We Can Watch the Clouds


delia_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title We Can Watch the Clouds
Synopsis The plan to sleep under the stars is marred by cloudy weather and something more ominous on the horizon.
Date May 14, 2011

Harriman State Park

Despite spending most of his life in London, where it's much the same, and despite living in the more rugged green belts of New York for the past few months, Nick is still amazed how quickly the tall skyline and the skies of pollution fade simply by getting in an automobile and driving away. The park that he's selected for the impromptu "camping" trip is just an hour or so away from the city, lush in this aging spring with green foliage. Rolling hills and craggy rock, lakes both manmade and natural — it's not the most wild of sanctuaries, but it's quiet and "close," his cell phone still getting reception should any emergencies arise.

The truck is laden down with equipment — most of it brand new — including blankets, foam padding, and pillows. There's no reason to sleep in a tent when one can sleep under the stars! Except that there are no stars — gray clouds hover overhead covering the should-be blue canvas; there is a tent, just in case.

The campsite is simple and small, with a view of one of the lakes, a barbecue pit, and a picnic table. After hauling a cooler of food to the picnic table, Nick reaches up to wipe his face with his sleeve, eyes squinting for a moment. He turns to look for Delia. "This spot okay with you? There's a better lake but we can't get to it unless we hike; truck won't make it there."

The impromptu trip came at a perfect time for Delia, simply because it's easier for her to avoid the one of the men she's living with when she's just not there. A crooked smile is delivered to Nick when he asks her opinion of the spot and she raises her eyebrows high, perhaps to stop from laughing. "No hiking please!" Before she got lost, she used to love it.

While he's been busy unloading and unpacking, she's been gleaning the area for kindling and long sticks. Never straying out of sight, she gathers a small armload that's simply dumped in the fire pit instead of artfully arranged. "Have you ever done this before? Camping, I mean.. because you grew up in the city, I wasn't sure." He seems to have brought everything he could think of which makes her a little nervous considering her own small backpack stuffed with spare clothing.

"You probably have," answering her own question in a lowered, shyer tone. Her head is angled downward to allow her to pick out rocks to kick at nervously. The small pebbles that meet her booted foot skip away on contact, bouncing a few yards before kissing her toe again to repeat the pattern.

"Not really as a kid," he says with a shake of his head, his eyes far off as they watch the lake water's gentle rippling. "There was some trip we took when I was a bit older and at the group home. Y'know, kinda like those shows you see on the tellie where they take out the hoods and make 'em do group work and trust walks and all that shite." Clearly it didn't work.

He gestures around. "This isn't real camping. I mean, if we forgot anything or a bobcat eats our food, we can just go back to the Circle K ten miles away," he points out with a half smile.

Blue eyes lift to gray sky. "Sorry it ain't clearer. Be nice to see the stars." The words are punctuated with a cough that brings a few beads of sweat to his forehead. Nick moves to the cooler to pull out a bottle of water, uncapping it and taking a long draught.

"Probably only stay a night — the weather probably won't hold. Works out. I mean, I should probably be working on other things, anyway," Nick murmurs, mostly to himself — like finding Calvin.

The last bit causes Delia's smile to falter a little and she turns away to stalk toward the truck. The bang caused by her boots when she leaps up into the bed scares a few of the little birds settled into the trees around them. The flap of tiny wings sounds something like the roll of a snare drum from far away, which has her pausing to watch them leave. "Yeah, it would be nice to see stars," she agrees, picking the easy route in the conversation.

"But this will be nice too, we can watch the clouds…" Her suggestion is puncuated with the shrug of one shoulder. Leaving him with the 'man stuff', she busies herself with unrolling the foam pad and arranging blankets and pillows. She's undecided. At first, the bed is made into one… but changed quickly with a blush until the blankets are refolded into two separate sleeping sections. That is also switched around, back to one underneath while the other two are simply lumped on top.

They'll figure it out later.

The making and remaking of the bed doesn't escape Nick's attention, but he simply regards it with an amused half smile he tries to hide. There isn't much "man stuff" to do, except for unloading the heavy cooler. "I didn't bring anything we really have to cook. I ain't gonna try and prove my manliness by showing you how well I can char a steak over an open flame, but I did bring some hot dogs and marshmallows and that stuff and the little poles you cook 'em on," he offers.

The rest of the cooler has lunch meat and cheese and bread, granola bars, beer, soda, water. The necessities of life.

He moves to the bed of the truck, grabbing one corner of the tailgate to help him up and over, and falls perhaps a touch theatrically on the bedding, reaching for her hand to pull her down with him. "'m tired. Wanna nap?"

She kneels on the bedding at first, then turns just a little to loosen the ties on her boots. Once Delia has them kicked off, she pushes them over to the end in a little pile of their own. When she finally settles back it's with a small smile while staring at him through half lidded eyes. "So what you're saying is… you're cutting short my camping experience by not burning meat on the fire which in turn forces us to eat berries and mushrooms that we've found in the wild?" The tease widens her grin a little and she lifts one finger to play with the necklace around his neck.

She turns her head to look up at the sky, her blue eyes following one of the darker ones across. "This was a good idea, even if you have better things to do. I'm glad you wanted to go."

The wording she chooses makes him huff a soft laugh, but that brings up another cough; Nick turns his face away from her, and coughs into the pillow. A moment later he looks back with slightly watery eyes but a smile. "Time to quit smoking I guess," he teases, reaching up to tuck a ringlet behind her ear.

"I said I'd other things to work on, not better things to do," he corrects her, thumb brushing her cheek lightly. "Don't assume you're less important, yeah?" His eyelids seem heavy — being 'tired' wasn't just a ploy to get her in bed, apparently, even if it's only mid afternoon.

Nick reaches for her, one hand wrapping around her waist and tugging her closer, though he shifts to curl against her, big spoon to her little, his chin resting on her shoulder. "This is nice," he adds. "We can nap and then have a fire so I can prove I'm capable of caveman skills — though I do plan to cheat and use my lighter," he murmurs into her hair. This close, he feels a touch warm, given the cool and damp air coming off the lake.

Delia wriggles a little to fit close against him and laces her fingers with the hand wrapped around her waist. Her hair smells of the same mix of lavender and mint that it always does. Softer in texture due to a recent clipping, the waves of red tend to get everywhere especially so close. Turning her head enough to touch her cheek against his, she allows her smile to wane to a more serene expression.

"Not if I get up first and hide the lighter and your cigarettes," her tone is soft, still teasing but quieter to match his. "You really should quit if you're still coughing— it's been months since you had that cold." Plus he's been on antibiotics. "Your lungs are probably all black and sticky…" she closes her eyes to yawn, using the back of her free hand to cover her mouth. "… we should see if there's boats for rent when we get up. I have some money." Probably only a little, like always, but enough.

His eyelashes fan her cheek and Nick murmurs something that sounds like agreement regarding boats, before backing up to argue with earlier sentiments.

"My lungs aren't as bad as they could be, I don't think. I got healed a few months back. I've only got the lungs of a six month smoker, not a twelve-year 'un. If that makes you feel any better." He's pretty sure it won't.

His chest presses against her back as his breaths grow more regular, not interrupted by speech; his hand falls a little slack in hers around her waist. The insomniac has fallen asleep in just a few moments — the only time he's done that was when he was last ill with the cough Delia mentioned.

Twelve years…

Delia's head jerks a little and she brushes her lips against his cheek in a sore attempt to rouse him again. "Nick— " the young woman whispers as she leans into his chest. "Nick?" He's already gone but not completely out of reach. Closing her eyes, the redhead smiles lightly and captures her lower lip between her teeth. When it's let go, her eyes are closed and her breathing has slowed to match his.


The name is whispered through the fog of a sleep deprived mind.

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