Author’s Note: It’s a different experience altogether, driving an old car, in so many ways. Of course, the scene took a turn on me, but that’s to be expected.
“I feel like I should be somewhere else.”
“Oh?” Mackenna asked, looking across the car at Carson. Mac’s rule about the Airstream not being on the road after sunset was about to be broken, and the glare from the road made him more of a shadow than a person, at least for a moment. “You want to run away again?”
“No. I just… get what you mean about the other place and time bit. I feel like I should be wearing a suit and a fedora and preparing to take down gangsters.”
She laughed. “I almost thought you’d say something about Bonnie and Clyde, and I could have argued that they died two years before this baby was made. It’s a thirty-six, and they died in thirty-four. Of course, if I say that—”
“You show off just how much of a history geek you are?”
He grinned at her, and she rolled her eyes, fighting the urge to smile back. He got that reaction out of her far too much. She didn’t know what it was about him, and she didn’t care to find out. She didn’t think she’d like what it was. Loneliness, desperation, maybe, too much of a connection between his past and hers. She didn’t know. She didn’t want to dwell on it.
“It’s kind of interesting. You’ve let me see a whole side of history I didn’t even think about before. It’s nice. Different. It’s a past I’d rather think about—not like my own. It’s not like it was all happy or perfect, but it’s still something worth thinking about.”
She nodded. “I think that’s a part of why it appeals so much to me, too. It’s a way of looking for the good in what was, instead of always seeing the bad. These things are a part of my history, a part of my family and my legacy, and they’re the bits that are worth remembering and holding onto. Not the crap that happened, but the strength of what we are and what we’ve built and what we love…”
She smiled at him, knowing that he somehow got her, understood her in a way that most people didn’t, that most people wouldn’t. She’d kept them from doing it, and she should have kept him away, only she’d been weak and let him close.
She shook her head. “It’s nothing. I just… started thinking about where we’re going to park this car for the night. I’m assuming you don’t have a garage or your car wouldn’t be the wreck that it is. Mac would kill me if anything happened to it, and so we have to find somewhere safe to stash it.”
“Um… Right. Do you consider a parking lot safe?”
“What kind of a lot are we talking about?”
“There’s a paid parking garage about two blocks, I think it is, from my apartment. We can park there and walk back, if that’s okay with you.”
“I don’t mind walking,” she said, shrugging. She wasn’t the sort that sat around all the time—more of the opposite, needing to keep busy. “The garage should be good enough, I hope. I hate to think of what he’d do to me if I ruined his first car.”
“This was his first car? I didn’t think Mac was that old.”
“I never said he got it new.”
“Oh.” Carson looked away, out the window. Silence held for a moment as he seemed fascinated by the scenery and then he started to fidget. She tried to ignore him and focus on the last part of the drive—they were almost to the exit—but he didn’t stop.
“Uh… We didn’t discuss the other thing.”
“What other thing?”
“Sleeping arrangements,” he choked out, not looking at her. “I… only have one bed and a loveseat. It’s not a couch. It’s not big enough for that.”
“I don’t sleep much. It’s fine.”
He looked at her. “I don’t know. Shouldn’t you—”
“You have the doctor’s appointment. You can keep your bed.”
“Don’t pull any more chauvinist crap on me. I don’t need the bed just because I’m the girl. I don’t need anything from you.”
“All right. Fine.” His eyes went back to the window, and she regretted her tone, but she didn’t want to be patronized. She didn’t need the bed, and she didn’t want to try and fight to some kind of “compromise.” She would survive the night. She knew that, and so did he. They didn’t need to discuss it further. “That’s the exit, there.”