“Not even if I asked pretty please?” the female teased, sticking out her full bottom lip and widening her eyes in mock upset. “And besides, all those cars were circumstantial. Almost everyone agreed at the last one I totalled that I wasn’t completely my fault. It had been raining. And I was due for a break job. And red cars go faster than most other cars. It’s all science.” Kaylee shrugged, rolling down the window to tap out her ash, forgoing the ash tray built into the car for the summer’s breeze, allowing it to whisk away the greyed powered built onto the edge of the cigarette.
She looked over to city as it passed from her open window, the wind pushing back her curls, streetlights flashing in epileptic episodes as they rushed past them. Resting her chin on her shoulder, her eyes on the city she laughed. “You left your money at home? You’re lucky I’m a cheap date.”
She missed it, the city was beautiful in a completely unnatural way. It was living, it had a pulse but it couldn’t breathe. The points of the buildings were glowing with warmth from the last drops of sun, orange and purples. Turning to him, she grinned, happy in this moment enough to not care about anything. “You’re not British,” she affirmed, taking another long drag on the cigarette she held. “You always cooked bacon. But usually for Oliver, I can’t remember what you cooked for me last. It was probably something fake, like fruit salad. Everyone knows that’s not really cooking.”
“Not fair that you started without me. I’ve been travelling, I haven’t had a chance or a nickel to buy myself a drop.” Shaking her head, she turned her attention back to the window. “You’ve developed cataracts, I’m so sorry.”
The city was whisked away as they parked, into some kind of exotic car lot. “Gorgeous,” she murmured as she stepped out of Adam’s car, nodding her thanks, surveying the models that surrounded them. “Let’s steal the Lambo,” Kaylee said with a wolfish grin, already walking towards it to further examine the vehicle. She caught his question as she peered through the glass, admiring the interior. “Nope. You were my first call. No one else knows I’m here.” She paused, “Actually, no one knows where I am period. Not even the parole officer.” She laughed at this.
“Not even if you added a cherry on top.” The boy poked out with a playful response masked behind his tired face. Adam wasn’t tired, so to speak. He didn’t need rest, he wasn’t lacking in energy – but he was still tired. It was the tired monotony of the life outside his friends. A tragic but true life for most who had left the confines of the academy to move on elsewhere. Adam played catch with his keys as he watched the brunette peer into the Lamborghini. “While I detest the man who lives in the penthouse, I don’t think we should steal his car.” Adam exhaled a deep breath and made his way for the elevator. “You can slash his tires on the way out if you want, though.” The boy added.
Instinct drove Adam to play with his hair as he caught himself in the reflection of the elevator’s back mirror. A bad habit he’d picked up from the taller kin he’d called his best friend. “Should I be flattered that you called me first, or should I be worried?” He looked over to the brunette with a morbid curiosity. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell your parole officer if you won’t tell mine.”
The number seven lit up out of the nine which illuminated the panel. The doors shut with a dull thud and the typical and overplayed elevator music which had begun to haunt Adam’s dreams started to play out as if it needed to be part of his daily routine. His hand delved into his jacket and pulled a small, battered and beaten flask – something from his Easton days which had undoubtedly seen better days but had travelled the world with him. “I think it’s only fair I even up the playing field.” Adam offered over the flask to Kaylee, the contents of which had been mostly untouched. “I’m still recovering from last night, it’s all yours.”
Metal doors slid open with a relieving ping and Adam stepped out, guiding on the girl with nothing more than an inclination of his head and a warm smile. His fingers played restlessly with his keys as they approached what Adam had been calling home. A surprisingly large studio apartment on the Upper East Side wasn’t a particularly bad catch for somebody with his background.
“Welcome home, Shevel.” What was his, was hers. It had been the case since they’d first met at Easton. Adam was always a generous host – especially to Kaylee or Oliver. The mess that lingered previously in the room had been miraculously tidied up. Work of faeries, Adam believed. Faeries or maids. He wasn’t quite sure which he paid. “What do you fancy?” Adam queried as he made his way to the kitchen, picking up an apple from a bowl resting on top of the counter which had also been restocked. “What do you really fancy?”
She laughed at his words, her laughter a rough, genuine sound. His car was beautiful, classic and black and still reaming with sex appeal. The mention of Easton made her nostalgic. It was the most peaceful and unpeaceful she had ever been. There had been a certain quiet, Connecticut lacked the constant noise of the city, the soundtrack of the countryside was decidedly more muted.
“That’s because I’m much better of a driver. If I had known you were hiding something like this in your garage I would have insisted on driving.”
Sliding into the passenger side, she breathed deeply, the scent of sun warmed leather and cigarette smoke confronting her nostrils. Taking the cigarette gratefully, she held it comfortably between her fingertips, nodding her thanks to the male beside her. She wasn’t sure what her next move would be, she hadn’t thought much past getting back to New York, getting back to a city that she was once a part of. Calling Adam had been a whim, and the next place she would go would be one as well.
“Brooklyn. I’m peckish for something delicious that doesn’t come in a pigmy portion.” She paused, leaning over to light her cigarette. “Or you can cook something. If you’re still doing that cooking thing. You used to love cooking. ‘Dahling Shevel, do come ovah, I’ve made the most decadent of dishes.’ And it’d be bacon and eggs. You cad.” The brunette laughed again, her words were nonsensical but she didn’t care, there was the purr of an engine under her and a beautiful boy beside her and nicotine inside her.
“You know, it’s quite dangerous to drive when you’re even just a tiny bit liquored up. The television told me that,” she offered up, deflecting his request on her adventures. She didn’t feel like talking about herself at the moment. She was always running away, and speaking about it only reminded her of how cowardly that was. “How many fingers am I holding up?” Kaylee teased, waggling a hand by his face.
“As if I’d let you drive my car, Kaylee.” Adam chimed out with a sloped smile, the cigarette between his lips making it difficult to do much else. “You’ve written off more cars than I’ve had relationships.” It was probably a true statement. The boy couldn’t say he’d actually ever had a girlfriend, per say. He’d slept with women, he’d been intimate with them, but never had he been in something long term. He wasn’t sure if Easton was to blame for that or if he’d been doing something horrifically wrong, but truthfully it didn’t bother him all too much.
With a tap of his finger, ash blew out into the summer evening and Adam nodded in confirmation as he got his bearings. “My place it is. I left my wallet at home anyway.”
Traffic had quietened down as best as it did in the city. The evening rush had not long since came to a halt, and the sun had slowly began it’s decent over the skyline and towards the horizon. His foot rested idly on the throttle as eyes drifted towards his company with a conflicting grin. “Alright, hold on.” Adam half heartedly protested, running a palm through his hair. “Two things. One, I’m not British. Two. When did I ever make you bacon and eggs?” Adam shook his head playfully and turned his attention back to the road.
“Good thing I’m not just a tiny bit liquored up then. I’m a fair bit liquored up.” He nodded with a teasing affirmation to the gorgeous woman beside him. “You’re holding up seven fingers, and two of them shouldn’t even be on that hand.”
The natural skylight was soon replaced by fluorescents as they pulled into his building’s garage. There were some cliché cars parked in the same building – you had your BMWs, the odd Jaguar or two. The show off who lived in the penthouse even drove a white Lamborghini. With a slight twist the ignition slipped off and the engine’s low purr came to a silent halt. “Spoken to Ollie or Blyss since you got back?” Adam queried as he slipped out of the car, wandering over to pull open Shevel’s door for her. “Or anyone, for that matter.” He shrugged passively, speaking to himself.
I’m not going to win this one, am I?
I’ll make sure to include letter writing in the job description when I go looking for a assistant for you.
Not unless you’ve somehow become more stubborn than me.
See? You always go the extra mile. You should be my assistant.
He would come. It was certain to her, Adam was a constant. He could always be counted on. She wondered if he’d changed any, if maybe his hair was longer or his skin was more tan. She wondered if she would notice any difference in him, or if he would look like no time passed at all. His voice was the same, though tired and carrying more weight than it had before. It was getting that way the last time she had seen him, like his youth was slowly creeping away, more maturity and responsibility stealing a little bit of the carefree each night.
It was a hot summer night, the heat of the day had carried on inside the great building. She could sit there comfortably in just a flimsy summer dress, warm enough to be content enough to fall asleep where she sat.
Had she changed any? Her face was the same, more freckles with the sun and her hair as curling as ever. There were shadows under her eyes from a few nights without sleep, like a finger had been dipped in blue ink and swept gently across her skin.
She was still thin, with the same curves that her lifestyle hadn’t managed to quite steal away. There were some scars, there had always been some of those, but they were all linked to stories, to memories that she either embraced or fought to forget.
Her phone lit up with a message. It was short, to the point. Pushing open the doors of the station she stepped out into the fresh air, inhaling deeply. The desire for a cigarette hadn’t left her yet. A quick scan and she found him almost instantly. Walking towards him, she smiled, a Chesire cat grin to light up the coming evening.
“I didn’t know you had a car.”
Adam rested his feet on the front bumper of the classic Buick beneath him. The car had been his pride and joy through high school – A classic 1970 GS 455 in black. The Buick used to be a mess of problems and rust, but as a ‘graduating’ present from Easton, his father had the car fixed up and returned to original condition for him. His fingers tapped tirelessly on the finish of the car as the footsteps drew closer and closer, the familiar figure only at arm’s reach before he spoke out.
“I never really drove at Easton, Shevel. You always did.”
There was a brief tone in his voice of seriousness, but the dumb smile stuck on his lips betrayed any ounce of legitimacy behind it. Fingers fiddled with cardboard as he procured a pair of cigarettes and pulled open the driver’s side door. One sat between his lips as the other made way in offering to the brunette girl who had become so fond of the nicotine.
“Got any plans now you’re back in the big wide world?” Adam glanced towards Kaylee with a glance of curiosity. She always had a plan, whether or not it made any sense was another thing entirely. “Better yet, where are we going?” The boy added. New York had been Adam’s home for a long long while, but it never really felt like the city welcomed him. Not like Easton did. There was no homely feel to the place, he didn’t know the faces. Maybe that’s what he missed most about Easton – the familiarity.
The flame from his lighter struck aflame the tip of his cigarette as he passed it over to Kaylee. With some gentle force the keys slipped into the ignition and Adam spared a smile to the girl beside him. The engine roared to life as Adam let a cloud of smoke lift to the ceiling of the car and out of the windows. “Tell me about the adventures of Kaylee Shevel and her many personas.”
And entitled to their opinion.
I think I’ll need it in writing. You know how these lawyer types are.
Their opinions are silly.
If I had an assistant, this is what I’d use them for. Writing my letters for me.
I know that entirely, but they’re still big words. Really big words. People just seem to forget that there’s meant to be meaning and emotion behind them.