To everyone who's been waiting patiently for this and the next chapter, I'm extremely sorry for the delays and I'm sure you all want me to get on with the story, so first the usual disclaimer, then on with the show.
Disclaimer: I do not and never will own Transformers, movies or otherwise. *sniff* I also borrowed some diaologe from the novelazation of the movie.
Chapter 5: Car Picks the Driver
It was crazy.
Impossible, even to her. And that was saying a lot.
A car driving by itself with no control box, no guy in the front sitting as low as possible. Nothing, but that weird voice and that equally weird presence around it.
Grace removed her helmet as she pulled up to the second to last stoplight on the road and took a deep, unhindered breath. She was almost at the warehouse, just straight down the road from this light, and then she'll just run back to the Witwicky residence, hopefully in speeds that would make Kid Flash proud.
Waiting for the light, she had to give the boys some credit on the location. It was a decent area, no other people around, not even anyone looking for a secret area to get high or drunk, hardly any traffic, and it was on the outskirts of Tranquility.
Grace debated on whether she should call one of the others and tell them about the driverless Camaro or not when an engine revved loudly from behind her. Jumping almost a foot in the air, she whipped her head around, green eyes wide and hand on the concealed blade in her sleeve.
It was the Camaro!
For a long moment, everything went still. The girl was quiet, holding her breath. The only sound she heard was both engines running and her heart pounding a mile a minute.
What was it going to do?
Hell, what was she going to do?
As she watched in tense silence, the Camaro slowly eased its way from behind her and pulled up to the lane next to hers. Its windows were down, revealing an already confirmed empty front seat, and the engine had quieted to a low purr. In the back of the stunned teens mind, she noted that this was the same behavior she used around frightened children, animals, or people new to her time.
Grace stopped herself from jumping again when her phone suddenly went off. Taking a deep breath, she tried to calm down and pulled it out. 'Oh stop being so jumpy! It's not like it's gonna eat you.'
She looked away from the car to quickly glance at the screen. It was a text message. From the car.
Hi. Want 2 race?
A race? It's asking to race her? How did it even get her number? Grace looked back at the car. It was still, unmoving, apparently waiting for her answer.
'Drag race with a car with no driver. . .'
The Camaro seemed to tense up next to her, waiting for a response.
The light was going to change soon.
With a sideways glance at her opponent, Grace put her helmet back on with a wicked grin.
'Why not? Sounds fun.'
She gunned the engine. The Camaro eagerly did the same. They waited, tension growing.
Waiting . . . the Camaro edged forward, revving its engine.
Waiting . . . Grace tightened her grip on the handlebars and leaned forward.
Both engines roared. Six tires squealed against the pavement. The smell of burning rubber hung in the air behind them as the two drivers sped down the road. Grace pushed the eye cover up, feeling the wind against the exposed part of her face. Then, threw caution to the wind and tore the headgear off, tossing it to the side of the road. Her conscience told her Henry would be pissed about that.
He did spend three months putting the speakers in.
There was panic from the car. Are you crazy?
Grace yelled over the engines. "If I told you how many times I've done this, you'd probably faint!"
Almost there . . . the Camaro sped up pass her. Grace went faster, letting out a loud whoop when they were neck-and-neck. Pass the last stoplight. . .
Wind blew through her hair. Her mouth set in a wide grin. Glancing at the Camaro, Grace laughed when it started to fall behind. She wasn't being mean. She just felt like laughing. The sped, the wind, the strange opponent . . . going this fast was fun! She hardly had a chance to do this lately.
Grace carefully hit the brakes, letting out another whoop while skidding to a complete stop at the same time as the Cama. . .
The bright yellow car flew past her and down the road, away from the warehouse.
'Or not. . .' Grace thought. Too bad it didn't stay for a minute. A ringing from her phone temporarily drew her thoughts away from the strange car. Only to have them go straight back to it when she read the text.
U win. Want a rematch l8er? Bye.
Want a rematch.
The message remained in her inbox and came to mind all though the next day, waiting in a small part of her brain until she was busy or bored so it could jump out. During lunch, she was asked by Sam, Miles, Mikaela, and Trent (to her surprise) if she was alright. All were told she was just thinking and was okay (which wasn't a complete lie).
'I doubt I'll ever see it again. Still, a rematch sounds cool. Maybe on a longer road. . .'
"Okay, Mr. Witwicky! You're up."
Grace jerked herself out of her train of thought and looked up as Sam walked to the front of the classroom. It was History class and Grace was zoning out again, having already been taught most of it before she was fourteen. She silently watched as her new friend unslung the dark blue-green backpack from his shoulder and carefully emptied out its priceless contents onto the table.
"Sorry," Sam muttered as the artifacts exited the bag. "I got a lot of stuff."
A few seats away from Grace, Trent and Mikalea were sitting next to each other, the former having pushed their desks together before class started. Trent leaned over to Mikaela and whispered quietly.
No one else heard him. Well, no one except a witch with very good hearing. Grace discreetly glanced up at the two as Sam finished setting the display up.
"Okay," as Sam set his bag down, Trent pulled back a rubber band. "For my family ge- -."
A well-aimed rubber band shot by DeMarco cut Sam off as he stood up, hitting his cheek. Grace started plotting revenge when the teacher, Mr. Hosney, was effectively jerked out of the trance all teachers seemed to enter during class presentations.
"Who did- -? Who did that?" Snickers broke out over the class as Trent faked looking for the culprit. Mikaela was obviously not impressed.
"People!" the teacher's voice quickly silenced them. "Responsibility."
'If you were trying to look cool, DeMarco, mission failed.'
Retaking his seat, he signaled for Sam to continue.
"Okay, uh. . ."
'C'mon, Sam,' Grace silently encouraged. 'Just like you rehearsed.'
"So for my family genealogy report, I decided to do it on my great-great grandfather, who was a famous man, Captain Archibald Witwicky. Very famous explorer. In fact, he," Sam pulled out a map and unfolded it as he spoke. "Was one of the first to explore the Arctic Circle," he held the map up, revealing the continent of the Arctic. "Which is a big deal."
A pulling sensation brushed the edge of her mind as Grace listened. Slightly put off for a second, she pushed the feeling out of her mind. 'Not now.' Only to have it return with more persistence.
'You can bug me later, I'm busy.' Grace ignored it as Sam continued.
"In 1897, he took forty-one brave sailors straight into the Arc . . ."
She was suddenly yanked from the classroom, tumbling through darkness as a new feeling engulfed her. Cold. Not from the air conditioned classroom, but Ice Age cold. The dark faded into a frozen landscape next to the sea. In the water, surrounded by ice, was a ship. Men were on board or around it, frantically chopping and hacking away at the gathering ice on the ship while shouting orders to one another over the howling wind and dogs.
"Move faster, men!"
"The ice is freezing faster than it's melting!"
She was now standing on the frozen ground, if there was any there to begin with, staring transfixed at the sight before her. Movement on her right alerted the girl to a man standing next to her, looking up at the ship and not noticing her. A bearded man, maybe in his thirties or forties, dressed warmly, snow and ice caking his beard, hair, clothes . . . and glasses.
"No sacrifice, no victory!" he shouted to the men. "We'll get to the Arctic Circle, lads!"
Then the dogs ran off. Some of the crew, captain included, went after them as time seemed to slow.
Before she could see anything else, Grace landed back to earth with a mental thud. She easily kept her features and breathing neutral as she discretely looked around again. She was back in the classroom. Sam was still standing up front, holding the map up and finishing his sentence.
". . . tic Shelf."
Apparently, only a few seconds have passed. She compeltely missed the odd look Mikaela gave her.
"So that's the story, right?" Folding the map, he set it down and waved his hand over the items on the table. "And here we have some of the basic instruments and tools used by nineteenth century seamen."
Grace rolled her eyes as the students giggled and snickered, cutting Sam off. 'I thought this was eleventh grade history, not preschool.' She thought dryly. Mr. Hosney quickly held up a make shift stop sign with 'QUIET!' in bold lettering, effectively silencing the class and allowing Sam to continue. 'Well, so far, so good. . .'
"This here's the quadrant," he held up the mentioned item. Then uttered a sentence that was possibly fatal to his final grade. "Which you can get for eighty bucks."
To this day, Grace has no idea how she kept herself from banging her head on the desk. 'And I spoke too soon.'
"It's all for sale, by the way," Sam went on as he placed the item back down. "Like the, uh, the sextant here."
More giggling. Quiet sign was up again. Another urge to hit head on desk.
"Fifty dollars for this, which is a bargain."
'And a full bloody hour of helping and listening to you practice this, which is going down the drain,' Grace thought, barely wincing as she felt a headache form. 'You could've mentioned you were going to turn this into a sales pitch, Witwicky.'
Setting down the item, Sam picked up the one thing that, for whatever reason she couldn't figure out, irked Grace that it was even considered for sale.
"These are pretty cool. These are my grandfather's glasses." He held them up for the class to see.
'Oh for the love of . . . huh?'
The light caught in the cracked lens revealing very tiny dots, some in neat lines.
"I haven't quite gotten them appraised yet, but they've seen many cool things. . ."
"Are you going to sell me his liver?" Mr. Hosney interrupted dryly. "Mr. Witwicky, this isn't 'Show and Sell', this is the eleventh grade. I don't think your grandfather would be particularly proud of what you're doing."
'Yeah, he's rolling in his grave as we speak.'
"I know. I'm sorry. I just, you know, this is all going toward my car fund."
'And he brought up the car fund. Why did he bring up the car fund? Why?'
Sam continued on with his report/sales pitch as he addressed the class. "You can tell your folks. It's on eBay. I take PayPal. Cold hard cash works, too. And th-the compass makes a great gift for Columbus Day. . ."
Grace didn't know whether to laugh with the class or share in the teacher's frustration. 'Y're digging a hole, dude. Bail out and recover while you still can.'
"Sam." Said teacher cut Sam off with a warning in his tone.
"Sorry!" Quickly, Sam ended his advertising and went on to salvage what was left of the report. "Ah . . . unfortunately, my great-great-grandfather, the genius that he was," he reached over and held up two things that made Grace forget her criticism for a moment. "Wound up going blind and crazy in a psycho ward," In one hand was the newspaper article, the same one she acquired as a child. In the other was a sheet of paper with strange symbols. "Drawing these strange symbols and babbling on about some 'giant ice man' he said he discovered. . ."
This time it was the last bell of the day that interrupted Sam. As the class simultaneously stood and grabbed their books, Mr. Hosney made himself heard over the din. "Okay, might be a pop quiz tomorrow. Might not. Sleep in fear tonight."
Grace slung her Linkin Park messenger bag over her shoulder as she stood and walked over to her friend. Once again, she was amazed at the fact she had yet to slam her head onto or through something as Sam was still trying to offer up a price for the cracked glasses to their departing classmates.
"Here, you want? Here, fifty. Forty? Thirty?"
As if he noted the warning tone, Sam immediately (and finally) ended his attempted sales pitch. "Yeah. Sorry, sorry."
Rather than head to her locker, Grace waited at the door for her friend while he awaited his final grade. If he fails, she'll act as sympathetic friend until Miles comes along. It was the least she could do, really.
So she waited as Sam asked about the final obstacle standing between him and his first car.
"Okay," The confident smile seemed slightly forced. "Pretty good, right?" She could hear the hint of a hopeful tone in his voice.
Mr. Hosney, on the other hand . . .
"Ahh . . . I'd say a solid . . ." Sam's hopes went up. "B minus." Only to join his smile as it crashed to the ground.
"A B minus?"
Grace rolled her eyes. 'You should actually consider yourself lucky he didn't give you an F.'
"You were hocking your great-grandfather's crap in my classroom."
"No, kids enjoy . . ." Sam spoke in a rush, attempting to convince a change of mind and grade. "Look, can you do me a favor? Can you look out the window for a second? You see my father?"
The teacher glanced out the classroom window, Grace craning her neck for a look herself. Sure enough, parked at the curb in front of the school, was Sam's father, Ron Witwicky. Grace toyed with the idea of running down to let him know his son and house guest would be a little late as Sam when on.
"Okay, I wanna tell you about a dream. A boy's dream."
'Playing the dream card. This ought to be good.'
"And a man's promise to that boy. He looked me in the eye. He said 'Son, I'm gonna buy you a car. But I want you to bring me two thousand dollars and three 'A's'. Okay? I got the two thousand and I got two 'A's. Here's the dream," he held his hands together. "Your B minus, phft!" then spread them apart in a mock explosion. "Dream gone. Kaput."
"Sir, just ask yourself," his tone was very close to begging. "What would Jesus do?"
To say Mikaela was a little concerned when she saw Grace willingly and repeatedly slam her head into her locker was an understatement. After knowing her for a couple days, if Mikaela was asked whether the girl was crazy or not, she'd agree one or two screws might be loose, but definitely not enough for Grace to do something like this.
Having made her presence known, Mikaela relaxed a bit when Grace stopped playing the Headbanger's Ball with the locker and looked at her.
"Oh, hi Mikaela." She said smiling.
"Hi," Mikaela stole a glance at the locker, which now had a slight dent in it. "Are you okay?"
Before Mikaela could respond, Grace continued to hit her head on the metal. With a mutter of ". . . oh for. . ." the dark haired girl pulled out her math textbook and, just as Grace was about to hit her head again, blocked the poor locker from further abuse.
Grace looked at the girl in outrage. "How the hell is your textbook better than my locker?"
She shrugged. "Made you stop, didn't it?"
Grumbling, the younger girl rubbed the now tender spot on her head. Mikaela, curious as to why Grace was hitting her head, asked. "So, wanna tell me what the locker ever did to you?"
"Wasn't the locker."
"Then what's up?"
"I'm trying to remember if mentioning the son of God to get a good grade is considered blasphemy," Grace slumped against the lockers. "I don't think it ever came up in Sunday school."
They were interrupted when Sam walked over. "Hey, ready to go?" he asked Grace.
"Yep," she pushed herself off the lockers and walked past him, discreetly elbowing him (hard) when he stared at her companion. "See you later, Mikaela."
"Uh, yeah," she was still a bit confused. "Later."
Because there were still a few teachers and students wandering the halls, the two walked quickly, Sam with a noticeable skip in his step. "So," he glanced over at his houseguest. "Get everything from your locker?"
"Yep." She answered casually. 'Go on and ask.'
"What, ah, what were you guys talking about? You and Mikaela."
"Girl talk," Grace quickly changed the subject. "So, what'd Mr. Hosney give you?"
"A minus!" he nearly shouted.
Grace shook her head. Oh well. "So much for the car."
"Hey, an A minus is still an A," Sam held the door open for her. "Got the two grand, got the three 'A's, so hopefully today I get my car."
They left the building entirely, Sam breaking into a full sprint to his father's car with Grace following at a more easy pace. "YES! Yes, yes!"
With the school day over, her mind went back to the strange Camaro as she hopped into the backseat.
"So?" Ron Witwicky asked his son.
Sam handed over the paper with a proud (and hopeful) grin. "A minus. It's an A, though."
"Wait, I can't see," he straightened out the paper to clearly see the grade. "Yep, it's an A."
"So I'm good, right?"
"Yep," Mr. Witwicky nodded in approval handed the report back to Sam. "You're good."
Starting up the engine, they pulled away from the school and drove to downtown Tranquility.
"So, Grace," Mr. Witwicky addressed his houseguest. "I need to run an errand with Sam. Do you want me to drop you off at the house or would you like to come with us?"
"We're getting my car today?" Sam asked.
"I think I'll tag along," Grace answered. "I haven't been in town yet and Sam might need a girl's opinion on a set of wheels."
Grace shrugged her shoulders and leaned back in the seat. 'Okay, stores to scope out. There's the grocery store, bookstore, furniture store, gas station, gardening store. Wow, those would look great next to the porch. And almost anything with a help wanted si - - what the hell?'
A strange prickling sensation shot up the back of her neck. Looking around, Grace tried to find the source. Other than what she thought was a flash of yellow, there was nothing she could see.
'Maybe it was . . .' she gave her head a quick shake. 'Nah.'
"Hey, are you okay?"
"You had a weird look and shook your head."
Anything else Sam might have said was put on hold when his father spoke.
"Got a little surprise for you, son."
Both Sam and Grace were immediately attentive.
"What kind of . . . ?" Sam trailed off as they drove into the lot of a Porsche dealership.
Grace felt her jaw drop. 'That lucky bas - - wait, can you even get one of these for four grand?'
"No," Sam grinned. "No, no, no, NO! Dad!" his excitement was rather contagious. Grace almost took back her earlier thought. "Oh, you gotta be kidding me."
"Yeah, I am," Mr. Witwicky informed his son. "You're not getting a Porsche." He chuckled as they drove out of the lot.
Sam didn't bother hiding his disappointment. "You think that's funny?"
Grace had to agree with Sam. That was just leaning toward cruelty.
"What, you really think I'd buy you a Porsche? For your first car?"
"I don't wanna talk to you for the rest of this whole thing." The younger Witwicky sulked.
Grace gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and mentally told the dry voice in her head mentioning that one of her 'aunts' probably owned one or two of those cars, possibly a Mercedes as well, to shut the hell up. The odd flash of yellow appeared again as they pulled into another lot. Ignoring it, she instead focused on the flashy sign, Bolivia's Auto Resale, and the seemingly random décor.
'Wait, are those piñatas?'
"Looks like it, dude."
Sam shot a light glare at her before addressing his father. "No, no. What is this? You said a car, not half a piece of crap, Dad."
"I'm with Sam on this," Grace commented. "Half of these look like death traps, the other half look like they're missing some parts, and the guy in the front of the lot is a clown who's probably dying of heatstroke."
"Grace, this is the only used car lot in town and there's a guy taking care of the clown right now. Sam, when I was your age I'd been happy with four wheels and an engine."
"Okay, lemme explain something to you. You ever seen Forty Year Old Virgin?"
"Okay, that's what this is," Sam gestured to what Grace figured was a beat up Sedan. "And this is Fifty Year Old Virgin. You want me to live that life?"
'You're being a drama king again.'
"No sacrifice, no -."
"Yeah, No victory," Sam finished in a resigned tone. "I got it. The old Witwicky motto."
"You have a motto?"
"Gentlemen," a man walked over and greeted them, shaking Mr. Witwicky's hand. "Ma'am," he tipped his hat at Grace. "Bobby Bolivia. Like the country except without the runs."
'Oh my gosh . . ."
"How can I help you?"
"Well, my son here," Mr. Witwicky clapped Sam's shoulder. "Is looking to buy his first car." He answered with a hint of pride.
"You came t' see me?"
"Had to." Sam sounded disappointed.
'How about being glad you're getting a car in the first place,' Grace glared at the back of his head, then looked around. The odd feeling was back. Lovely. 'Okay, weird prickly feeling, you can go away no - - hey, an ostrich!'
The random observation, along with Bolivia starting his sales pitch, drove the feeling away for the time being.
"Sam," he declared leading the other two through the lot. "Your first enchilada of freedom awaits underneath one of those hoods."
'Well, that narrows it down to half the lot.' Grace carefully approached the lone creature in the 'petting zoo' while listening in.
"Lemme tell you something, son. The driver don't pick the car. The car'll pick the driver."
'That's a new one.'
"It's a mystical bond between man and machine," he went on. "Son, I'm a lot of things, but a liar's not one of them. Especially not in front of my mammy," he pointed at an elderly woman behind the lot. "That's my mammy. Hey Mammy!"
Grace smirked when the woman held up her hand, middle digit extended, and turned back to the animal.
Only to see the bright yellow Caramo from yesterday parked not even four feet away.
It took all of her self control not to react while she freaked out inside. 'What the - -? You again?'
Her again? . . . small worl . . .
"Aw, don't be like that! If I had a rock, I'd bust your head, bitch. I tell you, she's deaf, y'know." Bolivia chuckled loudly as he led Sam straight to the Camaro.
'Oh boy . . .'
"Every piece of car a man might want or need."
Sam noticed she had an odd look again and nudged her arm. "Grace?"
"Huh?" Grace blinked. "I'm fine."
"Okay . . ." he walked over to the driver's side door. "This ain't bad," he muttered. Looking back at Grace, he shrugged. "Least it's got racing stripes."
"Yeah," the salesman quickly agreed. "It's got racing . . ." he trailed off in confusion. "What . . . what the heck is this? I don't know nothin' about this car. Manny!"
"What is this? This car, check it out."
Sam paid little attention to the exchange (or his father's own confusion), opened the door and climbed into the seat. Grace hesitated then walked up next to the Camaro, keeping her guard up just in case.
Curious, Grace leaned in the open window to take her own look. The interior wasn't that unusual. Two front seats and a backseat, with the same color scheme as the frame. Its leather and the dashboard appeared slightly faded with time. The radio was the classic knobs-and-eight-track kind and the wheel had only one button for the horn. With his thumb, Sam wiped a thin layer of grim off the horn, revealing a symbol in place of the trademark Chevy logo.
"Huh, must've been customized or something."
"Yeah. Something like that." Grace kept her voice steady and features neutral. For the second time that day, she was floored. 'It can't be . . .' That symbol. It looked just like . . .
But that was impossible . . .
Feeling weirded out, and because her back was going stiff, Grace casually folded her arms on the window frame for support.
The moment her arm made contact, she felt something.
This car was not manmade or artificial in any way. There was a pulse. An odd one, but it was there. There was a soul, emotions, something important (do cars even have blood?) running through more tubes and wires than what she guessed a normal car had. The warmth of its frame had nothing to do with the afternoon sun. And there were thoughts. Broken and filled with static, almost like hearing a call out of range or through a crappy radio, but they were there.
There was defiantly, without a doubt, life in the so-called car.
"You sure you're okay?"
"Yep, just peachy," Looking at the backseat, Grace quickly changed the subject. "Mind if I borrow this whenever my boyfriend visits? The backseat looks roomy." She joked.
"Hey, get your own car," Sam gave her arm a playful shove. "So, other than that slightly disturbing mental image, girl's point of view, what do you think?"
Grace straightened and took a step back. Part of her wanted to get him far away from . . . whatever it was, but something made her stop. Seeing Sam in the Camaro . . . she felt something click. Like Bolivia's "car picks their drivers" thing wasn't a complete load of bs. It looked and felt right. And the feeling of something BIG happening came back with a vengeance. Not wanting to sound too weird, Grace made a show of looking at him and the car. "Fresh coat of paint and a pair of shades and you're good. Might even get a phone number or two."
Meanwhile, Mr. Witwicky asked the long awaited question. "How much?"
Brushing off his own confusion, Bolivia placed both hands on the car. "Well, considering the semi-classic nature of the vehicle, with the slick wheels and custom paint job . . ."
"Yeah, but th-the paint's faded." Sam interrupted.
"Yeah, but it's custom."
Grace raised an eyebrow at this. "It's custom faded?" she asked skeptically.
. . . not my fault . . .
"Well this is your first car," he told Sam. "I wouldn't expect you to understand," looking back at Mr. Witwicky, he gave the price. "Five grand."
"No, I'm not paying over four," Mr. Witwicky shook his head. "Sorry."
Bolivia didn't seem too pleased. "Kid, come on, get out the car."
Breaking the main rule of car buying, Sam expressed a lot of interest in this car. "Wha – no, no, no. You said cars pick their drivers."
"Well, sometimes they pick a driver with a cheap-ass father. Out the car."
The two teens gave identical heavy sighs. 'So much for the Cammy.'
. . . don't think so.
Giving it a weary look Grace backed away from the door so Sam could get out (wait, when did it even close?).
"Now this one here for four G's is a beaut." Bolivia walked over to the Beetle. Taking one last glance at the dashboard, Sam climbed out.
"There's a Fiesta over there with racing stripes." Mr. Witwicky offered.
"No I don't want a Fiesta with racing stripes."
Grace kept both eyes on the car. 'What are you thinking?'
"This is a classic engine right here," the other man went on. A little bummed about the Camaro, Grace swung the door shut as he continued . . . "I sold a car the other day th - -." Which somehow caused the passenger's side door to swing open, nailing the 'Bug and causing a loud beep of the horn from either it or the Camaro.
All four of them jumped. Grace stumbled back in shock. 'That wasn't me, right?'
"Whoa!" Sam looked back inside the car, wondering how the crap that happened.
"Holy cow," Mr. Witwicky looked over at Bolivia. "Are you alright?"
The question was waved off. "No, no, no. No worries," Bolivia gave the smaller, now dented, car a pat on its roof. "I'll get a sledgehammer an' knock this right out. Hey Manny!" he called out. "Get your clown cousin an' get some hammers and come bang this stuff out baby!" He let out a loud nervous laugh and walked away from the 'Bug, giving the Camaro a wide berth.
Grace was the only one who noticed the radio switching on by itself. Like the not-a-car's thoughts, she heard static then a few words.
". . . greater than man . . ."
The witch stared, barely registering the conversation.
"Drove all the way from Alabammy . . ."
A deep metallic moan/groan (she didn't know what the crap it was) came from the car as the static became an extremely high pitched squeal. Feeling a slight ripple in the air, Grace instinctively threw herself down on the pavement seconds before all the windows of the other cars exploded. She didn't notice the other three ducking from both the sound and flying glass. She didn't notice the rather dazzling display of glass catching the afternoon sun or the strange look Sam gave her that lasted a split second. And she definitely didn't notice the fact that she had edged closer to the Camaro. All she focused on was trying to block the high pitched whine that grated her ears, as the hands and arms were covering her head. After a few seconds (there would be future arguments that it felt like five minutes), the alarm gave a final beep and Grace quickly stood up.
Bolivia stared slack-jawed at the devastation. Mr. Witwicky made sure the two teens were alright and attempted to escort them out of the lot. For the most part, Sam and Grace stood still. Grace because she was curious about the bloody thing and Sam because he was stunned.
And a tiny part of him still wanted the Camaro.
Snapping out of his daze, and realizing the only car in the lot that was intact was one he did not remember seeing a few moments ago, Bolivia hurried over.
"Nononononono, hold it! It's yours for four thousand!"
Mr. Witwicky looked at him as though he lost his mind, then looked back at his son. Who, and Grace had to bite the inside of her cheek to stop giggling, was facing his father and trying so hard to mimic the photos of those cute-yet-frikkin-creepy pets with insanely wide eyes. Yes, the Camaro was a little freaky, but he still wanted it.
It took a good portion of Sam's will power to keep from jumping. He did throw his fists up with a loud "yes" before asking Grace. "Want a ride?"
Grace looked at the car. Well, she didn't sense anything threatening about it. When the windows exploded, there was a feeling of mischief followed quickly by apprehension. Now there was just relief and . . . something else.
"I'll get my bag."
Her mind went into overdrive when she walked over to Mr. Witwicky's car. First that nightmare, then one of her memories, the Camaro showing up and that vision in History. Then there was that feeling, that sense that something was going to happen. And it was growing stronger.
Grace sighed. 'Curse my curiosity.'
Grabbing her bag, and Sam's, she hurried back just in time to hear Mr. Witwicky and Bolivia say something about paperwork. Ugh. "Here Sam," she shoved his bag into him and approached the car. "Shotgun."
The two climbed into the car, Sam almost vibrating with excitement (his own car!). Grace gave a mental warning at the dashboard as she buckled in.
'Try anything and you're scrap metal.'
A turn of the key and the engine, which Sam noticed sounded nothing like the vehicles appearance suggested, fired up. Grace carefully looked just as surprised when Mr. Witwicky came over.
"Hey, Sam. If, for any reason, and I'm not preaccusing you of anything, you think you shouldn't be driving, call me and I'll pick you up. No questions asked."
Grace tried to not pay too much attention to what was obviously a father-child moment and focused on the car. 'You'd think after fourteen years you get used to a stab of jealousy.' She must have missed part of the conversation because Mr. Witwicky had started speaking in a pretty damn good Jersey-wiseguy accent.
"If youse tries to stiff me, remember dat I knowse where youse live."
'Must be talking about his half of the pay.' Grace thought with a laugh.
Sam gave an embarrassed chuckle. "Thanks Dad," he sighed quietly when the older man stepped away. "Still would've liked a Porsche, though."
The witch rolled her eyes. "Dude, will ya get over it? Believe it or not, some girls actually like classic cars," she looked at the rearview mirror. "Although the Bee-otch thing might have to go."
Sam laughed and gunned the engine, peeling out of the lot and nearly startling Grace. Neither they or the adults stopped to wonder if there was even any gas in the tank or thought of checking the engine. All Grace could think of, hear and sense was a clang from beneath them and a piece of the 'car' about to break and fall off. Hand on her seat, she quickly focused and 'grabbed' the object and held it.
'I'll see if I can fix it later.'
"What was that?"
"What was what?"
Grace settled in her seat and continued to 'hold' the part for the rest of the drive.
'So much for being in a normal world,' she thought glumly. 'Oh well.'