“Hey, can you give me a ride? I can’t find my brother,” I said, with a flirty smile to Randy. We were standing in the school’s two level parking garage. I didn’t have the time, nor the energy to search for someone safe any longer.
Randy raised both eyebrows in surprise. I had never approached him before. In fact, I had never been more than distantly polite to him. I knew he had observed me in both chemistry and art, the two classes we had together, but I hadn’t encouraged it. I wasn’t here for Randy. He was tall and awkwardly skinny, and not the kind you grow out of, but the kind that sticks around. He wore t-shirts and jeans every day, the kind that probably came from the Walmart $5 rack, or maybe Target if he splurged. Usually they had odd screen print graphics plastered across them. Randy had homogenous brown hair that was shaggy. No gel or hairspray had touched his virgin scalp. Nor had many combs by the look of it. He wasn’t bad looking, it was just clear he didn’t care how he looked. As far as I could tell, he kept to himself, didn’t have a lot of friends, and was harmless. But here’s the odd thing about Randy: he drove a Lamborghini. To school, every day. Who does that?
I glanced behind me, as he hesitated. No one was there. Yet. “Um, yeah, sure,” he responded.
“Great, let’s go,” I said. He shrugged, and walked towards the back of the garage. Of course he wouldn’t park in the front. Someone might damage the car. Maybe the real reason I’d asked him was because I wanted a ride in that car. As we approached the ramp, I saw the girls’ cross country team. Their bus was idling below, and they must just be back from a track meet. Crystal was on the cross country team.
“Let’s go around this way,” I said quickly, pulling Randy’s arm away from the runners. At first he resisted the change in momentum. He was stronger than he looked. We could both see his lambi just ahead. I was suggesting the long way. A parking garage does not have a scenic route. I smiled my most charming smile. He shrugged again, following me. I didn’t think any of the girls had seen us.
We skirted around the half empty lot, finally making it to the car. He unlocked it with a click of a button, and opened the passenger side door for me. “Watch out,” he said. “It opens upwards.” Randy was not a man of many words. The door sprung up under his grasp, making a spaceship-like wooshing sound. I slid into the car, and he pushed the door closed. Soon he was in the driver’s seat, starting her up.
For the first time since Crystal appeared before me in the library I felt the muscles in my shoulders relax. I wondered casually how badly she was hurt. “Where to?” Randy asked.
“Home, I guess, off of Gerard Street,” I responded, and Randy took a left away from the school. Even at the residential speed limit, I could feel the power from the engine. I leaned forward to look in the side mirror behind us. No one appeared to be following. Not that I’d expect them to. It’d be awhile before Crystal woke up. Or someone found her. I was pretty sure she wasn’t dead. I’d hit her hard, but I didn’t like to kill people. Even when someone tried to kill me first. “Turn right at the stop sign.”
We turned onto Gerard in silence, but it wasn’t the usual teenage silence, filled with awkward anticipation. It was comfortable. I was thinking my own thoughts, Randy thinking his. It was pleasant, all things considered.
“Can I ask you a favor?” I said suddenly, throwing everything out on a limb. My mind was yelling, “are you crazy?” but my gut responded, “just trust me”.
Randy glanced over, eyebrows up again, “What do you need?” He asked turning his eyes back to the road. I liked his response. Non-committal. You should never commit to something before you know what it is.
“If anyone comes around…” how should I phrase it? “asking for me, or something. You know, probably something seems fishy…”
“Yeah?” Randy said, curiously. I pointed to the house on the right hand side of the road, chain-link fence, tan stucco, nondescript.
“Just,” pause, “hurt them, I guess,” I finished, not quite sure where those words came from or what they even meant. My mind still rebelled against my trust in this guy. I had no reason for it.
He pulled up in front of the house and looked over at me. I could tell he wanted to know more. I could tell he was curious, maybe a little bit anxious, but I didn’t offer any more. I had already risked enough in talking to him at all. He made his decision, and nodded. “Okay,” he said.
I waited as the door whooshed open again. “Thanks for the ride.” I waved and jogged inside, not looking back to see him pull away.