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I don’t know if Jessie had stayed the night at our house last night but when I went down the stairs the next morning tired and crabby from lack of sleep no one was there.

Grabbing myself nothing other than a coffee I sat down at the kitchen bench and drank it while thinking about having to face Sophia at school knowing that I threw away the guy every single girl there wanted. Without a doubt she would kill me for being so stupid but she didn’t understand the passion I had for my racing or the sacrifices I would make to keep it.

Giving a sad sigh I looked down into my coffee “Heath can we talk?” I swung around nearly falling of my stool to find Jessie standing in the doorway of the kitchen looking unsure of himself.

Taking a deep breath and telling myself that hurting him was the only way to keep my racing career and stop him from breaking my heart I hardened myself against him “we have nothing to talk about.”

He moved into the room keeping his eyes fixed on me making my resolve to keep him at an arm’s length waver “how can you say that baby when yesterday morning you seemed just fine with being in a relationship with me then in a matter of hours you were right here telling your dad that you choose your racing career over me, what did I do wrong?”

Dropping my head I shook my head “nothing, you did nothing wrong but Jess I cannot concentrate on racing when I am worrying about what is happening to you and where you are.”

He caught my wobbling chin and gently lifted it until I was looking into his eyes “I would never ask you to worry about me, I can handle my own problems Heath and I would never ask you to be thinking about me when you’re out on the track racing your car at such dangerous speeds, all I ask is that you give me the chance to prove that you can have both a racing career and a relationship with me.”

His eyes stared into mine holding such pleading in them that I felt myself actually giving in and trying to have both but then the memory of yesterday on the race track surfaced and I pushed him back saying harshly “no, I am a race car driver that is all I have ever wanted to be and you being in my life is ruining that.”

My heart dropped to my toes as such hurt registered in his eyes before he turned away heading for the door “I will give you what you want and stay away I am sorry that knowing me has hurt your career so much.”

As he left tears slipped down my cheeks and emptiness filled my chest and I found myself moving to go after him until the memory of yesterday again surfaced stopping me and making me sit back down and finish my coffee.

Thankfully Sophia didn’t hear anything about Jessie and I so wasn’t waiting to smack me around the head when I finally got to school but she was waiting at my locker with news that had me feeling even more low then I already felt.

Apparently since I refused a relationship with him Jessie had gone back to hooking up with the skanks of our school, this time it was a girl called Gabriella, she wasn’t as mean as Samantha but she came close.

After telling me about Jessie’s latest Sophia changed topics without even realizing the hurt she had caused me “anyway have you heard about the illegal street racing that is apparently taking place?”

Trying to shake Jessie from my head and catch up to what she talking about I shook my head giving her a confused look “illegal what?” She sighed saying it again a little slower “illegal street racing had you heard about it going on here in this town?”

Pulling my books from my locker I shrugged “so guys are racing street cars so what?” She groaned sounding disappointed “so what, Heath they are racing illegally upsetting the local law enforcement and that’s not all apparently cars are being used as bets so more and more really nice cars are being stolen from around surrounding areas.”

Slamming my locker shut I lent my head against it while cutting her a sideways glance “seriously it’s that bad?” She nodded her eyes a light with the enjoyment of telling me something that I didn’t already know “yes, anyway I thought you might have heard about being in the racing business yourself but since you haven’t just be careful to lock up your cars of a night because I think these guys would love to get their hands on cars like yours.”

My eyes went steely at the thought of someone daring to take my beloved race car “no one better try taking my baby unless they never want to walk again.”

Sophia gave a nervous laugh and patted my shoulder “relax there tiger obviously I wasn’t thinking of your beloved race car I was thinking of the one that you have hidden behind that under a big sheet.”

My eyes went wide with horror “no way no one other then you and my family know about me owning that.”

Sophia gave a shrug “well then I guess you don’t have much to worry about but to be on the safe side just make sure the shed is locked up of a night” I nodded “We always do but I will give dad and the guys the heads up when we get home.”

Sophia glanced down the hallway her eyes eating someone up “why don’t you go tell that brother of yours right now, I will even come with you.”

Turning my head I followed her eyes down the hallway to where my brother stood with his arm around some brunette while talking to Jessie and another girl “why would I want to tell Dean anything?”

Sophia took a moment to respond while she continued to watch my brother and his friends and when she did it was almost like she wasn’t even paying attention to our conversation anymore “he owns cars.”

Grabbing her arm I swung her away from ogling my brother and pulled her towards our class room “yeah well if they get stolen it would serve himself right since he doesn’t care about anything or anyone other than himself.” “Huh?”

Obviously Sophia was of in her own little world, I shook my head “never mind” I pulled her into the class room and over to our seats forcing her in hers.

  She was staring of into space thinking about something that made her look sad and I hated seeing my best friend sad “Sop when are you going to tell my brother that you like him?”

Sophia jumped making me laugh “what, I do not” she growled. I raised an eyebrow at her “oh please; it has been obvious to me for a while now that you want my brother, so why haven’t you said anything to him.”

Sophia stared at me in disbelief then looked herself up and down like it should be obvious to me “look at me Heath do I look like one of the normal girls your brother chases?” I shook my head a soft smile lifting my mouth “no because you look way better then them.”

  Sophia started to laugh and gave me a look that told me she thought I was crazy but never got the chance to say anything else as other students started to file into the room followed closely by our teacher.

At lunch time while I was picking at my lunch Sophia was listening in on some nearby tables her eyes growing wide from whatever she heard, she reached across the table smacking my hand making me drop my half eaten salad sandwich “really Sop was that necessary?”

She nudged her chin in the direction of one of the tables she had been eavesdropping on “they were talking about the illegal street racing and apparently there is one on tonight.”

Glancing over at the table I noticed it was a table of jocks “so?” Sophia sighed “so, let’s go check it out.”

Leaning forwards I shook my head “that is a bad idea, we don’t want to be caught up in anything like that and besides which we don’t even know where it is.”

Sophia ignored me going back to listening into the jocks while I went back to eating my sandwich but a slowly forming smile forming on my best friend’s lips made it taste like sand in my mouth.

She turned around and reached across the table grabbing a book and pen I had sitting near my elbow, she quickly write some down and tore the page out folding it up and shoving it into her pocket.

Snatching my book away from her I gave her an angry look “what did you do that for?” She gave me a huge grin “simple I needed to write something down and by the way we are going out tonight.”

Throwing my sandwich down I shook my head giving her a stern look “no we are not; we are not having anything to do with something illegal.”

Sophia reached across the table patting my arm gently “calm yourself there tiger we are not going to get to close but I want to see what this street racing is like and you can’t tell me that you’re not curious.”

Looking at her thoughtfully I finally relented “fine we will go check it out but we are staying back and at the first sign of cops we are getting out of there.”

She held her hand out to me “deal, now shake on it” I shook her hand wondering if she was going to make me regret to doing something so foolish.

We had arranged for me to pick her up at 11.00 at night which meant that I had to not only climb out my window but also get to my truck and start it without anyone catching me.

It turned out to be easier then I thought except for the part where I nearly fell out of the tree then I dropped the keys when I finally reached the truck but finally I got on the road and headed for Sophia’s.

Sophia was clearly excited to being doing something bad even if we weren’t actually competing in the illegal racing.

She bounced around in her seat while I drove us to where she claimed the racing was going to take place, I found a spot well away from the street that she had written down then turned to look at her sternly “alright we have to walk from here but Sop I am warning you at the first sign of trouble I am out of here and if you aren’t right beside me when then I am leaving without you.”

She nodded then pushed her door open and jumped down “yeah, yeah I know you are little miss goody two shoes Hun so I promise to do anything that will put your racing career in danger, now come on before it starts.”

Hurrying to follow her we stuck close to the shadows as we made our way a block over to where the racing was going to take place, as we drew closer we could hear shouting and laughing that told us that we were in the right place.

As we got closer the smell of gasoline filled the air and felt a rush of adrenaline rush through me as cars came to live revving their engines.

Sophia grabbed my hand and we started to run so we wouldn’t miss the cars take off from the start line.

Sophia started shoving through a surprising amount of teenagers cheering as the race began; I craned my neck trying to see what kind of cars they were using.

Finally we made it to the front where we had the perfect view of the makeshift start line; Sophia clutched my hand tightly as we watched to guys in helmets behind the wheels of two mustang’s gun the engines waiting for a tall leggy blonde to drop a red flag that would signal the start of the race.

She glanced towards the crowed with a smile on her painted red lips then she slowly uncurled her fingers from around the flag and we watched as it fluttered towards the ground. As soon as it hit the two guys in the cars took off with a squeal of their tyres.

Not knowing how long their race track was we didn’t know where the finish line was but apparently it was from where they started since after doing what was obvious a block the two cars came tearing around the corner near us heading for the line.

The guy in the black mustang had the lead but not by much and it looked like the guy in the red one was doing his best to make up ground.

Just when it looked like the race was over and the black car had won the guy in the red mustang gave it a little more gas and shot forwards taking the finish line first.

Sophia jumped up and down along with the rest of the crowed yelling and cheering while I stood there just watching with interest as the two drivers stepped from their cars and shook hands before the guy in the back car gave the other racer a slip of paper.

Remembering what Sophia had said about them betting cars it was pretty obvious what I was witnessing, red had just one himself another car.

A male voice broke the silence talking through a PA “alright folks let’s get these cars of the track and bring on the next set of racers.”

  Both mustangs were moved off the road then two Ferrari’s took their places at the start line.

Sophia lent into my ear “now these cars I like” I shook my head “nah they aren’t that great, I mean they make good race cars I guess but I’ve seen better.”

Sophia shook her head and sighed “yeah well we aren’t all race car drivers that can afford to buy the sort of car you have sitting in your shed.”

Sophia nudged me “how about we walk around and see what other cars they have racing tonight?” I allowed her to pull me with her as she made her way through the crowed and towards where I see them take the mustangs while keeping my eyes on the two cars on the race track.

Sophia gave a delighted cry making me look around trying to see what she had, she grabbed my chin and turned my head and when she did my jaw dropped.

Damn now that was a nice car “wow okay now I have seen the best car” I admitted while moving towards it.

A guy leaning against the bonnet watched us approach with a smile of appreciation lifting his lips, I eyed him feeling like something about him was familiar but couldn’t quit put my finger on what that was.

Sophia who was also eyeing him interest suddenly stopped walking her eyes growing wide as she whispered to me “that guy looks like an older version of Jessie.”

Checking him over head to toe I realized that is exactly what had me thinking he looked familiar, he was an older colder version of Jessie, I was looking at none other than Hank.

Feeling sick as I eyed the guy that could so coldly hurt his own brother I tried to think of a way to leave without giving too much away to Sophia “Sop I think we should leave.”

  Sophia while never taking her eyes of Hank frowned “why?” I thought fast then lied through my teeth to my best friend “because I can hear sirens.”

  Sophia’s eyes went wide with fright then she pulled them away from Jessie’s brother and grabbed my hand hurrying me back the way we had come, I felt bad for lying to her but there was no way I wanted to be anywhere near Hank nor did I want Sophia placing why he looked so much like Jessie.

When we were far enough away I tugged Sophia to a stop and gave her a look of apology “sorry Sop I think I might have been hearing things.”

Sophia still looking anxious threw a few anxious looks around before looking at me biting her lip “um maybe we should just leave anyway.”

Nodding I started to follow her until my eyes went to the race track just as the cars came to a stop the white Ferrari clearly the winner but it wasn’t until the two drivers jumped from those cars pulling of their helmets did I see red.

Storming past the watching crowed I stormed onto the race track planting myself in front of the races.

Dean was the first one to notice me, his eyes went wide with shock and horror at being caught “H, Heath what are you doing here?” I pulled my fist back and let it fly without stopping to even think about what I was doing all I knew was, my brother was here racing illegally putting everything my father and myself worked so hard for in jeopardy.

Jessie who had just taken the slip from Dean when I stormed over was standing there with an unreadable expression on his face that didn’t change even when I turned my anger on him “you, you did this, you brought him here and let him race.”

Jessie didn’t bother to try and deny it he just stood there staring down at me without uttering a word “I hate you” I screamed before turning away from them both but Dean pleading stopped me in my tracks “Heath, please don’t tell dad.”

Giving a cold laugh I shook my head then kept walking with Dean yelling behind me “Heath please.”

Sophia who had watched the whole thing wrapped her arm around me when I got back to her side and started dragging me back through the wide eyed crowed and back towards where we had parked just as the sound of sirens filled the air.










Submitted: September 01, 2012

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