FOURMature

Somewhere between leaving the gas station and finishing off another box full of food, Hansen said in an annoyed voice, "You forgot to fill the tank, didn't you, Parker?"

I winced and looked at the gauge. The little needle pointed to E.

"I didn't forget," I answered calmly.

Hansen laughed. "What were you doing? You've been really distracted lately. Are you seeing someone?"

Beside me, Charlotte coughed.

"No," I said.

I was a shitty friend.

"Stop at the next gas station," Perry said. "I'll fill the tank and you can get the food. And Charlotte can call that secret boyfriend of hers to tell him she won't be around for a hook up tonight."

I sighed. I had to do this now, or I was going to feel guilty this entire trip. Slowly, I eased the car off the road and cut the engine, then I turned to look at Hansen; his face was full of concern.

"Hey, what's up, man? What are you doing? Did the car break down already."

"The car's fine," I told him. My eyes slid to Charlotte, who looked panicked. "I just need to talk to you about something."

"Now?" Hansen asked. "We're on a schedule, Parker. Tell me when we get to New York."

I gripped the steering wheel. He was right; it could wait. So I put my foot on the gap, and before I even had time to push the car forward and back onto the road, Charlotte spoke.

"I slept with Parker."

There was silence, then the back door opened and shut. Hansen was outside, along the road, his hands on the hood of the car, and his expression twisted. He was angrier than I'd ever seen him, and he had every right to be.

Then he turned and started walking.

Why didn't you stay in the car, Perry?

The End

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