Runaways: Chapter Six

By about six that evening, Taylor had been though five towns. He stopped at six o'clock only to grab dinner at a FreeStop and to replenish his fuel supply.

Taylor knew what he wanted before he pulled up to the window: A Road Trip Combo, which consisted of a classic burger, a refillable 15 oz. drink, and small fries. Pulling up to the I.V.S., Taylor saw an acne-faced teenage boy. "Welcome to FreeStop. May I take your order?"

"Yeah, I'd like uh. . . I'd like a Road Trip Combo, please," Taylor said, trying to play dumb in case anyone asked for a description; his parents would tell the police that he was smart. "Wait, does the price, like, include tax?"

Acne-face rolled his eyes. "Yeah, why?"

"Oh, uh, I dunno. . . 'Kay, yeah, that's what I want."

"Okay. Your total is eight fourty-two. Please drive up to the second window. Your food will be ready shortly. For convieniency, we ask that you please have your money ready. Thanks, and have a good day."

Acne-face's voice was monotone, reminding Taylor of flat soda. It was tolerable, but not for long. Taylor got lost in his thoughts while gathering his money and waiting on his food.

I wonder if Lini and Harth will even file a missing person report. Lini probably won't want to, but Harth will talk her into it. Taylor could almost hear their conversation:

"Harth, he'll come back."

"We don't know that."

"Yeah. . . But who really cares if he doesn't come back?"

"Neighbors might ask questions. If we tell them we're just waiting, that won't paint a very good picture, will it?"

"I guess not."

"Besides, if we can get him back here, you'll have an excuse to punish him."

"Yeah. Okay, Let's do this."

"Sir? Sir, your food is ready. Sir!" The waitress's voice jerked Taylor from the depths of his pool of thoughts.

"Huh? Oh, right. Here," Taylor said stupidly, handing the waitress his money.

"Thank you. Here's your food. I hope everything is satisfactory. Have a good day."

Taylor smiled in an attempt to seem more in tune with the world, but Taylor sensed that it just made him look dumber. "Thank you, ma'am."

Taylor drove off in search of a moderately nice motel. He found a good, cheap one called Poor Man's Getaway. Out front there was a sign showing a poor, ragged-looking man entering the motel and coming out looking clean and refreshed.

Taylor parked his car, got his bag out of the trunk and walked into the front lobby of the hotel. A very pretty red-haired girl looked up and smiled. "Hello! Welcome to Poor Man's Getaway."

"Thanks. Do you serve breakfast here?"

"Yes, from six to eleven. We also serve lunch and dinner. Lunch is from twelve to two, and dinner is from five to six thirty. I'll need some form of identification."

"Will my D.L. work?" Taylor asked, fishing his wallet out of his back pocket.

"Yes," Cara said, taking Taylor's driver's license. "I like the name Taylor," Cara said, looking it over. She then typed the code into a computer. Taylor was vaguely surprised to see a computer; nowadays people mainly used I.V.S.'s. When the computer accepted the code, Cara handed Taylor's D.L. back to him and asked if he'd like a smoking or non-smoking room.

"Non-smoking," Taylor said. "I like your name, too. Cara's a nice name."

Cara handed him a room card, blushing, and told him what room he was in. When Taylor picked up his bag and started to walk away, Cara said, "Wait!" Taylor turned to look at her. She hesitated, then started talking a bit too fast. "The food here isn't very good, so I was just wondering if you'd like to come have breakfast with me tomorrow."

Taylor was pleasantly surprised. "Uh, I have to leave here by eight thirty."

Cara smiled. "That's fine; my shift here starts at nine. Do you think seven thirty will be okay?"

"Sure. I'll meet you down here at seven thirty, then."

"Okay. See you, Taylor."

"Yeah. Bye, Cara."

© Sabrina Waddell 2009





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