As logged by kimber - Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 5:18 PM
Erldunda - Northern Territory - Australia
Erldunda is a homestead at the road junction of the Stuart Highway and Lasseter Highways, 200 kilometres (124 mi) south-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Australia.
Erldunda Station is a pastoral lease that operates as a cattle station. It occupies an area of 1,200 square miles (3,108 km2) that carried a herd of 6,500 head of Santa Gertrudis cattle in 2010.
The trip back to Erldunda from Ayers Rock is pleasant and uneventful. The holographic disguises Kimber and Bludd are wearing appear to have been successful in diverting attention from them, and the group aboard the tour bus is disinclined to troublemaking.
The bus pulls back up in front of the Erldunda Café in the afternoon, just at the hottest part of the day. Fortunately, it's autumn in the southern hemisphere, but the dry desert air still holds a temperature of ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Almost as one, the majority of the tour group makes a beeline for the comparative comfort of the café.
Kimber seems to be surviving the heat OK, although she does tug Bludd along towards the café with a "come onnn!" grin. She's shed her coat and is just wearing her souvenir T-shirt and holographically-cleaned capris pants. She's relaxed on the trip back, holding Bludd's hand on the bus and generally settling into the role of a normal couple on a trip to Ayers Rock. If the kiss has bothered her, she hasn't let it on - if anything, she looks even more relaxed than before.
Bludd carries his jacket over one shoulder, laughing at Kimber as she hauls him along behind her. His strides are long enough to keep pace with her, but he finds the situation humourous, so he shortens them to prolong the short journey to the cafe. "What's the matter?" he teases. "Too hot for ya?"
"I'm hungryyyy," she whines adorably. "Don't make me get hangry!" She laughs, however, seeming a long way from being starved enough to become angry about it. "I don't mind the heat - it's a lot better than how cold it was this morning!" She frowns with mock suspicion. "You don't seem bothered by the hot or the cold... what are you, some kind of cyborg?" She grins back at Blood with one eye squinted to better examine him for signs of secret robot parts.
"Alright, alright," Bludd replies, chuckling. He quickens his pace and overtakes her, turning to walk backward into the café and holding the door for her in the process. "We wouldn't want you t'get ... 'hangry'." He holds his hands out in front of him, fingers splayed, and shakes them back and forth in a comical warding-off gesture. "The authorities might need to be called in."
Kimber laughs. "That's right! You haven't seen me hulk out when I'm starving! Raaawr!" she roars playfully, making clawing motions with her small, delicate hands. She isn't able to keep her fierce attitude going for long though, before it dissolves into laughter and she turns to try to find a table out of the sun before all the other tourists grab the good spots. She had let go of Bludd's hand to make her hollow threats, but she sticks with him as they look for seats.
Bludd cackles with glee at Kimber's display of ferocity. He spots an unoccupied small table with two chairs set at it and heads that way. "C'mon, Lady Hulk," he says, claiming her hand again.
Kimber happily allows herself to be led to the table. "Right away, Cyclops!" she jokes, and then immediately covers her open mouth with her free hand, as if abashed that she may have made an inappropriate joke without thinking about it. "Sorry," she says, crinkling her nose as she giggles. When they get to the table she stops for a moment and looks over to Bludd, making sure he wasn't offended by what she said.
At the sound of the epithet so commonly spoken to him in anger or by an enemy -- a particular red-headed sword-wielder comes to his mind -- Bludd pauses to regard Kimber with a frown. He sits down at the table and glances out the window contemplatively.
Kimber sees the frown and sobers up immediately. "I'm sorry, Sebastian -" she says, placing her hands on his. "I - it was just the first super-hero that popped into my head. You're not Cyclops… more like someone cool, like - Sam Jackson in Avengers!" she tries, probably just digging herself in deeper. "I didn't mean it," she frowns, getting quiet, pink lower lip quivering. "I'd never want to hurt you, Sebastian."
"It's alright." Bludd turns his hands over and wraps his fingers around hers. "Just ... you're far from the first to call me that, joking or otherwise." He looks up into her face. "I didn't even know that was a super hero name," he says, smiling faintly.
Kimber hazards a smile. "Oh, yeah," she explains. "He's leader of the X-Men. Kind of a stuffed shirt, though - he's the goody compared to Wolverine, who's more rough and tumble. You're way more Wolverine than Cyclops - dark, dangerous, scary, and sexy." She gives Bludd a hopeful smile and cocks her head slightly. "Forgive me?" she asks, eyes wide and innocent. "I didn't mean any harm."
Bludd grins at the comparison. "Of course, love." He gives her hand a gentle squeeze. "That name reminded me of some people I'd rather not think about right now." He sighs sadly. "Won't be long until I bump into one or more o'them again, though." Abruptly, he waves his free hand in the air as if clearing it. "Never mind. Not thinkin' about that now." He smiles at her. "What're we eatin'?"
Kimber perks right back up with her amazingly elastic emotive capabilities. "Not sure! Let's see what they've got!" She opens up the menu, and scans down, looking for pizza, coffee ice-cream, or red velvet cake - although she'll settle for just about anything that isn't a lizard or a spider. "See anything you like? Should we get an appetizer, or would that be too much? I guess I'll start with water - it is pretty hot, I guess."
"Still say you shoulda tried the witchetty grub back at Ayers Rock," Bludd teases. The witchetty grub, as the tour guide happily explained around a campfire the previous night, is a large white grub eaten raw or cooked by Aborigines (and tourists): an example of bush food.
Kimber eeeeewwwws! "Grubs! Yuck! No way! I'll stick with safe American food, thank you very much." She turns back to her menu, checking out what non-grub items they have to offer. She crinkles her nose in concentration, and then glances up over the top of the menu at Bludd. "What are you having?" she demands curiously, lowering her menu to focused on Bludd's.
Bludd laughs at Kimber's predictable but amusing response. "Oh, I dunno," he says in answer to her question. "Thought maybe a burger or something." He gives her a mischievous grin. "With a side o'witchetty grubs."
Kimber starts to nod in agreement with Bludd about the burgers, and then re-ughs at the side-o-slugs comment. Kimber makes an anime-worthy face, scrunching up her eyes and sticking out her tongue. She then goes back to her menu, looking over the burger choices and picking the safest, most unadventurous middle-of-the-road burger for herself. No bush surprises for her! Decision made, she smiles back up at Bludd.