For those who haven’t already read them, you can find links to the previous chapters here:
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9
Chapters 10 and 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26
The next morning I may have been a little too excited to drive Pamela to school for the first time, because I was one of the first students to pull into the parking lot. I didn’t mind though, I just enjoyed having things almost back to normal, even if I missed the KZ a little. But it wasn’t like I had to choose between one or the other. After school I’d just have to walk to Weed’s to get the bike, then I could alternate between them.
I was still thinking about the bike when I heard a familiar voice, and for a moment I couldn’t decide if I was happy about it or not.
“Are you ready for your last assignment?” Lucifer asked.
The new radio was glowing red, just like the old one did when he spoke through it.
“That’s a tough question,” I replied. “On one hand, It’ll be nice not wondering who I have to kill next, but on the other hand I’ll miss your late night visits and sparkling conversation.”
“Well, if you’d like to extend your tenure as a reaper…”
“That was sarcasm.”
“And so was mine,” he replied, “though if you’re interested in the opportunity….”
“I really appreciate the offer to remain your servant, but I think I’ll pass”
“Not really a servant, more like an employee.”
“Thanks, but I think I need to find a new line of work.”
“You say that now, but a month or two after completing your last job, you might change your mind. You have to admit that there’s a certain thrill when you’re helping rid the world of evil people.”
“Evil?” I laughed. “Like the little old special ed teacher?”
“And you don’t consider a premeditated murder evil?”
“I’m not going to debate morality with you. I’m just looking forward to being done with you.”
“That hurts a little, but speaking of completing your end of the deal, here comes your last assignment.”
I looked around frantically, trying to see the teacher or bus driver I was going to have to kill next. I was so focused on who I wanted the assignment to be that I almost didn’t see Shawna headed right for me.
“No,” I said. “There’s no way.”
“You know the deal,” he replied. “One touch and you’ll see.”
The red light was still fading away as Shawna reached the driver side door.
“Ooh, you got her done!”
Her excitement was just the reaction I’d hoped for, but my mind was still reeling from the shock of what Lucifer had just said.
“I…uh…yeah,” I replied, “and you know, weed helped a little.”
She laughed, her beautiful laugh, and grinned her beautiful grin. For a moment everything seemed right with the world.
“So maybe you could give me a ride home tonight?”
“You sure you don’t want a ride from Weed, or anyone else who isn’t me?”
I don’t know why I said it, but the words were out of my mouth before I even thought about what I was saying.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “I didn’t really mean that.”
“No, you’re right. I haven’t made things easy between us lately. But I want that to change.”
There was a look in her eyes that made my heart skip a beat and I didn’t know how to respond. Thankfully I didn’t have to because Weed pulled in right beside us.
“Hey guys!” he yelled before he’d even shut off his engine.
“Hey there,” Shawna called out as he climbed out of the Chevette. “Nate was just telling me all the things he taught you about cars while you two finished Pamela.”
It worked. Shawna got her reaction as Weed opened his mouth to start arguing before the grin flashed across her face.
“Okay,” he said, with a slight look of shame. “You had me, you really did.”
Shawna and I were both laughing too hard for Weed to even pretend to be mad. He just lit up a cigarette and laughed along with us. For a minute it was great having everything feel like normal again, laughing with my two favorite people in the world, except for the fact that I was supposed to kill one of them.
The rest of the day didn’t go as well as the morning. I tried all day long to talk to Weed about what happened in my car that morning, but I never seemed to have a chance. I also didn’t know how I was going to bring it up to him, I just knew that I needed to talk to someone about it, and preferably before I had to be alone in the car with Shawna. Things never seem to work out the way we want, though.
“Are you ready to go?” Shawna asked as she walked around to the passenger side door.
“I was really hoping to talk to Weed for a minute before we head out,” I replied.
“You can always drop me off, then head to his place. It’s not like he has any other place to go or friend’s to hang out with.”
I almost choked while trying to stifle a laugh.
“I’m sure he’d love to hear that.”
“Then make sure you tell him I said it, but after you drop me off.”
I glanced around one more time for Weed, then slid into the car and started her up.
“She turned out better than I thought she would,” Shawna said, slipping into the passenger seat.
“Thanks,” was all I could think to say back.
“Are you still calling her Pamela now that you’ve driven her or did you change your mind about which supermodel to name her after?”
“Oh, she’s definitely a Pamela,” I replied.
“Somehow I knew that.”
Then the awkwardness won out, and we finished the trip in silence, up until the moment I pulled to a stop in front of her house.
“Aren’t you going to ask about Matt?”
“Why? Do you want to talk about him?”
“Maybe just a little.”
“So you guys broke up?”
“You can say that. We had a big fight about how he treated me.
“I didn’t mean it like that, I just meant that it’s good you’re sticking up for yourself.”
“Would you expect anything else from me?”
“I don’t know. I wouldn’t have doubted the old Shawna, but it kind of feels like things have changed a bit after this summer, like I don’t really know who you are right now.”
“I’m the same girl I’ve always been, just maybe ready to try some new things…like dating.”
“And how’d that turn out for you?” I asked, finally turning to look at her. That’s when I really heard her words.
“Ouch,” she said.
“I, uh really didn’t mean it like it sounded.”
“No, you’re right. He was charming, and great looking and…”
“And I really don’t need to hear that.”
“But that’s only because I really didn’t know him. He asked me out, and I was flattered so I said yes. We had fun this summer and I thought I got to know him, but it was only recently that I got to know the real him.”
“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry it turned out like it did.”
“Thanks, but I’m kind of glad it did. It let me know what I don’t want, and a little of what I do.”
There was that look in her eyes again, the kind of look that made me wish I could kiss her, but there was no way I could let that happen, no matter how much I wanted it.
“Well, I should probably get to Weed’s,” I said, after a few moments of silence.
For a second she just stared at me like I had a second head growing out of my neck.
“Yeah,” she replied, “and I should probably get to this homework.”
We both sat there for another moment, then she opened the car door. I wanted to stop her, to tell her exactly what was going on. But even though it might make me feel a little better, I had no idea what it would do to her. And I had no right making my problem, hers. So I just watched as she made her way to the front door. She turned to look at me one more time and all I could do was wave, then drive off with all the words I wanted to say stuck in my throat.