There’s Cloud. Then there’s Aerith.
They accidentally met twice, in the middle of a random street with introductions, Cloud walking around after a failed attempt to get a job in a job fair, Aerith selling some flowers. They bumped at each other, Cloud picking the fallen flowers for her, and Aerith offering some for him.
“Oh, here’s a flower, it’s one gil, just for you!” said Aerith with a friendly tone, to Cloud, who gave her one gil willingly and put it on his ear.
“Oh, uh, thanks... what’s your name?”
“Nice eyes though.” Both said, in perfect timing.
“Oh shit, we said the same words!” said Cloud. Aerith just giggled.
“I think there's something close in us. See you next time, then! Here’s my phone number.” Aerith told him, scribbling a piece of paper with her phone number (personal).
The second time, it was in a church she visits around, and Cloud just visited said place, since he saw the same type of flowers she sold him once.
“Oh it’s you again, Cloud! I think it’s time we have a date! We might as well have one together since we constantly meet each other anyway.”
“In return for the dates which I also want, I can be your bodyguard.”
Some dates later, as Cloud got a job and used his money for dating her, both agreed to live together and shared the same room, since Cloud didn’t have a place to sleep on (not to mention they became a close-knit couple). As for the job, he got himself in a bar/delivery company called Seventh Heaven and did deliveries on a car, but the company was also known for its trucking services. Although he liked driving around, the boss was the problem. By problems I meant she tried hitting on him, bugging him to no end, even if he told her he had a girlfriend.
He once complained it to Aerith, who told him she’ll find a job for him, whether at the shop or not, but also told her he’ll find another job himself.
As for the flower shop, she, Marlene and Denzel (neighbors' kids who happen to like Aerith's work) arranged and carried around bouquets of flowers. Marlene arranged it (sometimes) to the point it became an art form, Aerith often checking if Marlene did it right (read: flaw, what flaw?). Aerith personally delivered said flowers by car (if they were bouquets), and always acknowledged Marlene’s work.
But there was another job that Cloud was told to do.
Driving a truck.
He might be used to driving a car and some other small vehicles, but not a huge ass 7m Ural 44202-0511-41 truck with a 12m semi-trailer on its back. (1)
“So... my customer wants you to drive this thing to Narshe.” Said the woman, who looked at him with her red eyes.
“I didn’t expect to drive this.” said Cloud, while he looked around at said Ural.
“Yeah, well my customer couldn’t find someone else to do it and our deliverymen and truckers are out doing their jobs, so he contacted me. He’s going to prepare it almost a month from now.”
“I’m not even trained!”
“And? You want that Gil or not? You better train then.” Cloud thought of Aerith and her mother and their future.
“Alright... but you’ll let Aerith with me.” While they DID come from the same town, Cloud knew that his boss wanted him, but whenever he mentioned Aerith, the boss got mad. Besides, he needed a co-driver anyway. Talking of which, he’ll ask her later when he comes home, after finishing the deliveries for today.
“Fine... but after this thing’s over, we’ll have a talk.” He could feel how mad she was. Without letting her know, he saw her hands clenched into a fist.
As much as he didn’t like the boss, the boss was surely fair enough to let them together. But he knew that wouldn't last.
Later at night...
“I have some good news and some request!” Cloud announced at the dinner table.
“Sure! I’m listening.” Aerith said.
“The boss is offering me to drive a truck... so we can get more gil, so we can increase our finances, start our family and so on.”
“Nice! Congratulations, too!” Aerith congratulated him.
“So, Aerith, I was thinking, I actually need a partner at my job... and... I thought, you? I mean, I actually needed a co-driver since I need help doing things and drive to, and I’ll protect you along the way.” Cloud added, even if he was a bit hesitant in asking her.
“You mean you want me to join you?”
“Yeah... If you want to...” said Cloud, whose words drifted... “But then, your mother...” Cloud started to emphasize, fearing that Aerith might say no.
“Sure, why not? We can even go to other countries together, like San Andreas, or Vice City. Besides, we have B, C and E approved driver’s licenses, right? Also, I think the kids can help her do chores. They stay here every day.” Aerith answered him as he felt relieved.
“You have a good point. We do have enough money though if you’re ever concerned about the payment. Oh and d’you think of any plans for the flower shop since you’re coming with me?”
“I think Denzel and Marlene can operate the shop with Mama’s help, especially Marlene. Talking of which, she’s been itching to take it over, according to Mama. Besides, they're just a step away.”
“I wouldn’t mind you two away. I think the kids can do well here. But Cloud, do take care of her.” Aerith’s mother, Elmyra told them as Cloud nodded without hesitation. She actually liked him as Aerith's boyfriend, unlike in the original game.
Some months earlier they got the C-approved license (they had B-level of approval before, but got these approvals because Barret needed them and they were good at it). Now before they would venture outside Midgar, they asked Zack about trucking. After all, he spent time trucking in San Andreas with Cissnei.
At the first day of work, both walked into the office of Seventh Heaven, dressed in almost the same style of dress shirt, undershirt and trousers, except they had different colours. Cloud had dark blue, grey and black; Aerith had red, pink and black, all of which were bought from some internet store. (2)
Along with them were their backpacks, necessities (personal or otherwise) and documents needed for the trip, such as passports and their driving licenses. They also heard of bandits and monsters, so they packed some heat: 2 Zastava M57A pistols and 9 magazines per person, courtesy of Barret, the neighborhood-friendly arms dealer. (3)
“So, you guys are ready now?” asked the boss.
“Yeah, we are.” Aerith answered for herself and Cloud.
“Well, get your asses in!” said the boss.
But before they can get their asses in, they decide to check the new machine first.
First, they checked the Ural’s fluids such as the oil, coolant, brake fluid and windscreen wash, the air filter, lights front and rear, then the tires and spare tire, and the emergency equipment (such as the spanner), the medical kit, and finally an emergency warning triangle. They looked at the CB radio as well.
“We should check the documents.” Aerith told Cloud. Cloud nodded.
“Let’s see, there’s the registration papers, insurance, oh and some document.” The latter document had the words Книжка МДП/TIR Carnet, and that it was already written. It had their names, on the driver list, and their cargo, which was 19 tons of electronics. It was already previously produced and assembled in San Fierro, a city in the Kingdom of San Andreas, and delivered by another truck, judging from the Carnet's content.
Another important item they had was a blue metal plate with МДП written in white was found by the middle seat. Another blue plate had the words TIR, but it was attached onto its bumper.
Getting in the Ural, they found out the interior was small, even with a sleeping cab on its back. How can they sleep together if the said sleeping cab was for one person? Then again, they tried sleeping on one bed (Aerith’s bed) several times before, Aerith sleeping on Cloud, or Cloud sleeping on Aerith.
Cloud got himself on the driver’s seat with Aerith for shotgun. Aerith took the МДП plate onto the front, propped by said truck’s aircon vent.
“Let’s go.” Aerith told him. Cloud nodded.
Cloud stepped on the clutch and the brake, checked the gear stick if it was neutral and gave it some exercise, waited for a while to warm up the engine and started the ignition as the Ural came into life. Then, he pushed the throttle to leave the office, starting with the first gear. He had some problems at first, especially with the gear stick and he can’t easily see the front of the vehicle. At times, Cloud asked Aerith if he maneuvered without any hitches.
“It’s good, go left a bit! There we go!” Aerith peeked out on the right side.
Sceneries change from urban, to suburban, then to rural as the Ural went on, reaching the beginning of the Midgar-Costa del Sol-Nibelheim highway, or a series of tarmac roads, which was the current status of said highway.
“Now I’m getting really excited.” Cloud told her, as he shifted from the first and then the second gear."
“Definitely. I think this is the beginning of our adventures.” Aerith told him, excited with a new job (and driving) and some adventures they will face.