When I went to post today’s segment, I was amazed this is the tenth week of Unraveled! It’s gone by fast, at least for me. 🙂
Your feedback on the chapter length made me decide to keep it the same length – thanks for voting! (And thank you to the two people who wanted a novel each week. I wish I could write that fast!)
Without further ado…
Unraveled, Part 10
About two hours into the trip, we ran into slow traffic on the freeway.
I sighed and rested my cheek on the car door, admiring the way the light played out over the road, reflecting off the silver car next to us. I was all set to take a nap and wake up when the traffic was better, but Rory was not patient.
She let out a string of curses and started tailgating. I felt bad for the driver in front of us, a young teenager who looked panicked.
“We’re going to find another way around these losers,” said Rory. (Her actual comment was, admittedly, a little less child-friendly.)
She cut across three lanes of traffic, weaving her way through angry drivers until we got to the exit lane. Then she accelerated along the exit ramp and ran a red light.
I heard sirens, then Rory swore. I wheeled around to look out the back window. A police car was gaining on us, and I felt a leap of delight. Maybe she would drive more safely after she got a ticket. But as the police officer pulled next to us, he turned off his sirens and continued on. I stared, confused.
“What’s he doing?” asked Catherine. “I thought…”
“He’s a senseless fool,” said Rory. “I’m not a danger to anyone.”
For the first time, I found myself slightly afraid of Rory. Sure, I had been nervous this whole car ride, but I was afraid of her driving, not of her. Now, though, something seemed off about her. Maybe a mood swing, maybe something else. Maybe she was a serial killer and was trying to lure us away to brutally slaughter us. That was what I got for getting into a car with a stranger. You’re so stupid, Emma. What have your parents always told you?
Something touched my leg, and I barely kept myself from jumping. Catherine had reached her hand into the backseat and was holding a folded piece of paper. I surreptitiously grabbed it from her, fingers brushing against her warm hand. It was comforting on my aching hand. She straightened up, and I unfolded the paper, hiding it behind the pile of yarn.
You okay? You look like you’re about to pass out. R’s a bad driver, but we’re almost to Eugene. It’ll be all right. I think we should just suck it up for now, unless we want to hitchhike to Eugene. Which might be safer actually… But anyway just hang in there!
I liked how she had signed her name, too: Catherine, with a swoop to cross the T, and a perfectly curved C. I bet the teachers loved her penmanship in elementary school. If they even taught cursive anymore.
I forced myself to focus on the contents of the note. She was right; if we left Rory now we would be stranded. I didn’t really want to call my parents and ask them to come pick me up; I would lose my freedom forever. I reminded myself I would be going to college in the fall; I wasn’t clueless. Even if I was anxious about the whole shawl situation. The real question was, what wasn’t I anxious about? I was a worrier, I worried about everything.
But Catherine’s note helped calm me down.
“Can I switch the music for a while?” Catherine asked it so politely.
“Oh, fine.” Rory waved her hand at it. “Nobody appreciates my taste in music.”
“I do,” said Catherine. “Only, any music gets tiring after two hours.”
This seemed to appease Rory, and she let Catherine take control of the radio. She flipped through some different stations, except nothing good was playing at noon on a Friday for some reason. She stopped it on a station that I was pretty sure was playing bagpipe music. “Hey,” I said. “You want to use my iPod?”
“Can I?” asked Catherine.
I handed it to her. Her nails were painted a peachy pink, almost the color of natural fingernails, but I could tell it was polish. “Thanks,” she said. “I didn’t think you wanted to listen to bagpipes for three hours.”
I gave her the cord too so she could plug it into Rory’s car. She chose Adele’s new album, and I sighed when the familiar songs started playing. I could feel my blood pressure lowering, lulling me into a half-asleep state. Maybe I would be able to sleep for the rest of the ride.
I couldn’t get comfortable. Of course it was never comfortable to sleep in the car, but no matter how much I moved around, I didn’t feel relaxed. First my back ached, then my elbows hurt, then my foot fell asleep.
My hands were itching and my fingers ached, deep within the bones. I scratched my left hand absentmindedly. I fiddled with the strap of my bag, trying to distract myself from the pain. It wasn’t fading; if anything it had gotten worse since the start of our ride.
I unzipped my bag and started looking to see if I had any meds with me. Usually I carried ibuprofen, but I’d forgotten to put it in before I left. I had a change of clothes, a water bottle, my phone, and the Briars and Roses Shawl.
When my hand brushed against it, the pain in my hand didn’t go away, but I felt soothed nonetheless. It was like the shawl was calling me to it, drawing me in. It felt right to crochet some more of it. So I pulled it out of the bag and continued my row. What better way to spend the car ride? I figured.
The hook pricked my finger as I finished the row. I flinched, pulling my finger away, and watched as a bead of blood slowly welled up. Checking to see if Rory or Catherine was watching, I wiped my finger on my jeans. It was a tiny wound, I didn’t need a Band-Aid or anything, but it still stung.
I yawned. The wrap looked slightly blurry, and Adele’s voice was coming from a distance. I rested my head against the window and fell asleep within seconds.
And we’ll leave her that way until next Saturday. 🙂
Thanks for reading! I hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend. What have you been up to lately, my lovely followers? Do tell your latest crafting, writing, or adventuring!