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Pen Your Pride

            “Come on,” I muttered, twisting the key in the ignition.

My car spluttered for a few moments before going quiet again. The red car icon on the dash flashed on and off, warning me that my seatbelt wasn’t buckled. Groaning in frustration, I wrenched my key out of the ignition, slamming down on my steering wheel. The horn erupted, making me start.

“Maybe we should have taken my car,” Casey suggested, her breath making moisture in front of her. “Your car sucks. Nothing personal.”

I turned to give her an exasperated look. “I know, but usually it at least turns on.”

“Maybe it’s too cold.”

“We’re going to be late,” I complained, smacking my head against the back of my seat. “Damn it.”

Casey sighed lightly, reaching over, and taking the key out of my hand. “Let me try,” she insisted, putting they key in the ignition again.

“There’s no way you can do…” I trailed off as the engine started, my radio coming on a little too loudly. “How did you do that?”

She sent me a small smirk. “Secret.”

Rolling my eyes, I snapped my seatbelt, and shifted the car into drive. “You just got lucky.”


The trip to school took much longer than it would have if it were Casey who was driving. She was more comfortable behind the wheel than I was— especially since I only started driving this car about three weeks ago. My mom got it for my Christmas present: used and needing a ton of work. At least the heater still worked.

When we were finally parked in the student parking, I cut the engine, quickly getting out of the car and locking it. Casey had our backpacks, and she tossed mine to me as we hurried towards the building. When I tried to push open the door, I found it was already locked. Casey pounded on it, pressing her face against the glass to try looking for someone who could open it.

“Did the bell ring?” I asked her.

She shook her head. “No, we still have five minutes.”

I quickly joined her in her pounding. Thanks to my car, I had been late four times in the past three weeks already. If I was late again, it was detention for me.

“What are you two doing?”

Immediately Casey and I twirled around in surprise. Standing before us was Chris, an amused expression on his face. Casey and I exchanged embarrassed looks before I dropped my head, feeling my cheeks burn.

“Morning, Mr. Heywood,” Casey chirped, recovering swiftly. “We’re locked out.”

“No you’re not,” he responded, sounding interested. “That door’s always locked, remember?”

It was quiet for a moment. Now more humiliated than before, I looked up to see Casey giving me a condescending look. A sheepish smile crossed my face as I forced out a small laugh. “Whoops…”

Chris chuckled, going over to the open door, and holding it open for us. “You girls better hurry, or you’ll be late.”

Casey hastened towards the door, making a face. “Thanks, Mr. Heywood.”

“Yeah, thanks,” I muttered, trying not to make eye contact with him as I passed through the door.

Before I had even taken three steps, someone grabbed the back of my bag, pulling me to a stop. “Hold on, Holly.”

“Chris, I’ll be late,” I protested.

“That’s okay.”

I turned to frown at him. “You’re a teacher. You shouldn’t say that.”

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