a The Fast and the Furious story
by dirty diana
beta love to sf fan.
She was the last to leave Los Angeles. Letty was gone, on the first bus she could catch headed south, with no words and no explanations, like not everybody knew where she was going. Leon and Vince both did their ten months, quietly, told Mia that she didn't have to visit so often. But she did anyway. Leon called her the once, to come pick him up. Vince's ten months stretched to eleven, for what, she didn't know, and then he called her too, and then the both of them left together, leaving no trace except a note on the kitchen table, weighted down by twenty dollar bills.
Dom had been gone for nearly two years. Mia was the last one left.
It didn't take her long to rent the house, to four quiet second years who paid two months in advance. It didn't take her long to pack. She filled up a small leather suitcase, then threw the rest of her stuff into the backseat of her car, pushing the piled clothing to one side, where they hid the folded road maps.
She pretends that she doesn't know where she's going before she starts driving, but she does. The longest trip she's ever taken before this was a weekend up to San Francisco with some friends. This is further by a factor she can't even calculate, and she's looking forward to being nowhere in particular.
Her Honda with the rebuilt engine moans underneath her. Mia drives without thinking.
The freeways are all the same, motels and all-night diners all the same. Mia likes that. She orders the same thing every morning, scrambled eggs and bacon. Drinks down her coffee, starts moving again.
The waitresses talk slower than she's used to, but move faster. It's summer, hot everywhere. She only notices she's reached Miami when signs threaten the end of the interstate.
The garage has no name, or at least no sign to tell of it, just a short, square building with a blue Camaro pulled onto the tarmac. Inside, there's hardly any light, and Mia wonders how he gets anything done, almost tripping over a hubcap before calling his name.
Brian's face when she sees him is dirty, his cheek smeared with engine grease.
"Hey," he says.
"Hey," Mia answers, and she's glad he doesn't say anything else. Doesn't ask her anything. Like what she's doing there, or long she's staying. She doesn't know.
Her fingers grip the car keys that are still in her hand. Warm metal bruises her skin.
Brian's still staring at her. She'd forgotten that about him, how long he could look at you without flinching. She'd forgotten that seamless shade of blue.
"Pass me the wrench," he says now.
She tucks the keys into a pocket of her jeans, then reaches for the wrench, heavy in her hand and hands it to him.
"Thanks," he says, and disappears again underneath the chassis of a truck.
Mia waits, listening to the silence, the rattles and clicks as he works.
When he slides out again, his eyes are wide like he's surprised to still see her standing there. He hands her the wrench, then stands up, still looking at her.
"You need a place to stay?" he asks her.
He just looks at her. "You sure?"
"Maybe," she admits, and he nods.
He wipes his hands on his blue jeans. "Dinner?"
"Would be nice."
She follows him out.
Brian's boat is cool, the sea breeze sweeping through as he opens the windows. The beer is ice-cold. She drinks it down, sitting with knees tucked neatly together on his bed.
"I sent you a letter," he says.
"I know," she answers. She remembers taking it out of the mailbox, resisting the urge to rip it into tiny paper pieces. "That's how I knew where to look for you."
He nods. He's waiting for something.
"I'm still thinking about it," she tells him, and he nods again, like it's what he expected.
Forgiving Brian won't be that easy.
When she meets Roman, he doesn't seem any more surprised to see her than Brian was. He doesn't seem to notice her at all, talking to Brian about rims and gears like she's not even there. All of Brian's friends seem to take her in their stride, and Mia doesn't know what to make of that.
Brian empties a drawer for her, and she takes some of her clothes out of the backseat of her car. Folds them neatly, puts them up.
"I'm not staying," she tells him.
Brian tilts his head at her and frowns, like he didn't think she was anyway. The next Saturday is race night. Mia doesn't go. Brian comes back late, smelling of cigarettes and tequila, and grabs a pillow from beside her before he lies down on the floor.
Mia pretends not to hear him. But he keeps her awake for hours, the sound of familiar, even breathing.
Brian lets her drive his car. He takes one look at hers, says it needs a new paint job, and then takes the keys. She doesn't see it for days. She'd liked the white. It was soothing.
She drives Brian's car to nowhere and back again, up and down the coast, watching the boats.
It's another warm Saturday night when she lets Brian fuck her. Mia hadn't been thinking about it, not really. But she was sitting on the bed, half-dressed, damp from a lukewarm shower, and Brian was talking to her about something with his hand on her knee.
"I missed you," she says suddenly, and it's not forgiveness but it's close. She's not even sure if it's true. But she's tired of being the last one left.
Brian smiles, and it's blindingly bright. It feels good when he kisses her, and Mia closes her eyes.
After that things are still the same, with Brian and Roman and their friends and their garage. Beer and cars and sunshine that's broken every day by a thunderstorm. Mia doesn't know what she expected. But it's August, and school is starting soon.
One afternoon, as the rain slows and falls into the sea, she lets Rome take her to the beach. She leans against the railing, watching the waves stretching below her, stormy and grey. Her jacket and skirt cling to her, but she hardly cares.
"I think he fucked my brother," she says.
It sounds ridiculous. She hadn't even known she'd still been thinking about it.
Rome doesn't seem surprised, just grimaces slightly. "Brian gets distracted."
She nods, eats the ice cream Rome bought her, sugar cone crumbling all over her hands. "He wouldn't even notice if I left."
Rome is silent for a moment, noisily slurping the last of his two scoops. "Brian would notice."
Mia shakes her head. She thinks about her car, road maps still folded neatly in the backseat. She thinks about strips of endless interstate, appearing and disappearing on the horizon. "He wouldn't."
"He would." Rome is watching her hands. Absently, she hands him the last of her ice cream. "He's glad you're here. You're his girl."
There's a note in his voice that Mia can't place. Sometimes Rome won't stop talking.
"If I made a move on you right now, that would piss him off bad."
"Yeah?" The wind whips her damp hair around her face, and absently she pushes it back. She's suddenly aware of how close he's standing to her. "You gonna do it?"
He cocks his head at her. His smile is bright. "Nah. He'd kick my ass." Pause, as Rome tosses the cup into the sand. "Try to, anyway."
"Yeah?" Maybe it sounds like a dare.
"Yeah," Rome says, and then his mouth is cool against hers. He tastes like mint, like cookies and cream. Mia holds out one cupped hand to catch the rain.
Rome fucks her in his car, in the Nissan with the seat pushed back and his hand in the groove of her waist. He's slower, gentler than she expects. She can't help kissing him, over and over, mouths crushed together, wet and sweet. When she climaxes she lays her head against his chest, and thinks about staying.
One day Brian and Rome fight over her, on the dusty asphalt while she watches. Brian hits Rome in the face, hard, and there's blood and she has to look away.
"Stop it," she yells, but there's no one listening, just Rome with his dark fist held tight, trying to draw enough room to swing as Brian drags him down onto the ground.
Rome hits Brian, and then they're both laughing, breathless. Mia watches them, and then she walks away.
It's the hottest week of the year when she gets back to California, with brush fires burning up and down the coast. The cd player stops working somewhere inside Texas. She rolls down the window and turns up the radio, whatever alternative rock station is broadcasting through the flat miles of dirt, and she drives, heading home.