If you're still reading this, I'm impressed at your pain tolerance level.
Mikey sat in the driver’s seat for a few moments, looking ahead. Elsa sat quietly, doing the same.
“Do you want me to drive you home?” he asked.
“I probably should get back,” she admitted, “but you don’t need to drive me. If you can take me to a bus stop, that’d be great.”
So began their search for the bus stops in this city.
As they drove, Elsa explained. “My parents are kind of angry at me. After Kirsten’s appointment yesterday, we went back home, and I kind of ran away. I couldn’t deal. I still can’t deal with it, Mikey,” she told him, her voice cracking.
“That’s why you didn’t want to go back home right away.”
“Yeah. I don’t want to go back and face them and see my sister again.”
This time, Mikey knew what to say.
“You need to go home and talk to your sister. Your parents will get over it, but you’re only going to have your sister for a while. Before my brother moved out, we’d been arguing with each other about something, and I ignored him at home as much as possible. Basically, he left, I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I miss him so much, and it hurts.”
Elsa looked at him. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“I’ll just drive you home.”
“Okay. I live in Newark.” That was on the way to Belleville, so Mikey continued home, entering the highway and driving in silence.
“She’s actually why I got this haircut, by the way.”
Mikey grinned and looked at Elsa. Her hair really was very short.
“That’s pretty hardcore.”
They both smiled, and remained quiet for the rest of the way home.
At Elsa’s house, Mikey got out of the car and walked her to the door. She smiled.
Then her face became serious again, and she looked at him one more time, tears pricking her eyes.
“Really, thanks for doing that with me. I… really needed that. Thank you.”
Mikey smiled. Strangely, he had smiled a lot more tonight than he did normally. “Anytime, Elsa.”
He hugged her, she went inside, and he went home.