Chapter Thirty-Nine

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I pressed a button on the dash and the car came to life. The large engine behind me growled. I adjusted the mirrors and fastened my seat belt. I could not believe I was about to drive a Ferrari. I looked down at the little horse on the steering wheel and felt happy. 

The big steel gate of the parking garage retracted into the ceiling and I crept out in first gear. I flipped a switch and the bright headlights illuminated the darkness as I prepared for my maiden voyage. 

The paddle shifting took a little time to get used to, but after a few minutes, I felt like a pro. I merged onto the freeway with no intended destination. I promised Steve I would be careful, but as soon as I hit an open stretch of road, I had no choice but to break that promise. I gently pressed my foot down on the gas pedal and the engine screamed. The sound was almost deafening. Stationary objects whizzed by my periphery so fast I could hardly tell what they were. I kept my eyes straight ahead and took off down the deserted road, easily exceeding the legal limit.  

From the side view mirror, I could see the headlights of another vehicle accelerating toward me. I reduced my speed in case it was a cop. The car tailed me for a couple of miles then came to a stop right beside me at the next intersection. I looked over at a gorgeous girl with long straightened hair driving a brand new BMW M3. She looked over at me and smiled. I smiled back and we shared a moment together. The light turned green and she winked at me. The rear wheels of her Beemer screeched as she peeled out. When her tires finally found traction, she took off. I sat there mesmerized. I had to remind myself I was behind the wheel of a brand new Ferrari.  

"Oh it's on," I said to myself. I engaged the racing suspension and slammed my foot on the gas pedal. Almost instantly, I reached the maximum RPMs for the first gear and immediately shifted into second. The car continued to accelerate. I flipped the paddle and entered into third gear. My foot was still firmly on the gas. The BMW, already in fourth gear by this time, was way ahead of me. I weaved in and out of a few cars and had the Beemer within my sights. I shifted into fourth and watched the distance between us become shorter. You're mine now, I thought. 

As I approached mind-numbing speeds, I gained considerable ground on the M3. I pulled right up beside her for a moment. She looked over at me and smiled again. This time, the smile was different. It was much more sinister. Without notice, she slammed on her brakes causing her vehicle to drop out of my sights. Through my side view mirror, I could see she had made a sharp right turn to divert her course onto the 302 exit. Within an instant, she was gone. 

I continued driving north on the freeway with the city lights behind me. Other than a few warehouses, there was not much out there. I took the next exit and veered off the main drag. I found a long stretch of open road with no traffic and no cops. It was a great place for me to get away from people and allow me a chance to think. I was feeling ambivalent. I was excited to have won over twenty-five thousand dollars in cash and prizes, but it wasn't enough to take my mind off Ashley.  

I gave the gas pedal a slight nudge and the car accelerated instantly passed 100 kilometers per hour. My head jolted back and I was thrust deeper into the fine Italian leather.  

The more I thought about the whole situation, the more upset I became. I recalled the first time I saw her in Banff, the long walks on the beach, all the ups and downs we had shared together. As soon as things were starting to go well for me in one aspect of my life, another aspect failed miserably. How could she just end it after just one year apart? I questioned. 

I pressed my foot down even more and flipped the right paddle again. The smooth engine didn't skip a beat as the needle climbed passed the 150 kilometer per hour mark. The gas gauge seemed to be decelerating at an equal and opposite rate. This short ride had probably cost me over thirty bucks in gas so far. The money didn't bother me, but I remained a little concerned about running out of gas. I was now deep into the forest on the outskirts of town, surrounded by trees. The thought of being stranded out there had occurred to me more than once. How long would it take me to walk back? Would I even get cell reception out here? 

Those thoughts were quickly replaced by thoughts of Ashley. I thought about our trip to Whistler, meeting her parents, her cute smile. That will be someone else's smile now, someone who does not leave her to go to the other side of the country for three years. How could I have been so stupid?  

A collection of fluid developed in the corner of my eye. I gave a quick squint and forced a single tear out and down the side of my cheek. 

I thought about the hot woman in the BMW. What were the odds that as soon as I was single, another woman would be presented to me? I knew it was too good to be true the moment she sped off in the other direction. Maybe I just repel women.  

I sunk deeper into a state of self-loathing. This time I didn't hold back. "AAAAAAHHHH!" I let out a big roar that was immediately swallowed up by the powerful twelve-cylinder engine. Letting out the scream was not as effective as I thought. I seemed to have a sickness that only excessive speed could cure. I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and slammed my foot down on the gas pedal. I accelerated up to 240 kilometers per hour and the adrenaline was enough to push out any sadness I was feeling. If I lost focus at this speed, I would be dead. 

I ripped around a corner feeling the massive thirty-inch tires grip the road. As soon as my tears stopped, it began to rain. A few drops of rain splattered across my windshield as if the world felt my pain and was crying back.  

The trees on either side of me whizzed by as I took the car near its limit. What was once a calm and peaceful night in the forest was now interrupted by over 600 horsepower. The car howled in the night like a lone wolf. The ground was getting a bit slick as the rain started to come down harder. I reduced speed, but I was still going well over 100.  

I looked up at the moon, which was now being consumed by clouds. The rain started coming down harder. I fiddled with some knobs to activate the windshield wipers, but I was having trouble. I only took my eyes off the road for a moment, but when I came around a corner and looked back at the road, I saw a huge creature standing in the middle of the road. It appeared to be a deer, but I couldn't quite focus on it as I rapidly approached it. I was now running on pure instincts.  

Without thinking, I slammed on the brakes, causing the back end of the Italian import to drift outwards. To avoid a complete tailspin, I released my foot from the brake and down shifted into third. The car made all kinds of noises as the RPMs reached over 6000. I gave it a little gas and squeezed the steering wheel. The tires screeched, but I regained traction, and not a moment too soon. I cranked on the steering wheel just enough and avoided impact with the giant beast. It was a good thing it didn't have antlers or else it would have peeled the top off the car like a jagged can opener. 

I brought the car to a complete stop and was now perpendicular with the road. I looked out the passenger window and saw a massive doe looking back at me almost as if to say thanks before she gracefully galloped off into the night. I took a deep breath to try to get my heart rate back to normal. That was too close for comfort. I was once again reminded of the importance of exercising caution and staying focused.

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