"You’re stupid," Jason says as I tease him on the drive home.
"That may be true but you like her! At least you like her body," laughing, I start humping the air.
"Stop it, we’re just going to get coffee," he says, playfully smacking me.
I shut up for a moment suddenly feeling very under the influence.
I let out a giggle, that quickly turns into uncontrollable laughter. He looks over at me and starts to giggle too, like my laugh has infected him. And then we are stupidly sitting at a flashing red light laughing our ass off.
"Is this light ever going to turn green?" He says out of breath.
"IT’S FLASHING!" I yell, dying of laughter all over again.
Finally, he catches his breath and we turn onto what I call "the hillbilly roads".
The roads are small, big enough to fit Jason’s two door truck but small enough that you have to slow down to pass the other cars. There is marsh on each side of the road until we’re about 2 miles from the house and then there’s just ditches and trees. Not the safest place to drive at night, even worse with Jason driving, but for some reason, I always get in his truck fearless.
Looking over, I see Jason’s giggling start to settle and watch his eyes concentrate on the road.
"Living with you guys has been great," I say really meaning it.
"Mom’s enjoying having a girl in the house. You know she loves you," he smiles at me.
"You looked worried moving in when Malcolm was over," he said keeping his eyes on the road.
I start picking at my finger nails. He knows about Malcolm and I, but we don’t really talk about it. Malcolm has been his best friend since elementary school. Jason told him not to hurt me and me not to hurt him.
"Malcolm didn’t really want me living under the same roof as you, considering our past and you being so irresistible," I say, trying to make light of what might turn into an argument.
"I care about you, and I know I’ve told you my feelings...but you and I know my family doesn’t care if we are friends, but they wouldn’t be happy about the color our kids would be," he says with a shaky breath. He reaches for my hand and let him hold mine.
"Jason, we had our time and it’s okay. Even as kids we knew it would never be more," I unbuckle my seat belt and move to the middle seat next to him. He lets go of my hand and puts his arm around my waist, kissing my forehead.
"You’re the kinda girl who gets under people’s skin, and no matter how hard they try to get you out, you leave your mark. And it stays there forever, because no one’s willing to let you go." A silence settles over us like a blanket. I lay my head on his shoulder while he makes the turn onto the wooded roads.
"Blake is," I mumble.
Jason chuckles, "If he was, then he wouldn’t still be calling."
I look up at him wondering what I did to deserve him as my closest friend. But his face turns serious and his grip around my waist tightens to a death grip and suddenly we’re spinning. I grab on to Jason’s jacket and tuck my face into his shoulder. He’s fighting for control of the wheel and his grip on me is like steel. The truck still spinning, I look up to see the terror on his face and look out the window to see the tree line coming at us way too fast. I squeeze my eyes shut as the truck spins one more time before the passenger side hits the tree line. The impact was so hard that Jason lost his grip of me and i fly across the truck hitting the passenger side door, completely knocking the wind out of me. Before I even have time to think, I’m falling forward back towards Jason. He catches me, pulling my curls away from my face.
"Are you okay?" he says, slightly shaking me.
"I’m fine, I’m fine," I say with a bit of a groan, "Are you?" I finally look up at him. "You’re bleeding J!" His forehead is starting a bruise already with a nice little gash.
He wipes his hand across the gash wincing at the pain. I reach for the glove box and find some fast food napkins.
"Stop touching it. Let me see how bad it is," I say, moving his hands and putting the napkins up to the cuts.
"I’m so sorry, I don’t even know what happened," he says.
"Shh, it’s fine. We’re safe," I say in a whisper.
"I can’t believe I let you go," his voice is shaking.
I put a new napkin on his cut. "Stop it, you saved my life," I say, feeling truly grateful.
"That’s not what I meant," he protests.
"Jason stop, it’s okay I prom-" he cuts me off with a kiss, grabbing my head and losing his fingers in my hair. He kisses me with an intensity I’ve never seen from him before. And as much as I wanted to be lost in this kiss, his blood dripping down my cheek brought me back. I pushed him back enough to see my face. He removed a hand from my hair and wiped away the blood on my cheek probably just smearing it across my face.
"We can’t," I whisper.
"I know," he whispers back, then he kisses my forehead, my eyes, nose and lips one more time before pulling completely away from me. We sit quiet for a moment while I switch out the napkins again. A knock on his window jolts us back to reality.
"Y’all okay in there?" a heavily country voice asks us.
Jason tries to open the door, but it won’t budge.
"The doors stuck," he says through the window.
"Roll the window down, J, your truck’s old enough," I say.
He finds the knob and starts rolling the window down for us to find out our rescuers are cops.
"I’m guessin’ y’all don’t have deer whistles on ya truck," he says.
Jason is oddly quiet. I answer.
"No officer....How bad is it?" I ask, looking to see the windows are all covered in dirt and mud.
"Well, ya on a hill which is probably why ya can’t get the door open. These older trucks made out of that heavy metal. I don’t see any damage to the truck here. Does ya friend need to go to the hospital?"
I look at Jason, the bleeding has stopped for now.
"No sir, my mom’s a nurse, she can take care of it," Jason says trying to wipe off the blood from his hands.
"Well let’s get ya’ll out through the window and see if we can get ya truck out."
I smile kindly at the officer, "Thank you so much."
Jason climbs out of the window first and then reaches his hand out for me, I climb out and take his hand gratefully.
"Thank you," I say to him in a whisper.
I feel my phone going off in my pocket and pull it out to see it’s Tom.
"Jason, it’s your dad" I say answering it.
"Where the hell are you guys?You said you’d be back 45 minutes ago. Malcolm’s here waiting too," he snaps sounding irritated
"Shit, it’s been that long?" I say breathless, Jason looks at me and mouths "jealous". I smirk and explain what happened to Tom.
"We're on our way. How much juice is on your phone? I’m following your location to get to you," he says, I can hear Malcolm in the background telling him "I’m coming with you" as they get in the car.
"How are you following my location?" I ask.
"That’s not important. Do you know where you are?" he commands. I look around at the small roads and trees.
"We’re on the same road as the house, just keep driving straight," I say.
"We'll see you soon," he says as the engine revs and then he hangs up.
Jason is already staring at me when I look up at him.
"How is your dad tracking my location?...Why is he?" I ask him
He shrugs his shoulders, "I’m not sure."
We stand on the side of the road as the 2 other police trucks show up and start to pull Jason’s truck out of the ditch. In not too long Tom and Malcom are running over to us. Tom reaches me first and grabs my face, turning it side to side looking for any marks.
"Where’s the blood from?" he asks sounding panicked.
"It’s mine," Jason says sounding confused.
Tom looks at me once more and then turns to Jason. As soon as he side steps, Malcolm is in my view. I throw my arms around him and he holds me tight.
"I’m so glad you’re okay. I don’t know what I would do if I lost you," He grabs my face in his hands, kissing my forehead, my eyes, my nose and then my mouth...just like Jason did.
"Did you see what ran out?" he asks, everyone looks at us, cops included.
"Deer," we both say at once.
After about two hours, the cops finally get the truck out of the ditch. And after all of that, only one dent.
"Let’s go home," Tom says grabbing my hand.
"Actually I’m gonna drive Jason’s truck. He shouldn’t be driving," I say.
Jason smiles at me about to open his mouth and say he’s fine but I glare at him. I’m not getting in Tom’s car.
"Well, at least if you’re driving I know you guys will be safe," Tom says.
"I’ll come with you too," offers Malcolm.
"Actually, I was gonna lay down. My head’s killing me," Jason says.
"It’s only a few minutes down the road, we will all get there at the same time," I say.
I climb into the truck and Jason climbs in from the other side. While Im adjusting the petals for me to reach, Jason lays his head in my lap and curls his long body to fit on the rest of the seat.
"I saw him kiss you the same way I did," he says quietly.
"Just relax, we will be home soon," I say.
He pulls my right hand down from the steering wheel and kisses my palm.
"You made your mark...here is mine," he says, pressing his thumb where his lips were.
And I can’t help but think of what Malcolm said before I moved in: " You’re gonna regret moving into that house".