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Return to Love

Returning home after being away for two long years, 16 year old Joanie Caldwell learns what is truly important in life: family, friendship and love. Joanie stumbles along the path to adulthood along with her best friend Kate. She soon learns that things do change and not always for the better. One of the major changes she takes note of is her brother’s friend Eric. Will he notice her as well?

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Joanie climbed the stairs to her apartment and went in and collapsed on the couch. Her mother worked nights at the hospital, so she was getting ready to leave.

“Rough day?” Her mother asked.

“Nothin’ major, it’s just so redundant.”

Her mom smiled. “Look at the bright side you only have two and a half more years.”

“Thanks mom you really know how to cheer a girl up. Brad didn’t graduate.” Joanie retorted.

“Yes and look at Brad.” Carol said smiling as she thought of her spoiled son.

Joanie smiled. “Good point.”

“Did I hear my name?” Brad asked as he walked into the apartment.

“Yes!” Joanie said hoping up off the couch her energy renewed. “You promised to teach me to drive.” Joanie asked as she gazed at him hopefully.

“I did not!” Brad said looking to his mom for help.

Carol smiled. “Brad you’re a good driver it wouldn’t kill you to spend more time with your only sister and teach her how to drive would it?”

Brad sighed, “It might.” He murmured as Joanie grabbed his arm and dragged him back down the three flights of stairs he had just walked up.

Brad leaned against his car gasping. “We need to get an elevator.”

“You need to stop smoking, it will turn your teeth yellow and then who would want you?” Joanie said pointedly.

Brad rolled his eyes since he didn’t have enough breath for a retort.

“Get in.” Brad ordered pointing to the driver side.

Joanie squealed and climbed in quickly, Brad grumbling climbed in the other side. Joanie frowned as she noticed she was practically in the backseat. “How do you move the seat up?” Joanie asked as she felt around the bottom of the seat for the lever and moved it closer. “Why are there three pedals when I only have two feet?” Joanie stated looking under the dash and frowning.

“We haven’t gotten to that part of the training yet. Now be quiet and listen.” Brad said as he started pointing to the various instruments on the dashboard and explaining in great detail how they worked and what they were for.


Half an hour later


“Are you going to give me the keys or not?” Joanie demanded, wondering how he knew so much about cars but yet flunked out of school.

Brad sighed reluctantly pulling the keys out of his pocket. He said a quick prayer before handing them to his sister.

Joanie grabbed the keys and excitedly put them in the ignition and turned the key.

The engine struggled desperately to turn over and then nothing. Frowning Joanie tried it again, nothing. Joanie’s head fell forward in despair engaging the horn.

“Out!” Brad yelled losing his patience quickly.

Joanie and Brad changed places and Brad sighed sinking down into the familiar seat. He twisted around to put his legs in and cried out as his knees hit the dashboard.

“Rule number 27: adjust your seat before you get in.” Joanie quipped sarcastically as Brad glared at her. She watched as he adjusted his seat grumbling.

“Ok, now watch my feet. You have to give it some gas, push the clutch down, hold the brake down with your right foot, turn the key in the ignition and shift the gear into reverse. It’s that easy.” Brad said moving all his limbs at the same time as the car started up and slid smoothly out of the parking spot.

“Right.” Joanie muttered.

Brad drove to a nearby factory, so Joanie could drive around the empty parking lot. “So you don’t endanger anyone.” Brad explained their location as they once again switched seats.

Joanie hopped out of the car thankful Brad had left the car running. Ok, Joanie thought, was it clutch, brake, gas, shift, or brake, clutch, shift, gas?

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