Better To Love

Heidi is an extraordinary bassist, an aspiring author, and a huge fan of pop punk. Finnegan is an amazing guitarist, a talented artist, and a lover of old music. This is their story.

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1. Heidi: The Car Ride

I was sitting cross-legged in the passenger seat of my mom's Odyssey; my hair in a messy bun from three days ago, my eyes closed, and a chocolate tootsie pop in my mouth. My headphones were in, blasting Panic! At The Disco. I would occasionally open my eyes to see how far we had gotten since the last song. Heather was in the back seat with the boys and doing the same. Eventually I would have to take her place. Not until the next rest stop, though, which was in one hour and thirty-five minutes.

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We stopped at a Starbucks just outside of Edison (some town in New Jersey). I tried to order a Grande Cappuccino with soy milk (I'm lactose intolerant)  and three chocolate cookies (dark chocolate), but Mom said I needed to try to sleep when we drove, preferably until the next rest stop. (I ended up getting my three cookies, but I had to get a tall peppermint hot chocolate). I have never slept through New York, in the 15 years I have taken this trip, mostly because I think it is one of the prettiest cities in the world. As I have told Heather many times, as soon as I graduate from Burlington, I am applying to Manhattan School of Music and getting out of Vermont. I mean Vermont's wonderful, you know basically everyone and Ben and Jerry's is thirty minutes from your house, but New York has fun, excitement, and dairy-free restaurants.

Mom decided that we were going to the McDonald's drive-thru next. She made me get everyone's order while we were driving from the Starbucks. Heather wanted a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets with barbeque sauce. Nicholas wanted a Crispy Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich with no onions, sauce, or cheese (He's also lactose intolerant). Luke wanted a McChicken Sandwich. I wanted a Bacon McDouble with no cheese. We had a system, me and Nicholas being lactose intolerant. Neither Heather nor Lucas got anything with dairy, so if me or Nick ended up getting cheese on our burger/sandwich, we could just trade with Luke or Heather. Mom wanted a Chicken Bacon McWrap. After we ordered, we were on the road again, and I was watching for the New York skyline over the much smaller buildings in Edison.

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It was just as beautiful as every other time we had driven by it. Tall, elegant buildings, made out of glass. The lights, blindingly brilliant. I smiled until we turned onto I-80.

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It was my turn in the back seat with Nicholas and Luke. They like sitting next to Heather because  she is a lot calmer than I am. Dad says I'm passive-aggressive, but Nicholas says that I have a black soul. As we got back in the car, Luke visibly leaned closer to the door and Nicholas started complaining that I was taking up too much space. I decided to take out my headphones and yell at him. 

"I am way skinnier than Heather, you just hate me!" I whisper-yelled.

"Heidi, that was very mean, please apologize." Mom said, trying to keep the peace. 

"Sorry Heather, we are like the same size." I said, as serious as I could.

"What?" Heather asked, looking back at me.

"Nothing," I said. I had know that Heather wasn't listening.

"Sweetie, I meant apologize to Nick." Mom said, her don't-mess-with-me face on.

"Everything I said about Nick was true. He hates me and he thinks that I am bigger than Heather."

"You are." Nick said with a devilish grin.

I smacked him on his arm and Mom pulled over. 

"Heidi Wren Clarke! I do not want you to touch your brother for the rest of the drive! Do you understand me!" Mom yelled as she looked back at me with very anti-motherly look in her eyes.

Heather and Luke were listening now. It was sort of a rule in our family that you had to stop what you were doing when Mom or Dad said someone's full name. 

"How about me and Heidi switch seats?" Heather suggested. 

"Yes! Nicholas, get out for your sister. Heidi, let Heather get out first." Mom said, obviously grateful for Heather. 

"If she is the same size as Heather, can't she just get out over me?" Nick said.

"Nicholas Stephan Clarke! You will not talk for the rest of the trip!" Mom said, dealing out punishments left and right.

Once everyone got in and re-situated, Mom started driving and my headphones went back in.

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