Ki$$ & $ell: Chapter Thirteen

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Chapter Thirteen

It was just after 4 am when I reluctantly dragged myself into the passenger side of our car, my favorite snuggly fleece blanket pulled tightly around me. The last time I’d been up this early was years before, when mom and I decided to take a road trip to Disneyland. She’d wrapped me up in a blanket, carried me out to the car, and buckled me in before the sun had even started to peek out. Of course, then I’d promptly gone back to sleep until Mom announced that we were at the park.

            This morning however, was different. There was no way I’d be getting any more sleep. Partly because of the topless dream I’d had, which had only added to my existing nerves. But also because I wouldn’t be on this drive alone. We were on our way to McCartney’s house to pick her up. And that girl could talk no matter how early it was.

            I yawned as we pulled out of the driveway, shaking a bit with sleep. Then, I reached down and pulled a Red Bull out of my bag. Popping the top, I began to guzzle it down, barely breathing as I crushed it.

            “I don’t know how you can drink that stuff,” Mom said, glancing over at me as she drove. She made a face. “It smells like cough syrup and makes you all jittery.”

            I finished off the rest of the can and then placed it in the cup holder next to my mom’s thermos. “Still tastes better than coffee,” I said, shuddering as I remembered that first cup with Sylvia. “And it’s four in the morning. I could use a little hyper activity, don’t you think? Nobody likes a guest who puts them to sleep.”

            My mom sighed, but didn’t argue any further. I leaned over and turned on the radio, scanning the channels until I found a country station. Taylor Swift’s voice suddenly filled the car.

            “I love this song!” I exclaimed and started to sing along. “As far as I’m concerned, you’re just another picture to burn!”

            I started to dance the best I could while strapped into a seatbelt. If anyone were out on the road this early, they’d probably think I was crazy. And I wouldn’t be able to blame them. Pointing to an imaginary ex-boyfriend as I recited the lyrics, I channeled my inner angry girl. I tapped my toes on the dashboard to the beat of the song and closed my eyes as I let loose.

            “Okay Shania,” my mom said, turning the volume down when she’d had enough. “Lets try not to wake the Janning’s or their neighbors at this hour.”

            I rolled my eyes as I watched the massive houses fly by. “I’m not even sure the Jannings are in town,” I muttered as we pulled into my friend’s driveway.

            Before the car had even stopped, McCartney was already out of the house and running towards us. She jerked open the car door and tossed her things into the back seat before climbing in herself.

            “Have fun,” McCartney’s mom said from the front porch where she was standing in a blue fluffy robe. “Thanks for taking her, Karen.”

            “We’re always happy to have her, Rita,” my mom answered.

            I heard McCartney buckle her belt and then open a can with a “pshhh” sound. She tapped me on the shoulder and without looking, I reached back and took the drink she was offering.

            My mom stared first at me, and then back at McCartney, who was already chugging her energy drink like a thirsty man in the desert. She shook her head at us and then muttered something under her breath that I was sure ended with, “kids these days.” I turned to look out the window again before taking another sip of the tangy liquid.

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