|The Doppler Effect
Author: Small Wings Flying PM
Dealing with things is a lot easier when you have the option of running away.Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama - Words: 2,141 - Reviews: 11 - Published: 05-31-12 - id: 3027667
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Anyone know what the Doppler Effect is? If you don't, look it up. Otherwise the title might be lost on you. :)
This might be better for those of you who don't so much like threading through all my waffle. I must admit I'm particularly partial to descriptions for some reason, but hopefully this has cut it down…and still worked. That's actually why I'm posting it up now. The next chapter won't be up until something's finished. At this rate, it's going to be Ordinarily Modern.
The Doppler Effect
'You're a fucking idiot, you know that?'
The addressed failed to respond, pale hands gripping the steering wheel with unnecessary force while brown eyes remained glued to the road.
The speaker huffed a little before burrowing into the passenger seat and letting a yawn escape. A strand of black hair drifted into the open mouth and she grimaced, lifting a hand to pull it free. 'I mean,' she continued after a moment as the car pulled into the Princes Freeway and sped up as it blended into the midnight traffic. 'Why the hell would you leave a sweet guy like Van for Jason?'
'I didn't,' her companion replied, tone laced with frost. 'He broke up with me.'
'You could have easily fixed it,' the other pointed out, rubbing her right temple as she tried to banish the headache she got from four cans of beer. 'Instead, you turn around and shag the biggest womanizer in first year.' A smirk split through the reprimanding expression; gossip was gossip after all. 'How was it?'
'Barely worth my time.' The brown eyes, dull and a little glazed (although, not enough to be worrisome), never left the road.
The passenger gaped at her, failing to notice the strand that had assaulted her open mouth again, eyes bright. 'D-did you and Val ever-?' she managed, after a minute-long impersonation of a fish out of the water.
'No.' The road ahead began to curve and the car slipped into the left lane. Neither occupant spared much notice to the change.
Raven hair bounced atop the bare shoulders as the young woman shrugged. 'What set the standards then, hmm?' Her blue eyes, bright from the quantity of alcohol she had consumed, bored into the side of the other's skill.
'It's none of your business, the driver snapped, still failing to turn.
The black-haired woman 'hmmphed and turned to stare out the window. 'Aren't I good enough for you anymore Jul? 'cause it seems like everything's turning into trash.' The navy blue strap of her mini-dress slid down and she subconsciously adjusted it. 'Just let me out here. I'll hitch a ride home.'
Receiving no response, she turned back to her (apparently questionable) friend. 'Hey, did you hear me? Julia?'
The car accelerated slightly as Julia turned to her.
'Pull over,' the other snapped, running low on patience and playing the drama-queen card.
'I can't,' the other responded in a monotone, eyes snapping back to the road. 'We're on a freeway.'
'There's the emergency lane.'
'No, there isn't.'
A quick glance out the window told the raven that Julia was right. Scowling slightly, she threw herself back into her seat. Out of the corner of her eyes, she noted the other's knuckles whitening as the grip on the steering wheel tightened. The bubbling anger receded as quickly as it came, leaving behind only the buzzing within her head and slight frustration. Julia was usually far more level-headed. It was she who required a leash around her neck.
There was a bit of a brief pause before either of them spoke again.
'Jason called you Jul.' A tad tentative, picking up the threads of the conversation. 'At the party.'
'Hmm,' came the nonchalant response.
Black hair was flicked away from the flushed skin again. 'Only three people in this wall call you Jul,' she said, a little more placidly although with obvious restraint. 'That's me, your old man, and…Val.' The last was a little hesitant, and rightly so.
'Valentine is history,' Julia replied coldly.
'You two were perfect for each other.' The voice rose to an almost-whine. If she had a boyfriend like Val, she'd stick her claws into the guy and never let him go. 'He was so sweet-'
'Too sweet,' the other muttered, a tad sourly. 'In case you never noticed Shelley, he's like that to everyone.'
'Ouch,' Shelley winced, before rubbing her head again. 'My full name. You make it sound like I'm in trouble or something.' She paused, looking for the thread of conversation that had drifted away from her. 'You really are a fucking idiot. He likes everyone but he loves you.'
Julia ignored that, letting another exit whizz by.
Shelley twisted in her seat again, something akin to alarm splattering over her face. 'You missed the exit.'
'No, I didn't.'
A check at the green board coming up told her that Julia was, once again, right. Hoppers Crossing was the next offset from the main freeway.
Shelley sighed and rubbed her head again. 'What's with you anyway?' she asked finally. 'Why'd you even come to this party? You hate parties of the sort.'
'I had nothing else to do,' Julia replied.
'Your father –'
A pause. 'Right.' Then the tanned brow furrowed. 'You're heading to an empty house?'
'It's no big deal.'
'And you're drunk.'
'I'm not over the limit.'
The buzzing continued to persist, and Shelley sighed again. She was lucky Julia had come to the party, elsewise Cheryl would be driving her home. And it was impossible to keep up with Cheryl when sober, let alone while buzzed.
With Julia, it was easy. Especially since the conversation didn't go all too far and thus was easy to diverge. The annoying part was steering the conversation; there was no way she'd get away with simple half-hearted acknowledgements (as there was little to actually acknowledge) and it was probably a bad idea to put music on. Anything heavy-metal would crack her skull open and probably cause the driver to crash. Anything slow and melodious would likely put them both to sleep. That left her with the core of managing the conversation.
Trying to understand things while mildly incapacitated was rather frustrating though. It was almost like playing with something shy of a full deck.
'Am I missing something?' Not that she was expecting an answer of course, nor did she receive one. 'Seriously though. I don't get you.' She slammed the flat surface of her palms onto the dashboard for emphasis. 'You two suddenly break up, and it's like you've suddenly got a split personality.'
The grip on the steering wheel tightened again. 'Hardly,' Julia retorted. 'I just needed a break.'
'That's "break" as in my "break",' Shelley pointed out. 'Your "break" is to curl up in front of the heater at your house with a book.'
'I felt like something different,' the other snapped.
'Sheesh. You're short-tempered when you're drunk.'
'I'm not drunk.' Julia sighed nasally, before dropping the conversation as she eased the car into the exit lane.
'Right.' It was almost sarcastic. 'You're PMSing.'
'You become rather careless when you're drunk.'
Shelley laughed, before wincing as it aggravated her headache. 'Careless isn't the right word,' she pointed out, although not without the irritation that had plagued her since the beginning of their conversation. 'Just tell me what's wrong with you and I'll leave it alone.'
'Nothing is wrong,' Julia responded frostily, pressing the brake-peddle down as the car neared an intersection, looking down briefly as she realised she had been tapping her foot in a nervous reflex. It was a mistake to drive; the steering wheel shuddered in her grasp, no matter how tightly she held it. Shelley was being annoyingly persistent…and also annoyingly correct. She was an idiot in all definitions of the word.
The car pulled to a stop behind the white line and Shelley blew on the stray strand of hair again. 'You never answered my initial question,' she pointed out, slouching. 'What do you have to compare with?'
There was a moment of strained silence before Julia answered. 'Nothing.' The vehemence in her tone however made it impossible to believe.
'Really?' Shelley asked rhetorically, fixing her strap again. 'And this "nothing" is so special, you have to hide it from old Shels?'
Considering they'd only known each other for ten weeks, the statement wasn't largely significant.
'I thought you were hitching a ride home.'
'I am. With you.' And she rolled her eyes as if stating the most obvious thing in the world…neglecting the sudden anger that had prompted the initial statement.
Julia eased her foot off the brake-peddle as the light turned green and the car shot forward into Princes Highway.
'What were you hoping for?'
The car swerved slightly as the grip on the steering wheel loosened slightly, before tightening again. 'Excuse me?'
'What were you hoping for?' Shelley was leaning against the window, leeching the coolness to coax away the insistent headache. 'When you…you know…'
There was silence before Julia spoke. 'Why do you want to know?'
'Because I'm curious,' the raven responded. 'And I'm worried.' She dragged out the "and". 'You're supposed to be my role model.' And she thought she could let herself go because the other was bound to notice when she passed the three-can mark. In the end, it had been Val to catch her fifth and throw the contents down the sink. 'You're just not the type of person to…' She broke off, lifting a hand to scratch at her black mop of hair, tied back in a messy bun. 'Aargh, it's so hard to think.'
'Perhaps you don't know me as well as you believe,' Julia replied eventually, although her thoughts had been far from the words. The car sailed past the train-tracks without losing speed. Her foot rested lightly on the accelerator as the numbers climbed.
'You've missed my turn,' Shelley said suddenly, squinting into the darkness.
'No, I haven't.'
'You have,' the raven insisted. 'We've passed Millers road awhile ago. We're already past Douglas Parade.' And by the time she had finished speaking, they were on the West Gate Freeway.
Julia turned in her seat, peering at the street-signs before moving her foot to the brake pedal – before freezing. 'We're on the freeway,' she said unnecessarily.
'It's not like we're in a rush,' Shelley pointed out. 'Just turn around at the next exit…which you're going to miss if you don't slow down.'
Considering the speaker, the words were almost foreign to her ears. Julia looked at her foot, still on the accelerator, then at the dashboard where the needle innocently pointed at 90 km/h. She was 10 km/h over the speed limit; the car certainly didn't feel like it was going that fast. The foot lifted almost reluctantly off the pedal as she took her eyes off the road for a fragment of a minute. She suddenly found herself reluctant to stop, reluctant to turn the car around.
'Are you trying to fly or something?' Shelley asked suddenly, eyes closed and oblivious to the lights that suddenly washed over them. The green eyes flew open in shock though as the car lurched, Julia slamming her foot on the brake and pulling off into the emergency lane. 'What the fuck?'
'Police,' the driver replied, wincing at the pressure her seat-belt had enforced before leaning forward to slam her head onto the steering wheel.
'I told you to slow down.' Shelley looked rather irritated, turning around to scowl at the insistently flashing lights looming closer. 'I should have driven.'
'If you had driven,' Julia countered without lifting her head. 'We'd be road-kill by now.'
For some reason, that sentence remained stuck in her head as the blue-clothed officer rapped at their window. Looking back told them both another reason why Shelley should not have driven. The four beers she'd had, raising her alcohol level to past the legal limit.
Parked a few kilometres behind them was a police van, segregated off by the little traffic cones. A spot-breath test.
Julia groaned again. Provided she was in fact under the limit, she'd still wind up with a speeding ticket. Then she lowered the window as the police office tapped on her window again.