Author’s Note: So, yes, they did give us chocolates that had been made with molds of antique cars. I tried to take a picture of mine, but it didn’t work so well.
“They go all out for this, don’t they?”
Mackenna laughed, dragging Carson forward, and he knew they were about to have their picture taken under the sign proclaiming them to be on the London bridge over the river Thames. He didn’t know how they were going to get the picture because they’d left Mac behind, her dragging Carson through the town. They weren’t supposed to meet their hosts for another couple hours, and so she felt they had to kill time in town.
“They do. It’s a big thing for them, a real cornerstone of the local history and flavor now. They love having us here. Well, most of them do.”
“One year, they made us little bits of chocolate with antique cars on them. They were cute. I wonder if the local shop has any of them now,” she said, pulling him into the nearest doorway. He frowned, not sure she knew where she was going because this didn’t look much like a chocolate shop—he could see them stocking plenty of novelty chocolates to go with the rest of their wares, but he didn’t think they had their own bakery here.
“Oh, they must have special ordered these. Look at this,” Mackenna said, lifting up a miniature car model and passing it to him. “I’m going to get one. What do you think? You want one?”
He took it from her, turning it over in his hand with a frown. “Is this…”
“A reproduction? I’m sure it is. It’s not like the typical one you’d find in the toy department at at store, but they’re worth it, don’t you think?”
He studied the car, biting his lip. “There’s something about this…”
“It’s a Model T. They’re probably the easiest to find of any old time car. They’ve got their own clubs just for Model T owners, but they’re also very recognizable for the general public,” she said, but then she shook her head. “That’s not what’s bothering you, is it?”
“I think that I had one like this.”
“I… It…” Carson didn’t know, and that was the weird thing. He didn’t know what to think at the moment. He felt weird, and he needed air. He tried to walk away from her, not sure where he was going or where he’d end up, but he couldn’t seem to catch his breath. He was going to throw up in a minute, and he didn’t know how to stop himself from doing that. He didn’t need to humiliate himself now.
He made it back to the railing above the pond that called itself the Thames river and leaned over, hoping this would make it easier to breathe. He looked down at his hand and cursed when he realized that he still had the toy car in his palm.
He had to go back and pay for it.
No, he didn’t want it. He’d try and explain and return it, and if they made him pay for it anyway, he would, but he didn’t want to keep it.
“I told you I’d get you something special. What do you think of this?”
Carson took the car from his father’s hand, turning it over. He’d never seen anything like this. It didn’t look like a normal car, not like the ones he had. “Why’s it look like this? The wheel’s on the wrong side. Is it from that country where they drive on the other side of the road?”
“No, it’s not. It’s just very old. One of the oldest cars there is.”
“Liar. I don’t want this. You don’t have to buy me stuff, you know. I don’t… I don’t want anything from you.”
His father frowned, putting a hand under his chin and lifting it up. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Uncle Tim says you abandoned us. Grandpa says you’re no good. Mom keeps crying. You shouldn’t be here. Just go away. You make everyone unhappy, and I don’t want stuff from you if you’re going to hurt everyone. Just leave.”
“I know you don’t understand right now, but I went away—stayed away—for a reason. I’m back now to make things right. I’m starting with you, but I’m going to fix things. I swear. This car is just the start of it.”
Carson jerked back when his father put a hand on his face. “Don’t.”
“Son, please, give me a chance.”
“I wouldn’t give you a chance if you bought one of these for real,” Carson said, shoving the toy at him. “Nick and Larry hate you. Uncle Tim hates you. Grandpa hates you. Mom is always sad. You don’t talk to them, though. You talk to me. Only to me. You think I’m just a stupid little kid, don’t you? You’re… you’re gonna hurt me, aren’t you?”