Jack hovered outside the car's open passenger door, eyeing the vehicle up and down. He didn't know much about cars, but he had seen a lot of trends come and go, and this one was definitely an older make. It even had manual roll-down windows. Was it even safe? Did everything work properly? Jamie had to push the seat all the way up just to reach the steering wheel; this was probably definitely not a good idea.
"Can you really do this?"
Jamie drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. "I have to practice. Will you get in, please?"
Jack knew he himself was reckless, but speeding sleds on ice were one thing. A thousand-ton metal deathtrap, also on ice, was a whole other thing altogether.
He licked his lips nervously. "I think you really, really should wait for your mom."
"But my test is tomorrow," Jamie replied. "She said she'd help me but she had to go and do things with a friend or something, and I really need to be ready! I just can't drive without an adult, and you're the closest thing around right now."
Jack opened his mouth incredulously to protest the logic with that (he hadn't ever actually been in a car before, he was technically only seventeen, and, oh yeah, he was invisible) but Jamie's jaw set and it turned into a standoff.
They stared at each other. Jack's knuckles turned white from tightly gripping the car door. Jamie's eyes widened until he was doing a sort of puppy-eyed expression he hadn't done since he was eight.
"...By the frickin' Moon," Jack groaned, and climbed inside.
Jamie bounced in his seat as Jack got into position. His legs were too long to fit comfortably under the dashboard, but he had no idea if the seat was adjustable, or even how to do that. Though he debated on whether or not it was safer to leave his staff outside, he eventually pulled it in, awkwardly situating it halfway in the backseat.
Jamie slid the keys into the ignition. "Put your seatbelt on."
"What's a— Oh."
Jamie said, not very reassuringly, "We're just going down the street and back. That way I can practice backing up and parking, too."
"You're stealing your mom's car."
The keys turned in the ignition and the car came alive with a coughing grumble.
Jack already felt a bit sick. "I'm telling North."
"No, you won't," Jamie grinned. Jack hated that he was right. If anything, he was going to be working overtime to get Jamie off the naughty list for this. God, he was such an enabler.
The car lurched forward. Jamie sucked in a sharp breath and Jack immediately reached for the grab handle, accidentally coating it in frost. Slowly, they crept down the ice-covered driveway, bumped lightly over the curb, and turned into the road. It wasn't so bad, Jack thought with relief, and let out a long breath. All they had to do now was get down the road, and it was a straight line. It would be fine.
It would be fine.
Jamie glanced over at him. Jack's feet were pressed against the dashboard, legs askew, and he gripped the grab handle like his life depended on it.
"Are you really scared of driving?" he asked, slightly guiltily. He hadn't wanted to frighten his friend, of course, but Jack looked far more nervous than he felt. Was his driving really that bad?
"It's a new experience, for sure," Jack answered. He was keeping his eyes fixed on the street.
"Haven't you ever ridden in a car?"
"I'm very old. Pleasewatchout."
"I'm watching! You're worse than my mom."
They passed a little too close to a parked car on the side and Jack's anxiety spiked so badly, he half-expected to see Pitch Black lounging in the back seat, basking in it. Despite this, Jamie progressed smoothly, making it to the end of the road without incident. He inched into an empty driveway, backed out of it, and turned back the way they'd come. He was doing a lot better than Jack had initially thought he would, and the winter spirit honestly felt a little bad for not trusting him. Jamie was growing up, driving cars, and who knew what else. Even if he hadn't hit his growth spurt yet, he really was racking up the life experiences. Jack examined him. Jamie was staring seriously out the windshield, carefully handling the steering wheel and maneuvering his neighborhood with utmost concentration.
He wasn't a little kid anymore. Jack got a strange nostalgic feeling, watching him.
They parked at the Bennett house. Jamie released the steering wheel and sighed heavily.
"That...wasn't so bad?" he breathed.
Jack tousled his hair. "Hey. Good job."
Jamie smiled back at him, obviously proud. "Thanks! We'd better get back inside before my mom gets...home..."
His eyes bulged at the rearview mirror. Following his line of vision, Jack saw, behind them, Mrs. Bennett standing across the street with shopping bags in hand, gaze leveled directly at the back of Jamie's head.
He'd never been so happy to be invisible.
Jack clapped a hand on Jamie's shoulder.
"Kiddo," he said, "I'll support you in a lot of things, but you're on your own with this one."