"Do you know what you're doing?" Dean strapped on his seatbelt and asked his little sister who sat still in front of the wheel of the Impala, staring into the brick wall in front of them. "Grace!"
With hesitation, she turned her eyes to him. "Do you want an honest answer?"
Dean watched keenly as she stepped on the break before pulling the gear back in reverse. "Adjust your mirrors, kiddo."
"Oh. Right." Grace smiled nervously as she prodded at the rear-view mirror. "Now what do I do?"
"Now you reverse. Which way do you turn the wheel?"
She raised her hand and made a clockwise circle in the air. "Right?"
"Yeah." Dean nodded, sitting back and keeping his hand ready to catch the steering wheel if need be. "Go ahead, Gracie. Relax. I'm right here."
The young girl took a deep breath and spun the wheel clockwise as far as she could, gently easing her foot off of the break. She glanced up at the mirrors in hopes that she'd be able to catch a glimpse of any cars coming up from the alleys behind their shady motel. It soon struck her that her mirrors weren't helpfully adjusted in her rush, and the only way she depended on maneuvering was by her older brother's instruction.
Dean craned his neck out the window. "You can go back a little farther. Okay, stop."
"I can't do this!" Grace gripped the steering wheels, feeling her insides squirming in hesitation.
"You're doing fine. Confidence is key." He assured with a warm smile. "Now, shift the gear to drive and let's get back on the road."
"But...but...how long do you want me to drive?" The words came out of her mouth but her entire head was focused on keeping the sides of the Impala as far away from other cars as she could.
"As long as I tell you to."
Closing her eyes tightly and taking a deep inhale, Grace exhaled and opened her eyes, nodding in silent reassurance to herself. Wrapping her hand over the gear shift, she moved it down into the D position and felt her heart beat with each notch. Placing her hand back onto the wheel, Grace slowly lifted her foot off of the brake pedal and gasped when the car began moving forward. "Oh my god," she breathed under her breath, causing a small chuckle to come from her brother.
"You're fine," he stated, watching her with unblinking eyes.
Her foot lifted further from the brake as the nose of the Impala broke past the walls of the alleyway and appeared in the sunlight. The siblings' heads mimicked one another as they both swiveled left, right, and then left once more before the Impala continued into the sunlight and the tires rolled into the street. As the car slowed, Grace stared at the hood, fearing that she had broken the car. "Oh my gosh, why aren't we moving?" she worried aloud.
"Push the gas pedal," Dean recited slowly, lifting a brow at her worried state.
Nodding in remembrance, a slow blush rose to Grace's cheeks in embarrassed. "Right," she stated, moving her foot to the right and pressing down slowly. Hearing the engine purr louder than it had been, her eyes brightened and a small smile spread over her lips. Clicking the blinker down with her pinky, and looking once more, she slowly began to turn the car into the lane.
A tug from beside her caused Grace to whip her head to the side, shocked and relieved to see Dean's hand pulling the wheel back around. "You're not far enough out into the street. You're gonna catch that corner. Just keep going forward until I tell you to turn."
"Sorry," she mumbled, her anxiety picking up again at her early mistake. As the car continued to creep out of the alley, concern came to Grace's mind as she grew curious to just when he would tell her to move the wheel. Picking up her hand, she prepared herself.
"All right, cut it to the left. Pull into that lane right there. Check your mirrors." Dean instructed, pointing ahead. Grace turned the car, keeping her foot steady on the gas, her eyes darting all around her for possible cars that could have appeared from thin air. "Keep your eyes forward. I'll let you know if someone's coming."
"But you just told me to check my mirrors." She exhaled loudly and proceeded to straighten the car out into the middle of the lane and listened as Dean told her she had to get up to the speed limit. Pressing down with the front of her shoe, she grimaced when the car felt like it wasn't actually accelerating any faster. Pressing harder, she lurched back as the car sped quickly down the straightaway.
"Keep the needle on the speed limit. Maintain the speed you're in." Dean slapped her hand when she reached for the radio dial. "Hands on the wheel."
"Driver picks the music - " Grace incredulously stared between the road and her brother, scoffing.
"Not when the driver is Hobbit sized. Concentrate on the road." He leaned over and pulled a box of cassette tapes from under his seat, grinning as he rifled through the tapes. "I'll pick the toons."
"Please don't play Metallica."
Dean put a finger up to his lips, brimming with boyish mischievousness, and shushed her. Grace swore she heard him humming Metallica's Sad But True.
"You're doing good but remember to switch your foot between the break and the accelerator to keep control of the car. Control is key."
"I thought confidence was key."
"That too, kid."
As they approached a roundabout, Grace harshly turned at the wheel, her nerves getting the better of her. She half expected her brother to yell or curse but he calmly let her fix her mistake and continue on the road without a sound. He knew that yelling would shake her up even more so than she already was.
"How am I doing?"
"You still got a lot to learn," Dean settled with a proud smile. "But for your first time you're doing well. Behind enemy lines and a tank, I wouldn't want anyone else behind the wheel."