Fielding pulled into a supermarket parking lot, running over a few potholes in the process. Grandpa Henry would have slapped him over the head for being so inconsiderate. He flipped the emergency break and popped the clutch. Briefly, I wondered how long it would take me before I collided into a light post.
I could already see my impending doom. They weren't trying to teach me to drive. They were trying to kill me. That motive alone explained Track's irrational behavior. He was planning to kill me and the last thing I'd see was his Mohawk. The outlook wasn't very assuring.
"Are you sure about this?" I asked, hoping I could weasel my way out of this predicament. Unfortunately, things never went my way, and even before Fielding spoke the words, I already knew the answer.
"Of course not. Driving is a valuable life skill." Tapping the steering wheel, he waited for the others to join us. I used the hand crank to roll down the window, suddenly feeling as if there was a lack of oxygen in the vehicle. The air still smelled refreshing like rain. I took a deep breath and informed myself that I was very capable of driving, even if it was a manual.
My cynical side promptly scoffed. I leaned my head out the window and stared at myself in a water filled pothole. At first glance, the water appeared metallic due to the various oil spots. I let out a breath and turned back to Fielding.
"Do you like Sabina?" I never thought to ask him that before. I always assumed he held the same dislike I had for her.
Court and Uncle Robbie pulled up to the passenger side of the yellow Datsun while Track parked next to Fielding. Ignoring them for a second, Fielding answered my question. "I think she's hot, but the fact that she enjoys our father's wrinkly dick is the hugest turn off ever." I narrowed my eyes at him and he laughed. "She's nice. A bit stupid, but never the less nice."
Uncle Robbie was the first to get out of the vehicle. Everyone else followed suit. I clambered into the bed of the truck. Having been parked in the garage during the storm, it wasn't wet. Fielding unlatched the tailgate and everyone took a seat on it.
Track ran a hand through his hair and sat on an arch above the back wheels. "I was thinking, that conversation with your dad back there was the most awkward one I've never been a part of."
"They're always like that when he comes to visit," said Uncle Robbie, flicking his pocket knife open and close. "Last real visit we had of him was to tell us he was marrying her."
I remembered the visit very well. Grandma Georgette was so upset she threatened to stab my father with his knitting needles. She also called him a cradle stealing whore. Up until the actual wedding, I was sure it was a disgusting joke.
Court glanced back at me, and I caught his stare. "Must've married him for financial security," said Court, his eyes still on me. I didn't look away, instead, I wondered if I could read his mind if I stared at him enough. He was a hard person to read, that ability would definitely help.
Track narrowed his eyes at his brother, Court dropped his gaze and focused on the traffic pulling into the parking lot.
"I don't really care why she married him, I just wish she and that kid of hers would drop dead already. She's already forming attachments. If they were to divorce now, it definitely wouldn't be a clean one." Uncle Robbie had a point. She was like those women who had children with celebrities in order to gain their financial help.
Fielding hopped off the tailgate and kicked at the pavement. "I wouldn't put it past her. She doesn't exactly scream innocent."
Track grinned like a pervert. "I bet she does a lot of screaming."
"You're disgusting," I informed him, and a frown crossed his face.
"You don't have to listen to me if I am so disgusting."
Court answered for me. "She does when you constantly make it a point to act as the center of attention." Track looked to Fielding to see if he felt the same way.
Fielding merely nodded. "You're nearly as bad as Pace, less gay, I suppose, but still attention demanding." Track grabbed his chest as if wounded. I didn't feel sorry for him. There was something about him I couldn't quite pinpoint. It was a little disturbing.
"Why don't you just turn the knife, now that you've already stabbed me with it." He was pretending to act hurt, and his mock display had me wondering if he really didn't feel that way. It seemed he was only use to insults issued by his brother.
Court shoved his hands in his pocket and shrunk further into his sweater as a breeze blew past us. "Why don't you quit acting like a pansy. You deserve to hear everything people tell you. For the most part, it's always true."
Ignoring Court, Track got up and hopped out of the truck. "So who's first in teaching the little missus how to drive?" Letting out a groan, I glared at Track, wishing I could send him to the slaughter house so he could join the fates of little piggies and cows.
He smirked at me, back to his old self.
Fielding shrugged. "Well, you've already deduced I'm a failure, so it's between yourself and Court. Rest assured though, you all will be joining me in the ranks of failure."
Uncle Robbie came to stand by my side and pulled me into a lopsided hug. Out of the corner of his mouth, he muttered, "If these two get weird on you, just remember you're driving and it's perfectly fine to wreck into a pole or trashcan. Try to avoid other cars though."
"Is that why you're here?" I asked in the same manner, trying not to draw attention to myself.
"Dad forced me to come. Said he didn't trust those 'threesome talking fools'."
I looked at Track and Court expectantly, waiting for them to decide who would foolishly attempt to teach me how to drive first. I was partly excited at the fact that someone was willing to teach me, but I still new after about twenty minutes of pure terror, I'd have the boys wetting their panties. My driving lessons never lasted very long.
By the way the two boys were staring at each other, I half expected a fight to break out instantaneously. They were both red hot, and the animosity shared between them suddenly seemed combustible. I didn't want to be anywhere near them with a match. Suicide wasn't high up on my agenda. Even Fielding was keeping his distance from the two, and I had to wonder what really had them both on edge. Both of them had been nothing but irritable goats the whole day.
Court was the first to yell, his drawn face loosening to speak. "I'll go first but I suggest you watch your mouth." He cocked his head to look at me, and Track looked as if he were about ready to push him.
"Or what?" Track looked like a rogue when he scoffed. I couldn't help but drool at the appeal. "Little Courtland going to hit me? We all know how that went last time."
"Of course not, Trackton," Court spat his bother's name. I giggled at the ludicrousness of it. "I'd rather pull the trigger of a twelve gage in your face. Seeing all your bits on the concrete would be a lovely sight."
At this point, I was unable to tell who seemed more dangerous. Court had a darker appeal than his brother and his voice was pure candy, I could listen to it all day. Track reminded me of a brigand and nobody could resist a bad boy, what with his Mohawk and all.
Uncle Robbie pushed me forward a bit. "Adelaide, go separate the two before they kill each other." He pushed some keys firmly into my palm. "Take mom's car. It's less touch than Dad's."
I frowned, almost a little scared to separate the two. Together they were a lethal combination towards outside forces. The military should have recruited them by now. Slowly, I walked up to the two, and immediately, their bickering ceased. They looked at me, and the intensity of their stares made me want to cower back into my shell.
This was definitely worse than being abducted by aliens. Probably even worse than an anal probing, though I had no experience. I'd have to ask Uncle Robbie about it later.
"Which one of you is first?" I asked, holding out my hand when what I really need was a leash to wrangle one of them in. Court sent a silent message to Track before he clasped my hand. It was slightly larger than Track's and much smoother. The warmth of his hand was slightly overwhelming. For some reason, I'd assumed they'd be cold.
I pulled him to the car, passing by Fielding in the process. Along with confusion, an odd look passed over his face, making me feel uncomfortable at the prospect of being alone with this guy in a car.
Court opened the driver side door and motioned for me to get in. I slid onto the old, leather seat and adjusted it. The car was over twenty years old and I never got used to the fact it had electrical seating adjustments. A few moments later, I felt Court's presence beside me in the car.
Fielding, Track, and Uncle Robbie huddled together in a group near the truck, and all three were talking animatedly. About what, I had no clue, but when men talked, nothing good ever came out of it. Or, at least that was the conclusion I was starting to come to.
Shifting in his seat so he was facing me, Court's voice rumbled, "First off, do you know how to drive a manual?"
Slowly, I nodded, adjusting the rear view mirror so I could see behind me. "I get the general idea, my starts are a little rough still, and I'm a failure at engine breaking. Do you have any place in particular you want me to drive to?"
"I'm not familiar with your neighborhoods. It'd be best if you picked a location. A neighborhood preferably. They'll give you more practice on your starts without having thirty cars honk at you."
"Good idea," I mused, pressing the clutch in to start the car. Turning over, the engine roared to life and nervousness set in. I didn't exactly want Court to see how horrible of a driver I was.
He laughed. "Don't look so scared. You're in a very sturdy steal box. Now if we had a new car, I'd be worried a bit." He smiled genuinely, settling my stomach a bit.
A bit more calmly, I put the car into first. My first attempt at moving the car fell flat when I didn't give it enough gas, causing the engine to dye. A bit frustrated, I restarted the car, refusing to look at Fielding or the other two.
"Just ignore them," ordered Court. "It's nearly always frustration that causes a person to fail in the end. Patience is definitely something you're going to need." I could see why he was studying to be a teacher. His voice was calming and he didn't give out stupid advice.
I tried again and managed to get the car rolling. The shifting wasn't smooth by all means, but at least I hadn't killed it. Grandpa Henry always had a hissy fit each time I stalled the car. I didn't understand how the footy team hadn't lynched him already. He didn't have to physically assault them, his verbal ones were enough.
"Okay, you're going to have to shift into second soon," he said as I weaved around the parking lot, enjoying the few moments I had before I'd have to come to a stop again. He turned down the radio. "You can hear it, the engine gets louder, but eventually, you'll just know."
Driving towards the parking lot exit, I calculated the traffic positioning ahead of time, conveniently 'forgetting' there was a stop sign. We took the turn rather sharply and it threw Court into the door panel. "Jesus," he cursed. "Try not to do that again or I can't assure you I won't let my bowels loose in my pants."
I shrugged sheepishly, "Sorry. Have you ever visited Cuttle Hill? I promise you, it's better than going to the movies." Westmont had very few stop lights thankfully, and I knew where most of them were to avoid them. Last thing I needed was to stall the car at a stop light. People weren't very forgiving when it came to time management.
Court tapped his fingers against the armrest, but his nails were short enough that it didn't make a clacking sound. "I don't think so. You need to shift into the next gear. Why is it better than the movies?"
"The people that live there are a real riot to watch." I up shifted to third and the car gave a little jerk, but nothing compared to starting out. "I don't know why it does that." I muttered, gripping the steering wheel rather tightly. Multitasking wasn't my forte. It was even harder to concentrate on the road when I had to worry about changing gears. I didn't understand why my family couldn't drive automatics like normal people.
"You're not shifting smoothly," explained Court, holding up his hands to demonstrate the proper footwork. "You start off fine, but then you dump the clutch at the end, rather than following through. Don't worry. You'll get it eventually, all it takes is a little practice."
A lot of practice, actually. No matter how many hours of driving I'd logged, it was as if my driving skills had plateaued and I was bound to be a horrible driver for mouth. Thank Zeus for the metro.
"Don't worry about engine breaking right now. We'll focus on one thing at a time. Put the car in neutral and coast to a stop when we reach the stop sign." I followed his orders and glanced around at the empty neighborhood. Most of the houses were run down, the lawns dead, but it had character. Every house was completely different from the next and it looked a bit like a junkyard.
We were definitely close to Cuttle Hill. It was one place kids feared but loved to talk about. Only one house sat atop the hill, the others had been condemned and demolished. The people that resided there were odd in their own rights. The oldest of the Linberg children was Tucker, he was known for his nudity and rather large penis (according to Pemberly Waldorf). Next came Kitty, she was a year younger than me, and often made ridiculous bets with Uncle Robbie. She nearly always robbed him of his money. The last child, Durbin, was born a few months after their father died. He liked sand, as in really liked sand. That's all anybody knew about him.
Surprisingly, I pulled away from the stop sign smoothly, remembering what Court showed me with his hands. He applauded me, causing my cheeks to heat up instantaneously.
I shot him a look of curiosity when he stiffened in his seat. "What's wrong?"
He caught himself fidgeting and immediately stopped. "You shouldn't pay any attention to the way Track acts around you. He's always acted that way around girls, and it's gotten himself in a lot of trouble."
Frowning, I shifted into second. He acted like he was going to kill a lot of girls? "What do you mean?"
"The touches, the flirting, the kisses on hands. He's a master at manipulation, and I don't want to see you get caught up in that. Fielding has no idea what he's capable of. I suppose it's why I've been so irritable lately. I've known him my whole life. I know how he functions. Trust me when I say he's no good. For anyone. "
"Huh," I said slowly, making sure to pay close attention to the road. Several parked cars lined the road, and if we were going to continue to talk, I was surely going to have an accident soon. "I thought he was planning on killing me."
His deep, throaty laugh sent vibrations through my body. "He's sick. But he's not that sick." If I was supposed to feel comforted, I didn't. At all. I still had a driving session with him to endure after this.
I pulled over, across the street from the Linberg Residence. Mona, the head of the household was outside, tending to her dozens of cats. As usual, Durbin was playing in the backyard—a huge sandpit—flinging something that resembled cat feces.
"I think you're a nice girl, and I just, I wanted to warn you. You can do whatever you'd like with this information. I won't judge you for any decisions you may make."
"Thanks," I said, jumping when I saw the five-year-old suddenly at my window. In his hand was a thick wad of green feces, and I looked at him disgustedly. He used it as window paint, drawing a portrait of a cat on my window.
Frowning at the vile substance coating my window, Court remarked, "I guess you weren't lying. I've never seen anything like that in a movie."
I narrowed my eyes when the little boy stuck out his blue tongue. He must have ate a Popsicle earlier.
"Durbin!" shouted Mona from her spot on the porch. "Ger back here or I'll let her run ya over!"
Court's hand brushed against my thigh as he leaned over me to get a better look at Durbin. Before I could stop him, he gave Durbin a small wave and a wink. The little boy attempted to brush his thick, blond hair back, highlighting his hair with what little feces had remained on his hands.
I caught myself gagging as Mona screeched, running across the road to collect her youngster. Her body jiggled as she did so. "I swear ya go and dirty yerself up just to torture me. Givin' you three baths a day is a bit ridiculous. Next ya'll start sproutin' fins from all the water."
As soon as Mona swooped Durbin up in her arms, he started screaming, "Stranger danger! Stranger danger!"
Mona, a pained expression on her face, turned towards us, Durbin perched in the crook of her arm, and sighed, "I'm sorry, Adelaide. Ya know how the lil'uns are. Always tryin' to be as obnoxious as possible."
"It's alright," I assured her after I opened the car door, unwilling to roll down the window when it still had a thick layer of moist poop on it. For a brief second, I wondered if it was a beckoning call for all the neighborhood cats. Maybe they'd replace birds and release themselves on the car instead. I shuddered, picturing a thick layer of cat poop coating the car.
A strained smile on her face, Mona carried Durbin back into the house. His wails continued, only to be muffled when she tossed him inside and slammed the door shut behind her.
"He's certainly a character," reflected Court, a lopsided grin on his face.
Horrified, I exclaimed, "Don't tell me you found that cute? There's a fecal cat on the car. Grandma Georgette is going to kill us."
"We can wash it," insisted Court. "It looked a bit dingy anyway." Taking in the house once more and reflecting on what just occurred, he added, "Though I can say I pity his babysitter."
How Kitty could watch him without losing all sanity, I did not know. Perhaps she'd already watched it. One thing was for sure, if Sabina's unborn child ever turned out like Durbin, I'd likely kill him on the spot.
"We should head back," he suggested and I started up the car, suddenly reminded of what he'd mentioned about Track. After this information, I didn't know how to act around him. Should I have pretended I never heard it, confront him about it? Dealing with situations like these was something I wasn't used to.
My social circle encompassed adults who'd rather I not talk. Associating with young people around my age was a trait I had yet to learn. And learning I was.
Apparently I couldn't recognize when a university boy was flirting with me, rather I mistook it for wanting to kill me. Even if he wasn't really flirting. It scared me to think of how I'd regard a person who was actually trying to kill me. Would I embrace a cold blooded killer with wide open arms? I shuddered.
I needed to be more social. It could save my hide in the future.
During the return drive to the supermarket, I reflected on what course I would take to improve my social skills. I was a complete newbie on every social aspect. Which clothes were socially acceptable, I had no idea. I didn't know any colloquialisms that weren't from the eighties or early nineties. And sports! Was there a single one I could practice without hurting myself worse than the damage Special Ed had inflicted?
I was definitely doomed to die by a serial killer.
Pulling into the parking lot, I didn't even notice how close I'd come to running Fielding over. I could have ground his bones into the pavement and not even noticed it.
Squeezing my hand, Court shook me out of my stupor. He gave me a curt nod before getting out of the car. Court explained why there was a picture of a cat drawn in fecal matter on the driver side window as I clambered out of the car. I passed the keys back to Uncle Robbie.
"You okay?" asked Uncle Robbie, shooting Court a questioning look. Court's shoulders rose and then fell. A gust of wind caught his hair and ruffled it. I pictured in a toga and decided he was out of place in our time.
Reaching into his pockets, Track pulled out Fielding's key chain—with a picture of Pissy Prissy attached to it—out, and I hissed. She was such an evil, alien hag. I definitely needed to find him a different girlfriend. Preferably one without tentacles.
"You can take the Jeep, we'll get this cleaned up, I suppose." He stuck his nose up as he inspected the glass. "I don't care if this kid is the next Van Gogh, drawing with shit isn't right. Cutting off an ear is more sane than—that."
Fielding snapped a picture of the window on his cell phone and swapped keys with Uncle Robbie before he got in the Mercedes, aptly avoiding the excretions, and sped off, not even stopping for the traffic signs.
Uncle Robbie resolved, "I guess we'll meet you back at the house."
"Sounds like a plan." Snaking an arm around my waist, Track guided me to the Jeep. A shiver went up my spine. He's just trying to manipulate you, I told myself. Pretending I didn't like him, I shoved him away from me.
"Don't do that," I snapped, "you're not my boyfriend."
With a toothy grin, Track pulled back to him, hugging me closer to his body. His aftershave smelled like cedar. "Doesn't mean I can't be. I've been told I can be quite charming."
As I was told. A few weeks ago, I hadn't found him attractive at all. Now, being so close to him, I had a hard time telling myself he was just a manipulator. Even after Court had put it in the open, it was much easier to take the words seriously without Track around. He was amazing at contorting people's minds. He was charming, and at the same time he was crude. He had just the right mixture of both to seriously bend one's mind.
And mine was as straight as a rainbow. While Court's voice was intoxicating, Track's smell was. Before he pulled away, I found myself taking an extra whiff of his clothes.
He opened the door for me, and took the seat next to me. I swallowed the nervous lump in my throat. Releasing a deep breath, I cleared my mind. A level head was needed to surpass the time spent with him and come out relatively unscathed and unsexed.
"Alright, you do your thing, and I'll try not to freak out when you almost wreck into a pole." There was a bit of laughter in his voice, but it didn't help lighten the intense atmosphere. My mind was still reeling from Court's words.
I didn't know whether I should believe him or not.
Mindlessly, I started the car and followed whatever instructions Track felt he needed to give. Unlike Court, he acted as if he knew where he was going, telling me every so often to turn left or continue on straight.
Whenever I would stall the car, he didn't act frustrated like I was used to. He'd make some sort of joke about it and then immediately change the subject. Before I knew it, his directions had led me back to Radsbury Park. Albeit, we'd taken the long way.
"Why are we stopping here?" I asked, knowing the lesson would last twice as long if we stopped. I wasn't sure I could last much longer in his presence.
He drummed the dash before pivoting in his seat. "I'm going to ask you a question," he started, his eyes piercing through mine, sending a wave of intimidation down my spine, "and I want you to be honest. What did my brother say to you when you were in the car with him?"
Pretending I didn't know what he was talking about, I shrugged. "He told me what I was doing wrong when I drove, that's about it."
Silent for a moment, he rubbed his eye. "Are you sure? Because I had a pretty strong feeling he would say something about me. I know how he works. In fact, I'm almost positive he said something about me."
My voice was nonchalant. "Not really. He just said you enjoyed manipulating people." The words were out before I could think twice about what I'd said. Carefully, I studied him, waiting for a reaction. His face remained blank.
"Oh, really?" The tone of his voice was a little higher than normal. "And what's your opinion?"
I didn't know why I told him the next things I did. It just seemed logical at the moment. "I think you definitely know how to get the reactions you want out of people."
He prodded, "And what reactions am I trying to get out of you?" Without realizing he'd been leaning closer to me, I looked up at him to realize his face was mere inches from mine. Without permission, my eyes focused in on his mouth which had me captivated. They had a light pink tinge to them and were quite full.
Unable to look away, I spoke slowly. "I don't know, why don't you tell me?"
With a look of cockiness, he raised an eyebrow. The instant he did that, I regretted my words. Before I could forsee the consequences of my words, Track's lips were moving softly against mine.
I was a fool.
Especially when I responded. His kiss only intensified, and dear Allah, he slipped his tongue in my mouth.
Perhaps I should have listened to Uncle Robbie when he told me to hit him in the balls.
A/N: You all can decide what you want about this chapter. I suppose it leaves quite a few questions to be answered. One being is Track really just manipulating Adelaide? Oh well, I'm not going to get philosphical on you.
On the bright side, I got a new кошка. I haven't decided what to name her, but I've been thinking about Magoo or Macabre, but I don't know. I suppose I need to see how her character develops in time. She's barely just weened and I still have to teach her to use the litterbox. Joy.
This chapter was out rather fast. YAY. Hah. School starts on Wednesday and I'm so not looking forward to it. I mean, I am, but I'm not at the same time. At least I don't have to work nearly as much.
Also, if you guys know what the Officathon is, or you're competing in it, I'm looking for help to run it. If you're interested, pm or review me. I'm planning on making a website and such for it, but I still need to find the time.
Anyway, peace out homez.