So, this week, I’m posting something entirely different, from my new WIP. This story is light on the depression and heavy on the random, but, well, you’ll probably figure that out for yourself. Reilly is the MC’s ex. My MC is typically pretty studious and maybe even a bit uptight, but Reilly seems to bring out her playful side. Weird yet familiar to be switching back to past tense.
“This thing is still running?” I eyed the rusty-looking beast that masqueraded as Reilly’s car. It had been a hearse—once. Before Reilly had gotten a hold of it and painted it ocean blue, the board racks on top providing the crowning touch. I winced when Reilly popped the locks and the door squealed open.
“Hey, don’t talk about her like that. She’s been good to me.” He patted the door. It groaned, bouncing on wobbly hinges.
“Uh-huh. And now you can be good to her by letting her retire in the old cars’ home. Or, god, at least investing in a can of WD40.”
He waited until I cleared the pile of food wrappers off the seat—seriously, did he live in this thing?—before closing the door behind me. He leaned in the half-open window with a theatrical sigh. “You never did recognize quality when you saw it.”
He ducked when I tried to peg him with a decaying Subway wrapper, the sound of his laughter filling the car with nostalgia. We’d had some good times together in this deathtrap, taking it down the coast, salty wind whipping through our hair. Summer had practically flown by as fast as the scenery. Which actually wasn’t saying that much. If I remembered correctly, this thing could only hit 60 on a good day.
Reilly cranked the engine once, twice, three times, before it sputtered to a start. “Woo hoo! We’re off! C’mon, let’s hear it—a little excitement. You’ve got to be pumped to be doing something you can’t check off your study schedule for a change. Can I get a woot? Maybe a yeah baby?”
My eye roll answered for me.
“No? How ‘bout a fist pump, then? Aw, c’mon. Relax a little. There’s no serious face allowed in the Reilly-mobile. In fact, I sprayed it with buzzkill repellant just the other day.”
His boyish grin dared me to return it. As we rumbled out of the school parking lot, I laid my head back on the cracked headrest, feeling an answering smile flirt with my lips. Whatever—why the hell not? To shut him up, if nothing else.
“Woot!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. Then I pumped my fist out the window for good measure, laughing at my own stupidity. But when I rolled my head to capture Reilly’s reaction, the laughter fizzled in my throat. He was staring at me with this expression full of wonder. Like he’d just seen his perfect wave.
His gaze shifted back to the road. I noticed the muscles on his forearms straining under his skin like taut ropes. He glanced back, and the look was gone. It was just a typical Reilly smile, the same one he gave everyone.
I turned away to stare out the window. Clearly, the fresh air was making me hallucinate. It was either that, or the smell of rotting burgers wafting up from underneath my feet.