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Seventeen Minutes to Perfection

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Mindy grins to herself as she takes a sip of her iced latte. The drink was stupidly overpriced (but it's Jodi, so she knew that going in) and it's nothing like the lattes served by the coffee shop next to the university, but the only thing gracing her mom's cupboards is some sort of herbal fruit tea that Mindy's never heard of and, after two weeks of being back at home, she really needs the caffeine.

Of course, the other advantage of coming across to Jodi's is that the bench outside of Cheng's gives a perfect view of where Tyler's busy working on his truck. He's been out here for the past couple of days, after suspending Desert Jack's Graboid Tours while he tries to figure out what's wrong with the engine. The jeans he's wearing are almost threadbare, clinging to his ass every time he bends over, and the heat of the midday sun made him abandon his shirt a while ago. All in all, it's one of the better sights in Perfection. Hell, Mindy thinks, he's pretty much the only sight in Perfection.

The bell above the door chimes softly, and Mindy turns to see Rosalita pushing the door open with her ass, her hands full of bags. "Hey, girl."

"You want a hand with that?"

"Nah, I'm good," Rosalita answers, walking the few steps to her truck and putting the bags in the back, before coming back to sit next to Mindy. "Enjoying the view?" she asks, amusement colouring her tone as she nudges Mindy's shoulder with hers and nods over to where Tyler's apparently taking a break, leaning against the truck with a beer in his hand.

"It's a nice view," Mindy admits.

"That it is," Rosalita agrees.

They lapse into silence, both watching as Tyler throws the bottle into the trash and starts taking apart more of the truck's engine.

"So, are you and he--" Mindy trails off, unsure of how to phrase the question. She's seen the two of them flirting, soft smiles and teasing comments whenever they're together, but her mom hasn't mentioned they're dating, and she'd pretty much updated Mindy on all Perfection's gossip within an hour of her being back in the valley.

"Me and Tyler?" Rosalita laughs as she shakes her head. "No, we're not."

"So he's single, then?" Not that Mindy's been thinking about it, at all; about whether his hands would be rough or soft as they run over her body, about whether they'd make it to the bed, or if they'd end up in the back of the truck. Well, okay, maybe she has been thinking about it. But she hasn't dated anyone since Chad and a girl has needs, dammit.

"No, he's very much taken."

"Who?" Mindy asks when Rosalita doesn't elaborate. "Jodi?" Oh god, not her mom, please say it's not her mom. She doesn't think she can ever look either of them in the eyes again if it is.

"Jodi's not exactly Tyler's type, either," Rosalita says, lips quirking slightly at Mindy's surprise.

Mindy's gaze drifts back over to Tyler. "Damn." She knew it; all the good looking ones really are gay. She watches as Tyler gets to his knees to reach under the truck and she can feel the flush on her face as her mind supplies her with images of Tyler on his knees for an entirely different reason.

Although--

"He's seeing someone?"

Rosalita nods.

"But the only other guy in the valley's Burt--" And Mindy's sure as hell she doesn't want to think about Burt Gummer and sex at the same time. Ever.

Rosalita smiles. "I never said it was Burt."

"Then who?" Because if there's one thing Mindy's had her entire life it's curiosity; it's a trait she picked up off her mom.

But any answer Rosalita's about to give is cut off by both of their wrist seismos buzzing. It's the first time El Blanco's been into town since Mindy got back, but even if you take the girl out of Perfection, you still can't take Perfection out of the girl.

Mindy's already half-way off the bench, ready to help Jodi turn off all the electrical items in the store before El Blanco arrives, when Rosalita's hand rests on her arm.

"It's okay," Rosalita says softly.

Only it's not because, hello, graboid. Graboid heading straight towards them. But it's not just Rosalita that's not moving, not just Rosalita that doesn't seem to care that El Blanco is heading into town. The low whirr of the fridges is still coming from the store, and her mom is in the garden, puttering about and not even trying to get onto the roof.

There's movement out of the corner of her eye, and Mindy can see the ground being displaced, can see the dust flying into the air in El Blanco's wake. The latte slips from her fingers as her entire body tenses, because the first one he's going to reach is her mom, and it's only Rosalita's tight grip on her arm that's stopping her from moving, stopping her from throwing herself off the bench and running over, even though she knows she'll never make it time. Never make it because El Blanco is too fast, too focused, too-- going straight past her mom without stopping.

"What?" Because graboids don't go past people making noise. They don't ignore everything around them, loud and careless and screaming out Come and eat me!, to head down the centre of town.

"There's been some--" Rosalita pauses, "changes since you were last home."

Mindy thinks she should ask Rosalita exactly what she means, but she's still watching the ground as El Blanco moves through the soil. Watching as the dust trail stops a couple of feet from Tyler and El Blanco breaks into the open. And this is it. This is when El Blanco strikes and Tyler screams and there's nothing left but silence and dirt.

Mindy's hand finds Rosalita's, her fingers gripping the ones on her arm. And she wants to shout at Rosalita, wants to rail at her for being so calm.

Only, there's no screaming, no Tyler disappearing underground in the graboid's maw. Tyler's grinning as he throws the rag he's holding to the ground, grinning as he covers the short distance between him and El Blanco. There's a whuffling sound that carries through the air, soft and careful, as El Blanco's tongues come out, one of them wrapping around Tyler's waist, tugging him even closer, and one of them around his arm. The third hovers in the air for a second until Tyler wraps his fingers around it, laughing.

"Like I said," Rosalita comments, even though Mindy's not looking at her, not able to tear her eyes away from where Tyler's petting El Blanco, murmuring words that Mindy can't hear from where she's sitting, "changes."