A Long Drive | Teen Ink

A Long Drive

November 25, 2014
By Proudheart PLATINUM, Evansville, Wisconsin
Proudheart PLATINUM, Evansville, Wisconsin
32 articles 5 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you are going through Hell, keep going." -Winston Churchill

Despite the fact that first term finals had ended the day before, and I had stayed up until 11:30 the night before doing my chores, I woke up at 7:00 and couldn’t even dream of falling back asleep. I know he was coming at 9:30, so I made myself wait in bed until 7:30, then picked up Different Seasons to read. I’d eaten the thing alive, and had just started the last novella, The Breathing Method, the night before. Even so, it couldn’t hold my attention, and my mind wandered to thoughts about the coming day.
At 8:00, I finally allowed myself to get up. There was so little to do on this November morning, and so much time to do it.
My first stop was the bathroom, where I glimpsed my reflection. My hair was a tawny lion mane, tangled and knotty. My skin was relatively clear (unusual, post finals), and my eyes were sleepy-looking. I had a lot to do in the next hour and a half, but I had to get food first.
After a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats, I went down into my room and got dressed. I’d carefully picked the outfit out the night before: a tight blue and white striped shirt, dark blue jeggings (they looked like jeans but were more comfortable), and a pair of slouchy black boots. I wasn’t sure why my clothing mattered so much, because I didn’t even know how I felt about Christopher yet, but somehow it did.
After changing, I went back to the bathroom to finish getting ready. I straightened my hair as much as it needed to be straightened, and gazed at my face. My eyes were dark gray, with a silvery gold color around the iris, and were rimmed with tawny lashes the same color as my hair. I decided I only needed to put on clear mascara and curl my eyelashes. As much as I wanted to put on makeup, I wasn’t sure how I felt about him, or how I wanted him to feel about me.
By the time I finished, it was 9:00. I tried to read again, but again I couldn’t focus. For the next half hour, I paced restlessly around the house.
9:30 came at last. I called up to my parents, tired from dinner with the in-laws the night before, that I was leaving. As I left, I grabbed my favorite sweatshirt off my coat hook, fearing the early November air.
The air that hit me when I opened the door was unseasonably warm. The day was gorgeous: little wind, the sky a deep blue and dotted with puffy white clouds, and the sun was bathing the world in its golden light.
Christopher was parked on the slope of the driveway in his dusty mauve ’95 VolkswagenGolf. I could see him sitting on the driver’s side, one hand on the stick, the other on the steering wheel. He made eye contact with me and jokingly rolled his eyes. I flipped him off in return before opening the passenger door and sliding in.
“Hey loser,” Christopher yawned.
“It’s too early,” I moaned, leaning my head back on the seat.
He grinned at me. “Then sleep, Lynsey.”
“I can’t, you jerk. I’m too afraid of your driving.”
Christopher shrugged. “Fair enough.”
I glanced over at him. It was hard to tell when he was sitting down, but Christopher was tall, almost six foot, and skinny. He had shaggy, Justin-Bieber style brown hair, and greenish eyes that seemed to change color depending on the light.
He shifted gears and back out of the driveway. He muttered a string of colorful language as the bottom of this car (it was a low-rider) scraped on the ground as he pulled out over the initial inkling of the driveway.
We drove up my road and headed out of my subdivision, towards Ace Hardware, his place of employment. As we approached it, he spoke.
“Like my new sweatshirt? I got it last night at work.”
I glanced over at him. He was wearing a red pull-over Ace hoodie that didn’t seem to fit him exactly right. “You’re a little Ace nerd,” I laughed.
He flipped me off. “You’re just jealous because you don’t have a job.”
“You would,” I replied, nodding at his middle finger. “And no, I’m not jealous. I have time to hang out with losers like you since I don’t have to work constantly. And besides, no place besides the Ace hires fifteen year olds, and there’s no way I want to work with you.”
He rolled his eyes. “So? By the way, we need to stop at my house before we go to Mt. Horeb.”
We drove to the only stoplight in our town, turned left, and drove up a county highway to the entrance of the trailer park where he lived. At the entrance, there were three road, one directly in front of us, one to the left, and one to the right. We turned down the one to the right and drove three quarters of the way down to a light brown trailer with a drive way filled with cars and a front light that looked like it had been crumpled in someone’s fist.
Christopher looked over at me. “I got to, like, brush my teeth and stuff, so if you want you can come in.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Ew, you’re gross.”
He leaned over and breathed on me. I shrank back against the door. “Stop!” I yelped.
He laughed and turned the car off. We both stepped out into the warm day. Realizing that I’d probably be seeing his parents, I pulled my sweatshirt on over my head. No need for them to look at my clothes and decide I was trashy.
Christopher lead the way through his driveway (he’d had to park behind the three cars that filled it), then up a walkway that was crumbling in paces. He went up to a set of wooden stairs to the front door. The storm door had blown wide open and was tapping on the metal hand rail. He jogged up the stairs and unlocked the door. With that, he disappeared inside, holding the door open behind him.
I followed. When I got inside, I surveyed the room around me. The first room was large, and split in half by a half-wall right in front of me. To my right was the kitchen, and to my left was the living room. I glanced at the area around the door to see if I should take my shoes off. There was a circle next to my left foot, drawn in black permanent marker on the linoleum. In the center of the circle, ‘Do Not Step’ was written in more black marker.
I lifted my left foot, took off my boot, and put my foot back onto the floor. The floor sank almost instantly under my foot, startling me. I moved my foot and looked down, realizing that I’d stepped on the circle. I moved to the right, took off my other boot, and made my way into the living room to sit on the couch.
While I waited for Christopher to finish brushing his teeth or whatever it was he was doing, I glanced around the room. To my left was a mountain bike and a small open window, and to my right was a sliding glass door with a gauzy white curtain over it. The door was cracked open and the curtain blew gently in the breeze. In front of the sliding door was some kind of exercise machine that looked like something that had been advertised in an infomercial that I’d seen. A fine layer of gray-brown dust had gathered on the black metal and plastic of the machine.
There was a hallway next to the entertainment center, directly in front of me. It was dark; a single window was at the far end. Christopher materialized from the darkness, brushing his teeth. He waved at me as he passed me and walked into the kitchen. After a moment, I could hear him, moving things in the fridge as though he was looking for something. The fridge closed and he came out from the kitchen and disappeared down the hallway again.
A moment later, another figure emerged. This person was a huge man. He was maybe 6’ 2”, and seemed built like an ox. One of his arms was about as thick as my thigh.
“You must be Christopher’s friend.”
I wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement, but suddenly my mouth was cotton and all I could manage was a nod. I wasn’t sure if it was his size or that fact that he was Christopher’s dad that made me nervous, or even if it was my quiet nature, but suddenly everything I knew about making small talk left my head.
He didn’t say anything else, to my relief, and vanished into the kitchen.
A few moments later, Christopher reappeared from the hallway. He made eye contact with me. “Ready? We’ll be leaving soon.”
I got up and put my boots back on. I watched Christopher grab something from the fridge before coming to the door.
I opened it and went outside. Christopher and his dad both followed me. He unlocked the car. “Hey, I have to help my dad with the camera, I’ll be right back.”
I was slightly confused about the camera, since he hadn’t mentioned it before, but I didn’t argue and got into the car.
About five minutes later, Christopher climbed into the driver’s side. “We have to stop in Oregon first to pick up my dad’s friend, and then we’ll be on our way.”
The fact that other people were coming along surprised me, but again, I didn’t argue. He and I would have a car to ourselves, and that was all I needed.
Christopher drove a little further down the road and turned around in an empty driveway. By the time we’d gotten back to his house, his dad had pulled out of the driveway and was waiting for us.
His car was even shorter than Christopher’s, which was already low. It was an ’07 gray Scion FRS, which Christopher talked about proudly and I just kind of nodded and smiled.
We drove down a county highway until we got to our town’s single stoplight. We followed the highway from the 35 to the 55 zone, and drove in the 55 zone for about 200 feet. We came to an intersecting road and turned left.
The road cut through farmland. Around us, there were brown, rolling hills. Neither Christopher nor I spoke, the slightly obnoxious hum of his car the only sound.
Christopher broke the silence. “I’ve never seen you this quiet before, normally you never shut up. What’s up?”
I rolled my neck so that I faced him. “I’m tired. I didn’t sleep a lot last night.”
“Here, try some of this.” He reached into the cup holder and removed a mango Venom, some kind of energy drink I’d never seen before.
I wrinkled my nose. “I don’t know, I don’t drink energy drinks.”
“Trust me, it’s good. Here.”
I took it and opened it. The liquid inside was a golden yellow color, and full of bubbles. I didn’t want it, but my mouth was cotton still, so I took a swig. It had more fizz than any pop I’d ever had, and after I swallowed, it burned in my gut like alcohol. The fruity flavor hadn’t mixed well with my toothpaste, either. Even so, I kind of liked the thing.
We kept driving and eventually ended up on State Highway 14, which took up to Oregon. We turned off there, and drove deep into the residential area.
After several turns, we came to a dumpy looking dead end street. At the end of the road was a house with a bright red car in the driveway. Christopher drove to the end, turned so that his car was facing the opposite direction, and stopped. “See that car?” he asked, nodding at the red car. “That’s the only Dodge Neon I respect.
He went on to talk about how its owner, his dad’s friend, had done something with the engine. I didn’t understand what he was talking about, or why he didn’t like Neons, but I nodded and acted like I did.
After a little while, Christopher said he’d be back in a moment and got out of the car. Being alone for the third time that day, I was able to evaluate how exactly I felt about him. My unsure feelings had developed into a crush.
He came back about five minutes later, and we left again, his dad’s friend in front, then his dad, then us bringing up the rear. We drove that way for the next two hours, deep into the heart of Wisconsin’s bluff country. Christopher and I were mostly silent, aside from him telling me we were going to get beer cheese soup in the Dells later and occasionally pointing out the beauty of the land around us to me.
The hills in this part of the state were steep and rolling. At some, we weren’t sure if his little car would make it, especially at one that was wet with rain that had fallen before we’d arrived. The car roared as it climbed the slope, and Christopher floored the gas pedal, but the car still climbed more and more slowly.
Trees grew up around us at times, before opening to rolling, dead farm fields. The only leaves left on the trees were dead and brown. The air up here was still warm, and Christopher had rolled down all of the windows. The sweet smells of mid-autumn filled the car and lulled me into a doze.
I woke up to Christopher gently shaking me. “Hey, Lynsey. We stopped at a park. Want to go climb?”
“Huh?” My still sleep-blurred mind couldn’t really wrap itself around what he was saying. “Climb what?”
He gestured with his hand behind me. I turned, and saw a huge, rickety-looking wooden tower. I turned back to him. “Sure.”
He made a face. “I was hoping you wouldn’t say that. My dad wants me to go up there because he’s too afraid to. God I hate heights.”
“Oh, get over it, you pansy. Come on.”
I got out of the car, and he reluctantly followed. The park we were at had a group of picnic tables on a grassy area to out left. It was open, and surrounded by dense trees. The parking lot where we were was among trees, though they weren’t as thick as the trees bordering the picnic area. To our right, and asphalt path lead to the tower. Christopher’s dad and his friend, Mark or something, were taking pictures of their cars with a big, expensive looking camera.
We walked over to them, stiff after sitting all morning. The trees surrounding us cast bony shadows over the cars.
Christopher’s dad handed him the camera. “Go up and take pictures in the tower,” he instructed.
“Asshole,” Christopher muttered. “You just don’t want to do it yourself.”
His dad laughed. “No s***. I don’t want to die.”
“Your dad’s a bigger pansy than you,” I snickered. “Now I see where you get it from.”
Christopher glared at me. “You’re an asshole too.”
“So? You are too. Now come on.”
We reached that base of the tower. I  ran up, taking the stairs two at a time until I reached the top. Up here, the wind raged, ripping my hair away from my face. I was above the trees here.
Christopher followed a moment later. He looked white was a ghost, holding onto the railing with both hands, the camera dangling around his neck by a strap. “Oh, I hate this,” he moaned.
Turning away from him, I looked over the edge. Around us, there were hills rolling down into a deep valley. They were covered in brown, dead-looking trees that were whipped around by the wind. In the distance, I could see the great hills of the bluffs. The beauty left me speechless for a moment.
“Hey, turn around.”
I turned around. Christopher had the camera up to his face. “Smile.”
I flashed him a smile. The camera clicked. My smile began to fall.
“Wait, hold it there for a second.”
The camera clicked a few more times. When it stopped, I approached him. “Want me to take one of you now?”
He shrugged. “If you want too, you can in a minute. I want to get some pictures of the land first.”
For the next ten or so minutes, he took pictures of the world below us. I busied myself looking over the edge.
“Still want to take that picture?” he called.
I turned around. “Yeah.”
He handed me that camera, then leaned against the railing. “Don’t drop it, please.”
I raised the camera to my eye. “Smile,” I instructed.
His mouth, remaining closed, stretched into a smile.
“A real smile. I want to see teeth!”
Christopher responded by bearing his teeth. I took a picture, knowing it was the best I was going to get. “That’s really attractive.”
I brought the camera away from my face and looked at the picture it had taken. Christopher’s hair was blowing wildly around his face, and his eyes looked closed. “It’s a really bad picture of you,” I laughed.
He crossed the platform and took the camera from me. “Jerk,” he mumbled.
“How am I a-”
He cut me off with his mouth.
The kiss took the breath from my lungs and turned my heart into a bird, desperately trying to escape the cage of my ribs. I was completely caught off guard, especially by how soft his mouth felt on mine.
He pulled away after a moment, and grinned at me. “I’ve been waiting to do that for a long time,” he murmured.
I felt my face heat up. My lips spread into a big, dopey smile. Looking at my face, he laughed. “Come on, Lynsey. They’re probably wondering what happened to us.”
I went more slowly going down the tower than I had going up, waiting for the color to leave my face. I wanted to keep the kiss to myself for now, and my beet colored face would be a dead giveaway.
Once we were back at the cars, Christopher took a few minutes to take pictures of his car. When he finished, we left the park and drove until we reached Sauk Prairie, a small city south of the Dells, The area was the center of my mom’s family. Her mother, and three of her five siblings lived nearby, and I half expected to see one of them as we passed through.
We entered the city off the southern bridge, and followed Main Street right our of the city. After awhile in the countryside, we turned right and pulled over.
“What now?” Christopher mumbled, getting out of the car. He returned a second later. “So, my dad decided that the Dells are too far way, so we’re going to get Mexican food in Madison. That okay?”
“Yeah, sure. I don’t care what we eat, just as long as we eat.” My stomach was roaring with hunger.
The drive back to Madison was filled with silence. My mind was in overdrive, reliving the kiss on the tower over and over again, picking it apart. It had to mean something, there was no way it didn’t. He had to like me, didn’t he? There was no way he was some jerk who kissed girls who liked him just to mess with them. Christopher wasn’t that type of person. That was the only thing I knew for certain.
The restaurant we ate at was decent. I ate so many chicken fajitas I knew that I wouldn’t eat anything for the rest of the night, and we ate at 1:30 in the afternoon. Even so, I’d eaten a mere fraction of what the others had eaten.
After we’d eaten, Christopher drove me home. I dozed the whole way, tired from lack of sleep and my full stomach. He drove in silence, but I could see, in my peripheral vision when I occasionally opened my eyes, that he was smiling.
He turned to me when he dropped me off. “Thanks for hanging out today, loser. I’ll see you Monday.”
I grinned. “Bye. Thanks for bringing me with”
I continued to think about the kiss all night long. While I watched part of the football game with my parents, waiting to fall asleep when I tried to nap, at dinner, while I, still uncomfortably full, watched my family eat, and while reading The Breathing Method before I went to sleep. I could think about nothing else.
Around 11:00, my phone rang. It was Christopher.
My heart leapt into my throat. My mind launched into a whirlwind of thought. Why was he calling? He’d never called before. The kiss. It had the be the kiss.
I grabbed my phone. “Hello?”
“Hey, Lynsey.” His voice sounded two octaves deeper on the phone.
“Hey.” I swallowed, trying to keep my voice steady. “What’s up?”
“Not a lot, I’ve been sleeping most of the afternoon.”
I laughed. “Me too.”
“I’ve also been thinking about you.”
My heart stopped. “What about me?”
“Today, up on the tower. You know, kissing you.”
“I’ve been thinking about that too.” He was going to ask me out. I could feel it. My heart had started again, going a million miles an hour.
“So, I had a question for you.”
Here it was. “Yeah?”
“Want to be friends with benefits?”

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jan. 15 2015 at 11:43 am
Proudheart PLATINUM, Evansville, Wisconsin
32 articles 5 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you are going through Hell, keep going." -Winston Churchill

I wrote the next part of this story, should I post it? I'm debating about it and would love input