Authors: Courtney Noel
After thirty minutes of a painfully silent car ride, I crack. “What the hell is your problem?” I finally look over at him. He hasn’t spoken or even glanced at me.
“I don’t have a problem,” he says. Again, he doesn’t look at me.
“Surely, you do,” I say. I’m starting to get mad.
“Look, Becca, I think since we’re living together, we shouldn’t be super close,” he says.
“Isn’t it the opposite? If two people live together, that means they become even closer,” I reply.
“Well, I know, but I’m only going to live with you and your parents until I’m eighteen, so I just think we shouldn’t get too close.”
“I don’t answer ‘whys.’”
“Why, afraid you’ll actually have to say what you’re thinking?”
He doesn’t reply.
“You’re just scared.”
“I don’t know, but I do know that you’re scared.”
“And how do you know that?”
“Because, when I’m scared of something, or someone, I shut them out or push them away.” He just looks over at me. Look at me. Yes, finally. He runs his tongue over his lips. I know he’s not meaning to psych me out, but he is. I lick my lips all the time because my lips get dry but people always take it as a sign that I want to kiss them. I try so hard not to lick them when I’m with just girls. Talk about awkward.
Again no reply.
After another twenty minutes, or so, we’re sitting in the waiting room, waiting for Car’s name to be called. Terance and Car are both whining while they sit in Kade’s lap. Kade is looking out the window, and I’m just sitting awkwardly.
“Car?” The nurse appears in front of us in a turquoise jump suit. I stand up right as Kade does, and follow the nurse. I take Car out of Kade’s arms, not daring to look into his eyes, and set her down on the vet’s counter.
The vet comes in. “So, Car has been throwing up?” The vet has brown hair and tan skin. He’s on the younger side and is holding a clipboard with horrible doctor writing. I don’t know one doctor that has good writing. Well, my cousin who is in school to be a doctor has great writing, but he doesn’t count. At least not yet.
“Yes, sir, she was in the living room and she threw up on the carpet,” Kade responds for me. I wasn’t in the room when it happened, so it’s not like I can respond to the vet. Kade is standing at the examination table with me; his hands are gripping the counter. His biceps are flexing and it is quite distracting, and when I say quite, I mean a lot. When he catches me checking out his arms, his eyes draw mine back up to his face. For a second and a half, we’re just standing there looking at each other, not paying any attention to the vet. It’s like he’s not there at all.
“And who’s this?” The vet points to Terance. Kade and I look away from each other.
“This is Terance, my dog,” comments Kade. Kade puts his whole hand on Terance’s little head. Terrance is a good looking little dog; no wonder Car likes him. He’s all black with a hint of white on the angle where his ears meet his head.
“Aw, why is he here?”
“Emotional support,” he says.
“Gotcha. Well, alright, I’m just going to take Car in the back and do a few blood tests and see what’s up. Be back in a flash.” Then the vet is gone. I hate this. I want Car to feel better; I really do. I just hate being around quiet Kade; it makes me nervous. I can hear him breathing, and I can feel the tension. The air is stiff and I get this awkward feeling in the pit of my stomach like there is some secret he’s not telling me. Finally, Terance breaks the silence, which is a start. Right as he barks, the vet’s assistant comes into the room, holding Car in one hand. I stand up and take Car from the nurse’s hand.
“So?” I can feel Kade standing behind me. He puts one hand on the middle of my back and his other on Car. I can feel the tension and heat radiating off of his body and fingers that lay on my back.
“Well, see, there’s nothing wrong with her,” the nurse says. Oh thank God. I sigh from relief and put my hand on my chest.
“What do you mean nothing’s wrong with her? She’s been puking all morning,” Kade butts in.
“Dude, if the vet says there’s nothing wrong, don’t question it. I’m not in the mood for analyzing things.” I say to him.
“I mean, it’s more of a good thing,” the nurse says. Oh my deary, just cut to the chase already, woman. I look at Kade and realize he’s already looking at me. Thank God, his eyes finally meet mine. It’s about time, buddy. His eyes are soft and looking straight into mine. It’s like it’s just us and the very close. But it’s not. There’s a nurse, a big doctor’s room, two dogs, and then it’s him and me. Kade and I look away at the same time, back at the nurse. “Car is pregnant,” she says. Huh? How?
“How,” Kade said revealing he was thinking the same thing. How is this even possible? I watch Car twenty-four/seven.
“I think you and I both know the answer to that one, Mr. Red,” the nurse responds. Kade runs his fingers through his hair and sighs. “Who’s the father?” The nurse and I look at each other, then to Kade, then to the two dogs sitting in the corner licking each other. Then sniff each other’s butts. The nurse asks asks us if we are the only owners, and I say no. I can tell what she is thinking. It’s more of an “are you guys a couple that lives together with two dogs?” And we basically are what she meant, besides the couple part. I’m going to have to figure out a way to tell people I have a guy living in my guest bedroom, but we are nowhere near a couple. Complications, complications.
I walk out of the doctor’s office and into the main hallway. For once today, Kade walks beside me instead of in back. He’s holding Terance. I walk up the front desk.
“Ah, yes,” the secretary says. “So, the doctor said to take Car to her normal vet at home as soon as possible and to have them give her, her medication and anything else she needs,” she continues.
“So, we need to get to our vet as soon as possible?” Kade butts in. As usual.
“Yes, she needs to get her vaccines done,” the secretary says.
“We’re going to have to drive back tonight, then,” I say to no one specific. The secretary probably doesn’t care and I know Kade just isn’t listening. To my surprise, though, he looks up into my eyes and nods. He pays the secretary then grabs his keys and heads out the door. I trail behind him and Terance. He comes around to the passenger side and opens the door for me.
“Oh, no, you don’t have to be that kind of guy,” I say.
“Just because we aren’t on a date or anything doesn’t mean I can’t open the door for you,” he responds.
“Yeah, but even when I go on dates, I don’t like it when guys open my door for me,” I say back.
“What? Shouldn’t it be the opposite?”
“There’s no ‘should’ in life. I just don’t like when they open the door for me. It makes me feel like the guy doesn’t know me at all. I mean, if I’m dating him we should be good friends too, therefore they shouldn’t open the door for me. It also makes me nervous if a guy opens the door for me – like I should still cross my legs like a true lady, even if I’m in jeans,” I say.
He chuckles. “Alright,” he says as he slams the car door closed, before I even get in. I am absolutely shocked as he walks around to his side of the car. He shrugs as if he were saying “you wanted it this way.” I laugh then open my own car door and get into the passenger seat. Terance and Car hop in the back seat as Kade puts the keys in the ignition. We sit there for a couple minutes, staring out the front window with the car running in the parking space.
He finally sighs and asks, “What are we going to do?” He runs a finger through his hair, the way he always does when he’s thinking about something.
I shrug. “I have no idea.” I put my elbow on the door and lean my head against my hand.
“How are we going to tell your parents?” He looks at me from the driver’s seat.
I giggle. “You’re making it sound like you got me pregnant.”
“They might believe that. I mean, if my dog got your dog pregnant why wouldn’t they be curious about the thought of me getting you pregnant,” he says. Whoa, okay too many “pregnants” in that sentence for me to handle.
“In your dreams,” I say.
“Nah, I wouldn’t get a girl pregnant. I would just be smart if I wanted to have sex with her,” he says then winks.
“In your dreams,” I say. Never. Going. To. Happen.
“I don’t dream, babe,” he says then puts the car in reverse and heads to the freeway.
“Wait, we should just start driving home right now and call my mom,” I say.
“Are you crazy? You and me drive through the night? All we have is a couple hundred bucks between the two of us, one very pregnant dog, and no change of clothes or anything.”
“So? We’ll sleep in the back of the truck, no not like that, when we get tired. Let Car out to go to the bathroom whenever we stop for gas, and have my parents pack up and be out of the cabin in the morning,” I reply.
“You’re crazy,” he says. But sure enough, he doesn’t take the freeway north; he takes the freeway south. I smile at him, turn on my seat-heater so my butt doesn’t get cold, and prepare for the unexpected twenty-two hour drive back home.
“You should probably call Lindsey and David,” Kade says, referring to my parents.
I call my parents and they say they will be on the road back home around four in the morning, the next day. I get off the phone and take a nap. Kade says we are going to keep driving until he gets tired, so I might as well get some sleep. I climb into the back seat with Car and Terance, take my sweatshirt off and fold it into a pillow, then lay down, and fasten my seatbelt. I keep my eyes closed for about five minutes. I can feel him watching me. I’m very good at knowing when people are watching me. It’s like I can feel his eyes on me from the driver’s seat. I open my eyes, and find his eyes meeting mine in the rearview mirror. He doesn’t look away and neither do I. He takes a big breath, then looks away, having to keep his focus on the road. The way he looks at me sometimes – I have no idea what those eyes are searching for.
I feel the car stop and my eyes open. It feels like it’s been decades since I’ve been awake, but Kade says I was only asleep for about four hours. I sigh and sit up in the back seat. I rub my eyes with two fists and hop back up to the front seat.
“Where are we?” I look outside the window, trying to find a sign, but it’s too dark. “I’m not sure, all I know is we’re about 16 hours away from home, so I need to sleep.” He gets off the freeway and into a parking lot. He takes out his IPhone and asks Seri where we are. He then searches for nearby hotels.
“Kade, we don’t have time to check-in to a hotel. Let’s just sleep in the car and get back on the road as soon as possible,” I say. He sighs then gets into the back seat and takes out his emergency stash of blankets from under the passenger seat. He lays them out onto the back seat. I crawl to the back with him. He lays on one side, and I lay on the other. His head is at my toes.
“What are we going to do?”
“We’ll figure it out.” At this point, I’m not sure who he’s talking about, Car or me. I sit up on my elbows, looking at his face, resting at my feet at the other side of the back seat. I know he’s awake. He’s just refusing to open his eyes and look at me. His closed eyes blink. He runs a hand through his hair, then takes a large gulp of air. I do the same, then lay on my side with my head at his feet, and try my best to sleep.