Amusement Parks and Car Rides
I turned to see who it was who had called my name. Two cars down, Tyler Bradley smirked at me from the driver's seat of the Corvette he was driving. Of course, it wasn't a real Corvette. It was one of the three Corvettes on the track on the highway ride at Indian Trail Park. I was one of two employees working this particular ride.
"Hi, Tyler," I said, pressing down on the pedal on the outside of the nearest car, so that I could drive it to the appropriate spot. The little girl who was in the car got out as the car slowed to stop and the next two people in line got in. Eric smiled and nodded at him. My co-worker and a buddy of Tyler's, Eric got the car behind mine, easing it into place.
This was our job: when each car reached the end of the giant looped track, we stood on the side of the car, pressed the outer gas pedal, and pulled the car up to the right spot so that the next bunch could ride. The riders could hardly be trusted with this assignment, since at least ninety-five percent of the people who ride on this ride are apparently brain dead. Aside from an inability to pull up to the correct spot, they also love to jerk the steering wheels from side to side, crash into other cars, and cause all sorts of mayhem.
God, I hate people.
At the top of my list was Tyler Bradley. Well, actually, he was alright. He was generally pretty nice, except for his weird tendencies, like to just start spouting weird facts, or to poke people sometimes. He was a football player, so he was that kind of guy that most girls swoon for. You know, the kind that cheerleaders date. Athletes. The top of the hierarchy in high school. I'll be honest, I may have harbored a crush on him for a good year and a half until I realized: hot, nice, smart football players don't date Kady Macintosh. They just don't. Life doesn't work that way.
Since Eric had pulled the car up that was right in front of Tyler's car, that meant I was going to be the one that had to get his car. Of course. Because the God of Reminding You That Football Players Don't Date Geeky Girls hates me. He hates me with a deep, burning passion.
I stood on the side of Tyler's car and pressed the outer pedal, driving the car forward. Tyler grinned. "Kady," he said, "that uniform looks really good on you."
"Shove it, Bradley," I muttered, then recited, "Thank you for riding. Please exit to your right."
"I mean it, though," Tyler said as he stood up, and stepped out of the Corvette. A little boy came forward to take his place. He grinned toothily at me, and I could tell he was a devil in disguise. Little brat was probably going to continually harass the two ten-year-old girls in front of him. I struggled not to call him an immature weasel devil, because that's what he looked like.
"I bet," I replied. The Indian Trail Park uniform was ugly, because of the big, ill-fitting shorts, hideous green polos, and hats we had to wear. The polos had the color of regurgitated lettuce at best. The hats weren't bad, but the park logo was frayed on my hat, and the shorts just didn't fit well.
I expected Tyler to leave and go ride one of the roller coasters and that would be the end of it. I wouldn't have to see him again. But no. He got in line for the car ride again. And of course, since the God of Reminding You That Football Players Don't Date Geeky Girls hates me, Tyler got into a car I had just pulled up.
"I'm back," he said, grinning.
"Just please don't bump into the car in front of you, all right?"
"When do you get off work?" he asked, holding up the cars behind him. He looked so gorgeous, with one arm slung casually over the steering wheel… I tried not to let him see that I was trying really hard not to hyperventilate. Why is it that some girls can pull off cool and collected, or whatever it is that guys like, and I just end up either freaking out or giggling hysterically? You'd think I have no brain.
Which I do. In two months I was going to Yale University, studying my ass off and keeping my grades and extracurriculars top notch finally paying off. Yale was my dream college, and when I'd got my acceptance letter I had screamed and hugged my little sister, something I never do, mostly because my little sister and I have a love/hate relationship. Heavy on the hate. Ah, siblings.
But despite my intellectual prowess, I have almost no social skills. Well, like, I do, but I hate people, because they're so damn stupid sometimes. Okay, saying that probably makes me sound like a bitch. Damn it. I just mean that I don't understand people all the time. They're confusing. And I hate it.
But whatever. The point is, Tyler Bradley was back, and asking me when I got off work. I glanced at my watch and sighed. "Not for another two hours." Curse this infernal job.
"Okay," he said, and peeled out, narrowly avoiding ramming into the back of another car, this one a Jaguar. Idiot.
By now, you should realize that since the God of Reminding hates me, I got to pull his car in. He smiled at me, and said, "Where're you going to college, Kady?"
"Yale," I said smugly. God damn it, I had worked my ass off for this, I was going to enjoy it.
"Cool," he said. "I'm going to the University of New Haven."
Yale was in New Haven. Of course. Because the God of Reminding liked to cause me pain. Tyler Bradley – a handsome, nice, intelligent football player – was going to go to school near me. Have I mentioned that his smile is swoon-worthy? I'm surprised every girl in the area doesn't collapse every time he smiles. My knees were feeling rather shaky, now that I mention it.
I tried to smile back, and said, "Move it, Bradley." Then I recited the usual scripted answer: "Thank you for riding. Please exit to your right."
Tyler had an amused expression, and when I saw him back in line five minutes later, I guessed why. He was going to harass me for the rest of my shift, wasn't he? I was mentally beating my head against a wall. And of course, Eric let me get Tyler's car when he pulled around each time.
Each time Tyler asked me another question or two. I had to concentrate on that stupid pedal, because if I looked at him smiling at me, I was going to fall off the stupid car. Why did he have to be handsome and smart and nice? He was perfect, and I felt like someone was laughing at my misery upstairs.
I was poked six times out of the eleven he went on the ride (not including the first three times). He told me weird facts, like that there are only three words in the English language that begin with the letters "dw": dwell, dwindle, and dwarf, and that the first product to have a barcode was Wrigley's gum. Who knows stuff like that?
Tyler Bradley. Duh.
When my shift was up and my replacement, Paul, had arrived, I ripped my hat off and walked away from the stupid ride. Tyler was at my arm in an instant. "Trying to escape?" he asked.
"Yes," I said. I wish.
"So, you want to go out to dinner, or something? It's not too late."
I glanced at my watch again. "It's eight," I told him.
He shrugged. "So?"
"Fine," I said, wondering why he was doing this. All during our senior year it seemed like he hadn't even really known I was there. Well, he did, because he talked to me in our AP English class, but still. I thought I was just Kady-from-English. (Or worse: Katie-from-English. People always think my name is Katie. No. It's Kady. With a D.) I wasn't even aware that he knew where I worked, at least until late August. "Take me to dinner."
"What do you want?" he asked.
I shrugged again. "I dunno. Maybe some pizza. I haven't had good pizza in ages."
Tyler smiled. "I'll drive?"
"You have to drop me off here though, so I can pick up my car."
He nodded, and led me to his car. My mouth dropped in envy when I saw it. It was a Mustang II, 1974, red. Great condition. Some people don't like it because it's not a muscle car like the older Mustangs were, but it's still a Mustang. And old. I don't know shit about cars, but I love the look and feel of classic cars.
Tyler merely smiled when he saw my face, and opened the door for me. Gentlemanly, too. How was any girl supposed to resist this guy?! It was not fair!
Ten minutes to the nearest pizza place, and I was ready to throw myself under a bus. I would have to see this kid in Connecticut. I was going to go nuts. A cool car in addition to everything else? What the hell had I done to the God of Reminding to make him so pissed? Christ, I already knew that guys like him don't date nerds like me. I don't need any more reminding.
We went inside. I ordered two slices of meatball pizza, and after he gave me a strange, quizzical glance, he ordered three slices of mushroom and pepperoni. Yuck. Mushrooms. After paying – he wouldn't let me pay, since he said he had invited me out – we slid into a small booth in the back of the restaurant and waited for the pizza to be done.
Tyler was watching me, and I finally said, feeling uncomfortable and confused, "Why are you talking to me?"
Tyler held back a smile. "Why wouldn't I?" he responded cryptically. See? This is why I hate people. What the hell does that mean? I just can't read people.
"I dunno," I shot back. "Why would you?"
Tyler rolled his eyes. "You're pretty clueless sometimes," he said.
I tried to get what he meant out of him, but he just shook his head. I wanted to touch his hair. It looked really soft. I told myself to get a grip; I was losing my mind.
The pizza arrived, and I ate quickly, hungrier than I thought I was. He watched me eat with a slightly incredulous expression. "What are you, part vacuum?"
I shook my head, feeling self conscious. He laughed again, and then said, in typical Tyler fashion, "Did you know that leaving a tip in a restaurant in Iceland is considered rude?"
"No. How do you?"
He shrugged one shoulder lazily.
At this point I was beginning to go crazy. I wanted to know why he was being so nice to me. I mean, Tyler's nice on principle, but still. It didn't explain the fourteen rides on the stupid car ride, nor did it explain the invitation to dinner. Or why he was so freaking gorgeous and it was unfair that I had a huge crush on him and nothing was ever going to happen.
Tyler finished eating, and then we drove back to the parking lot to get my car. I got out of the Mustang, wishing I could drive in that car every day. I wanted that car. And Tyler Bradley was a definitely acceptable bonus. Ha ha.
"Why did you say I was clueless earlier?" I asked, pulling out my keys. My car, a used white Chevy Cobalt, was considerably less exciting than Tyler's. And by less exciting, I mean it's bleh. Yes, you read that right: bleh. That is my car.
Tyler gave a little laugh, and said, "Because you are."
It was a frustrating response, and after being confused by him for nearly three hours and having to deal with bratty children, it was no secret why I jabbed him in the chest and said angrily, "I don't appreciate your tone, Tyler Bradley!" I wanted to sound serious and tough, but all I could think was, Oh my God, this guy is cut. Those muscles. Holy freaking cow, which probably made me sound like a teenaged girl in heat.
Tyler Bradley, at this point, grabbed my hand, capturing it and then capturing its partner, and pinned me against my car. "Because," Tyler said. "You are, Kady." And then he kissed me.
And all I can say is wow, can that kid kiss. I felt like the top of my head was going to blow off, or something. If Tyler hadn't had me pinned against my car, I would have collapsed in a gooey girly puddle at his feet, I'm sure. Wish I wasn't such a pansy.
When he pulled away from me, leaving me embarrassingly breathless, he said, "Get it now?"
Oh, yeah, I got it. Tyler Bradley, possibly the best kisser ever, wanted to kiss me. Me, ladies and gentlemen, me. Maybe that crush I'd been harboring for ages hadn't been one sided.
Standing there next to my car, Tyler laughed a little, and said, "I've liked you for ages, Kady Macintosh, and you never figured it out." He kissed me again, lightly.
"Oh. Yeah. I'm bad at figuring out people," I said, in an awkwardly high pitched voice. God, I'm embarrassing myself.
"Yeah, well, that's why I finally decided just to kiss you. I had to ride that stupid car ride so many times, just for you." He grinned at me, and I tried not to melt. I am such a sap. "Did you know that the fear of beds is called 'Clinophobia?'" Tyler said, then, in typical weird fashion.
I snorted. "Tyler?" I said getting my voice normal.
"Shut up," I told him this time, and kissed him again.
Guess the God of Reminding doesn't hate me so much after all.
A/N: Yeah, I know, little bit of a lame ending. Sorry, it's one AM and I'm getting to the point where I can't type straight. :) Hopefully an enjoyable little piece of cliched fluff.