Chapter 5. Driver's Test
“You smoke weed?” Jade asked, too loudly.
“Shh!” I hushed her. I closed my bedroom door and locked it. “It calms me down, okay?”
“Wow,” Peyton said and laughed. “Never figured you would do that.”
“Well, I tried it once and liked it,” I said and shrugged.
“When?” Jade asked.
“Like a few weeks ago,” I said. “You want to try it?”
“Sure,” they both agreed.
I took the hitter from my drawer and packed it. I sat down by Peyton and took a hit off it. I handed it to Peyton. After Peyton hit it, she handed it to Jade.
“Is this why you applied at Joe’s Pasta and Pizza?” Jade asked. “So, you had money to buy weed?” Jade giggled.
“Well, I have to save money to get a car because I don’t think my parents are going to help me,” I said. “Also, I want to be able to have money for gas and weed if I need it.”
“How did you get this?” Peyton asked.
“Took it from Mason. He won’t notice,” I lied smoothly. There was no way I was going to admit that I got it from Avery.
My mom was out of town with Richard, and Mason was out with friends. I asked the girls to stay with me for the night.
We turned the lights off and started a movie. The screen went dark before the opening of the movie, and headlights filled my bedroom windows.
“Shit!” I hissed. “Put that away; it might be Mason or Mom.”
The girls hurriedly put the things back in my drawer as I dashed out of the bedroom and down the stairs. I threw the door open. My steps faltered. I was face to face with Chris.
“Hey,” he said. “Can we talk?”
“Uh, sure,” I said. I turned and grabbed my jacket off the hook and followed him out onto the porch. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to see if you wanted to go get some pizza or something,” he said. “And I wanted to apologize for how I’ve been acting. I’m sorry that I upset you. You look amazing, Stormie. I didn’t mean what I said as an insult. The change just sort of took me by surprise.”
“Oh,” I breathed. “Um, I can’t.”
“Okay, maybe another time,” he said. He turned and headed for the steps.
I quickly grabbed his arm to stop him. “Wait, Chris,” I said.
He turned to face me.
“I meant that I couldn’t go out tonight because Jade and Peyton are here. I asked them to come have a sleepover. I’m sorry. If they weren’t here, I would have said yes,” I explained.
“Oh,” he said. “So, I’m forgiven for being a jerk?”
I laughed. “Yeah, it’s okay,” I said.
“Maybe, tomorrow night?”
“Tomorrow is great,” I said and smiled.
He closed the distance between us and grabbed my face between his hands. His lips pressed softly to mine. It was the first time I had kissed him in a couple of months. He tangled a hand into my hair and deepened the kiss.
I pressed my hands to his chest and leaned into him. The kiss was greedier in a way. It wasn’t the type of kiss I was used to. Chris and I were never very touchy-feely.
He broke the kiss and smiled at me. “See you tomorrow,” he murmured. He kissed my cheek and headed back down to his car.
After I slipped into a skirt and crop top, I headed downstairs. Mason was on the couch, but he didn’t look at me, though I was sure he heard me. I walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge to get a bottle of water.
A low whistle took me by surprise. I jumped and turned around.
Avery was behind me. His green eyes pierced mine. “You look nice. Going out?”
“Yeah, I have a date with Chris,” I said. I ducked under his arm, which was in my way of escape. I walked over to the counter. There was a window above the sink. I stood there so I could see when Chris pulled in.
Avery came up behind me.
The closeness sent an involuntary shiver down my spine. I whirled around. “What?” I asked, confused.
“Maybe, you shouldn’t go out with Chris,” he said.
“What about the conversation we had?” he asked.
“Look, all couples go through a rough patch. So, what?” I challenged. “You’re not supposed to dump someone over small stupid things. It isn’t like he cheated, at least, not to my knowledge.”
“A rough patch? He didn’t want anything to do with you for like a couple of months. He made no effort until he saw you after your makeover.”
“It’s not your fucking business!” I snapped.
Avery and I were both so lost in our argument that we didn’t hear Chris’s entrance.
I swallowed hard. Oh, god. How much did he hear?
“Chris, hey,” I said nervously. I bit down on my lip.
“What’s going on?” Chris asked.
Avery’s head snapped up in the direction of Chris. Avery gave Chris the same look that he gave Richard the night Richard almost hit me.
I shoved past Avery. “Nothing, just talking and waiting for you. Let’s go,” I said. I grabbed his hand and pulled him out of the kitchen.
We climbed into the blue Honda Civic.
“When are you going in for your driver’s test?” Chris asked as he started the car.
“Friday,” I said.
“Cool,” he said. “Good luck.”
“Thanks,” I said.
“Have you gotten any more driving in?” he asked.
“Avery has taken me several times, but that’s about it,” I said and shrugged.
Chris grimaced. “That’s good,” he said. He didn’t look like he thought it was good at all.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“I just think he looks at you a little funny,” he said awkwardly.
“Like how?” I pressed.
“He just seems a little too protective over you. I can understand Mason being that way, but for Avery to do it...” he trailed off and shook his head.
“I grew up with Avery. He just looks at me like a little sister, that’s all,” I said. “Avery doesn’t want to see me get hurt in the same way Mason doesn’t want me to get hurt. Big brothers are always overprotective.”
“Yeah, maybe,” he said and shrugged. “You two seemed a little angry with each other about something? What did you mean when you told him to stay out of your business?” Chris pressed.
I sighed. “He just thinks it is a little strange that I didn’t see you much all summer, and suddenly we are going on a date,” I answered honestly.
Chris pursed his lips and nodded. “I understand that I suppose. I’m sorry, I was just busy all summer.”
“I know that. It’s fine, honestly. I was busy all summer too.”
He smiled and took my hand in his. “I’m glad you decided to come out with me tonight. It’s nice to get some time with you.”
“Same here,” I said and smiled back.
“Next time, tell that little asshole to have you home earlier. It’s almost midnight!” Mason sneered.
Avery was behind Mason with his arms crossed over his chest.
“Screw you, guys!” I yelled and threw my arms in the air. “Like either of you have room to talk. You stay out and get drunk with your buddies and pass out in the front yard at five in the morning!”
“We’re also older than you! You’re only sixteen, Storm!”
“You were both doing it at sixteen!”
“It’s different!” Mason yelled.
“Why because I’m a girl? Is that it?” I snapped.
Mason crossed his arms over his muscular chest and breathed heavily. “Girls at your age get hurt, badly because of making stupid choices. I’m just trying to keep you safe.”
“You’re not my dad. You’re my brother, so please act accordingly,” I said.
“I’m the closest thing that you have to a dad!” He shouted.
I turned and stomped up the stairs. I refused to deal with their bullshit. I slammed the door and huffed angrily. I grabbed some clothes and changed.
When I was done changing, I grabbed my hitter from the drawer.
The door swung open.
I gasped and spun around, holding my hands behind my back. To my relief, it was just Avery.
“Chill, it’s just me,” he said and closed the door.
“Don’t you knock?” I arched a brow. “What if I had been naked?”
He pursed his lips. “Right, I didn’t think about that. I’ll start knocking,” he said and looked away.
“What do you want?” I asked.
“Why the hell would you stay out so late? You’ve never done it before. You scared the hell out of Mason. I had to talk him out of blowing your phone up, calling Chris’ parents, your mom, the cops–”
“Okay! I get it! Damn, is old age getting to you two? Did you forget what it was like to be sixteen or what?”
“Yeah, but we are guys. A girl isn’t exactly going to hurt us. However, you are young and a girl, you could get hurt by Chris or some random stranger.”
“In Granbury?” I snorted. “Please.” I put the hitter to my lips and hit it. I sat on the edge of the bed.
Avery snatched the hitter from me and lowered himself over me. His hands on my thighs, and his eyes level with mine. “Next time, at least text your brother and tell him how late you will be gone. If you do that, he won’t freak out. He cares about you. Lose the attitude, or you can find a new way to get weed. I don’t have to give you shit,” he snapped. He stood upright and dropped the hitter onto my bed. He stalked out of my room and slammed the door.
My shoulder caught someone else’s.
“Damn, learn to watch where you’re going,” Susie snapped.
“Well, if you didn’t take up the entire fucking hallway, we wouldn’t have this issue,” I said.
Everyone in the hallway in hearing distance started laughing.
“Me? Please, go eat another fucking cheeseburger, Stormie,” she said. My name came out with a strong distaste.
“Oh, I probably will, and my ass still won’t jiggle as much as yours does,” I said and smiled.
“That’s because your ass is so flat,” she sneered.
“Really? Then why are most guys staring at it when I walk by?” I challenged.
Several guys started to whistle.
She grimaced and stalked off the other direction, clearly, defeated.
A smile stretched across my lips, and I headed for my locker. It felt great to stand up for myself. School was over for the door. My driver’s test was in one hour.
“Hey,” Avery walked up behind me.
“What?” I asked.
“Your brother got detention,” he said.
“You’re kidding me?” I spun around and stared at him in shock.
“Damn it! Why did he have to get in trouble today of all–”
“I’m taking you to the DMV, Storm. Chill out,” he said.
I sighed and grumbled a slur of curse words under my breath. “Let’s go,” I said. I shut the locker and headed down the hallway.
Avery walked beside me to the truck. He grabbed my arm and stopped me. “What are you doing?”
“Um, getting in the truck?” I arched a brow.
“We’re taking Mason’s car,” he said. “You can drive there.” He held the keys up and dropped them into my hand when I reached for them.
We slid into Mason’s red Chevy Camaro. I turned the radio on, put my seatbelt on, and backed out slowly. There was an awkward silence between Avery and me, but I tried hard not to focus on it.
We pulled into the DMV, and Avery looked over at me. “Good luck,” he said.
“Thanks,” I said.
Before we could reach the door, Avery turned me around to face him. “Hey, you’ll get it. The main thing is to relax. It’s hard not to be nervous, but just pay attention and do as he says. You’re a really good driver. Once you pass this, you never have to retake it.”
I drew in a deep breath. “Thanks,” I said.
“I got it!” I yelled and held the paper up as I ran across the parking lot to Avery.
“Hell yeah, girl, I told you,” he said excitedly.
I was so excited that I jumped right into Avery’s arms without even thinking about it. I wrapped my legs around his waist and my arms around his neck. His arms wound around my waist. We embraced tightly for a moment, and I jumped back down. My brain was all over the place from the ecstasy.
“Thank you,” I told him.
“No problem,” he said. “Come on. You can drive.”
I grabbed his arm to stop him. “No, I mean, really thank you. You’re the only one who has taken me driving the past month, and I didn’t even give you gas money. You gave me a lot of useful tips. I don’t think I would have passed it without you.”
“You’re welcome, but it’s really not a big deal. I’m glad you got your license. Let’s get out of here,” he said and nodded his head to the car.
We dropped Mason’s car back off at the school and took Avery’s truck back to his house. When we stopped in the driveway, I turned to thank him, but he stopped me.
“Get out of the truck and wait for me. I got something for you,” he said.
“What?” I asked, confused.
“Now that beats the purpose of a surprise,” he said.