Chapter 2: The Car Ride
You are the niece of Melanie Summers, your mother was her sister, who doesn’t exist. Her and her husband, who also does not exist was killed in a car accident, which never happened, about three years ago. Or at least, that’s what you tell everyone.
“And you’re sure that’s what you felt?” questions Melanie as she regards you over a cup of tea.
“Yes, there is another presence inside of his mind, a presence I haven’t felt since…then.”
You didn’t often delve into your past, there is much about your time spent at the lab that Melanie has no idea about. She was a tech and helped with the very basic of things, the real horrors happened at the behest of Brenner. She nods calmly.
“Stay away from him then, we don’t need the lab remembering things they have no business remembering.”
You nod in agreement and take a bite of your dinner.
That night, your mind is filled with the horror of a lab you have long escaped and the pain of experiments that are long over. You wake up covered in a cold sweat as the thoughts of what they intended to do to you filled your mind. You are out the door before the sun rises the next morning.
The route you take to school is a long but quiet one. You are about half way to school when a buzz from another mind intrudes upon your peace. It’s not often that you aren’t fending off minds and there is just quiet, so you always enjoy the time while you have it. You are surprised when a car comes speeding over the ridge and you are even more surprised when the car pulls up next to you.
“Need a ride?” Billy Hargrove yells out the window. You regard him with silent confusion as his sunglasses drop down his nose to reveal his eyes.
“Listen sweetheart, if you don’t want a ride just say so,” he says with exasperation.
You regard him for a moment longer before you murmur out a quiet, “Sure.”
Honestly you are more curious than anything.
He gives you a smirk and a wink as he gets out of the car and pops the trunk for your bike. He yells for Max, you assume that’s the girl in the car, to get in the back seat.
You open the door and get in muttering a quiet ‘thank you.’
Great…his next victim… does she know all he wants is in her pants?
The thought drifts through her mind with disgust and disdain. You had, of course, heard of Billy’s reputation with the female population. Suddenly, it makes sense.
“This is my step sister, Max, and I don’t think we’ve been formally introduced, I’m Billy.”
“(Y/N), it’s nice to meet you.”
He nods, “So do Tommy and Carol give you a hard time a lot of the time?”
You just nod in reply. He glances at you out of the corner of his eye at your movement before turning back to the road. This is why most people didn’t like to talk to you, your lack of response makes them uncomfortable or frustrated.
“Well… you don’t have to worry about them bothering you anymore, I took care of it.”
You glance over at him and nod, “Thank you.”
You are surprised when you don’t see frustration building onto his face. Usually by now those you are speaking to you are fed up with your lack of response.
The rest of the car ride is quiet, just the sound of Billy’s rock music drifting from the speakers. When you get to the school Max skates off to the middle school and Billy gets your bike out of his trunk.
“You know… I can always give you a ride home if you want…”
You shake your head no, “I wouldn’t want to impose.”
He laughs softly and you just tilt your head in confusion.
“I’m sorry… I’ve just never heard anyone talk like you do.”
You nod in understanding, “I like to read.”
“Oh yeah?” he questions as he picks up your school bag out of your hands, “What do you like to read?”
You glance over at him,”Why?”
“Why what?” he asks amusement still apparent on his face.
“Why do you care what I like to read?”
He shrugs, “Why not?”
“Because you don’t know me,” you say simply.
“Maybe I want to.”
“That makes no sense.”
“Oh? Why doesn’t it make sense?”
You regard him calmly for a moment, “Because I have nothing for you to take.”
You pluck your bag out of his hands and continue on down the hallway. He doesn’t make to follow you and you don’t look back, but you know that it will not be your last encounter with Billy Hargrove.
Your day is uneventful, except in Science class when Steve tried to help with the project. All you want to do is work in peace and yet there is no peace with Steve ‘The Hair’ Harrington. He drums on the desk and his books. He reads over your shoulder and asks the dumbest questions you have ever heard in your life. It’s just research and yet this boy is hopeless.
“Soooooooo do you want to come over Saturday? Around 4?”
“That is sufficient.”
“Okay… Ummm… here is my address,” he grabs a scratch sheet of paper and scribbles a barely legible address onto it. You just nod and place it into your book for when you need it. The bell rings a moment later and the two of you walk from the library together with the rest of your class.
“Do you think we will do good on this project?” Steve questions from beside you.
“Sorry… you do have the best grades in school. I’m just nervous about college you know?”
“Of course you’re not…I bet you’ve already gotten into your choice school huh?”
“I haven’t applied to any.”
“What?! Why not?!”
You just shrug as you continue walking down the hallway. You’re are surprised when he keeps up with you.
“Can’t you get into like…. any college you want?”
You say it so calmly that even Steve takes a moment processing what you said, “Then why haven’t you applied?”
“What business is it of yours what I do or do not do with my future?”
“Geeze I’m just curious is all, you don’t have to bite my head off…” he grumbles.
“Then stop asking questions you have no need to know the answers to.”
“I think that was the most you’ve ever talked ever.”
“To me it is.”
“This jerk bothering you (Nickname)?”
You whip your head around to see Billy Hargrove behind you, much to your surprise.
“(Nickname)? Since when do you know Billy?” Steve asks accusingly as he glares at the boy now behind you.
“Since we became friends… jealous Harrington?” asks Billy with a smirk.
You roll your eyes at the two boys before you, ‘I don’t have time for this…’
You turn and walk to class before either male knows your gone. Honestly, you have no idea why all of a sudden you are so interesting to people who didn’t give you the time of day last week.
You aren’t surprised to hear that Steve and Billy got into a bit of a scuffle, which is why Billy doesn’t make it to class. You are surprised when Billy is waiting for you next to your bike after school has let out.
“Let me give you a ride home,” he says with a charming smile.
“That is not necessary.”
“No it’s not necessary… but it might be nice?” his smile is innocent, but the boy reminds you of the ocean. It’s pretty to look at, inviting with its soothing call and traitorous with it’s undercurrent. In other words, you don’t trust Billy Hargrove at all.
You regard him for a moment longer as he continues to plead with his eyes. You notice for the first time in your highschool career that everyone is looking at you, and you do not like the attention.
“Fine,” you agree because you can feel his stubbornness radiating off of him.
He smiles an award winning smile and leads you to his car, this time when he goes to take your bag, you pull it out of his reach and just shake your head. Something about this boy prods at your mind and you are curious to find out what.
Max is waiting by the car as the two of you approach it. She offers you a smile, that turns into more of a grimace when she sees her step brother. You give her a nod in greeting and a soft smile of your own.
“I didn’t know you and Steve were…friends,” Billy says as he breaks the peaceful silence that you miss so much at this moment.
“We are not.”
“It looked like you were today,” he says with a smile, but there is a dangerous edge to it.
You feel your annoyance prickle at his tone.
“He is my lab partner.”
He nods his head, but you can tell he doesn’t believe you.
“That’s good… you seem better than that…”
You turn to regard the male beside you, “You are awfully interested in something that you have no business being interested in.”
“I want to look out for my new favorite girl, that’s all,” he says with a shrug and a wink. You know the smile on his face and his sweet words would have any other girl swooning at this point, but honestly you could care less.
“Here we go…” you hear Max groan from the backseat.
Billy shoots her a glare in the rearview mirror and you know from Billy’s reaction that she must have made a face at him.
“There is no reason for me to be your favorite girl. We don’t even know each other.”
“That’s not true…”
“It is,” you say with finality, being quite done with the conversation.
The rest of the ride is completed in silence other than the directions you give to the boy driving. When you arrive at your house you quietly thank him.
“No problem princess, see you Monday.”
With that he peels out of your driveway. You walk into the house and greet Melanie. She glances up from the book she is reading and regards you with interest.
“Did you finally make a friend?”
“I hope not…” you say with slight annoyance as you walk over to the coffee table and take a cookie.
The next day, Melanie drops you off at Steve’s house. You watch her drive away almost forlornly.
‘I’ve spent years getting out of group projects only for Harrington to be the one determined party.’ You walk up the drive of the nice house and you are about to knock on the door when the door is jerked open. Steve is standing on the other side of the door and he about plows you down in his haste to leave.
“What are you doing here?!” he exclaims with his hands in the air.
“You wanted to work on the project.”
“Ahhh shit! I uhhh….” he trails off in thought.
‘I completely forgot with all the Nancy stuff… damnit!
“Forgot?” you ask in annoyance.
“NO! No. I did not forget. I uhhh…. Just thought it would be a good idea to go to the store… for supplies.”
Flashes of last nights party and ‘bullshit’ flashes through his mind. Apparently, she broke up with him and he isn’t taking it well…
“Let’s get supplies then,” you say much to his relief. Even you can’t kick the man when he’s down.
The car ride to the store is silent and when you get there you tell him a few basic things you’ll need before you go off in search of the others. After wandering around the store for about ten minutes looking for things you’ll need for the project, you see him in front of the cut flowers.
“Not baking soda,” you say with derision.
“Hey! You’re a girl right?”
You just send him a look that would kill him… if you felt like it.
“Right… stupid question. Which ones say ‘I’m sorry, even though I didn’t do anything, and I love you?’”
You roll your eyes at the boy before you but turn and point to the red roses.
“Classic. I like it. Let’s go with those. You have everything you need?”
“Good! Let’s go!”
You huff as you follow him to the checkout and cross your arms at the absurdity of the situation.
‘Had I known he was just going to be playing casanova today…’
The ride to Nancy Wheeler’s house is filled with Steve ranting about ‘The Nancy Situation,’ which you did not care about it.
“And then! And then she just says it’s ‘bullshit!’ Bullshit! What about our relationship is bullshit?!”
“Do you really want me to answer that, or was that rhetorical?”
“Uhhh… Oh look! We’re here!”
Steve is out of the car in an instant and going towards the door with determination in his eyes when a boy, that looks oddly familiar, stops him.
“She’s not here!” you hear him yell at Steve.
“Well where is she?” Steve asks in exasperation regarding the flowers in his hand.
“I don’t know! I need your help! Do you still have that bat?”
“Hey! Who is she?!” yells the boy.
“My lab partner.”
“She can’t come,” he declares loudly.
You get out of the car and glanced between the two males before you. It takes only a moment for the events of last year to flash across your mind. A creature named ‘Dart’ being the forefront of the boy’s mind. You heave a sigh.
“Really? And you actually thought keeping it was a good idea after what happened last year?” you ask him in exasperation.
“I thought it was a new species of liz-” he stops abruptly, “Wait… how do you know about…?
“Dart?” you roll your eyes, “There is a lot you don’t know… Dustin.”
Steve and Dustin share wide eyed glances before looking back at you in suspicion.
“Well… Get in… We have your mess to clean up.”
The boys just exchange a look of pure disbelief.