Grecca pulled the vintage shoe laces tight, checking to make sure the loops were even. It wasn’t just anyone in New San Diego who owned a pair of sneakers to flaunt, and she wanted to make sure everyone got an eyeful. Her father was the second wealthiest man in the city, which made Grecca the most recognizable teenager of the day.
Her life was all glitz, glamour, and trendsetting. It was a rare thing for a seventeen year old to have every major designer following her, licking up the scraps of her creativity as though starving to death.
Today’s fashion choice, a flowing azure silk blouse, contrasted with dark wash, tight-fitting spacesuit pants, and finished off with a sleek pair of vintage 2015 Nike sneakers was all meant to dazzle her friends down at her favorite hangout spot, The Menagerie.
She stood to her full five-foot, five-inch height, ran her fingers through her shoulder length, neon green highlighted blonde hair, and kissed her hand at her reflection in the mirror. She looked good.
“Jin, have the car brought around,” Grecca called to her serving man while examining her fingernails with an air of disinterest.
When the hover car pulled up at the front steps, Grecca drifted down the floating glass escalator, well aware that every paparazzi from here to Old London was flashing photos of her elegant descent.
Once inside the car, Grecca leaned back against the plush seat and uttered the name of the posh little cafe downtown. “Oh, and take the new road, driver.”
“But, miss, that road is dangerous. It’s only meant for the updated model of Thunderbird and other S5mil types.”
“Are you arguing with me? I’ll have you fired. Drivers are a dollar a dozen.”
“No, miss, but–”
“Listen,” she leaned forward and read the classically dressed chauffeur’s name off the glowing panel in the front of the hover car, “Ariston. I don’t take orders from lowly car drivers who aren’t smart enough to get a real job. All you are paid to do is drive, so shut it and drive.”
She watched him clamp his lips together, a great frown creasing his expressive brow. But he didn’t say anything in reply. He just turned around and pressed the button to start the super silent engine. The car rose six inches off the rubberized black lane, asphalt having been replaced one-hundred sixty years before either of them had been born.
Grecca fell back against the seat, her dramatic sigh breathed a touch louder than necessary to make sure the driver would hear her irritation. She grinned when his shoulders twitched up.
Ariston’s voice startled Grecca from studying her lips in her holo-compact mirror. She glared at his eyes reflected in the rearview mirror, but said nothing.
“Miss Phoenician, please. A big part of my job is your safety. The Loop is a dangerous road as it is, but taking an earlier model vehicle on it is practically suicide. We could lose contact with the surface. Not to mention all the echoheads who are too stupid to take it easy.”
Grecca pretended to ignore his words, but she didn’t miss anything he said. The problem was she wanted that rush. She hoped for it, the possibility of death coming her way. Maybe, she thought, I’m one of those brainless echoheads. “Just drive.”
“Fine, but if anything happens, you’re taking full responsibility.” He stopped the Thunderbird S4.8mil in the middle of the busy road, other hover cars racing past, their automatic sensor horns blaring in protest as the air they displaced rocked the dangerously parked car.
“What are you doing?” Grecca screamed at Ariston.
“I’m letting you drive. Climb on up here and take us on the Loop. If my life is going to be in your hands, you should be behind the wheel.”
She stared at him in denial. He stared right back with his steely gaze fixed.
“I–I can’t,” she sputtered.
“Then I suppose we’ll be staying right here.”
The paparazzi caught up, halting all around. The glaring flashes of their finger cams worked to snap Grecca out of her shocked stupor. She reached forward and gave Ariston’s shoulder a hard push, knocking him back into the passenger seat where he’d moved after stopping the car. “Move over.”
“Have you ever done this?”
“What? Drive?” She asked. He nodded. “No, but I suppose today’s as good a day as any.”
He reached over her, and she jerked back in the seat.
“Seat belt,” he said and pressed the button sending the strap flying across her body.
She relaxed, placing her hands on the steering controls. “What do I do now?”
“Press the start button and go. Your foot still controls the speed in this model. It’s in the classic style. Gives the driver more control.”
“Shut up. I really don’t care.”
“Relax, Miss Phoenician. It’s not that difficult.”
“I am relaxed.” She said, though obvious to herself and anyone else who could see her tense shoulders and furrowed brow that she was not.
Ariston strapped on his seat belt as soon as Grecca pressed the button. Both individuals were slammed backward into their seats the second Grecca’s foot pressed the pedal.
“Easy,” Ariston said in a soft voice.
Grecca screamed as the car sped forward, almost out of control as far as she was concerned.
“Grecca! Eyes on the road!” Ariston yelled a second too late . . . or too soon.
Grecca froze and snapped her eyes shut. Just before they slammed into the wall, the engines cut, and the hover car fell the six inches onto the rubber beneath, bouncing and skidding to a halt, mere centimeters from the side wall. Several other hover cars flew past, horns blaring.
Grecca opened her eyes and saw Ariston’s hand on the ignition. She looked around and laughed. “The loop isn’t so bad. Let’s do it again.”
Next Up: Grecca in the News
Copyright 2015 Rachael Ritchey All Rights Reserved
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