Runaways: Chapter Two

Taylor had just finished packing when his mom called him.

"Taylor! What are you doing?" His mother, Lini, yelled.

"Uh, just getting things ready for tomorrow. Why?" Taylor was scared that Lini suspected what he was doing; he had been in his room for at least three hours straight.

"Don't question my authority! You better be down here in twenty seconds or you won't be able to leave the house for two days!"

Taylor knew she wasn't kidding, and that she might even put bars on his window. She had done that once, when Taylor and Lini made each other mad: Taylor threatened to leave, and Lini said that if she heard one noise from his room that night, she would make sure he never left his room again. Taylor thought about when he should leave as he sprinted down the stairs.

"There you are. Now get everything we need for dinner. NOW!" Lini thundered.

"You don't have to yell," Taylor's father, Harth, said quietly. "At least give him a couple seconds to move."

"Since when do you take up for that?" Lini said, her expression venomous. Taylor was often referred to as him or that.

"I don't. I just have a headache, and I don't want you yelling," Harth said as Lini rolled her eyes and turned away.

"Did you cook, or do I have to go get something?" Taylor asked tenatively, with just a hint of sarcasm: Lini almost never cooked.

"I'm tired of you and your sass! Go get dinner. It better be here in thirty minutes, or I'll make sure you never smile again."

"Okay. What does everyone want?"

"Ooh, a Double Whopper sounds good," Lini said.

"A what?"

"I forgot Burger King went out. . . Get me a FreeFreeze, a FreeWich, and FreeFries." FreeStop was the most popular fast food restaurant of its time. Partly because it had a vegan, vegetarian, and regular menu, and partly because, for a gas station and restaurant combination, the food was really good.

"Okay. Har - Dad, what do you want?" There was a very strict rule about calling Lini 'Mom' and Harth 'Dad.' Taylor never called them Mom or Dad outside of his house, and usually he didn't even call them by their names. He would just say 'them' or something similar.

"The same as your mother, but I'd like a Coke, not a FreeFreeze."

"'Kay. Bye, Mom. Bye, Dad. I'll see you later," Taylor said, hoping that his mom wouldn't change her mind about her food choice.

On his way home, Taylor decided when he was going to leave. At first he thought that he would just sneak out that night, but realized that he would get tired and have to stop and sleep, so the cops would find him quickly and he would go somewhere he never intended to go: The juvenile detention center. He soon decided that it would be best if he just pretended to go to school, and started on his way then.

Looking at his watch, he realized that he had about five minutes to get home, or he would be grounded for about a week, and there was no way he was going to put up with them for a week. Seeing a changing light that would make him late, Taylor sped up in his old red metallic Mustang and barely got through the light without a collision. It was something he had done a few times before, to avoid being late and starting a fight. He heard tires squeal, horns blaring, and, looking up, some thirty-something person giving him the finger. Taylor laughed: That insult went out years ago. Most people Taylor's age didn't even know what it meant. In fact, he never would have found out if he hadn't asked his mom what she was doing with her finger. She laughed and told him. At the time, Taylor thought it was just a word you used when you were mad, like "Dang it!" Remembering how ignorant he was at six, Taylor laughed. It felt unbelievably good, like his life was just a dream and he would wake up any minute. The good mood was ruined when Taylor saw the overgrown lawn that framed his house. Taylor brightened at the thought that, after tomorrow, he wouldn't have to look at the peeling, bleached red paint.

© Sabrina Waddell 2009





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