"Sorry I'm late."
With those three words, succinctly spoken and with the feeling of "been there, done that," another wayward soul boards the bus, one of short stature, an air of casualty, and a worn, paperboy's cap, which he adjusts with a slender hand. Pulling out a few coins, which he deposits into the bus driver's outstretched palm, Ji gives the driver a brief nod before making his way to the back of the bus. Setting his only possession, a dark gray backpack, onto the seat beside him, he sighs, tipping his head back and closing his eyes for a short moment. It's good to be back. "Life's not easy,"
notes the bus driver, putting the coins in a pocket and adjusting his rearview mirror to count the passengers present. Ji grins. "You said it first,"
he agrees, lazily stretching out his legs and arms in a sort of pre-ride exercise, like a cat before a nap, then curling up again in his seat. "They're not going easy on me, that's for sure."
The driver hums, eyes taking note of each passenger in turn."Well, good to have you back. You were gone for a few days, weren't you?""Yeah, work and life and... all that,"
Ji mumbles, tucking himself into his oversized hoodie like a kid in a sleeping bag. "But, I'm back now..."
The driver laughs, headcount done. He glances out the bus doors, still open, into the inky darkness on either side of the bus stop. It's quiet, besides the rumble of the engine, but he listens carefully. "True. Enjoy the ride, Ji."
And then, in a clear, loud voice:
"Attention passengers. Bus 16 is now departing for the night. Please stay seated as the bus leaves the stop. Our first destination will be Smokey's 24-hour convenience store.
And as always, enjoy the ride."
As the bus departs, the low, comforting purr and the steady motion of the vehicle lulls the passengers into silence, some catching z's while others read, or simply stare out the window.
Ji yawns; prepared for the long ride ahead but presently not quite sleepy enough, his attention catches on the fairy-featured, red-haired girl who stares out the window with an expression of heartbreak. Leaning over to Mira's seat, Ji taps the armrest lightly."Sorry to bother you, but you're a first-timer, right? I was curious,"
he explains, then pulls something out of his pocket. "I won't talk if you need the silence, but I was wondering if you wanted this."
A handkerchief, embroidered, with gray cats and the initials J.C
in the corner. Ji jerks his head towards the bus driver. "If you need anything, just tell Taeyung and he'll fix it for ya. He's good at that."