(2018-11-05) A Lioness In Winter.... er.. Fall
As Alex has difficulty as he makes his way into Calaveras. He comes across an angel in the form of Jo.

The ride in from California started out beautiful. Alex began in a pair of jeans and a tank top underneath his leather kutte. He had sunglasses on and was enjoying the open road. Things started heading for the worse by the time Alex hit Idaho. The temperature started dropping and the snow started falling. Now wearing the warmest thing he has, a long-sleeved shirt, he tries to slowly move the Harley through the streets until he can get to his cabin. Finally, the tires can't deal with the accumulation, and Alex starts pushing the ride down the street. He stops for a moment in front of Grey's Garage.

The parking lot is almost completely clear of any snow, and the sidewalk.. well, that's being salted at the moment. A green knit hat has a long red braid spilling out from under it, over a green long army coat paired with jeans and boots. She will finish the end of the sidewalk, straightening up to see the guy pushing his ride. She'll wince, a grimace crossing her face. "Hey, you want to get her inside? Garage is heated."

Alex blinks as he looks up. A raised brow and a smile to the redhead before he looks up to the sky, giving a nod of thanks to the Man Upstairs. "Possibly? I just need to take a look. It could be a gummed up gas line, plus I didn't think I'd need snow tires in November." He grins, pushing it towards the garage door. "Gracias, senorita. I'm Alex." He says, a look of admiration at the jacket, not quite old enough to be handed down from a prior generation.

"Well, she can keep mine company. I had to stop riding her a little bit back. Because of this sort of thing. Had a freak snow a couple weeks ago." Jo will smile, moving to open the door. "Jo. Can I get you a coffee to warm you up, too, senor?"

Alex does shiver a bit. "I'd be estupido to turn that down. This is so not Cali.." He chuckles as he pushes. "I should've planned accordingly." When she uses the word, senor, he looks, a bit surprised. "Su habla Espanol?" He grins widely as he gets the Harley under shelter. "And you ride too?"

"No, no it is not. Right now I would trade the snow for the sand… even if it was back in 'stan." Jo laughs as she shuts the door behind him. "Doesn't everyone know Senor, Senorita, Senora? Si, hablo espanol." She will laugh. "Rusty, but I speak it. And yes. I ride." She will point to the roughly 'cycle-shaped tarp in the corner. "How do you like your coffee?"

Alex raises a brow, figuring she meant San Francisco. When she explains her mastery of his native language, he nods with a smile. "Ah, I see." He stops pushing the bike, brushing his hands together to get the wet and snow off of them. He looks around the garage, a whistle at the cleanliness. "Nice job. Wow.. It puts my shop back home to shame." He follows Jo. "Whatever you have to make it regular? Milk and sugar's good, or even one of those little plastic tub thingies, or just sugar." He shrugs. "I'm not really picky."

"I have real cream and sugar. I spent too many years drinking burnt crap." Jo sounds almost offended at the idea she wouldn't. "I have flavored coffee cup things, and I will not judge you in the slighest if you want one." There is a gleam of pride, looking around the garage. "I am hell about cleaning every night. I don't want it looking or smelling like the shop back home."

Alex smiles. "Cream and sugar is good enough, gracias." He listens as he follows. "Back home? So you're not from around here either?" He finds paper towels and uses them to wipe his hands properly, in order to not add dirt to the pristine area. "you seem to be doing well for yourself." He says, by way of compliment.

"Oklahoma." She will open the door to the office, to pop a k-cup into the machine, and a clean, empty mug under the spout. "Nope. Been here a couple few months now. " She smiles. "Thanks. I love my dad, but I didn't want to work for him. I got home from Bagram, helped him take over the shop he worked in forever, and then moved on out here." She shrugs, before she will rummage under the counter. She will toss a bag of chips at him.

Alex takes that all in, but the word that sticks out in his mind is 'Bagram'. "Wait… when you said 'Stan… you meant Afghanistan? You served?" He looks surprised, more because someone could have all these qualities combined, not because she's a female. "When? How long?" He blushes, stopping. "I… I'm sorry. I.. understand if you don't want to talk about it." He nods in thanks for the chips and the coffee.

Jo pauses, before she is lightening and sweetening his coffee. "Where did you think I meant? That country the moron Borat says he's from?" She will offer over the coffee. "Yes, I served, from the day I graduated high school at 17 until a year and a half ago. Helo mechanic was what I went in for, but at Bagram… if it had an engine and you weren't currently knee deep in grease and parts, you took care of it." She shrugs. "I don't have much issue talking about it."

Alex smiles and takes a look. "So about 5 years or so? Not bad. I ended up in Bagram after setting up a few FOBs and… well… Same here. I've been in for about 15 years. Made Master Sergeant before getting discharged." His smile goes south. "I got out about a year or so ago, set up shop… Then I got word about my brother and his family out here."

"Mmhmm, I was there. I spent my first year overseas in Germany, then they kept sending me back to Bagram. Because I kept letting them." Jo will smirk as she starts another cup of coffee. "Couple of folks around town who were there. The Vet, and one of the EMTs.. " She'll grin. "I'm not going to salute you." She will sass him, before that smile fades. "Your brother and his family?" there is a sudden sinking in her stomach.

Alex nods as she talks about her service and smiles, the respect building up. He smiles when he hears that he's not the only vet in town. "I don't want salutes, I work for a living. Leave that to the pretty boys with the bars on their shoulders." His grin is short-lived, his face sinking again. "Yeah… Hector Jimenez and his family… They were murdered on their ranch.. Hector's my older brother."

Green eyes will close, and if he's listening, he will hear the breathless prayer that his brother and the family will find peace. "I'm sorry. I didn't know. I.. I don't know a lot of the town on a persoanl level, being pretty new, still." She chuckles. "Butter bars are always so proud, aren't they?"

Alex nods. "Thank you. I'm pretty sure that most people don't know the familia beyond the headlines. They kept to themselves mostly, but thank you." When she mentions officers, he smiles and nods. "They can keep it. I left that all behind. So.. you. Honorable, beautiful, and you know your way around an engine… What's a chica like you doing in a place like this?" He sips the coffee, nodding in thanks and appreciation.

There's a faint lift of an eyebrow and a smirking look of disbelief at the mention of beautiful. "The building was for sale, within my budget, and not in Oklahoma." She sweetens her coffee, before she will take up a lean and take a sip. "I love my father, and he wanted to make it a family affair, but it would have been wrenches at fifty paces before too long."

Alex chuckles and nods at Jo's explanation. "Wow.. I'm sorry that things were so volatile. I did about the same. Hector and I grew up on a farm. It was the last thing I wanted to do, so I went my own way.. and it brought me here." He finishes the coffee and brings the cup over, washing it out. "I'll take a look at my bike tomorrow and find a place to store it. I'll pay you for storage for the evening."

She will give a withering green look. "You will do no such thing. It's not exactly like your bike is taking up soooooo much room." The redhead has enough sarcasm to spare. "Now, the hard questions. Do you have a place to store yourself?"

Alex blinks and blushes. "I… Thank you." he says, judging from the look on Jo's face that he's not going to get anywhere with an argument. "Me? Well, I'm good anywhere. I know my brother's ranch is still considered a crime scene. I was going to rent one of the cabins up by the mountains for a bit. At least until I've settled my brother's estate and found out what happened."

"Well, going up to the mountains tonight will just end you up needing me in my tow truck, the way the snow's been coming and blowing." She is blunt, if nothing else. "If you're not afraid or allergic to dogs, I have a couch and blankets. Though Scout /may/ try to sleep on you."

Alex blinks and blushes further. "Um.. uh…" He's speechless. "Thank you… but it'll only be for the night. Tomorrow, I'll make my way up to the mountains. I won't burden you more than necessary, and.." He smiles. "Perhaps I can pay you back with dinner? Tonight or tomorrow?"

There's a heavy sigh. "Look, don't be a cabron. You're a brother in arms, newly arrived to town, in shitty weather. The least I can do is offer you my couch, my overfriendly dogs, and some crockpot roast." Jo will not be brooking any argument, which only stands in line with her story about her MOS and where she'd been. "It'll be nice to have someone to ride with, when the weather doesn't suck."

Alex nods solemnly and holds his hands up, declaring defeat. "Alright. Thank you." He looks out the window at the snow. "It looks like it stopped for now. Hopefully it'll stay that way for a bit." He looks around. "Anything I can help you with while I'm here? I mean, that's fair, right?"

She will move to hit locks, before she will jerk her head towards a door that is well concealed with paint and lightning. "Oh, don't worry. You'll earn your keep. " There's a wicked smirk at that, before she'll pull open the door and head up the stairs

Jo will push the door open, and laugh. There's two dogs there, waiting. One is a pittsky, the other some mutt with a lot of shepard. "Meet the boys, Alex. Boys, behave, this is our guest."

Alex clears his throat as he follows, not voicing what came to mind when she said that. He takes a look as he follows her into the apartment. He smiles, nodding. "It's nice." He notices the knick-knacks and small decorations, realizing how difficult it must've been. He gets a glimpse of the bed in the room and turns to Jo. "So how long did it take you to get comfortable in a soft bed?" A common issue when people get out of active duty. When the dogs are introduced, he smiles and greets them appropriately, with pets and belly rubs.

"I can see you and the boys will get on just fine. Give Scout a couple minutes, he'll bring you his rope. That is how you can earn your keep." She'll grin. "Because he never gets tired." She will slip off her boots, and in bright blue fuzzy socks will head to the kitchen. "Soda? water? I probably have a couple beers?"

Alex waves off the offer. "No, I'm good with the coffee, thank you. It took me a bit to get out of the habit of sipping water all the time." He stands, leaving the dogs be for the time being. "Thank you. It was…. serendipity.." He says, having difficulty finding the right word in English. "That I came across you tonight."

"Well, soda probably goes better with the roast. I find a good bottle of coke goes well with the roast I've had in the crockpot all day." Jo will sass, getting herself a bottle anyhow setting on the coffee table. "Or it was shitty luck. You don't even know if I snore." There's a flash of a smile. "You hungry? " She will head back into the kitchen, but the dogs are fed first, their water bowls checked.

Alex nods and slowly removes his vest, pl;acing it somewhere where it won't get dirty or sat on. "Oh! THat's right, dinner. I'll accept your recommendation, then." He smiles and nods. "Yeah, I mean road food doesn't sit for too long." At the mention of snoring, he chuckles. "I dunno. I've had some nasty bunkmates."

She will laugh, getting another soda and setting it on the coffee table. "Yeah well, I shower, as far as I know I don't snore. But when Scout breathes in your face, remember you thought it was serendipity." There's a chuckle as she goes to fill up some bowls with roast, potatoes, and carrots that have been simmering in gravy with onions, garlic, and celery.

Alex walks over. "Are you sure I can't help?" He at least offers to carry his own bowl over. "Like I said, I'm not going to be here long. I'm not going to intrude."

She will hand over his bowl and utensil. Then hers will thud on the counter. "Okay. Let's make this clear now. If you're intruding, or annoying, or a pain in my ass? I will let you know, in no uncertain terms. Right now? You're just a friend I've never met, who needs to crash on my couch in some shitty weather. Deal? I don't want you feeling like you have to tiptoe, or worry."

Alex smiles and nods. "ALright. Sorry. I'm just not used to hospitality, and Mama would come down and slap the crap outta me if I were even the slightest bit disrespectful to you." He takes a bite of the roast, an instant sound of appreciation. "This is so much better than road food by no small margin."

"If you're the slightest bit disrespectful to me, I will slap the crap out of you." Jo counters with an arched eyebrow. "You don't go being one of the few female mechanics ever at Bagram, without learning how to do such a thing." She will move to sit on the recliner, a whistle to the dogs to wave them to their beds, where they know they have to go while people are eating. "Well, I try. I'm new to the crockpot thing. Lady who runs the Bed and Breakfast in town gave me recipes."

Alex raises his own eyebrow. "Honorable, beautiful, works and engine, and can go toe to toe with me…" He makes the sign of the cross and mutters.. "Madre de Dios." He smiles and takes another bite. "Bed & Breakfast, huh? It's *that* kind of town, eh? We don't have many of those back home, except for up in Northern California, by the mountains."

"Trust me, Mary's got nothing to do with me. I'm pretty sure the holy trinity would despair of me." Jo eats her dinner with a military swiftness. "Apparently, we get a lot of tourists. Rodeo season, and winter sports. And as far I know, there's the one, and the hotel. Katherine runs her kitchen for wayward citizens who don't cook, besides."

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