Backseat Babe

She rides in the backseat of his car because the front passenger's seat gives her motion sickness. Not wearing her seatbelt, she leans forward and hands him a half-smoked cigarette. "To Vegas, baby," she says.

He scowls at her—"Fuck you"—but heads towards Vegas anyway.

He steals glances at her in the rear view mirror as she tests various shades of lipstick and puckers at her own reflection. When he rolls his eyes and shakes his head, she says "What?" and then tries another shade without even bothering to wipe the old one off.

She's only fifteen, he reminds himself. But that doesn't soothe the headache.

She likes to read the map and point out places she'd like to visit along the way. He just keeps driving straight and doesn't say a thing.

"Why haven't you fucked me yet?" she asks one day, sprawled across the entire backseat of the car, her shoulder against the door, her eyes studying her fingernails which she pretends to pick.

"You're too young," he replies, his eyes glimpsing at her before darting back to the road.

"No I'm not," she protests. "You're just three years older."

"I'm eighteen."

"Big fucking deal. I'm your girlfriend. We're supposed to fuck."

"Says who?"

She draws her knees up to her chest and wraps her slender arms around them, disappointed and silent.

"You're still a virgin," he points out.

"So?" Her voice is laced with irritation. "So were you when you were my age."

"Yeah, but that's different."

She snorts. "Why, because you're a boy?"

"No, because… because it just is, alright?"

She tilts her head onto her knee tops, her expression sad. "Why can't you be my first?" She sounds like a five-year-old asking why she has to go to school.

"Ugh, would you please just drop it!"

He pulls over onto the shoulder of the road and then turns in his seat to face her. "It's not happening, get it? So for the love of God, shut the fuck up!"

She pouts, mutters "Fine then!" under her breath, and then crosses her arms

He shifts back around, massaging the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger, and then stares out the windshield for a moment, thinking. "We need to find a place to stay," he announces.

She can tell by his tone that he's aggravated and tired, but she's relentless. "We can sleep in the car." She pats the seat next to her so he can hear. "Back here where it's nice and comfy."

"No," he tells her. "We'll look for a cheap motel. I've still got some of my dad's money left over."

He maneuvers the gear shift from Park to Drive, and then pulls off the shoulder back onto the road.

The motel is the cheapest he could find—one of those $50 ones with six rooms total and a narrow parking lot. He and the girl get an end room. Paint is chipping off the door. There's a crack in the wall. One of the two lamps doesn't work. And there's no shower, just a low toilet with a heavy lid and a sink with rust in the bowl.

He pisses. Washes his hands. Eyes himself in the mirror. When he comes out he sees her sitting at the edge of the bed, her legs spread open, the hem of her skirt ruffled at her thighs, her panties showing.

"You know you want to," she practically begs.

He pauses, looking at her. Then shakes his head. "I shoulda got a room with two beds," he grumbles.

At night when he lays next to her, his back is turned and he's facing the wall. Her arm swings over his waist and squeezes. "Do I at least get a goodnight kiss?" she asks gently, her over-coated lips hovering just barely above his ear. He turns his head briefly and pecks them, but that's not enough for her and the next thing he knows, her tongue is wiggling its way into his mouth and her head is forcing his down into his pillow as her hands lift up his shirt.

He grabs them. She tries to break free but his grip tightens. "No," he whispers firmly, glaring at her against the darkness of the room.

She groans loudly and then rolls over.

He pulls his shirt back down and does the same.

They both drift off shortly afterward.

Come morning she's gone. Her side of the bed is empty and cold, and he can see that his wallet and car keys are missing from the nightstand. He bolts up and runs out the door, his feet bare against the hot asphalt.

His car is no longer in the parking lot.

"FUCK!" he screams to the sky. Then an idea hits him.

The middle-aged woman from India sitting at the front desk is not keen on opening the pay window, but does so anyway when he refuses to stop rapping on it. "I need to call 911!" he says frantically. "I've just fucking been robbed!"

The phone is an old one—white with a spiral cord, the number keys large and located on the crib instead of the receiver. The woman dials the number and then hands the receiver over to him, warning him in her Indian accent not to "try anything."

What he could possibly "try" he hasn't a clue, but he doesn't argue with her. As soon as he has the phone up to the side of his head and hears the "911 Emergency" on the other end, he sighs with relief.

"Yes, hi," he says, "I'm calling about a stolen car and a stolen wallet…"

He gives his name, his license plate number, the make and model of his car, the shape and size and color of his wallet, and the name of the girl… as well as a detailed description of her, right down to the excess lipstick.

When he's assured that help is on its way and he gives back the phone, a slight smile tugs at the corners of his lips as he pictures her in the backseat of a police car.