Friday night races were always my favorite. Friday's brought larger crowds, they brought more racers, it was like a huge party. I could feel the buzz in the air as soon as I had pulled up. Tonight I had put a lot of money on the table. You had to play big to win big.
There were a lot of people racing tonight and tonight we weren't just going down the strip we had a whole route mapped out. Tonight's race wasn't an easy one, in fact it held a higher risk of us getting reported but that only made my adrenaline spike even higher. I was ready for whatever tonight brought.
Gripping the steering wheel I watched ready for the signal to go. Work had been slow and it had given me time to go over the route in my head over and over. I knew the turns, I knew where I could pass and where I couldn't, most importantly I knew a path out if things got hot.
The moment of take-off was one of my favorite parts. The shifting of gears had always fascinated me. Taking off I let go of everything. As I drove I was completely free, I felt like I was flying. At the speeds I drove I more or less glided over the road. As our first turn appeared ahead you could tell who knew the area and who didn't. I didn't even bother shifting down as I hit the curve hard and fast passing several cars in the process.
Passing car by car I made my way to the front of the pack. I was racing against some pretty good guys tonight. Some I had lost to before. Tonight however I felt like I had an upper hand on everyone else. This course worried my dad so he made me go over it and over it a thousand times. Not in a car but in my head, we had sat and he talked me through it all. Even now I could hear him telling me to downshift, if I took this corner to fast I’d crash.
Having a mechanic for a dad had its good points and bad. Having a mechanic for a dad who had done his own fair share of illegal shit in his younger days however made him far more useful and knowledgeable than most. There was nothing that mechanic school could teach me that my dad hadn’t already. I only hoped to one day be as good as him.
Seeing the finish line ahead I super focused on the stripe painted on the road. No one else was there with me, not the cheering crowd, not the other cars vying to overtake my lead, even my dad had silenced his thoughts in my head.
Crossing the painted stripe I had no idea what place I had come in. I had a car on my left that was pretty much even with me the last quarter of the race. If I lost the man, Ash Mangum was the only man I'd want to lose to. I'd known him for a long time and he had pretty much taught me the ropes of street racing.
As I slid to a stop it became quickly apparent that I had won. I barely had time to open my door before I had people all in my face. Here was the only place I wasn't feared, at the finish line everyone wanted to be your friend, especially if you had just won a big race.
Laughing I ignored the girl trying to get my attention and met Ash walking toward me. "Boy I think I taught you a little too much."
"Shit between you and dad what do you expect."
Ash laughed putting his arm around my shoulder. “Good race Maddox but I think you might owe me a beer.”
As we talked I noticed Willow, her red hair seemed to call out to me like a flame. She was in her classic stance, arms crossed frown plastered on her face but this time it wasn’t directed at me. A guy I’d never seen was talking to her and it was clear even from across the street they were arguing. Was this some jealous boyfriend? Ex-boyfriend? Or had she managed to piss somebody else off tonight?
Even though I was still talking to Ash I kept my eyes on Willow. I was debating on stepping in when I saw the man she was arguing with shove her. Excusing myself I took off walking toward her zigzagging through the busy crowd.
“I wasn’t running from you. I told you I’d have your stupid ass money but you have to give me time.”
The man reached out grabbing her arm, “you’ve had enough time. I’m done waiting.”
Willow cried out as the man started trying to drag her. “I don’t think she wants to go anywhere with you? Maybe you should let her go.”
I had caught both of them off guard but Willow had a look of relief on her face. “Nothing you need to concern yourself with. Now I suggest you turn the other way.”
Willow let out another cry as the man gripped her arm tighter. Putting my own hand out I grabbed his wrist, "let her go."
Before I had even finished my sentence I saw the man take his other hand and start to reach under his shirt. Without thinking I punched the man square in the jaw. I hit him hard enough he released his grip on Willow and she quickly moved behind me pulling at my shirt. "Maddox you need to go. He is dangerous."
Ignoring her I saw the guy reach back under his shirt pulling out a gun, "I don't think you know who you're playing with."
Both of us looked up as sounds of sirens filled the air. People started running and yelling. "Shit," I whispered. The guy was gone. Willow tried to run off but I shook my head, "we have to get out of here, where are you parked."
She shook her head, "I was at the park and I saw a crowd so..."
I let out a breath pulling her behind me, "we can't get caught here." When she started picking up the pace and I was sure she was following behind me I let her arm go. Digging in my pocket I hit the button unlocking my car.
The minute I had the car cranked and had it in gear cops seemed to storm the area. "Fuck," I said backing up dodging cars behind us. Everyone was trying to go out the same way but dad had told me a couple of other ways out.
"Maddox you have to pull over," Willow yelled when a cop car jumped behind us.
I shook my head, "not happening." Shifting gears I took a turn that had Willow screaming as her body slammed into the passenger door. "Damnit Willow buckle up."
"I'm trying shit Maddox. Just stop, this is going to be so much worse if you don't stop."
Hitting another corner I glanced over at her, “this car isn’t traceable. I can’t stop now I’ve already broken over a dozen laws. They would throw me straight under the jail.”
Turning down another street I glanced over at Willow, “hold on and close your eyes.”
I’d run from the police before but never with anyone with me. I had no idea how she would take what I was about to do. Hitting a corner fast I threw the car in reverse, turned off my headlights, and put my foot to the floor backing into what looked like a drop-off.
Willow screamed I had told her to close her eyes, she should have listened. We did drop off just not as much as it would at first appear. At the bottom of the hill I turned a 180 pulling into an abandoned barn.
Hearing the sirens pass I let out a breath but Willow was already out of the car. “Omg Maddox were you trying to kill us!”
I got out slamming my door, “I knew what I was doing Willow. I wouldn’t have just put both of our lives at risk.”
She shook her head, “Where the fuck are we?”
Walking over to slide the door to the barn shut I shrugged. “It’s just a barn Willow. Doc Ryland's place is around the corner.” Seeing Willows's eyes grow large I shook my head, “this is one of our safe zones. It’s Ok.”
Willow let out a deep breath, “you knew this was here?”
I frowned leaning up against my car, “did you seriously think this was just a lucky coincidence?” Looking over at her I tilted my head, “so do you want to tell me about what happened earlier?”
“Nothing, I don’t even know who that was.” Willow looked down, “he was just some coked out stranger.”
I snorted, “I’m not stupid Willow. If I hadn’t of seen you there is no telling what he would have done. How much money do you owe him?”
“I don’t owe him anything!” Willow screamed at me, “just mind your own damn business Maddox I don’t need you to try and fix me.”
I threw up my hands, "damn it Willow that guy was trying to drag you off. I heard you tell him out of your own mouth that you needed time." Shaking my head I looked over at her, "Excuse the fuck out of me for trying to help you next time I'll just let you get drug off."
Willow screamed in frustration, "I didn't know what to do OK. I didn't think he would follow me down here."
"What the hell are you into Willow?" I asked.
She shook her head, "you wouldn't understand Maddox. You don't even know me. You're so quick to judge me."
I frowned, "what? I'm the last person who would judge you. You stupid girl I'm trying to help you."
Willow walked up to me poking me in my chest with her finger, "I don't want your help you fucking idiot."
Looking down at her I don't know what happened. Whether it was the fact that she was so close to me that we were touching or the fact that she was aggressively in my face but something in me snapped. Reaching down I grabbed her waist pushing her into the wall behind her and kissed her. Breaking our kiss I looked down at her expecting her to shove me away but instead she pulled my face back down to hers.