My next driving lesson wasn't for four days. At first, Mum had been insistent that one per week would be enough for me, but I'd told her she was wrong. I wanted to pass this test first time, I said. I didn't want to spend a whole lesson recapping on what I'd done the last time, since that would be a waste of time. Besides, it was my birthday present. Having them closer together would only mean that I would have a shorter period of time to earn some money to pay for more lessons, wouldn't it?
Now, on the third day, I was glad of all of this. I wouldn't have been able to wait that long before another lesson, not now that I was desperate to speak to Mathew. He had to tell me what was going on, he had to! I wouldn't let him just walk off and leave me wondering. it was ridiculous. I wasn't just some girl, I was a real and true person. I was somebody with feelings, and I had to know what was going on.
That was why I was on the doorstep already when Jon arrived. I had a small bag in my hand, just in case things lasted longer than I was expecting. One of the things in the pocket was a small syringe, since I wouldn't be certain that Mathew wouldn't drug me again. The syringe was loaded with a special vaccine. Well, not exactly vaccine. it was the only type of medicine I ever took and was to stop me coming up in a huge rash when I reacted to something, and I was going to need it. Also hidden away in the little bag were some underpants and some clothes, just in case.
"Are you going?" said Mum, coming down the stairs. I was trying to shut the door but my skirt was caught in it.
"Yes, I'm going. I'll be back later. See you soon!" With that I was gone, and wishing I'd worn more practical shoes.
Jon was determined that I should actually drive this time. He said that I had paid for the lessons and not for a chauffeur, so he was going to teach me whether I liked it or not; moreover, my parents would be very suspicious when they took me out to practice, as they had said they would, if I could not drive them anywhere. His arguments were flawless and I had to give in, but it did mean that it was ten minutes before we were even moving, since I kept stalling the car.
"I can't do this!" I said, pressing the pedals once more and listening to the engine splutter. "For goodness sake, Jon, just drive me there. We're running out of time." He shook his head, his hair flopping over his young face. "Please?"
"Just drive. It'll be okay." But the steering wheel was too hard beneath my hands. Almost sticky. I didn't like it - it was too human, too solid, too important. Important? No, that wasn't the right word. Dominant, that was what I meant.
"I can't do this," I said. Glancing in the mirror, I saw that I was very pale and I was sweating. "I feel really ill. Honestly, Jon, I'm not just saying that. I feel awful. Please, get me out of here. I've got to see Mathew." Something about the car was disagreeing with me. I didn't know whether that was always going to happen or whether I was just having a bad day, but I knew I couldn't go on for much longer. "I'm telling you, I'm going to be sick until you take over this wheel and drive us to Mathew's house."
"You don't look great," he agreed. Taking the wheel, he pulled us over to the side of the road and switched seats with me. I sank gratefully into the passenger seat, feeling its security and the way it didn't ask anything of me. I was safer here.
Then Jon pressed down on the accelerator and we sped away, towards Mathew's house.