Raindrops on Roses
by The Inimitable Pooh Bah
Date: January 11, 2001
Summary: Original Cindy drops by Logan's place. (Answer to Megan's Bling-Cindy challenge on DarkAngelfic.)
Disclaimer: "Dark Angel" and its characters belong to James Cameron, Chris Eglee, and/or FOX.
Archive: List archives and by submission. Do not archive or repost without permission.
Bling answered the knock on the door and found an angel. A dripping, shivering, bedraggled angel toting a soggy messenger pouch and leaning a bicycle against her hip--but an angel nonetheless. And he was struck dumb.
"Rainin' pretty hard out there," she said as she pushed a strand of humidity-kinked black out of her eyes.
Bling stammered something. It didn't make sense even to him. . . . Why hadn't he ever noticed her before? He'd seen her two or three times hanging out with Max. Maybe it just took a closer look to realize that this woman was beautiful.
She didn't seem to mind his unintelligible response. She continued as if nothing had happened. "Station's too far away to turn back around, and the address I gotta get this to is too far away to keep going. Can I stay here till the rain lets up?"
"Sure," he managed, and he stepped aside to let her wheel her bike through the door.
She stepped into the living room briefly to exchange greetings with Logan, then made a beeline for the kitchen. She opened the messenger pouch and set a manila envelope down on the counter next to the oven where Bling was baking bread. "Damn," she remarked, "but they don't make them bags like they used to." With one last frown at the package, she turned around to look at Bling. "You were Bling, right?"
"Yes. . . . And you're Original Cindy."
"In the flesh." And she gave him a beautiful, saucy smile. She didn't seem to notice the awe in his voice.
Cindy sneezed, and Bling recovered some of his senses. "Lemme get you a towel," he offered. "And you should change out of those clothes--there's some here you could borrow."
She smiled again--a warm, grateful one this time, but every bit as beautiful as the last one. "Thanks, Bling. I appreciate that."
"I'll be right back." He went off down the hall to find the clothes one of Logan's contacts had left behind last week in her haste to pack and leave the country. She hadn't been Cindy's size--too small--but she'd left a pair of baggy cargo pants that should just about fit Cindy. Bling picked those up, and paused to study the deserted shirt he'd stored next to them in the guest room dresser. Short-sleeved, black, tight even on the skinny girl who'd left it. Even if Cindy could somehow squeeze into it, Bling thought one of his own sweatshirts would be more appreciated.
He handed Cindy the clothes and a big yellow towel, directed her to the bathroom, and went back to the kitchen to boil water and have a pot of tea waiting for her when she came out.
It was a long time before Cindy emerged from the bathroom, showered and dried, wearing the borrowed clothes and carrying her muddy ones over her arm. They negotiated the cleaning and delivery of her clothes, and then Bling offered the now-lukewarm tea.
"Nah," Cindy shook her head. "Never been much of a hot-beverage person . . . " She slipped between him and the kitchen's island to grab her slightly-damp envelope. "'Sides, sun's out now. Got deliveries to do."
"Your package is still wet," Bling pointed out. "You sure you want to deliver it like that?"
"Better late than wet?" Cindy asked, one corner of her lip turning up.
He smiled back at her. "Yeah. Better late than wet."
"Thanks, but no. Plenty late already." She knelt to tie her soggy shoes, then picked up her bike from where it leaned against the wall, and walked out the door.
Bling stared into the hallway for a long time after she'd gone.
Bling stopped by the flower shop on the way to Cindy's place that evening.
"Hi, Bling," the clerk greeted him. "What can I get you tonight? More sunflowers for your mom?"
Bling smiled as he shook his head. "A dozen roses--nice ones, red. . . . For Cindy."
He had thought Max's neighborhood was bad, but Cindy's was even worse. There was twice the graffiti, twice the litter, twice the young thugs loitering by the front stairs, twice the hookers strutting around by the stop sign at the end of the street. It was starting to drizzle as Bling locked the car--he wouldn't have done that if he'd been visiting Max--and marched briskly up the steps of Cindy's building.
She smiled at him when she answered the door, but didn't invite him in. "Hey, Bling. Lemme get those clothes I borrowed." She left the door hanging open, and he watched her go over to a rickety-looking card table across the room and pick up the stack.
"Nice roses," Cindy remarked as they traded batches of clothes. "Got a date?"
"I hope so, Cindy." And he held the roses toward her. Her friendly smile disappeared instantly and she looked up at him with slightly-widened eyes. "You're not askin' me out, are you?"
Bling nodded. "Is tonight a bad time?"
"Yeah." She shuffled her feet on the bare concrete floor. "Every night's a bad time."
Bling's expression fell. "You've got somebody already."
"I don't, actually. It's just that it'd never work between us, Bling. 'Cause you're not my type."
"'Not your type,'" Bling repeated. "As in?"
"Well, male. See, I don't do men."
"Yeah, dintcha know? It ain't no secret."
"But . . . "
"But what? This is true love, or somethin'? Would you turn gay just 'cause some guy had a crush on you? . . . I'm sorry, Bling. I don't wanna hurt you, but this is just how things is."
Bling nodded, slowly, sadly.
Cindy stared at him for a long time without saying a word. "You're a good man, Bling," she said finally. "I know there's a girl out there who was made just for you, and I know you'll find her someday. She's just not me."
Bling barely noticed when Cindy shut the door, and it was at least five minutes before he turned around to go back to the car.
It was raining hard by the time he came down the steps, but he didn't care. He didn't even cover the roses.
[ END ]
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