Winter Rain, part 48

“This is a nice car!” she says, from the back seat, as I drop into the front. She looks around with a big smile, and buckles her seat belt.

Brennan glowers at me—a very clear, “Why the hell did you agree to bring her along?” Part of me wants to explain, to get him onside . . . but that’s not the way this works. I’m in charge. I ignore him and lean down to tie my shoes.

The engine roars to life. He guns it a few times, then slams it into reverse and we launch backward up the weed-choked drive, away from the still-closed gate. At this angle, the motion is sickening, and I push myself upright and crane around to watch the track. Keely’s smile has turned into a huge grin—but her eyes look around nervously. Gleeful, but a little terrified, too. The car almost bottoms out as we blast through the large puddle, and we leave the depression almost dry. Keely squeals with delight.

“Brennan,” I growl, not nearly as impressed. “Chill!”

He doesn’t look at me—fortunately—but does drop the speed a bit.

I hope he’s not going to be like this for the rest of the trip. I’ve already got one child to worry about. I don’t need a second.

We bounce across the rough edge of the bitumen and Brennan veers off into a flat space on the right, then pulls the wheel around in one short, smooth movement, and floors it back toward the main road. We’ve barely come to a complete stop in the whole motion.

Keely giggles again, clearly in love with Brennan’s driving.

“So, Keely,” I ask, as my stomach returns to rest, “I probably should have asked earlier, but you can get us to Torrin’s, right?”

“Oh, yeah—no problem! I’ve been there a few times. Do you want to go by good roads? Or take the scenic route?”

“Well, we need to get there as quickly as possible.”

“Oh. Scenic route it is, then,” she says, and before I can ask, she adds, “Can we stop in town for a bite, first? You guys were in such a hurry, I didn’t get to have lunch.”

I glance at Brennan, but he doesn’t even acknowledge me. Come to think of it, he hasn’t said a word to me since we left Dugan’s.

But I am getting a bit hungry. “Sure,” I reply. “You know a place?”

“Oh yeah. There’s a pub just up the road from here. Haven’t been there in a long time, but I’m pretty sure they serve lunch. Just turn left when you get out to the main road.”

I nod. “Okay with you, Brennan?”

This time he does meet my eyes, with a scowl. But he doesn’t say, “no”.

“Okay, then Keely—lead on.”

Her eyes light up and she exclaims, “Cool!

“Do you think I can get some chips with mine?”