Chapter Five

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Arcee pulled to a stop as the light turned red. Through the towering buildings ahead was a thin strip of blue ocean. Apartment buildings with palm trees sticking up out of the sidewalk lined the streets. A warm, soft breeze blew through Kita's hair. She purred at the feeling.

The revving of a bike engine caught Kita's attention. In the side mirror, a bike slowly drove up the center lane then parked beside her. The guy rode an awesome neon green Kawasaki Ninja 300. He wore shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops. There was an extra helmet strapped to the passenger's seat. Bet he's going down to the boardwalk to pick up chicks. At least he's wearing a helmet. Of course, what goods a pretty face when you have no skin? Maybe he can get a head tank like in Futurama.

The guy lifted his visor. "Nice bike. A work in progress?"

"It's got it where it counts," said Kita coyly.

"Think you can beat me?"

"I dunno. Race me and find out."

"Cool, but if I win, I get a kiss."

Kita raised an eyebrow. Does that pickup line work? One kiss and the girls fall to their knees, ha ha ha. Put him on his knees. I've got some floors that need scrubbing. "Ok, you're on. But, if I win, I get that helmet."

"Deal." He revved his high-pitched engine loudly. "The first one to the second light wins."

Kita grinned and turned Arcee's throttle. Her engine was deeper and roared.

"Do you think it's wise racing this fool?" said Arcee.

"You don't think you can beat him?"

"That wasn't the question. I asked if it was wise."

"We do it, and we get a free helmet. That'll keep my face hidden and keep us from getting pulled over."

The light turned green, and the other bike took off. Arcee took off slowly.

"I thought you said you could beat him," yelled Kita.

"I can. I'm building the suspense."

Kita wasn't sure how much suspense she wanted. It was only an eighth of a mile to the second light. Fifteen seconds at best. Traffic was clear for the first block, but the second light hadn't changed, and cars were lined up waiting to go.

When the other bike passed the first intersection, Arcee kicked it into gear. Kita was thrown back as she gripped the handlebars tightly. It was like riding a rocket. I can't wait until she's the H2R.

Halfway down the second block, Arcee caught the other bike. The light still hadn't changed as they approached the waiting cars. The guy looked over at Kita, gave her the thumbs up and opened his throttle as he swerved left to dodge traffic. Arcee jerked to the right, her motor roaring as the raced between traffic and the parallel-parked cars.

Kita watched the other bike between cars. "Come on, Arcee! Wahoo!"

Arcee accelerated forward with a roar of her engine. Kita twisted around and blew the guy a kiss. The light turned green as Kita passed the finish line. Arcee swerved to miss a late car and throttled down as the other bike caught up. Kita motioned for him to follow so she could collect her prize.

They turned left onto Beach Front Road, part of highway 102 that ran the length of the coast, then pulled into a parking lot. Arcee pulled into a spot that had a sign that read NO PARKING. The guy pulled in next to Kita and pulled off his helmet.

"Damn. I thought I had you beat, then zoom. What do you have in that thing?" he asked sticking out his hand. "The name's Ryan, by the way."

Kita took his hand and was surprised when Ryan kissed it. "K-Kita." She gulped. "It's all custom work. A friend of mine does it. We've got the engine, and we're going to see about the body today."

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