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Highly Strung

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“Ugh.” I turned to the left and right, trying to find some way the uniform made me look even remotely attractive.

The short pink dress buttoned down the front, and had a doily-like collar and apron with a pocket that resembled something of a kangaroo. It was a size too large, but I’d gotten Mrs.Hays to take it in for me the night before. She’d been so excited that I’d been fitting in in town that she’d snatched it out of my hands and hurried off to her room.

“Knock knock!” Alex sang, hurrying into the room.

“You know, you could just actually knock, Al.” I giggled, slipping on my white ballet flats while pulling my hair back into a tight ponytail. Multi-tasking was my specialty.

“Oh, Tay. You know that’s only for lame people, like my parents.” She laughed, holding out the keys. “I’m off today, Marla just called. So you get to drive yourself to work.”

“Okay.” I sighed in my sad voice, taking the keys from her.

“I’m helping mom clean out the attic today, so feel free to switch places.”

“I’m good.” I patted Alex’s head and headed downstairs. I grabbed my purse off the table and waved to Mr. and Mrs. Hays who were eating breakfast together, chatting and laughing.

“Have a good day!” Mrs. Hays called after me.

“Thanks, will do!” I let the screen door fall shut and skipped down the creaky wooden stairs.

The car was still in the driveway from the day before, so I unlocked the door and slid behind the wheel, feeling weird about driving myself into town.

“Hey.” Cole pulled open the passenger door, causing me to jump and hit my knee off the steering wheel.

“Shit.” I muttered, rubbing the sore spot. “What do you want?”

“I need a ride into town.”

“Fine, whatever. Get in, I’m going to be late.”

****

The half hour drive into town felt like days. Cole had his guitar case taking up the entire backseat, I could barely see out the back window to reverse while he asked annoying questions incessantly.

“Can we turn on the radio?” He asked for the billionth time in five minutes.

“No. It distracts me.”

“From what!” He demanded, slamming his hand down on the dashboard. “There aren’t any other cars!”

I looked around, and it was true, the road was deserted but there was no way I would give him the satisfaction of being right.

“From driving the right way. Now, please be quiet.”

The car elapsed into a peaceful silence, causing me to relax in my seat and focus on the drive.

All of one minute later, Cole’s voice invaded the quiet. “Can we please turn on the radio?”

“No! We cannot!” I shrieked, just as the car started rumbling and popping, rolling to a stop on the side of the road.

“You made the car angry.” Cole stated seriously, eyes wide.

I slammed my hands on the steering wheel over and over, angry. “How am I going to get to work now!”

Cole pushed open the door leaping out to inspect the damage. I suspected it was more to get away from me than to actually fix the car. Smoke was rising from the hood, and even with my limited knowledge of vehicles and their inner workings, I knew that it couldn’t be good.

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Cast

Megan Parkas Taylor Robins
Taylor Kitschas Cole Hays
Rachael Tayloras Alex Hays
Logan Lermanas Conrad Stevens

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