Published on January 5, 2014
5.1: The Middle of Nowhere Generation Five, Part One: The Middle of Nowhere
Welcome to generation five of the Wrongway Legacy! And before you say, “Hang on a second, wasn’t the last chapter on generation six?” you’re right. In order to get my enthusiasm back for the legacy, I had to take a couple of steps back. So I strongly recommend reading the last chapter, but here’s the summary of it just in case: Ralph returned, and Maddie finally got to put her fighting skills to good use. Ariel also returned, and cast a spell , making Fiona, Austin and Robin’s baby, mute. Maddie voiced her concerns about heirship to Lee. Elizabeth passed away, and a large wake was held. Lance comforted Gold, Elizabeth’s granddaughter, Hex and Lavender got talking, Maddie kept Lee company, and Leda got left out. Afterwards, Hex and the family had a discussion over heirship and legacy success, making Maddie the heir despite her complaints. She wanted no part of the legacy, and decided to leave town on a bus, while Lee watched her, worried.
When Lee woke up in the morning, he was no longer surprised to see Lavender in the kitchen. In fact, it was more of a surprise if she wasn’t there. Since Maddie had *ahem* left for university, Hex and Lavender had been spending much more time together. “Hex, can I speak to you a minute?” Lee asked. “Sure, what’s up?”
“I’m heading out for a holiday in a few days,” Lee announced, “Decided to go spend a week in Belladonna Cove!” Hex frowned, “Why didn’t you mention it before?” “I only booked the train tickets yesterday,” Lee replied, “I wanted to make sure it was final before I told you. “ Hex continued to frown.
“But Lee, Ralph and Ariel are back and missing…shouldn’t we both be here to protect the family?” Hex asked. “It’s been a year since they returned, Hex,” Lee replied, “Another week is not going to hurt,” Lavender smiled, “Hex, you could also use a break.”
“Well, it’s a bit short notice, but maybe we should do it,” Hex said, turning to face Lavender, “You should come with us! We’ll all take a break in Belladonna,” “Sounds good to me,” Lavender replied, “We’d better get sorted! There’s packing, and tickets and…”
“We should get started if we’re going to be ready on time,” Lavender stated, and the pair of them disappeared to get packing, leaving Lee alone in the kitchen. How was he going to tell Maddie that he’d accidentally invited her mother along to their reunion? ***
Out in the desert, Maddie was dealing with her own problems. “Lee did say this day was coming,” Maddie sighed, kicking at her car half-heartedly. Naturally, it had decided to break down at the most inconvenient of times. Maddie pulled her phone from her pocket.
“I’m sure recovery are going to love looking for a crappy white car surround by rocks and sand,” Maddie muttered.
“Hey, Lee! It’s me. Just to warn you, I may be late for our meeting in Belladonna. No, it’s nothing serious, my car just conked out in the desert,” “I told you that rust bucket wouldn’t survive the journey from Desiderata,” “Yeah, yeah, you get to say I told you so,”
“Well, are you going to be alright?” “Yeah, I broke down outside of these tiny town I couldn’t see on the map. I’m sure someone will know how to fix it,”
“Keep me posted, okay?” “You’re getting to be as bad as my Mum. Don’t forget to take a jumper, don’t stay out too late, make sure you don’t walk home on your own!” On the other end of the line, Lee sighed. Maddie laughed, “I’ll catch you later, Lee.”
There seemed to be no noise at all coming from the house as Maddie climbed the steps and knocked on the door. Not necessarily unusual, but in the middle of nowhere, it wasn’t a promising sign. “I’m pretty sure this is the address the cashier gave me,” Maddie muttered, knocking on the door again.
“Great,” Maddie said, sarcastically, as she turned her back on the house. The cashier at the only store Maddie could find in town had insisted this was the place to go for car help. There was a guy here, a guy with an unusual name, who knew a bit about motors. Too bad he wasn’t in.
Just as she was about to head back to her car and come up with a new plan, Maddie caught sight of a man exercising in the garden. “That’s got to be him…”
The man turned around, ready to continue his circuit training, the midday sun letting Maddie get a good look at his face. Tall, handsome, obviously in shape. He seemed like the typical guy to go to for car help.
“He’s pretty nice to look at,” Maddie commented to herself, grinning. Taking a few steps up the path, Maddie called out to him, “Hey!”
Startled by the sudden noise, the man found himself caught on the netting of his assault course, and in a panic, desperately tried to break free…
Only to fall flat on his face in the dirt. With an irritated sigh, the man pulled himself off the floor, and turned to look at his distraction.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” He demanded, “Do you always sneak into people’s backyards and scare the crap out of them?!” Maddie raised her eyebrows, “Well, you’re obviously not the guy I’m after. The lady at the shop said he was nice,” The man gave her a confused look, “What the hell? You wander into my yard, and now you’re insulting me!”
“I’m broken down outside town. Help me get the car running, and I’ll get out your hair permanently,” Maddie scowled, thinking about how quickly this man had turned from attractive to unbearably awful. “Oh, trust Ripp not to answer the goddamn door,” The man muttered, “It’s not me you’re after, it’s my brother,”
“How good is he with cars?” Maddie asked out of curiosity, “Because I am absolutely useless with them, and on a tight schedule,” The man shrugged, “He worked one summer at a gas station when he was seventeen, and yet people think he’s all-knowing about motors. Don’t hold out too much hope,” “You speak so highly of your brother,” Maddie replied, drily.
“I’m not a jerk,” The man insisted, “Just honest,” “Oh, so that’s what they’re calling it these days,” Maddie grinned, “I’m Maddie, by the way,” “Tank,” “Wow, your parents must have hated you to name you that,” Maddie commented. Tank narrowed his eyes, and she shot him a smile, “I’m not a jerk, I’m just being honest!” Tank shook his head, but he was smiling, and began to lead her up to the house.
“Ripp!” Tank yelled up the stairs, “There’s a woman here to see you!” “That can’t be as good as you’re making it sound!” A voice yelled back, before a man came thumping down the stairs.
“Then again,” Ripp said, arriving in front of Maddie, “It may be a good thing afterall,” Maddie smiled – Ripp reminded of her of a friend she had back in Pleasantview.
“So you’re Ripp Grunt,” Maddie stated, studying Ripp. He gave a grand gesture. “My reputation is much larger than I expected!” He declared, “It’s true, I am the best lover in Strangetown. Is that why you’re here?” Maddie rolled her eyes, but continued to smile.
Tank, however, was scowling, “Cool it, Ripp, she’s just got car trouble,” “Oh,” Ripp sounded a little disappointed, “I can’t really offer much help. My mate Johnny’s much better with cars than me, and he doesn’t get back from Twikkii for two days,”
“Two days?!” Maddie repeated, “I need to be in Belladonna Cove by then,” “I’m sorry…is there any way you can postpone your plans in Belladonna by a couple of days?” Ripp asked, blushing a little. He’d only worked at the gas station at night, and that didn’t really require any work.
“I guess I don’t really have much choice,” Maddie sighed, “But this John guy can definitely sort me out?” “Johnny can, learned it all from his dad. He was good with mechanics,” Ripp said, “In the meantime, we’ll have to find you somewhere to stay,” “She can’t stay here!” Tank interjected, suddenly. Both Maddie and Ripp stared at him, incredulously.
“Why the hell not?” Ripp demanded, “It’s only a couple of nights, we have a sofa-” “Dad would flip, and you know it,” Tank pointed out. Ripp scoffed. “She’s not an alien, he’d be fine with it!” “She’s not from here, he will not let her stay,”
“Maybe he’d make an exception in this case,” Ripp suggested, “It’s not like there are any motels in Strangetown,” “Exactly,” Tank answered, “Dad doesn’t want outsiders coming to this town, let alone into his house!” “Well, what’s your idea?”
“I don’t know!” Tank shouted, “Put her up with the girls or something. They’ve always got room for one more, as you keep saying,” Ripp rolled his eyes, “You might have a good idea there,” Tank shrugged, and went upstairs. Maddie watched him go, wide-eyed – she’d never seen a family quite like this one. ***
“So what exactly did Ripp tell you about us?” The brunette asked. Maddie was pretty sure her name was Kristen. “Not much,” Maddie said, quietly, “Just that you wouldn’t mind me crashing on your couch for a couple of days. Oh, and that you guys are tons of fun,” The girls giggled.
“Well, Ripp does know us better than anyone,” Erin smiled to herself, “What did you think of him?” “Yeah!” The other girls chipped in.
“He’s good-looking, I guess,” Maddie commented, “His brother seemed a little strange, though,” “Tank?” Kristen asked, “Yeah, he is odd,”
“He’s under a ton of pressure, so therefore, he acts like an ass,” Chloe summed up, “Now we’re going out tonight, do you wanna come?” “There are places to go out in this town?” Maddie questioned, incredulously. “Yeah!” Erin grinned, “Okay, so we’re the life of the party, but still!”
“Stay here if you want,” Chloe said, raising her eyebrows, “But we’re going to paint Strangetown red tonight!” “Alright, I’m in,” Maddie grinned. ***
The club in Strangetown was quite possibly the smallest club Maddie had ever seen, and also one of the emptiest. The girls brought life to it, and Ripp was dancing back and forth to the bar, but it didn’t quite have the atmosphere Maddie liked.
None of the girls had noticed Maddie’s absence from the dance floor – well, why should they? Maddie was a stranger, afterall. Maddie sighed. For the first time since leaving home, she was lonely. Turning her back on the girls, Maddie headed for the bar.
“You again?” Maddie smiled, “Did you come out tonight to yell at me some more?” Tank Grunt shook his head, “Ripp said I needed to wind down. Said we’d go for a quiet drink…that was an hour ago now,” Maddie cast a look at the dance floor, “Ripp doesn’t look like he’s winding down,”
Tank chose not to comment on his brother’s antics, “Can I get you a drink?” “No,” Maddie replied, grinning, “It’ll take much more than some juice to apologise to me,” “What makes you think I need to apologise?” Maddie stared at him, “How about, for being a total ass when I first met you? I mean, I get it, I snuck up on you by accident, but seriously? Fighting with your brother in front of a stranger?”
“You don’t understand,” Tank said, quietly, “There’s a lot going on at home at the minute.” “Yeah, the girls mentioned you were under pressure,” Maddie replied, “Didn’t say what, though,” Tank looked at Maddie, “Because my father-”
“Tank, we’re not juiced enough to be doing the whole ‘this is why my life sucks’ thing,” “Okay,” Tank nodded, “So what do we do?” “We drink up! Get really happy! Then, as we’re stumbling back tonight, we get depressed, and then trade life stories or whatever. Something like that,”
“I get the feeling you’ve done that before,” Tank replied. Maddie’s smile faded. “Maybe,” Maddie shrugged, “I don’t really like talking about things like that. It’s not good to focus on your problems too much. Some nice folk in Veronaville taught me that,” “Wow, you’ve travelled quite a way,” Tank commented. “That’s not even the half of it,” Maddie smirked, before downing her drink.
“Come on, Tank,” Maddie grinned, “We’re not going to talk ourselves into depression all night,” “What do you want to do instead?” “Drink up, we’re going to do something fun!” ***
“Maddie, I can’t sing,” Tank admitted, worriedly, as Maddie started up the karaoke machine. She looked at his, expectantly. “Me neither,” Maddie laughed, “That’s the beauty of karaoke. No one sounds good!” Tank still looked worried as he picked up his microphone, “So what are we singing?”
“Now I’m the king of the swingers, Oh, the jungle VIP, I’ve reached the top and had to stop And that’s what’s bothering me. I wanna be a man, mancub And stroll right into town And be just like the other men I’m tired of monkeyin’ around!”
“Give it a go, Tank, it’s fun!” Maddie grinned.
“Oh, oobee doo! I wanna be like you I wanna walk like you Talk like you, too! You’ll see it’s true An ape like me Can learn to be human too!” ***
It was Tank who suggested pulling faces in the photobooth, and Maddie couldn’t help but go along with. Seeing the aggressive man she’d met earlier enjoy some light-hearted fun was fantastic – and completely different to the others she’d met on her travels. “Ha, look at your face!” Tank grinned, snapping Maddie out of her train of thought.
“So what do you think, Tank?” Maddie asked, “Is loosening up and having fun worthwhile?” Tank smiled at her, “Ripp’s actually got the right idea, hasn’t he?” “About sleeping with everyone you meet?” Maddie teased. Tank had mentioned a few things about his brother over the evening, and Maddie was learning that the two men couldn’t be any more different.
“No! That we should be out enjoying ourselves!” Tank declared, cheerfully. Maybe he’d had a little more to drink that Maddie anticipated. Maddie smiled at him, “Yeah! We should this again, before I leave,”
“We should!” Tank paused a moment, “Or do something fun that doesn’t involve juice!” “Sounds perfect.” ***
Tank hunched over the toilet bowl for the fourth time that morning, unaware that his father was watching from the doorway. “I thought it was Ripp I heard vomiting,” The General said, sternly.
“You’ve disappointed me, Tank. I expected better of you,” General scowled, “How will you ever take over as general if you behave this way?”
“Yes, sir,” Tank sighed, standing up. His head was pounding. “You’re a disgrace,” The General shook his head, “I expect this from Ripp, not you. Not an up-and-coming soldier,” “Yes, Dad, you’ve said,”
Tank retched again. General Buzz raised an eyebrow. “If you do this again, Tank, there will be no place for you here.” The General turned his heel, and left the room, leaving Tank alone with the toilet.
“Worth it,” Tank decided, as he sat down on the cold tiles. ***
“We did it! The Wrongways are back!” I hope you enjoyed it, and see you next time! Thanks for reading!