Ianto stared gloomily out of the window, not that he could see much through the torrentially pouring rain. So far, British summertime had been it’s usual anticlimactic self, with a brief few days of sunshine and warmth followed by weeks of rain, flood warnings, and blustery winds making the already low temperatures feel even colder. Being accustomed to traditional summer weather didn’t make it any more pleasant to endure.
Jack’s voice suddenly broke through his thoughts. “So, if you weren’t here, where would you want to be?”
Ianto turned to grace his lover with an incredulous stare. “Seriously? You want to play ‘Anywhere But Here’ now?”
“Why not? I’m bored, and you already shot down my other idea of something to do while we wait to be rescued,” Jack told him with a nonchalant shrug.
“Of course I did! Only an idiot would agree to have sex in the car while waiting for a tow-truck!”
“Which leaves playing games, and I-Spy wouldn’t be much fun when we can’t even see out the windows. Come on! It’s more fun than sitting here in silence.”
“We wouldn’t be sitting here at all if you’d listened to me and gone back the way we came instead of trying to take a shortcut.”
“It was quicker!”
“We’re stuck in the mud, Jack! How is this quicker? We would’ve been back in Cardiff by now if you’d taken the long way around!”
“I thought the four-wheel drive could handle it!”
“You thought wrong. As usual.”
“Fine, be like that. I’m sorry, okay? I made a mistake; it happens.” Silence fell and for a few minutes the only sound was the rain pounding on the roof, then Jack spoke again. “Aren’t we going to play then?”
“Anywhere But Here.”
Ianto shook his head. “You’re certifiable.” On the other hand, sitting there stewing in resentment wasn’t accomplishing anything. “Alright, where would I rather be? Back at the Hub, where it’s warm and dry, obviously.”
“If you’re not going to play properly,” Jack huffed.
“No, okay, let me think…” Ianto leant back in his seat, closing his eyes to better visualise his dream location. “I’d be lying on a sunlounger in the shade of palm trees, on a tropical beach where the sand is white and the sea is that unbelievable turquoise colour you only see in holiday brochures.”
“That sounds nice. Would I be there too?” Jack sounded hopeful.
“Hmmm,” Ianto pretended to consider the question, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “I suppose so. You could be my servant boy, fetching me cool drinks, applying suntan lotion, and fanning me with a palm frond in between feeding me grapes.” Picturing the idyllic setting made Ianto almost forget about his wet clothes, muddy shoes, and the fact that they were stranded in the middle of nowhere waiting for assistance. As ideas went, this game might just be among Jack’s better ones. “How about you?”
“I was going to say one of the luxury resorts in the Vegas galaxy, where we could relax by the pool all day, then gamble the night away when we weren’t indulging in other pleasures, but I think I like your idea better. Far away from it all, just the two of us with sun, sand, and sea right on our doorstep, and a warm breeze blowing in off the water. I’d happily be your slave, waiting on you hand and foot. We could take long walks on the beach looking for seashells, swim in the sea, have a beach barbecue every night…”
“Sounds like heaven.”
They were still filling in details and suggesting things they could do like snorkelling, and spearfishing to catch their dinner, when the tow-truck arrived. A middle-aged man in gumboots, with a waterproof jacket covering his overalls jumped down from it and squelched through the mud to knock on the driver’s side window.
“Everyone alright in there?”
Jack blinked his eyes open and rolled the window down. “We’re fine. Pleased to see you though; think you can get us out of here?”
“Ah, no problem, I’ll hook ‘er up an’ ‘ave ya back on the road in no time. Where’re ya headed?”
“You’d best take the long way ‘round then; if ya think this is bad, ya wouldn’t want ta see what’s ahead. Whole road’s washed out, yer better off stickin’ with the main roads, otherwise yer’ll just be needin’ another tow in a mile or two.”
“Thanks for the advice,” Jack said with a smile.
The man nodded amiably. “Welcome. Weather like this, there’s no such thing as a short cut.”
“I tried to tell him that,” Ianto muttered under his breath, earning a hurt look from Jack. The tow-truck driver didn’t hear, just set about his task as if it was something he did every day. Considering the current weather situation, it probably was.
Ten minutes later, the mud-caked SUV was back on the road, facing the way they’d come. Thankfully there was no problem with the engine, which started first try, and they had plenty of petrol, but they followed the tow-truck back to the nearest village nonetheless, stopping there for a fortifying cup of tea and a plate of Welshcakes before setting off on the journey back to the Hub.
“When we reach the outskirts, we’re stopping at that garage on the A469. I’m not going to spend the rest of the day cleaning the SUV. A quick run through the car wash will get the mud off,” Ianto said firmly.
“Whatever you say.” Jack would have agreed to anything that might keep Ianto from thinking up some fiendish punishment for his poor judgement. He didn’t want to be put on decaf again. He smiled slightly, thinking about the idyllic tropical beach of Ianto’s dreams and came to a decision; someday soon, he was going to make that dream a reality for both of them.