This has been sitting on my desktop gathering dust. I finished this morning and thought I'd post it :) Let me know what you think!
Do not own, make no money.
The house fell quiet well after midnight, and Jack was finally starting to drift off into a world of dreams with choppy pictures of bright lights and the droning of a loud bass rumbling through floors and walls surrounding him, his own guitar hitting cords of a fast paced melody his brain had been mulling over for several nights. Just a few more dreams like this and he'd be ready to put the notes down on paper. So close….
"Hey, get your ass up." The voice fell into rhythm with the fans screaming and cheering to his lyrics. His mind envisioned heads banging to the beat of his song, the mix of voices screaming and cheering melding together.
"Come on princess, we need to get moving, you'll have plenty of time to get your beauty sleep later." That voice threw off his minds beat, causing him to miss a chord and throwing his brain into a tailspin. The giant banner with his name scrawled across it seemed to morph and turn into a giant moth, flying away with the letters falling off its wings as it drifted up into the pitch black his mind had created.
"Jack, do you want to learn how to drive or not?" Hands grabbed at him and before his mind could completely lose hold of his dream he was standing on his feet wearing only his long johns.
"What?" Jack's eyes barely cracked open and he looked around in the dark, trying to figure out where he was.
"I told you I would take you out in the car, remember?" Bobby was standing in front of him fully dressed and wearing his leather jacket.
"You never came home." Sixteen year old Jack rubbed at the sleep stinging his eyes while a little resentment escaped him. He was pissed, kind of, because his oldest brother had promised a driving lesson but hadn't gotten home in time. Bobby was due to leave in two days, to go back on the road with the team, and though he had promised to give Jack some driving lessons when he first arrived home almost a week before, he still hadn't made any time for it.
"I'm home now. Come on, get your clothes on and let's get moving." Bobby grinned wide. "I'll wait downstairs." He turned to walk out of the room.
"Bobby, it's after midnight. Mom is not going to let me go out now." Jack shook his head and turned to crawl back into his bed and make some attempt at rediscovering his dream.
Bobby caught the teen's movement and turned back to grab hold of him. "Come on, Ma's in bed, she ain't never gonna know."
"Mom said I can't drive on the street until I have my permit, and I can't drive after dark." Jack muttered, the sleep still trying to reclaim him.
"Show some balls here Jack, damn. Ma never said you couldn't go with me after dark, right?" Bobby pulled on Jack's arm, guiding him to a pile of clothes stacked up on the chair in the corner. "You got clean clothes here? Put some on." He let go of him and walked back towards the door. "Be downstairs in five minutes."
Jack rubbed at his eyes again before dressing in whatever clothes he could grab. He didn't bother with tracking down socks; he just slid his still tied gym shoes onto his feet and stumbled out the door. He found Bobby standing next to the back door and followed him obediently outside, into the night air. It was early May, and the temperature was pleasant, for a change. Detroit winters were brutal and summers were blistering, but they were still hanging onto the spring weather, that in-between point when a person liked to be out in the air, especially at night. Maybe that was why Jack's brothers all seemed to prefer the night.
Bobby held up his keys as they walked towards the old Cutlass parked in the drive. "You ready for a real car and not that match box thing Ma drives?" He grinned and stretched his arm out so that the keys were within Jack's reach.
Jack took the keys and sighed. "Are you sure Mom's not gonna mind? I mean, she told me…" He didn't like to go against Evelyn Mercer. He didn't worry about making her angry, but he hated the idea of disappointing her.
"Jack, you gotta learn to trust your brothers. Would I take you out if Ma would mind? What's the worst that could happen? You're gonna be with me." Bobby looked insulted by Jack's doubt.
The teen got in behind the driver's seat, and the rush of being behind the wheel of Bobby's car drowned out any worry that he'd been feeling about upsetting his mother. Hell, he was with Bobby after all.
Jack put the key in the ignition and turned it, giving the car just enough gas to get it to start, or so he thought. The engine came to life with a sudden roar, much louder than he'd expected and his reaction was reflexive with his foot pressing hard on the pedal underneath it. A loud 'boom' seemed to explode from the back end of the car before the engine died with a sputter. He felt panic hit his gut. Hell, he'd started his mother's car before, but it was a newer model and you didn't need to give it any gas the way he'd seen Bobby do with the Cutlass. He wasn't used to giving the car gas before turning the key, so it was new to him.
"Shit Jack, what the hell you trying to do, blow us up?" Bobby cried out. "Be careful with my baby, she's delicate. Just tap on the gas for God's sake." The scowl that crossed the man's face was aimed at Jack while Bobby reached out with his right hand gave the dash board a gentle pat.
Jack could feel his jaw tighten and his stomach rolled slightly with a little apprehension. His doubts about this being such a good idea were quickly growing. Hell, it wasn't like he'd wanted to go out in the middle of the night for a driving lesson in the first place, and it was tempting to hand the keys back to Bobby and get out of the car. But this was his chance to drive on the street. This was his chance to learn how to drive from Bobby, and he'd been looking forward to it; hell, he'd been waiting all week for this. Of course he hadn't expected his chance to come in the middle of the night.
His mother had tried, she really had, but he didn't have his permit yet, so the only place she would let him get behind the wheel was in the parking lot of the school on weekends and he wasn't learning shit. He did fine, and it wasn't as if he had any doubts about driving, he was sure he could handle it, no problem. Now he'd screwed with the simplest part of driving, starting the car; and his nerves were going to start showing. Hell, it wasn't as easy sitting next to Bobby as he'd thought it would be. Bobby could be a little impatient, but he was used to that, so he wasn't sure why this suddenly felt awkward.
"Well don't just sit there, try it again, let's see if you can get the engine running at least." Bobby let out a quiet laugh and looked amused.
Jack drew in a deep breath and allowed his foot to play with the gas pedal the way he'd seen Bobby do, and it felt right, so he turned the key. For a second time the engine roared to life, but this time he remembered to ease his foot off the gas instead of pushing the pedal to the floor. The motor idled steadily, and the teen smiled to his self at the tiny accomplishment he'd managed under Bobby's watchful eye. He felt his fingers tighten around the steering wheel at the realization that now he would actually have to do something more to get the car in motion. He could feel Bobby's gaze on him, and felt the muscles in his neck tense up so in an effort to avoid turning towards his older brother.
Maybe it would have been a better idea to let Jerry show him some of the basics before jumping right in under Bobby's radar. He wondered it was too late to end this now. He could tell Bobby he was really too tired to try to be driving. He could tell him he didn't think it was such a good idea to go against his mother's wishes, though most of the time it didn't bother him unless he was caught doing something she didn't approve of. Of course it wasn't so much that he was worried about what she would do, he just hated to see that disappointed look in her eyes, that look was enough to make him regret making wrong choices.
"You know, maybe we should wait and do this later. If you don't have time to take me out somewhere to drive then I can ask Jerry to show me." Jack finally found his voice, but he still didn't look over at Bobby.
"What? Hell no. You ain't gonna learn to drive like Jeremiah. He's the worst driver I ever seen. You wanted to learn to drive so Ma would feel better about letting you go for your permit, well, I'm the one to teach you. I'll teach you the good shit, and trust me; night time is the best time to learn the good shit." Bobby sounded confident. "Now let's go."
Jack couldn't keep his fingers from tightening harder around the wheel, his knuckles aching from the tension being applied to them. He was sure his knuckles were turning white, but he couldn't really tell in the dark, and the only good part of that was that his brother couldn't see his tension either. He wished he had a newer car, and was about to voice his apprehension about the safety of the used hunk of metal Bobby had purchased a few months before.
"Christ, you look like you've never been behind the wheel of a car before." Bobby spoke from the passenger's side of the seat. "Put the bitch in reverse and pull out, come on."
The irritated urgency in Bobby's voice seemed to snap Jack's nerves and he reached for the gearshift off the column of the steering wheel, pushed it into what he thought was reverse and hit the gas harder than he meant to. Damn he wasn't used to the feel of that gas pedal.
"What the fuck! Hit the brake!" Bobby yelled out at the car took a hard lurch forward.
Jack hit the brake and the car slammed to an instant stop, just inches from the closed garage door, rocking both man and teenager forward in their seats.
"What are you trying to do? You want to give me whiplash and put me on the fucking bench for the rest of the season?" Bobby cried out, his arms stretched out, bracing himself on the dashboard. "Fuck Jack, get your head out of your ass and put the thing in reverse!" He quickly pulled on his seatbelt and fastened it, not an action that eased Jack's nerves in the least.
Jack drew in a deep breath and looked at the gearshift hard, figuring out what position to move it to. "Sorry." He muttered as he moved the stick. He eased his foot off the brake and the car inched slowly backwards.
"Gas Jack, you gotta let it have a little to get it to move." Bobby sounded a little more irritated.
"Would you stop yelling at me? I'm trying." Jack turned his head to look between the seats behind him, just like he'd seen every other driver in the world do.
"You know, you got mirrors. You need to learn to use them. You have blind spots when you try to turn your whole body like that." Bobby spoke quickly. "Turn around and use the damn mirrors."
Jack turned back in his seat and tried to follow Bobby's instructions. It was awkward trying to steer the car backwards while looking in the reflection just outside his window. He could feel the car swerving in the opposite direction that he intended while he gave it some gas. He tried to straighten it out, but Bobby barked out orders that wore on him a little more. "Christ Jack, the other way, if you want to turn left, then turn the wheel left, it ain't rocket science you know, it's pretty basic."
Jack held his breath, but his heart rate was picking up. He twisted the car hard to the left to try to straighten it out, but again his foot pushed too far on the gas pedal. The hard twist over compensated and he could feel the left rear wheel hit the curb before bouncing down to the street. Something on the underside of the car scraped against the concrete curb while the car was hurtled onto the street. He hit the brakes too hard and they jerked to another instant stop, this time the backwards motion rocked them back into their seats.
Jack could feel Bobby's eyes on him but didn't have to look to know what kind of expression had creased his features. Thankfully the man didn't say anything about the rocky ride the teen had provided so far. He knew he should move the car right back into the drive way and say to hell with the whole driving lesson. He knew that for his own sanity it would be better for Bobby to be a little irritated with him now than to be royally pissed at him if should really screw up and wreck his car. He knew that it was the only way to truly avoid his mother finding out that he'd driven on the street with Bobby in the middle of the night. He knew all of this, and still he shifted to drive and gave the car some gas, aiming up straight ahead, up the street. Driving in a straight line, now that was something he could do with little problem. His foot seemed to be adjusting to the feel of the gas pedal, and his hands were feeling a little more comfortable with the steering wheel.
The stop sign was coming up, and he eased off the gas. "Turn right here." Bobby instructed.
Jack gave the brakes some pressure and they grabbed harder than he expected. He let off the pedal, and tried to apply pressure again, the action got nothing more than a hard jerking motion from the car. Shit.
"Hit the brakes Jack, come on, you gotta stop when you see that red sign." Bobby cried out sarcastically.
In the confusion his brain generated Jack's foot hit the gas by mistake and the car whizzed on through the intersection.
"Damn, you know the difference between the brakes and the gas, don't you fairy? You gotta push down on the brakes to make the car stop, and the gas to make the car go." Bobby said more, but his words were drowned out by the pulse Jack could hear swishing in his ears. The flashing red and blue lights he could see in the distance through the rear view mirror didn't serve him well either.
"Bobby," He tried to interject with the rambling criticism falling from Bobby's lips, but the man kept talking. "Bobby," He tried again.
"You need to pay attention and know what the hell is going on around you." Bobby was saying.
"Bobby," Jack looked at the rearview mirror as the lights were getting closer, but they were still a ways back. He could see it now, he was going to be hauled back to his front door, his mom was going to be pulled from a peaceful sleep by hard banging on the door and would he would have to explain to her how he could be stupid enough to let Bobby talk him into such a stupid stunt.
Bobby was still using a loud voice to rattle off all of the things Jack was doing wrong, ignoring the teen's attempt to get his attention. "This ain't a toy, okay? This is a car and it's a responsibility. You gotta take it seriously Jack. I've put my baby in your hands and you're treating her like shit."
"Damn it Bobby, shut up." Jack cried out.
"What Jack?" Bobby interrupted his tirade and looked at him.
"Look behind us." Jack glanced over at Bobby.
Bobby turned in his seat. "Shit." He muttered. "Okay, turn here." He pointed to the next street coming up. "Go right."
Jack flipped on his turn signal and started to apply pressure to the brakes.
"Don't signal Jack!" Bobby reached out and smacked the boy in the back of the head. "Shit, what's the matter with you; you're trying to get away from him!" He let out a huff. "Okay, turn left."
Jack flipped the turn signal off and started to hit the brakes, but his foot slid onto the gas pedal again just as he twisted the wheel to the left.
"Shit!" Bobby yelled out. "Okay, don't stop; give it gas Jackie just punch it."
Jack found that instruction easy enough to follow. He pushed down on the gas and steered straight. He glanced down to check his speed and was amazed when he seen the needle pushing towards fifty miles an hour.
"Turn off your lights Jack." Bobby yelled out while looking behind him to see if the cop was following them.
Jack thought for a half second; lights, knob on the left, push in. He followed his own mental direction and the lights went out. The street was dark and it threw him for a second. He started to hit the brakes, but as soon as he pulled his foot off the gas Bobby spoke up. "Don't use your brakes, he'll see the lights."
Jack felt his nerves binding on him, but his eyes were adjusting to the dark, a little. He glanced at the mirror in time to see the cruiser turning onto the same street, following them. It seemed they were just out of reach of the headlights closing in on them.
"Right turn Jack, in this alley." Bobby yelled out.
Jack peeled his eyes away from the view behind him and twisted the wheel, remembering not to hit the brakes. He struggled with the steering wheel, but his fear of driving had been over ridden by his fear of being busted behind the wheel without a permit. He let his instincts take over and managed to maneuver into the tight space between with minimal sway to the back end. Bobby looked at him. "Shit, not bad kid, not bad at all."
Jack looked in the mirror just in time to see the cruiser fly by the alley on the street. He sighed as he hit the brakes and brought the car to hard halt, the tires screeching the final ten feet. He sat back in his seat and sucked in a deep breath, trying to calm down. His stomach suddenly felt as if it were filled with bees. He swallowed hard and looked at Bobby.
Bobby had been watching behind them as well. "Not too bad Jackie O'. You didn't put one single scratch on my car." He turned to look at Jack. "You ain't gonna projectile vomit on me now, are you?" He asked. "If you gotta puke you get your ass out of my car."
"I ain't gonna puke." Jack muttered and drew in a deep breath. "Can we go home now?"
Bobby shook his head. "Kid, you just managed to out drive a cop and you want to quit now?"
Jack moaned and put the car in drive. "Yep," he answered.
Bobby grinned. "Okay you little fairy, let's go home."
The drive back to the house was uneventful. Jack had mastered the unfamiliar way the car handled and learned to adjust how he steered and applied the brakes and gas. When he pulled into the drive he did so with a smooth motion. He stopped the car with no jerking or jarring before he put it in park. He turned off the engine and handed Bobby the keys. "Here you go." He was thankful to be home, though he was sure he wouldn't be able to get back to sleep, or back into the dream he'd been having.
Bobby took the keys and nodded his head. "You want to drive a little more tomorrow night?" He offered. "It's my last night in town, you and me can do some shit together."
Jack smiled. "That would be great." He was sure it was something he would regret, but what the hell, he'd be with Bobby, what was the worst that could happen?