“How long have we been driving?” Maks groaned, shifting restlessly in the passenger seat.
Meryl glanced down at the car’s digital clock, irritated.
That would mark the fourth time Maks had asked that question in the previous 30 minutes.
“We’ve been driving for about six hours now,” Meryl replied, annoyance seeping into her tone.
“We’ve still got another 2 full days of driving to go. And no, that does not include rest stops, overnight hotel stays, or any other kind of breaks. That’s just straight-on driving time.”
Another frustrated moan from next to her.
“Babe, you’re taking forever. And isn’t it dangerous to drive in this kind of torrential downpour? I’m exhausted already.” She saw his frown from the corner of her eye.
He did not have the right to complain to her now.
Not when the only time he had bothered to contact her was when he needed a favor done; not when she was driving her car to transport him to one of his engagements across the country, even through the pouring rain.
He did not have the right to whine about the trip’s duration because he wasn’t even driving!
Frick, he hadn’t even thanked her for agreeing to do this godforsaken task in the first place!
So no, he was not about to get away with his incessant whining.
Meryl snapped her head towards her ex, fixing him with an icy glare.
She quickly turned her eyes back to the road ahead, slowing the car down for a stop sign.
“First of all, Maksim, I’m not your ‘babe.’”
She ignored the flash of hurt in his eyes and raved on.
“Second of all, you have every right to be exhausted! What a hard job you have, laying down and changing the radio station every now and then. It must be so difficult having the liberty to close your eyes whenever you feel like it. Much harder than a task like driving the fricking car, for sure,” she spat, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
The entire tirade was so uncharacteristic of her that even she was temporarily stunned.
How long was THAT amount of bitterness bottled up inside?
Nine months, inner me. That’s been pent up inside for nine months.
Okay, fair enough. But now that you’re kind-of in your right mind maybe you should apologize.
Ugh, I hate it when you’re right.
That technically means ‘I hate it when I’m right’…
Take it down a notch, Plato. I’m apologizing now.
She was just about to apologize for her possible-overreaction when Maks recovered from his silence.
Apparently, he had mistaken her contemplative quietude for the silent treatment.
“The Ice Queen makes a comeback,” he snarked.
And that was the death blow to the last bit of sanity Meryl Davis had.
Meryl spun the wheel around full force and drove the car into a parking lot.
She turned off the ignition, unbuckled her seatbelt, and removed the car keys.
Maks stared at her, incredulous, as she promptly exited the car into the surrounding torrential downpour.
It took his brain a moment to kick in, but by then, Meryl had stormed halfway across the parking lot.
“What are you doing?” He called after her, and that was it for her.
Meryl didn’t know what she was doing. She’d figure out a game plan, but for now, in her fit of rage, she did know one thing.
“I’m certainly not driving you, that’s for sure!”
She spun around, angry, unconcerned by the fact that the rain and fog were now so thick it almost blocked her from seeing her car.
She watched as a silhouetted figure—Maks—exited the barely-there shadow of her car.
She could barely see him swiftly walking through the endless walls of rain to catch up to her.
His tall figure was temporarily hidden by a particularly thick tide of fog.
“Why are you being so difficult?” She heard his shouting, but she couldn’t see.
“I’m not being difficult! You’re the one that’s been complaining for the past 30 minutes!” She called out into the open, sure he could hear her from wherever he was.
“You’re this mad because I’d been complaining?” His voice was incredulous.
“No, Maks! I’m mad because you only contacted me once in the past nine months to have me do you a favor! I’m mad because whenever we have a conversation it always ends in a fight. I’m mad because I don’t even know why I agreed to do this in the first place and I’m mad because you aren’t helping me figure it out!” She shouted, her pent-up insecurities weighing heavily in the air around her.
She was thankful at that moment that she couldn’t see him.
But then, at that moment, the universe decided that it hated her.
A tidal wave of fog rolled aside, and there he was, standing before her.
Her breath caught at the sight of him amidst the mist and rain. How ironic; he looked like an absolute angel, but his demeanor had been anything but angelic.
“Меріл,” his voice cracked. “I’m so sorry that you feel that way.”
She said nothing; she knew her voice would betray her if she spoke. She let him go on.
“I’m so sorry… I chose to ask you in particular because I desperately wanted to reconnect with you. You’re the only woman I’d give the world to. You are my world. You’re the only woman I will ever love—I knew from the moment we met that you were it for me. All I wanted from this whole thing was for us to reconnect—I’ll do whatever it takes to get you back to me.”
And there it was; the one thing she’d ever wanted to hear.
She wasn’t ready to take him back. Not yet. But for now, it was enough.
“You can’t ‘get me back.’ I never truly left,” she whispered.
He took a step towards her, a sound that fell somewhere between a sigh and a laugh escaped his lips.
He moved a hand up to rest on her cheek. She caught his hand in mid-air. “Not yet,” she sighed.
Instead of the disappointed grimace she’d been expecting to see, he smiled softly at her.
Then, in a move that made her fall in love with him all over again, he pressed a quick kiss to the tip of her nose.
“I’d been expecting that,” he chuckled. “We can work our way back to where we were, Меріл. In the meantime, though, let’s continue the drive. We still have two full days of driving, you know, and that doesn’t even include overnight hotel stays or eating at diners.”
She erupted in amused laughter. “Really? Gosh, I’m exhausted already.”
He rolled his eyes, chuckling, “It’s a good thing I’m driving, then! Now, let’s go.”
Meryl’s eyes widened in pleased surprise, but she simply nodded, and the two found their way through the mist to the car.
((icedanceroyalty Kimmy, I updated TJOU! This one’s dedicated to you, girl. Love always! ))