George Washington High School
Maria Velasco inherited many of her mother's traits, hair, eye colour, height, but patience was once trait she didn't share. She paced around in front of the school's main entrance, wearing a trail into the pavement. Several of her classmates walked past, eyes glazed over from the final exam. Maria waved at them, then continued venting her annoyance by walking. She saw her mother's blue Ford Taurus pull into driveway and pull to a stop near her. Maria stomped over to the car. "You're late," she accused.
"Sorry, honey," Rose said as she opened the door. "Meeting ran late. How did your exam go?"
"I think I passed." Maria slipped into the passenger seat. "I don't see why I had to take this class. It's so boring."
Rose slipped the car into gear. "So you get into a good college, Maria. We've been over this."
"But I don't want to be a geography-person. Why can't I be a fashion designer?"
"You still need to know where places are in the world. What if you got invited to Paris when you become a fashion designer?"
"I know where Paris is, Mom. It's in France."
"Have you seen how the Parisiens laid out the streets? You need to be able to read a map just to get around."
Maria snorted and folded her arms over her chest. "I still think it's boring."
"As long as you passed, I don't care if can be used as an anaesthetic. What do you want for lunch?"
"I don't know." Maria shrugged. "Something good, I guess."
"Want me to choose?"
Maria shrugged. "I don't know."
"There's a sushi place that opened up downtown."
"Ew! No. What about that buffet place we keep passing? Not the Chinese restaurant, but near the highway."
Rose nodded. "Sounds good to me." She merged into traffic and began the trip to lunch. "How was your day, despite the exam?"
"I'm glad I'm done school for the year. I get to sleep in for a change."
"Not for the whole summer, you're not. There's stuff I want you to do over the summer."
"Can't. Summer camp, remember?" Maria stuck out her tongue.
"That starts up next month. You're not out of your chores that easily, Maria."
"You can sleep in if, and I mean it, if you can keep up on your chores and if you don't antagonize Pascal. Got me?"
"Good." Rose turned to entered the highway on-ramp.
"I'm busy this Saturday night, though."
Rose glanced over at her daughter. "Oh?"
"Tanya's throwing a school's out party at her place."
"Are Tanya's parents going to be there?"
"Yeah. Mrs. Lowe suggested it. Oh, I'll need a new swim suit. They got their pool put in finally."
Rose merged her Taurus into the faster traffic. "We'll go shopping for one tomorrow."
"I just need a ride. Jenna, Loren, and me are going to the mall tomorrow to pick some out."
"Let me know when. Are there going to be any boys there?"
Maria rolled her eyes. "Duh." She noticed her mother checking her mirror longer than normal. "Something wrong?"
"Nothing. You're buckled up, right?"
Maria pulled on her seat belt. "Yes, why?"
"Nothing. Just work related."
"Should I get the gun out of the glove compartment?"
"No, and I don't want you or Pascal touching it, ever."
"I know, Mom. Sheesh."
Rose glanced in the mirror again. "Maria, hang on." As her daughter grabbed on to the door handle, Rose stepped on the accelerator. The Taurus's engine revved and the car surged forward, threading through the traffic. Maria looked out the back window. "Who's following us?"
"Not sure." Rose did a shoulder check. "I think they're gone."
Maria faced forward. "Which job is this?"
Rose glanced at the girl. "You know better to ask, Maria."
"I've never been with you when you've been chased before."
"I wouldn't call this a chase. More of a failed attempt at following me. Nothing to worry about. Besides, lunch is just this much closer now."