"WHAT?! What do you mean you don't know when you'll be back!!!" Her dad shouted.
Kerry twiddled her fingers as she sat through the lashing her father gave her. This was all Michel's fault. He was the one who made her say she was going on a trip for an uncertain amount of time. The only thing he told her for certain was that she had to leave for her family's sake. Kerry didn't even know where he was taking her other than that they were going somewhere far away from Brockport.
Still, she wished he gave her some information to work with. Anything would've been helpful in trying to convince her dad to let her leave.
"Dad… I'm practically an adult now and I'll be going to college next year." She pleaded. "With school-work and studying, I won't have a chance to do this for a long time…I want to enjoy life while I'm young."
"But Kerry that IS life! You're not supposed to enjoy it until you're 60 and retired! Before that you have to work, start a family, go through mid-life crisis-" He rambled.
"You don't mean that!" She gasped.
"Uh…sorry." He apologized, "Can't you wait until after college when you're out of the house? By then, you don't have to tell or ask me to do anything. I actually prefer not knowing what young women do for fun nowadays!"
"But Dad..." Kerry complained, "Come on! Why won't you trust me?!"
"Young lady! Just two days ago you said you wanted to focus on the important things in life…no boys or any of those shenanigans!" He threw his hands up in the air in disbelief, "But then I find out yesterday you're not even home! You left the front door unlocked! You don't call me or anything, and then you come home with some PUNK?"
He paced back and forth in the living room. "To top it all off you decide to greet me by saying you're going on some road trip?!"
"Dad! I already explained what happened!" She stood up indignantly, "And he's not a punk! He's just a friend who was kind enough to give me a ride home!"
"That better be all he did!" Her dad fumed.
"DAD!" Kerry yelled.
"Okay okay!" He sighed. "Look honey, I understand Mei had an emergency." He sat down next to her. "And I understand you guys are close enough friends that you wanted to be there for her…but I expected more from you Ker. You could've handled the situation more maturely and at least CALLED to tell me where you were."
The tired look in his eyes made Kerry feel terrible for causing him so much trouble. "You could've at least let me pick you up…I've never even seen that boy before!"
"Can you please drop the boy talk?" Kerry groaned, "I'm sorry I worried you and everything, but I was in a rush. It won't happen again." She said.
"…But as for this road trip…" She took a deep breath to prepare herself.
"I'm old enough to make my own decisions in life, and right now this is what I want to do. Whether you like it or now, I'm going on this trip and I hope you'll respect my choice." She blurted out almost too fast for him to catch.
Her father's face went from normal to beet red. Kerry winced.
"KERRY NOWICKI! I AM YOUR FATHER AND AS LONG AS YOU'RE UNDER MY ROOF YOU'LL DO WHAT I GOD DAMN TELL YOU TO DO!" His voice boomed. "YOU ARE NOT GOING ON THAT TRI-"
"Honestly Stephen!" Joanne came downstairs holding Ian. "Ian and I are trying to watch a movie upstairs and we can hear you even with the door closed! Are you trying to tear the house down?!"
Kerry's dad muttered something lowly as he dragged both hands down his face to cool off.
"No respect these days. God damn…kids." He continued lowly.
"Stephen! Stop cursing in front of the kids!" Joanne scolded him.
"Well according to Miss. I-Can-Do-Whatever-I-Want here, she's an adult now!" He pointed an angry finger at Kerry, who was now shrinking into the sofa with misery.
"She IS an adult now, but that doesn't mean Ian is!" Joanne snapped, "And she's right ."
Kerry looked up from her knees to stare at her soon-to-be-step-mom with surprise.
"Kerry's already been through so much, and yelling at her isn't making things easier on any of us." Joanne started, "I think a road trip is a wonderful idea, I used to go on them all the time when I was a teenager."
"Everything was safer back then! No drugs, no alcohol, no sex." Stephen countered.
"We grew up in the 70's for Christ's sake! All of that practically started from that time!" She laughed. "Besides, Kerry has always been a good girl, you told me so! Let her enjoy her youth Steve."
Stephen looked uneasily at Joanne, rubbing the back of his neck.
"I don't know…Just because we trust Kerry doesn't mean that'll stop some crazy lunatic from trying to abduct her." He frowned.
Kerry laughed nervously when he said that.
"Please?" She begged, "We'll keep to the major roads and stay with people we know. All of my friends who graduated before me went to different colleges, so we'd have plenty of places to stay at. Campus security is also really tight meaning we'd be safe!"
"See?" Joanne smiled, "I'm already convinced."
"You were convinced from the start." Stephen grumbled. He knew he was losing this fight.
"And who would be going on this so called trip?" He asked sardonically.
"The usual people I hang out with," Kerry replied offhandedly. "You know…Mei, Alex, Tori…the girls!"
"That boy wouldn't happen to be going as well would he?" Her dad glared at her.
"NO!" Kerry inwardly cursed herself for answering so quickly.
After a moment of silence that seemed like it lasted forever, he gave up with a sigh of defeat.
"Ugh…listen to me Kerry Nowicki." He was going to give her one of his long lectures again. "You call me every morning and every night. I don't care how late it is, if I'm sleeping just leave a message. Don't accept rides from ANYONE, you hear? If the car breaks down, lock the doors and call 911, and then call me. Stay together and never wander off alone. Anytime you get into a different city, let me know where you are. If you girls can help it, avoid driving at night. Do NOT pick up hitch-hikers. Also-"
"Alright alright, she gets the picture Steve," Joanne laughed, "Everything you say she knows already."
"I'm just reminding her!" He snapped. "Just…be safe." He finished wearily.
"I will dad." Kerry stood up to go to her room and pack. She kissed her dad on the cheek before she went up the stairs.
"Ker wait!" Her dad called.
'Great..what now?' She thought.
"Yeah?" She leaned over the railing to look down at him.
"When are you leaving for this trip?" He asked.
"Kerry why don't you go upstairs. You too Ian." Joanne urged the very confused child towards the stairs.
Kerry happily complied and ran to the safety of her room. She could hear the muffled arguments below. She was just happy it was all over and collapsed onto her bed.
"Took you long enough." A voice said.
"Why don't you go and meet my dad and then come talk to me." Kerry growled.
She felt the bed shift with Michel's weight as he sat down with his legs hanging off the side.
"Your room is very…feminine…" He said plainly as he looked at her light pink walls and matching furniture. Then his nose wrinkled in disgust. "Was there a dog in here?!"
"Oh yeah, your favorite person dropped by for a visit!" Kerry said with a fake smile.
He rolled his eyes and leaned his elbows on his knees.
"Do you two meet in your bedroom often? Your sheets reek of his scent." He said scathingly.
Kerry scowled at him, but then she smirked. "Why do you care? Jealous?"
"Nothing compared to how you felt about me and Marie." He said slyly.
"You're such a jerk." She buried her face in her pillow not caring if he could understand her. "For your information, he only came by once and we didn't do anything."
At least…anything Michel was probably thinking.
Kerry felt an overwhelming sense of guilt when she thought about Leon's kiss. She quickly repressed it when she remembered that Michel practically admitted to having a relationship with Marie. She also didn't forget he was only with her because of the crystal and the tree, which she later found out, was called the Lunar Child. Even that little piece of information didn't come without a good amount of prying. She didn't know anything else.
"Well!" Michel rose from the bed. "You should start packing."
"Okay." Kerry rolled onto the ground ungracefully and pulled out a small tote bag from underneath.
"You're going to need something way bigger than that. I don't know how long we'll be gone." He grinned.
"It'd be helpful if I knew where we were going." She said bitterly. She looked in the back of her closet and found a decent sized suitcase.
"I'll be right back." She grabbed an outfit and took the tote bag to the bathroom. Kerry decided to take a quick shower before leaving. If Michel got upset about having to wait then oh well, serves him right. She also took the time to brush her teeth and dry her hair.
She pulled a light-blue sundress over her head and then slipped on a gray cardigan over it. After being fully clothed, she began to pack her tote bag with necessary hygiene products and her make-up, throwing in her hair-dryer just in case.
By the time Kerry returned, her suitcase was already filled with the majority of her wardrobe.
"Did you pack my clothes?" Kerry stared at Michel incredulously.
"You were taking forever, so I thought I might speed up the process." He shrugged as he threw in a couple pair of jeans. Taking in her appearance he complimented her. "You look good in that color."
"Thanks…" Kerry smiled. Her face contorted into horror when she realized he was going for the drawer with her undergarments.
"NO!" Kerry blocked his path. "Thanks…but I'll finish up. Go…do something. Fly. Shoo." She waved her hands dismissively as her faced burned with embarrassment.
He must've understood what was going on because he gave her the most arrogant look and then closed his eyes as he turned away from her.
When she was certain he couldn't see, Kerry struggled to pull the heavy suitcase close to the dresser. She didn't want to be caught traveling with a pair of her panties or bras in hand if he decided to peek.
When she finished burying the last articles of clothing beneath the rest, she sat on the top flap so she could zip her suitcase. It didn't help much because the zipper wouldn't budge past the bulging insides.
Kerry groaned. She was going to need another suitcase.
"Here let me get that." Michel gently pulled her off the suitcase and pressed down with a single hand. He closed her suitcase with ease.
Michel was about to pick up the baggage when Kerry stopped him.
"Wait! What would my dad think if I left with nothing?" She explained.
"Ah. You right." He grinned, seeming proud of her observation.
He put down her bags and walked towards the window. "I'll be around the corner. Please hurry." He paused, "You're friend's here already."
Kerry nodded and went to pick up the suitcase but ended up cracking her back in the process.
"OH-HO-HO-HO!" She laughed in pain. "Fight the pain….fight the pain!"
She glowered when she heard Michel burst into laughter. By the time she turned to say something insulting to him, he was already gone.
Kerry settled with dragging and then pushing her luggage to the bottom of the steps. Joanne and her dad stared at her with mild amusement. Slipping on a pair of flats she said, "Well…Mei's here so I'm leaving now."
"Have fun dear." Joanne beamed.
"Thank you, I will." Kerry flashed the woman a genuine smile in return. She was truly grateful for her support.
After pulling on her coat, she straightened her dress wondering if it'd be too cold to wear something so short.
"Steve, aren't you going to say something?" Joanne slapped his arm softly.
"Meh." He shrugged, still angry about earlier.
"Love you dad. I'll call you tomorrow." Kerry said sadly. She hated to leave on such bad terms.
She opened the front door and was about to drag her suitcase when her dad rose to his feet.
"Ker, you'll break your back doing that." He grumbled as he walked over to pick up both her bags. Kerry smiled as she followed him out the door. Even though his voice was serious and indifferent, Kerry knew he just cared too much.
Mei waved through the windshield when she saw Mr. Nowicki. He responded with a curt nod of acknowledgement but nothing more. When he walked past the driver's seat, Mei pointed a thumb towards him with a puzzled look.
'Don't ask.' Kerry mouthed to her.
'Gotcha.' Mei shook her head understanding.
After her bags were secured into the truck, Stephen walked up to his daughter.
"Remember everything I told you." He said sternly.
"I will." She said.
"Don't talk to strangers." He added.
"I won't." She replied.
"Dad…" Kerry reassured him, "I'll be fine. I promise." But deep down Kerry wasn't so sure about that. Michel would be with me, I'll be okay. Kerry told herself.
"Alright…have fun Ker. Don't forget to call." Stephen crushed his daughter into a bear hug. Kerry hugged her father back, feeling sad that she had to leave her family behind. But it was safer this way, for everyone.
When Kerry got inside the car, she spotted Ian in the window. He was waving goodbye to her.
She smiled at him and waved back and then blew a kiss, laughing when Ian kissed the window.
"That's just precious." Mei chimed as she backed out of the drive-way.
"I'm gonna miss him." Kerry agreed.
"You owe me big time." Her friend mumbled as she drove towards a black Mercedes parked near the corner.
"I know." Kerry laughed. "…Oh I'm gonna miss you too Mei!"
"There's so many things I wanna ask you, but I'm assuming you don't have time?" Mei said as they came closer to Michel's figure leaning against the car.
"Sadly no." Kerry frowned. She didn't mention that she probably wouldn't be able to answer those questions either.
"That's someone new." Mei said as she pulled the car into park, "What about Leon?" She turned to face Kerry.
"It's a long story." Kerry groaned. She reached over to hug her best friend. "I'll call you okay? Thanks so much, I love you. You're like the sister I never had."
"Geez Kerry," Mei swatted her affection away playfully, "You act like you're going away forever, or you're gonna die tomorrow…but I love you too and you better call me!"
"I will." Kerry left the car to close the trunk. Michel had already taken out her luggage and was in the process of putting it in his own trunk.
"Bye!" Mei called through the window.
Kerry waved goodbye and then walked towards Michel.
"Humans take forever to say goodbye." He frowned, "I could be on the other side of the planet in the time it took you to just leave your house."
Kerry merely stared blankly at him. She was starting to become immune to his insensitivity.
"Sorry I care about people and people care about me." She said sarcastically.
"I forgive you." He responded haughtily.
"Whatever, you're impossible." She sighed as she entered the passenger seat and Michel followed suit. Kerry didn't even have a chance to buckle her seat belt before he was already speeding down the road.
Vampire or no vampire, Kerry yelled at him to slow down. She even threatened to jump out several times to which Michel responded by saying he dared her to. After a while of nonstop fussing, she finally managed to get him to reduce his speed by a margin but still nowhere near the speed limit.
"Will you tell me where we're going?" Kerry asked for the hundredth time that night.
"Can't you just wait until we get there to find out?" He snapped. Michel drove with his right hand on the steering wheel. His head rested on the other that was leaned against the window sill.
'Good. He can have a taste of his own medicine.' Kerry thought smugly.
"You know. It'd be easier if you just told me now." Kerry suggested innocently.
"Maybe with any other girl, but not you." Michel said. "You're like a bottomless pit, one question just leads to another."
"Hmph." Kerry huffed. "I don't do that."
"Yes you do."
"Not uh! Name one time I've done that! You can't can you?" She said childishly.
"You did just now." Michel smirked.
Kerry choked incoherent utterances but decided to give him the silent treatment.
"Ah. Peace at last." Michel sighed in relief. He was trying to provoke her but Kerry wouldn't give into his game. She refused to give him satisfaction.
They drove in silence for an hour until Kerry fell asleep.
When Kerry woke up, she had her temple against the window and her neck was aching. She rubbed the numb area and groaned when she realized there was probably going to be a red mark. When she turned to face Michel, she was puzzled by his tense posture. He even had both hands on the steering wheel.
"Is something wrong?" Kerry asked hesitantly.
"Sleep well?" He asked lightly, but his severity didn't change. "We're being tailed."
"Huh? No way…" Kerry turned around to see who was behind them. She didn't see anything. In fact, she was almost certain that they were the only life forms on the road at this hour.
"No one's there…I don't see anyone." Kerry said with a puzzled look.
"I wouldn't expect you to." Michel flashed a quick smile towards her.
Unexpectedly, his attention snapped to the rear view mirror. A motorcycle light appeared from the trees and swerved onto the road behind them.
"Can you see him now?" Michel joked.
"Who is that?!" Kerry shouted. The blinding beam of the rider's headlight prevented Kerry from seeing the person.
"It's your little mutt." Michel growled.
"Mutt?....Leon?!" Kerry asked hysterically.
"Yes, I believe that's his name." Michel frowned. "Can't we go through one night without a single annoyance?"
Leon sped up to catch up to the car. He reached a point where he was driving alongside Kerry's spot. When she looked out the window he waved at her and then proceeded to give Michel the finger.
Michel smirked and took that moment of vulnerability to swerve the car into Leon.
"What are you doing?!" Kerry screamed. She twisted in her seat to see if Leon was okay. The werewolf barely managed to avoid impact, but the struggle gave Michel some distance between them.
When Michel heard Leon's bike roar as it accelerated, he stomped on the brakes. Kerry lurched forward with only the seatbelt to prevent her from hitting the dashboard. At the same time, Leon smashed into the back of the car and was sent flying past them until he came to a skidded stop.
"MICHEL!!!" Kerry yelled frantically.
"Don't worry, I'm sure it's just a dent." Michel grinned.
"I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE CAR! YOU MIGHT'VE KILLED HIM!" Kerry cried as she kicked the door open.
"Leon!" Kerry ran to the fallen man's side. "Oh Leon. Please be okay!" She looked at the bloody scrapes all over his body.
"Relax Kerry." Michel walked up behind her. "He'll be fine…unfortunately."
"You shut up!" Kerry snapped at him. She gasped when Leon's eyes opened.
The werewolf slowly staggered up. When Kerry tried to assist him, he held up a hand to stop her.
"Babe you alright?" Leon asked when he finally stood upright.
"How can you ask me that when you're the one who should be hurting?!" Kerry asked. She was extremely relieved that he seemed to be alright.
"She's right. You did get pretty fucked up." Michel sneered. "Should I call an ambulance in?"
"I'll tear your throat out you filthy bloodsucker." Leon barked viciously.
"I can't deny being a bloodsucker. But filthy? Me? No. I leave that to the stray dogs." Michel grinned.
"Say that to my face you bastard." Leon warned. "I'll whoop you even while I'm down."
"I strongly doubt that." Michel shoved his hands in his pockets. "If you don't mind, Kerry and I need to get going now but it was nice of you to drop by." Michel's emphasis on the word made Leon growl.
"You're not taking Kerry anywhere!" Leon placed an arm in front of Kerry.
"Oh yeah? Who's gonna stop me?" Michel took a step forward.
"You're lookin' right at him." Leon advanced forward as well. "I'm here to protect her from freaks like you!"
"Freaks?!" Michel genuinely laughed, "That's funny coming from someone who turns into a sack of fur!"
"At least I can go out during the day without worrying about bursting into flames!"
"Ah yes, but it must be uncomfortable when your bones snap in half every time you see a little moonlight. Do you cough up hairballs too or is that just a cat thing?" By this time, the two bickering men were nose to nose with each other.
"STOP IT! BOTH OF YOU!" Kerry shoved herself between the two. She held them apart with her hands. "I've seen children with higher maturity levels! GROW UP!"
"But he-" Leon tried to blame Michel but Kerry stopped him.
"DON'T even!" Kerry snapped. They were being childish and equally provoked each other. Although...Michel did go overboard with that trick he pulled in the car.
Michel merely shrugged and placed an arm around her waist. "We're late as it is. Let's go."
"I'm not letting you take her." Leon warned. "If you wanna leave by yourself then fine, I'll let you run off this time. But she stays."
Michel cracked his knuckles ready for a fight while Leon stretched his neck side-to-side. Kerry knew she had to do something quick before the situation escalated to something serious.
"Leon…" Kerry said softly as she laid a hand on his shoulder, "He's not forcing me to go...I'm leaving with him willingly." She felt a sharp pang in her chest when she saw the look he gave her. Was it hurt? Betrayal? Maybe even shock.
"I'll be safe, don't worry about me." She gently touched his cheek and turned away to get back into the car. Michel stared indifferently at the stunned wolf as he turned to get into the driver's seat. Before he could close the door shut, Leon's hand stopped it.
"At least tell me where you're going?" His eyes pleaded with Kerry. Michel growled at the lycan's audacity, he was beginning to become more than a pain in the ass.
"I don't know either..." Kerry responded pitifully. She turned to the man next to her. "Michel...I'm not going any further with you until you tell me." She said sternly.
Michel rolled his eyes feeling extremely irritated about the whole situation. It took everything in him to not kill the fool next to him, and then gag Kerry and throw her in the trunk. That sounded like a wonderful plan...but if he did that, she would hate him, and he couldn't let that happen for various reasons.
"Paris." He said flatly with a perfect accent.
"Where the fuck is Perry?" Leon frowned.
"You're such an idiot." Michel drove off without closing the door, leaving an open-mouthed werewolf behind.
"You're taking me to Paris?!" Kerry's eyes widened in disbelief as Michel shut his door. "You're kidding me!"
"Why? Would you rather go somewhere else?" Michel stared at her.
"No! No!" Kerry laughed, "I just…I can't believe I'm going to Paris!"
"Well I'm glad you're excited." He flashed her a heart-stopping grin. "Although I was hoping to surprise you."
"Why are we going there?" She asked excitedly.
Michel shook his head in wonder.
"Bottomless pit I tell ya." He winked.
"Sorry!" Kerry blurted. "I'll stop I promise!"
Kerry couldn't believe she was going to Paris! She had always wanted to go to Europe, especially France. There were so many hostels they could stay at for a decent price and they could cheaply hire a native for a private tour. She would finally be able to see the Eiffel Tower and all the other places she dreamed of visitng.
"You're awfully quiet now." Michel mused.
"Huh? Oh! I'm just in a really good mood." Kerry grinned. "And I can't stop thinking about how amazing it's going to be."
"Seeing how happy and silent you are now, I wish I told you earlier." Michel teased.
Kerry laughed vibrantly. This was definitely going to be way better than any road trip.
Speaking of road trips...Kerry had no idea how she was going to be able to contact her dad. International phone calls would rack up the bill in no time.
"What now?" Michel asked.
"I don't know how I'm going to call my dad every night and morning? He's going to notice I'm in a different country when he sees the phone bill! Ugh…that was one of his conditions!" Kerry panicked.
"We'll figure something out. Go back to sleep. I'll wake you up when we're at the airport." Michel reached over and squeezed her hand reassuringly.
Kerry couldn't help trust him. She was feeling sleepy again but she didn't know if it was herself or Michel's doing. Regardless, driving in the car with him reminded her of the times they shared three years ago. Except it was better now because her family was safely at home and there wasn't a corpse lying in the back seat.
Please Review! Much love to AiDeeKay, and the readers who have been keeping up with my fic. =) Especially Restless Dreaming Spirit, MythStar Black Dragon, and Angelkrow666. You guys rock!