The Ride Along
T A Y A
“Mom, I’m going out! See ya!” I was racing down the staircase in my tight sequin dress and high heels, one wrong step and I’d snowballed down the whole thing.
I never wore heels before, ever. Mom got me these last Christmas and I had been saving it for a special occasion— such as this.
Getting out of the house, I spotted Blake’s car waiting for me outside. My heart fluttered at the sight.
“You look really pretty,” Blake smiled widely as soon as I got into his Audi.
“Thanks, you look really pretty too,” I replied.
He did looked amazing. His hair was neatly pushed back, and he was wearing a crisp white shirt and jeans. If Paul Wesley and Robert Pattinson had a child, he would be Blake Harrison.
“So, where are you taking me?”
“It’s a surprise. You’ll love it,” he said as he put his right hand on my knee, squeezing it gently.
It sent tingles up and down my spine. I tried my hardest to keep still as Blake put the car in gear and we drove away.
“So... how was practice today?” I said casually, referring to Blake’s football practice.
“It was great. Everyone’s so hyped up for the homecoming game on Friday, we’re so gonna crush it. You’ll be there, right?”
“It’s not like we have a choice. You know the principal’s making everyone come and watch the game,” I rolled my eyes at Principal Finn’s latest antics. “But of course I’d be there. Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” I added.
Blake grinned at my response.
“How ’bout you? How was rehearsal today?” he said, referring to theater club.
“Oh god, it was horrible! They just suddenly added this kissing scene and I had to kiss this guy for the play,” I groaned.
I was expecting more of a reaction coming from him, but instead he just muttered, “Oh,”
“Well... what do you think? Are you cool with that?” I asked cautiously.
“Yeah, sure. I mean, it’s for a play, right?” he just shrugged.
“So, you don’t really mind that I’m kissing some other guy?”
“But that’s just acting, though. It’s not real,” he smiled graciously.
I didn’t know if I should look at this as him being mature and secure about us, or that he just didn’t care at all. I mean, I wouldn’t be so calm right now if he told me he had to kiss some girl for whatever reason.
But I guess that’s just me.
After about half an hour of driving, we finally reached our destination—the Harrison Resort. Remember when I told you Blake’s dad owned half the island? The Harrisons owned various properties and land— this chain of hotel resort was only one of them.
“You’re taking me to your dad’s resort?”
“This one is my favorite location. You get the best view of the ocean,” he said proudly, handing over his keys to the valet.
“Come on,” he took my hand in his and led me through the white-marbled building. We walked through these big glass doors that led us directly to the beach.
“Good evening, Mr. Harrison. Your table is ready for you,” a waiter appeared out of nowhere and he gestured to a table right by the ocean, surrounded with white flowers and little candles.
“Wow,” I gasped and he just grinned at me, leading me towards our table.
Well daaamn, Blake Harrison could do a mean first date.
We sat across each other on this little table by the ocean. There was no one else around, it was just us.
“Is it normally this quiet here?”
“No, not really. I actually booked the whole place to ourselves,” he smiled brightly.
I didn’t know if I should be surprised or intimidated. Or both.
Our dinner was unbelievably great. The night breeze was lovely and the food was amazing. We even shared a molten chocolate cake for dessert. We talked about everything from school, to families, and even about our future.
For as long as he could remember, Blake’s dad always wanted him to go to an Ivy League school. Blake’s got his eyes set on Princeton as of late, to study business or law. He’d be visiting the campus early next year for an interview.
When he asked me where do I want to go for college, I told him that I didn’t know yet, that I was still keeping my options open. He suggested a few places that I might like, and they were all out-of-state colleges. Blake was really excited about going to college and his excitement was contagious. “There’s a brand new world out there waiting for us,” he beamed.
“Hey, I got this really big book filled with all the information on colleges in the country. I’ll bring it over for you sometime. I could help you look?” he offered sweetly and I couldn’t nod my head fast enough.
We drove back home after dinner, with our hands clasped together and we listened to the songs in his car.
“You wanna pick the next song?” he asked, giving me his phone.
I took it and started going through his Spotify playlist, when suddenly, there was a text notification from Viviane.
“Um, you got a text. From Viviane,” I said shortly.
“Just leave it. I’ll answer it later,”
“Why’s Viviane texting you?”
“Ah, you know, she just always does that,” he shrugged.
“...And you replied?”
“Well, I’m just being polite,”
I could be the cool and levelheaded person and just drop it, but somehow this didn’t sit well with me.
“Were you guys ever a thing?” I pressed on.
“Yeah... in the past. We fooled around once or twice. But, I don’t like her like that. I tried to tell her, but she’s just not getting the hint, you know,” he was starting to look uncomfortable. “Can we talk about something else, please?” he said again.
“So, am I just... another Viviane to you?” I wasn’t ready to drop the subject just yet.
“What?” his eyes shot up.
“I’m just trying to understand what we are... Are we just friends? Are we dating?”
“Oh, I—uh, I mean, we’re not exclusive or anything yet... but, I really do like you—” he stammered.
“Blake, are you ashamed of me?” I shot point-blankly.
“What?” his mouth gaped.
“Do you have to pick the furthest restaurant on the other side of town? Are you that embarrassed to be seen with me?”
“Taya, it’s not like that—”
“Then what is it? You just don’t want to be in a relationship with me, is that it?”
“No. I don’t know. It’s not that... I just... I don’t know how to do relationships, alright? I’ve never done that before. And then there’s RJ. It’s... it’s all complicated. We just need some more time to figure things out,”
“We? You mean you?”
It just dawned on me that perhaps my relationship with my education was like Blake’s relationship with me. I was trying to keep my options open for colleges, and here he was, trying to do the same thing.
“Well if you can’t make up your mind about me already by now, maybe you shouldn’t even bother,” I let go of my seatbelt abruptly.
“Stop the car,”
“Stop the damn car, Blake!”
The car came to a screeching halt. I unlocked the door manually and swung it open.
“Please don’t do this,” he said again.
I took a few deep breaths and calmed myself before saying, “I need some time to think. I think you do too,”
I stepped out of the car and he slammed his fist to his side of the door in frustration.
“Come on, don’t be like this. How are you gonna get home?” he said, rolling down the window of the door that I just closed.
“I’ll call my brother,” I said simply. “Don’t worry about it. Please just go. I want to be alone right now,”
He waited for a while, in the odd chance that I might change my mind. But I kept my composure strong and steady.
He let out a long sigh and I watched as the window rolled back up. I waited until his car drove away and he was out of sight before I finally gave out. I slumped to my feet and the row of tears burst right out.
I thought of calling Kai or Hallee and asking them to come get me, but just my luck, I had forgotten to charge my phone all day since I was too busy getting ready for the date. My battery had zeroed out.
Great, walking home it is.
Taking the stupid heels off, I started walking barefoot on the road, ignoring the calluses I’d get in the morning.
My eyes watched the road ahead intently. Secretly, I had hoped that Blake would be coming back for me. But the road was just as dead and as empty as my heart.
This is what I get for asking for romance.
I was just walking along mindlessly, when suddenly I heard the roaring sound of motorcycles speeding closer to my direction. I walked further into the sidewalks as I had no intentions on being a road kill tonight, although the idea did seem enticing.
“Blondie?” suddenly I heard a familiar raspy voice.
I turned around to see two motorcycles had stopped right behind me. One of the guys took off his helmet, revealing a familiar face.
“Judah?” my voice was shaking.
“You know this chick?” the guy in the other motorcycle said.
“What are you doing here?” Judah said to me, ignoring the other guy.
“It’s none of your business,” I stated, pulling my shit together.
“Ooh, she’s feisty,” the other guy chuckled.
There was a girl sitting behind Judah on his motorcycle. She had a helmet on so I couldn’t see her face, but her long, gorgeous red hair cascaded out of it.
“Where you going? Don’t you live on the other side of town?” Judah asked again.
“It’s fine. I needed the walk anyway,”
He eyed me suspiciously, noting the flood of mascara on my face and my dirty bare feet.
“It’s late. I’ll take you home,”
“No thanks, I’m good,” I insisted.
“Babe, can you ride with Max? I need to take her home. I’ll meet you guys there,” ignoring me, he spoke to the redhead behind him.
“Okay,” the girl replied and she let go of her grip around Judah’s waist, before jumping off the bike. In one swift movement, she got on and sat on the other guy’s motorcycle.
The other motorcycle’s engine roared a few times as Judah nodded to them and they speeded away, leaving Judah and I on our own.
“Come on Blondie, let’s go. I got places to be,” he handed his helmet out to me.
“No Judah, I’m fine. Really, just go,” I knew I was being stubborn, but I didn’t feel like receiving anyone’s pity right now. Especially not his.
But Judah was just as stubborn as me.
He grabbed me by the arm forcefully and pulled me to him. Before I could protest some more, he placed his helmet on my head, securing it tight.
“That’s enough, let’s go,” he stated firmly.
At this point, I gave up. I followed meekly as he gestured for me to get on. I was struggling too, while that girl made it look so easy.
“Hold tight,” he said and I complied, linking my arms around his stomach.
I absolutely believed that Judah should be casted in the next Fast and Furious movies.
He was riding so damn fast, I swear my life flashed before my eyes. Throughout the entire ride, I was certain I was gonna get blown away by all the wind. Still, I tried my best not to whimper like a baby and held my grip tighter around him.
He only asked for my street address and we didn’t speak one word after that.
Before I know it, we had arrived back to my house. He killed the engine and I got off the motorcycle, as ungracefully as I got on it.
“Gee, I thought I wouldn’t make it back in one piece,” I joked as I handed him his helmet back.
He ignored my comment and took out a cigarette and a lighter from his jacket, doing his usual routine.
“You wanna tell me what happened out there?” he mumbled through the cigarette hanging on his mouth.
I shook my head and gave him a small smile. He sighed in response, but I was glad he didn’t press on.
Using the back of my hand, I wiped my face and combed my hair with my fingers. I knew for sure I looked like a total wreck. I turned to him again and said, “Does this scream ‘train wreck’ to you or do you think my mom won’t notice?”
I thought he would at least crack out a laugh, but he just looked at me with a blank stare. Then his hand reached up to my cheek, picking up a strand of my fallen eyelash before throwing it to the ground.
“You’re not gonna make fun of me? That’s so unlike you,” I said lowly.
“Nah, there’d be other days,” he winked and I rolled my eyes naturally.
I was about to turn to the house when suddenly a thought came to my mind. Judah had turned his motorcycle engine back on, signaling that he was about to leave.
“Hey...” I said quickly to grab his attention. He looked at me and a cloud of white smoke escaped his lips.
I swallowed hard and said, “I hope lung cancer won’t get you,”
He stifled a laugh, giving me a knowing smile before speeding away.