We were crammed in the front seat, Hobbes leaning back against the console. Lyre jabbed him in the side every now and then when she turned the wheel. I tried to scoot as close to the passenger door as I could, to give my twin more room. The awkward middle seat was uncomfortable, I knew, and I dreaded my alternate weeks in it. ”Lyre. Can we use Tobie when we get home? Please.” He shouted over the din. Our sister turned the music down and tried her best to shush the carful of children.
“What do you two need him –” she broke off, drowned out by Bertrand and Luther, fighting in the backseat. “Shut up!” she screamed, jamming her elbow into his ribs as she turned around. “What, Hobbes? Continue,” she said in a more encouraging tone as she turned around. He was staring nervously at the road, eyes wide, hands clutching the dashboard.
“Well,” I said, “Hobbes and I need to type a project, but mom needs her computer and Holden is using dad’s.” She opened her mouth to protest, but Hobbes cut her off.
“And Bertrand says he needs his for history.” She wrinkled up her eyebrows, pursing her lips.
“Fine. Whatever. But be careful with him.”
“We will! Promise,” I assured her. She was far too attached to that silly little laptop. By that time, Bertrand and Luther had rekindled their argument, and Lyre turned the radio back up, smiling and singing along. Holden groaned from behind me. Dashiell sat in his lap, humming contentedly as he looked out the window.
“COP!” Lyre yelled suddenly. Immediately, Bertrand picked up his legs, without ceasing to yell at Luther (who continued to yell right back), and Holden shoved the giggling four-year-old onto the floorboard. Hobbes rolled his eyes as she waved cheerfully at the passing cruiser. “Okay. Coast is clear.” Holden pulled Dashiell back up, rebuckling them both together.
“Hey, Hobbes,” I whispered. “Let’s mess with her.”
“Okay. How? With Tobie, you mean? I’m game.”
“Sweet. Okay, but I’m still not sure what we should do.”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Let’s just focus on Crazy Eyes’ damn paper.” I frowned.
“Ugh. Don’t remind me, Hobbes. Just don’t remind me.” He laughed. This seemed to unnerve Lyre, who had stopped singing minutes before, and was observing us from the corner of her eye.
“What are you two conspiring about? You better not mess with my car.” Hobbes and I tried to look innocently confused at her accusation.
“Jesus. Leave us alone. We wouldn’t touch your precious ‘Tweeker.’ Paranoid.”
“I don’t understand why you always assume we’re trying to antagonize you,” I added.
“Really. It’s as if you think our entire lives revolve around you and making you mad.”
She seemed satisfied by this, and squealed gleefully as the song changed. “I love this song! Actually, I love Paolo Nutini, but this song is my favorite.”
“Thanks for sharing,” Bertrand called from the back seat. She ignored him.
“Shut up, smartass,” Holden said, trying not to smile and failing. Bertrand grinned back. Lyre turned sharply into our driveway, throwing us all to the right. “Lyre. Why do you do this to us? Every time,” Holden began in a resigned voice.
“I like turns. I’m a very good driver. I just like turns.”
“Whatever.” By the time everyone had disentangled themselves from each other, Lyre had parked the car.
“Everyone OUT and get your STUFF out of my CAR, please,” she yelled from the front door. As soon as she managed to coerce the reluctant door to unlock, three dogs came flying out, barking and jumping. Paracelsus, her pit bull, bowled Bertrand over in an attempt to coat him in slobber and Hobbes and I took our chance at escape. We had barricaded ourselves in our room with our sister’s beloved laptop before the others had finished collecting the escaped dogs.