Title: You're going to rise up singing
Summary: One of these mornings, you're going to rise up singing. 3 of Dan Jarvis' mornings in Wilby.
Dark out, and Val is snoring. Her leg thrown over the covers, an arm hanging off the side of the bed.
Dan stands by the window, presses his fingertips to it. The glass is cold, wet inside from the air conditioner. He rubs his hands against his jeans to dry them, and sits back on one of the boxes of books stacked high beside the closet.
The yard is filled with shapes – the curve of a tree branch, the square edge of the car’s roof, a round tire swing hanging beside the straight up and down tree trunk.
A pair of headlights pass by, unblinking eyes staring toward the watch, the fourth car Dan’s seen drive by. Another, and then another comes, each quiet as can be. He hears the muted slamming of car doors, and if he listens well enough a laugh will filter back through the woods every now and then.
If Dan stands by the window long enough, he’ll see the cars turn around and head back. He’ll see the men walk out of the trees, smile in the dark at their steering wheels, mouths swollen, used.
Val sleeps through it, every night. They’ve been here two weeks.
The first night, one of them watched Dan watching as he left. His eyes were bright, shone from the light of the passing cars. He lifted a hand, a half reflexive wave, and let it drop when Dan stepped closer to the window.
When Val wakes up, Dan’s still standing by the window, forehead pressed against it. She puts a hand on his hip and leans her head against his shoulder. Her eyes are swollen with sleep.
“I think we’ll be happy here,” she mumbles. “Everything’s so simple, you know?”
Dan blinks his dry and sleepy eyes at the ruts left in the dirt beside the woods. She smiles up at him, and he nods.
“Yeah,” he says. “Simple.”
The ceiling over Dan is grey, low, concrete. He can hear heavy footed steps coming down the hall, the clank of metal against metal.
“Shouldn’ta tried to run,” the man on the bottom bunk won’t stop saying. “Shouldn’ta tried to run.”
Dan clenches his jaw and closes his eyes. Not quite morning yet – no sounds come in through the window except Buddy French muttering to himself, sucking down a cigarette.
The bed beneath him is old, the springs unforgiving against his back. He’s been here two hours, and stared at the bars covering the window beside his head so long that even with his eyes closed he can see them, black metal reflecting his face back dully.
The footsteps get closer, and Dan can hear a chuckle, a jingle of keys. He opens his eyes, and sees the rumpled blue shirt of a cop standing in front of the cell.
“Cutting you fellas loose,” he syas. “So long as you keep your pants on.”
The other man in the cell leaps up from the bottom bunk, his bald head gleaming in the flourescent light as he hops from foot to foot. Dan sits up slowly – it feels like his limbs are underwater. He pushes off the bed, follows the policeman down the corridor, collects his personal affects, stares at his shoes the whole time.
Outside, the sun’s starting to come up and black spots swim in front of Dan’s eyes when he sees Val sitting in a car, on the side of the curb. She’s hunched over the steering wheel, shoulders shaking. Her hair sticks up in the back, like she jumped out of bed and into the car.
His hand goes numb, and his jacket falls out of his hand, onto the ground. The zipper clatters against the asphalt. Val looks up, turns toward him.
Dan can’t breathe.
Queen Anne’s lace bobs outside of the window, nodding its head in the wind along side a patch of goldenrod. Pollen drifts in, and Dan twitches his nose, rubs his face against the crisp linen on the pillow. He closes his eyes and he can feel sun on his skin, a tip toe of warmth over his back.
He can smell coffee coming in from the kitchen, hears cabinets open and close. The floor creaks under Duck’s feet, the bed shifts when he sits beside Dan.
“You’re smiling,” Duck says, and Dan hears the quiet thunk of the coffee cup against the bed stand.
Dan nods, smile growing as he leans into the lips on his shoulder blade. “Nice way to wake up.”
Duck’s hand rubs along his collarbone, and Duck settles down beside him. Dan reaches a hand up, rests it on Duck’s. Duck breathes slow and easy behind him, breath warm and bitter like coffee.
There’s a smudge of paint on his knuckle; Dan can feel the roughness of it against Duck’s smooth skin. He flakes it off, rubbing his thumb against it until it’s gone.
“Front porch or window panes?” Dan asks, and Duck rumbles a laugh.
“Both,” he says, lips moving against Dan’s skin. “I got up early.”
Dan squeezes Duck’s wrist. “It’s Saturday. It’s summer.”
“I want the house to look –“ Duck breaks off and Dan feels Duck’s smile, his shrug, the warmth of his cheeks, and he brings Duck’s hand up to his lips, presses a kiss to the palm.
“It does,” Dan tells him. “It will. We’ve only been here a week.”
Duck nods, and it’s quiet. The tall grass outside murmurs with the breeze, and Dan can hear the waves beat against the watch under the growl of a car down the next street. He opens his eyes, and squints into the sun.
Against Dan’s chest, Duck’s hand is so tan and light catches the gold hairs across the backs of this fingers.
“I like it here,” Duck whispers, pressing a kiss to the nape of his neck.
Dan smiles out the window, and closes his eyes again, “Me too.”