The steering wheel was gripped with white knuckles, a still-angry Lexi trying her best to ignore the pirate that was so blatantly staring at her from the passenger seat. Her inner thoughts were a mess of wanting to kill him and telling herself to let it go. She's was supposed to be the better person right? She sighed, feeling angry once again.
God, the man was impossible! One second he was cooperating nicely, the nice he was picking her up and throwing her outside to sit in the rain because she told him what to do. Maybe Law was used to being in charge and not taking orders from anyone, at least in his world. Maybe that was why he was acting that way…Still, it was no excuse to toss your gracious host out into the rain.
Nana had stayed silent so far, just staring out the window with a hardened look in her eyes. Every few minutes or so Lexi would look in the rearview mirror and check up on her. She didn't seem to move the entire time, besides swaying back and forth from the bounce of the truck. Lexi's eyes softened, wondering what all this felt like to her.
Her grandmother had been sick for so long, she couldn't remember a time when the old woman hadn't seen the world through tormented eyes. It must be strange, living in a world where everyone appeared to be your enemy.
Her mom and dad had warned her to be careful of Nana's 'episodes.' As a child, Lexi hadn't quite understood what that had meant. All she remembered was playing war with her in the backyard, learning how to bandage fake wounds and getting to try out crutches for the first time when she was seven.
The rumbling of her tires jerked her attention back onto the road, where she was drifting over to the edge. The rumble strips vibrated the vehicle, and she pulled them back into a straight path down the highway. The shock had sent a surge of adrenaline through her body, and everything felt on edge, tingly, and hypersensitive.
"Distracted?" Law questioned, an eyebrow raised. She shook her head, not wanting to talk to him right then. Hoping music would help her troubled mind, she slipped a CD from the holder and pushed it into the slit, pressing the play button when it had loaded.
'She packed my bags last night, pre-flight. Zero hour, nine a.m. And I'm gonna be hi-i-igh as a kite by then.'
Lexi sighed in content, letting the piano notes and smooth singing distract her from her troubles.
A year ago, she wouldn't have imagined her life to be this stressful. Sure, college she expected, but all this? It was too much for her…why couldn't her life be normal? Like Brittany? Much as she liked her friend, she truly and honestly did envy her. Her life was perfect; money, many friends, an easy time of it in college, and no mentally ill relatives that she had to take care of full time.
'What am I doing with my life anyways? After college…then what?' She thought, feeling a tinge of fear at all the unknowns. Graduating from college had been a goal for a long time. Now that it was within reach…Lexi stalled, or at least felt like that's what it was. What good was a degree gonna do her? Get her a job so she could work for the rest of her life?
'God, just stop thinking for a second and relax. Let the music take you…' She let herself focus on the lyrics, making sure to watch the road carefully.
'And I think it's gonna be a long long time till touchdown brings me down again to find, I'm not the man they think I am at home, Oh no no no.
'I'm a Rocket Man…Rocket Man, burning out his fuse up here alone.'
"This is what music sounds like in your world?" Law inquired, shattering her up-to-that-point peaceful thoughts. She gave him a glare, sighing deeply.
"There are so many different bands and genres and singers, music is so diverse here." Was all she said, hoping he'd drop the subject.
Unfortunately, Law didn't quite understand her version of 'cooling down' after being angry.
"I'll assume you're angry with me for earlier?" He asked, a cheeky smirk on his face. She didn't appreciate his useless questions, especially when he already knew the answers.
"You're an asshole, you know that?" She retorted. He only chuckled. His amusement really wasn't helping her mood any. "And my dislike of you grows stronger everyday."
"If that is meant to deter me from teasing you, I'm afraid you'll have to find a much more effective threat."
"Then there's something you should know about me, Law." She said, gaining his curiosity. She stared a him hard a moment, allowing a small grin to appear on her face. "I don't hold grudges against people. Holding onto anger like that, I don't like it. Instead, I get even. So please know that you will get what's coming to you. Eventually." She said, returning her gaze to the road with a new sense of purpose.
Maybe she was more corrupted than she thought. Threatening people wasn't something she was used to, but it seemed to be the only way to deal with the jerk face sitting next to her. Perhaps after she exacted her revenge, she wouldn't hate him so much.
'People make mistakes, t's just this guy's mistakes don't seem to teach him anything. Or he doesn't care.'
They continued down the highway, and they passed a green sign that said Fairview was only 13 more miles away. Great, that way she wouldn't have to deal with him besides her for too much longer.
"Please wait outside, Lexi. I know you care for your grandmother, but you know how these sessions work. Strict confidentiality." Dr. Pierce gave a sympathetic smile, closing her office door. Lexi ran her hand through her hair, taking a seat besides Law outside in the hall.
"How long will this session take?" He questioned, and she shrugged.
"It just depends on Nana really. I can't leave until she's at least a little improved." She sighed deeply, leaning her head against the wall. "Lately the episodes have lasted longer or have become more serious. I'm not sure how much longer she can take this honestly." Lexi finished quietly.
"PTSD takes a heavy toll on the affected's mind." Law agreed, thinking back to several cases he'd experienced while sailing on the Grand Line. He glanced back at the girl, seeing her staring off into space, unblinking. "You seem to have a lot on your mind."
She could tell he was fishing for information, but she didn't feel like telling him. Much. With a sigh, she recognized her desire to say at least something. Explaining where the urge had come from, that was impossible.
"I feel stuck. After I get my degree, what then? Where do I go? What do I do? Work the rest of my life?" She dragged her hand across her face, feeling his eyes watching her from the side. "You know, if you guys aren't actually crazy and really are from a different world, if you guys are actually pirates," She shook her head, "then I envy you."
"And why is that?"
"You know exactly what you want. You have all the means to reach that 'One Piece,' or whatever it is. It all sounds so…fun." She concluded.
"It's not all fun and games. Death is frequent and plentiful." He raised an eyebrow, seeing a tiny smile grace her lips. This girl was…quite confusing. And intriguing. Definitely intriguing.
"I understand that. But it all sounds like a grand adventure, doesn't it?" She asked wistfully, shifting her position to face away from him, leaning her body against the wall. The discussion had ended, leaving both of them to their own thoughts.
"If we aren't seen by anyone then it should be fine!" Penguin tried to convince his friend and polar bear. "The only people close by are the ones who live next door. We'll be fine!"
"We have been cooped up in this house awhile…" Shachi admitted, rubbing the back of his next hesitantly. "But…what if Lexi-chan finds out?"
"Don't worry! She'll be gone awhile. Besides, don't you want to do a bit of exploring? To see what's out there?"
"I'd like to know what Lexi's world is like too. Watching the TV isn't very interesting anymore." Bepo supported, rising to his feet with a stretch. The engineers shrugged, deciding that a little walk couldn't hurt.
"Should we leave a note, just in case? What if they do get back before we do?"
"Alright, fine." They scribbled down a brief explanation before being ready to leave.
They wandered out the back door, forgetting to turn off the TV in the process, and walked to the back edge of the fence. Beyond the yard's perimeter, a large field lay across the landscape, with a big forest further back. At the edge of their field of vision, a large set of mountains made up the horizon.
"Come on!" Penguin said, hopping the fence and starting towards the direction of the forest. The others followed eagerly. Adventuring was part of being a pirate, after all.
Lexi had fallen asleep pretty quickly, her back still to Law, but it looked rather uncomfortable. He eyed her with interest, mind rifling through everything that had happened up to this point.
This strange world of Lexi's was so confusing. Nothing made sense to him. Well, most things. Thanks to the laptop he'd been provided previously, he'd learned many things about what he thought were essential things. There was such a vast complex of culture and society and technology, it was all mind-boggling. His world seemed to be so primitive in comparison.
"Mmm…" Lexi muttered, moving her shoulders around to get comfortable again. She leaned back, unconsciously trying to find a more restful spot, which just turned out to be Law's own shoulder.
She slid backwards, back bustling on Law's side, and watched in curiosity and slight alarm as she got comfortable before settling herself into deep slumber again. He grinned.
'Quite an intriguing specimen, indeed.'
*Two Hours Later*
Lexi jerked herself awake from sleep, not really sure of why. Her eyes felt heavy and crusty. She rubbed at them, yawning deeply. Her back hurt, probably from sleeping at a strange angle. A deep chuckle caught her attention besides her.
"Finally awake?" Law asked, that smirk still in place. She looked down between them, noticing her leaned full up against him, and she jerked herself into a sitting position. Her cheeks probably going red, he chuckled as she tried to smooth out her shirt and hoodie.
"Why didn't you shove me off?" She questioned, giving him a glare. He only grinned wider.
"Why would I end something I was thoroughly enjoying?" He teased, and she glanced away.
The door to Dr. Pierce's office opened, and Nana entered the hallway. Lexi stood, catching the older woman's attention.
"Lexi, dear, I don't remember us coming to see Dr. Pierce. Did I have an appointment that I forgot?" She asked, glancing down at her clothes in confusion. Lexi sighed, giving her a hug.
"Yes, but don't worry. I've got things taken care of. We can go home now." Dr. Pierce glanced at the young woman, giving her a sympathetic smile before returning to her office. Taking Nana's hand, she led her down the hallway, Law following behind them.
They reached the doors to the parking lot, and Lexi saw that it was still drizzling a great deal. They ran to the truck, and before anything else, Lexi helped Nana get in the back seat.
A very mean thought struck Lexi then, and she remembered her discussion with Law from the drive here. Grinning evilly, she got in the driver's seat. Calling to Law who was walking to the passenger side to get in, she pointed to the truck bed.
"Hey, Law? Will you check to make sure there's nothing in the back that got ruined?" He raised an eyebrow but nodded and wandered around back. Lexi smirked, closing her door before locking all of the other ones.
The pirate returned to the door a moment later. "There is nothing in the back." She gave him a bright smile.
"Oh good!" She said, overly cheerful. He pulled at the handle to the truck, frowning when it wouldn't open. "Oh, did I lock that? Whoops." She shrugged dramatically.
He glared at her. "Open the door." He demanded, and she plunged the key into the ignition, the engine roared to life.
"Now why would I do that?"
"Don't you remember what I said earlier, Law? I don't hold grudges. I just get even. This is me getting even." She waved her fingers in a cutesy little wave just to spite him. Law tried pulling the door several more times, scowling at it when it still remained locked.
Then, oddly, he held up his hand. "Room." He said.
She blinked, staring at him in confusion as he looked confused himself. He stared at his hand, clenching it tightly.
"What was that supposed to accomplish?" She asked teasingly.
"It seems my abilities have no affect in your world…" He concluded, eyes looking stormier by the second. The constant rain was starting to drench him, his clothes looking decidedly darker and his hat looking a little waterlogged.
"Hmm. Serves you right." She said, buckling her seatbelt in. "Well, if you want to ride home with us, you'll just have to get in the truck bed. Or, you could just walk home by yourself. In the rain. Which would take longer. Your choice!" She stuck out her tongue, turning on the heater to get rid of the chill from the rain.
Law stood there and glowered a few more moments, before reluctantly climbing into the back of the truck and hanging onto the sides.
"Hang on tight!" Lexi called, shoving it into drive and taking off down the road. Law slid around a little but seemed otherwise alright and not at risk of falling out.
The whole ride home, she grinned in satisfaction.ns126.96.36.199da2