The Saint(8)

By: Tiffany Reisz



“Dad, what are you doing here?” She clung to him tightly and pressed a kiss onto his cheek.

“I haven’t seen my little girl in weeks. I thought you’d want to come on a test drive with me.”

She slammed the door behind her.

“Then let’s drive.”

Her father put the car in gear and tore down the street. With her father at the wheel, the Porsche slunk through the narrow city streets with the lissome speed of a cheetah. Elle put on her seat belt without being told. Once they hit the highway her dad would rev the engine and swerve in and out of lanes. He knew where all the speed traps were and always had a radar detector with him.

“I love it.” Elle rubbed her hands over the dash.

“That’s real leather.”

“Where’d you get it?”

“Borrowed it from a friend.”

“Can I drive it?”

“You have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance?”

Elle glared at him.

“Dad.”

“Fine.”

He took the exit ramp and they changed seats in a gas station parking lot.

“Now go easy,” he warned her as she put the car in gear. “It’s got a featherlight touch. The space shuttle doesn’t accelerate this fast.”

“That’s because the space shuttle doesn’t have its engine up its ass.”

Elle put her foot on the accelerator and gunned it. Gravity introduced itself to her body, but she and her stomach ignored the pressure and didn’t back off. Her dad was a good driver. She was better. He handled a car like a NASCAR driver. All power and speed. She drove like a Formula One driver—pure feminine finesse. Porsches required finesse. The engine sat in the back, not the front, and many a new Porsche owner had wrecked their baby on the way home from the car lot because they didn’t know how to handle a rear engine.

She took the exit and soon they were careening down a scenic two-lane highway at eighty miles an hour.

Her dad sat back, looking utterly relaxed even as the trees raced by them in nothing but a brown blur.

“Keep it steady. Don’t pump the accelerator.”

“I’m not pumping. I’m pushing. I love this car.”

“I’m not keeping you from something, am I?” her dad asked.

“Nah. Just a hot date with an extremely religious, much older guy.”

“Anybody I need to kill?”

“Already been killed. I have to write a paper on Jesus.”

“Okay, you can date Jesus. But nobody else.”

“He’s about the only guy I know of who doesn’t piss me off constantly,” she said.

“You’re never going to get a boyfriend with an attitude like that so … keep that attitude.”

“I don’t want a boyfriend. Every guy at school is an asshole.”

“I’m happy to hear I don’t have to get the shotgun out yet. I kind of like the thought of you not having a boyfriend. Ever.”

“Don’t worry. No boys for me.”

“Girls?” He gave her a steady, “is there something you need to tell me” stare.

She shook her head.

“No girls, either.”

“Thank God.”

“I want a man.”

“Where’s my shotgun?”

“Right here.”

Elle gunned the engine.

“Mom said I’m not allowed to date. Ever, I think. She didn’t give me an age.”

“You know your mother. She doesn’t want you getting in trouble like she did.”

“You mean knocked up at seventeen? And whose fault is that?”

“Elle, shut up and drive.”

“Sorry, Dad.”

Elle shut her mouth and concentrated on the curves ahead. They could come out of nowhere on these back roads, but that was what made the drive so much fun. Whipping around curves, facing the unknown, looking death in the face. It was exactly like high school, except for the part about it being fun.

As they drove deeper into nowhere, Elle noticed her father studying her.

“What?” she asked. “Something wrong?”

“You look like your mother.”

“You want me to let you out right here?” She pointed at the expanse of nothingness around them.

“Your mother is a very beautiful woman.”

“She is a very crazy woman who is driving me crazy. Did I mention the crazy?”

“What’s she doing that’s so crazy these days?”

“Our priest, Father Greg, is sick. Mom worshipped him so she’s real upset.”

“Did you worship him?”

“He called me Ellen.”

Elle turned around in a driveway.

“I have homework,” she said. “I should get home.”

“No problem. Glad I got to see my baby girl.”

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