The Dare(10)

By: Rachel van Dyken


I went into the bathroom and threw on a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans I really don't remember being that tight. In fact, the jeans didn't look familiar at all. Whatever. I grabbed the cardigan and decided against the tie. By the time I emerged, we'd been in the hotel room for fifteen minutes with Grandma or crazy catlady.

"Alright." Grandma clapped her hands together, only it wasn't loud because now she was wearing gloves. I had to look away. Looking directly at her was like reliving the time I did mushrooms in college. An experience I swore I'd never re-live.

"It's time."





****





The elevator dinged at the lobby level. Grandma pressed play on her iPhone and turned to give us a wink, "Side door, a car's waiting. I'll see you in a few minutes. Now let Grandma have the spotlight."

The doors opened.

And "Lion King" started playing. Grandma strutted down the hall and turned the corner.

My mouth may have dropped open as she started moving her hips in a way no woman at eighty-six should know how to move — in perfect cadence with the music she danced. The reflection of cameras going off was our cue.

"Come on." I grabbed Beth's hand and walked briskly toward the back door.

As Grandma said, the rental car was running, and a gentleman in a Hawaiian shirt was at the wheel. "Get in!"

Not needing to be told twice, Beth and I tumbled into the back seat and barely had time to buckle our seatbelts before the old man hit the accelerator, causing the Chevy Malibu to squeal in protest.

"Um," Beth clenched my hand, squeezing it so tight I almost lost feeling, "sir, where are you taking us?"

"Airport."

Beth released my hand, her body relaxing. "That's a relief."

"Don't I know it." The man went through a yellow light and hit the accelerator again, barely making it through the next.

"Mind slowing down?" I asked.

The man's answer was to turn up the music. Just our luck. Britney Spears's "Womanizer" started playing in the background and, of course, our insane driver knew every damn word.

Ten minutes later, we arrived at the airport. I wasn't really sure why I was there other than to help Beth get her crap out of the car. I was officially taking back every thought about one-night stands I'd ever had. No one-night stand should end with your friend's grandmother showing up in a catsuit. Not unless you're high on some sort of illegal substance, which I was ninety-nine percent sure I wasn't.

There was always that one percent, especially when Grandma Nadine was involved.

"Well," I handed Beth her bag, "it was fun."

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I expected to be slapped.

Beth's eyebrows arched.

I tried again. "I mean, last night. The cookies, the uh, exercise…" Oh God, I was making it worse. "And—"

"Just stop." Beth held up her hand. "And thanks for the reminder that I consumed that many calories in your presence then promptly puked in my shoe."

Concern punched me in the gut. "You puked?"

"Not the point," Beth said through clenched teeth. "Just give me my bag, and I'll be on my way. Thanks for the best night of my life."

"Really?" I felt my face light up.

"You're such a guy. And I was being sarcastic, Mr. Senator."

I scowled." You can call me by my name."

"Gee, how noble of you, Mr. Senator. I appreciate it. Really. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go back home and try to forget about the catsuit, reporters, cookies, and—"

"Me?" For some reason it was irritating. She was running away. What the hell? Did she remember me at all? Remember the kiss we'd shared? The dance? Anything? It was a damn good kiss, and why in the hell was I obsessing over it now of all times? What was with her? And what the hell was wrong with me? Holy shit, I was going to have a panic attack. I gaped at Beth, expecting her to say something like, "Oh hey, remember that one time you stuck your tongue down my throat? I still dream about it. Want to have my babies?" Okay, so maybe that was a bit farfetched, but for shit's sake! I'd obsessed over her for years! I was hospitalized even! The least she could do is acknowledge that there was a past between us. That's it. Maybe even a head nod or a blink. Wait! She was blinking, and her eyes seemed to narrow. She did remember!

"See ya on the other side!" the insane driver called, throwing my bag at my face before I could protest.

With that he drove off.

Leaving Beth and me staring after him with confusion, and me wondering if Beth was going to talk about the giant-ass elephant in the room.

I was just about to open my mouth and speak, when I heard the daunting click-clack of heels hitting pavement. I'd come to recognize that sound as any normal animal on the food chain would when trying to protect itself from a predator.

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