World's Biggest Ball of Twine
Roleplaying Log: World's Biggest Ball of Twine
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Luke and Jess divert from their trip to Georgia so Luke can procrastinate.

Other Characters Referenced: Matt Murdock, Emery Papsworth (and Kennis), Danny Rand, Six
IC Date: January 14, 2019
IC Location: Somewhere, Georgia
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 17 Jan 2019 04:47
Rating & Warnings: Warning: may induce toothaches.
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The drive to Georgia is probably the longest car ride Jessica has ever done in her life. Armed with both Emery-snacks and convenience store staples, plenty of music and various meandering detours that have told her Luke is nervous about getting there, she's managed to relax and have some fun. But right around the time they pass the Mason-Dixon line, headed southwest through Virginia as snow and ice grow thinner and patchier, she clears her throat.

"So…I hate to say this, but I think you should pull over at the next rest stop and let me drive. Not that it doesn't happen everywhere, but especially as we get closer to Georgia? Probably not a great time or place to risk you getting pulled over for Driving While Black. Especially not on the fake ID we're trying to turn into a real ID."

It's an awkward thing to bring up. Her mouth has twisted with the awkwardness. She has crossed her arms a little due to the awkwardness. Her booted foot tap taps against the floor because it's awkward. But it's also a whole lot of true, and Jessica Jones has never shied away from telling things like they are.

*

Luke glances over with a small smirk as she starts tapping her foot, the awkward expression on her face causes a big hand to come over and rub a thumb along the lines the twist of her mouth is making. "Alright, babe." Last thing they need is trouble, so if it can be avoided, he's withdrawing his hand to flick on the blinker and change lanes for the exit marked with a Beef Jerky and BBQ billboard for Hocks.

The rental car is pulled off the freeway and bumps into the roughshod parking lot, and once the car is settled in a spot, he's leaning over to pop the door open for her.

*

She kisses the pad of his thumb, quickly enough. She smirks as he opens the door for her. He is literally the only person on earth who can get away with that. Which. May be just another reason why she said yes to marrying him. She steps out and heads around to the other side.

When she gets in the driver's side, of course, the predictable thing happens. Tiny as she is, especially as compared to him, she steps in and the seat just swallows her for a moment. She has to lean down to scooch the thing up, and up, and up until her feet can reach the pedals. There's a lot of mirror adjusting too. And then: "You know when you're there you'll basically have to lay low, right? I can't exactly take you with me to these interviews. And…" she grimaces. "I'm going to have to pretend to be pretty much indifferent. Just-the-facts, sir, just after the truth. I can't go in there acting or talking like I'm your cheerleader or anything, or nobody will say shit to me."

It's the first time she's brought up how she plans to approach the case, though about ten minutes ago she'd gotten online to look over her casefile again…and had both smirked at Luke's funnier additions to said case files, and had nodded to the more useful ones, like names.

*

As Jessica fiddles with the seat, Luke remains leaning into the open car door and watching the entire affair. "There'll be plenty enough time to stare at them with righteous indignation when this is all over." He assures, then closes her side of the car before someone thinks he's trying to car jack her or something, Jess' paranoia seeping into him.

Before he gets into the passenger side, he likewise has to adjust the seat, because otherwise he can't fold himself into it. "Good thing I don't still grow an afro, this thing would never have enough head room for me then." He jokes, but there is a seriousness around his eyes as he fastened his seat belt. "I get it. Stick to the hotel room. You have the harder end of this deal though, pretending you don't want to punch these people in their faces. But I still get to imagine it."

*

Jessica smirks and says, "Pretending I don't want to punch people in the face is pretty much the job. The whole job. Day after day, night after night."

Of course, even when she really dislikes someone punching them is the last resort. She'd even rather talk down enemies. But Luke knows this as well as she does, and in this case the 'punching' is certainly metaphorical. Once he's in she lifts her eyebrows. "Good thing you don't still grow an afro, period," she jokes, giving him shit as per the usual. Once they're inside she pulls off again.

The last time Luke was in a car with Jess driving it was Trish's car, she was pissed at him, and it was the start of the demon bear saga. They'd been off to find Jane. In New York City traffic it would have been hard to really get a sense of how she drove.
Five minutes on an open highway, though?

She drives like an old lady. Speed limit: exact. Passing? Only when there are about eight car lengths between her and any other vehicle. Usually she's content to ride the slow lane unless something really ridiculous is going on. Hands at ten-and-two. Turn signals used religiously.

"Finding your Mom's grave won't be hard though. I couldn't find a newspaper announcement online, I guess cause the Savannah paper's really too small to keep archives up online ad infinitum, but there are only four funeral homes. I'll give them a call and I'll have the answer in no time. Just choose a time to visit when you're reasonably sure you won't run into anyone, like…oh I don't know. 9:00 AM on a Monday morning."

*

"Sunday. During church." Luke supplies a better time to find the cemetery vacant, at least when it comes to people who might likewise be visiting his mother's grave. "That cuts out pops, and all my mom's friends were parishioners too. Nobody is really out and about during service hours, or they'll risk the wrath of their grandmama's wooden spoon. We should try Eastside Dignity first, it's the closest to the Church." Sinking down in his seat requires his knees to rise up nearly higher than the dashboard while he protests. "I could still rock a 'fro." Hands mimicking touching up the imaginary poofed up hair with an invisible pick.

*

"Eastside Dignity, got it." Jessica says. "I'll have that answer as soon as we check in. I really just have to call, pretend to be a relative or friend who is in town hoping to pay respects but who couldn't make it to the funeral for one reason or another. Where a person is buried isn't exactly a state secret. Not a hard piece of information to shake out."
She just smirks and shakes her head on the matter of a fro, and offers no more commentary on that matter.

A pause and a beat. "We'll be pretty close to Florida. Want to take a beach day on our way out there?" Just in case he needs one more stop before he's ready to do this thing.

*

"As much as I'd love to see you in a bikini, I think it'd be a little cold, all things considered. Oh, hey. We could go to Disney World though. Get Danny a pair of those monogrammed mouse ears. Really see what this Black Card credit card is made of." Not that Luke would actually do that, feeling as guilty as he is that Rand is already funding this little road trip. Tacking on a full blown vacation to The Happiest Place on Earth would feel a little rude. "Oh wait, in two miles, take the next exit. That is, if you think you can merge over by then." Was that a subtle tease about her driving?

*

"It's Florida. It's hot in Florida in January," Jessica argues, but not too hard. She instead lifts an eyebrow when he tells her to take the next exit. "I'll just stay in the slow lane. It's only two miles."

She definitely heard subtle dig.

"That guy going 70 one lane over is literally going to reach two miles exactly forty five seconds faster than we are. There is literally no need to go zooming all over, changing lanes, in the hopes of shaving off a few seconds here or there. It makes no sense whatsoever."

Grumble, grumble, gripe, before finally asking: "What's two miles from here, anyway?"

*

"There are only two things to do in Georgia. Visit over grown battlefields from the Civil War which makes for very awkward school field trips, or…" Luke shoves a finger at the window, pointing at a billboard they are coming up on. The World's Biggest Ball of Twine (and gift shop) 1.5 miles ahead, Exit 14. "Marvel at some string." Which is his not so subtle way of saying he's not ready. Not by a long shot.

*

"I wonder who woke up one morning and said, you know what I'm gonna do? I'm going to build the world's biggest ball of twine. Do you think his name was Bubba? I think his name was probably Bubba."

Nevertheless, Jessica pulls off at the appropriate exit. She can read between the lines, and she indulges this stop like she's indulged every other stop on the way, no matter how spurious. She gets it, and since they're still making some sort of forward progress she is not intent on making complaints about his stalling methods. Whatever it takes for him to cope. And really, there have been some interesting scenic overlooks and stuff on the way that turned out to be more interesting than she would have given them credit for being once she allowed herself to keep an open mind, and check them out.

*

"As if this marvel could be done in a single day." Luke says getting out of the car, throwing his arms wide. Even the big guy couldn't throw his arms around this beauty, the giant brown ball kept underneath a pergola with fading plastic flags tying off the four corners. Large signs claim it's the World's Eighth Wonder in bold circusesque script, the 'gift shop' nothing more than a road side stand that probably used to sell vegetables at one point.

Luke has no trouble doing the Right Thing when it comes to others, but when it comes to himself? Sometimes there is hemming and hawing and feet dragging.

*

"Well, there we go. Now I know your secret ambition is to build…I dunno. The world's largest something. Other than twine. Because twine's already been done."

Jessica walks around it, poking at it as if trying to determine if it really is twine. Or all twine. Maybe someone just wrapped twine over a giant concrete structure, for example. Did they cheat? The detective always detectiving, even over twine. And it allows her to take some sort of interest in this exercise in stalling, without just turning around and doing what she'd normally do, which is call him on this bullshit and drag him onward. Right now she's working her 'understanding' and 'congeniality' muscle to its maximum capacity.

*

The woman deserves an award. Or a sash or something. At least his bullshit comes with mildly entertaining supposition? "Think I could lift it?" Luke asks, trailing behind her investigative poking. "If we gave Bart one end and Owen the other, how fast do you think they could unravel it." He pauses to read a sign, claiming that the length of the twine if undone, would reach the moon and back. "Sweet Christmas." Because he's just trusting enough to believe that sort of hyperbole.

*

Jessica gives him an amused look when he's amazed at the 'to the moon' supposition. There's no way to prove it. But she says, "You can lift a goddamn semi. I'm sure you could lift a ball of twine. Try it. I'd be curious to see if it weighs about what twine that can stretch all the way to the moon might weigh." There's at least enough twine for her fingers to be hitting nothing but twine, which means she's going to have to solve the mystery of this fakery another way. Is it possible someone really did do the thing? "If it is all twine, I wonder how they rolled it. But Bart an Owen? Less than a minute. They can do all that shit in less than a minute. Because they are connected to the, I-shit-you-not," here she makes quotey fingers, "Speed. Force."

*

Luke snorts at the term 'speed force', giving it as much credit as Santa Claus and dragons. But considering they fought a dragon? He's keeping his mind open. Even if it's just a little hatch at that back where things like 'furnace sprites' creep in. Cage is eyeing the ball of twine as if he's tempted to attempt to lift it. "I can see it now. Black Man Tries to Steal National Treasure." But maybe just a nudge? He glances around to see if they're being watched.

*

That makes one Jessica Jones snort a laugh.

"It would be hilarious for me to worry about you driving only for you to get arrested for that. Both Nelson and Murdock would have a whole litter of kittens though. The glares they'd give both of us!"

But she will humor him. She steps back, gathers her legs beneath her body, and leaps to the top of the pergola. Hopefully her antics atop the 'national treasure' won't bring registration directly to the land of twine. She shades her eyes and turns a slow circle to make sure the coast is clear.

Then she flops on her belly up there, resting her elbow on the roof of the pergola and her chin in her hand.

"You'll be shocked to know there does not appear to be a line or a crowd of any kind forming, not even so much as a gift shop attendant. How could they possibly fail to understand the beauty that is this ball of twine?" So much snark, but it's at least loving snark.

*

"Seriously. There should be men with side arms guarding it. It should be chained down at least!" It might not come down to 'can I lift it' but more of 'how does one get an appropriate grip on this'? Luke studies it with a little weeble-wobble of his head and then he's leaning to vertically hugging the side of it, about to do his best impression of Atlas. Remember, Cage. Lift with your back. There is a grunt and a Noise as Luke hoists the thing up a few feet before he lets it drop. "Definitely not all twine." He declares, disgruntled, followed quickly with a shout of, "Whoops." Because the damn thing is rolling off the concrete dais.

*

Jessica puts her head down and just laughs her ass off as Luke loses the thing. Atlas shrugged?

She hesitates, like she might make Luke handle this himself. But in the end she vaults off the pergola to land in the path of the ball. She sets her back against it, and says, "You wanna put it back? Or are you hoping for a game of catch?"

She's still laughing, even as she adds more snark to the equation. And then, because her curiosity is not all the way satisfied: "What else is it? Wood? Concrete? I can't tell from here. Could you tell?"

*

"How far do you think we can push it down the road? Maybe if we get another car we can play polo." But no, Luke is helping her push it back onto the stand because they can't rob the future two visitors of its glory. And, you know, it's the right thing to do. "Dunno, maybe…rebar? Let's just tie the end to the bumper and drive back to New York."

*

"Whaaaat? And leave a trail of twine all the way up the Eastern Seaboard, with some to spare?"

Jessica smirks at him, but stands up on tiptoe to brush a kiss across his lips. "I probably shouldn't have ruined your fun with all my curiosity," she admits. "I'm a pain in the ass at magic shows too."

And that watching any kind of mystery, thriller, or who-dun-it with her is a real pain in the ass goes without saying.

She eyes the little stand and says, "Too bad nobody's around to sell a World's Biggest Ball of Twine teeshirt." Though knowing Luke he'd just get it shot up anyway in short order.

*

Luke reaches down to brush some of Jessica's hair away from her face at the kiss. "Are you kidding? No one else I'd rather visit cheesy road side attractions with." He looks over her shoulder at the giant spot of discoloration now visible, as it didn't settle back on the same side it's been resting on all these years. He shrugs and wraps an arm around her shoulder to direct her towards the gift stand anyways. "We'll just leave some cash on the counter. Our friends need keychains."

*

She starts laughing again, eyes sparkling. "Yes, I'm sure their life isn't complete without them," she agrees. But she does indeed start plucking them up, finding ones that look like tiny balls of twine. Dryly: "Who knew this would become the Defender's official motif?" She finds them with little carribeaners too, and she jiggles one solemnly. "Daredevil, Six, and the Iron Fist can clip these to the belts of their costumes. Their looks will finally be complete."

Her guess would have been they wouldn't have been more than 99 cents a piece; her eyebrows lift in even more amusement as she discovers they are in fact $3.99 a piece. Even so, she continues gathering them, adding, "I gotta admit, this is fun. It's goofy as fuck, but it's also fun. Probably because we're both here, doing the thing together, you know?"

*

There is a rumble of laughter as Jess starts accessorizing their friends' outfits in their mind's eye. "Because for five seconds we get to pretend to be normal?" Luke turns a little display unit, pulling out a partially faded post card, flipping it over on the counter and using a pen he finds to start writing it out to Danny. "Pick something out for Kennis too." Because what five year old doesn't want a Timmy the Twine doll? "Dear Danny, we're having a BALL. Wish you were here. L&J."

*

"Oh, Jesus," Jessica says, laughing again. This is at the post card.

But she shakes her head, laughing. "These dolls are terrible! They're terrifying. Kennis will stab it if we buy one."

Then again…

"Actually she needs a doll just for stabbing."

Such a good influence.

She just pulls out $100. They are clearly going to spend a ridiculous amount of money at this little stand. And apparently this is how it works, because she locates a little drop box for the money, and a little self-service receipt. "This is a trusting stand owner. Then again I guess this isn't exactly merchandise that's in high demand at the local fence."

*

And they aren't leaving until Luke gets a t-shirt, and Jess gets crowned with a ball cap. "Aw, baby's first voodoo doll." Not that Kennis is a baby any more. "Honesty through paranoia. And seeming how it's not like that little box gives change, they are making out like a bandit. Well. At least on us." And then he's pulling out another hundred, mumbling something about 'for damages'.

*

"For damages!" Jessica laughs more. "They're swindling people! If you feel guilty just give them $20, a hundred bucks is ridiculous. Making out like bandits is right."

She wraps an arm around his waist and squeezes him, consenting to the silly ball cap, at least for now. "I think there are some caves or something around here too we could detour to," she adds. She did look things up in advance, because that's just her way. Even if she didn't entirely anticipate all the stalling until they were on the road and he was doing it.

*

"We're contributing to the preservation of a National Asset." Luke protests, but shoves in a $20 spot instead of the Benjamin. "Got our sweet loot?" He asks, making sure she's holding the bag of souvenirs before he flips Jess up over his shoulder. "I could go for seeing some caves." He declares with a good natured swat to her backside.

*

Jessica rolls her eyes as he flips her up this way. "Princess carry or nothing, jerk," she says, poking into his back. Not that it's doing a damn thing to his back. But she does it anyway. Poke. Poke. Poke. "I'm not a goddamn sack of potatoes."

Not that she makes much more fuss than that. She's used to him doing this, and if she responds about the same way every single way. Protest without much heat. "Someone's gotta teach you how to carry a lady. Goddamn."

*

"Oh, so now you're a princess! Well, alright, Princess Jessica." Luke slides her down into the cradle of his arms, holding her effortlessly across his broad chest. There is a pause then as he holds her thusly, looking down into her face as his expression shifts from amusement to something more serious.

*

"Damn fucking skippy. Princess of the Kingdom of Badassery. And a Knight in Kennis' Kingdom. I'm kind of a big fucking deal, and you gotta carry me right."

She makes a show of crossing her arms, and she lifts her eyebrows, tilting her chin up…

Only to catch that serious expression. Her own clears to something more serious. She cocks her head, and she says, "What is it, Luke?" Because while she doesn't always read people that well, in this case the shift is easy enough to track. At least enough for her to ask the question.

*

"Thank you." Is all he manages to say, Luke's throat tight with emotion as he hugs her up tighter in order to kiss her forehead. He clears his throat, then turns them back to the car, tilting to let her feet drop back to the ground. "Maybe I should stop letting you distract me with these side trips."

*

She watches him seriously. "Maybe," she says. "Case isn't going to solve itself, you know. I gotta stop slacking."

She reaches up to cradle the side of his face. "It's going to be okay, Luke. We're going to get this handled one way or another. We just gotta take it a day at a time. I know this is, I don't know, ripping a lot of old wounds open, but…sometimes you gotta do that to let them heal. Even if it's by acknowledging that some of these people just are never going to give you what you need. The best you may be able to expect is exoneration, and the ability to get on with your life. Your dad? Your old partner? They might just keep right on believing whatever they want to believe. It's not likely you'll get an apology, and even if you did? It isn't going to erase the hurt you feel over how quick they were to write you off. Once you can kind of rip that band-aid off in your own head I think…maybe you'll feel less apprehensive about being there."

And then: "We don't have to stay right in Savannah, you know. We can find a B&B or something a town or two away. It's probably smart to do it that way in fact."

*

Luke gives a bit of a numb little nod as she tells him it's going to be okay, not easily swayed at first, his eyes flicking away as she mentions old wounds. He worries his lips together for a moment before he looks back down to her. "It's not…it's not that I'm worried about getting my old life back. It's that I don't want it back. I'm not that person anymore. The stories they're going to tell you. The memories they have of me. The shit you're going to have to listen to about Carl Lucas. Even what I had to do in prison…that's some other guy. It wasn't that I was a bad guy, it's that…I wasn't Luke Cage."

*

"I'm not conflating the two," Jessica says calmly. "The case is about Lucas. I've written it up as Lucas, I'm thinking about it as Lucas, I'm detached from it because it's about Lucas. I know who you are. Lucas is just some guy whose exoneration is important to your life. So. Don't worry about it, okay? I know a thing or two about not being the same person anymore after some events happen." She shrugs, uneasily. "With or without a name change. Nothing I hear is going to change anything I think about you."

*

"I know. So that's why I'm saying thank you." Luke finds a little smile hiding under all his uncertainty and concerns, letting it form on his lips as he curls a finger under Jess's chin to lift it so he can bend and show his appreciation with a lingering kiss.

*

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