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Road Rage

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Despite being a full time employee at "Street Smart Driving", Erwin doesn't have the benefit of a Monday-Friday, 9-5 work week. His schedule is entirely dependent on how many students get booked with him, and normally the number is quite high. Erwin is an excellent instructor, or so the rumours say. Most parents come in with their trembling, pimple-faced teens, specifically requesting lessons with Mr. Smith. Some times, it's flattering. Most of the time, however, it's exhausting.

Erwin prides himself on being able to stay calm throughout the terror of new drivers being in control of the car and ultimately, his life. He has had a few close shaves in the past, but after a few moments on the side of the road with the four-ways on, Erwin is able to coax the students back into driving. Only once has he ever had to switch places with a student and drive them back home. The girl returned to lessons the following week and in the end, passed her driving exam thanks to Erwin's help.

Today is a particularly chilly October morning as Erwin drives to his only lesson of the day. The car putters along happily, wearing it's big stupid "student driver" sign on its roof. Erwin is aware of the other drivers on the road that give him extra room as he drives by, and deep down he's thankful for it, as it gets him to his destination faster. However, it doesn't stop the embarrasment of being seen in such an obnoxious thing. Of course, he could use his own vehicle for the lessons, but no one in their right mind would trade an instructor's car with an extra set of brakes on the passenger's side for their own unscathed car.

Erwin pulls up in front of the house. He checks the gold-plated numbers above the garage, making sure they matched with the address scrawled out on his instructor's sheet clamped to his clipboard. With a sigh of relief, Erwin leans back in his seat, surveying the pale brick and clean window panes of the house before him as he waits for his student. It was a nice house; certainly a bit newer than the one he grew up in. There are vines growing up the side of the house, browning with the cold weather. There's a white bench on the front porch, more for show than actual sitting, Erwin presumes. 

Suddenly the front door opens, and a small teen jumps down the porch steps and makes his way towards the car. He's wearing an expensive-looking army green coat, with mixed grey fur around the hood. He's wearing black skinny jeans too, and ratty old Converse sneakers. When he gets closer, Erwin can see the teen looks obviously uninterested. Erwin sighs, turns off the engine, then steps out of the car.

"Hi," he offers, when the boy gets within earshot. Standing, Erwin notices the kid's meager height. Damn, he really is small. "I'm Erwin." He extends a hand, which the teen looks at with a slight grimace, before taking it in a firm handshake.

"Levi," he says, and his voice is surprisingly lower than Erwin had suspected. "Let's just get this over with."

"Of course," Erwin stammers, though he doesn't hand over the keys just yet. He hurries over to the passenger side, and clambers in just as Levi is adjusting the seat and steering wheel. "There's just one thing --" the blond fumbles with his clipboard before handing it over to Levi. He retrieves a pen from his pocket and offers it as well. "I just need your signature and inital, so we can count the lesson hours."

"I know," Levi replies flatly, signing with a flourish. "I've done this before."

"Oh?"

Levi holds the pen and clipboard for Erwin to take. "Failed the driving exam twice. Fuckers are making me redo lessons."

Erwin hands over the keys, and it almost feels like a death wish. "Third time's a charm," he offers, and Levi snorts as he starts the engine. Erwin buckles his seatbelt with sweaty palms.

"I hope so," Levi mutters, pulling out a small glasses case from his coat pocket. He quickly slides on a pair of thick-rimmed glasses, pushing his black fringe out of the way. He quickly checks his reflection in the rearview mirror before tossing the case in the back seat. "Don't let me forget that," he says, then shifts the car into drive.

The car takes off suddenly and Erwin is thrown back into his seat. His stomach feels like it's fallen out of the car completely, and his breath is sucked away from his lungs. Levi flicks on his turn signal, rolling through a stop sign as they make a right turn out of the neighbourhood.

"Holy shit," Erwin breathes, looking down at his instructing sheet. His toes are curled tightly in his shoes, the brake pedal by his feet long forgotten. "You rolled that stop sign."

"Sorry," Levi says, without a hint of remorse in his voice.

"Just... Don't do it again."

"I'll try not to."

Erwin takes a quick breath before glancing back down at his clipboard. "We'll just work on overall skill today, then... We'll fine-tune whatever needs work in future lessons." Levi doesn't say anything, just continues driving down the stretch of road, bringing them closer to the city area. "So," Erwin continues, filling the silence. "We'll start by going north on Eagleson."

Levi puts his left turn signal on. "I'm on it."

He takes the car into the left lane after a half-assed shoulder check. Once in the passing lane, he floors the accelerator, sending them flying down the road once more.

What am I doing with my life.


 

The entire 2hr lesson was abysmal. Levi was almost always over the speed limit, and never made a full stop unless Erwin forced it by slamming down on his set of brakes. Levi couldn't even park in an empty lot, nor could he grasp the concept of a three-point turn. He even almost hit a poor woman crossing the road, with the excuse of "She was too slow" and "I could've driven around her."

"Well," Erwin manages as Levi pulls up in front of his house. "We have a lot of work to do."

"Great," Levi replies, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

"I made a little list of stuff you can work on," the blond offers, holding out a sheet of paper to Levi. He takes it and snorts.

"Little? You wrote a goddamn Bible." There is silence for a few moments before Levi cuts the engine and tosses the keys to Erwin. "I'll see you next week," he offers, his voice a bit softer. He climbs out of the car and Erwin stops him just before he can shut the door.

"You know how to drive," he says, and Levi's eyebrows quirk up slightly. "It's just the laws you seem to be unaware of."

Levi laughs quietly, looking down at Erwin. "I'm aware of them," he smirks before slamming the car door and walking back inside his house. Erwin watches him until he's out of view, then immediately switches to the driver's side. He curses under his breath as he gets stuck halfway into the car, his legs jammed painfully between the steering wheel and the seat that Levi had left adjusted to his height. After readjusting almost everything in the car, Erwin drives away without sparing a glance behind him.

Erwin parks the instructor car back at the driving school, in a hurry to go back home. Shivering from the cold, he reaches into the back of the car to grab his coat and briefcase. As he pulls his coat on, he notices a small black glasses case sitting on the back seat.