Oh man, why did my mom make me do this? Why did Car agree to this? He doesn't even care that much at all and all of a sudden he's interested? I'm sure he's afraid I'll wreck him. I'm almost positive. Riley Daring had finally turned sixteen a few days ago and was ready to hit the road. She was taking her driver's test next week and was pretty nervous considering she had never been behind the wheel of an automobile before until now. Earlier that day Riley and her mom, Agent K, were talking about it and when she would actually be able to practice.
"Are you nervous about your big test next week?" her mom asked.
"Umm, maybe your driver's test?" she laughed. "Did you already forget?" Riley got a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach that made her want to throw up.
"Oh, no I didn't forget. I just remembered it a few seconds ago," she said with a mouth full of Classic Lays Chips.
"You know what? I just realized something," she turned to her daughter, "you've never even had any first hand experience!" That was when she had offered to talk to Car about taking a little driving lesson later. And here she was, staring down at the steering wheel with white knuckles and a nervous stomach. They were in a vacant parking lot of a closed down restaurant called "Ol' St. Nick's Diner". No wonder they were closed down.
"Well, Riley, this is it. Are you ready yet?" asked Car. She looked down at the screen behind the steering wheel. It was black with a blue line running across the middle of it about the width of a hair and every time he spoke the line would move like one on a heartbeat monitor.
"I don't know Car," she said looking at the keys in the ignition. Half of her wanted to turn the engine over so badly but the other half was scared to.
"Come on now Riley, driving is easy. Once you get the hang of it it'll be so simple. It's like riding a bike; you never forget it," he said encouragingly.
She let out a 'HA!' at him. "Easy for you to say, you're a car!"
"Yes, but I had to learn to drive myself. It just wasn't downloaded into me like everything else," Car said. She took in a deep breath and held it in and let it out in a sigh. She looked at the keys again and noticed a single 'I love Britain' keychain dangling there. Riley looked up and out the windshield and eyed a tree about ten feet in front of them. She had a horrible vision of crashing head on into it. She shook her head about five times to clear her head and to say no to Car for the hundredth time.
"No, no I can't Car. Just take me home," she said as she started to undo her seatbelt to slide over into the passenger seat. Suddenly the belt tightened around her and the button wouldn't release it no matter how hard she pushed it.
"Riley, do you want to learn to drive or not?" he asked her.
"It can wait! It doesn't have to be today does it?"
"Well, your test is next week," he said in a matter-of-fact tone. "You're going to regret this."
"I can't Car. What if I wreck you? You, and my mom, will never forgive me. You'll never trust me again!" she exclaimed.
"Oh… Riley is this what this is all about? I trust you. I've known you since you were about eight. You will not crash me," he said.
"How do you know?"
"Actually, I don't. But I'll be right here to take back controls if necessary. I'll stop it in time, but there is a one in a…hundred chance you will wreck," he promised. "That is a very low chance. Remember what I said about me trusting you."
"Alright, fine," she said. She put her fingers on the keys and twisted. His engine growled as it sprang to life. She leaned back against the seat in awe.
"I have to be fast and powerful if I'm gonna be a spy car and chase enemies for a living," he said. "Let's see if you know your stuff." She looked in all of the mirrors to make sure she could see okay and double checked for her seatbelt. She pressed on the break to shift into drive. "You don't need to press hard," he reminded her. She lessened the pressure and reached for the gearshift. She heard the tone of the engine change as the transmission switched to drive. She waited before moving her foot to the gas pedal. "I believe you need to press the gas in order to go," he said.
"Yeah, I know," she replied. She pressed it lightly to test how sensitive it was. As she became more confident and learned Car better she started to climb up past ten miles per hour. She had to admit it felt pretty good. She maneuvered smoothly around the tree that she had thought she was going to crash into and grinned in triumph.
"See, it's pretty easy isn't it?" Car asked her.
"Yeah, it is," she said happily. "I'm actually pretty glad it's just you and me Car. If mom had come I would have probably been even more nervous. Plus she would probably be nagging me about being careful and freaking out," she muttered.
"Mmm-hmm, you're probably right. She actually wanted to come but I had to disagree with her. I understand that she would have made you nervous," Car told her.
"Oh, man, thanks Car," Riley sighed with relief.
"No problem." She turned onto a separate strip and drove along it to see how well she could drive on roads instead of in a parking lot. She stopped gradually at a stop sign and used her signal to go back to the car lot. "Good, you remembered to signal," Car said in an impressed tone of voice.
"Of course I did," she said. She stopped and reversed into a parking space to stop.
"Are you done already?" Car asked.
"I think so," she replied to him.
"Well Ms. Daring, you have proved yourself to be an excellent driver. You shouldn't have any problem on that driver's ED test," he said. A grin spread across Riley's face at hearing that.
"You really think so?"
"I know so," he promised her in a caring tone. Riley opened the driver's side door and walked around the front to move to the passenger side. Before she went all the way around she stopped at his fender and bent her knees to hug him.
"Thank you so much for taking me out here. I never even thought you would do this for me," she said.
"To tell you the truth, you seemed like the only one who really cared for me. Like when I went on that secret mission at the Spy Academy in London and all of you guys thought I was being replaced, you were the only one who snuck into the Academy to come and get me back. Of course Todd went with you but he only came for the spying and, apparently, to get a "girlfriend" at the Academy."
"Yeah, that's true. Mom was just going to miss you so much when you left. We were all going to miss you, Car," Riley said as she stood back up. "I'm just glad that you actually came back and that you were just on a mission." She walked over to the other side to open the door to slide back into the passenger seat. "Once again, thank you for helping me out. You have no idea how much confidence I've built up," she said. The warm summer wind pushed her red hair behind her ears as they went onto the busy street to leave the old worn down lot.
"Anything for a good friend, Riley, and if you ever want to come back out here to fit in some more practice before you head over to the testing building, just let me know," Car offered her.
"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind," she said with a grin down at his screen. Riley and Car both felt good inside now that they've actually had a chance to talk. He had no idea that she really did care for him like that. It really made him feel good that he had someone to trust in the family. Car himself had started to feel left out and separate from the Daring's. Even Agent K, who has been his spy partner for years. But everything was okay now, thanks to an unexpected friendship.