"Chad, do you think you could give us a drive to Ohio?" I asked bluntly. It was Chad's day off, so I was hoping he could give us a bit of a ride.
"Ohio?" He asked, looking at me like I was nuts. "You're in Illinois...and that's quite a drive..." He said, rubbing the back of his neck.
"We could make a trip out of it, Dad!" Jessie said excitedly. We were all in the living room, sitting in our respective chairs.
"I could pack some lunches..." Marie said, looking at a very thoughtful Chad. He sighed then shrugged.
"Okay, but we have to be back here tonight, because I do have to work in the morning." He said. Jessie squealed like a little girl and I held back a groan. It's not that I don't love my fans, it's just that I don't want to stuck in a small car with one. I mean, if it was just Chad driving me and Jazz, one of us could sit in the front and the other could have the whole back to themself. But Marie and Jessie were coming, so we three girls had to be crammed in the back. I don't know if you remember this or not, but I'm a wee bit claustrophobic. Okay, I'm a lot claustrophobic.
Marie smiled and walked out to the kitchen, followed closely by Jessie. I looked at Jazz and gave her a rather pathetic look. She raised an eyebrow at me. "Max, you'll be fine. You can sit by one door and I'll sit by the other, Jessie in the middle. That way, we can make a quick escape if we need to." She said softly.
"Huh. You're starting to learn the way of life." I said, patting Jazz on the arm. "But you still have much to learn, young padawan." I finished and she smiled and rolled her eyes. I stood up and walked out to the kitchen.
"We're gonna go get in the car, okay?" I said. Marie nodded and Jessie looked up at her mother. I quickly pushed Jessie towards the door. We ran out to the car and Jessie followed close behind. I groaned before she was close enough to hear it.
After much talking where I pretended to be interested, everyone was in the car and we were on our way down a small road. Jessie was sitting in between me and Jazz, like we had planned, but I was now wishing that Jazz was sitting next to me, so I wouldn't lose my sanity. Jessie was much like Nudge in the way that she WOULDN'T SHUT UP. I leaned against the window, wishing this would just end.
Maximum, she just wants to be your friend. Friends are necessary in this game we call life. I sighed as the voice suddenly spoke up.
No, it's a game YOU call life. I call it by a different name. I thought back to it, glaring at nothing. Besides, I have all of the friends I need.
Do you? I thought about the Flock as the Voice asked that question. I had Fang, who was my best friend; I had Iggy, my go-to guy for anything that blows up; I had Nudge, my entertainment and sometimes annoyance; I had Gazzy, my little trooper; and I had Angel, my baby.
Yeah, I've got all the friends I need. I bit my lip as I felt tears suddenly enter my eyes. I blinked furiously and realized that my breath was starting to fog up the window... Suddenly, my breath caught in my throat. I twisted my neck to see behind the car, but saw nothing unusual. I swallowed hard and realized I was breathing in gasps. My heart was pounding hard.
"Max, you okay?" Jessie asked. I looked over at her and saw she and Jazz were both looking at me, concerned expressions on their faces. "You got kinda quiet..."
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just a little tired..." I said, lying.
"Maybe you should take a nap..." Jessie said slowly. I looked up at Jazz and locked on her eyes, wondering if mine always looked that way. She reminded me of Fang for a minute with that look she was giving me... I quickly turned away and closed my eyes, an image burned onto the back of my eyelids. It was the thing I thought I had seen on the side of the road, waving at me, a menacing smile on its ugly face.
It was Ari.