The road ahead loomed almost threateningly, it seemed to Ty. Where did it go? What would it pass on the way? What was at the other end? Ty had no answers to any of these questions - all he knew was that ahead lay the Unknown, while behind was the only home he'd ever known, and the only people he'd ever known. He'd lived in Cleveland all his 18 years, and he could feel it pulling on him, like a rubber-band stretching more and more with each mile of separation.

But it would be unmitigated hell to go back now, after what his best friend David had done to him. Ty was outed now. To everyone. Everywhere. His own mother had kicked him out of the house for his "unholy union". Seemed her branch of the Baptist Church didn't approve of homosexual relationships. No big surprise there – that's exactly why he'd never told her about it.

Ty looked over at the driver of the mini-van, the man he was "eloping" with, his lover. His name was Darrin. Darrin was 39 years old – over twice Ty's age. That was the kind of thing that Ty liked, though. Older men. He'd always been that way. Couldn't help it.

And David, his best-friend since as long as Ty could remember - had always been cool with that. A gay guy couldn't have had a better friend than David. No one could have had a better friend than David...

---------

"Well... Uhm... I like Velda Owens," David said nervously. Velda was his classmate in sixth grade at Irving Elementary, and she wasn't exactly the kind of girl most boys would crush on. She wore glasses, grandmother-like clothes, and was kind of mousy. Nonetheless, that was the girl he couldn't stop staring at whenever he got a chance. "Okay Ty - I told you mine, so now you tell me yours."

Ty was a little nervous about his answer - the other boy was going to think he was weird. But he had to say it anyway - they had a deal. And besides - David already knew that Ty was kinna weird, because he wasn't interested in any of the porn magazines that David had. That was weird – not wanting to look at naked girls. And now David was going to find out why.

"Uh... promise not to laugh?" Ty asked.

"Of course I don't promise not to laugh! Now c'mon... who?"

"Well... Mr. Wright. The History teacher."

David sat cross-legged in the corner of the playground and just stared at him for awhile as it sunk in. Ty had the hots for a guy? Not just a "guy", but a man? A grown man? Wow. Although... yeah... that WOULD explain a lot... "You are SO gay, Ty... I shoulda known."

"I know... I mean - I guess so, anyway."

"Seriously? Mr. Wright? He's old enough to be your DAD, dude!"

"I know!" Ty said, still wondering what the other boy's reaction was going to be. If he had a reaction at all, that is. "That's one of the things I like about him!"

"Twisted. Hey - Mom says we're having lasagna for dinner - she always does that when I come back from my father's - makes something I like. Wanna come over?"

"Sure. But can you ask her to make something besides Kool-Aid? I hate that stuff..."

David broke into his best Kool-Aid Man impersonation, "OH YEAAAAAAAH!!!!" He loved Kool-Aid.

And that was the end of that.


---------
Ty and David looked to all the world like average teenage boys. They were not goth, they were not emo, and neither of them owned skate-boards. They were into swimming, baseball, and cars. Ty also had a thing for golf – one of the few things that David didn't share. And David had a thing for camping, which Ty totally did not understand - but he'd go with him and his father anyway, when he was invited. Which was pretty much every single time they went.

Other than that, they were about the same height, both wore the same kinds of clothes: Abercrombie and Fitch, L.L. Bean, Banana Republic - although Ty liked his jeans quite a bit tighter than David did. They were both brunettes - Ty a bit "sandier" than David - and they were both a little on the "brown" side for Caucasian boys, although neither could explain why.

David had lost his virginity in his sixteenth year, and since then had been harping upon Ty to finally get himself a boyfriend - if that was what he wanted - and lose his too. But Ty wasn't "out", and had no plans to be "out" ever. Maybe he would have if he'd gone to school in San Fransisco or L.A. or someplace - but not in Cleveland. And not while he lived with his mother, either. Besides, it wasn't like Ty felt lonely or anything - he had David. True – there was no sex there, but then, Ty didn't especially feel the need for that anyway.

Nonetheless, David tried everything he could think of to get his friend into the game, short of outing him. If he met or even heard about some guy who was gay, he'd point him out and whisper, "Hey - see that guy? He's gay. Go over and talk to 'im!" But Ty never would. David would buy gay-porn magazines - or rather, get his uncle to buy them for him - and then he'd look through them with Ty, trying to understand his friend's point of view. But the magazines were just full of naked guys (with dicks that made him a little envious), and David just didn't get the attraction.

As for Ty - yeah, they were good-looking men, some of 'em (he didn't really go for the shaved-and-oiled look) - but porn, in general, just wasn't his thing. And most of the men looked like they were barely above 20. Ty had never lost his predilection for older men - although he had added a few details since sixth grade. Now it was older men in suits. Business suits. Business suits really got to him. He had a fetish for ties now. Silk. Red ones were the best.

Then finally, Ty did find himself "interested" in someone – and that someone was "interested" in him, too. Darrin. Ty's first and only, so far, boyfriend.

Darrin. Mr. Montefort. An older man in a business-suit. A lawyer.

David's dad.

It had just sort of happened - neither the boy nor the man had really meant it to happen... It wasn't intentional. But David and his father were pretty close, and - when it was his father's turn to take David for the day and do something fun, David would usually invite Ty to join them. So they got to know each other that way, and it turned out that Darrin and Ty liked a lot of the same things, had a lot of the same tastes, shared a lot of the same loathings, had the same sense of humor – slapstick - and in general just liked each other. A lot.

Then, it went beyond that. That had happened a little over a year ago. Ty had been sixteen at the time -

---------

"Ya think he can find us? He's been gone an awful long time just to get hot-dogs..." Ty said. They were watching a sparsely-attended night baseball game at an indoor stadium.

"The hot-dog stand is on the other side of the field. Uh... Ty... I sort of arranged it that way on purpose. I wanted to ask you something..."

"Yeah?" Ty asked, intrigued. As much as he'd been crushing on Darrin lately, he certainly never expected it to go anywhere. So he was caught like a deer in headlights when Darrin asked him -

"Ty... I was wondering if you'd want to... go out with me sometime. On a date."

Darrin had taken Ty "out" before - they just hadn't called it a "date". Dinners, movies, lunches, mall-trips, the bookstore, the art-museum... They'd started doing things with each other just because they both liked to, and enjoyed each other's company. There wasn't anything sexual about it, at first.

That had developed gradually, for both of them. And now it was intense enough that the lawyer knew he was going to have to do SOMETHING or else he might just explode.


Trouble was, of course, that there were problems. At sixteen, perhaps Ty was legally at the "age of consent" - but he WAS still a minor. And beyond that, Ty was his son David's best friend since forever. And beyond THAT, if word were to get out that Darrin - assistant District Attorney for the City of Cleveland - was involved with a 16 year-old boy... Well, this was going to have to be a secret thing. Very much so.

They discussed these things on their first "date" that was officially a "date".

But Ty had let it slip to his friend that he finally did have a "date" anyway - thanks to his David's constant nagging and badgering. Ty just wouldn't say with whom the date was. That didn't matter so very much to David - he was simply over-joyed that his friend might finally Get Some, and was - if possible - even more nervous and fretful about it than Ty himself.

And then afterwards, Monday morning, as they walked up to the school-bus stop -

"Well? Well? C'mon - what happened?"

"Dave... Geez. We just talked, is all. Nothing juicy. It was-"

"So where'd he take ya?"

"The Hilltop. He ordered me soft-shell crabs."

"Whoa! Big spender! And after that?"

"After that we TALKED some more, Dave! Christ - we didn't DO anything, okay? I'm still a virgin."

"How about when he dropped you off... Did you at least get a kiss? Did he cop a feel? Come ON Ty - throw me a bone here! Has he called you back yet?"

"Well... okay. Yeah, we kissed good-night. But-"

"On the mouth?"

"On the mouth, Dave."

"Tongue?"

"No tongue. Y'know - you're really weird about this..." Ty tried to imagine how much MORE "weird" it would be if David knew who his date had been.

"Hey - I just want my best-friend to get laid, is all. So... think you'll see him again?"

"Pretty sure, yeah."

"Woot! This calls for a celebration! I got a whole gross of Black-Cats - where should we go..."

"Creek behind the baseball field?"

"Perfect! After school! Meetcha there!"

---------

The second date was a week later. Then the dreaded third date... but all that happened was a little bit of nervous making-out. Nervous, but good.

Both the teenager and the adult were expecting something to go wrong. Darrin thought that surely he'd see Ty's "kid side", which would definitely turn him off the boy, and Ty kept looking for the Dirty Old Pervert that he was sure must be hiding somewhere inside Darrin.

But there were simply no red lights blinking...

Ty was charming and sweet and uncommonly elegant and well-spoken for a high school kid, while Darrin was a perfect gentleman – albeit one who seemed to express his feelings more often - and more eloquently - than most men.

But still, they both knew that what they were doing was wrong. EVERYBODY knew that this kind of thing was wrong! May-December and all. Minor and adult. Darrin's son's best friend, to boot! Not "illegal" maybe – in a gray area of the law - but still... wrong. And... weren't there good reasons it was "wrong"? Yes, there were. Solid, rational, common-sense reasons why a middle-aged man shouldn't be dating a teenage boy.

But - they fell in love anyway. The lights never did turn red and stop them. Ty was just so... good to be with. Something about the boy just made the man feel "good" in ways he couldn't have explained on a witness stand. And Ty felt exactly the same way about Darrin.

The teenager was pretty hot too, what with his swimmer's build, and permanent tan. Meanwhile Darrin - in his thousand-dollar suits – never failed to turn Ty on. They just couldn't resist each other. Was that anyone's fault?

Darrin was a private pilot, and had his own twin-engine Cessna. He'd taken the two boys up in it many times, but one day, he asked Ty if he'd like to go for a flight, just the two of them. Ty had of course agreed excitedly. Once in the air, Darrin let the boy fly. Ty always got so excited about that, and it just charmed the hell out of Darrin to see watch him.

In fact, Ty was having so much fun, that even after they'd landed and put the plane to bed, he still didn't want it to end.

They had just closed the hangar door, shutting off most of the light and all of the view. It became very private very fast when that hangar door closed. And Ty just couldn't help himself - he embraced Darrin tightly and began passionately lavishing the man's mouth with his own. They could both feel each other's excitement – even through jeans and dress slacks.

There was a little office in the hangar, with a desk, a water-cooler... and a couch. That couch was where Ty lost his virginity. Sort of.

---------

"Whaddaya mean 'sort of'?"

"Well... you know... we didn't... I mean, HE didn't... uhm... there was no... Uh..."

"So you guys just gave each other head or what?"

"Yeah. Exactly. And I HOPE you're not going to ask-"

"So what was it like?"

"David..."

"Well, c'mon, Ty! Didja like it or what?"

"Of course I liked it, you idiot. Jesus..."

"What'd it taste like?"

"Sometimes I just can't believe you..."

"Didja like it? The taste, I mean..."

"We used condoms, okay? It tasted like grape. You satisfied?"

"Oh MAN! You guys used rubbers? That totally sucks, dude. In fact - I think you might still be a virgin..."

"Oh, like YOU don't use condoms with the girls you go out with..."

"That's different. I don't wanna be a dad, y'know. You don't have to worry about that."

"There are OTHER reasons to use condoms, Dave."

"Yeah, but I thought you guys were LOVERS by now... I mean, you've been going out together for nearly two months! Pretty much every weekend, too! Leaving me all alone, I might add. Even my Dad's all busy now - something to do with the Ohio Legislature, he says. I'm getting good at X-Box and you're out having fun with your Mystery Man. C'mon - at least tell me his name. Just so I don't have to call him 'Mystery Man' anymore."

Ty thought about it. Maybe that would at least get David off his back a little. "His name is Bill. That's all I'm gonna say."

"You lie like a dog."

"Can we PLEASE talk about something else?"

David put his arm around Ty's shoulders as they continued walking towards the school-bus stop, "Okay fine - at least you 'sort of' got laid, huh? I'm so proud of you! Maybe next time you'll get screwed... But I don't guess you'll wanna tell me about that either, huh?"

"Not really..."

"Pussy homo."

"Pervert."

---------

West of the city was farmland and fields, and they rolled by boringly without end. They'd left less than two hours ago, and had only said good-bye to the Cleveland city-limits within the previous twenty minutes.

So now they were on their way, together. Headed for Seattle – which they'd agreed was as good as anywhere. Darrin could get a job easily – after a month or two to bone up on Washington State Law peculiarities, and passing their state Bar exam. Ty was in a bit of a tougher spot, because it was still three months until his high school graduation – and he obviously wasn't going to be there. Not a good way to start your new life...

Darrin told him that it would be okay – he'd see to it, and Ty believed him. Darrin also told him that he'd put Ty through college – which made the boy feel a bit awkward – was this man his lover, his stand-in father, or his sugar-daddy...

And what did that make Ty? A boy-toy? Even a little bit?

"Penny for your thoughts?" Darrin said, breaking the silence.

"Huh?"

"Whatcha thinkin' about, Ty?"

"Oh... oh, nothing. Just kind of a big step, is all."

"Yeah. It really is. The biggest, really... But it'll be okay – I promise. I'm a little scared too."

"You are?" Ty asked with panic rising in his throat. Darrin was supposed to be his immovable mountain of security for all this. He was scared too?

"Well... there's... things, yes. Things people are going to think about me, you know. I don't think it's going to be any problem... but you never know."

"Because of me? Because I'm... we're..."

"Yeah. Like, when we check in to a motel later on tonight. Are we going to do the usual 'he's my son' thing, or... what's the alternative? Other than silence – which is the same thing - they'll assume you're my son. I hate knowing that they do that. How much of that are we in for, up ahead? No way to know."

Ty remained silent for awhile. The subject of their age difference was taboo – they'd never even mentioned it before. When they had to tell someone something – for one reason or another – the "son thing" had seemed a natural and easy enough lie. Besides, did anyone really want to hear the true answer?

But finally he had to ask: "Dare – is my... age... important to you..."

The grown man looked at him with just a touch of frown, "You too, Brutus? You really think I'm into you because you're a teenager?"

"Well..."

"No. No, Ty, that is not why I love you. In fact – I tried not to get involved with you, because you're a teenager. God – up until yesterday, you were still a minor! You don't think I know how that looks to everyone? Although... I never thought I'd hear it from you..."

"I'm sorry – I'm just... I'm a little scared. Dare, you're my first boyfriend! You're my first everything! I don't know what to think sometimes... It just doesn't seem like, well... like I could be so lucky. I keep wondering if I'm just stupid, y'know?"

Silence ruled the mini-van for awhile again, until Darrin said, "Yeah, okay, I can understand that. And Ty – trust me on this – you are not stupid. At all. In fact, now that you put it like that – you may be too clever for your own good. Heh. Now there is something I do love about you."

"I love you too, Dare. And I'm really sorry about David."

"Yeah... that kind of caught me off guard too. You guys were really close, weren't ya... Best friends?"

"More. Best friends for life. Well – I thought."

---------

Ty and David were waiting for the school bus on Monday, as usual. They'd walked to the stop together too – also as usual. And David had talked about the weather, the game he was playing on his X-Box, the food he'd eaten, the girl he'd dated on Saturday, and anything else he could think of – but he did NOT ask Ty anything about his last date. Which was not "as usual".

Which should have been a relief to the other boy – but this time, Ty had something to tell... In fact, he was fairly bursting at the seams to tell it.

What he didn't know was that his friend could see that in his face plain as day, and was teasing him on purpose. Finally, Ty couldn't stand it anymore-

"Goddammit Dave – aren't you going to ask me what happened with my boyfriend this weekend?!"

"Why should I? You never wanna tell me anything anyway. And besides, it's never anything good."

"Well... This time I do! And... it is! So ask me already!"

David smirked at him – it was SO obvious that Ty had finally gotten laid – and in a real way, too, not just blow- or hand-jobs. "Fine. So Ty – how'd your date go?"

"I'm not a virgin any more, is how my date went! Not by ANY definition, is how my date went! And... it doesn't taste very good, actually – but it's not so bad, either! THAT'S how my date went!"

David doubled over laughing. Ty just glared at him - he was beginning to understand that the other boy had known all along – the bastard.

"Oh, you just think you're so clever, don'tcha..."

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry man... but yeah, it was just SO obvious! You're fucking GLOWING, dude! Seriously – I'm sorry for teasin' ya like that. So anyway – how many times didja do it?"

"That's none of your business."

"C'mon, Ty – you're dying to tell me anyway. And I said I was sorry... I'm happy for ya, man! Now spill it – how many times?"

"Saturday and Sunday? Five. Six for me, actually."

"Dude!"

"Totally not kidding!" Ty said, unable to hide is excitement and pride, "Five for him, six for me! GOD it was great!"

"You da man, man! Way to FUCKING go!" David punched him in the shoulder, "So tell me – didja do the Nasty Thing?"

"I'm not sayin'. You'll just make the Mr. Yuck face again."

"Oh, like you don't do that to me when I tell ya about MY dates..."

"True, true. Ick," Ty laughed, "Yeah – we did that too. Twice."

"Woot! And... who was on top?"

"He was, you moron. I'm younger, so I have to be the bottom. It's like a rule."

"So -"

"Oh god. You aren't gonna- Tell me you're not gonna-"

"- what was it like?"

"You are gonna. You're SUCH a perv!" Ty laughed again – and then proceeded to tell David - as best he could, and with graphic detail, using his hands as visual aids - EXACTLY what it was "like".

David did indeed make the Mr. Yuck face.

---------

Dark clouds were blocking the setting sun by the time they pulled into a town to eat and look for a motel. They hadn't gotten very far today, but all morning had been filled with anxiety and stress – and trying to hide it from each other – so an early night seemed like a good idea.

They ate a dinner at Wendy's because they knew it would be fast. That rubber-band pulling them back towards Cleveland was stretched pretty thin by this time – and it was pulling harder than ever. Were they really going to go through with this?

Each of them asked themselves that question silently. Were they really going to just abandon their previous lives and start over somewhere else? Together? A grown man and a teenager? A gay grown man and teenager? It seemed a little hard to believe... Was Seattle really going to be that different from Cleveland?

Darrin checked into a Best Western under his own name, and asked for a room for two, but didn't offer any further explanation. The woman behind the desk didn't seem to really care, anyway – but it still made the lawyer feel guilty. Maybe she didn't know it, but he knew he was hiding something.

The room had two standard-sized beds, but they both set their suitcases on the one closest to the door. Because... well... they had to share a bed, right? They were lovers... right? It'd look weird if they took separate beds. It'd feel weird, too. What was the point of all this if they were going to sleep on separate beds?

They unpacked what they'd need the next day, and Darrin hung his suit-bag in the closet. Then they went through their usual nightly getting-ready-for-bed routines, each feeling the tension of doing this for the first time without any sexual play, or even sexual intention. This would be the first time they'd done this. Just went to bed. Their first night together as just a "couple", rather than as exhausted lovers.

Ty felt a strong need to get that point out in the open. He was laying in bed in his underwear waiting on Darrin to get out of the bathroom. When the man finally did come out, and was coming toward the bed, he couldn't hold it in any longer.

"Dare... I, uh... I really don't feel like doing anything..." It sounded incredibly lame.

"Me neither. Heh. I guess we'll just go to sleep then. Feels strange, doesn't it, after all the times we've been so anxious to get at it when we knew we didn't have much time – now we have all the time in the world, and we don't feel like it."

Hearing him say that was the best possible thing that could have happened to Ty. It went a long way towards putting him at ease with the situation. They knew where they each stood now. They'd spend the night together, sharing a bed, and nothing was going to happen.

And that was okay.

"Was that thunder?" the teenager asked.

"Yeah. Front moving through, I guess. Should be gone by morning."

Their legs touched as they made themselves comfortable in the bed. Darrin's legs were so hairy that it always tickled Ty when that happened – the light touch of his hairs. The only way he could stand it was to entwine their legs together and snuggle up tightly to the hairy man. Usually, of course, that was all part of their foreplay.

This time, it was just part of... sleeping together.

And that was okay, too.

"You think David will ever forgive us..." Ty asked, the words muffled by Darrin's shoulder.

"I think so. He's a good kid – better than I was at his age, as a matter of fact. It may take awhile, but yeah, he'll be okay. I'm just sorry he did that to you, is all, Ty... I wouldn't have expected that of him. Really bad at school, was it?"

"Bad enough. No one wanted to fight me or anything – they would have lost and they knew it, but yeah, they made it pretty bad. Even some of the teachers got in on it."

"I apologize for my son, Ty. I know it doesn't make anything better... but I just feel like-"

"Dare? It's okay. It was pretty bad for you too, huh?"

"I'm leaving the city of my birth and I don't intend to ever go back. Yeah – it was... harsh."

"Maybe things will seem better in the morning. G'nite, Darrin."

"'Nite, Ty. Sweet dreams."

---------

David's mother was away for a few days, and David himself was supposed to be at a Boy Scout meeting the day he found his best friend and father in bed together. HIS bed, at that, which didn't help the situation at all. Ty was there to spend the night, and play video-games once David got back.

Then Darrin had come to pick David up for the next day – Darrin's one day a week with his son – and Ty had answered the door. And one thing had led to another.

How were they supposed to know that the Scout Master had taken ill?

So David came back home and found them, in his bedroom, on his bed. Doing the Nasty Thing. His best friend – and his Dad.

He just lost it, seeing that. Not just the act itself – but the realization that the Mystery Man "Bill" had been his Dad all along. All those weird gay things Ty had been doing that David was so excited for his friend about – had been with his own Dad. Had he known... well, first he would have thrown up.

As it was – David went on a rampage. He kicked holes in the walls, he threw a lamp through the television screen, he toppled over the entire entertainment-center, he threw the dining room chairs through the dining room windows. Both Ty and Darrin tried to get him under control, but David was too fast and too slippery – and too mad at them both.

Then, the next day at school, he told EVERYONE what had happened. How he'd caught his Dad fucking Ty. And on HIS bed, too - as if anyone cared about that. And the students in turn told their parents, and the parents told other parents – and at least one of those other parents knew where David's father worked. The very next day Darrin was asked – not too nicely – to resign.

So he did.

---------

The rain came down in buckets while the couple slept. Big, slow, fat drops that fell by the billions on their van, their hotel, their road, their world. The rain fell from within he passing thunder-heads, and it was cold and clean.

While they slept flashes of lightning would illuminate the couple as if from a strobe light, revealing them in the various positions of sleep: spooning left, spooning right, facing each other, and back-to-back with only their rear-ends touching. They were sleeping soundly, both of them. They'd had a hard day.

Meanwhile the rain flooded roads with no traffic, leaked through the roofs of buildings with no one in them, and knocked out stoplights at which no one was stopped. The rain fell and no one saw – except for a few gas-station and convenience store clerks who looked through their windows and said to themselves, "Wow. Look at that."

Next morning, Ty woke up first as usual. He liked it that way, because then he could get the bathroom first. He was already coming out of the shower when Darrin awoke.

Not a morning-person, Darrin only grunted at the boy as he made his way to the bathroom, which Ty always found immensely funny. He threw on some jeans and flip-flops to go get them some coffee and donuts from the lobby.

By the time he got back, Darrin was in better spirits and was in the process of picking out a dress-shirt to go with his khakis, which was about as "casual" as Darrin ever dressed, on any occasion.

"Morning sunshine – coffee, cream only, and a bear-claw. They didn't have any long-johns. Sorry," Ty said, kicking off his flip-flops at the door.

"You're too good to me."

"I really am. You... uh... aren't going to wear that shirt, are you?"

Darrin looked again at the shirt he'd picked out – a simple green cotton long-sleeved shirt. Button-down collar, of course. "What..."

"You can't wear a green shirt with blue pants. Here – I'll find you one."

"What's wrong with green and blue? It's... it's tropical... Like palm trees against the-"

"Here. This is better. Uhm... you gonna wear a tie with it?"

"We're just going to be driving all day, Ty..."

"I like it when you wear ties. Please?"

"You do?" Darrin asked. This was all news to him.

"Yeah. What I really like is when you wear a suit, but like you said, we'll just be driving all day. So at least you can wear a tie. I'll pick one out."

As Darrin put on the shirt, he watched the teenager going through his ties. Ty was wearing his usual skin-tight jeans, faded blue, with no shirt, and no shoes. God-damn he was sexy...

Ty stood in front of Darrin and waited patiently for him to finish buttoning his shirt. Darrin flipped his collar up and held out his hand for the red-and-black striped tie that had been picked for him.

"Lemme do it," Ty said.

"Oooookay... I get it – you don't love me at all, do you. It's all the clothes, isn't it..."

Ty chuckled, and put the tie around Darrin's neck. "Pretty much," he said, and began tying it.

"Know what I like you in?" Darrin asked mischievously.

"What?"

"Tight faded jeans, no shirt, and bare feet."

Ty looked down at himself. Then up at his lover, whose hands were already sliding around his back to pull him tighter. He was smiling as their lips met.

Ty began un-tying the tie again. Good thing he hadn't got far.

---------

Once they were finally back on the road - after having checked out two hours late - Ty fished the road atlas out of the door compartment and began flipping through it trying to find Seattle.

"So, you've never been there before either?" he asked.

"Nope. I hear it's pretty though. But kind of wet."

"I've never seen the ocean. Oh – and can we go to the Space Needle?"

"I don't see why not. Kind of exciting, isn't it..."

"Yeah. What kinna stuff do they eat in Seattle?"

Behind them, in the distance, the storm clouds continued to move on at their lazy but unstoppable pace.

Ahead of them, the road beckoned with promise. It was a new day.

---------