Chapter Five | Dates 2

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Adam hadn't reacted to Zoë's request to drive his car later that evening in a negative way, though if he'd known her better, he would have. Since moving to Edinburgh a month ago, she hadn't set foot in even a taxi. In Arkansas, she'd driven to work every day; while she'd never been in a serious accident, it was a stroke of luck.

Driving gave her anxiety, but she did it because she didn't want to rely on anyone for her freedom. The day she turned sixteen, she secured her license, drove to the bookstore, and bought the romance novel she'd been eyeing for weeks. She couldn't stomach either of her parents seeing it. They wouldn't have objected, but after a rousing chorus of, "You don't wanna waste your money on trash like that," they'd comment for weeks thereafter with kissy noises and mock-narrative ("He ripped her bodice to free her heaving bosom!"), concluding with judge-y, "How can you read that stuff?" comments. They'd done it all before with movies (Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet), music (Celine Dion), and clothes (platform sandals). If her parents had their druthers, Zoë would have worn classic 50s flare dresses and sensible heels while listening to the mellow sounds of Glen Campbell. No TV, no reading, no freedom, just cooking dish after delicious dish. Preferably while pregnant, married to a Godly man.

So she mashed the accelerator.

Nothing had changed about driving in thirty years, but Zoë had forgotten how many cars from the 60s were still on the road in the 80s. Long and angular with bench seats and no airbags. She couldn't remember what model in the 80s was the one to burst into flame at the slightest bumper touch.

Adam's car was a little bubble. He'd bought it used, he said, though he didn't remember the model's exact year.

"Seventy-eight, I think? Late seventies," he said, scratching the radio between stations before landing on music. His expression brightened. "Ahh, good song."

Zoë took her eyes off the road to stare at him for a precarious moment. It was one she'd heard so often it lost all meaning. Generic "dad rock". Before she could vocalize the surprise he would like the song unironically, Adam switched from air keyboard to air microphone.

He playfully punched her shoulder. "Sing! You know this one."

She joined in, mumbling the verse, but belting the chorus with him. Adam had a beautiful voice: sweet and full of range, perfectly overlapping the powerhouse singer on the radio. Zoë fell quiet to listen to him.

"Are they still around?" Adam asked. "Journey. In your time?"

"Are you asking me about the future?"

"Come on, what harm could it do?"

"Yeah, Journey's still a thing."

"Holy shit. He must be in his sixties now. Can he still sing like that?"

Zoë shrugged. "I think they replaced him with some young guy." Her dad loved the band and had serious opinions about their choices of lead singer over the years. If she remembered his rantings well enough, Steve Perry was the only good one, but Zoë struggled to tell the difference between any of them.

"What? Why would they replace Steve Perry?"

She shrugged.

"He die?"

"I don't think so. Look it up on Wikipedia. You can use my phone." But when she patted her back pocket to give it to him, the non-pocket was empty again.

"What?" He laughed.

"No," she said. "I keep forgetting I don't have it."

"Have what? A tiny telephone in your back pocket?" He laughed again, but sobered. "Really? So you call a place for random information?"

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