"Hey." I prod. Crimeny, I hate driving so late at night. This street is too dim, and I can barely see the house numbers. "Hey, wake up."
I take a hand off the steering wheel for a moment and nudge my driving companion in the shoulder. My first instinct was to go for the knee, because that's one of my favorite spots on him, but it'd be too intimate. It's been just over a month, and I'm not ready for that yet, even if he is asleep.
"Wake up, Footballhead." I say again, pushing against him so forcefully that I momentarily swerve on the road.
Arnold lifts his head from his chest and murmurs something I can't hear. Having to drive a slightly inebriated Arnold home from a late night cookout would have been one of my ultimate dreams, once upon a time, but right now, it's just a burden and an exhausting task.
"What's the house number, moron?" I ask.
"Defense Highway…" he says, as if it's his own address, and not the home of some random friend who agreed to put him up while he was in town.
"I'm already on Defense Highway, stupid. What's the house number?"
"1278." How did I get roped into this job? Oh yeah; I was the only one over Rhonda's house that decided not to drink. My first reaction was to hit the bottle of vodka as soon as I saw that Arnold was there, but given my family's history with alcohol I resigned myself to orange soda for the entire night. Stupid moral conscience.
"Thanks." I mumble as the house descends upon us and I turn into the darkened driveway. Pulling up to the house, I notice that a few lights are still on and the music is blaring, and I wonder if Arnold will be getting any real sleep tonight. My concern quickly turns to contempt; why am I worrying about him? I asked him specifically not to visit, and he does anyway. A night of unrest will just have to serve as his comeuppance, even if it doesn't come from me.
"We're here; you can get out now." I say, not so much as turning the car off. This isn't prom. I don't need to walk him to his door.
"Thanks." he mumbles, fumbling with the air surrounding his seat belt until he finally finds the latch. "Amiss choo."
I make a face in the dark, and turn toward Arnold, trying to ignore the yellow light that hits his face from the car window to his right. "What?"
"I missed you." he said, barely loud enough to hear from the pounding of the music, only a few feet from us. "I'm sorry...about everything."
Instead of pushing him out of the car like I want to, I let my head fall back onto the headrest and let out a long, loud sigh. Arnold is still stirring, and I can only hope that his words are part of a vivid dream that has nothing to do with me. Of course, I already know that I'm wrong.
"You really need to get out of my car, Arnold." I say, dropping my shoulders. I place my hands back on the wheel to let him know (if he's even sober enough to pay attention) that I'm done talking and ready to leave.
In silence, he exit's the car, carefully closing the door behind him, and walks up to the door, without stumbling in the slightest.
On the way home, I have little trouble staying awake, despite the hour of the night. I shake my head and turn the radio up a little louder, just to keep Arnold's voice from my head. Regardless of my efforts, I can still hear him, and more importantly, the pain in his muffled voice, loud and clear.
"Bad idea, football head. Bad idea."
I really had no intention of continuing this little…saga, but I was inspired. This didn't happen the way that "Say" went down, meaning he's not here and I sure didn't drive him anywhere... (he still saying that he's coming to visit, even though I think it's a stupid idea, and a waste of money. I mean, really, there is nothing that interesting in Maryland, and even if there was, this is MY state! Stay on your own coast!) Something resembling this happened, but the drama weaved into it, is purely my own. I hope you liked it.
And, now it's time for shameless self-promotion! I've teamed up with the fantastical Arnolds Love on a story of epic proportions, called "No Competition". I write the odd numbered chapters and she writes the even. We've only just started, but I can tell you that it is going to be unlike any fan fiction you've ever read! So, from the both of us, please take a look. Thanks!