Disclaimer: Numb3rs, I don't own no stinking Numb3rs. Except Numb3rs does not stink of course. I just don't happen to own it.
A.N.: I really wanted to write a Charlie driving story to answer the question "why?", bear with me. Will be a one shot unless otherwise requested. Oh, and I have no idea what I'm saying with the math, so if you are a math personbe patientwith me.
" Dad, will you please hurry up!" Charlie yelled to the front door.
" Alright, I'm coming. I'm coming," grumbled Alan Eppes as he walked out the door. Silently he cursed time and it's effects on his son. It didn't seem right that Charlie should be old enough to try driving.
Charlie hoped into the passenger seat and buckled up. He waited impatiently for his dad get in and start the engine. At the sound of the familiar roar Charlie's hear leaped, his world of math for once forgotten. Alan backed carefully out of the driveway and headed out.
" You have that permit, right?" he demanded turning into the busy street.
" Right here," Charlie said holding up the thick sheet of paper.
Alan nodded. Charlie leaned over to turn on the radio. The blaring sound of "music" filled the car.
" Charlie, why do you listen to this stuff?" Alan muttered underneath his breath.
Oddly enough Charlie heard him and answered, " One, because it's good. Two, because of the mathematical properties it contains..."
Alan listened as Charlie as the young man rattled through countless equations and phrases that meant nothing to Alan. One of these days, he thought, I'm going to have to have Charlie create a dictionary for everything he says. Finally Alan pulled into the parking lot.
" Alright, Charlie," he said, " Now are you sure about this?"
Charlie rolled his eyes and got out of the car. Alan sighed. It had been so much easier when they Charlie and Don were little kids. Back then he actually got respect and a verbal answer. A second later Alan was in the passenger seat.
" Alright, Charlie, now remember..." Alan started
" To set up my mirrors, seat, and wheel," Charlie interrupted copying his father, " Dad, I've driven before."
" Two trips to the go-karts do not count," Alan said holding up a warning finger.
" Yeah, okay," Charlie said reaching for the ignition.
" What now, Dad!" Charlie exclaimed exasperantly, " I've done everything you've told me to."
" I know, but you forgot your seatbelt."
" Oh," Charlie said reaching over and pulling the belt on, " NOW can I go."
" Fire away."
Charlie excitedly reached for the keys. Without effort he hit the ignition. The old car rumbled to life beneath his finger tips. Charlie could barely hold in the excitement.
" Now put it in reverse," Alan coaxed gently.
Charlie's hands slowly repeated the pattern he had seen his mother and father use every single day of his life. With great care he put the vehicle into gear and released the brake. The car lurched back, taking Charlie's stomach with it. The scared young man slammed the break.
" WHA...?" Alan yelled as he was caught by the seatbelt and thrown back into his seat.
" S-sorry," Charlie mumbled, " I wasn't expecting that."
" It's alright, Don did the same thing," Alan said rubbing the back of his head, " Try again."
Charlie nodded. With more caution and a little experience he eased up the gas pedal. The car rolled back smoothly.
" Okay, stop," Alan guided, " Now put it in drive."
Charlie did as he was told. Unexpectantly the car rolled ahead as he lifted his foot off the break.
" Wha..." he mumbled replacing his foot and grasping the steering wheel.
" It's alright, Charlie," Alan comforted, " The car can move without you pressing the pedal. It just moves slowly."
Charlie nodded masking with understanding. Slowly he released the pedal. The car rolled ahead.
" Alright, Charlie, now just steer into circles or whatever shape you want," Alan said.
Charlie nodded. For a fifteen minutes the car rode in the same figure eight pattern.
Finally Alan said, " Charlie when I said drive in whatever shape you want I didn't mean go the same way for fifteen minutes."
" It's not a 'shape', Dad," Charlie pouted, " It's the symbol for infinite."
" Oh, sorry, my mistake," said Alan, though deep down he had begun to laugh. Nothing could tear Charlie away from his numbers.
For another fifteen minutes Charlie continued to drive in the same pattern. Finally Alan noticed Charlie was mumbling to himself.
" Anything wrong, Charlie?" he asked the young man.
" No, I was just calculating the time it would take to run out of gas at the cars current velocity and movement patterns," at Alan's confused look he added, " Just something to calm down with."
" Oh," Alan said, catching Charlie roll his eyes, " Are you getting tired at all?"
" No," Charlie replied.
Silence prevailed in the car.
" Did you know statistically there are infinite amount of ways to damage a car," Charlie said out of the blue.
Alan looked at his son.
" Are you sure you want to be thinking about that?" he asked, " Considering you're driving."
" Accident of the nature a car in these conditions could cause would be insignifcant to the grand number of infinte possibilities, " Charlie replied, " Hence why you picked this empty parking lot as the beginning stage for me to drive. Statistically the damage would be minimal if non-existant, therefore, the numbers are just that. Statistics."
" Well, it be better to keep you mind on what your doing," Alan replied, " I would really hate to see those 'statistics' turn into actual damage cost."
Charlie nodded. After another long wait he finally said, " Dad, I think I'm ready to go."
Alan looked at Charlie and nodded.
" Try to park the car where I did," he said, " Just as a practice."
Charlie turned the car out of it's figure eight pattern. Focusing on the parking spot he calculated the angling necessary to park the car in. Slowly he inched in.
" CHARLIE! LOOK OUT!" Alan yelled grabbing at the steering wheel.
Charlie hadn't notice the other car role into the parking lot. He had almost ran into it after moving in to wide an arch in order to enter the parking space. Thankfully as Alan turned the wheel one way the other driver turned the other. Charlie stared uncomprehending at the wheel.
" Charlie, hit the break!" Alan ordered.
Charlie complied silently.
" Now put the car into park," Alan ordered, more gently.
Again Charlie complied silently.
" Turn off the engine."
Again Charlie did as he was told. The two sat in the car for a few seconds.
" But...but that shouldn't have happened," Charlie muttered, " It...I had the angle trajectory measured perfectly. The statistics...they."
Alan put a comforting hand on Charlie's shoulder.
" It's okay," he said, " It happens. There wasn't an accident. No one got hurt. We're fine. Now listen, Charlie, I'm going over to talk to whomever was driving. Stay right here. Got it."
" I'm not going anywhere," Charlie said.
With that reassurance Alan jumped out of the car. Briskly he walked to the other vehicle and was suprised to see the other driver climbing out. He's was more suprised to see who the other driver was. It was Don!
" Donnie!" Alan said in suprise, " What are you doing here?"
" I came to see Charlie in his first behind the wheel," Don said, smiling as he walked up to his father, " I didn't know it would be so dangerous."
" I think Charlie's mind was somewhere else at the time," Alan replied truthfully, " But he'll learn. You did."
" Hey," Don protested, " I wasn't that bad."
" Between the speeding tickets and tire repairs I'd consider a five mile an hour mishap a lot better," Alan joked.
Don clutched his chest in mock pain. Hisknees seem to give way under him.
" That hurts," he said before standing up straight.
Smiling he walked over to driver door. Pulling it open he caught a very startled Charlie reaching to get out.
" DON!" Charlie exclaimed, " What are you doing here?"
"I came to see how you were doing," Don replied seriously.
" I'm fine," Charlie answered though his voice seemed higher in pitch, " Um, Dad, thanks for the lesson.That's all I'm gonna need."
" What are you talking about, Charlie?" Alan asked, " You've just had lesson one."
" I mean I'm not going to need anymore lessons," Charlie replied, " I've decided I won't be driving."
" What are you talking about, Buddy?" Don said, " Just because you made one mistake..."
" It's like the dominoe effect, Don," Charlie said, " Without solidified base the dominoe will fall and knock down others with it. This is a rudimentary lesson, and I didn't pass it. Therefore, by calculations I will be unable to drive properly due to this one event."
" Charlie, that's what practice is for," Don argued, " I wasn't that good when I started out, and I have yet to have an accident."
" Did you have a near crash?" Charlie asked.
" Well, no," Don said, " But that..."
" Let it go, Donnie," Alan said.
Don looked over at his dad. Alan gave his son a warning look.
" If' Charlie's not ready, it's his decision," Alan said, " Let him be."
" Let him be."
" It's okay, Don," Charlie said standing up, " Besides they're putting that new bike path in next to campus."
" There you see, Don, easy access," Alan said, " Come on, Charlie. We'll see you at home, Don."
" Okay," Don said. Shaking his head he gave up and headed to his car.
Charlie walked over to the passenger seat and climbed in. As he buckled up Alan turned on the engine. The sound had an all new meaning to Charlie.
" Well, your mother will be thrilled," Alan said, looking over at Charlie.
The young man flashed him a confused look.
" She didn't want to have to face the concept of you driving."
Charlie smiled knowingly. Silently he turned to look out the window. Alan shifted into drive and followed Don as he pulled out of the parking lot. On the way home Charlie turned on the radio, raising the volume for his 'music'. This time, however, Alan didn't mind. For now it meant his youngest son was still a little boy.
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