I leaned back in the soft leather seat, letting the vibration course up my legs and settle between my thighs.
Caleb stepped on the gas, then again, harder, each pump causing the sound of combustion to rocket out of the exhaust. Vroom, Vroom, Vroom!
“Fuck,” I said low. Even without moving, the force of the motor was incredible, and sitting in something so powerful made me feel small in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t have my own car and was used to riding around in my dad’s tiny Toyota. In comparison to my dad’s car, what I was sitting inside of was a monster.
“You like that?” Caleb stuck his tongue between his teeth and looked at me from the driver’s seat as he pumped his foot into the pedal a few more times.
“It’s fuckin’ crazy!” I squealed.
“My turn, bitch,” my best friend, Amanda, said through the rolled down window. She leaned her hands on the side of the door, and I couldn’t help but wonder how she got away with wearing such a low cut shirt to school. She was practically giving Caleb a peep show with all the cleavage that was showing.
I popped open the door and stood up as Amanda shimmied around me, smiling and biting on her bottom lip. She pushed a strand of her dyed, deep red hair behind her ear as she made her way into Caleb’s ride. It had been so long since Amanda hadn’t had her hair dyed some extravagant color that I couldn’t even remember what her natural color was.
Amanda shut the door, and I bent down to speak through the window. “What kind of car is this again?”
“Acura RSX turbo, baby,” Caleb said cockily as he revved his engine a couple more times. “500 horses of pure, fucking power.”
I awed at the shiny white paint job of Caleb’s toy. He had obviously modified the car dramatically with the body sitting mere centimeters off of the ground, a thick lip on the front of the car, and low wing jolting out of the back.
“That’s enough! That’s enough!” a voice called out from across the parking lot. I turned to see Mr. Watson walking towards our group of kids gathered around Caleb’s car. Mr. Watson had been my Freshmen year mathematics teacher and my Junior year Chemistry teacher. He was well-liked for not giving the students too hard of a time, but he still made an effort to enforce the High School’s rules.
I could hear Amanda make an audible sigh behind me and the sound of Caleb turning off the engine and pulling his keys out of the ignition.
Mr. Watson adjusted his glasses and he clenched onto his black, leather man purse once he was on top of us. “How many times do I have to tell you all that there’s no playing around in cars during lunch period?”
Caleb rounded his car and placed a friendly hand on Mr. Watson’s shoulder. It was a funny sight to see. Mr. Watson must have been 40 years old, but he looked so feeble in comparison to Caleb’s strong frame. I’m wasn’t sure how old Caleb was, but I’m certain he was only 17 or 18.
“C’mon Mr. Watson.” Caleb flicked his head to the side, trying to get his unkempt, emo brown hair out of his eyes. “You’re the coolest teacher at Rosemont. We’re just having a little fun.”
“Well, you can have your fun after class. But you should be spending your lunch time in the lunchroom only.” Mr. Watson looked down at his watch. “And from my calculation, you have about 2 minutes left before lunch time is over. You better get back inside.”
Amanda pulled herself out of the car and stuck her hand on her hip. “It’s our last year here, Mr. Watson. You’re never going to see us again. Is this how you want us to remember you?”
I could see Mr. Watson’s eyes wander up and down Amanda’s body. That’s the way it always was with her and guys. She had naturally huge breasts, and couple that with the constantly revealing clothes covering her slender frame—guys always seemed to have their eyes glued to her everywhere she went.
Mr. Watson cleared his throat, and his face turned a little pink as he stiffened his posture. “I’m just following campus policy. You all know that.”
Amanda rolled her eyes. “Yeah, whatever.” She walked up to Mr. Watson and gave him a gentle hug, purposely pressing her huge chest against his body. “We’ll miss you too, Mr. Watson.”
Mr. Watson’s eyes looked like they were about to bug out of his head, and it was clear that he was uncomfortable. Caleb stood to the side, visibly holding in his snickers.
Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, the annoyingly loud bell rang out.
“Okay, okay,” Mr. Watson said as he wiggled his way out of Amanda’s loose grip and clenched even tighter onto his man purse. “It’s time for class.”
Once he was free, he turned for the school’s doors, and I could see Caleb’s eyes widen as he pressed his fist against a tight, smiling mouth.
“Oh shit…” Caleb hissed.
“What?” Amanda asked.
“Look at that…” Caleb whispered, pointing in Mr. Watson’s direction.
I looked where he indicated, but didn’t see anything in particular. Just a bunch of people, all flocking back towards the classrooms. “Look at what?”
“Mr. Watson’s pants.”
I took a couple steps to the side, so I could look at Mr. Watson from an angle, and it became clear what Caleb was talking about. In the front of his pants was a tent. A very large, triangular tent, tugging firmly on the brown linen fabric.
“Amanda, you gave Mr. Watson a boner,” Caleb teased.
“Ew!!” Amanda squealed, and we all burst out laughing together.
“Good job, bitch,” I said as we started back towards school.
Caleb gave us a quick head nod and waved before running around a corner.
“Hey, you should be thanking me for keeping us out of trouble. And I can’t help that guys can’t control themselves around me.” Amanda gave a prissy shrug of her shoulder.
“It wasn’t like he was going to give us detention,” I said.
“Yeah, but... I’m protecting us from future trouble.”
“Future trouble? Really?” I asked.
“Next time Mr. Watson catches us doing something we shouldn’t, do you think he’s going to go for the principal or go for another hug?”
I looked down at her boobs bouncing erratically as we took the steps up to the main door and sighed. “Probably… a hug.”
“Exactly. And you,” Amanda slapped her hand against my collarbone, “need to get your act together. We’ll be in college next year, and you’re still dressing like you’re in middle school.”
I looked down at my plain fitted tee, washed out shorts and Sketchers. “I look fine.”
“Of course, you look fine. But you’re gorgeous, Layla. Why don’t you want anyone to see it?” We stopped right outside my Calculus class. Amanda grabbed a loose piece of my blonde hair that must have fallen out of my ponytail, nudging it back and tucking it in. “Sexy it up a little bit so you can get yourself a date for prom.”
“Oh god, not this again…”
“Stop it,” she ordered. “I want you at prom with me but I don’t want to be your date.”
I sighed. “I don’t have to go to—“
“Stop,” she snapped again and placed a finger on my lips. “You’re going to prom. And you know, I think Caleb might be interested a little.”
“Caleb?” I shook my head. “There’s no way he’s interested in me. If anything, he’s interested in you.”
“Look, Layla. I know these things. But for now, we’re late for class.”
* * *
I spent the next four hours with my body in class but my mind wandering somewhere else.
Prom was just around the corner, as Amanda reminded me, and I didn’t have a date or even anyone on the radar. It wasn’t that I couldn’t get a date. A couple of guys from my Physics class had already asked me out, but they weren’t the type of guys that I could picture myself spending the biggest night of my High School life with.
Caleb on the other hand wasn’t so bad. He had a great body, a cute face, and ever since I had known him, he was always fun and friendly. But I had never thought of him that way—at least not until Amanda mentioned him. We weren’t close friends or anything, but we had shared a few classes the year before.
All I knew about him was that he had a nice car and was one of those guys that likes to tweak their vehicle with modifications to make them faster and more powerful. It seemed cool. Maybe a little pointless but cool nonetheless.
I, on the other hand, was still riding the school bus back and forth to school, aside from when I’d bum rides from Amanda when she’d allow. My dad refused to buy me my own car, and when I insisted on getting a job, he equally insisted that I stay home and study. Dad was overprotective and had been since I was a little girl.
But Caleb? He was one of OC High School’s biggest heartthrobs. I just couldn’t imagine that he’d be interested in me or that he’d hesitate to make a move if he hadn’t already. As far as I was concerned, Amanda was just fucking with me.
The bell signaling the end of school finally rang, and I shoved my books in my bag and headed for my locker. I locked everything up and stood by, waiting for Amanda to show her face, and when I didn’t see her after 5 minutes, I started to get anxious. The buses usually started leaving 10 minutes after classes ended, so I didn’t have a lot of time.
Finally, I saw her round the corner, walking slowly with another one of the High School’s biggest hunks by her side, Russell Blake. Russell was easily six feet tall and quarterback of the varsity football team. Word on the street was that he already had a scholarship to play at UCLA, and all the girls adored him. I couldn’t help but feel a bit of jealousy curl up in my tummy.
The pair continued to walk slowly with their heads bowed, and Russell was explaining something to her before Amanda finally nodded her head, waved, and ran in my direction. Russell smiled and gave her a goodbye wave back.
“Hey, how was class?” Amanda asked.
“How was Russell Blake?” I retorted.
Amanda snorted and grinned. “Well… He asked me to prom.”
“Russell Blake asked you to prom? And you said yes?”
“I said ‘pending’.”
“Pending? What the hell does that mean?”
“It means I’m not sure. I want to see what other offers I get.”
I shook my head from side to side in confusion. “Only you would issue ‘pending’ to the most eligible bachelor in the school.”
“I wouldn’t say he’s the most eligible. There’s Tom Marshall, captain of the basketball team, then that hot biker guy, Rick Finley, and Walker Scott doesn’t play sports but he—“
“Okay, okay,” I interrupted. “I get it. There’s lots of hot guys at school, and you’re an indecisive bitch.” I gave her my biggest, fake grin. It was all just sisterly love. “But can you give me a ride home from school today?”
“Ohh… sorry.” Amanda clenched her teeth together and frowned. “My mom told me to have the car back right after school so she could go to some Bingo tournament, and you live in the opposite direction from me.”
I moaned and slumped my shoulders.
“Sorry,” she said again.
“No, it’s okay.” I looked down at my watch. “I still have a few minutes to catch the bus. See you tomorrow?”
“I can give you a ride,” a voice behind me said.
I turned around to see Caleb standing there, a large, Cheshire grin stretched across his face.
“Um…” I muttered, processing his proposition in my head.
“If you don’t mind riding in fast cars, that is.” He winked.
“Um…” I nearly said no, but I felt a slight nudge from Amanda press into my lower back, and the idea of riding in Caleb’s car as opposed to the slow, stinky bus wasn’t too bad. “I live on 5th and Stanley. You can take me there?”
“Yeah, sure. That’s not too far out of the way.”
“Okay great.” I turned around and raised an eyebrow to Amanda. “See you tomorrow?”
“See you,” she replied.
Caleb gave me a slight head tilt to follow, and I fell in line with him. As we made our way outside past all the other students rushing towards the bus or finding their way to their cars in the parking lot, I couldn’t help but feel a little anxious. Maybe Amanda had been right and Caleb did have something for me after all…
I watched as he walked, and his body movements screamed confidence. He was wearing a pair of tight fitting dark wash jeans and fitted, red t-shirt that hugged his lean, muscular frame. He had a baby face, which didn’t do much for me, but it was clear why everyone thought he was attractive.
“So, you and Amanda have been friends for a long time?” Caleb asked as we made it too his car. He clicked the automatic door opener on his keychain, and I heard the doors chirp.
“Yeah, since middle school,” I said over the car as I opened the passenger side.
We both nestled our way into the car, and I threw on my seat belt, adjusting my body to his low, bucket seats.
“She seems really cool,” Caleb said.
“Yeah, she’s awesome. I love her.”
“Do you know if she has a date for prom yet? I’m thinking of asking her…”
My heart sank when he asked me that. It wasn’t so much that I had my hopes set on going to prom with Caleb, but maybe I was flattered that I thought he liked me. Or maybe he seemed like the kind of guy that was worth getting to know. I’m not sure, but Amanda had totally read him wrong. He was interested in her, not me, which wasn’t surprising—everyone was always interested in Amanda.
“As far as I know, she is pending. You should just go ahead and ask her out.”
“Pending? What the hell does that mean?”
“It means someone has already asked her out, but she isn’t sure if she’s going to go with him yet.”
Caleb furrowed his brow and shook his head a little bit. “Well that’s a bit weird, but whatever.”
He scooted his seat back and stuck his keys in the ignition. And even though I wasn’t feeling too great, since I just found Caleb was more interested in my friend than me, I was still looking forward to the sound of his engine starting up, the sounds of the roaring engine and vibrations that I had felt earlier in the day. But unfortunately, there was just a quiet clicking noise whenever he turned the key.
“What the fuck?” he grunted. He turned the key again and again, and started looking at his dash. “Fuck!” he yelled and then flipped a button on his left hand side. “I must have accidently turned my headlights on during lunch. My battery is dead.”
“Ummm…” I turned around and looked out of his rear mirror to see the last couple of buses round the corner of the school and pull out into the parking lot. “Damn… I missed the bus.”
He pounded his fist lightly on the top of the steering wheel. “Don’t worry, I will take care of this.” He got out of the car and yelled across the parking lot to a couple of students who were getting in their rides. “Hey, can either of you guys jump me?”
“Sure!” a male student yelled back. “Do you have jumper cables?”
Caleb snarled. “No, I don’t.”
For the next 10 minutes, Caleb went around the parking lot trying to find someone with jumper cables while I sat patiently in his car. No one seemed to have any.
He made his way back to the driver’s side with his phone in his hand. “I’m so sorry for this, Layla. I texted my brother, and he’s on his way to jump me. I hope you don’t have to be anywhere right away.”
My dad wasn’t due to get home from work for a couple hours, so I wasn’t worried—yet. “It’s okay. As long as we get out of here soon.”
Another 20 minutes passed, and most of the cars in the student parking lot had cleared out. I looked in the side view mirror and could see a car pulling into the school’s entrance, opposite all the traffic that was leaving.
“There he is,” Caleb cooed.
The car was definitely not your everyday car. It was painted jet black with a single, dark red pinstripe running down each side. It was older, but everything about it screamed new. The paintjob was pristine, the wheels were glistening, and the chrome of the blocky thing poking out of the hood was practically blinding. I knew from the look of it that it was a 70s muscle car, but I wasn’t sure what type.
The car pulled into the spot right beside Caleb’s car, and as soon as he parked, out stepped one of the most gorgeous guys I had ever seen. He was wearing a pair of black jeans, a plain white t-shirt and a black leather jacket opened in the front. He was tall, even taller than Caleb, and even through his jacket, you could see that his body was covered in muscles. He was older, maybe college age, his face had the slightest bit of facial hair running down the side of his face and chin, matching the short brown cut at the top.
He reminded me of a more masculine Adam Levine.
He walked around to the front of Caleb’s car and flicked his fingers in an upwards motion, signaling to open the hood. Caleb pulled a switch below the dash, then the man pulled up the hood and started looking around inside.
Caleb stepped out of the car and rounded towards the front beside his brother.
“You gotta be more careful, Caleb,” his brother fussed. “I can’t come bail you out every time you’re careless.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry. We were just—“
“And put a set of jumper cables in your trunk for god’s sake. There’s a few extra sets at the shop.”
“Alright, I will.”
The new arrival walked back to his car and produced a set of jumper cables. I had never seen a car get jumped before, so I stepped out of the car and walked around to see exactly how it was done.
The man’s eyes glanced at me, and he paused for a moment, almost like he hadn’t noticed that I had been sitting in the passenger side the whole time. He looked me up and down then leaned tilted his head towards Caleb.
“This your girlfriend?” he asked as he began clipping the metal clamps at the end of the cords onto the battery in Caleb’s car.
Caleb smiled. “No, she’s just a friend I was giving a ride home. She’s friends with a girl I was thinking about asking out to prom.”
I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or not. Was he only giving me a ride home so that he could get bonus points on Amanda? I wondered if he still would have offered me a lift if he hadn’t planned on asking her to prom. Still, I wasn’t going to let it get to me and shrugged his comment aside.
“Oh yeah? I almost forgot you had a prom soon. Little broski is all grown up.” The man pulled his head out from under Caleb’s hood and turned to me. “Sorry about that. Caleb doesn’t have enough manners to properly introduce us. I’m Mason.” He brushed his hands together then offered one to me.
“Layla,” I said and placed my hand in his. They were a little rough, like the kind of guy who worked a lot with his hands, but his grip was warm and gentle. “Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too.”
Our vision locked for a moment, and I was mesmerized by his dazzling blue eyes and pearly white smile. I couldn’t help but think that the guy could just as easily work as a male model as opposed to whatever job he did with his hands.
He released his grip and gave his brother a slight nudge on the shoulder. “Get inside and get ready to start her up.” He walked back towards his car and when he passed me again, he threw me a slight smile which made me feel a little shy.
If only I was older…
I shook my head to get ahold of myself. There was no way a guy like that would be interested in me. He could get any girl he wanted, and that was if he didn’t already have a wife or girlfriend, which he probably did.
Shortly, the sound of Mason starting the engine of his classic car and pressing his foot into the accelerator roared loudly. Caleb followed up with starting his car, which struggled at first but then turned over and begin to purr. Earlier, Caleb’s car had sounded like a monster, but next to his brother’s car the RSX sounded like a kitty cat compared to a lion.
Caleb’s and Mason both got out of their cars and Mason proceeded to remove the cables and shut the hood on both cars. “That’ll do it,” he said. He glared at Caleb again. “Pick up a set of cables, alright?”
“Alright,” Caleb replied.
Mason glanced back over to me, then back to Caleb. “And make sure you get this little lady home safely.”
Caleb rolled his eyes. “I will. C’mon man.”
“Nice to meet you, again.” Mason said towards me before heading back to his car.
“You too.” I smiled.
After he reached his car and had one foot inside the door, he yelled back towards Caleb. “You coming to the races tonight!?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there!” Caleb yelled.
Mason nodded, slid inside his car, and drove out of the parking lot.
“Now that that’s taken care of,” Caleb said as we both got in his car and he was pulling on his seatbelt. “Let’s get you home.”
I pushed another strand of hair that had fallen out of my ponytail behind my ear. “Your brother seems nice.”
“Yeah, he’s cool.”
“And he’s got a great car too.”
“The Beast?” Caleb shook his head. “That car is something else. He’s got more than 700 horsepower pumping out of that thing. He still won’t let me drive it. But,” Caleb grinned and pressed his foot onto the gas pedal, “I still got my baby.”
I giggled as Caleb squealed out of the parking lot and started down the road. The whole ride back, Caleb questioned me about Amanda, and I couldn’t take my mind off of Mason.
“How old is your brother?” I asked.
Caleb squinted his eyes and tilted his head back like he was surprised at the question. “Mason? He’s um… I guess he’s 22… almost 23.”
22… A whole four years older than me and maybe closer to five since my birthday had just passed.
“Why do you ask?”
“Oh… just…curious.” I shrugged. “What was the race thing he was talking about before he left?”
Caleb jumped in his seat a little bit and took a moment to adjust himself. He glanced at me out of the corner of his eye. “I dunno….” he mumbled.
“I dunno if I can trust you…”
I pinched my lips together and sucked in to make a hissy sound. “Don’t be like that. You can trust me.”
“We barely know each other.”
“We know each other well enough that you offered me a ride, and I was willing to get in your car.”
Caleb huffed. “Alright, well there’s this … thing that we do every week over by Rolling Bluff. Us motorheads get together and put our rides to the test. Sometimes for fun and sometimes for slips. It’s really competitive.”
“Slips?” I asked.
“Slips, pinks, pink slips.”
“So you, like, gamble your RSX in races?”
Caleb laughed. “No, I haven’t raced for pinks yet. If I were to lose my baby, I’d die. I usually just race for fun. Mason though… He’s one of the best.”
“And you didn’t want to tell me that why?”
Caleb snickered. “Street racing is illegal, Layla—and dangerous.” Caleb shook his head. “Look, just forget I even told you about it.”
I leaned back into the bucket seat imagining what the whole thing would be like. Hot cars like I’d never seen before flying down the street at breakneck speed in the middle of the night. Illegal racing and probably more illegal things going on than what he’d tell me about. It seemed like such a big contrast to my boring High School life.
“So… are girls like me allowed to go?” I asked curiously.
“What?” Caleb snapped. “It’s for racers, man. You obviously don’t have a car.”
“Yeah, but I want to see what it’s like.”
Caleb rolled his eyes. “Look, forget about it. It’s totally not your kind of scene.”
I sighed and pushed my neck hard into the seat. “What if….” I turned to Caleb with a devilish grin “I brought Amanda along?”
Caleb swallowed hard, and the car slowly came to a halt. I looked outside the window to see that we had made it right outside of my house.
He turned to me and swallowed again. “So you want to bring Amanda to the races?”
“Yeah, I mean if she can go. I’ll have to see.”
Caleb nodded and spoke slowly. “Okay.” He still didn’t seem sure, but his reluctance had already waned. “I guess maybe it wouldn’t hurt. Can I pick you up here at 11?”
I smiled and popped open the door. “I’ll be in front of the bush here at 11.” I hopped out off the door and started walking away when I heard Caleb’s passenger window rolling down.
“Hey! Are your parents okay with you being out that late?”
“Sure!” I lied.
And what a big lie that was. My dad would kill me before he’d ever let me out past 8pm.