The Dixie Diaries
When it rains
The number 33 bus pulled up just up the road from the tattoo shop, where Tito was leaning against the door frame, enjoying a cigarette as the night’s trade drew to a close. He had been run off his feet all day, and now he was able to enjoy this simple moment, as he stared out at the rain as it fell heavily onto the street. The bus’s brakes whined and whistled, before the doors opened to reveal the passengers to get off, one of which was a very bedraggled and heavily pregnant Dixie. She was carrying a right load; her art school bag, plus groceries and her hand bag. All looked to be weighing her down. Her black locks were plastered to her head, for she obviously got caught up in the downpour before making it onto the bus. Tito looked totally surprised to see her like this. He was about to call out, but the bus engine roared as it pulled out from the curb, and Dixie vanished down the alley beside the shop, to head to where she did at the garage at the back.
“Hey Dixie…Hey.” Tito sung out, but she mustn’t have been able to hear him, due to the heavy sound the rain made as it continued to pour. Flicking his cigarette out the doorway, he fumbled to get his keys out his pocket and quickly locked the front door to the tattoo shop and then ran around the corner, to see where Dixie ended up. She at this point was struggling with her bags, and trying to unlock the garage door. Splashing through the puddles, that now lined the driveway, Tito finally caught her up, only to give her a fright when he placed his hand on her wet shoulder.
~Gasp~ “Tito…you scared me.”
“Dixie…whatta you doin’ out in this rain? Come let me help you.” Tito took the keys from her hand and then unlocked the garage door, before reaching for some of her grocery bags and helping her inside. The garage really hadn’t changed much in the past few weeks. Still a real guy’s place, the only thing noticeable was the art work that lined the walls near the bed. They were pictures of Dem. Taken from her memories and then drawn from the heart. It was probably the only thing that kept her sane.
Tito took the wet groceries bags to the bench in the small kitchenette, but kept looking back at Dixie, who had set down her art bags and looked forlorn that they had gotten so drenched.
“I knew I shouldn’t have taken so long in town….now everything is wet.” Dixie said with a sad tone to her voice. Peeling back the leather satchel, sure enough her art books were damaged. She pulled them out one by one, and you could hear the audible sigh as she slapped them onto the small table. Dixie even held up the now empty bag, and you could see the small trickle of water that was coming from it.
In the small kitchenette, Tito was going through Dixie’s wet ingredients, seeing what was salvageable and most of it was, though she had bought some strange things, like pickles and ice cream. Must be that pregnancy kick where women like to eat certain foods. By looking at what she had already in the small pantry and the latest ingredients, Tito couldn’t see how she was going to get a decent feed from it. This started to concern him, as he glanced over and saw her slender frame, with the baby bulge that stuck out predominantly. Was she even taking care of herself? There was no one there to do it for her, and this had Tito worried. Pursing his lips as he put away the wet shopping bags, he said.
“Dixie…go have a shower, huh? I look after dinner. You …need to eat proper food, like my Mumma makes. Is good for you…good for baby. Go on…you dripping on the floor and catcha cold.” Tito actually sounded like a mother hen, or even a bit like his own mother. A frightening thought, but at least Dixie listened. She was starting to get a chill from being wet for so long.
“Tito…don’t you need to close the shop?”
“Eh…I lock the door, no one can get in. I can turn off da lights when I go home. But you…you need to shower and get warm.” He pointed at her bathroom, and had a stern look on his face, like he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Dixie held both hands up in surrender, and padded towards the bathroom, picking up a towel on the rail near the door. Tito had something of a half smile of victory as she closed the door, and you could hear the tell tale signs that she had turned on the shower and was doing as she was told. Tito always had a soft spot for Dixie and truth be told, he watched her every night as she got off that bus from town, where she had her art classes and caught up with her friends from the Death Club.
Thinking on his feet, he pulled out his cellphone and rang the local Italian pizza pasta take out store, and put an order in to have delivered to the garage. Probably not the best food to be giving a pregnant girl, but he thought it was a lot better than pickles and ice cream. Looking over at the table where her wet drawing books were, and her bag, Tito went over and attempted to clean it up. One was hanging up her bag on a wire that was used sometimes for clothes inside, and then the books, well, they were beyond saving. Tito knew she would have to get new ones, which was a shame for all the drawings that were ruined.
Dixie simply leaned against the tiled wall, letting the hot spray hit her and roll down her body in a torrent. Her belly was swollen with the tiny baby within kicking up a fuss, like it usually did this time of night. Dixie was still incredibly active, or tried to be, to keep herself from worrying about Dem, but she simply couldn’t help it. Her friends kept reassuring her that he would be fine, and come back safe and sound to her. Dixie also knew about these people that had taken Mia, and that they would not give her back without a fight. As much as she wanted her best friend back, the cost of this rescue was putting many people’s lives in danger. To Dixie, it just wasn’t fair.
Night after night she came home to an empty garage, and an empty bed. The only thing she had was Dem’s pillow, that held his scent, and she cradled it every night to her. Closing her eyes and just inhaling the scent, imagining he was there laying beside her. Dixie often cried through the night or sat up and drew his picture as her way of dealing with the loneliness and separation from her soul mate.
Absently, Dixie washed herself and then her hair. Going through the motions, like she was almost a zombie. The only thing that jerked her back to reality was the baby kicking again. Clearly, the baby was hungry, and in fact so was she. Turning off the taps, she stepped out of the shower and patted herself dry, rubbing her hair with the towel, and then putting on one of Dem’s large shirts and her briefs. She was nice and clean, warm and dry.
Opening the bathroom door, she could suddenly smell the wonderful aroma of pizza and pasta. There was salad and a garlic bread, as well as juice and a big bottle of water, all set up on the small dining table that Dem and Dixie use. Tito was already seated and tucking a napkin into his collar.
“Tito…what is all this?”
“This….is real good and healthy food. Now come sit and enjoy!” Tito said, waving his hand across the fare and laughing. Maybe it was cause Dixie’s eyes were about to fall out of her head. “I haven’t seen a spread this good of italian food since I was in St Kilda.” You could hear the change in Dixie’s voice as she waddled over and pulled out a chair, holding her pregnant belly. Tito smirked and then pointed a fork towards her belly. “Let me guessa….baby been a kicking and is a hungry?’Dixie was shocked since, he was right. “How did you know that?” This only brought more laughter from Tito. “My Mumma…she tella me I do that to her, and that she thought I would be a great football a player. I was very good kicker in her ribs!”
Tito poured Dixie a glass of water and then held up his glass to hers.
“To the beautiful Dixie and her bambino. May they be a happy and a healthy.”
Dixie took up her glass of water and tapped it to his, as the sweet red candle on the table shone its light on both of them. This was probably the best meal Dixie had had in forever, and something she sorely needed. It was just nice to be taken care again. This was something Dem would have done had he been there.
The very first bite from her Fettuccine Mona Lisa, which was sun dried tomatoes, bacon, pine nuts and spinach all tossed in a tomato sauce, had her practically have a mouth orgasm. She closed her eyes, and you could see the pleasure written all over her face. To see Dixie happy again, only warmed Tito’s heart and he then decided to mention that they had gelato ice cream for afterwards.
“You shouldn’t have.” Dixie said, starting to get emotional at all of this. The food and the company. Maybe her hormones were out of whack, but she had to take her napkin to dab her eyes. Tito got up from his chair, and then pulled her to standing, enveloping the young Aussie in a hug, as she couldn’t help but cry happy tears.
But it was as he held her, he kissed the top of her head, and you could see a look on his face….one that she couldn’t see. He wasn’t just doing this because he was her friend. He was doing this…because as he watched her, day after day…he found himself becoming more and more entranced by her. Now here he was holding her in his arms. And he had made her smile and cry.
Tito wanted to do so much more…..
“It be..okay my Dixie….I have you safe now.” He whispered softly.