We couldn’t have been moving any slower.
As we approached the fourth speed bump yet, Andrew eased his foot off the accelerator even more, slowing the small vehicle to a pace that wasn’t much of an improvement on being stationary. The wheels rolled over the tiny bump with ease, barely moving the car at all. However, it seemed my best friend was suffering from extreme sensitivity; he winced even at the miniscule vibration.
“Sorry!” he cried, shooting me an agonized look. “I knew I should’ve gone the other way. I forgot about the speed bumps.”
Wedged in the front seat with a bag at my feet and a baby carrier perched on my lap, I was already uncomfortable. The doll was strapped awkwardly inside it, its dodgy eye rolling backwards and forwards with every motion. No matter where I focused my attention, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that it was watching me. Andrew, however, seemed to think the slightest movement would be disastrous. From the moment we got into the car, he’d not stopped stealing nervous sideways glances, as if checking it hadn’t spontaneously combusted in my care. Driving at any speed over twenty miles an hour, he’d deemed, was way too risky.
Except in reality, the only danger we were in was being overtaken by passing snails.
“Andrew,” I said, “it’s not made of glass. If you don’t speed up a bit, we’re going to be driving all night.”
Maybe if it wasn’t so incredibly annoying, it might’ve been a bit cuter. The car’s internal temperature was not unlike the gym’s – stifling – and so anything that prolonged the journey wasn’t exactly in my good books. For me, the baby had only been an addition to an already bad day. I could already see it taking a lot of self-control to spare it the same fate as Andrew’s brother’s.
“Sorry,” he repeated, but my protests did nothing to improve his speed.
When we pulled up at my house twenty minutes later, I wasted no time in scrambling for the door, eager to breathe air that didn’t make me feel queasy.
“Do you want me to carry that?” Andrew asked, running a hand through his messy brown hair. His eyes darted to the carrier in my hand. “I mean, I can-”
“I’m fine,” I interjected, my lips twitching into a smile. “I think I can manage a few meters up the driveway. It’s really not that heavy.”
We headed up to the front door, letting ourselves in and going straight for our usual hangout spot – the kitchen. Maybe it was due to the abundance of food there (both of us were always hungry), but we always seemed to find ourselves hanging around in some way or another, whether it be crouched over homework at the table, or watching crappy shows on the tiny wall TV by the fridge.
Today, the kitchen contained only my mom, who was leaning over the counter, engrossed in a cooking show. She looked surprised, to say the least, when greeted by the sight of me lugging a pink baby carrier into the kitchen. Her eyes flickered suspiciously between us for a moment – mentally evaluating the possibility of me going through pregnancy unnoticed – before comprehension dawned. “Baby project?”
“Baby project,” I confirmed, heaving the carrier onto the countertop.
“And you two are partners?” I nodded in response, and a smile spread across her face. “That’s so cute. Do I get a look at my first grandkid?”
“Uh…” I resisted the urge to grimace. “I wouldn’t get too excited. It’s not pretty.”
|Troian Bellisario||as Avery|
|Andrew Garfield||as Andrew|