XII - Changes
A lot of things had changed in one week. Maddox Cole and his family had moved in, Maddox started up his weird kind of after school club with me, and now here I am, getting lifts to school in his car and having to agree to whatever things we’ll be doing as soon as the bell for the end of school sounds.
“I was thinking,” Maddox started, as closed the car door and pushed my rucksack on the floor space, “do you have a hobby besides, you know, revising and math and all that geeky stuff you’re into?”
I rolled my eyes at his word choice and shrugged as I thought about it. I usually spoke and spent time with my friends in my spare time if I wasn't studying for school. I used to write a journal, but the days always seemed to repeat and eventually I gave up trying to find things to ramble on about.
"I hang out with Melissa and Carmen and Lavinia," I said after a couple of moments, and he smirked slightly and raised his brows.
"So, that's a no. That's another thing that's gonna have to change."
I frowned in confusion. "What? Why?"
"Look, there's no point in doing this if you're not gonna go home to anything else at least half-interesting. Why don't you try skateboarding?"
I pulled a face and shook my head. "Not really my thing."
"How'd you know?" he persisted, "Have you tried it before?"
"No, not really. I don't know."
"Okay," he said with a smirk and a roll of his sage green eyes, "just think about it. And by that, I mean find something, before I do."
"Yeah, I'll try," I responded, as he parked his car in the school parking area. "What are we doing after school anyway?"
"Something I'll probably regret," he said with a grin as he turned off the engine, and my eyes widened a fraction in awareness.
"And I won't?"
"You'll just have to see. It's the only thing I can think of doing at the moment before things get really interesting. Audrey and Sebastian'll probably join in tomorrow too." His sage green eyes met mine as he locked the car.
"You get on well with Audrey, right?"
I nodded. "Yeah, she's really nice."
"Okay. Don't look so worried, Es, I'm not totally irresponsible."
I raised my brows and folded my arms, unconvinced.
"Really. So go find Melissa or someone. And here's an extra challenge," he added with his signature smirk, "hand in homework a day or two late."
"Never going to happen."
"Yeah?" He tossed his blonde fringe out of his eyes and grinned at me again. "We'll see." And he went off with another couple of boys and Harley.
I felt a hand grab my arm and I jumped slightly.
"Hey," Lavinia said, appearing next to me and seeming happier than usual. "Maddox still not leaving you alone?"
"Of course he isn't," I answered with a smile, "what about you? How's it been with Leroy?"
"Wait till you hear," Carmen said, running over to us with a grin on her face, her cheeks pink. "Leroy and-"
"I was getting to that," Lavinia snapped, rolling her eyes impatiently. "Yeah, anyway. He's always annoying at least fifty per cent of the time, but he did contribute to the project and started acting sort of decent. We had quite a laugh, at one point, when we were talking about how-"
"Don't you see?!" Carmen interrupted again, and Lavinia glared at her. "I swear, you two are gonna be a thing in, like, a week."
"Oh, shut up, Carmen!" Lavinia shot back, agitated, "It's not like that. I was simply saying that he hasn't been acting like a total idiot recently when we were doing the English work. Don't know how long it's gonna last for though. Quit giving me that look, Carmen, and grow up."
"Oh come on," Carmen said with a laugh, unaffected by Lavinia's annoyance, "you know I could be right."
Lavinia scoffed and refused to speak any more about it.
School came and went fairly quickly, and as I came out of my last class, someone nudged me. I looked up to see Harley, a top extro and Maddox's friend, walking beside me.
"You finished the English project thing? It's a drag, right?"
"I haven't finished it yet," I told him, trying desperately to recover from the shock that he was talking to me like any other extro girl, "but yeah, I guess there is a lot to do."
"Yep. Sucks, 'cus I gotta spend more time on it and less on football practise."
"Oh, right, you've got a tournament against other schools or something coming up soon," I answered, remembering Carmen mentioning it. "Well, it's just better to get it all over with. You'll be fine though, you're one of the best footballers here, apparently."
Harley smirked and nodded, pleased with my answer.
"Yeah. Cheers, Taylor." And he went off to join a group of jocks that were making their way towards the entrance, leaving me spellbound. Once again.
"What's up? You fail in math or something?" Maddox's voice said, and I snapped out of my thoughts, rolling my eyes and turning to face him.
"Why do you always link everything with math?"
"You know why," he responded with a smirk. "I don't know why you're so surprised the Harles is talking to you. Though you've mainly got me to thank for that, seeing as it's probably because you're hanging at with me more now."
"I'm surprised he knew I existed," I admitted, "but that last part should be the other way round."
"Yeah, sure. C'mon, get in the car."
"Where are we going?"
"Someplace with not too many obstacles or people around," he said as we got in, and he drove off.
"You'll see," he said again, with a grin. "Damn, girl, chill out. I'm not driving you to your death."
It took about ten or so minutes until Maddox stopped the car. We were in a large green, and there were a small shop and benches a distance away, a few people sitting together and drinking coffees and chatting.
"Okay. What do you know about driving and cars and stuff?"
"Uh..." I struggled to find an answer, shaking my head. "It's physics?"
He looked at me for a second before laughing, rolling his eyes.
"Have you ever driven anything in your life?"
I shook my head.
"Great. Get out."
I frowned but complied, and he got out too, leaving the door open and the keys still in their place inside the car. He ushered me in the driver's side, and once he sat at the passengers he locked the doors - just as I realised what he expected me to do. Realised too late, just my ordinary luck.
"No," I said abruptly, "I'm not driving your car!"
"You so are," Maddox replied with a smile, and I looked at him as if he were mad. Which he is.
"No, I'm not - you're not a driving instructor."
"Brilliant conclusion," Maddox said, a brow raised. "Who the hell cares?"
"Maddox, I can't drive."
"And I can. So I'm gonna teach you. And you can't back out. Rule three, remember?"
I sighed, shaking my head. Third crazy decision, just about to be made.
Maddox smirked, nodding. "Right. So, you've got three pedals. Clutch, brake, accelerator."
Maddox explained how all the gears and pedals of his car worked, and after a solid 15 minutes of explaining, I had to start actually driving. And I could see why he picked teaching me to drive as the after school club focus for the day. Because on the whole, it was actually quite fun.
"No, reverse it! Esme, you're gonna smash into something!"
He snorted with laughter and leant over, changing the gear. "Idiot."
"I'm sorry, I've never driven a car before!"
"That's pretty obvious," he responded, still laughing. "Keep going, then."
"You just told me to reverse!"
"Yeah, not stop!"
I rolled my eyes, glancing at him in half annoyance and half trying not to smile. "You're mean."
"I'm heavenly," he argued with a smirk, "come on, you're enjoying yourself. And maybe getting a fraction better."
The next two hours were filled with me and Maddox driving his car relentlessly and pointlessly, knocking the same trash can over more than three times in a row, Maddox finding it hilarious more than frustrating. Afterwards, he took over and drove us back home, where we went to Mugshotz to get a drink before the club ended for the day.
"Just for the record, you're a really bad driving instructor."
"But I'm a great fun-ness tutor," he negotiated with a smirk, "and predictor. Lavinia and Leroy. I was right about them."
"You don't know that yet."
"The next time you drive - which'll be on the road, by the way - you wait. They'll be a hell of a lot more chemistry going on. Just like us."
I stalled in my tracks, looking up at Maddox in surprise and uncertainty.
"Us hanging out more doing the after school club, and teaching you what fun means. You're enjoying it, I can tell." Then he smirked and raised a brow, mischief in his eyes. "Why, what did you think I meant?"
I rolled my eyes, scoffing. "Shut up."
"Can't. See you tomorrow, Es. Oh, also," he added before he crossed the road to get to his house, "try to get some kind of hobby. Stuff's gonna be picking up tomorrow. You're lucky I've been going easy on you the past few days."
And he grinned, crossing over and entering his house.