Author’s Note: Not every moment is tense and full of mystery, I guess.
“Are you planning on driving back to the city tonight?” Mackenna asked, watching Carson’s face, more bothered by her question than she cared to admit. She didn’t know why it mattered. She could still call him if he left, and he did have a day job. His business wasn’t like hers. She got a project like his and worked on it until it was done, no clock to punch, and while Carson still said he didn’t know how to pay for it, she wanted to make Phantom run again.
She felt her grandfather’s eyes on her, and she wondered if he’d ask her, if he assumed that fixing the car was her way of fixing Carson, too. She didn’t think anyone could do that. He needed his memories to do that, and he didn’t seem able to unlock them, even with their discussions on the worst case scenarios. He still couldn’t seem to face what he’d seen or done back then.
She hoped there were answers at the run, that someone might recognize Phantom, but she had no way of knowing. She’d like to get a few things first—replacing the tires was essential, making the car mobile again, even if the engine didn’t work—and if Mac could weld the other half of the hood, that would be great, too. He might even have a spare one out rusting in his scrap heap.
“I… I should, but I don’t want to. I hate the idea of facing Myers and telling him what the company decided. I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t know how to stop it, either.”
“Don’t you know how to bypass the bureaucracy? Can’t you set him on the right track?”
“It’s not the bureaucracy. At this point, it’s going to the courts, and the courts almost always rule in favor of the people my company represents, not guys like Myers. I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know how to manipulate that to help anyone.”
“Too bad you don’t have real sharks, huh?”
“Dinner,” Mac said, and she smiled, nodding to him as he headed up to the house. She turned back to Carson, putting her hands in her pockets and fidgeting.
“I have to cook.”
“So go cook.”
“Are you staying or going? You didn’t answer that yet. I need to know. It’s important. I need to know if I’m feeding you or just me and Mac. I don’t have to make as much if it’s just the two of us, so… you know… an answer would be nice.”
“I’ll stay. Maybe if we play cards with Mac, you won’t be able to cheat as much.”
She snorted. “Are you kidding? You’re the one that cheated. You kept winning and then getting all upset when I had a good round or two. Jerk.”
Carson rolled his eyes, and she grabbed him by the hand. “Come on. You can help me cook. Or you can just keep me company while I do. I don’t care. Either way is fine by me. I don’t know that I could teach you much of anything, but you said no one in your family cooked, so maybe you might learn something, break your bad habits with tv dinners or something.”
“Hey, some of them can be very nutritious,” he said. She gave him a look, and he laughed. “Okay, so what I actually do is have all my meals delivered by one of those weight loss programs. Maybe it’s not the greatest food ever, and you’re supposed to add stuff to it, but I never do. At least that way I get a balanced sort of meal versus something that is so processed that it can’t possibly be good for me or anyone, for that matter.”
“Nope. I’m one of their success stories. Just look at the website.”
Mackenna shook her head, unable to help the laughter. He was terrible sometimes. “I thought you didn’t eat that much.”
“You are such a mess.”
“I know. We both are.”