Blue as skies in summer, pouring out exhaust, and attracting a small crowd, he’d never seen anything like it. “It’s–um.” Grant faltered, blinking at the car as it let out another huge puff of exhaust. He was tempted to ask how much Declan had paid for the thing, but ultimately decided that he didn’t want to know, just in case it was an awful lot. “Well–It’s one of a kind. I’ll give you that. ”
“I know, right?” Declan looked like he was about ready to hug the car, and Grant really hoped he’d be able to control himself. There were a lot of people looking at them now. “She’s my baby! Have you ever seen anything so wonderful as this?”
“Uh.” Grant made a sort of waving shrug gesture. Declan seemed to take that as good enough, because he nodded in agreement and turned back to look fondly at the car like it was a child who had just taken its first steps. Grant looked around. People were openly staring and starting to point and look concerned now.
“We should probably get out of here,” he suggested, not adding ‘Before someone thinks this thing is on fire and calls 911’
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Either Declan was oblivious to the crowd growing around them or just didn’t care. “Hey, you want to ride in her? See how she handles?”
“No thanks,” Grant said way too quickly, managing to stop himself again before he added ‘I’d like to live to see tomorrow.’ Instead he tacked on, “I don’t want to leave my car here. It’ll be a pain to come back for it.”
Declan looked a little deflated. “Oh, yeah, okay that makes sense. Next time then.”
“Mmm,” Grant answered, in what he hoped was a non-committal enough noise that Declan wouldn’t use that as a for sure agreement, but not so negative that Declan would spend the rest of the day in a funk because Grant insulted his ‘new baby.’
Grant followed Declan back to his house at a very exact distance: far enough away that if something flew off the car it wouldn’t wreck Grant’s car, but close enough that if something started to go terribly wrong, Grant could call for an ambulance immediately.
But, amazingly, the car made it all the way to Declan’s house without exploding, falling apart, or just ceasing to function all together. Grant did have to say that with the car off in the drive way, it didn’t look that bad. The paint was good and it had a nice old-school muscle car look to it—he just wished it didn’t smoke like a chimney and sound like the world was going to end anytime it was running. Maybe with a little work, it wouldn’t be that bad.
He started to feel a little guilty. Maybe he hadn’t been as fair to Declan’s first self-owned car as he should have been. “It is a cool car, Dec. Honest.”
“I’m glad you think so, man!” Declan smiled, slapping Grant on the back. “My dad says we’re going to take her up to camp this year.”
Grant’s heart dropped into his stomach. Time to start planning the debilitating stomach bug he was going to get in three weeks’ time.