That was a hell of a ride and one Colorado did not want to go on at all. Not even a little bit. ...Okay, a little bit he did. Some part of him knew he was going to kick ass. Some other part of him knew he was immortal and invincible. That part is wrong, but it's very convincing.
They have taken Gus's body back. Julian is a wreck. Colorado's heart aches for him. He's going to get him drunk and listen to his grief.
First, though, he's brought Candice back. Brave girl, he's more than half gone on her already. There's nothing like seeing a woman swing a baseball bat at a monster to get his motor going.
He's unharmed, still, out of all the madness. So he gets her to sit while he finds some peroxide and clean washcloths.
Candice may have gone, but she was scared. She's smarter than she is strong, but perceptive and a quick thinker and is one to find a way to be useful. Really it's why she's so hard on her pet project. He could be doing so much more with that talent but since Lyle announced he's decided to GO to college after this? Instead of gloat she eased up. People were hurting. Others were carrying the burden. She was trying to watch the watchers.
Colodaro was one of these and there was earnest relief when he said he'd go. Just her and a bat and being scared but using a cool head to treat flying buzzsaws like baseballs? Well now she's got a bat with a sawblade in it. Sawblade-bat-axe! And one she hit a ghost in his booberries with. She wasn't going to jsut run. Once home, and promising Julian they were going to take good care of his brother, she followed Colorado out.
Once back at the breakroom she sat up on the counter with a wince. She'd skinned the one knee good that she slid good on. Still instead of a task driver there was a shaky, "Colorado... thank you. I'd have been toast if you didn't... think fast. we all would." Eyes full of emotion but also concern lookedup to him. "How you holdin up big guy?"
Colorado carefully applies cool wet washcloth to Candice's poor knee, washing it delicately. There's gravel, which he eases out with the cloth. He focuses on that. As long as he focuses on something, he doesn't have to lose his shit.
But he's honest, and shakes his head. "Dunno. Feel like if I stop, I'm gonna start screaming and then I won't know how to quit doing it." His bright blue eyes flick up to Candi's. "Me?" he says, a smile growing. "You're the one who played batter-up with a god damn buzzsaw blade. You're a hero."
Candice blushed and shrugged her shoulders admitting frankly, "I hear ya. I think... I think maybe that's why I keep movin like a shark. Barrett makes it look so easy. If I start to fall apart I don't know how to make it stop either. It's why I find soething to do. Always something to do, or I guess for you, always someone hurtin and afraid you can help." yeah she's seen it. A smile warmed, appreciativly and with profound respect. "Even if it's picking us up and hauling us off. I might be a hero but you're my hero, Colorado. Thank you for jsut being such a dang decent person. Especially in alla this."
Colorado's not the blushing type, at all. Yet that's a tinge of red spreading across those fine cheekbones. He looks down at what he's doing. Inverting the bottle of peroxide onto the washcloth with a slosh, he murmurs, "I don't know what I'd do if you got hurt, Candi." Gently he washes her knee with the cold peroxide, which fizzes.
Then he stands up, between her knees, looking at her. Almost shy, but still bold as ever, he asks, gazing into her eyes, "Would you like it if I kissed you, Miss Candi?"
Candice smiled pressing her lips together. "This is in the rules of the employee handbook: Don't fraternize with coworkers!" He paused presting her finger son his- oh god love a gym that shoulder! Yipe! "Seeing as how the people in charge-charge are trying to sacerfice us to an unholy-unclean thing and the lodge is likely going to be shut down before our next paycheck comes? I guess taht's probably meaning we're unemployed after this sooooo" Her ears went bright pink but she leaned forward all the same, "I'd like that very much, Colorado Jones from Texas."
Colorado laughs, a low chuckle. "'Course you'd be concerned about that. You're a stickler for the rules." He leans in turn, cupping Candi's face in big strong hands. All that lifting and pole climbing, heck yeah. "Hey, beautiful. Let's bend that rule. Just a little." And he dips to kiss her. Gently at first; he's exploring her reactions, keeping a weather eye on her in case she winds up not liking it after all. His stubble is prickly and his hands and mouth are warm.
Did Candice mean to wrap her arms around him? Yes. Her legs may have bee unintentional. But still there was affection there, in the smile that kissed him back and the way he didn't try to schmooze her for it. She wasn't a schmoozy girl. Somewhere Ethan might call that a master stroke of genius and in that same place might find a shoe thrown at him.
"I like you Colorado. You don't have to stay stuff like that for me to like you ya know." Really? Of all teh people to not take a compliment seriously, though it was welcomed graciously in its intent.
"But I want to say stuff like that." Colorado has to be honest, again. Honesty's the only thing that can convince Candice; he senses it intuitively. Hence, the lack of schmoozing. "I love saying stuff like that," he murmurs in a rumble in his chest. "'specially to you. You need the most convincin', I think. Let me convince you, sugar girl."
Her shoulders shrugged and she wasn't some wilting waif that needed to be convinced. She trusted him and was also a very good judge of when she was having bullshit put on her. She gave him an out, he doubled down with earned and honest intent and accepted his answer.
Candice Flick has always been hard on herself to do her best, but she had confidence in her results, but she also had a lot of experience with the guys around here using compliments as currency which she has historically been immediately turned off by.
"Now why you think I need convincing, Colorado? Nnnnnot that I'm gonna stop you." The smile warmed and she stole a kiss back on her own. God she's wanted to do that for months.
Colorado is known to use a compliment or two as currency. That's how you get the big tips, baby. But not here. Not here, among the blood and death, stealing a moment with Candice to connect and give each other something new to fight for.
A showman and a showoff, he's showing her the true vulnerability of his flashy soul.
Appreciating that kiss with a little murmur, chasing her to kiss her back, Colorado's hands slide down her neck, her shoulders, to lace in the small of her back. He tells her why he thinks she needs convincing.
"Oh, you don't need convincing for me. Not for...anything like that. You need it for you. So you know you don't have to drive yourself so hard, sometimes. That sometimes, not perfect is good enough. I wouldn't ever expect you to do less than your best, but...I'd surely like a chance to convince you to slow down once in a while. Just once in a while."
Candice thunked her head to Colorado's shoulder. She couldn't just look at him all laid back and casual about this, and yet couldn't help it. Her hands slid down his shirt and all those nice contours underneath. Sure he had a great body, but she was, having this conversation with the overcautious man inside the shiny foil exterior.
"You're a good man, Jonesy. I really like that part about you. Honestly? I wish there was more time. That there were different circumstances. We got a lot of folks to look after, but I'd be a liar if I said I'd be as brave about it without you having my back. It... It really helped."
Colorado pushes his chest into Candice's hands like a cat being stroked, complete with approving rumble. She puts her head on his shoulder and he nuzzles her neck, all bristly. He pauses when she says he's a good man.
"Nobody ever really called me a good man before," he murmurs so, so quietly against her ear. "You're the first." Her neck is right here, so he presses a kiss. "I wish that too. I ain't brave. Not like you. Not like Lyle, or Roen, or even Ethan. But as long as you need me at your back...I'll be there."
Candice could melt and die happy like that but really she'd rather live happy like this. Hand didn't stop though so long as no one walked in. Her fingers splayed across the front of his pecs to his shoulders and paused. "Jonsey..." She leaned back to look at him, really look at him, hand coming to cheek bringing it to face her.
Eyes welled up with emotion and such pride in him gently offering, "Don't mistake balls tfor bravery. The boys are stupid nad 20 and think they're invincible or otherwise just plain don'tthink stuff through. A lack of mindfulness is not bravery. There's a man named Ambrose Redmoon that said 'Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.'"
Her forehead rest to his, "You are careful enough to see what danger is there but mindful enough to use this to make sure people are safe from it. that is courage. You didn't have to stop for me in the shed. You never had to go with Roen and Barrett to search for that Max woman. You never hadto go tell Ethan he's an idiot which... I suspect is its own fulltime job. He doesn't listen to me." Looking up with admiration her eyes watered. "You made me brave and we helped as many as we could. "
Colorado lets himself be guided to face Candi, to look at her. He has to pry himself away from that tempting neck a little. He wants to nibble on her like a corncob. He listens, though. That thing he's good at doing, along with juggling bottles and taking off his clothes. He listens well and he listens with great concentration, tipping his forehead against Candi's while she talks.
His eyes well up some, too, at what she has to say. He swallows, Adam's apple bobbing.
"Sweetheart..." Colorado blinks, lashes going spiky and dark caramel colored. "That's the best thing anybody ever's told me in my life. I make you brave? I did those things because they're what you would have done."
He's just got to kiss her again, and he does, pulling her to him tight, winding long muscular arms around her.
She grinned at him, with that knowing look- oh she's right, let her explain how! Somewhere that look is making Lyle shrink down down into his chair. "But on your own you did it. The reasons are your own. Anyone can inspire or lead or encourage, but it's on the merit of the person that choses to do the work that it gets done. SO ... yeah" Taking a deep breath she leaned forward and kissed him "You are brave. And you are a good man, and I happen to respect that man a lot....aaaand he happens to be a pretty dang fine lookin bartender on teh side." Not her main priority, but damn that's a nice addition. "What's your plan after this?"
Colorado grins back, a touch watery. Lyle hates that look, but Colorado is eager to hear what Candice has got to say! She's smarter than he is, and he knows it, and he is perfectly okay with that. Maybe even, he's happy about it. He needs someone who's smart.
"After this?" he says, surprised and amused. "I was probably going to have a cigarette, check on Lyle..." He flashes that smile at her. "How about you?"
Candice warmed a half smile with a shrug, "I was going to check in on you. We lost that really nice guy, Gus. We almost lost more, and that one kid just lost his brother. I feel so bad for him, but... I know how difficult this is for you and-" She set a look of determination on her face getting brave to tell the truth. So many feelings to admit starting with teh most important, "I know how scary the world gets when it gets still and stops moving. I wanted to be there for you when it did."
Colorado sinks his hands into her hair. "Miss Candi..." Eyes closed, he nuzzles her. "I don't rightly know what to say. You got me all twitterpated." He breathes in her scent, his lips parted. "This all is terrifying. My dad, and Roen, they went through Nam together. This is like Nam for us. Dad told me once, hell as it was, it wasn't bein' there that was the real hell. It was comin' home. Getting time to think about it, realize just how fucked up it all was, and now the world's all different. And you got your whole life to sit and think about how bad it was to be there. And...I understand what he meant now." He swallows again, cradles Candi's head. "I get it now."
She leaned against him, hands always needing to be useful somehow, held his back. He's strong, but everything has limits. Gus exemplified that this afternoon. You know what else they have? One another to talk to." It's a gentle suggestion. Thoughtfully she offered, "I don't know what my plans are going to be after this but if you wanted company so you don't have to do it alone? I know I wouldn't mind some comany. Lucas said you were talking LA again. What's in LA you're going back to?" Her feet swung like idle pendulums listening, and curious.
Colorado leans into Candi, letting the counter support most of his weight. (He's dense. In more than one way.) "Well, my mom and dad are there. Rest of my family's in Texas. I have a circuit in LA, do some bartending, some dancing, people know me. Got some, well, enemies there, too. Dudes ran me off the road for bein'...like this." He shrugs gently, glancing down at himself, all flamboyant and muscular and queer. "Surfing is a lot better than it is here. There ain't really nothing there I can't do somewhere else. How about you? I know there's got to be folks missing you." Colorado slips a finger under Candi's chin, petting her there, dipping his head to look into her eyes.
Candice warmed a smile that wanes with sympathy, "I can't say I understand why people so concerned with the conduct of others aren't concerned with their own. I'm sorry you've gone through tha-" She blinked "Dancing?! There's dancing?" Oh god she didn't know! She blinked.
SHE REALLY DIDN'T KNOW!
To the latter she chuckled, "My fmaily's from a small town outside of Eugene. Noooot much there for me to do. I don't..." She took a deep breath and admitted, "I'm scared. What's happening here? Sure it may haunt us forever but the best think we can do is find a way to go on living. They get my present, but they're not gettin my future. It wounds... fancy said out loud but I mean, I dunno what else to do. I came here to better learn hotel management."
"There's dancing," Colorado confirms, amused all over again. "I'm an exotic dancer. You didn't know? ...Want me to show you?" He steals a kiss, then another. "Show you what you might be getting into? Let me take all your worries away, even if it's just for a few minutes. That's really what I do. I entertain. We can think about all this, we can talk about it, but first? First let me do what I do best, hmm?"
"Here?!" Her brown eyes went huge, "In the break room!!?"She was a woman of clean living. That's clearly how her voice got so damn squeaky. She blinked at him again intrigued and mortified all at once.
"In the break room!" Seizing the initiative, Colorado pushes off from the counter. "Right here, right now, it's Colorado Jones, live on stage!"
In his mind, the KISS cowbell goes CLANK CLANK CLANK and that crunchy opening lick fires off. He sings to Candi, rolling his hips and hitting a pop on every other beat. He flirts with the edge of his shirt, raising it just enough to flash some skin.
"You need mah lovin' oh so bad. You're not the only one I've ever had! And if I say I wanna set you free, don't you know you'll be in miiiiisery--"
Colorado slows that roll and hits Candi with the sultriest damn look, lips curled in an arrogant smile, eyes hooded. Oh yeah. This is what he lives for.
"You know why? 'Cuz they call me Doctor Love!"
And he grips his shirt by the collar and rips it the hell apart.
Colorado was doing a damn fine job making Candice ghost proof because she might die of embarrassment right here on the counter. Because this was the time she needed Drake and Lucas or the girls to come into the break room.
While she covered most of her face what she didn't do was look away and she turned into a tomato. "You...are..." She laughed somewhere between embarrassed for herself enjoying this and enchanted utterly at the lengths he was going to to get her to smile. "Doctor Love? Yeah I bet they do."
His considerable skill and brazen openness were flooring. The shirt ripped though was startling. "...oh dang..." So many abs but she also saw a guy really doing everything he could right now to distract either of them from teh horrors of the afternoon. Hands reaches out and grabbed teh halves of his shirt yanking him back. Ears and the bridge of her nose remained beat red, but teh smile was pure adoration. "Well then kiss me, Doctor, before you wind up oncall."
Colorado laughs, delighted. Oh those hips and the sleekly muscled torso, writhing to his self-generated beat. He lets himself give Candi one hell of an up-and-down, gaze just about smoking. When she grabs the tatters of his shirt, he slithers towards her, singing.
"And even though I'm full of sin," he sings as Candi yanks him in, "in the end you'll let me iiii-iin. You'll let me through, there's nothing you can do, you need my loving you know it's tru-ue. 'Cuz they call me Doctor Looo-oooo-OVE!"
He doesn't stop there. Oh no. He hops on the counter, straddling her lap, knees on either side of her, and that's when he flicks open the button of his too-tight Wranglers. His underwear are revealed! ...They're neon purple with lurid green tiger stripes.
"Yes ma'am, whatever you say," and he wraps his arms around her and kisses her like it's the last thing he might do on this Earth.