Read Red Flags Online

Authors: C.C. Brown

Tags: #romance, #love relationships, #love romance, #adult and young adult, #sex and relationships fiction

Red Flags (8 page)

BOOK: Red Flags

“No! Why would you say that?”

“Because it seems like you have created this
line of questioning, in search of a fight.”

“It wouldn’t be a fight if you would just
answer the questions Jason. I don’t see the point in being so

He turned to his side again, and steadied
himself on his elbow. “Cara, you asked about my family and my
brother specifically. I don’t get along with him, at all. He’s
three years older than me, and we have done nothing but feud for as
long as I can remember.”

I listened intently; he was finally giving me
some information.

“My parents have always wanted us to be
close, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen with siblings. I
can’t be in the same room with him without wanting to kick the shit
out of him.”

I sat up and looked into his eyes, which were
burning with fury at the talk of his brother.

“But, you have pictures of him up in the
house…” I cautiously threw out there, not wanting to be the cause
of anymore rage.

“Yes I do. He’s my brother, and I love him; I
just don’t like him,” he paused. “You and Ryan seem to have a nice
sibling bond, but unfortunately, I don’t have that with Jacob --
never will.”

The end of his sentence told me that he was
done talking about his brother, so I gave it up. He was right, Ryan
and I were close – so it was hard for me to fathom brothers hating
each other.

He ran his hand through my hair, and kissed
my forehead. “Hey, sorry for getting so mad, I just don’t like
talking about that asshole.”

I smiled at him, glad he had somewhat calmed
down. “Well, I’ll let it go.”

A look of relief washed over his face. He lay
back down, pulled me closer to him, nuzzled his nose in my still
damp hair, and we lay there -- watching television until we fell

Chapter 4

I woke up to the bright San Diego sunshine
glaring through Jason’s colossal windows. I turned over only to
find that Jason was not in the bed next to me. Sitting up, I went
over our conversation from last night. Why did he hate his brother
so much? He was pretty adamant about not wanting to get close to
him, which made me wonder if I would ever get the opportunity to
meet Jacob – if Jason and I ever got to that point.

I could hear him walking back to the room,
and it appeared that he was on the phone.

“Yes, Mama. I love ya’ll too. Tell Pa that I
will call him soon… ok… bye.” He hung up the phone and stepped into
the room, slowly, trying not to wake me.

“Good morning,” I said lightly.

“Hey! Good morning gorgeous.” His voice was
full southern drawl and that made me laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

“You-- sometimes you can tone down the
southern-ness in your speech, and other times it completely takes

“Yeah, well talking to my mom does that to
me. She is as southern as they come and it tends to rub off on

He sat down at the end of the bed and looked
into my eyes so deeply that I looked away. I was never comfortable
with face to face stares. I tried to break the awkwardness by doing
what I did best… asking questions.

“So, what are we doing today?”

His face lit up and I knew he had more
surprises up his sleeve.

“I can’t tell you that, I have to show you –
so get up,” he said in a very authoritative voice.

I complied, and the anxious feelings went
coursing through me again. After last night, what could he possibly
have planned for me today?

Once I was dressed, I proceeded into the
kitchen where Jason had a full breakfast laid out: bacon, scrambled
eggs, biscuits and gravy, and orange juice; a real southern treat.
I was starving. The last time I had eaten was the night before with
my parents. We sat in relative, but comforting silence, and once
finished, I straightened the kitchen.

Jason instructed me to wear my hair up, so I
filed around in my purse to find a hair

tie. My anticipation was building. Wearing my
hair up meant we weren’t going out on the motorcycle, because with
the helmet, my hair would need to be down. My thoughts drifted to
the Mustang.

“Jason, what are we doing today?” I asked
with a tone that resembled more of an impatient child than an
actual adult.

He looked at me with warm appreciation for my
obvious anticipation, but didn’t give much away.

“We are going to take the Shelby out.” His
eyes almost sparkled as he said it.

I looked at him and he signaled with his head
for me to follow, so I grabbed my purse and went running out the
door. He took my hand and led me around to the driver’s side. I
immediately turned to go around to the other side, but Jason
stopped me.

“Hey, where are you going?”

I looked at him with big, frightened eyes,
“um, I can’t drive stick, and I’m not about to destroy your

He laughed at my remark, and I was curious as
to why this was funny. Seriously! This was a $60,000 car – I
wouldn’t put some inexperienced person behind the wheel.

“Well, I’m not all that concerned about the
car, so I guess your fears are unwarranted.”

What the hell? Who doesn’t worry about this
overpriced, special edition car?

“Jason, I’m scared. I hardly think a Saturday
in San Diego is the time to go learning to drive this piece of
machinery.” At this point, I was willing to try anything to keep
from driving that car.

He started laughing profusely, then took my
hand, kissed it, and finally opened the driver’s side door. I sat,
hesitant at first, but finally settled into the seat. Jason ran
around to the other side, and took his seat.

“Alright, you are about to learn to drive
this piece of machinery.” He mocked me. “Adjust your mirror
settings, and get comfortable, it’s really not as hard as you’re
making it out to be.”

I felt my hands shake as I switched the
mirrors to my settings. The most expensive car I had ever driven
was my mom’s car, and it wasn’t even in the same league as this
one. I decided to give it a try. I turned to look at Jason,
focusing on his every word.

“Okay, the hardest part about this is getting
out of first gear. Once you figure that out, you can drive this car
like you do any other car.”

I looked at him completely bewildered, and he
sensed it because his cool, calm demeanor faded away, and he was
all business now.

“Alright! You have to hold down the clutch in
order to start the car. Put your left foot over the clutch, your
right foot over the break, and turn the key.”

I dis as I was told, and the car started,
with a thunderous roar. I was a bit startled by the sound of the
car; there was definitely power under all of that metal.

“Now, remember, whenever you want to change
gears, you’ll have to push down on the clutch. Put the gear shift
in reverse, release the parking break, come off the break, slowly
easing off of the clutch, and give it a little bit of gas.”

Once again, I followed Jason’s directions to
a tee, and so far so good. This really wasn’t as hard as I had
imagined, but then again, I had only moved out of the garage, onto
the driveway, and into the street. My anxiety was beginning to ease
up on me – thank God for that.

"Alright …" and I heard the drawl creep back
in, “this is going to be the most difficult part of this process.
Shift the gear into first, and slowly come off of the clutch, while
also, slowly, giving the car some gas.” He started using his hands
to simulate the process, and demonstrated what the two pedals
should look like when done correctly.

I did exactly what he said, or at least what
I thought he said, and the car lurched forward and stalled. Jason
looked at me, told me to press down on the clutch, and start the
car up again. I went over his instructions again, and again, and
got the same result. The intense stare coming from him had me
flustered and wanting to jump out of the car, but I knew that would
do nothing but infuriate him, so I continued trying, and each time,
the car did the exact same thing. As patient as Jason had been, I
could see his tolerance starting to fade. I was overcome with
frustration, and could feel my eyes start to burn, as tears began
to well up. I internally fumed at myself. He looked at me and
noticed that I was in the beginning stages of an emotional

“Cara. You can’t accomplish anything like
this, and I’m not going to let you quit – just give it a little
more gas as you come off the clutch.”

The tears were now streaming down my face. I
usually had success with almost everything I tried, and I didn’t
take too kindly to failure. Jason was right; I wasn’t going to
accomplish anything like that. He took my hand, firm in his, and
looked fiercely into my eyes.

“Damn it Cara! This just shouldn’t be this
damn hard. You are defeating yourself before you even try.

He was obviously irritated by that point, and
I didn’t think it was with the fact that I was stalling, but
because I had basically relegated myself to failure before even
trying to maneuver the car. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes,
and avoided looking at Jason.

I pressed down on the clutch, started up the
car, followed his earlier instructions, and in one fluid motion the
car moved – without stalling. I was overjoyed and I let out a sigh
of relief.

Jason told me to watch the RPMs and listen to
car, but he also instructed me on when to shift. He was right, the
shifting was easy; the hardest part was behind me. He took me
through his neighborhood, and, thinking with my rational mind, I
realized that he had no intentions of putting me on the freeway in
this car – not yet anyway.

We arrived at a stop sign, and I was
paralyzed with fear once more. I knew that getting to the stop sign
would mean I would have to try to get out of first gear again. I
took a deep breath, attempted to do what I did the last time, and
to my surprise, I came out of first gear. I must have given it a
little too much gas because the tires squealed, but nonetheless, I
was out of first gear and the car was moving. Jason instructed me
to make the next two rights and that would put us back on his
street. At the bottom of the street, was an incline, and that
presented another challenge that I was not prepared for.

Jason sensed my fear and without looking at
me, barked the next set of instructions.

“When you come off of the clutch, the car is
going to naturally roll back, so you’ll have to give it enough gas
to propel us forward.”

I heard his words and fear gripped me

“What if I stall and we roll backwards?” My
voice was barely audible by this point.

“Well, I guess the cars down the road are
going to have to file an insurance claim,” he said very
sarcastically. “Seriously, if that happens, just hit your

I took note of my new instructions and
prepared myself for what felt like a monumental task. I eased off
of the clutch, and just as Jason said, the car started to ease
back. A bit startled, I pressed the gas. Apparently, I gave it too
much gas and the tires squealed. The car jerked forward, but to my
surprise, the car moved up the incline – we didn’t stall.

Feeling victorious, I pulled the car back
into Jason’s driveway and beamed my pearly whites in his direction.
He was trying very hard to stifle a smile, but I could see it
creeping through. I turned the car off, and set the parking break.
I sat back in my seat, feeling the rigidity leave my body.

We walked back into the house, and taking my
hand in his, Jason ran his other hand through his hair, while
simultaneously blowing out his breath. I guess I stressed him out.
Once we were back in the house, I realized that I had not had my
phone since Jason took it the night before and I ran into the
bedroom to retrieve it. Six missed calls, and five text messages.
Two of the missed calls were from Chelsea, and four were from my
dad. Three of the text messages were from Chelsea, while the other
two were from Mila. I began to scroll through the text messages and
found Chelsea apologetic, and Mila pissed.


from Chels

*hey doll. I’m sorry about how I acted. Tell Bradley
I’m sorry too!*


from Chels

*I get it if you are mad, just let me know you are


from Mila

*Seriously, Chelsea told me what happened. She is
sorry, let us know you are okay.*


from Chels

*Okay Cara. Enough of the ghost man act. I’m worried…
respond to one of us.*


from Mila

*What the fuck Pinks? So unlike you, I will call for
a search party soon.*


A sting of guilt hit me. I was usually a very
responsible person, and I didn’t leave people worrying about me –
well not anymore. Having my two best friends so apologetic,
worried, and angry put a bad taste in my mouth. Jason took my phone
last night, and while I understood why he did it, I had to let him
know that he couldn’t dictate things to me. I turned to go and find
him but he was already standing in the doorway of the bedroom.
Because I was startled, and pissed, I stared at him with anger in
my eyes. He looked confused and moved into the room.

“What’s wrong?” he said with caution in his

"Jason, you took my phone and shut it off
last night; my roommates have been worried about me,” I angrily
barked at him.

He stepped closer to me, and moved further
into the room.

“Cara, do you really think I would leave your
roommates hanging like that?” He tried to gauge my reaction, but I
didn’t allow him to read anything on my face. “I called Mila
shortly after you fell asleep and assured her that you were just
fine. She said she would let Chelsea know.”

I was curious as to how he got Mila’s number,
since my phone was off and on my side of the bed all night.

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