Had Leon been told that he would be tracking down a person and that person would be a complete asshole, he would be fine with that.
If by asshole you meant someone who enjoyed jabbing thorns in your side whenever possible, no filter for their mouth or thoughts, and was as slimy as they come, he would have been fine.
“What brings you to Germany?” The taxi driver Leon was sure to be made of pure cigarette smoke quizzed.
“A girl? It’s always a girl, isn’t it?”
“For you maybe.” Leon made the point to ignore the driver until they reached his destination. It was some small town, someplace in Germany, somewhere on Earth. He did not really care.
“So…why after this girl? Huh? Was she your sweetheart while you were deployed here at some point?” Once again, the driver attempted to make conversation.
“She’s anything but a sweetheart. She’s more like the asshole who comes and goes as she pleases. Doesn’t comeback until someone tries to drag her back by the hair.
Even then you have to watch her because she’ll cut her hair without a thought.” A sigh escapes the blonde staring at his reflection in the window.
He has not needed to drag her by the hair recently, but she still takes her damn time coming home.
“She a whore?”
“Where the fuck did that come from?”
“She just sounds like a whore that’s all…she not committed, right?” At this Leon let his laughter go at the mere possibility that she is a whore and would even think of giving this man a chance.
“I’m just wondering.” The driver mumbled, sinking lower into his seat dejectedly. Mood now brightened, Leon strayed his icy blue eyes to the window.
Fresh rain lightly fell dampening anything it touched. Soon water trails down the window, the driver cursed switching the wipers on.
“Does it usually rain in Germany?” Leon glanced at his companion, he received nothing but a growl mixed with some muttering, “God damn Americans.” did reach his ears.
Looks like the driver was still sour about the ‘whore’ conversation, turning back to the window Leon’s mind wandered.
How long has he been chasing this girl? A year? Damn. There were moments that she let him take her home.
Leaving him a few days of rest and relaxation until he gets that all too familiar phone call that she was gone once again. Leaving behind a trail of clues to follow until he reached her.
It was a mixture of Where’s Waldo and owning an outdoor cat. Comes and goes as they -or in this case she- pleases, and making it a hell of a time finding her.
One would think that going through this pattern for a year would soon become a boring game of cat and mouse.
Thanks to how every clue is placed, where she runs off to, and how he always sees the world each time prevented such a thing from happening.
“Why Germany of all places?” under his breath Leon wondered. This was the first time she ever traveled out of the U.S., not including the time she camped out right inside the Canadian border.
The blur of trees, shrubs, and the occasional wild animal, rudely stopped. Dull, grey buildings filled his vison.
People littered the sidewalks hugging their jackets or umbrellas closer in pitiful attempts to block out the rain. He has finally reached the town.
“This is your stop.” Pulling over the cab screeched to a halt right next to a deep puddle. Peering out, Leon searched for the hotel sign he booked at, it was nowhere in sight.
“Yes. It-it’s right there, the sign see? It reads Godrick Fellows & Co. Hotel.” The cab driver gestured to a random building not far from the taxi cab.
“I know German, that’s a strip club. Miss Valvaliine’s Risqué Ballet Club to be exact.
” The man grunted, lighting a cigar not bothering to open the windows before roughly shoving Leon out the cab. The puddle reached Leon’s ankles.
At least he guessed this since he managed to leap over the puddle, what he did not manage was to save his bag being violently tossed to him from the tiny lake.
A splash and the driver’s smug laughter echoed in Leon’s ears as he rushed for the bag.
“FICK DICH!” Leon roared over the wail of tires as the cab sped away. Scoffing, Leon scooped up his now soaking bag.
Making a metal list of all the items he may have to replace, he turned on his gps app and followed the A.I.’s voice to his hotel, cursing the taxi driver the whole way.
After some time of wandering in the rain, Leon noticed a few men huddling under the eaves of flower shop, waiting for the rain to clear up soon.
All while passing a cigarette around trying to light it with what looked to be soaked matches.
Approaching the group, Leon held his lighter in the air as a silent offering.
The lighter was snatched from his hands, a succession of cigarettes were lit before the lighter was handed back to him. A few from the group nodding their thanks.
One man burrowed under his trench coat observed Leon, "You are no German, are you lost?"
“Well… I’m trying to get to Godrick Fellows & Co. Hotel, can you give me a ride?” it was bold but it worked.
Five minutes later, Leon was in a nice warm, dry car ready for a twenty-minute ride across town to his destination.
Soon, they were only two minutes away, the rain ceased leaving behind a light mist. Peaceful, that’s how it felt.
All was quiet, sunlight cut through the clouds casting strange shadows though the mist, it was refreshingly cool with a light breeze.
Now one major thing Leon learned during his time chasing this girl was her gift.
That gift was not leaving unnoticed, on occasion giving him a clue, and always somehow having the money to accommodate her traveling needs.
It was her talent to appear in the most unexpected places at the most random times.
“Just past this intersection is your building.”
“Thank you, light’s re-.” horns blared at a speeding car cutting across the two lanes, jolted forward, Leon clutched at anything he could grip.
“See? This why kids…” the Man’s gruff voice faded away, oblivious that Leon was not listening to a single word he was saying. There, sitting in the back of some beat up pick-up truck was a girl.
Wavy, blond hair pulled into a messy bun glowed in the sunlight. Clear, blue eyes rolled as she lightly touched her bun, a huge smile adorned her face.
No doubt commenting on how her hair frizzes in mist. Talking away with her riding buddy, she pulled a familiar beige, over-sized sweater close to her body.
Her riding buddy, a girl probably no older than fourteen started tying her companion’s boot.
Whether she sensed him staring at her or she just happened to look in his direction out of sheer luck he will never know, but that did not matter.
Clear blue eyes met icy blue ones, her smile dropped, a look of surprise told Leon what he already knew. She didn’t plan to see him yet.
“Charlie.” he breathed. The name foreign, yet familiar at once.
“CHARLIE!” out of pure instinct, he yelled her name. The Driver jumped at Leon’s sudden shout.
“The girl in front of us! I know her! Follow that truck!”
“No, no! She in other lane I cannot move! Besides, it is small town. You find her again.”
“NOT ON HER WATCH!” Leon gave a growl of irritation once the light turned green. In that moment, he decide to pull a very stupid move.
“BACK INSIDE SIR! CARS ARE GOING!”
“SCREW IT! DROP MY STUFF OFF! I’LL COME BACK!” leaping out of the car, darting past cars accelerating, Leon beelined his way to the truck.
The look on Charlie’s face screamed how she did not expect this. Her head tilted to the side, curiosity mingled with pondering.
"If you’re pondering if you pushed the envelope with this little stunt. Yes, yes you did push the fucking envelope. WHY FUCKING GERMANY?" Leon howled, his blue eyes burning with rage.
Tired of angry drivers blaring their horns, and cursing him, Leon ran on the sidewalk shoving past any person in his way. By now Charlie was laughing, amused by his actions and impatience.
Her companion no doubt was asking why a crazy blond haired man chased after their truck. Knowing Charlie, she will not answer the girl.
“Aaaaaand, she’s gone.” just a block away, the truck turned a corner escaping sight. Still running, Leon knew what would happen next.
Reaching the corner, the sight of an empty truck bed parked by the curb in front of a bakery. Maybe she left a clue in the bed? Slowing down to a jog, he approached the truck.
Nothing…not even bird crap covered the bed.
“Mr. Audrie?” the voice was timid, soft, and right behind him.
Turning around, Leon gazed down at the girl. Poor thing had to tilt her head back to meet his eyes, and she trembled slightly under his gaze.
Swallowing nervously, the girl produced a small envelope.
“Charlie said you need this.”
“Thanks.” He did not even bother opening it, just shoved it into his jacket pocket. A silence fell between them, both looked around avoiding eye by all means possible.
The silence was not awkward nor was it comfortable, it was just there.
Finally, Leon was the once to shatter the silence. Staring at the girl, he waited for her to meet his eyes. Their eyes met. “I’m sorry, didn’t give her a chance to say a proper goodbye.”
“But she said goodbye, that was enough.” Flashing a small smile, the girl relaxed a bit at the smile Leon returned.
“Yeah, she never leaves without doing some form of goodbye.” That was one trait Leon did like about Charlie, and he never understood why.
“Go home, from what she told me you have a long road ahead of you.” A hint of playfulness laced the girl’s words. A soft chuckle left Leon’s lips.
“Thanks kid.” Giving a small smile and a wave goodbye, Leon left. Once again, a small chuckle slipped out. This was so typical of Charlie, dancing around just in reach and then gone once more.
“Back to square one, I guess.” The clue in his pocket crinkled as the wind blew his jacket back. This one will lead to Charlie or not.
Until then, God only knows where she is… and Leon Audrie was okay with that.