The Night Drive

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young woman tries to save her best friend when he joins a street racing gang.

Submitted: October 26, 2008

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Submitted: October 26, 2008

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A knock on the door made young Vivian DeLonge abandon the résumé she had been working on (in attempt to get a job at the local Wal-Mart) and bolted excitedly towards the door. She knew who was there, but still her heart skipped a beat with the excitement. Calming herself, Vivian’s slender hands reached for the doorknob and turned it, grinning as she opened it to see who she had been expecting on the opposite side of the door.

"Bye, Mom!" she yelled, darting back to the kitchen table for a brief moment to grab her wallet, which she shoved into her back pocket. She rushed back to the young man with the dirty blonde hair styled into spikes with some sort of gel. She flew out the door, grabbing one of his arms and towing him along with her. He stumbled along behind, laughing at her hurried stride as she flung herself into the passenger seat and looked at him impatiently as he climbed a little slower into the driver’s seat. "Let’s go!" Vivian practically shouted the words, making him jump and fasten the seatbelt quickly, taking a moment to adjust the mirror before backing out of Vivian’s driveway and speeding off down the street."Viv, what’s the hurry?" he asked, grinning and turning towards her to take a brief look at her now-serious expression before hurriedly turning back to the road in front of him.Vivian constantly criticized Thomas’ driving skills. He held the wheel very tight and seemed to think he did an amazing job, but as he watched her eyes scrutinized his every move he often backed down and stopped bragging. But even when he didn’t boast, she would still watch every little clench or twitch carefully, sometimes keeping things to herself, sometimes complaining about his techniques. But today she was silent, and it took her a minute to respond to his question."Nothing, I just wanted to get out of the house!" she replied cheerfully, but there was something else in her eyes. That look that got in her eyes when she was thinking about him."This is about Nick, isn’t it?" Thomas muttered, not moving his eyes from the road in front of him. He made a dangerous swerve the left as the name was said, but centred himself again. Vivian didn’t answer, but instead turned her head towards the window, all excitement disappearing from her face as she watched her surroundings whiz by.With a sigh, Thomas shook his head and stared at the road ahead once more, ignoring her like she was ignoring him.*****

Thomas slid the car into a parking space fairly close to the mall. Vivian still hadn’t talked to him about whatever it was, and he, though he wouldn’t admit it, was a bit worried about her. He stepped out of the car, breathing in the fresh air and walking around to the other side to wait for her until she got out. Vivian was out as fast as she could, shoving open the door and practically smashing it into the car beside them. Before she could continue her ignoring him, Thomas grinned proudly whilst her eyes were still locked onto his.

"Guess what?" he asked, excitement obvious in his voice.

Oh, good God, what has the idiot gotten into this time? Please don’t let him tell me that he’s started up drugs or something. If that boy’s high, I’ll kick his…

Vivian’s thoughts were abruptly interrupted by Thomas, who continued talking about whatever it was that had happened. "You’ll never guess!" he cried cheerfully, and she was wrenched brutally from her own mind by the breaking of concentration.

"You’re right," she agreed, keeping her tone light and veering away from acting pessimistic that quickly. But bitter emotions cut into her and she began to come out with something a little more impertinent. "Because I’m not playing any stupid guessing games."

Thomas rolled his eyes and his smile left his face hastily. "Alright, alright. I’ll just tell you, then."

"As if I care."

"You will."

"Doubt it."

Again, the eyes rolled. "Well, you know the Night Riders, right?" he asked hesitantly.

"Of course," she replied. "Everyone knows who the Night Riders are, Thomas. I mean, they’re the biggest street racing gang in the area. If anyone doesn’t know, I’m scared for them."

"Right," he muttered nervously. "Well, I ended up talking to their leader…and…well, the gang popped up in conversation, and…" Pride rushed back into his words as the last few escaped his lips. "I joined them!"

Now, this was where the shock set in. Vivian’s jaw dropped and her eyes widened. The Night Riders…now that was a life. Doing nothing but racing up and down streets at midnight, narrowly escaping the fuzz and having fun all the time. Oh yeah, that was heaven on earth, from her perspective. But Thomas Riggerson was not exactly what Vivian would picture to be Night Rider material. Although, Vivian wasn’t really sure what Night Riders looked like, seeing as she’d never really known any…well, until now. Their leader…now that was something to make her wonder a little. To make everyone wonder, really. How had someone like Thomas found him, let alone known who he was?

"You…Thomas…you…really?!" Emotions crossed her face at the speed of light and, in the end, lingered on surprise once more.

"Uh-huh," Thomas replied proudly. "But they don’t call me Thomas anymore. He said it was too long, too much of a mouthful for a Night Rider." Vivian raised an eyebrow, but the question in her mind was quickly answered. "It’s Rig now…they thought that matched, given my superior strength and that it sounds way cooler than Thomas."

Vivian snickered. "Rig?" She became a laughing mess, leaning forward and holding her stomach, smiling and laughing with eyes squinting she was laughing so hard. "You’ve got to be kidding me. I mean, I’m not going to walk around in public calling you something like Rig while there are other people…y’know…around!" She broke into another fit of laughter before standing up, still snickering a little while looking at Thomas’ surprised look.

He folded his arms, challenging her with both his eyes and his words. "Oh yeah? You wouldn’t even be able to get into the Night Riders! I mean, why would you make fun of me when you can’t do what I’ve done yourself?" His words did make her think for a moment, but a smile reappeared on her face, a sly one at that.

"Okay," she retorted, holding out her hand and smiling pleasantly.

"Okay what?"

"Okay, as in I accept your challenge."

"Umm…what?"

Vivian sighed, shaking her head, but not moving her hand. "Lemme put it this way. I’ll bet you two hundred big ones that I can get into the Night Riders." She paused, thinking it over a little further. "Without your help. You can even try to convince them not to let me in…I mean, why wouldn’t you? For two hundred, I would understand. You just tell me where they’ll be and when, and I’ll be there." Her expression screamed confidence, and she could see Thomas was a little intimidated.

"Alright," he agreed.

And together they walked into the mall.

*****

Vivian sat on her bed, tapping her foot impatiently against the floor and staring at the cell phone laid out on the opposite side of the bed. She was waiting for Thomas to text her with the time and place, to meet the Night Riders. Nervous was the only word to describe her. Vivian had always been very interested in racing, whether it was on the street or the track. Her own car was a fairly fast one, which had been worked on by she and her ex-boyfriend, Nick. In her mind, the car was nothing short of sheer perfection, she only added to it.

I should have just challenged Thomas to a race to show him he’s not as good as he thinks! Those guys aren’t normal, I don’t want him to get hurt…I mean, this won’t be good for him. Or for me. Oh, God, I shouldn’t have gotten myself into this mess. I’m such an idiot!

Great, it’s already a mess and I haven’t even officially gotten into it.

The phone beeped at her and Vivian jumped up, grabbing it before she could even think to remember what it meant. Oh, great. It was running of batteries. Well that was just perfect. With a sigh, Vivian grabbed the charger and shoved it into the phone. She flopped down on the bed, frustration and anxiety making her do so.

It was that moment that Vivian, feeling holed up in all her awful feelings, heard the familiar ring echo around her room. She sat up and, feeling rather dizzy from having done so that fast, grabbed the phone and jabbed at the buttons until the message came up.

"Granger Road, come now." Vivian had read the words out loud, and it took a moment for them to really sink in. Granger Road? Where was that? She looked across the room the computer her mother had bought her last Christmas, and her legs simply followed her eyes as she slid into the computer chair, spinning it a little one way and then the other while waiting for the computer to load up.

Her confidence was returning already, and a grin had spread across her face. She could do this. All she had to do was use Google and find a map showing that road, and she would be fine. Vivian clicked the button to connect to the Internet and continued spinning the chair this way and that, her equivalent of pacing when she used to computer. And at last, she opened up a window and searched up ‘Granger road, Herrya, Ontario, Canada’ under maps. A couple seconds passed before a map that appeared to depict an area that, although she knew where it was (vaguely, at least), Vivian wasn’t too familiar with. She knew it was near the edge of town, past the train tracks…and after that she would have to follow the map’s instructions. Quickly printing it off and shoving it into her jeans pocket, Vivian flew out the door, this time without yelling a farewell to her mother, and leapt into the car. Her foot slammed onto the gas pedal and she sped away from her house, heading towards Granger Road.

*****

Vivian made the turn down Granger Road and felt her stomach tie itself in knots and whirl around like a tornado. Confidence was practically gone completely from her now, replaced with worry and nervousness. She saw a group of six men standing around in the middle of the road, cars all parked nearby. This had to be them. Squinting into the distance, she recognized Thomas’ BMW and knew. This was it.

Vivian pulled over beside them, surveying them through her piercing blue eyes. Scrutinizing their every move like she had scrutinized Thomas’ driving.

The one that stood out to her among the other greasy-haired men was the blonde one. Not Thomas, for this hair was blonder than his, and his cocky stance made him stand out among the others, who slouched and seemed rather unaware of the car that had pulled up beside them. Except Thomas of course, who bit his lip uncomfortably as he saw Vivian’s car pull up beside them.

"Hey," she muttered, climbing out of the car and leaning up beside it, her mood now calm and confident. "So, you fellas are the Night Riders, right?"

Judging by the raised eyebrows and looking around amongst each other, the ‘fellas’ were a little surprised. The blonde one stepped forward and smirked. "Depends," he retorted. "Are you looking to arrest the Night Riders, or seek acceptance?"

This must be the leader.

Before she could reply, he must have guessed her purpose, because he reached out with a hand and a cocky grin still on his face. "Ryan Andros. And yeah, we’re the Night Riders."

Vivian reached out with her own hand, grabbing Ryan’s and shaking it firmly. "Vivian DeLonge," she replied sharply, immediately feeling dislike for him. "And I seek acceptance." Her head raised and self-assurance was obvious in her eyes.

There was a single second, maybe two, that passed before the raucous laughter started. All of them (even Thomas) except Ryan burst into laughter, keeling over and throwing their heads back, laughter booming and echoing throughout the calm, quiet road. "She’s kidding, right?" one of them asked Ryan, slick brown hair tied into a ponytail. "I mean, girls don’t join the Night Riders!" So that was why Thomas hadn’t thought she would be able to get in…because none of them would allow girls into their gang.

But Ryan didn’t laugh, he merely smirked back at Vivian and ignored his friend. "Well, you’ll have to prove yourself, babe. We don’t just let anyone join us."

Oh, like that’ll convince me. You let Thomas join, and he can’t drive for his life. What a bunch of sexist idiots! Angry thoughts rushed through Vivian’s head, but she wasn’t one to easily back down to a challenge like this. A grin passed over her slim face, surprising the others. "Whaddya want me to do?"

"Race, of course," Ryan replied. "With me. I mean, I’m the best there is. You win, you can join us Night Riders." There was a long pause. "But if I win…let’s just say you’ll be my dog’s snack for the next little while. I mean, we can’t have someone who knows who we are running around." Her stomach tied itself in knots yet again. So it was win or die, now. Well, at least it would motivate her. Now it was two hundred dollars from Thomas and her life. She realized now as she glanced over at Ryan that she could see a gun’s handle peeking out from one of his pockets.

Vivian slid into her car, shooting a smile over at Ryan, not daring to look at Thomas. He would be torn between his loyalty to his new buddies and Vivian, who had been his best friend since first grade. She grinned to herself, remembering that fateful day playing with the dinky cars during their free time after they had been learning how to add and subtract. Now it had been, what, eleven years later? Both of them were twenty-one now…and the friendship hadn’t faded. Nor had it turned into anything else. Best friends, always and forever.

She kept her eyes on the road ahead of her and looked over to Ryan, who was grinning widely back at her. Insanity was the first word that popped into her head at the sight of that wild grin. Gulping, she turned back to the road and clenched the steering wheel in a way much like how Thomas usually did. Relax, she told herself. It’s just like the highway…only with me and him.

She heard the engine of the car beside her rev threateningly, and she focused as one of the men walked forward a little so they both could see him and screamed out, "GO!" at the top of his lungs. Vivian’s foot slammed on the gas pedal and she sped ahead. With a burst of excitement she realized that Ryan wasn’t in front of her. But the sound of another engine made her realize that he was beside her, and Vivian gulped again, leaning forward in her seat as if it would make the car go faster.

She eased into the gas a little more, and her car slid ahead even further, and again the excitement was there. The rush of adrenaline as she drove herself towards the end of the road, the dead end where she would finish. Where she could win, keep her life and get Thomas to hand over the two hundred big ones. That made her smile a little, made her grip on the wheel relax from death grip to normal grip. She closed her eyes for a brief moment (very brief, she didn’t know the road very well) because it was just that exhilarating. Just that wonderful…

But wonderful things don’t last forever. When her eyes opened she was going the same speed as she had before, but was watching Ryan speed ahead of her. With a cry of surprise she shoved her foot down further and fought harder to keep up. It was then that she saw the end of the road.

Vivian’s heart skipped a beat. Could she make it? Would she make it? She shoved her foot down even further and still was behind. And soon, Ryan’s car had stopped…and hers was still going. She couldn’t believe it. She had lost the race. Vivian had lost the bet with Thomas, but that wasn’t what she was worried about.

She was about to lose her life.

She stepped out of the car, looked behind her to see that one of the other Night Riders had brought forward a pit bull mix, which she assumed was Ryan’s dog, and grinned to Ryan himself. Or to Ryan’s car, he hadn’t stepped out yet…but then the door opened. She gulped, ready to meet her death.

Vivian looked behind her, wanting to look into Thomas’ face one last time to see his bewildered expression as he would see that she had lost…but he wasn’t there. His car was gone, he was gone…she closed her eyes. Thomas had left her here to die. A single tear began forming in her left eye, and she felt it roll down her cheek, but didn’t do anything to wipe it clear. She was in too much shock.

She saw Ryan step out fully, turning around…but it was then that it all happened, so fast she found herself confused.

A car sped up from behind her, screeching to a halt. A door opened and someone grabbed her and pulled her violently into the car, but she was too disoriented to cry out in pain, or even look to see who it was. She could hear a shot fired and heard a scream as the bullet exploded against her side of the car; she realized with horror that the scream was her own.

Vivian’s head whipped around wildly to look through wide blue eyes to see who it was who had saved her from what would have been her death. Her mouth fell open with a quiet pop.

Thomas.


© Copyright 2019 TaintedAzaelia. All rights reserved.

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