Chapter 8

The rest of the trip home was uneventful. My car, thankfully, made it all in one piece. It wasn't really that old, I mean come on, 1965 was only forty some odd years ago, but it hadn't been taken care of and was barely even a car when I got it, never mind the sports car it was supposed to be! I'd put a lot of time and love into this beauty, and was kind of worried about how she'd survive the trip.

"Wanna drive her home?" We were stopped at a road side gas station about twenty minutes away from the McGowan's house. Regina had gone into the store to use the restroom, Sean was pumping gas and I was taking the opportunity to stretch my legs since our last rest stop had been over three hours ago.

"Hmm?" I hadn't heard Sean, I'd been staring at my car and seeing how badly it need to be washed, waxed, detailed, the whole shebang. Apparently that dust cover I bought didn't do such a hot job.

"Do you want to driver her home?" He nodded towards the car. "We can unload her here, and you can drive her home if you want to. She can make it that far can't she?" He looked skeptically at the car.

I really, really wanted to drive her home, but…

"I don't know if she'll make it, I wasn't totally done messing with her when I had to move." I sighed, "Driving will just have to wait a little bit longer."

I wasn't ready to go back to the McGowan house just yet. Nothing further had happened between Sean and I on our road trip and that was probably a good thing. After all, he is twenty and I am sixteen, and I'll only be living with them for a couple of months. But still, a girl can dream.

And then there was Evan. I still wasn't sure what to expect on that front when I got home, hopefully not too much trouble. School would be starting tomorrow, and it's not even like we'll have too many classes together since he's a senior and I'm a junior. Not to mention most of my classes are AP classes and Evan has no AP classes. This I know for a fact, because Finn and I were comparing schedules before I left on the road trip and he had Evan's and Doug's schedule with him. No AP classes anywhere in sight on any of the boys schedules! It made me very happy.

Regina came out of the store as Sean was putting the gas tank cap back on so I crawled into the back seat of car and braced myself for whatever awaited me at the McGowan home.

What awaited me was Caleb coming barreling out the house screaming, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" and launching himself at Regina before she'd even had a chance to step out of the car. Sean slid into the driver's seat as soon as Regina was headed towards the house and backed the trailer into the carport that John had set up in our absence.

"Home sweet home." He turned the engine off and stared at the house. We'd been gone an entire week , and between that and everything else recently I was exhausted. I didn't even acknowledge Sean, I just grabbed my bag, crawled out of the car and, thankfully, unnoticed went up to my room and fell asleep.

The next morning I was awakened by shouts of "Get out of the bathroom man!" and "But I don't wanna!" and "Who the hell drank all the coffee?!" The latter being Sean, I'd sort of been hoping he wouldn't be up and around until after I'd left for school, but apparently I had no luck whatsoever.

I crawled out of bed, took off my pajamas and crawled into the first pair of jeans I laid my hands on. I hunted around for my most comfortable t-shirt and grabbed whatever happened to be nearby for a sweatshirt. I threw on the t-shirt and snuck out of my room and paused a moment to take in the pandemonium going on in the hallway.

Doug was pounding on the bathroom door screaming and cursing for whoever was in there (presumably Evan since Finn didn't strike me as the type to take forever on his hair) to "hurry the hell up, it's high school not a f-ing beauty pageant", which earned him a week's ground from his mother who was two doors down the hallway wrestling a squirming Caleb into school clothes, while Caleb was shouting "I don't wanna! I don't wanna go to school! You can't make me! I DON'T WANNA!" Ian and Miller were nowhere in sight and at that moment Finn came out of the room he shared with Evan confirming my suspicion that Evan was in fact the one in the bathroom. I could vaguely hear Sean grumbling as he thumped his way downstairs most likely to make another pot of coffee following the not so mysterious disappearance of the first pot. While Sean was probably blaming his brother's over the lack of coffee I had my suspicions that Regina was the real culprit, I'd need a whole pot of coffee to deal with this and not go crazy. I waited to seconds more before going downstairs.

Sean was nowhere in sight when I reached the kitchen thankfully, so I grabbed a package of poptarts and a bottle of orange juice and headed back to my room.

Once in the haven of my room, I found my iPod and put in my earbuds and cranked the music as loud as it would go in a mildly successful attempt to drown out the chaos in the rest of the house. I couldn't quite block out Doug pounding on the door of the bathroom. I ate the poptarts and drank my juice as I rooted around under my bed for my school back and made sure I had everything in it…not that there was much, just my folders, some pens and my laptop.

Just then somebody grabbed my shoulder and I jumped about a foot and a half.

"Geez!" I whirled around, "What the heck Sean!?" I glared at him.

"I did knock."

"Hmph." I turned away from him and continued looking for my wallet.

"I came to offer you a ride. I'm taking Finn and Miller in early. That way you won't have to ride the bus with Evan and Doug." I paused. I hated riding buses. I had really been dreading riding the bus to school this morning. Especially with Evan. And as much as I wasn't sure what to do about Sean (if there was anything that could be done about this whole thing), I'd rather ride in a car with him than on a bus with Evan!

"Sure. I'm just about ready, I'll be downstairs in a minute."

"Okay." He turned away and headed for the door. At least this time he had stared at me in the funny unnerving way he had been since I got here. Maybe I'd been imagining it…and he totally had not been about to kiss me while we were gone. This was a good thing….maybe. But just then he stopped in the doorway and ruined that theory. He stared at me for the longest moment, before leaving and going back downstairs. Great…just great.

The ride to school was painfully quiet. We all stared out our respective windows and the radio played some talk show I'd never heard of and didn't bother paying any attention to. I hated starting new schools. I'd tried to talk my parents into letting me homeschool myself a couple years back, but I hadn't been very successful with that argument.

Suddenly Sean pulled up in front of an ivy covered building that looked like it had been standing there since the time of the founding fathers. Finn and Miller climbed out of the car without so much as a goodbye to Sean and headed into the building. I sat for a minute longer in the backseat taking it all in. The huge building and sprawling grounds with some smaller buildings that could be seen on the edge of the property, the groups of teens everywhere, jocks slapping each other's backs and girls in super short skirts jumping up and down hugging each other, it was almost like the scene before me was straight out of a movie or something. Not a single one of those girls looked like she cared about anything other than her clothes, hair, nails, friends, gossip, and current boyfriend.

"You've got to get out at some point Meggie." I started a little at Sean's voice. I'd been so lost in my desire to be able to run away from this nightmare called high school that I'd forgotten I was still sitting in his car. "You'll be fine. And worst case scenario you can always hang with Finn and the art clique. They're pretty cool kids, pretty accepting, friendly, not too troublesome. He has them over sometimes to hang out." The last part I'm sure was in response to the questioning look on my face.

"Thanks for the ride."

"No prob."

I got out of the car and took a deep breath before heading across the lawn towards the building that had a huge "Welcome Back!" poster hanging over the intimidating double front doors.