1965-03-30 - Buckle Up and Hang On
Summary: Gwen comes to visit Flash, after hearing that he's back from the war.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
flash-thompson gwen-stacy 

She doesn't drive the car as much, but it is a labor of love from her father to her.
The 1963 Chevy Corvette Sting Ray rolls up to the curb in front of the house, and Gwen steps out, looking up at the facade of the house. Barely a few miles away from her home.
She took a deep breath. She had heard about his return from the jungles of Vietnam, and she had wondered what had happened to him.
She took another deep breath, then knocked lightly on the door.

Flash is home, but no-one else is. Living with his family again, even temporarily, has been a trial, to say the least. They tend to leave him alone, and he them. The knock on the door goes unanswered for longer than would be considered polite, but when it opens Gwen might understand why; Flash rolls up to the front door in his wheelchair, and practically does a double-take. "Gwen?" It's been a /while/. He opens the door fully, and rolls back a bit, inviting her inside.

The double-take is warranted. The girl who had been as skinny as the drumsticks she carried around had…filled out. In many ways. She had developed, had gone from slim to shapely, stick arms and legs with a little more meat on them. "Matchstick" had become The Delinquent Next Door.
She matches his double-take with her own. A scar was expected, a tattoo, maybe. the legs gone fron the knee down? Suddenly, he could hear Ronald Reagan calling out, "Where's the rest of me? Where's the rest of me?"
"Oh, my Jesus, Flash…" she said in a startled hiss of a whisper.

"Yeah, that's about the usual reaction," Flash says, stifling a bit of a frown as he rolls back inside, leading her toward the living room. She'd been here before, no doubt; same couch, same chair. Hell, same TV, which was top of the line at the time, but now is considered older than dirt. Dad doesn't like to spend money he doesn't have, and Flash certainly isn't using his pension to buy the old man a new one. "Come on in, Gwen. Want a drink?" There's a bottle of bourbon on the coffee table, about half-gone, and a glass, empty but used. No telling how long he's been working at it, but there's definitely the smell of the stuff on his breath, though he's not noticably drunk. Yet. The day is young, yet. "You're looking good," he says, making little secret of his looking her over. He was never subtle; that certainly hasn't changed.

Gwen stifled a startled laugh. "Jeez Louise, Flash…" she says in a sudden exhalation, her hand rising to cover her mouth. "Same old Flash…no, I don't drink. I'll have some water though. I can get it from the tap if you can't…"
Jeez, why did she say that?
"When…when did you get back?"

Flash lets out a quiet sigh at her insinuation. "I can get it. You're the guest," he says. He's not mad, exactly, but it's been long enough with people assuming that he's incapable of doing simple things just because of his injuries. He wheels himself into the kitchen, maneuvering rather deftly around the furniture. "I came back from Vietnam a.. few months back." It's been longer, really, but the truth is something he's not all that keen on explaining just now. There's the sound of the tap running, and some fumbling with glasses, but he seems to be managing alright otherwise. A minute later, he returns with a glass of water in one hand, wheeling himself back into the living room with the other. Upper body strength is still intact, it would seem. After giving it over to the blonde girl he once knew, Flash picks up the bottle and pours himself another small amount of bourbon, but leaves it for now on the coffee table. "Spent some time doing the whole 'press tour' thing.. the VA likes to take us supposed heroes around to drum up support. Been back and forth doing that for a while."

Gwen sat down. "Someone overheard your father talking at McGoohan's…that's how I found out." She takes the glass of water. "I'm…sorry for thinking like that. It's just…this is the first I've heard of American casualties. The kill counts only give enemy casualties. What…what happened, Flash?"

"Dad does like to talk, doesn't he. Sometimes I think me losing my legs is the best thing that's ever happened to him," he says sarcastically. "And it's alright, I'm getting used to it. Everyone thinks they're trying to help. Can't really fault them for it, you know?" He picks up the glass. If she's gonna make him talk about it, he's gonna drink. It's fair, right? Down it goes, one fell swoop. "You want the long version where I look heroic, or the short version where I just got lucky?" He gives a bit of a smirk at that, for some reason.

Gwen took a sip, then put the glass down.
"Flash…don't sing me any lullaby." Her voice was suddenly stern, quiet…resigned. "It's just you and me here. Just…tell me what happened."

"My unit was ambushed," Flash says, setting the glass down again but not refilling it yet. "There was a grenade, saw a buddy of mine didn't see it. Pushed him out of the way, but got hit. Next thing I know, I'm waking up in hospital, about fifty pounds lighter." Yep, now it's time for another shot. "Found out later, he didn't make it anyway."

Gwen's shoulders sagged. "Yes, it's pretty rough." She pauses, then says quickly, "Uhm, I mean it SOUNDS pretty rough." She leans forward. "Listen, Flash…I would have been around sooner if you hadn't kept it to yourself. I mean, I know we hadn't had the best of friendships…"
She wasn't going to mention how he had dumped milk on her head, calling her the "Human Straw…"

"It is what it is," Flash says resignedly. He has booze to help him cope. And other things, but the one thing he really wants isn't here right now. Otherwise you'd be dealing with an entirely different animal. "None of the guys I was friends with in high school have been by. Freddy actually turned around and walked the other way when he saw me coming down the aisle at the grocery store the other day," he says. No, not bitter at all. "I was kind of a dick back then. Can't blame anyone for not visiting me. Like to think I've changed, but.. still angry. Just new things to be angry about, I guess." He lets out a bit of a sigh again. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry for treating you the way I did.. we should have been better friends, considering everything." He pauses, suddenly realizing something. "I'm sorry about your Dad, Gwen. Here I am wrapped up in my own stuff. Still a self-centred ass, apparently."

Gwen smiled faintly, then sighs. "Well…I'm sorry about all this." She reached out to touch Flash's hand. "If you're really sorry, Flash, then you can make amends. You can start again. Look, Flash…if you need any help, would you give me a call?"

This is a refrain Flash has heard before. New leaf, and all that. Part of the recovery process. He gives Gwen a nod, not flinching when she touches his hand. "I'll call," he says with some certaintly in his voice now. "I'm glad you came by, Gwen. I'd love to see more of you," he says, letting that grin touch his lips again. Yeah, there's a double-entendre there that may not be entirely appropriate, given the solemnity of their discussion so far.

Gwen smiled slightly. "Well, I'm going to state college, but I could come by after classes. I'm still living at my father's house. I…made a few changes. Maybe I can take you for a ride in our car. The one Dad and I restored. It's out front if you'd like to see it."

Gwen's relationship with her father is definitely something Flash envies. It's never the absolute bastards that are taken before their time, is it? Harrison Thompson is still kicking around, though his health isn't the greatest these days. "I could get out to see you, too. Need reasons to get out of the house, besides trips to the liquor store for the old man." Yeah. The old man. That half-empty bottle of bourbon didn't drink itself, Eugene. "Yeah, let's take a look," he says at the invitation to see the car, a smile on his face again.

Gwen smiled, then moved around to grasp the handles of the wheelchair. hustling in through the room to the front door.
Of course it's cherry red. Fire-engine red. Officer-Please-Arrest-Me-for-Anything Red. It gleamed in the light of the afternoon, red anc chrome and glass and Goodyear whitewall tires.
"There it is…isn't it something?"

Flash doesn't argue or complain about being wheeled now, and when they come out of the house to the driveway, his eyes light up seeing Gwen's ride. Because it's '65, and who doesn't get a thrill out of a cool car? "Holy cow, Gwen," he says with a bit of awe. "That is one helluva car. You and your dad did this?" Only thing Flash and his dad ever did together was turn any attempt at a father-son activity into a fight. "Get in, I wanna see how you look in the front seat."

Gwen smiled, wheeling him to the curb, then opening the passenger door for him, setting the chair next to the passenger opening. She went around to get in the car, sliding behind the wheel. Leather seats beckoned.
Then she turned the key, and the engine rumbled to life around her. It had that deep-throated growl characteristic of the American Muscle Car, Chevrolus Corvettus.

Flash lifts himself out of the chair with some effort, but seems to have worked out a system for doing so. It looks uncomfortable, and certainly not easy, but he manages to get himself from chair to passenger seat without needing any help. Settling back in the seat, he smooths his hands over the leather, and seems to relish the vibration of the engine as she starts the ignition. "Man, this is /awesome/, Gwen," he says over the rumble of the engine.

Gwen chuckled. "Buckle up, and hang on. We're gonna go cruisin'."
She waited long enough for Flash to buckle himself in before she dropped it into gear and released the clutch.
Cue the squealing of tires, right out of DRAGNET, and then they were off.

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