"We've got a bit of a dilemma," Brandon said early Thursday morning while parking in Dalton's driveway. He waited impatiently as Dalton took his time walking toward the car. Shirtless with plaid pajama pants and a bowl of cereal, Dalton locked eyes with Macy in the passenger seat before looking at Brandon. "My mom needed Macy's car this morning because hers wouldn't start," he explained. 

Dalton nodded. "So what's the problem?" 

"I gotta get her to school but still be here." 

"No problem. Just take her and come back." 

"I can skip school." Macy cut in but Brandon didn't seem to consider that idea. 

"No. I don't wanna leave you here alone with Stan," Brandon argued back at Dalton, his expression unreadable. 

"I'll be fine. Just go." Dalton took a bite of his breakfast, urging them to go ahead before wasting any more time. 

"If you guys can skip school, so I can." Macy interrupted again and Brandon finally took notice of her talking. "It's the second to last day. I don't think anyone will miss me." She listened to Brandon sigh deeply, trying to make a decision quickly. 

But the entire discussion was suspended by the sound of a loud car engine stopping alongside the curb. It was a new, black BMW X5. The windows were so dark, Macy couldn't see inside at all. Her first reaction was panic, afraid that Stan was within that darkness but it was Raine who appeared from the car, closing the door softly and locking it with two beeps. 

"New car," Dalton called out but Raine didn't answer at first. In fact, he didn't even seem to notice the three of them in the driveway until he was almost right in front of them. 

"Huh," he said, scratching the back of his head, "Oh. Yeah. New." Raine looked tired, drained, like he'd been up all night arguing with someone. 

An awkward silence followed as Raine assessed the situation. Before he could ask, Brandon explained the "Macy problem" while Macy argued that it wasn't a problem and that she was skipping school no matter what. She grabbed her purse from Brandon's car and got out to join Raine in the driveway. 

"So ..." she asked, "Whose car?" The question on all of their minds. 

"Its mine." Raine said in a depressing tone. "My dad made a ... surprise visit." 

"Oh. I'm sorry." She whispered but he smiled down at her. Still, it looked as if it took a lot of work to get that smile on his face. 

"It's okay. It's a ... nice car." 

"It's a beauty!" Dalton shouted unnecessarily loud. 

"Can we ... go for a ride?" Macy insisted and Raine nodded his head slowly, eyeing Brandon and Dalton. 

"Stan will be here in the afternoon probably." Brandon answered, "But I'm not sure ... I'm not even sure if he's coming today. And if he's bringing his ... people." Dalton snorted unnecessarily loud, another interruption, and shook his head silently. "What?"

"Oh. Nothing." He chuckled quietly and announced, "I'll be inside." No one spoke again until Dalton was inside, after his slow, deliberate movements to get there. 

"I don't trust him anymore." Brandon admitted as he stepped out of his car but Raine didn't reply. "Just don't ... I don't know." He failed to finish whatever he was about to say and followed Dalton in without another word.

The End

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