Chapter 2. Maybe Just One More
“Are you taking me driving today?” I asked my mom.
“Honey, I have things to do around the house, and I might have to go into work for a little while,” she said.
“And nurse your hangover,” I added, rudely.
“I’m really tired of your attitude,” she retorted.
“I’m really tired of not having parents,” I said, coldly.
Mom’s eyes widened, and guilt clouded her eyes. She reached for me, but I rejected it and turned away from her.
Avery was standing in the doorframe that divided the living room and kitchen. His hair was disheveled, and he was shirtless. “Storm,” he started.
I stalked past him, not giving him a chance to finish. I walked out the front door and slammed it shut. I sat down on the front steps and rested my face in both hands. My parents were so mixed up in their own misery that they didn’t notice Mason or me anymore.
The screen door swung shut. I didn’t have to turn around to know it was Avery. “Go away,” I said. I continued to stare out over the yard.
Avery’s leg brushed against mine when he sat down beside me on the step. “Look, I know you don’t want to talk to me about what is going on.”
“Then why did you come out here?” I asked. Irritation colored my tone.
“To take you for a drive,” he said softly.
My eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Yeah, right,” I muttered. I peeked up at him to see if he would start laughing. I was no idiot; Avery loved that truck more than he loved anything. He loved it more than he loved himself.
His expression stayed serious. He held up the keys to his truck.
“Aren’t you scared that I’ll wreck it?” I challenged.
“I would never let you wreck my truck,” he teased. “Besides, I have full coverage.”
“Fine,” I said and shrugged. I was still waiting for him to tell me he was kidding. I reached for the keys and took them from him.
“Let me go get a shirt on,” he said.
“And brush your hair,” I teased.
“And get me some coffee?” he asked and wiggled his eyebrows.
I rolled my eyes. “I suppose.” It’s the least I could do since he was letting me drive his ‘baby.’ There was already coffee in the pot. All I had to do was pour some in a to-go cup.
Mom looked up at me in confusion. “Going somewhere?”
“Avery is going to take me driving since you won’t,” I muttered.
“Avery is going to take you driving?” Mom asked in disbelief.
“Is that hard to believe?” I asked, turning to face her with the cup in my hand.
“You two never did get along too well. What changed?” Mom asked.
I shrugged. The truth was, I was wondering the same. Maybe, Avery just felt sorry for me. I didn’t want his pity, but in order to pass the driver’s test that was scheduled for next month, I had to get in some more driving practice. Without another word, I headed out to his truck.
During my four week stay with my father in California, he didn’t let me drive once. His new bride was a total snobby bitch. She had blond hair and was tall. She was thin and beautiful. It’s easy to tell why my father fell at her feet and left my mom.
His wife, Cindy, was only in her early twenties. My father was forty-two years old and was on his way to a promotion that would relocate him to California. Once, Cindy, his assistant, caught wind of it, the affair started. She knew his promotion would be making him three times more the amount then he was getting.
Avery came outside, pulling me from my thoughts. He climbed into the passenger side. “This is weird as hell for me,” he said and chuckled.
“Why?” I asked worriedly. Am I doing something wrong? I looked around myself in confusion. I had my seatbelt on, mirrors were adjusted, and so was the seat. I hadn’t even turned the truck on yet. “Did I do something wrong?”
He shook his head. “No, of course not. You haven’t even turned the truck on yet.” Avery rolled his eyes and let out another low chuckle. “I’ve never even sat in the passenger side of my truck. It is strange as hell.”
A chuckle escaped me, and I shook my head. I turned the key, and the truck roared loudly to life. “I’m used to mom’s car,” I warned. “I’m not too sure about this. The truck is massive and far off the ground.” I looked over at him, my face filled with concern. Maybe, it’s a bad idea. I could change my mind. We haven’t even left the driveway.
“Just take a deep breath and relax,” he said calmly. “It’s not that much different. You have been driving for a while now. You must be pretty decent at it.”
“Yeah, with a car!” I threw my arms up slightly and let them fall back onto the steering wheel.
He sighed and flipped the central council up. He scooted closer to me. “Look, if you start doing something wrong, I will correct it. We’re not going to crash. You like trucks, right?”
“Well, yeah,” I muttered.
“And if you want one, eventually, you are going to have to learn to get comfortable with driving them,” Avery said. His words calmed me down.
“Okay, just stay close,” I said. Avery is the last person I thought I would say that too. I took several more deep breaths to calm myself. I put the truck in reverse and watched out the mirrors as I slowly backed up.
“Wait,” Avery said quickly.
My reaction was slamming on the breaks. A gasp escaped me, and I looked at him in horror.
“Damn, girl. I was just going to tell you I forgot my lighter,” he said and guffawed.
“You son of a...” I trailed off and narrowed my eyes at him. I put the truck in park. “You think that is funny? You scared the hell out of me.” I turned and smacked him. It only made him laugh harder. I kneeled in the seat and balled my fist up. I pounded them into his arm and chest.
“Ow!” he said and continued to laugh. “Wait, I’m sorry. Damn, I was just playing with you!” He fell back onto the seat and continued to laugh.
I crawled on top of him and continued to try to hit him, but he started blocking the hits. “Damn it, Avery! I hate you!” I sneered.
Avery reached up and started tickling me. “It was a joke, shortie! Stop being so serious!” Avery laughed. Only Avery and Mason knew how ticklish I was. It was a curse.
As much as I didn’t want to laugh, I started laughing. I writhed on top of him. “Okay, stop! Please, stop!” I squealed through giggles.
“Are you done hitting?” he chuckled.
“And you’re not mad?”
“No!” If I was being honest, I wasn’t mad anymore. I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed so hard.
“Okay, good. That was making me tired,” he said and sighed. He placed his hands back behind his head. He gave me a cocky smile and stared up at me.
“Do you really need the light?” I asked breathlessly.
“Nah, I got one in here. I just got to find it,” he said and chuckled.
“You’re an ass,” I muttered. I crawled off of him.
He sat back up and opened up the glove box. He moved some things around until he found the lighter he was looking for.
“Do you really have to smoke that, right now?” I arched a brow.
“Don’t knock it ’til you try it,” he said and offered me the lit blunt.
“No, thanks,” I said. “If I’m driving this big thing, I’d rather be sober.”
“It might help you relax and drive better,” he said.
There were a lot of kids in town that smoked weed, and they all seemed fine. Most kids thought that I had no way of getting it, but that wasn’t true. The other kids didn’t know was that I was let in on a secret couple of years ago. Avery was the source of marijuana for all of Granbury, Texas. Sometimes he grew it, and other times he bought it in Dallas from a cousin of his.
Only a few people knew it was Avery supplying it, and that was because Avery made them deal it to the other kids.
“What makes you think it is so bad?” Avery asked as he inhaled the smoke.
I turned the left blinker on and looked both ways up the road. I turned the wheel but not too sharp. I accelerated a little too quickly, making the truck jolt. My eyes widened in horror.
Avery grabbed the wheel and maneuvered it slightly. “You’re fine. Just slow down a little bit.”
I pressed a little on the brake and slowed down. “Sorry,” I murmured. “I just don’t want to do something because everyone else does.”
“Ever think there is a reason that everyone does, though?” he asked.
“I’ve heard that it relaxes you. I have also heard that it makes some people laugh a lot or make them hungry. Do you ever worry you will get fat? I mean, you do eat a lot,” I said and gave him a side glance.
He blew it in my face.
“Ugh,” I grunted. I waved my hand around for a moment and held my breath. “The stuff fucking stinks.” I rolled the windows down to try and get the smell and smoke out of the truck.
“Ridiculous. You know what else I do besides eat a lot?” he challenged.
“Work out. Did you forget? Abs don’t come natural, you know,” he said and wiggled his eyebrows.
“God, you are so full of yourself.”
“At least I’m not a wimp,” he said.
“Really?” I raised my eyebrows.
He gave me an innocent smile.
I ripped the blunt away from him and put it to my lips. I took a big hit off of it and let the smoke fill my lungs. I held the smoke in.
“Damn, killer. That is going to fuck you up,” he said and guffawed. He took the blunt from me. “That is going to be plenty for you.”
I exhaled and coughed. I coughed so hard it made my eyes water. Avery held onto the wheel for me as I coughed out a lung. I tried to take in small amounts of oxygen at a time. My eyes suddenly felt heavier, but I wasn’t tired. The high hit me almost right away, and I liked it.
“Damn,” I muttered.
“I know,” he said and smiled.
“My brother is going to murder you,” I said and giggled.
“Yeah, let’s just keep this event between us, okay?” Avery grimaced.
I giggled at his reaction. “Fine, whatever you say, quarterback.” The giggles started to become uncontrollable. “I see why you’re always hungry. There were donuts on the counter; I should have fucking grabbed one. I’m starving.”
“You’re cut off,” he chuckled. “We’ll get coffee and donuts at the coffee shop, but you have to act normal. Can you do that?”
I threw my head back and laughed. “I was born normal.”
“That’s a no,” he said and chuckled. “Maybe you should stay in the truck.”
“Okay...” I trailed off and pursed my lips. “God, how can you be high and drive?” I narrowed my eyes to the road, which was moving too fast.
“And once we get there, I’m driving back,” he said and chuckled. “You’re doing fine. It might feel weird or freaky, but you are okay.”
“Are you sure? What if we get pulled over?” I whispered.
“Why are you whispering?”
“So, they can’t hear us,” I murmured.
“What?” Avery threw his head back and laughed. Tears started to form in his eyes. “Holy shit, I regret not getting you high sooner. You’re so much more fun.”
I snorted. “I’m always fun.”
He gave me a skeptical look, and we both started laughing.
We pulled up to Donuts Plus. We both climbed out of the truck.
While he headed inside, I headed for the passenger’s side door. It was already muggy, even though it was ten o’clock. Today would be a stick your head in the freezer to cool down, type of day.
I turned around to see who had called my name.
It was Chris, my boyfriend. We had both had such a busy summer that we hardly saw each other. Chris stopped in front of me and smiled. “Hey.”
“Hey,” I said a little too loud. I grimaced. Damn, I’m way too high for this shit. “What are you doing here?” I tilted my head. Is that okay to ask?
“I was going to ask you the same. Are you here with Avery?” he asked, surprised.
“Oh, yeah,” I said and waved it off. I pretended to be annoyed by the fact. I wasn’t annoyed at all for once in my life; I was enjoying Avery’s company. I wasn’t sure why I was pretending to be annoyed. Perhaps it seemed more natural. “He took me driving. My mom wouldn’t do it, and he stayed the night last night,” I said and shrugged. What the hell that doesn’t sound right, does it.
“God, not like that, Chris. He stayed with Mason. Mason got hurt–”
“I heard,” Chris cut me off. “Message me later?”
“Yeah, sure,” I agreed.
He leaned down and pecked my cheek.
I stared after him in confusion. Almost six weeks have gone by since I even spoke to him face to face. I hadn’t talked to him in two weeks through text or call, and all I get is a fucking peck on the cheek?
“Stormie, what are you doing?”
I spun around to see Avery. “Oh, um, I saw Chris.”
“Oh? You didn’t tell him–”
“No, of course not,” I said and shook my head.
“Do you want to drive back?” he asked.
“No, I think you better do it,” I said.
He shrugged. “Alright.”
We climbed back into the truck and headed back down the highway.
“You’re quiet all the sudden,” he said.
“I’m thinking,” I said.
I sighed. “You don’t care.”
“What?” he raised his eyebrows and looked over at me, confused. “You’re thinking about me, not caring? I grew up with you, Stormie, that’s ridiculous. I care about you.”
“I wasn’t talking about that. Blah, blah, blah, you’re like my little sister, I get it. I meant you wouldn’t care to hear what I’m thinking about,” I said.
He sighed. “I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t.”
It took me a long moment before I spoke. “Chris is acting weird. He has been since the end of the school year. He doesn’t make much effort to talk to me. When I saw him, all he did was peck me on the cheek and ask me why I was with you like he was suspicious or something,” I explained.
Avery nodded. “Want my honest opinion?”
“Sure,” I said and glanced over at him.
“Sounds like he is seeing someone else. He better hope not because if Mason caught wind of that, he would kill Chris. You two never made much sense anyway if you ask me. You’re better off,” he said.
That wasn’t what I was expecting, at least not the last part. “Yeah, I was thinking the same,” I said. “At least, about the cheating part.”
Avery gave me an apologetic look. He turned the stereo on and put in a CD. The Lacs blared through his speakers, they weren’t very popular. I never used to like them, but they were starting to grow on me because Avery and Mason played their music a lot.
Avery took the other half of the blunt from the ashtray and lit it. He looked over at me and offered it to me.
I pursed my lips and debated it. I shrugged and took it from him. “Maybe just one more.”