Eli heard her out and nodded. H could understand her hesitancy. She had been through a lot and the last thing he wanted was for any more unnecessary stress to be put on her. He glanced over at Tatum as he drove.
"She won't pry. She never has before," he told her. Devi was good at what she did. Great, even. And in order to be great, she also had to be discreet. He had gone to her many times before for help and she never asked about his missions. She never once asked for more than he gave. [i In more ways than one,] he thought to himself, knowing this visit would be rather different. Especially now that he had Tatum tagging along.
The silence returned to the car, but it wasn't awkward by any means. Over the past couple days they had grown used to each other's constant presence. Tatum shifted beside him and he kept his eyes on the road as she spoke again. He nodded at her question.
"Next town we hit, we'll get some food," he assured her. After her next words he couldn't keep the small grin from coming to his lips. In such a short amount of time what used to annoy him about Tatum now just seemed charming. "I'm sure that can be arranged," he added, offering her a warm glance. They were on the run for their lives and she was worried about smelly clothing. When they first met he might have grown irritated with the demand, but she wasn't demanding, she was [i asking]. And now he just found it cute of all things. After another long silence, he thought aloud. "We'll probably need to find a motel tonight."
The day stretched on. For what seemed like a hundred miles there was not a town in sight. Eventually, one came upon them in the late morning and he took the off ramp hastily. He was starving and he needed to piss.
They easily got back into the road trip groove and by nightfall he was looking for the most strategic motel. He didn't want a town too small: it would be obvious they would hide there. The more people the better. But he didn't want a town in the middle of several thoroughfares. Eventually he found one that suited him and he pulled in to the circle drive slowly. The neon sign above the door said [i vacancy] and was flickering off and on, so who really knew.
For a moment he didn't move. He just looked into the window at the woman behind the counter. She was well into her 80s and was knitting. He leaned across Tatum to look at the doors and the cars, gauging how many occupants might be here. He always liked to be prepared.
"Stay here," he said before pulling away from her. "I don't want anyone to see you up close. Not even granny in there." He opened his door and stepped out into the cool night. It wasn't as cool as the mountains, but a cold front must have pushed in. He locked the doors before he jogged up to the door.
The old woman looked up from her pearling and smiled at him. "Hello there," she said and then hacked. Smoker's cough. "Can I help you?"
"My wife and I need a room. Just for the night," he said without skipping a beat. Lying was not an issue for him. He'd had to become an expert in order do his work.
The old lady- her name tag read Gladys- looked outside the window and squinted through her glasses, trying to see the woman he spoke of. He assumed she was the gossiping sort. Unless Durham was hiring seniors now. She obviously couldn't see all that well, anyway, and looked back to him. "Course, dear." She stood up and started to grab the key nearest her. 15.
"Can we take 3 please?" he interrupted her movements and she shot a curious glance back to him. "She's pregnant. Stairs are hard for her right now."
"Oh, my, of course," she said with a smile and had to reach a little farther than her old bones would have liked. "Your first one?" she asked. She was moving at a grueling pace and she handed him a clipboard for his information.
"Yeah," he said, giving her a winning smile. "We're scared shitless." Any onlooker would have bought his story in an instant. His eyes actually shone with excitement over the prospect of having a baby. He quickly signed a random name.
"You're going to love it. It'll be hard work, but you'll get there. Children are little miracles."
Eli smiled and handed the clipboard back. "Thank you so much, Gladys. Have a good night."
She was charmed beyond belief and went back to happily knitting as he headed back out to the car. He had kept it and Tatum in his peripheral the entire time he had been inside.
He opened the car door again and drove them just a little ways down to door number 3. It was the most strategic spot for a getaway since the exit to the parking lot was right in front of them. He backed the car into the parking spot as that would save them time as well.
Finally, with a yawn, he got out and grabbed their bags. "You're my wife," he said to her as they moved towards the door. "And you're pregnant."
He opened the door and the familiar musty smell of old motel greeted him. There was one Queen sized bed in the middle of the wall with two lamps on either side. The TV hung on the wall opposite. A small desk sat in the corner. Just like every other motel room he had stayed in.
He tossed his bag onto the bed before turning to secure the door with both bolts, but he also propped the chair up under the handle. He had learned you could never be too safe. He made sure there were no gaps in the curtains before heading for the bathroom. "I'm going to rinse off," he told her and pulled his shirt off over his head before he closed himself in the bathroom. He didn't have to remind her to stay in the room. He knew she understood the importance of it all now.
He stripped and stepped into the shower and was greeting with ice cold water. "Fuck!" he shouted in surprise, realizing only a moment later that Tatum might have heard him. He didn't want her thinking anything was truly wrong, so he added, "I hope you like cold fucking showers," in a grumpy shout.