Freedom at Last

"Ah, finally, freedom!" I cried, leaning back in the passenger seat of Fae's car with my hand held out of the open window and putting my feet up on the dashboard.

"No more homework!" Fae yelled.

"No more teachers!" her boyfriend, Trent, called out from the backseat.

"No more bloody detentions and Saturday-schools, ever!" Scooter finished, tearing up an old detention form and tossing it out of the open window.

We all laughed and watched the little pieces of pink paper flutter away in the breeze. Scooter was infamous at school for being the biggest prankster alive, not to mention the most likely to be tardy to absolutely everything and anything. He was even late to his own sister's wedding, and he was supposed to be the best man! His name wasn't actually Scooter, it was Scott. Scott Matthews. But for as long as I've known him, he has always been Scooter, or Scoot for short.

As for the other's in the car, there was Fae Childers, my best friend since sixth grade, when we both had a crush on the same boy. Yes, I know, strange thing to bond over, but there you have it. She was probably my favorite person on the planet, although, there were times when I wanted nothing more than to kick her from here to next Tuesday. But as a general rule, I loved her to death. Then, of course, there was Fae's boyfriend, Trent Rico. Usually, I don't have much to say on the matter of my friends' significant others, and I try to avoid having too much of an opinion of them, because then once the whole thing ends in a messy and heart-wrenching break-up, I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever and don't have to worry about consoling anyone but my dear heart-broken friend. And of course, I can always say "it's ok, I never liked him much anyway" without having to lie. Trent, however, was an exception to this rule. We'd known him for years because he lived two houses down and always joined in on our childhood adventures, and ever since I can remember, Fae always had a thing for him, and I had always suspected that he returned her feelings. Then, about a year ago, my suspicions were confirmed. It was a Friday night like any other, we were hanging around at the park near my house, when suddenly out of the blue Trent grabbed Fae's hand while they were walking side-by-side around the lake, and they have been inseparable since then. Cue the "awww's".

And, last but not least, there was me, Emma Connors, everyone's favorite nobody. Yes, that does seem to be rather an oxymoron, so let me explain. Everyone knows about the social structure of a high school, you have the pretty popular kids on the top and the ugly nerdy kids on the bottom, with all the rest of the groups shoved in between somewhere. (Such an eloquent description, I know.) And then, you have those people who don't fit into any group. The kids who don't get beaten up or made fun of, but also don't get hit on and asked to the school dances either. That's who we, me, Fae, Trent, and Scooter, were. We were the nobodies, and therefore we could mix with anyone without rubbing too many people the wrong way. Sure, we didn't really care too much for a lot of the people on either extreme of the social food chain, but they didn't really care for us either. It was just a happy medium. Everyone liked us to a certain extent, no one hated us too much, it was just a big happy sort of thing. Cue the giant group hug. Or not. But you get the point, we were the kind of kids that everyone forgets because we never did anything spectacular to got us noticed

Well, except for Scooter. He was one of us by choice. Trust me, the popular crowd would have had him in a second. He was good looking, charming, and as I already said, the world's biggest prankster. Although, perhaps they would have liked to get a hold of his wardrobe and throw out all his chains before he got too high in their social ladder.

Not that any of those things mattered anymore. School was over, for good. We had just graduated high school, and it seemed as if we had the world in the palm of our hands. We were our own bosses, we could do what we liked, we could…

"Emma! Where the hell have you been! You should have been home an hour ago!" my mother screamed from the flower bed that she was weeding as Fae pulled into my driveway.

Ok, so not yet we couldn't do anything. But just you wait…

I sighed and got out of the car. "Sorry…" I started.

"No you're not! You're so irresponsible!" she huffed. Then she turned to Scoot, Trent, and Fae, who had all got out of the car behind me. "Hello dears! There's lemonade in the kitchen if you want some."

I sighed again and walked through the garage and into the house, muttering under my breath about menopausal mothers and how I didn't intend to live long enough to ever go through that stage. Scooter heard me and started laughing.

"I'll remind you of that in sixty years Em!" he said, poking me in the side.

We all got a glass of lemonade and I rummaged around in the cupboards until I found a packet of sugar cookies, and then we crashed on the living room couch. Trent sat on one end, with Fae leaning against his shoulder. Scooter sat next to her, his feet propped up on the coffee table in front of the couch, and I leaned back against the armrest, my feet across Scoot's lap. This was how many Friday nights were spent at one of our respective houses, usually mine or Fae's.

Trent picked up the TV remote that was sitting on the coffee table and switched the TV on. He channel surfed for a while until finally hitting one of the music channels, which was playing the latest Fall Out Boy video. Fae immediately started singing at the top of her lungs and Scooter launched himself at Trent in an attempt to get the remote away from him, screaming "God! Not this shit! Turn it off! I beg you!" as he did so. Unfortunately for Scoot, Fae was in the way of his lunge, and he got tangled in her arms as she started waving them around frantically, whether it was to the music or because she didn't want Scooter to get the remote I'm not exactly sure. Both of them toppled over and landed in a bemused Trent's lap.

Not prepared to give up yet, Scooter made a grab for the remote, but Trent grinned and threw it to me from across the couch. I laughed manically and leapt up. Scooter tried to jump up after me, but he was still tangled with Fae, and he fell off the couch instead. This earned me a few moments head start as I ran through the house waving the remote around and screeching like a nutter with Scoot soon in hot pursuit though.

We ran around and around the house, until finally, I collapsed on top of Fae on the couch, wheezing and trying to breath in between belts of laughter. Scooter skidded to a halt, his knees knocking into the side of the couch, pitching him forward on top of me. This whole fiasco resulted in a four person pile up on the couch, and by the time we had all sorted ourselves out, the Fall Out Boy video that had been the cause of the whole ordeal was finished, and we sat comfortably for at least twenty minutes with no more issues.

Finally Fae moaned, "I'm bored Em!"

"That's because you aren't allowed to make-out with Trent on my couch!" I joked, poking her. She blushed, and I stuck my tongue out at her.

"Oh God! Don't even bring that up! Argh! Bad mental images!" Scooter screamed, cringing and covering his head with a pillow.

"Eh, you're just jealous!" Fae laughed, pulling the pillow off him and blowing him a kiss.

"Hey!" Trent said indignantly, glaring at Scooter before smiling and sticking out his tongue and leaning back against the back of the couch, pulling Fae closer to him.

"Aw, poor Scoot's just lonely!" I said, grabbing him and ruffling his shaggy brown hair.

"Geddoff me!" he grumbled, crossing his arms and pouting. Everyone laughed.

"I'm still bored!" Fae moaned after a few moments.

"You're always bloody bored!" I complained, planting my feet back into Scooter's lap.

"That's 'cause there's nothing to do around here!" she said.

"What do you mean, 'nothing to do'?" Scooter said, acting shocked. "I mean, we have a pathetically tiny mall, only I'm not allowed in there anymore 'cause they kicked me out," he held up one finger, "a disgusting smelly bowling alley," he held up another finger, "a pool that charges too much and usually has dead birds floating in the water," another finger, "the movie theater that shows things after you can get them on DVD, and of course the park with the broken playground equipment and a lake that could be used as a bio-weapon!" two more fingers. "What more do you want, woman?" he yelled, shaking her by the shoulders.

We all laughed again. It was true. Our town didn't exactly hold the most exciting attractions, especially when you'd lived here all your life and had been to each more times than should be legal. I'd only been out of town a few times, and those were usually to visit relatives. We hadn't been on a "family vacation" for years.

Suddenly, an idea hit me.

"Hey, why don't we go on a road trip?" I asked.

The other three were quiet for a moment before Trent asked, "You being serious?"

"Yeah, I'm being serious! Why don't we just pack a bunch of stuff into a suitcase, throw it in the back of Fae's car, and leave?"

"Why my car?" Fae asked indignantly.

"Because yours is the only car that will hold all of us and all our junk, pea-brain!" Scooter said. It was true. Trent had an old hatchback from the 80s, I had a tiny little two-door Toyota Echo that could barely fit the four of us as it was, and Scooter didn't even have a car.

"Hey! Don't call my girlfriend a pea-brain!" Trent yelled.

"Huh?" Fae looked up from where she had been playing with a tassel on one of the couch cushions. "What about me?"

Trent sighed. "Oh, never mind…pea-brain!"

Scooter opened his mouth to say something, but I cut him off. "So, was that a yes with the road trip idea or what?" I asked.

"Where would we go?" Fae asked with interest.

"Who cares! That's the whole point! We can just leave and go wherever we feel like going! It'll be fun!" I said. I was really getting into the idea. "Are you guys up for it?"

We all exchanged glances.

"Well, I know I am, I wouldn't have anything else to do otherwise!" Scooter said.

"And since you seem to have already included my car into the deal, I suppose I better come too!" Fae laughed.

Trent looked at the three of us and shrugged. "Well, if you three are going, I guess I am too. But I'm going to have a hell of a time convincing my parents!"

Good point. Brain-of-steel me had not thought of that little catch. But I'd work it out, right? Yeah…it'd all work out just fine and dandy.

"You want to do what?" my dad asked incredulously, his eyes bugging out of his head. It reminded me of the time I'd accidentally squeezed my hamster a little too hard and his eyes had almost popped out of his skull, only this was slightly less amusing.

"Me, Fae, Trent, and Scooter want to go on a road trip!" I repeated.

My mother was still staring at me, her mouth hanging open slightly.

"Oh, come on! I'll be out of your hair for the summer! You won't have to worry about having the four of us all over the place and wondering where I am at one in the morning and suchlike!" I said.

"No, we'll be wondering where you are all the bloody time, not just one in the morning!" my dad argued.

"Oh come on…please?" I insisted.

Finally my mother decided to speak her mind. "It actually doesn't seem like a terrible idea to me. It might be a learning experience for you. You'll be able to see what it's like getting along in the real world for a change."

I didn't have a clue what she was on about, but I nodded and looked at my dad, "Yeah, uh, the real world and whatever it was she said!"

He sighed and shook his head before saying, "Tomorrow we'll call your friends' parents and ask them what they think of this. If we can all come to some kind of agreement, then I suppose you can go."

And so there we were, a week later, all piled into Fae's trusty little Rav4, which Scooter had fondly named Charlie, surrounded by suitcases and paper bags full of food, driving away from our hometown, and embarking on what would be the biggest adventure of our lives thus far. (I told you this was all going to work out just find, didn't I?)

Oh yeah, this was going to be fun.

A/N: Ok, this is completely different than all other things I write...but the idea was bouncing around in my head so I'm going to give it a try. Review and whatnot...I'll try to update, as long as I don't lose my line of thought it'll be ok. I have a lot of time on my hands, so we'll just see how this goes. Long things are not exactly my forte...but it's worth a try, right?