Conner dropped us off at the corner we asked and told us, he was going to pick us up around 10pm so we had 2 hours at most. We ran most of the way to where John and I planned to show Proserpina the whole city from a top of a hill. We stopped about 2 blocks away to rest for a bit before walking the rest of the distance but everything had spiraled out of my control once we started walking.
We got to the end of the block in a timely manner while we teased and joked with each other then someone leaped from the tree above us. The person took John out first, tackling him to the ground before calling his friends.
"Hey! I found them!" the boy I didn't recognize shouted before Proserpina shoved him off John with the bottom of her shoe. Once he was off of John, Proserpina sat a top of him and punch him twice hard knocking him unconscious and getting back up.
All three of us put our backs facing each others, searching for the people he was calling to but it seemed too late. Two came from around the corner and charged us at the same time while three more jumped over different fences into the road.
"Well isn't it John, Nathan and the wench all in the same place," Ismail applauded slowly clearly pleased with this ambush.
"Oh look it's Mr. I can get knocked out by a girl!" Proserpina sneered at Ismail. Angrily Ismail marched over to her, "This time I suggest you shut up."
"Why? Are you going to cry? Tell my mommy? Or get knocked out again?" she continued to mock him. His hand balled up in a fist and as he was getting ready to swing; time slowed down.
I watched as his fist was getting ready to swing then a rage hotter than anything burst and I was running towards Ismail as my target. I jerked his fist down with my right hand while my left grabbed onto his shoulder with a tight grip. I spun in a half circle away from Proserpina and let go of Ismail, letting him tumble down the street. Shock settled in as I realized I had deliberately attacked Ismail the toughest guy in school over a girl. He got up from his tumble and started heading for me but my shock and fear for my safety froze me in place although I desperately wanted to run.
Everything happened so fast I could barely comprehend what happened. I was ready to fight Ismail again, I ready to take his tough guy act down a notch or two. Except it never happened, Nathan grabbed Ismail just as he was going to hit me and threw him half down the street with a murderous look on his face. Ismail rose from the ground and was storming Nathan's way but he wouldn't move from his spot.
I began sprinting towards him, wanting him to move but I was thrown into the fence by one of Ismail's groupies when he saw me. My back hit the fence with a crash then I slid to the ground. The pain blurred my vision but I still watched Ismail mow down Nathan in a heap.
More pain came from my leg but I couldn't understand why until I realized the kid that throw me into the fence was crushing my leg into a sharp rock. I cried out wanting it all to stop for a moment as I also watch John lose a fight of two on one when he tried to get to Nathan.
Sick of all of it, sat up despite the crushing weight threatening to snap my leg in two. Trying so hard to clear my thoughts of the pain, my hands found a rock a little bigger than my palm. Without a second thought, I swung my hand holding the rock and bashed it into the back of the kid's leg making it buckle under him instantly. His knee crashed hard and fast to where his foot was; I shut my mouth and whimpered in pain as I kicked him with my other foot in the face not caring how badly the kid was injured.
Still in pain I got to my feet and jogged back to the scene knowing the kid was coming after me. I looked between Nathan and John trying to decide who to help first but the kid was already behind me. He pulled my arms behind me and pulled my head back by my hair making me whimper once more while he whispered in my ear.
"Can't decide who to help? That's alright because you won't have to, you can just watch. Watch them fight hopelessly knowing you won't help them. Watch knowing you are helpless against everything and you won't belong anywhere." The boy snickered in my ear in triumph as I recognized his voice but couldn't remember who it was.
Nonetheless I did watch; I watched and heard every blow that landed on them. I watched for motivation to fight against him. I thrashed and bucked against him trying to catch him off guard just once. I could hear him growling behind me as his only sign that I was close. Eventually I was too dizzy to buck against so I managed to whip around in a circle getting him to release me for a period of time. But that was all I needed for while I watched and listened to his words I let my the small fire of my rage ignite into a bonfire. I swung my fist into his nose until a crunch echoed in my ears and he was falling then I was on my way to John. Not thinking at all I tackled one of his attackers onto the asphalt of the road. I clawed and pounded on him with everything I had before sprinting to Nathan leaving John to fend off the remaining one he had.
I was so close but both the kids I had taken out have caught up to me. I was drove head first into the pavement of the side walk with them both on top of me. Everything blurred together as I fought to stay conscious. Black dots filled my visions while my attackers took hold of me. One held me up against him as the second wounded up his fist then using me as a punching bag. I felt every blow made to my body but that didn't comprehend to my mind as my gaze wondered over to Nathan.
He was lying on the asphalt crying out as Ismail kicked him in the gut over and over again. I tried to will him to get up but I knew he couldn't. Ismail's blows were hard and went deep to the bone to his ribs. My rage was burning hot, I wanted to save him then I heard a snap and all my emotions even my rage was gone and I was left composed and perfectly calm. A calmness that would've even frightened me but I didn't care.
Ismail mauled me over and over again; hitting me so hard I felt it in my bones. I shook with pain from his past and future blows but it didn't matter, soon enough I would be knocked unconscious my body unable to take it. I just hoped John and Proserpina didn't suffer too much from this. I knew they didn't leave for I heard John grunting in both pain and determination to get to me. I also heard Proserpina shriek in a pain which shook and hurt me more than my own pain. Normally I would be fighting back but it was too late for that now. I took too much damage and couldn't move fast enough to not take more.
I wondered when this would all end and if we would get grounded for coming home beaten up and bleeding. I wished for my friends to just get away to safety but for some reason I didn't feel regret for anything that happened these past few days. Then I realized Proserpina probably wouldn't want me around anymore for getting her into this and that's when I had hoped that it wasn't going to be true and wished to be knocked unconscious already for thinking such a thing.
I was jolted back to reality when a snap sounded and unbearable came from my ribs. I howled in pain that seemed endless as I hear Ismail laughing with triumph and joy before he took his leave. It took a minute for me to realize he didn't actually leave for Proserpina was atop of him wailing on him with her fists then got up to place her foot on his throat threateningly.
"Don't come near us again unless you wish to never see sunrise again," she spoke perfectly calm with her voice gentle like speaking to a child. She turned on her heel and marched over to John's attacker whom hadn't even broken his pace of hits. Proserpina grabbed his fist just as it was going to connect with John's perfect nose and twisted it. She continued to twist it while she took careful steps forward, driving the poor boy away from John. Without flinching Proserpina kicked her right leg into the boy's back making him jerk forward popping his shoulder out of its socket; dislocating it. Then quickly she shoved his arm back into its socket making the boy scream.
"Are we clear?" she asked everyone in the road. Fear shown clear as day on their faces as they nodded then ran when she dismissed them.
After they ran from me, I relaxed as the calmness that over took me vanished. I made sure John was alright to walk back to the spot Conner drop us off at. He nodded gratefully not afraid. I then went to go help Nathan walk but he flinch back from me instantly with fear shining bright in his eyes. Regret and sadness filled me to almost to the break of tears but I pushed and nodded letting John help him instead.
We walked back mostly in silence. John tried to joke with me but I just grimaced and stayed silent. I walked in the curb almost in the street while John helped Nathan along on the sidewalk. There was room for me to walk beside them on the sidewalk but after Nathan's reaction earlier I felt space between us was better. I knew he opened his mouth to apologize but thought it was too soon to talk about it and it was. The hurt was still raw.
Conner was a couple minutes late but we didn't mind the wait. He was still driving the green jeep when we climbed into the vehicle. John and I sat in the back together in silence while Nathan sat up front with Conner pretending to try to fall asleep.
Conner dropped me off at my house so I didn't have to walk far. I waved good bye knowing it was probably for good and entered my home. I glanced at the clock it was 10:30 at night. Half hoping someone was at least worried enough to leave a note of where the leftovers for dinner were, I went to the kitchen. I ate a sandwich with a glass of milk to go with it when I didn't find leftovers or a worried letter.
It seems that everyone is slowly erasing me from their minds and lives. Soon enough I won't even be a memory to them. It would be like I was never born although I lived with my family. I thought to myself, laying in bed before the sweet lull of sleep pulled me under.
After we dropped off Proserpina at her house, we went straight to my house. My father had come home when we returned. He patched up Nathan real good but didn't ask for an explanation for what happened.
Conner took Nathan straight home after that so he didn't have to walk. I tended my own wounds not wanting to risk facing my father's disappointment or temper. I waited for Conner to return, I wanted to know how Nathan was fairing but I already knew the answer so I drifted off into a daze.
The next day Nathan wasn't there waiting for me to walk to school instead John stood there with his hands stuffed in his pockets. Unsurprisingly the air between was an uncomfortable silence. We walked a for a bit before I couldn't take it anymore, "How's Nathan?"
"Conner took him home. I'll walk with him after school."
"Just give him time, yesterday was the first time he was lost a fight so he's a little shaken up." John answered trying to bring me comfort. I nodded agreeing even though something inside wasn't so sure that was why.
The empty space by my right side where Nathan usual was, darkened my mood. I tried to take comfort in John's words but the comfort wasn't enough to replace the absent feeling that welling up inside. John changed the subject to something to help release the tension in the silence.
"So Conner is still convinced you are a lady."
"Well someone needs to knock him straight because a lady doesn't speak like me," I joked slightly.
"Yeah, I didn't even know he had manners."
"We normally don't with our siblings." We were entering school grounds when the tension finally broke and I relaxed. John walked me to my class then left for his. The bell rang loud in the halls when I entered the classroom making me late for the first time. I made a beeline to my seat trying not to glance at Nathan as I went.
This morning I let John walk with Proserpina because I saw it hurt her when I backed away from her yesterday. I wanted to make things better, I wished it hadn't happened and most of all I wanted to be her friend once more. Now I was sitting in my desk watching every one pass up their homework when I noticed Proserpina come in after the bell.
She walked hastily to her seat not even glancing my way. Mrs. Kay scolded her for being late and told her not to let it happen again but she seemed not to notice. All through class I tried to get her to notice me but instead Proserpina laughed and joked like we use to with Austin. I worked silently trying to get through class and ignore the sharp sting of pain from both my rib and from being ignored.
When lunch came Austin and I ran from the classroom in a race. We ran all the way to the cafeteria and beyond onto the playground. The thrill of running was still there but I wasn't free. It didn't feel like when I was running with Nathan and John a day ago but still I ignored the throb of sadness from last night. Austin pulled ahead me while I tried to compose myself.
Slowing down I let Austin win instead of giving into my pride. He laughed in joy, shouting his victory. I put my hands up in a surrender and mockingly bowed to him.
"All hail the race king!" Austin continued boasting before he confronted me, "You were giving me a run for my money, why did you let me win?"
"So it would be more precious to see the defeated look on your face when I win."
"If you win."
"We'll see." We lined up behind an invisible line in the rocks then took off after we marked it off. I pushed ahead running fast while Austin struggled to match my pace. I leaped over roots, small rocks that I could trip on, and sidewalk ledges. I ran at my own speed ahead of Austin feeling my energy flow through my body as I ran. I savored the feeling of the wind on my face, the slow of time and the ground beneath my feet while I bounded forward.
I crossed the finish line first, beating Austin in the race. He was bent over catching his breath, while a small ember of something dark settled in his eyes. Not sure if he was angry at me for beating him, I walked away to go sit on the bench.
"Good race," Austin joined me on the bench slightly out of breath. Nodding I put my head in my hands with my elbows on my knees and closed my eyes.
"So what happened to Nathan? You guys seemed inseparable," Austin asked for some reason taking interest in Nathan.
"What does it matter to you?" Suspicion and protectiveness crept into my voice.
"I was just wondering because he's like your right hand man right?
"We are equals," I muttered the words Nathan said to me before when I nodded unsure where he was going with this.
"Okay then why isn't he at your side?"
"He's busy doing something."
"What like tending his wounds?" I snapped my head to the side to narrow my eyes at him. I wanted to know if he was there last night, I needed to know if he was a threat to us.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Nothing I was just wondering what he was doing," Austin stated automatically.
"Huh," I responded not satisfied but returned my head back to my hands.
I finished my school day and walked a different way home instead of the way I walked with Proserpina. Instead John strolled along next to me having mellowed out by endless amounts of time in class.
"So how was your day?" I asked.
"Really? We stopped asking that question like a week after we met."
"That's because if something bad happened to make us moody, we told each other already before one of us got to the question."
"Whatever smart aleck, she wants to know if you are alright."
"Who?" I played dumb hoping John didn't see right through me but as usual he did. He rolled eyes, "How about the girl you have been stuck too like glue? Proserpina you idiot."
"I know but why? She didn't even acknowledge my existence today!"
"Nathan, you know why so don't even start," John scolded him like he was his parent.
"I'll try harder tomorrow but walk her to school in the morning, I have to get something ready." This time Proserpina was going to acknowledge me or it was going to be a tough day. Already I was setting up a plan to make her see me at least once. That was all I wanted now if this was how it was going to end.
I ran fast but he was faster, I needed to lose him. I bounded to the side and jumped a fence into a backyard but he followed. He was too fast to outrun; I needed to use my head before he caught me but that seemed impossible. I jumped the very back fence of the yard into the street, I made a sharp left almost tripping over myself. I ran straight down the middle of the road trying to think of a plan then I saw headlights heading for me.
Panicked I dove out of the way of the car barreling pass me. I tried to warn the kid but it was too late, he jumped instead of to the side he jumped onto the windshield. I heard the brakes and a crash from his weight hitting the windshield but never heard him fall to the floor. Then his figure lit up by the sun while he jumped from the roof of the car to the ground.
His eyes were dark with hatred for me. He stormed my way limping slightly to the right. I could see it in his eyes and on his face, I was going pay now or later for I could get away now but I waited instead. He started this and if he hadn't had enough yet then I would end it now. I had nowhere to be and no one cared about where I was or how I faired so what was I to do other than this?
I waited for the kid until he was a few feet from me. "Are you trying to get me killed?" he demanded. The kid was African American, he was wearing a dark green long sleeved shirt, dark blue jeans and tennis shoes.
"As far as I knew you were the one trying to kill me. Plus we're in the road what do you think belongs on the road?"
"Are you rude to everyone you meet?"
"Sometimes but lately it's pretty common."
"Ah, do you have an answer for everything?"
"Depends on the question but I try." The boy grinned at me erasing all the hatred for me in his eyes. Puzzled as to why I bunch my eyebrows together, only raising half my mouth to smile.
I'm Donavan but you can call me Donny," Stuck out his hand between me and him.
"Proserpina," I shook his hand firmly.
"Come on, I live around here." Donny walked past me down the road while I stayed where I was. "Do you think I would be friendly to you just to kill you? I don't think so come on its cold out here." He continued walking even as I jogged up hoping this wasn't a figment of my imagination.
We walked half a block when we arrived at his home. His house was two story modern house, with a rose garden in the front yard. Inside his house had red wood wooden floor with egg shell white walls. His living room held a leather coach and a matching chair. He had a flat screen tv hanging on the wall in front of the coach with a dark oak coffee table between them. Under the tv was a lit fire place giving the room a warm glow.
Donny led me into the kitchen where his mom was busy on her computer. She turned to us greeting Donny first before taking notice to me.
"And who's this?" She asked Donny trying to get him to introduce me. Instead he walked towards the fridge, "She can introduce herself."
"I'm Proserpina, ma'am," I gave her a warm smile when we shook hands.
"I'm Karen. I'm sorry about him, sometimes it's like I raised him without manners."
"That's alright I have a brother he's the same way."
"So do you want a snack, sweetie?"
"Oh that's okay I'm good but thank you for the offer though," I tried to politely decline but she still went through her cupboards to look for snacks. Feeling guilty I took a seat at the table not wanting to draw attention to myself but knowing by entering the home I already had.
"Here you go sweetie," Karen set a plate of sliced apples and Nutella in front of me. Hesitantly I dipped an apple slice into the chocolate and took a bite.
"You don't have to be so stiff," Donny sat at the head of the table just to the right of me.
"I like her manners more than yours Mister."
"See I look bad and she likes you. That is enough to make you run out of here screaming." Donny nudged me with his elbow, trying to get me to release the laugh I was trying hard not to let out.
"Come on I know you want to laugh."
"Nope," I tried to suppress a grin that was creeping onto my face.
"I accept that challenge," Donny smirked at me. We left the kitchen and headed to the living room. Donny taped string across the foot of the entrance.
"Donny stop! No don't," I tried to warn him when Karen came in asking a question.
"Proserpina would you like a ride home la-aaahhh Donny!" Karen screamed as she tripped over the string. Donny grabbed my arm chuckling and dragged me away from the scene. He led me into his front yard where he collapsed in laughter.
"What is wrong with you?! Why did you do that?"
"Haha! Loosen up; you have to admit her expression was funny." Donny demonstrated her falling into the yard. A tight knot built up in my chest as I tried not to laugh and suppress a smile at the same time but he continued to egg me on. Donny nudged and poked me in the side, getting me to crack a smile.
"Alright it was pretty funny."
The next morning I walked by myself again to school. Today was going to be different though, I could feel it. I was there early so I sat in the hall waiting for the bell. For once I was the outsider not trying to be accepted but instead watching them play and laugh. The bell didn't ring for a while giving me time to think and look around. Proserpina and John arrived minutes before the bell.
Proserpina wore a black flannel shirt open over her black tank top and jeans with her hair pulled into a pony tail. John wore his usual clothes dark jeans, plain gray shirt and a his black hat backwards. They stood in plain view away from the kids playing games before John sauntered over to sit by me.
"You know it's real easy to see who you are staring at? You have to be careful though, look at her any longer and people will start thinking you like her."
"Oh shut up."
"I'm serious no guy is this hung on a single girl, friend or more except you."
"Alright I understand. We are just friends for now."
"Huh whatever. So you have everything planned?"
"Are you going to tell me so I can take precautions?"
"No, it's something real simple."
"Good luck," The bell rang dooming all the kids to a life time of boredom in a classroom. Everyone filed into their classes already dreading the day just as I was doing the opposite. I slipped through the crowd heading towards the office. People watched but didn't question my motive.
I saw Nathan head away from the classroom and like a moth to a flame I wanted to followed but I ignored it. I took my seat at my desk ready to begin my day. A student later came in from another class and asked to borrow me. I rose from my desk and exited into the hallway. I followed him down twisted halls until I was dizzy then he stopped at one of the empty classroom doors.
"Wait here," the student left hastily leaving me in the silent hallway alone. No one passed by not even teachers, I didn't even hear other people moving about if any one was. The student returned minutes later with a key, he unlocked the door then left again this time not returning. Then someone else entered the hallway, not wanting to be rude, I analyzed the board next to the door.
Suddenly while I was rereading the board, someone dragged me in to the room. His tight grip burned my arm with pain as he pulled me. He was wearing a gray pull over hoody with his hood up and baggy jeans.
"You need to keep a low profile," a hoarse voice came from under the hood.
"I mean it, you are in deeper than you think. Ismail isn't your enemy nor does he have a choice. Don't get in his way for any reason, no matter what. Promise me you won't?"
"What does it concern you? Do I know you?" I tried to look under the hood but he tugged it down farther.
"No but you know a friend of mine and I'm doing him a favor. Promise me."
"Who's your friend?"
"Promise me, you'll stay out of his way!"
"Alright I promise!" I said hurriedly then he took his leave from the room leaving me in the empty classroom. I waited a little bit wanting to give myself a few minutes to process what happened, then as I placed my hand on the handle a click sounded from the door.
Immediately I tugged on the handle realizing the click was the sound a of the lock. I tugged harder hoping it would prevail as I yelled for help.
"Help I'm locked in here!! Anyone please!!"
I just finished persuading the office lady to let me into the principal's office without having to tell the principal. I closed the door behind me quietly, and made my way to the intercom microphone.
"Hello? Okay I'm going to assume this is working." I tapped it on the mic then went on, "E. Q. A. U. L. S. that's what I said when we met. I told you no matter what and what happened was my fault I let my fear control me that day. I'm sorry. If you accept my apology then be on the field at lunch for a race." I put the mic down I hoped she wouldn't turn it down and hopefully everything would go back to where we raced all the time. I hoped for it; I left the office and headed to class knowing I tried.
His speech came from the intercom making me jump from the door when I realized who it was. I needed to be there to accept the race so I hit the door over and over wanting it so bad to break open. I hit it until my knuckles were bleeding and I couldn't take the pain. I kicked at the door until my foot hurt and my leg felt like a twig ready to snap in two.
I knew lunch was soon but I was sitting at a desk trying to think or fall asleep which ever one came first. Time was endless but fast at the same time as I watched the clock tick away counting off the seconds that would end my friendship with Nathan altogether then the clock came to 10 minutes before lunch. I cursed unspeakable names and more until finally I picked up the desk and threw full force at a wall with a tiny window at the top.
The wooden part of the desk shattered on impact but the leg of it smashed the window. I pushed a heavy file cabinet and used the draws as steps to help me to the top. I push myself out the window cutting myself against shards of glass that hadn't broken away from the window seal then flailing as I fell from the broken window landing partially in the rocks and on the side walk.
The bell rang loud marking off the time for lunch. I walked calmly to the field without attracting attention to myself. I drew a line on the field when I arrived at the spot I picked for the race to start and end.
The cuts from the window burned like no other but I walked it off. I was on the other side of the school away from the field. I ran through the side knowing the quickest route to the field. I ran fast as I could with my open wounds.
Then I was tackled into a door that led outside. We tumbled through the door in a ball. Desperately I was trying to get out from under him but he wasn't relenting any more than a wall would to a mouse.
"I told you to keep a low profile! You promised!!" The kid in the gray sweat shirt spit in my face.
"What? Oh right, I didn't plan this I was locked in that room! You locked me in that room!!!"
"I did no such thing!! I left after our agreement! Never mind what are you doing?"
"Its lunch I need to eat."
"Fine but whatever you do keep a low profile and don't involve anyone else."
"Alright I won't." I rose from the floor and we both went different ways. Once he was out of sight I was sprinting in a hurry for that encounter cost me a chunk of time.
A quarter of lunch flew by and now I was talking to Austin for an unknown reason.
"Wouldn't she be here by now?" Austin asked knowing the answer.
"Maybe she's dealing with something right now."
"You keep dreaming."
Man this guy just doesn't stop does he? Why is he being such a jackass about this? I thought annoyed with him already then he began talking about his race with Proserpina.
"We raced twice and of course we each won once. So far she's never turned down a race, so maybe...she's standing you up."
"Austin I need you to stop talking altogether before I break your teeth," I growled out threateningly.
"Oh wait there she is...oops sorry its not." Austin smirked when I looked for her. Fast, I kicked my foot into his knee, snapping it back so it was locked and the pain slowly register to his brain.
"Oh I'm sorry did I hurt you....oops I'm not sorry, walk it off asshole." I sneered at Austin when he bent over his leg like a hurt dog.
Eventually Austin left me alone when I grew boring for him. I searched for any sign that she was going to come but there was none. My hopes fell far but I didn't leave my spot. People gave me apologetic looks of sympathy making them drop farther until I had truly given up on waiting. I truly lost a friend.
I was mourning it over wondering what I was supposed to do now that my mission was cut short. My hope was dragging on the ground in the rocks and my wishes long dead hollowing me out. I felt as I was punched in the stomach and that I truly lost a fight.
Suddenly someone was standing in front of me and he wasn't moving. He was part of Ismail's crew; he wore a red t-shirt, baggy jeans and black converse shoes.
"Ismail needs your help."
"I don't want to help him right now."
"Please he's in deep shit with another crew."
"He always gets out of it, he's fine." He grabbed my shoulders and pulled me close so he could whisper in my ear, "It's the J.W crew." I looked at him alarmed to confirm it then we took off to where Ismail was waiting.
When I arrived at the field I spotted the drawn line that meant the beginning of a race. I searched but Nathan was long gone by now. I was too slow for time and too late to make up for it.
Naturally I turned to walk the field like I use to. I didn't stop myself from watching the kids play and run without a care in the world.
I didn't pity myself for not being the one carefree instead I remembered when I was like that a day before. I wished for them to have many of those moments before shit hits the fan. I walked finally acknowledging the absent feeling by my right side.
"What are you doing here, you need to help him?!" John's voice came urgently from behind me. I whirled around to face him startled, "Help him? I don't know what you're talking about? Nathan left."
"Exactly I have to go with him but you need to come. He needs help; Ismail has gotten them both in too deep in this."
"The J.W crew is in town and leaving soon but not before they collect what's owed to them."
"Who the hell are the J.W crew?!"
"No time I need to catch to up to Nathan before something gets out of hand. Get to the airport," John ran off running faster than we did during the chase.
"Damn it! What am I going to get myself into?" I ran off campus without a second thought. I ran to the neighborhood where I met Donny. I asked his mother where he had gone but she had only said he went on a trip with his friends. Dread pulled at me from the inside, he was part of that crew. I thanked her then ran across town desperate to not be late. I banged on John's front door until Conner answered irritably. He was surprised I was at the door and not someone pissed off person but I cut it short.
"We need to get to the airport," we piled into the red truck and sped down the road to the highway. Conner didn't ask questions of why but instead used his easy going attitude to release the tension.