The school bell rang and all the students filed their way out to the awaiting buses or to the parking lot to their awaiting cars. Everyone was amped up because today was the final day of school and summer vacation started. One boy in particular, Rikki Soto, a senior, with his Ferrari red hair and fire-red eyes, walked down to the parking lot to his impatient twin brother Daniel, also a senior, who looked nothing like him whatsoever because of his naturally white hair and silver eyes, so the only way you could tell that they were twins was if you asked them.
"Where have you been?" Dan asked his brother. Rikki gave him somewhat of a dirty look. "Hey, come on man cheer up summer's started! What's bothering you?"
"What do you think?" Rikki asked.
"Did you ask Suzy to come over?"
"Yeah, what of it?" he asked as he pulled his keys out of his pocket.
"And then what happened?"
"She said she would."
"Alright. Now come on let's get home, it's getting hot." Rikki and Dan walked over to the car that they had to share, an old Mercedes CLK 320. He put the key in the ignition and the engine turned over. He put it in drive and he drove out of the parking lot. As he turned at the intersection just up the road, a familiar bold, blue Honda S2000 followed them. Rikki looked in the rearview mirror and he smiled to himself. He drove out to the country roads. After a few miles he pulled into his driveway with the Honda following after. He parked the car and shut off the ignition. He and Dan climbed out of their Mercedes and the Honda parked by the it. A beautiful young woman gracefully stepped out the convertible. She was also a senior. Her sleek black hair waving in the breeze matched her shorts which contrasted nicely with her pink shirt. Her honest eyes the color of the sea looked around.
"It's been a while since I've been here," she said with a fair quality voice, one of the many reasons why Rikki loved her. It was Suzy Garrison. Her real name was Susan, but that's the name she preferred. She and Rikki had always been best friends since the beginning. As far as Rikki could remember, they had always been friends. She continued to take in the surroundings. A lot had changed since she'd been to Rikki's house so it all looked very different. There was no longer just an old Chevrolet Camaro in the yard. There was so many more cars some of which were so beaten down she didn't recognize them, but she guessed that they ranged from the early 60's to the mid 80's. "I see your father's been busy."
"Yeah, he doesn't spend much time inside any more," Rikki said. He carried his stuff inside the decently sized two-story ranch house the color of the absolute definition of not-very-interesting-yet-somehow-unique, a beige-red with cobblestone accents. He set his things by the stairs. Suzy set her things next to his. Dan had put his in his room. Rikki decided to do what he and Suzy usually do when they get together, just walk around the large yard and talk. Back when they were kids they used to enjoy that a lot. Although that was the reason why his father had to sell nearly everything in the yard because of the possible risks to them. It was also the reason why his parents don't spend much time together because his father was always working outside and his mother was always working inside. Rikki and Suzy stepped outside.
"It's nice out here," she said.
"It is isn't it?"
"Why does your father always work on cars?"
"Well, it's actually fun, well for me anyway. He works on restoring whatever he finds in the middle of an old man's field and he restores it and sells it for any possible profit."
"Does he sell everything he restores?"
"He did keep that '69 Charger he found." He thought for a moment. "oh, and he restored an '82 DeLorean which I wanted to have as my own but he said it was a stupid car." He sighed and stepped around a small pile of old, rusty mufflers.
"That's too bad."
"I know. I helped him a lot, especially with that one."
"Why did you want a DeLorean?"
"Because they are rare as well as iconic."
"Yeah, there's less than 9,000 of them."
"That might also explain why you're so interested in Sam's Maserati."
"He hardly uses it and I even asked him. He doesn't like it."
"Yeah!" He stepped over a door. "He even gave me an offer, but of course, Mom won't let me buy it from him."
"Well, she says insurance, but I think it's alright."
"So, what's new in your life?"
"Nothing much," she said as she walked around a box full of exhaust manifolds. "Your father should really find a way to organize all of this."
"I thought about building him a big garage but I don't have enough money, and working at A.J.'s Imports doesn't pay enough."
"Have you told him yet?"
"Maybe if you talk to him and if he like's your idea he might help you with the money."
"The money's not the problem though, now that I think about it. It's whether or not he likes my idea."
"Well, when he gets here you should talk to him." Rikki thought for a moment.
"Alright, I'll talk to him." There was the sound of an engine. "That might be him." They walked back up the wrap-around deck and they made their way up to the front. The engine noise stopped as they rounded the corner. Rikki's confidence dropped when it turned out that it was his mother that had come home. As she stepped out of her car, an old, beaten, dark green Toyota Corolla, Rikki noticed that she looked a little tired. Her smooth brown hair looked slightly tattered and her clothes looked the similar to that.
"Rikki, is your father home?"
"No, Mom, he's not here." His mother sighed and walked up to the porch.
"Hello Suzy," his mother said.
"Hi Mrs. S.," Suzy said with a wave. They all stepped inside to hear the sounds of video games coming from the basement.
"Dan, did you finish your homework?" his mother asked as Rikki shut the door behind them.
"Mom, it's the last day of school!" Dan said loudly and obviously very irritated.
"Shouldn't he be thinking about college?" Suzy asked.
"Well, he plans to go to this small place up north," Rikki told her.
"What place is that?"
"I don't know. I've never heard of it."
"What's it called?"
"I think it's called 'College of Trade' or something like that."
"I've never heard of that." Dan was coming up the stairs.
"The reason you never have heard of it is because you never opened your letters," he said to Rikki as he handed him three envelopes. They were blank except for his name simply written in the middle of the envelope. He opened one of them. He was surprised at the such blankness of it. The letter simply read: "Rikki, come." and at the bottom of the other side was an address. It wasn't all that far away, just a few states north. The letter was signed Jack Trades. The other two letters were exactly the same. Suzy looked at the letter.
"Hey, I've gotten a few letters just like this," she said.
"Really?" Rikki asked.
"Do you think we should go to it?"
"Maybe," Dan said. "I want to go just so this Jack Trades guy will stop sending letters." Their mother came over.
"I think you should go. It'll be a great opportunity for you kids," she said putting her hand on Rikki's shoulder.
"If you think so," Rikki said. "Alright, I'll look into it." Just then, there was the noise of a classic American 440 big block V8. "Oh, dad's home." His mother sighed and walked away. Rikki stepped outside and the engine noise had a strange rattling sound. It then stopped. A somewhat of a burly man stepped out of the '69 Charger. It was painted a classic red with black stock stripes wrapped around the back.
"Hey, Rikki," His father said to him. "You want to help me find that noise? There's a rattlin' and I want to fix it. You wanna help?"
"Sure, I guess." As he walked over his father popped the hood and Rikki pushed it up. He put the hood support bar in place and his father came back over with a small LED flashlight. After about ten minutes of tinkering around the engine block, "Okay, start it up." His father turned the ignition key and the engine turned over. There was no longer any rattling noise. "Try revving it." His father revved it a few times. His father shut off the ignition and the engine shut off.
"Alright," his father said as he stepped out of the car, "fixed it."
"So how'd school go?" his father asked as they stepped onto the porch and into the house.
"Today was the last day."
"Oh. Are you ready to go to college?"
"A little," Rikki admitted.
"Well, you need to be ready. So you can get a good degree and get a good job." He put his large hand on his son's shoulder. "And so you can start a good family."
"Now, what's this that I'm hearing about this place up north?" Rikki went on explaining the strange letters he and Dan have been getting. His father told him that he believed that he should go to this place.
"You really think so?"
"If you don't want to, you don't have to. I'm not making you go. But, I think that this is a great opportunity for you and Dan, and that you should go."
A few days later, Rikki was over at Suzy's house to hear what her mother thought about her going to the same place. Suzy was an only child and her father died in a car accident. Rikki noticed that her mother seemed to have a better mood every time he came over. Because of this and because he came over often, this was pretty much a second home for him. He, Suzy, and her mother were sitting at the dining room table.
"I think that you should go, because if this person keeps sending you letters, he must know that you have a lot of potential," her mother told her.
"Alright, Mom," Suzy said.
"Rikki, are you going to the same place?"
"Yes ma'am, I am," Rikki said, "and so's my brother."
"Oh, how wonderful." Rikki nodded in agreement and stood up and went to the kitchen for a glass of water. Suzy noticed a change in her mother's expression.
"Mom, will you be okay?" Suzy asked with a hint of concern.
"Oh, don't you worry about me," she said with somewhat of a confident smile, "I'll be alright."
A few weeks later back at the Soto household, Rikki and Dan had all of their stuff packed into suitcases ready for college. Because they had many personal things to bring with them they had to pack two cars. Rikki filled his Mercedes to the brim and Dan had to fill up his car, a Volvo 240 GLT estate from 1984. they hugged their parents and with some final words of good luck, they parted, leaving their parents behind. They stopped at Suzy's house to help her pack and Rikki had to settle an argument with Dan for some Volvo space for some of Suzy's things. Dan eventually had to reluctantly agree and he crammed some his stuff in the middle seats as Rikki helped Suzy put some boxes in the back. After they were done Suzy ran back to her mother and hugged her.
"Bye, Mom," Suzy said.
"Do come and visit," her mother said.
"I will." Rikki came over and gave her mother a hug as well.
"You can visit too, Rikki."
"We will," he said.
They climbed into their cars and the little convoy rolled out of the driveway with Dan leading. Rikki and Suzy followed him to the highway and they headed north. They drove all day stopping only for quick breaks, unless Suzy just absolutely had to stop and look at the mountains they were driving around and through. They stopped for the night in a small town just on the other side of the mountain range that separated them from their current life, to the wonderful memories of childhood.