The road stretched on. Passing fields with cows munching on the green grass and rusty signs, Allison drummed her fingers on the black steering wheel constantly keeping watch for the familiar turn. Clenching and unclenching her jaw she fought back the sting of tears threatening to drop out from her tear ducts, winning by just a scratch. She reminded herself of the bundle of joy she had riding with her and that if any harm were to occur to little Callum she would be at fault. Nobody would dear to harm Callum and she would shoot herself ten times over if there was any severe damage made to him because she was distracted whilst driving.
"Callum," she whispered and her eyes jumped to the blue eyed dimpled boy who was draped with a Ben 10 blanket, before her eyes hopped back to the road ahead of her.
Allison recalled the conversation she had over the phone with her mother instantly after her twin's death the month before. It had gone as well as how it would if somebody had told a mother bear that their cub would never be safely home. Not well. The unfeeling mask and voice she had put on before talking to her mother hadn't prepared her for her mother's onslaught of hysterical cries and sobbed words. Allison was known to hide her emotions whenever in an uncomfortable arrangement and her mother, even though she had been stricken with emotional pain, had found the edges of her mask and peeled it back revealing how Allison really felt.
"Come home," her mother had ordered after containing herself. "For Callum's sake," she'd added. Allison quickly agreed and had notified the school she taught at that she was leaving. It didn't feel right, but for Callum she would do anything.
When Amanda had suggested the mere idea of leaving the city after completing high school, Alison had thought her sister to be crazy! No way would she ever swap the fresh air and naturalistic qualities of country life for the rat race in the city lifestyle. Her whole life had been there. Country air was a characteristic and she needed it to survive. She never wanted to leave, but then Callum came. Amanda had still been horribly upset and Allison knew that it was necessary for her twin to be away from some of the reminders of her lover for a while. She always tag teamed with her twin so when Amanda had finally asked her to move with her to the stuffy and dank air of the city, she had obliged.
The two had never been separated. Allison felt alone.
Alison had never thought that she'd be returning to their hometown without her twin. It felt… sinful. Why wasn't she with her sister? Alison was always the weaker one, why didn't she die instead? She imagined the last question to be on the town agenda. It wasn't a small town, but it was small enough to know the people that lived within its walls or whom they'd pass on a daily basis around town. It'd be on the shopkeeper's tongues by the time her tires squeaked slightly passed the imaginary sensor line, she idly thought as she passed by the welcome sign that displayed the population of the town. Welcome to Ridgeway City, Population 7,653.
"Focus," she murmured to herself, "Focus. You have a four year old nephew in the backseat and the last thing you need is to be shovelled off the road because you've totalled your car into tree while moping. For the moment stop thinking and focus."
Capturing a tear with her index finger, Alison flicked it away with distaste and slowly turned the corner in her red mustang. Immediately the shops that filled out the streets and the country folk milling about burst into her vision. She gauged the people's reactions in seeing the familiar red mustang with the tinted black windows before turning and pulled in the parking area of a mechanic shop. The first things she needed to do before she went to her mother's home was to make sure that her car was in tip-top condition at her newly bought mechanic shop and that Callum was fed.
Easier to face them now rather than later, she added as unbuckled her seatbelt and opening her door. As soon as she stepped outside and stretched her legs out from the long ride, she opened up Callum's door, unbuckled him and reached down to stroke his soft skin. "Come on bud, wake up," she murmured, pushing back his short locks of brown hair.
Tiredly, Callum opened his bright blue eyes before beaming a smile at her. Allison's tears almost poured out at that moment. "Morning Auntiee," he sang and extended his arms to lock them around Alison's neck as she pulled him up from his seat.
As they approached the mechanic's garage doors, Alison casually glanced at the mechanics as they withdrew rags from their back pockets and wiped at the smudges on their faces when they caught sight of her. "Are we gonna eat soon," Callum whined as his stomach gave a rumble.
"Sure are bud, just in a couple of minutes," she replied, rubbing his back as he rested his head on the crock of her shoulder.
The workers were grinning now and elbowing each other as she neared them. She knew her car was quite the catch as it was a classic but she knew that by the leers and winks that they sent her way they were thinking that she was the catch. Oh god, she cursed. Dressing down in a pair of bootleg jeans and loose fitting purple polo shirt obviously didn't hide her long legs or small waist. Her brown hair was a bun, knotted and not smelling like roses after the two day drive they'd completed from the city to the country. She forced herself not to roll her eyes, Well if that's what got men's minds ticking… the world has been destroyed.
She couldn't have them seeing her in a romantic way. No way. She was their new boss and if they were to step on her toes as they fantasised about her and yipped like puppies as they answered her, this business wasn't going to be a worthwhile one.
"Hello pretty lady," one of the mechanics hollered as she stopped in front of the garage doors, Callum's arms tightening around her neck, "you want dinner at my place or yours?"
Despite his taught muscles and chiselled face, Alison's annoyance heightened. Gritting her teeth she forced her tongue back from slashing at him with snappy retorts and comments about his lack of skill in wooing women. She remained silent assessing his ability to stay focused as a mechanic and to lure the customers in and not push them away.
He leant against the open hood of the car he was working on before she came. "Want your engine checked doll face? By the looks of things, you don't need one honey," the mechanic winked earning snorts of laughter to echo within the garage walls. Ally cringed. Doll face? For all the looks that this bloke has, he doesn't know shit on wooing women.
Allison's teeth bit at her tongue, blood trickling from the small cut. "Listen here," she seethed, "If I needed my engine checked, you'd be the last one to go near my car. Either way, I can do it myself."
Her anger filled voice made Callum to look up from her neck and look at her annoyed face before turning to the men in the garage. Allison was glaring at the mechanics while the other's leered or smiled slightly at her. "I could help you with you engine check, my tool's in my-"
Ally took a step into the garage and hiked Cal higher onto her hip. For a moment she smirked as she admired the interior of her mechanical store and then as she took in the workers her face fell into a stoic mask. "I have to say boys, I'm quite disappointed with the way you treat women when they come into the garage." She eyed each one as they stilled their activities and idiotic behaviour, watching her with a wary eye. "Tell me, do any of you know where my office is?"