Jak watched as the same brand of realization he’d just had for his own came to make its way across her features and flicker through the lights that shined behind her eyes. It was almost as though the fact that he’d been the one to notice her had its way of wiping out any nervousness or initial shock he might’ve felt otherwise. In its place, weirdly enough, he only felt amused mixed with pleasantly surprised. He loved watching the transition between obliviousness and awareness, especially when it shown through in such a way in Carth. Though in a quietly obvious way, it didn’t really matter what she was feeling, as long as he got to watch.
Jak pursed his lips exaggeratedly at his, raising his eyebrows and nodding in a mock-thoughtful way. “…I guess you don’t.” he gave a shrug before crossing both arms over his chest, “..But this is my place of work, so I’m thinkin’… I’m the stalked. Not the stalker.” a much more genuine and sure smile found its way onto his lips at this. Slowly, he let his arms drop back to his sides and after a moment of consideration, opted to take a seat across from her. It was quiet for a beat, and he took the gap in wordless banter to just look at her. He bit down on his tongue and swallowed. Some things never change. One would think that after all the time spent apart, and Jak’s own bout in another romantic escapade, any thought of Carth in that sense might’ve been wiped out. But no. The answer was always no. Why it was such a hard thing to shake, Jak didn’t really know. Bottom line was he’d stopped trying to shake it at all. It was simpler to let them move you rather than attempt to manipulate them to take you to a specific place or in a specific direction.
“So, what are you doing here, then?” he inquired, raising one eyebrow at her and offering another sweet smile. “I doubt I’m worth following for miles.” he chuckled, resting his arms on the table top in front of him and leaning forward slightly.
A craving had escalated once more for the chronic banter between the two that so seldom revisited Carth’s presence; perhaps it was newfound, though nevertheless it was sporadic: for she was abundant on apathy towards communication, and any types of it. If you were to ask her a question, she would shoot you a look and a raised eyebrow and walk away; and if you were to greet her as a stranger, she would blatantly say in her hollow accent, ‘Do I know you?’ like she was not aiming to offend. Needless to say, she was not very fond in any type of friendship, therefore entitled what she had with Jak (if anything at all) an acquaintanceship. Once an acquaintanceship, always an acquaintanceship; whatever was between them had been labeled by this by the instant, and never did it hesitate to remain idle.
But she cared; in a funny, foolish, minuscule way, she cared: though she’d never utter a word that she did. It never came as easily for Carth to confess, especially when it was in her Delore nature to be truthful; but she was the very opposite, indeed: one would render her cowardly, though the proper title would be ‘insensitive.’ That was something she couldn’t deny, for it was yelled at the top of her lungs by her younger sister, and would surely be proclaimed from every other pair of lips she glanced upon. Therefore, the banter-hungry girl, wicked curve of a smirk on her lips, spoke, “Nice uniform, stranger.”
He’d been as sharply tongued as she’d remembered, and that was the only thing she could remember about him; not that every other feature of him had been insignificant: but because Holocene was such a blur of a memory that she did not want to revisit it. Nothing about it. Right now was Crestline, and it’d be this way until she grew tired. Carth kept her eyes on Jak as he spoke; and at his inquiry, she answered, “I got Cabin Fever. Surely I’m not the only one who got sick of Holocene. Crestline just happened to be my crutch. How about you? Are the Ieros trying to bring up a new branch of diners or what?” she questioned, smirk still evident in her tone and in her lips; it’d seldom wash away, and she loved it that way.
“Shit.” Jak spoke under his breath when he narrowly avoided running into one of his coworkers as he passed her by. He politely touched her shoulder and gave a small, automatic laugh as he made his way by, carrying a few empty glasses while she held a full one. She frowned a little at his swear but managed to smile at him all the same, shaking her head a bit as she passed on by. Jak made his way behind the counter, handing the glass over to a busgirl and offering her a short smile before stepping back down. He gave a long sigh, shaking his head a bit as his hand came up to pull the cap from his head and clutch it. He’d been working there far too long, already. Since he’d made his escape of sorts, all the way from Holocene, New York to Crestline, California, a place he’d read about in a magazine he couldn’t remember exactly, but a name that had stuck with him all the same, he’d fallen into a sort of routine. He appreciated it for all it was worth, even in its mundanity. He’d never really had a true schedule, being the son of Holden Iero had that effect. For the first time in Jak’s entire life, he was living by a ‘normal’ standard. He wasn’t surrounded by his kind or the ‘enemy’ as they were thought of. Just people. Real, actual people, who were absolutely nothing more than that. And nothing had ever felt more refreshing. But any diner job, no matter how lacking in grease and how novelty it was in the beginning, was sure to lose that as time went on. And time was going on.
But perhaps the most refreshing detail of the relocating itself was the fact that… there was no need to think back on Holocene. He’d even stopped thinking of it as home, despite the fact that that was where his family -if you could call them that-was residing in. Jak felt more at home in Crestline over a period of just a few months than he ever had previously. There was no need to think of anyone or anything he’d left behind, not his ex-girlfriend… or more recently, ex-boyfriend. Nothing that held memories or anything that induced nostalgia. And even more refreshing… he was no longer an object. For once he was average. Normal. Not a topic of political gossip due to association with his father by the townspeople or a victim of ridicule by his sisters. Just Jak. Hardly well-known but well-liked, for the most part. All he’d ever wanted to be.
Jak balled up the cap in his hand absently as he moved toward the back of the diner to find a booth to take his break in, and be out of the way of actual customers. He tucked it into his back pocket and brought his hand up again, still possessing the habit of pushing his hair back and out of his face, but stopped mid-action. His hair had been cut, there was no real need. His lips curled slightly at his own habit as he dropped his hand once more, then glanced up. Almost at once, he paused and did a double-take at the girl in the booth he’d just passed. He turned back on his heels, his brows furrowed slightly as his thought was confirmed. His mouth opened as though he were going to speak, but he had to take a moment to gather specific words.
“…You stalkin’ me?” he finally settled for as an attempt at catching her attention, as she wasn’t yet turned toward him despite his blatant stopping in the middle of the aisle and staring. As she turned, his lips curled into a smirk. The expected feeling of disbelief didn’t come to him, strangely enough. In fact, there was no pin-pointed feeling at all.
Voids had come at a consistent time frame without any and all hesitance to take intermissions; not at all, no, for they seemed to follow Carth wherever she went, always adamant on finding something to pass the time. She could not sleep, for her body would not function correctly if she were ever to fall prey to slumber; nor could she partake in any traveling endeavors, for prior to moving to Crestline she’d sworn that she’d stay here. At her brother’s tutelary word she swore to stay in one place and one place only; at least until she came back in contact with Charlie again, who was probably far too enveloped in his own tasks. The Delore Family moved on fairly quickly, albeit their reputation as a royal family in Holocene; they learned to live and let die, a trait in which she had so blissfully inherited. Nevertheless, everyone was busy in their own endeavors now, and who was Carth to be a contretemp?
The swan song given to Holocene was nothing but a blur now, for she was never so delved in the city’s pursuit anyways; she was not as interested in its carousal events in spite of their calling out of her name, nor was she interested in the people: it was a vapid city on its own that provided Carth with nothing to fall back on but herself. But it seemed like that for her everywhere she went, did it not?; herself, that’s all she had to rely on and count on: for there was no one else. Not even.. him, for Chrissakes, who had a name she did not dare to breathe. It was he, she missed the most, in her own state of lucent reveries; but bite her tongue, she could have sworn she heard his voice just at the very simple thought of him.
Clad abundantly in a Johnny Rocket’s uniform, there was regret and desire in a big smirk and short hair; and he passed once or twice, she could remember: though like the diner, she did not pay attention. Carth was oblivious, but when she felt a newfound nostalgia it hit her like a slap in the face: bruising, and battering. Thus, her head tilted to meet his own gaze, their eyes both pleasantly condescending; though, in all honesty, that was ‘hello’ in their little language.
“How do I know you’re not following me?” she counter questioned, smirk adorning her lips as well; she could match. No, she could follow up to his par and ascend further. Surely. But this was Jak she was thinking of; and he never failed to outstand, even if they were done in half-hearted smirks.
Diners. Never at all had they been appealing to her, nor had they sparked a sort of apathy within her, either; in their own little quirky tiling and red leather booths, Carth found a decent medium in which she could stay in them momentarily without feeling boredom. Thus, she’d spend an hour or two in a different diner everyday, scouring all that she could in the hustle and bustle of Crestline; not ordering anything, not paying attention to anyone or anything: but just sitting. Perhaps she was thinking, floating in her own sea of Lake Gregory Sound where her thoughts would drift beyond her control; she’d think or whatever, so long as it passed her time: albeit no one ever questioned. Today’s victim of her endeavors, it seemed, was a Johnny Rockets that lay hidden somewhere a number of blocks away from her house; a diner she frequently passed by in her subconscious, making a mental note that she’d visit it a little later.
Everything was the same: a perky waitress that asked her for coffee in which she replied ‘no’; the similar black and white tiling that lingered along the floor in a default manner; and the customers that inhabited the booths and stools all wore their signature Crestline expression. They were all happy, she’d observed; though not particularly ecstatic, but an otherworldly content that she could not quite poke her finger on: like an oblivious sort of bliss in which would not dare adorn Carth’s own features. Though within their faceless beings she found a little bit of envy, as per usual; that they could breathe, eat, feel their heartbeat: all aspects in which she would never ever fall privy to. And after each face left, in its place came another: thus, the envy subsided and she had to avert her attention elsewhere.
She sat in a booth by the window as per usual, breathing in the french fry air that boomed from the kitchen and observed; with her back to the glass window she sat facing towards the stools of the bar, enabling her a position in which she could see every angle. Carth let out a hollow sigh, her head tilting every now and then to focus on something else; nothing fairly worthy to keep her attention on.
Carth Delore. Eighteen. Vampire. I've got an appetite for destruction.