I follow Jack out of the house and towards the garage. Unfortunately, it's rain. We have to run to the shelter of the garage to avoid getting soaked. Jack swears fluently of what he thinks of the rain before turning around and unlocking the car. I turn as well and spot the sparkling white Mercedes. The breath is knocked out of lungs at the sight of the magnificent machine in front of me. I've dreamt many times of having a car as beautiful as this, but Mum never got one because if you had a car that even came close to a Mercedes back in England, there was a 90% chance that is would be vandalized or stolen within the second day you brought it home ... Yet again, this car was in the garage out of sight so maybe in Canada people still vandalism cars like this ...
I slip into the passenger seat, savoring the way the seat melts into my figure. Jack slides behind the wheel and starts the car up, not looking fazed by the highly expensive car. The buttons light up as he turns the key and I watch as the petrol meter shoots up (another thing that never happened in England. We were always low on fuel; the neighbors liked to 'borrow' the car sometimes and take it for a 'short' drive as they put it ...). I swallow hard as Jack glances over at me and then pulls out of the drive, probably used to people drooling over his car.
"How'd you get the money to offered this?" I demand. He grits his teeth together.
"People's wills." He says glumly. I flinch.
"Oh." I look down at my lap, listening to the rain drum against the windows. The window wipers struggle to keep the window clear from the rain. It's warm in the car and I realize Jack has turned on the radio. I turn it up a little more to avoid the awkward silence and listen closely to the song. It's Happy by Pharrell.
We sit in silence for a few seconds, just listening along. Jack taps to the beat on the steering wheel and I busy myself by taking two raindrops and making them race down the side of my window. Eventually, we come to a stop at the traffic lights and the music changes to Scott Mills talking about whatever he goes on about. Jack turns it down until it's just a murmur and glances over at me.
"So ..." He says slowly. "You heard me come in?" Oh I heard a lot more than you just 'coming in'. I also saw a lot more than I wanted as well ...
I don't reply. He doesn't say anything for a few seconds.
"That's our school." He finally points out. I look up at the the towering building to my left. It's just as I imagined it to be; full of dead dreams and students nightmares. I grimace and look away as the lights turn green and Jack starts the car again. We take a sharp left and a car honks at us. Jack doesn't give them a second glance and glances over at me and then at the road again."What day do you start school?"
"Monday." He raises an eyebrow.
"Tomorrow? Why so soon?" He asks. I shrug and lean into my seat.
"My Mum wants me to 'settle in as quickly as possible'." He smirks slightly; I sigh. "What day do you start?" He looks puzzled.
"Start? I've been going to school for the past six weeks." I suddenly remember the time difference between Canada and England and bow my head, blushing.
"Sorry ... I still think it's the summer holidays ..." He laughs; it makes the drizzle outside look less cold and unwelcoming. I smile a little.
"It's fine." We turn into a McDonald's and I look over at him questioningly. He squints through the rain and turns the car into the drive through. We come to a stop at the window with a lady standing in, picking at her nails, boredom stroked across her face. I frown.
"Mum and Stan are cooking dinner for us ... Why are we here?" He shrugs.
"I'm hungry." He leans over and orders. He glances back at me and smiles. "Want anything?" I hesitate.
"I didn't bring money."
"I'll pay." I look at him, surprised. He just continues to smile. Finally, I shake my head.
"I'll just have a chocolate milkshake please." He grins and turns to the lady.
"Two chocolate shakes please." He commands. The lady sighs and yells the order, before gesturing Jack to drive the car to another till. He does.
"You're taking a big risk here." Jack laughs. "My Dad is the worst cook in history." I shrug.
"My Mum's OK and she's helping; I think we'll be safe." Jack grins.
"Let's hope she takes over then!" Then he takes his McDonald and continues to show me around the neighborhood.
Jack was right about one thing; Stan is the worse cook in history. I could tell what he had cooked and what Mum had cooked. The carrots were burnt and the chips black from Stan's cooking. Mum made homemade bread; that was at least edible. She also made soup, which the burnt carrots floated around in. Why we had chips and soup together, I have no idea, but the look on Jack's face when we got back home showed me that he wasn't new to odd mixed food.
We all sit together at the table. Mum and Stan sit beside one another and Jack sits to my right. It's normally quiet when Mum and I eat but with Stan here, the table is full of conversation. I stay quiet, which doesn't surprise Mum or Stan, but I think it takes Jack a few minutes to adjust to the change. Jack talks, but he's quieter than Stan. A lot quieter actually; Stan doesn't shut up.
"So, Maia!" He smiles. "You're starting school tomorrow, aren't you?" I shrug.
"I guess." Mum gives me a look but Stan doesn't let that get him down.
"Did you get the uniform?" There's uniform? Stan sees my blank expression and laughs.
"I'll get Jack to bring it up to you later." In the corner of my eye, I spot Jack rolling his eyes but he doesn't dare to argue back to his Dad in front of my Mum. I nod and continue to snack on the bread. "Oh talking about Jack, he can give you a lift until you work out the bus route or your friends can drop you off ... Or you can just keep getting Jack to run you around; that's fine as well." Another roll of the eyes. I glance guiltily over at Jack but he just shrugs his shoulder. He looks used to being bossed around by his Dad; I instantly feel relieved that Mum isn't like that.
"The school's only a twenty minute walk. You can also walk." Mum adds carefully. I shrug but don't say anything. Finally, I manage to escape back to my room.