27 Feb 2010 : What Friends Are For
What Friends are For
Summary: Dobson shows up on Nora's doorstep in rough shape. She takes him in and soon discovers that he's either crazy or he led something right to her house.
Date: 27 February 2010
Related Logs: None

Early evening on a weeknight, and Nora Tidwell is here - at home, by herself, soft music playing from a record player in the corner of the living room. She is curled up in a weathered armchair with a knitted blanket wrapped around her shoulders, a book in her lap, a pair of glasses perched on her nose. On the table next to her is a mug of tea, still steaming. Hers is a quiet existence, really. For any other twenty four year old, it might be embarrassing.

Nora's quiet night is interrupted by a loud rapping at the door. It's insistent, but somewhat leisurely. A male voice calls from outside (and so it somewhat muffled), "Open up Tidwell!"

Nora can't say that having someone knock insistently at her door is particularly common, but even still, she doesn't seem startled when the voice calls. "Just a second!" she calls back, rising to her feet and setting her book aside. She leaves it face-down on the table, open to the page she had been reading. Tucking her hair behind her ears, she shuffles over to the door and pulls it open without bothering to look through the window to check who her guest might be.

Standing there is a somewhat ragged (even for him) Dobson. He's got a black eye and something caked in his hair that looks like it might be blood as well as holes in his shirt and pants that don't look designer. Also he has a beer in one hand, the cap nowhere to be found. "I was in the neighborhood… Thought I'd look in on ya."

"Oh, honey." Nora greets Dobson with a pitying (though only mildly concerned) look as she holds the door open with her hip, ushering him inside. "I'll bet you were lookin' in on me. Get in here and let me get you some ice for that eye." There is nothing in her voice that would suggest she is either surprised or frightened by his state, despite her concern. Flicking a glance down to the beer, she asks, "Who'd you get into the scuffle with this time?"

"Lady, you don't even want to know. Only reason I survived was cos of my quick thinking. You'd have been eaten alive," Dobson punctuates this statement with a long draw from his beer before he staggers inside. Once he's in the light, he looks a lot worse for wear. "Thought we could chat, girl to girl… er, amigo, y'know what I mean. We don't get to chat much," he mumbles.

"Wouldn't have asked if I didn't wanna know and ain't no one in this town would wanna do to me what they did to you," Nora replies with a slight shrug of her shoulders, but she doesn't seem to have been discouraged by his brush-off. "Guessin' it was someone a whole lot bigger'n you, though. You come over here." She motions towards the sofa, a weathered piece of furniture he shouldn't feel bad about potentially staining with blood. "We can 'chat' while I get the blood off your face. You look like you got tackled by a bear."

"Thank you kindly ma'am." Wiping some sweat from his face, the man sets himself down on the sofa. The beer is set on the floor next to said sofa, while Dobson presses his hands to his head. "Let's just say I lost a wager I probably shouldn't have and uh, now I can't go back to my trailer." He also mutters, mostly under his breath, "F-ing druggy vampires."

Whether she hears his last remark or not is questionable; Nora says nothing, nor does she so much as arch a brow. "Shouldn't oughta bet things you can't stand to lose," she calls over her shoulder as she leaves him alone in the room for a moment. She returns from the kitchen with a bag of ice wrapped in a towel, which she hands to Dobson as she settles down on the sofa next to him, cloth in hand. "But then I guess you could stand to lose it, knowin' there was other places you could go. That's for your eye, by the way. You got any bleedin' wounds I oughta know about hidden under all them holes?"

The cloth is pressed to his eye, removed (so he can grab and swig from his beer) and then placed gingerly back again. "Don't think so. Assholes gouged me pretty good, but they didn't know who they were messing with." Smiling crookedly, he eyes Nora with the eye that isn't under ice. "I didn't figure it'd get 'em as mad as it did. Isn't like I'm new to their kind, anyway." A beat. "So how's the store?"

"Been quiet." Pulling her feet up onto the cushion, Nora turns sideways on the sofa to face him, her elbow resting on the back cushion so that she might support her head. "I don't mind it so much, though." Tipping her chin down, she eyes her guest for a moment in silence, clearly considering something. Finally, speaking slowly, she says, "Didn't take you for the judgmental type, Johnny." …some wires have been crossed here.

"Didn't anyone tell you? I'm a raging racist," Dobson admits, his voice somewhere between hysteria and humor. Lowering his gaze from Nora's face, he looks at other parts of her before looking down at the floor. "I shouldn't have dragged you into this. If they come looking for me, you're screwed."

"You're a bad racist, if that's the case, bein' here like this." Nora reaches her hand out to touch his arm in what's meant to be a reassuring gesture, her head shaking in protest. "Don't gotta worry about me. Like I said, can't imagine a person who'd wanna do to me what they done to you, Johnny." Flashing him an all too cheerful smile, she adds, "Ain't like I couldn't just shoot someone what tries anythin' anyhow. Not a fan of hurtin' folk, but I wager I could if I needed to."

"Didn't say they was people," Dobson states enigmatically, groaning a bit as he settles back on the couch. "People is easy, you just lock your doors and call the cops. Wish it was that easy." Shaking his head, he silent a short while before he says, "How's your friend from the other night? I know she's a Hodgens, but Las Vegas has a way of fucking people up in the head."

Now? Now Nora is beginning to look - and sound - a little confused by what Dobson is saying. Here she was thinking he was talking about the Mohave population just outside town— but she's pretty sure that the Mohave are still just people and that you call the cops and them just the same as white folk. And she was pretty sure she should be offended by what he was saying, but now she's … not so sure. So it takes her a little while to respond to his question as she struggles with trying to comprehend what, exactly, he's even talking about any more. Shaking her head as if waking up suddenly, she says, "Abilene's alright. She's got a good head on her shoulders, y'know? Least she stopped wearin' all the dark makeup and dyin' her hair. Mighta even been good for her to go there."

"Take it from me, kid, that places messes up every body who sets foot there." Breathing evenly, Dobson says, "Abilene'll be alright, long as she stays put in town. Momma Hodgens'll straight her out. Maybe fatten her up some too, girl is skin and bones." Clearing his throat, he asks, "Don't suppose I could borrow your shower and your couch for the night?"

"Don't need the couch," Nora replies with a shake of her head. "You can have the spare room. Bed's old but more comfortable than this." Rising from the sofa, she fetches her tea from the table by the chair and takes a long drink before speaking again. "Gotta not mind that I'm up early, though. And you've gotta stay for breakfast. And just for you, 'cause you're bein' strange and shifty tonight, I'll even lock the doors."

The mention of a real bed has Dobson removing the ice bag from his eye and giving Nora a disbelieving look, "Well that's just swell. Didn't want to inconvenience you, but… I mean, if you're offering." A beat, "If you want, I'll cook up some breakfast. Word is I'm a decent cook, least as far as these parts go." Cue cheesy grin and him laying his head back down. "You don't gotta lock the doors. If they find me, they can't come in here. I appreciate the sentiment, though."

"Uh… huh." Sounding more confused than ever, with an expression to match, Nora blinks a few times. "Think I'll lock the doors just the same." She sets her mug of tea down on the table once more, though she doesn't sit, regarding Dobson with another pitying look. "You're a better cook than me, so that's fine. Shower's upstairs, second door on the left. You need anythin' else? Got some pills might make your head feel better in the morning. Might make you make more sense, too, 'cause lord knows I ain't got a clue what you're talkin' about any more. Worse than usual."

"That's right… I forgot you was a straight," Dobson says, barking out an awkward laugh. "Ain't nothing wrong with me or my head. You just wouldn't understand, which is just all sorts of ironic." The ice bag is lowered again and he looks Nora in the eyes. "Just. Thanks for having me for the night. I'll pay you back, one way or another."

And now Nora looks downright offended. Crossing her arms like a wronged child, she says, "You ain't even givin' me a chance and what does that mean, 'forgot you was a straight'?" A moment later, however, she drops her arms back to her sides and flashes him a smile. "No matter. Some things in this world I don't need to understand. Learned that a long time ago. You can put that in the sink when you're finished with it." She gestures to the ice in his hand. "Don't need to thank me. I'd say you'd do the same for me only you went and lost your trailer, you said, so I'll just start thinkin' about ways you can pay me back."

"Baby you can spend the night at my trailer any time you want." Of course, Dobs says this in the most oily way possible, grinning at the woman. "Reckon I should go get cleaned up. Figure I'll toss my rags in the wash first." With some difficulty, he pulls up to his feet and starts to meander towards the kitchen. However, just short of the door, he stops and turns around to say, "Oh… and uh, don't go outside tonight for any reason. No matter what you might hear or see. Understand?"

Raising an eyebrow at her guest's strange advice, Nora says, "Al… right. Might should sleep with my rifle under my pillow too, huh?" His strange behaviour is beginning to be funny to her, and she's struggling now not to giggle at how serious he's acting. And how seriously strange. She's hardly taking him seriously any more. Taking a moment to compose herself and silence the snort of a laugh that escaped her a moment before, she adds, "I understand."

"I mean it Nora Tidwell. You see your dead granny outside calling for you, you shut the curtains," the strange behavior continues as Dobson gets serious. "You want, I'll explain why, but it's better you just pretend like you didn't see it. Like it's a bad dream." He ducks his head then and heads into the kitchen.

"Don't need you to explain why." Of course, that could be because Nora is pretty certain that Dobson took a solid hit to the head. She doesn't say as much. She's decided that the less she provokes him, the less she has to try and make sense of later. "Just give me a minute." Nice and vague. She could be doing anything. What she is doing, however, is slipping on the shoes beside the door in the kitchen. "I promise I won't go outside tonight. Right after I get the dog, okay?" And he has no time to argue, because as soon as the words are out of her mouth, she pulls open the back door and steps out onto the porch, raising two fingers to her mouth to whistle. Loudly.

"JESUS CHRIST!" No, Dobson can't possibly reach the door in time from where he's at by the sink, but he gives it a good college try, sprinting those feet to the door and jerking Nora back in bodily… or trying to, at any rate. And then he looks into the backyard and gets a little more insistent, pointing a finger at three pairs of glowing red eyes attached to three hard to make out shadows. "God damn it."

Her whistle cut short by the backwards jerk, Nora lets out a yelp of surprised protest. In a rare moment, she even curses aloud: "The hell are you doin', Johnny?!" She stumbles backwards into the kitchen about as gracefully as a drunk raccoon, which is to say not at all. "You been weird all night showin' up here with a black eye and your head all banged up, and I been real good about it 'til now, but— " And that's when she notices what he's pointing at. "— but there's somethin' in my yard and it ain't the dog."

Barely managing to stay upright as he drags Nora back inside, Dobson shuts the door and turns the lock for good measure. He lets her go and lifts the curtain on one of the kitchen windows, staring out. "If you're lucky, Ol' Spot smelled 'em coming and found a good place to hide. Jeeeeeesus." He shakes his head and clucks his tongue, "This is a special sort of bad."

"I." Still staring at the door as if she might make another go at it, Nora is clearly concerned about her dog outside - and whatever just happened. "This is one of those things, ain't it? One of those things I reckon I don't wanna understand." Taking a breath, she casts a sidelong glance to Dobson, a frown settling on her face. "Only Taffy's out there - don't laugh, my Gramma named her - and I don't feel right leavin' her with whatever's there. You reckon we oughta call someone?"

"WHO YOU GONNA CALL?" Dobson asks, voice rising in pitch but not volume. "I mean, honestly, who do you call in case of vampires? I don't think law enforcements gonna take you serious." Turning away from the window, he says, "Look, I'm sorry about Taffy, but your pale ass needs to stay inside or you're gonna die tonight."

For one reason or another, what Dobson says is enough to drive Nora right over the edge. She cracks up at a completely inappropriate time, bursting into giggles that she can't seem to control for what must feel like several minutes. Finally, through intermittent giggles and careful breathing, she replies, "I was thinkin' maybe we'd… call… animal control or somethin'." Brushing tears away from her eyes, she shakes her head. "I really don't think I'm gonna die. Could go get my rifle if you're that worried. What on god's green earth have you been drinkin' tonight, Johnny Dobson? Those ain't vampires. May not have finished high school, but I ain't stupid."

"Bitch, I ain't tellin' jokes!" Stepping on back over to Nora, Dobson grips the woman by her upper arms and says, "You gotta promise me you won't set foot outside til sunrise. You promise me right the damn hell now!" He even shakes her a little bit, if only to break up the giggles she seems to have gotten a case of.

Well, the shaking certainly does the trick: Nora is instantly quiet and looking at him with a look of genuine shock. For a few seconds after he's finished, she's perfectly silent, staring at him as if she was expecting him to say something more. "I— I promise," she says finally, uncertain whether she ought to worry about his sanity, her safety, or both. Probably both. "Just stop yellin' at me and shakin' me like that!"

"Don't you think about getting brave and going out there, neither. You put a bullet in those things, they's just gonna get more mad," Dobson says, voice almost a whimper as it comes out. He releases her and turns away, running a hand through his hair. "Sorry I shook you… just didn't seem like you were takin' this seriously, which, while I'm an easy go lucky kind of guy myself, this is one of those times I can't be. We're in some shit til sunrise."

"I'm takin' you seriously." Now, at least. Turning away from the door, Nora takes a few steps towards the centre of the room, then stops and looks around once more. "I just don't really know what to do about it. Or what's even goin' on. Or what I'm gonna do about my dog bein' out there with somethin' you're awful scared of." This time, when she folds her arms, it's a reassuring gesture rather than an offended one. After a few false starts where she starts to say something then stops herself, she finally says, "Go take your shower. I'm— I ain't gonna go outside, alright?"

"Look, I… I'll help you look for Taffy in the morning. Hopefully she did the smart thing and hid." Running a hand down over his face, Dobson says, "I shoulda took my chances elsewhere. Shouldn't put this on you." Shaking his head, he moves for the living room.

"Hey." Following after him, Nora reaches for his arm to stop him briefly. "If it means you got a roof over your head and you ain't runnin' around in the dark out there from whatever it is you're scared of and not tellin' me about, Johnny, then I'm alright with you takin' your chances with me. Quit your feelin' guilty and go clean yourself up."

It goes to show just how badly Johnny is shaking up by the fact that he doesn't have a witty… or hell, even a crude rejoinder. Instead he just nods and moves along up the stairs towards the shower. "Thanks Nora."

With a bright smile, Nora rolls her shoulders in a shrug and says, "You're welcome." While he's in the shower, she first sets about ensuring that the windows and doors are locked, making a point not to look outside. She carries her book upstairs, setting it on the nightstand while she takes her hunting rifle out of the case she keeps beneath her bed. Before returning to her book, she reassures herself that the rifle is loaded, just in case. Climbing into bed, she leaves the rifle on the pillow beside her and picks up her book, settling in for a long night.

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