It was around 1:30 pm when the bus terminal operator finally came back from lunch. He seemed quite surprised to see two teenagers sitting outside his bus terminal as Marie could tell by the way he stopped enjoying the doughnut and coffee he brought with him. He looked at the two of them and sniffed before unlocking the doors and going inside, as if they were some putrid scent wafting through.
Alexander watched him go in and shot Marie a disbelieving face. "The people around here aren't very nice are they?" he said and stood up to go in.
Marie nodded in agreement and followed her friend.
Inside the waiting room, there was a large map posted with all the buslines extending in the area. Marie looked and saw many went to the coast but to many different spots. She waved at Alexander to take a look. When he did, his certainty of the riddle became apparently cloudy. There was a red push-pin up not too far from the mountains foothills. Marie looked at it curiously and turned to the operator who was trying to ignore them. "What's the pin for?" she asked.
The operator looked up and smirked. "It's where we are. What do you think it is?"
Marie looked at Alexander with raised eyebrows. And looked back at the map. There was only one route from their present location and it lead to the capital city. Marie pointed to it and looked at Alexander before going to the front desk to the operator. "There's only one route from here?"
"Yup. It's the number 16 to the capital," he said absentmindedly, not even looking at her.
"We need to get to the seaside. Is there any direct way?"
He laughed and looked up at Marie with a sneer. "The coastline's a little long dearie, you have to be a bit more specific. Like where on the seaside."
Alexander at this point had come up and stood beside Marie. He stared darkly at the manager and put his hand on Marie's shoulder. "Just tell us where we need to go."
The operator had stopped laughing at this point and a mix of shock and fear showed on his face. "Take the next bus to the capital at 2:00 then transfer."
"Thank you," Alexander said with an extra sweet voice and shot him an unimpressed glare before returning to the waiting room and putting his ipod back on.
Marie bought the tickets to the capital and soon joined Alexander on the bench. She looked at him for a few seconds, noticing his mood and wondering how she should respond. It wasn't long before the bus arrived and they got on. Marie presented both of the tickets while Alexander picked an aisle seat closer to the back of the bus. Marie followed him and sat in the adjacent window seat quietly until more people got on the bus and it left for the capital.
After sight-seeing for a bit, Marie looked over at Alexander who was deeply engrossed in his music. She tapped his shoulder lightly to get his attention. He looked at her curiously and removed his headphones. "You ok?"
"Ya. I just wanted to thank you for defending me back there," Marie said quietly and a bit embarassed.
Alexander nodded in understanding and looked down at his shoes again. "No problem," he said and slipped his headphones back on for the rest of the bus ride.