“You could die in there.”
“Sleep well?” It was odd how he casually asked the question, as if I were not struggling to get off of his lap as Gerard took a quick turn, keeping me in place.
“How long did I fall asleep for?” I was finally able to pull myself in to a regular sitting position, in my own seat.
“Only twenty minutes.” Mikey glanced over at me, “Don’t worry, once we get home you can go straight to sleep if you’d like.”
Home… He made that sound so casual as well. I wanted to go to my home and crawl under my blankets, in my bed. I wanted to tell my brother goodnight, hug him, hug my parents a million times, and I wanted things to be perfect. I wanted to apologize for how much of a drag I’d been for the last four years. I always had something to complain about and now as I thought about it, my life was absolutely fucking perfect. I was the only one who ever ruined anything in my life.
“Gerard, you can stay in the guest house until we get your life sorted out.” The words were harsh in tone and I could see Gerard wince.
“I had some plans with…”
“Jack?” I breathed in sharply as Mikey used the familiar name.
Gerard didn’t respond but that was answer enough.
“Do you do this often?” I whispered, speaking to both men but mainly Gerard. He seemed to be the one who was more keen to follow in Jack’s footsteps.
Gerard shrugged, “It’s just how some people choose to live their lives. We aren’t all smart enough to go to college and get good jobs.”
Mikey laughed coldly, “Yeah, okay Gee. Why don’t you tell Dylan just how rich we are? That statement is one of the biggest lies I’ve ever heard come out of your mouth and that’s saying something.”
Gerard seemed timid as he responded but there was a little fight in his tone, “You’re rich, I’m not anymore.”
“It’s your fault that mom and dad froze your accounts when you started using.” Mikey evidently had no sympathy for Gerard, that much was clear.
I turned to Mikey, almost too horrified to even look at him. “If you’re so rich then… then why?”
Had my father and brother died for absolutely nothing? At least before money was an excuse, a poor one, but still it held some reasoning.
Mikey looked away from me, providing no answers.
I wanted to push until he answered but Mikey seemed wound so tight that I wasn’t entirely sure what would happen to me if I pushed him too far, and I had no idea just how far too far was.
I watched the scenery as the car sped past and I was amazed at how beautiful it had gotten. We were passing a lake, surrounded by trees. I played with the car door controls, trying to roll down the window. Sadly I realized when child lock was in effect I couldn’t do anything, even something as innocent as letting in a little fresh air.
Mikey glanced at me, “Gerard is driving pretty quickly, it would be a bad idea to even try to get out. The child locks are for your protection, not just because I’m a jackass.”
“I think it might actually be both.” I spit out before lowering my tone, “And I just wanted to roll the window down.”
Mikey rolled his eyes but leaned forward, pressing a button on Gerard’s door. The window rolled down all of the way and Mikey glanced at me, saying nothing.
I looked out, feeling the cool breeze upon my skin. It felt so nice and it smelled so… wonderful. I’d never smelled anything quite so naturally intoxicating, yet I’d never gone out to the woods. My brother was afraid of the woods, from watching too many horror movies, because of that our entire family avoided such areas.
I let my hand inch outside of the window, letting the air blow it backwards. It felt soothing against my open wound and soon enough I was putting the other hand out as well.
It was almost as if my misery slipped away, while the wind gently blew over my hands. It was nice to feel something good, after having felt such awful feelings mixed with physical pain.
Even though I knew the worst of my own torment had just begun I couldn’t help but fantasize about things being how they used to be. I could smell my mothers faded lilac perfume. It wasn’t really her favorite but she’d forgotten to wash her own mother’s dress before wearing it for her first date with my father. The dress had been sitting in the attic and had a musky scent to it. She used the lilac perfume and my father fell in love with it. Since that day she wore it constantly. It had become her personal smell and whenever I smelled it… I felt safe. I could faintly hear my brother’s loud laugh, ringing through my ears. He laughed at everything, even when it wasn’t funny. He was a strong believer in saying what you wanted so he was very supportive of every word. I knew during freshman year of high school I’d cracked the worst jokes as I tried to be funny but he laughed at every single one and eventually I got better though I knew had he not laughed, I never would of kept trying.
The thing that brought tears to my eyes were memories of my father though. I fought the tears back, careful not to let a single one slide down my cheek. I wasn’t that weak. I was strong, or I would at least act strong. Mikey’s jacket wrapped around me reminded me of my dads gentle hugs. I thought of his smile and how even when he was lecturing me or fighting with me, he couldn’t help but smile and tell me that he loved me. He was never harsh. After I turned 16 I turned increasingly worse and all my dad could do was try his best. It wasn’t his fault that I wouldn’t be happy, despite his efforts. It wasn’t his fault that I snuck off with boys, just to get a reaction. It wasn’t his fault that I wanted more… More of what? I wasn’t even sure. I was just a spoiled brat. It was too bad that it took a bullet to make me grow up for him.
Gerard turned sharply and I was jolted from my thoughts as my wrist scraped against the window frame. I cried out but quickly tried to quiet myself. Mikey had heard already though. “Damn it Gerard!” He snapped, hitting the back of Gerard’s seat. “I think you need to re-take your driving test. Pull over.”
I felt my heart begin to beat faster as I wondered what Mikey was going to do. He was unpredictable. I didn’t even know what to expect from him.
Gerard sighed heavily and pulled to the side of the road, “What?” He was starting to get tired as well. I remembered Gerard saying that Mikey’s house was about an hour away… but now I was starting to wonder just from what point was it an hour away. Surely, we’d been in the car for a longer timeframe.
“We’re switching.” Mikey stated.
Gerard said nothing, getting out of the car. I watched silently as he opened the door for Mikey. “Shouldn’t we already be there?” I asked, feeling a rumble grow in my stomach. I should have grabbed more food at the gas station; I hadn’t eaten much all day.
“It’s about thirty more minutes.” Mikey got out, coming around to my door. I was surprised when he opened it. “The drive to my house is an hour once you get out of town, which takes about thirty to forty minutes. Did you have to use the bathroom or something? There is a rest stop somewhere around here, I’m sure.”
I shook my head, unsure of what he wanted as he stood at the open door. “No, I’m fine. I was just wondering…”
Gerard sat next to me and I noticed that he smelled as if he hadn’t showered in days. It wasn’t really obvious unless you were close to him though. He had a certain stench… like he’d been living off the streets. For all I knew he had been. He didn’t seem very stable.
“Are you going to join me upfront?” Mikey finally asked.
I didn’t really hesitate for it seemed the stench only grew stronger the longer I was sitting next to Gerard. Mikey moved back as I stood up, it felt good to stretch my legs. I wasn’t really used to drives longer than twenty minutes so it was a bit of a shock to my body. I hated being cramped in small places, in certain positions. Sitting certainly wasn’t fun for very long. It reminded me of school.
Mikey closed the door and glanced out at the woods, “You could die in there.” He murmured, glancing back at me.
The morbid comment caught me off guard, “Excuse me?”
“If you ran from me… you’d die.” Mikey sighed, “Look, I just know what you’re probably thinking. I just want you to know that if you ran from me and I wasn’t able to find you… then you’d starve, or become dehydrated, or get attacked by an animal possibly.”
“Thank you so much for your concern and just to quench your thirst of knowledge on the subject you seem to be so interested in; I’d die of dehydration first but no, I was not thinking of running. I was simply admiring the view. You’ve snapped me out of my happy trance however, thank you for being so kind. I’d hate to be happy for a second.”
Mikey frowned and I flinched as his hand rested on my shoulder, “I don’t deserve that.”
“You flinched. I’ve never hurt you.”
“Lying just comes so naturally to you, doesn’t it?” I responded rudely, pulling away from his touch. “Can we go now?” Mikey had fallen silent, I wanted to remind him that he still had a ways to go before he could shut down.
Mikey nodded, “Sure.” He moved quickly, opening the door for me. Once I was in he shut the door and I buckled my seat belt, rolling the window down. The fresh air felt good. I didn’t want to let that go just yet.
As Mikey continued to speed down the road, going faster than his brother, a sudden thought struck me. In all the time we’d been driving since leaving town… We hadn’t passed a single car. Just where were they taking me, and would I ever even stand a chance of being found?