The drive to the airport felt like it took forever. It was only a few hours, but it went by like days. Since moving, I’ve been waiting for this moment.
The anticipation is killing me for Rachel to walk through the doors into the welcome center. I turn around to make sure my dad is still nearby – he wanted to give me and Rachel space to greet each other. He’s sitting in one of the chairs wearing the baseball shirt I got for him; he’s surrounded by a crowd of people also on their phones.
I suppose a detective’s job is never done, as my dad would often quote: ‘there’s no rest for the wicked, which means there’s no rest for me.’
Facing back at the doors, I can’t help but rehash last night. Why did I have to be at that church? I met his mother! I can’t believe I met her while in my ‘lounging around the house’ clothes. She must think that I’m a bum and have no respect for such a special church service. My teeth begin to rip away some of the skin on my lip. Mike came inside shortly before dad did... Was that just a coincidence? It had to have been a coincidence. I’ve meant to ask my dad about his muddy pants and boots since he claimed that he had to go to the office, but it keeps slipping my mind. A lot happened last night...
I feel a large smile stretch across my face. The girl’s black hair is up in a tight bun with a little puff at the top. Her skin is still the pale ebony color that I remember. She’s sporting black yoga pants, a pink long-sleeve tee, and very white sneakers. As soon as she sees me, she beams and does her normal excited scream then starts to jog over to where I am. With opening my arms to mimic her, I run right into her hug.
“Ahh! It’s so good to see you! Merry Christmas,” she greets in the embrace.
“Merry Christmas! I’m so glad you’re here,” I squeal.
“Me too,” she agrees as we pull out of the hug.
“Oh my gosh! So, the entire flight down here, it was like four hours, but still. I sat next to this guy, and I kid you not, he hogged the armrests the entire time! Ugh... people can be so inconsiderate.” I giggle at her animation and the need for her venting.
In the car ride back, the backseat was filled with laughter, gossip, and just catching up on our lives...well, to a certain extent, my dad is within hearing distance.
Pulling into the driveway, we get out, and I immediately wished that there was a delay on our route back. My neighbor is in his driveway. It looks as though he’s getting ready to ride off somewhere. Paul is with him.
On the other hand, it is perfect timing.
“Wow. Those two are like sex on a stick!” Rachel blurts in a whisper as my dad takes out her luggage from the trunk. He didn’t seem to hear her, thank God!
“Rachel!” I slap her on the arm and laugh as we get out of the car. She isn’t wrong, but those kinds of comments should be kept to herself.
“What? It’s true!” The lively one sings as I meet her on the other side of the car facing his house. She must be taking note of my sullen expression directed at the man in the leather jacket mounting his bike; he’s smiling at whatever Paul had said. “Wait. Is that...” Rachel whispers low.
I nod then meet her eyes with mine. “Ho-ly crap, girl.” She sighs.
The urge to roll my eyes is victorious. Thanks, Rachel...Thanks.
“The guy next to him is Paul,” I tell her with a smile.
“No way!” she screeches. I’m so glad dad is inside at this point. “Mama like.”
“Rachel!” I slap her arm.
“What?” She acts all innocent.
“You are so bad. Always have been.” I laugh, and she giggles back.
With a shoulder shrug, she reminds me, “I know what I like. When I like something, I go for it.”
We both watch and try not to drool as the two mysterious men in black fire up their bikes and take off down the road. Mike glances in my direction – more so glares in my direction. Of course, Paul looks over at us as well while he passes the house and nods once with a smile. Rachel lets out a gasp; I’m sure she nearly swooned for him. I can’t wait for them to meet officially. Maybe she’ll have better luck with a biker than me.
I help with her bags by carrying them through the house; we pass my dad in the kitchen, getting dinner ready, down the hall, and to my room. “You can either have my bed, and I’ll take the air mattress, or you can take the air mattress - I don’t care,” I honestly tell her as we put her luggage on the floor.
“I’ll take the air mattress-it’s all good. Thank you for not letting me stay on the hardwood floor,” she teases.
“Oh my gosh! That was one time,” I exasperate jokingly with an eye roll.
“One time too many,” she laughs.
“We were six, and it wasn’t my fault that you fell asleep on the floor before making it to the bed,” I recap.
“Yeah, yeah.” She plops on my bed, and I join her. “So, tell me, what’s been going on with you and Mike?” she asks a little concerned, probably from the reaction I had outside.
“I don’t know. He just...” I fiddle with my hands. “I’m not his type.”
“What do you mean? I thought he liked you.” Her dark brows knit together.
“I thought he did too...but I guess not. It was weird, though; I met his mom yesterday, and she seemed to have been under the impression that we were dating. She even said that he was, and I quote, smitten with me,” I share with her.
“What?” Rachel questions. “This doesn’t make any sense.”
I sigh. “Tell me about it. He’s been kind of cold to me the last couple of times I’ve seen him.”
“Wait, hold up.” She puts a hand up. “You met his mom?” Those gunmetal eyes are wide with shock.
With a nod, I tell her all about last night. She nods her head, rolls her eyes, and drops her mouth throughout the re-telling of last night’s events.
Rachel finally speaks, “Wow...so strange. Why’d you guys move here again?” sarcasm is heavy in her words. “Sounds worse than Detroit. There’s a dangerous man on the loose?” Her voice cracks.
“My dad assured me that we are safe. We just need to take certain precautions - like always lock the doors and not steer away from the buddy system,” I promise her as well as myself with my grown history here.
The light knock on the door causes us to look ahead at my father standing in the doorway to my room. “Dinner’s ready.”
“I really like your collage board,” Rachel praises back in my room while I put clean sheets on the air mattress for her.
“That’s a great picture of your mom.” She leans in and admires the photo.
“Thanks.” I smile and meet her at the board on the wall adjacent to the closet. “My personal favorite is the one where we’re dressed up in our mom’s clothes.” With a laugh, I point at the two of us from when we were about eight years old dressed in oversized dresses and heels with our mother’s pearl necklaces and huge fashioned hats with the obnoxious buckles. We look ridiculous.
She laughs, “I remember that! Oh, that was so much fun.”
“Yeah, it was,” I agree as I turn to finish making the bed for her.
Rachel turns around to walk towards the bed, careful not to step on the air mattress. “What’s this?” She reaches for the Tupperware container on top of Mike’s wrapped present on my desk next to the bed. I tied a red and green ribbon around the container into the perfect bow.
I would have given it to Mike if we were on good terms or were still kind of together, but that didn’t happen. Not wanting it to go to waste, I lie, “That container is for you...I got this for you as well.” Stepping to the side into my closet, I reach for the gift bag and walk it to where she stands.
“Oh. That’s so sweet! I have a gift for you, too.” She smiles and bends down to her suitcase; then, we exchange the gifts. She hands me a medium size box with snowflake wrapping paper.
“On the count of three?” I ask.
“One...two...three,” we say in unison, then on three, she pulls out the tissue paper from the bag, and I tear open the wrapping paper.
“Oh, I love it! Thank you so much!” Rachel exclaims, hugging me.
“You’re welcome, I’m glad.” I return the hug, then open the lid of my gift. My eyes land on a beautiful, thin, blue scarf with tassels at the ends. “This is so pretty, Rach,” I gasp, touching the material. I take it out of the box, and it feels like silk. Immediately, I wrap it around my neck then look in the mirror. “I love it!” I pull her in for a hug, and she smiles.
“I’m so happy! I didn’t want to get you a heavy winter scarf because I know it doesn’t get ridiculously cold here,” she explains.
“This is perfect, Rachel. Thank you so much,” I assure her as she unties the bow on the container, which once held the treats for Mike, but now they are for her. She takes out a chocolate chip cookie.
“Mmm. I have missed your baking, girl,” she says, savoring the taste of the cookie.
“So, is there anything you would like to do while you visit?” I ask her as we sit cross-legged on my bed facing each other. I grab my pillow to rest my arms on it.
“Well...actually.” My friend mischievously stands up to close the bedroom door. She bends down to get something from her backpack then takes her spot back on the bed.
I give her a quizzical look. “You know how we’ve always wanted to go dancing at a bar or club?”
“Yes...” I draw out my answer, hoping she’s not going where I think she’s going.
“Well.” She shows me two IDs in her hand. “I got these made.” She hands me one.
“Salina Davis?” I ask her. “You made fake ID’s!” I swat my pillow at her, and she laughs. “Rachel...” When I’m about to protest, she jumps in.
“You’ve got to live a little, Elena. You’re only eighteen once, right?” she coaxes.
“You’re only every age once, Rachel,” I argue.
“Yeah, but come on!” She points to the ID in my hand. “That looks so real. You don’t even have to drink or anything – it’s just to get us in. It’ll be fun, and I’ll be right there with you the entire time. I promise. Please?” She pouts her bottom lip and bats her lashes at me.
This is just like Rachel. She’s always been the instigator of such things. One time we were at a bowling alley and they were about to close, but she insisted it would be fun to hide out until everyone left...we had the whole place to ourselves, and it was a blast. However, when security came around, we high tailed it out of there laughing the whole time. Thankfully the security guard was slower than us.
What we did was harmless; we didn’t steal or break anything. It was the most fun I had in a long time, and looking back, that adrenaline rush was almost like the car chase I had with Mike – almost. I shouldn’t have liked that feeling, but I did. Besides, Rachel is a good, honest person. She’s full of life and has been my rock in more ways than one, which leads me to say...
“Fine,” I sigh in defeat.
Her face lights up, and her mouth drops open. “Really?” I nod my head, not sure if I’m going to regret this or not. “This will be so much fun! We’ll get all dolled up and everything!”
I take a moment to admire the ID in my hand then look up to warn her. “Don’t make me regret this, Rach.”
She gives me a wink with a wide white smile. “Have I ever steered you wrong?”
Thank you for reading! I love you all so much!
Meet Rachel! I love her so much! She’s fun to write!
Let’s see what kinds of things these two will get into!