Yelling at Trees: Part 1

When all else fails, put the fuckers in a car for ten minutes. Things are sure to get ugly.

Part of the Big Scary Fantasy Project with 10 Different Working Titles. I want this section to stand on its own, though.

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          “Can we go to Starbuck’s first?”

                “Max, we are…” Della attempted to turn around to face him but the seatbelt jerked her back down. Her attempts at drama thwarted she started again, louder.

                “Max! We are going to explore the wonders of nature and you want to go support Big Business first! Here I thought you were a caring soul,” She managed to turn around enough this time that he could see her clutching at imaginary pearls.

                He rolled his eyes. “We can go to Bernie’s, then, or go ask at someone’s house. I don’t care, but I need a cup of coffee.”

                “You know caffeine dependency isn’t very healthy, Mr. Doctor,” She waved a finger at him.

                “Della?” Max said, grinning so hard it hurt.

                “Yes?” Her voice was still filled with saccharine.

                “Remember when you asked why we don’t hang out more? This is why. You drag me out of bad at the ass-crack of dawn and when I just ask for a little bit of coffee to make this morning somewhat tolerable you decide it’s time for you to criticize,” He tried to hold eye contact with her, bending his neck at an awkward angle, but she turned to face the window.

She muttered something that may have been, “I was just joking…” or may have been a short string of Welsh oaths. Silence descended over the car, but Max could swear he hear Sonia’s hands tightening on the steering wheel.

“Wow,” Joe eventually blinked to life next to him, “I think that’s the most I’ve ever heard you talk in one go. That, like, wasn’t about school or witchcraft, or whatever.”

“So?” Max snapped.

“Um, so…” Joe looked around as if trying to find an exit, “So I think coffee sounds like a wonderful idea. The trees aren’t going anywhere, so let’s go and sit down at Bernie’s until we’re all friends again.”

“Sounds great!” Sonia said, swerving into a blessedly empty turn lane, “What was your name again? I don’t think we’ve met before?”

“Joe, and… oh, wait. Let me get this out of the way,” He straightened up in his seat, “I’m an empathy, I feel the emotions of people around me, so I might, you know, not do so well if we all get upset.”

“Sorry,” Della said. Her eyes hadn’t moved. It was possible that she wasn’t staring out the window at all, but at the glass itself.

“It’s okay Deli, it’s not like I can’t deal with a couple tense moments, either. Anyway,” He turned back to Sonia, “I’ve also never dealt with magic before in my life and am kind of a complete idiot about it, so if I say anything dumb or rude, I’m sorry.”

“So, is that you’re whole sales pitch?” Sonia grinned.

“Yep, so let’s hear yours.”

“Well… let’s see. I’m Sonia, I’m a junior. I’m not apprenticing, but magic is really important to my family, so I might be able to help you if you don’t understand things… and…” She paused long enough for Joe to ask, “Did you say Sonia?”

“Yeah! Is there something…?”

“Oh, wow! It’s cool to finally meet you, Della’s…” Della broke eye contact with the window to shoot him a panicked stare.

“Oh, was I not supposed to know?” By the sound of Joe’s voice, halting and declining to a whisper, he had figured out the answer by the time he finished his question.

Sonia careened into Bernie’s parking lot and slammed on the brakes, “Della, how could you just…” she started screaming. Joe took that as his cue to evacuate the car, and Max quickly followed suit.

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