Mark was glad his uncle only lived a quarter of a mile down the road. It was hard to steal a car when you didn’t have a car to get you there in the first place. Well, he wasn’t really stealing it, just borrowing it for the weekend. His uncle wouldn’t even know it was gone anyway. It was a one of those classic cars that people collect, but don’t drive.
Mark walked down the long dirt driveway, typical of small towns in the south, and hoped the coyotes he heard last night had moved on. He swallowed and reminded himself why he was here.
Shannon. The most gorgeous girl in his high school. She’d moved from Manhattan in the middle of the school year, and Mark instantly fell in love. Flawless skin, smooth dark hair, cherry red lipstick, and a fashion sense the bumpkins around her could only dream of: she was like a girl out of a TV show.
Unfortunately, Shannon didn’t seem to think as highly of him as he did of her. She pretty much ignored him for most of the school year. But all that changed when she told him she’d go out with anyone in this town who was romantic enough to take her on a surprise beach getaway for a weekend. Well, she hadn’t really told him. He was one of the many people that sat at Shannon’s lunch table to listen to her cute northern accent and fawning over her worldly knowledge, but he was the only one who actually planned a beach trip for the weekend.
He told her about it at school that morning, palms wet, insides quivering. When she said she’d go with him, it was all he could do not to jump up and down. He told her he’d pick her up tonight. The only problem was, even though he was 16, he didn’t have a car. His parents wanted him to save up and buy it himself.
So here he was, sneaking to the shed where his uncle kept the teal 1969 Lincoln Continental.
He was almost to the shed when a burst of music came from his pocked. He fumbled to turn it off as the dogs barked. It was Shannon. She was probably wondering why he wasn’t there to pick her up yet. I’m coming, baby, I promise. Mark hit the end call button to end the noise. Sorry.
Mark looked up from the phone to find a bulky shadow racing toward him. His panicked mind told him it was a coyote, but the shape was all wrong. And it was squawking.
It wasn’t until the thing was biting Mark’s leg with its beak that he realized it was a turkey. When did his uncle get a turkey?
Mark jumped into the shed and shut the door before the turkey followed. Mark rubbed his sore leg and told himself it would all be worth it once he had Shannon in the car beside him. He made a playlist of romantic oldies for them to listen to on his IPod, and with all the hours he’d have her alone in the car, he was sure he’d work up the courage to tell her how he felt.
He grabbed the key from its hiding place in the gas tank and cranked the car. Mission successful!
Mark imagined Shannon sitting next to him the whole way to her house. When he pulled into her driveway, he was surprised to see two girls standing beside Shannon on her porch. They both had suitcases in their hand.
“I can’t wait to feel the sand between my toes,” Shannon said, handing Mark her suitcase.
“Me too!” her friends squealed.
“Uh, Shannon,” Mark said, struggling with the large suitcase. “I thought it was just going to be me and you.”
“Of course not silly.” Shannon flounced to the car. “How boring would that be?” She settled herself in the back seat and her friends sat on either side of her.
Mark spent the drive listening to Katy Perry and staring at the empty passenger seat beside him.