggs on the Isle,” Carlos says with a shrug.

“Okay as in what?” this time, Ben asks.

“Okay as in not rotten,” Carlos clarifies, “Eggs are kind of a luxury on the Isle–non-spoiled ones, anyway–they are a good source of protein and all that. But they aren’t all that high a priority during barge runs, even if we’ve been getting first pick. And it’s rare to actually find a non-broken, non-spoiled egg so…” he shrugs again, though his shoulders don’t quite come back down after, and focuses on his breakfast.

Ben and Audrey look at him, then at each other, ill at ease. Of course rubbery, burnt eggs would taste okay in comparison to rotting food. Having no TVs is one thing. But not having edible food? Barge runs?

What–

“What was life on the Isle like?” Audrey breathes out, horrified, somehow thumbing guiltily at the condensation beading along her glass of orange juice.

Carlos glances towards Ben for something like reassurance, then faces Audrey, “Is this still off the record?”

Audrey hesitates, and for that second Ben earnestly shoots her a glare, but she rallies herself. All of her emotions–her shock, her pettiness, her concern–tucked away behind pure professionalism. “Do you want it to be?”

Carlos answers.

~

A/N: I swear to god this story! Argh! Literally every chapter I have one thing planned and instead it goes in a completely different direction. I am barely stringing together a sentence when suddenly my brain goes–oh, wait, what if instead of that thing you already plotted out I did this thing instead? WHYYYYYY BRAIN WHYYYYYY.

That being said, because I have no idea what this story is doing I am even more invested in writing this because I AM SO CURIOUS AS TO WHAT IS HAPPENING.

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