Aaliyah held in a curse as the red eighty-seven Mazda racing beside her cut her off, clipping the right side of her hood at a dangerous angle. Her breath left her in a gasp as the car jerked, sending her straight into the car trying to pass her on the left. The windows shattered around her, sending glass spraying in every direction. Her eyes met the frightened ones of the driver next to her as he came to an abrupt halt. Smashed into the wooden totem of a street light.
Phone pinched between her ear and her shoulder Liyah let out a hiss of a laugh as she continued the process of trying to remove her week-old nail polish.
“What? You think that’s funny?” Xander huffed, disbelief clear in his tone.
Holding back a giggle at the mock annoyance in his voice she cleared her throat. “I don’t, I mean what’s funny about you losing your pants during a live stream free fall?”
“I don’t know why I talk to you,” he deadpanned.
“Because I’m your favorite,” she returned just a dryly.
“I don’t know, due to recent events Mia might have that place.”
Liyah forced out a gasp. “Lies! Would Mia have let you teach her how to snowboard on dry dirt?”
Silence greeted her over the line and she grinned triumphantly as she finally got the last smudge of purple nail polish off. “Exactly, now-”
A knock sounded at her basement room door. “Liyah? You down there?”
Liyah blinked as the vision faded. “Dom’s almost here, so unless if you want to-“
“Bye!” Xander chirped before the line went dead.
“Love you too, X,” she huffed, hanging up the phone just as the sound of the front door opening drew her attention. Footsteps sounded above her before the expected knock came.
“Liyah? You down there?” Dominic called.
The sound of her door opening and then footsteps as they took her stairs at an easy pace sounded before her older brother came into view.
He glanced around her room as if expecting to find someone else. “Mia home?”
Liyah shook her head no, idly picking up purple-tinged cotton balls from around her to throw them away.
Dom seemed to mull over his next words before speaking. “Then come out with me for a minute.”
She glanced up from her task with a frown. “You mean I finally get the house to myself and you want me to go out.”
He sent her his own frown. “I don’t like you being home alone.” Turning he made his way back up the stairs. “We’re taking the Chevelle.”
That had her moving.
Sitting in the passenger seat as Dom drove down the winding road, Liyah held back the urge to once again ask where they were going. Without touching him she wouldn’t get a precise vision, so with a repressed sigh she resigned herself to his favorite answer.
“You’ll see,” he’d said.
First, he implied he didn’t trust her home alone and now he was dragging her off to some unknown location. She tried not to tsk, spending more days than not without a chaperone and at the age of twenty-four? The idea was laughable. Though she had to admit she was curious as to the reason behind the lie and the house had been unnervingly silent without Mia or even Letty to talk to. The sound of his cell ringing drew her from her thoughts before she tuned out his conversation in favor of sending a text to the leader of her pit crew, Manny. There was a drift competition just around the corner and she wanted to make sure everything was ready.
She glanced up when the car began to slow down, taking in all the neon-lit cars, their owners, and their groupies. She rolled her eyes as one of the girls pushed up against the driver’s side door. Dom revved the engine, annoyed and everyone gave the car a wider berth.
The 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS they'd just fixed up came out better then she’d hope. Months spent in the workshop where she’d chosen working on the car over going out at night. In the end, Dominic had even let her choose the color, a dark blue with the classic black double lines down the hood. He was ready to put it on the streets she concluded as he pulled into a space beside another car, before leaving it in park. Liyah made to get out when he paused in his movements to look back at her.
"Stay in the car."
She let out a huff but obliged, returning to her phone. "Aren't you afraid I'll drive off.".
He chuckled before climbing out but, she could have sworn she’d heard him mumble, "I'm counting on it."
She went back to her phone as she waited. It wasn't until she got the feeling that she was being watched that she looked up again. She glanced over just as Dom pointed in the car's direction. The man he was talking to followed his gaze and she realized he wasn't pointing at the car but, her.
"Shit," She hissed as Dom came back over. His stride confident, a confidence he’d earned as one of the best drivers in their state along with his knowledge of cars and how they ticked. People parted ways to allow him through and he leaned down by the driver’s side window with an expectant look.
She glanced skyward before climbing into the driver’s seat, careful of the center console and her long legs. Rolling down the window she sent him a glare. "I want half.”
"Really?" He asked with a raised eyebrow, his hand coming up to rest against the door frame. "Here I was about to give you all of it."
"Wait, what?" She gaped. He was going to give her all the money when she won?
He nodded a smirk twitching the corner of his mouth.
"What do you get?" she asked dubiously.
He bent down closer to the window. "His car."
She tilted her head as she pretended to weigh her options. "Fine."
"Good, because the race is about to start," he returned, standing back to his full height.
She revved the engine and everyone around her jumped back. "Of course, it is."
"Make it a good one," he called, before disappearing into the crowd.
She bit back a reply in favor of pulling up to the starting line.
There were four other cars on the line, imports, and domestics alike. Her car seemed plain to the untrained eye, still classic in its appearance but, her brother swore by American muscle. She checked under the armrest and was met with a shiny blue metallic container. NAS.
"Aww, no faith Dom?" She murmured.
A light knock at her window caught her attention, a slow smirk formed on her lips as Tanya crouched beside her.
“Mind giving me a hand?” she asked, biting her lip and turning slightly as she pulled down the back of her tank top, her dark hair cascading over her shoulder.
Liyah licked her lips, mouth suddenly dry as she took in the familiar clear dark skin. Pinching the exposed bra clasp between her fingers, the strap unlatched easily.
“Thanks,” Tanya whispered, her voice like honey. She sent her one last flirtatious smile before positioning herself in front of the starting line.
Liyah quickly looked away checking the gage and closing the armrest as she did.
The girl raised her black bra in the air.
She kept her gaze forward listening to the other cars rev their engines. One, in particular, caught her attention and she looked over to the source, the engine standing out from the others. The owner met her gaze with a smirk and Liyah was gone, her vision clouded with the sights to come.
She blinked away the vision with a hiss and then a curse as the cars took off around her.
“Well he wanted a show,” she gritted out, shifting into gear.
The others were a few feet ahead of her as she fought to catch up. Shifting into the next gear the car took off with a roar, her adrenaline spiking with the rumble.
She easily overtook the first two cars ahead of her. The third car jerked in front of her and she eased off the throttle. She let him continue to play his game of mimicking her every move, waiting for an opening. Seeing it she feinted left and when he jerked the wheel too hard to correct it, she shifted gears and took off on his right.
Liyah grinned, she was behind the car in first place, the one from her vision. She pulled up beside him, waiting for his move. She watched his hand tighten on the steering wheel and when his car swerved towards her she down shifted, pulling the e-brake and whipping the steering wheel in the opposite direction. Her Chevy did a one-eighty and she quickly threw it in reverse, watching out for the finishing line through her rearview mirror. Kicking the car into the next gear as the man gaped at her, she flipped him off as they crossed the finish line, the rear of her Chevy crossing the line just before the front of his, beating him by a foot. She spun around at the last minute before throwing the car into park, sending the man a smirk she stepped out of the car.
She was immediately picked up and raised above someone's shoulder.
"All hail princess Liyah!" Hector shouted.
Liyah fought back a groan at the nickname. The man had coined it himself when Dom had first let her loose on the streets of L.A. at the age of fifteen.
"All hail princess Liyah!" The crowd cheered.
She let out a snort and tapped the top of his shaved head.
He looked up at her with a smile, Hector was good people, just enthusiastic.
"Put me down, you dork."
He chuckled before setting her down on the ground.
She adjusted her top where it had ridden up as she searched for Dom, finding him just in time to see his fist connect with the other driver’s face.
Liyah winced at the sound, he hadn’t held back, much.
"Watch your mouth when you’re talkin about my sister," Dom growled, his face an inch from the driver’s. The one who’d nearly killed her. Those kinds of visions still startled her but when they didn’t come to pass, she’d learned to deal with them.
"Yo! We good here?" she called drawing their attention.
Dom sent him one last glare, holding out his hand expectantly.
The man slowly reached into his pocket, pulling out a pink slip. He pushed it into Dom’s hand along with a set of keys before storming off.
Hector jogged over, handing him the money she’d won.
"Sore loser?" Liyah questioned as she leaned against the car.
Dominic let out a gruff chuckle before walking over to her. He handed her the money and she pushed it into the pocket of her leather jacket.
"Did you have a vision? You had me worried." he returned sending her a look.
"Yeah… and No I didn't" she scoffed.
"No, you didn't," he conceded ruffling her hair. "You can head out, I'll see you back at the house,” he offered.
She nodded before turning back to the car.
"Hey," he called after her.
Liyah looked back with a raised eyebrow.
"You did good princess," he teased.
"Not you too," she groaned.
"What? It's catchy," he said with a shrug, walking towards his new car.
She huffed before climbing back into the Chevy.
She took the back roads of Malibu home to Los Angeles, who knew what would pop up on the police scanners with these plates.
As she bobbed along to the radio she turned a bend, immediately she was greeted by a vision. She quickly blinked it away before jerking the wheel to the right, just missing the man sitting in the middle of the road. She let out a breath, grateful her vision had warned her in time.
“Watch it! I almost hit you!” she barked out the passenger window.
“Watch it! You almost hit me!” he yelled back before pausing. “Yeah, you had it right,” he conceded.
Liyah held back an eye roll before moving to take off when she was hit with yet another vision.
The person walking home, only to be stopped by a group of guys. They’d back him closer to the woods before attempting to rob him.
Liyah blinked at the image before looking closer at the man. Please don’t regret this, she prayed, before coming to a full stop. “Hey, you live around here?”
The man let out a snort. “Who wants to know?”
“Look, you’re clearly too drunk to drive, I can give you a lift.” She offered.
“Drunk? Who’s drunk? Are you even legal?” he asked, squinting into the darkness of the car, whatever he saw made him smirk. “Definitely legal,” He hummed.
“You know what? Never mind, good luck getting home. I’d stick to the main road if I were you,” She told him before driving off.
She wished she could say she’d done it without a backward glance but… She slowed her speed to a snail’s pace and watched as the man made the decision to walk. He made it to the intersection before pausing.
“Don’t go right, don’t go right. And he went right,” She groaned as he took the right turn down the darkened road.
“It’s not your business, you warned him,” She placated even as she rolled to a stop. She pressed her forehead to the steering wheel, the warm leather pushing almost painfully as she let out a groan.
“You’ve got too big a heart Liyah,” She told herself before reversing down the street. When she got back to the intersection she continued backwards until she was far enough past it to make the turn going forward. She caught the shadow of the group as they backed the man into the woods and she floored it. They must have thought she’d keep going, as they continued to crowd the man.
Aiming the car in their direction she turned her high beams on, beeping her horn for added effect.
The men spun around startled, they eyed the man again and she revved her engine, her hand slowly reaching for the metal chain beneath her seat. They quickly took off down the road and she let out a relieved sigh, releasing the cool metal as she watched the wary-looking man approach the car.
“Are you sure you don’t need a ride?” She questioned as he neared her passenger side.
He let out a huff as he seemed to weigh his options before climbing into the passenger seat.
“I feel like you jinxed me,” he grumbled.
“Oh, please. I warned you to stay on the main road and you took the first turn down a dark and deserted street. Where am I taking you?” she added, as she continued down the road.
“Head straight and make two lefts,” he returned, before leaning back in the seat.
“You should probably drink some water, that’s going to be a nasty hangover.” She warned, blindly reaching into the back seat for a water bottle.
The man groaned as she handed it to him, taking a large gulp. “I’m too old for hangovers.”
“Aren’t you too old to be whining?” she joked.
He gasped in mock outrage. “You take that back.”
Liyah only laughed in return.
“So, does my knight in a shining Chevy have a name?” he asked when it had gone silent in the car.
Liyah looked at him out of the corner of her eye. “You before me,” she said with a shrug.
His eyes widened slightly and she had the distinct feeling he was assessing her. His gaze broke as he looked out his window. “That’s fair,” he returned, before going silent.
“Is this a nineteen-seventy Chevy Chevelle?” he questioned, looking around at the interior of the car as though he’d just noticed it.
“Yeah, just fixed him up,” Liyah stated, unable to hide the pride in her voice.
“Him?” The man questioned, eying her dubiously.
“Definitely,” she stated adamantly, daring him to say more.
“I see,” he chuckled, smoothing a hand along the leather.
“Oh, here,” he said when they neared a humongous wrought iron gate.
She raised a brow at him. “Seriously man, just let me take you where you need to go.”
“This is it,” he insisted before leaning out the window. “J, open up the gate.”
The gate swung open without another word and she hesitantly drove through them half in disbelief. She continued to look up in awe as she pulled to a stop at the loop in his driveway.
“Who did you say you were again?” she asked, eyeing the giant art piece in the center of the driveway loop. An abstract piece, she decided when she couldn’t figure out what the twisted brown marble was supposed to look like.
He only chuckled. “Thanks for the ride,” he called before climbing out.
“It’s Liyah,” she blurted.
“Tony,” he returned taking three steps forward before pausing and turning around. “You coming in or what?”