Family Matters

Ally was on her way up to Chris’s house the next morning, passing a car sitting in a usually deserted lay-by. She thought nothing of it until it pulled out after her.

“Phone, call Chris.”

He answered quickly, “Hey Ally, are you on your way?”

“I am. Now, not to be paranoid or anything but what kind of car do your parents drive?”

“What?”

“I think I’ve picked up a stalker.”

Chris groaned and described the car.

“Yes, that’s the one. At least we know it’s not some random serial killer. What would you like me to do?”

“Keep driving. They do NOT get to meet you yet. I need you to get to know the nice ones first so you still want to talk to me when you do have to deal with them.”

“Alright. In that case, should we move forward my schedule on meeting the nice ones?”

It took him a moment, then he laughed, “I’ll phone Grandma now, she’ll be ecstatic. Do you have overnight things with you?”

“No, but you know where my key is and I trust you with my underwear.”

“You constantly come out with things that have me teetering between delight and utter terror. I’ll pick up what I hope will be right and meet you at the coast in a couple of hours. Let me know when they give up.”

Calling up her destination on the phone, she decided to have some fun and phoned Cesca.

She picked up immediately. “So, any word on the happy couple?”

Ally grinned, “As in Lexi and Paul? Haven’t heard a thing. I need your advice.”

“Ooooh! Relationship, business, life, or interior decoration?”

“Navigation. More specifically, how to lose a tail.”

“What!?”

“Chris’s parents are out-Timothying Timothy, they’re actually tailing my car. I’m heading down to his grandparent’s place, he’s going to meet me there, but I’d rather like to lose these two in the meantime, just for my own satisfaction.”

She could hear Cesca clacking at her laptop keys.

“Okay, so what’s the destination?”

Ally told her.

“Right, according to this, there’s heavy traffic on the main road down, but if you take that and can get a few cars ahead, you might be able to turn off onto some highly confusing and well-covered back roads. Give me a call when you’re on the motorway and if you think you’ve lost them, I can find your first sneaky exit.”

She hung up and Ally updated Chris, who laughed, “As I said, delight or terror. Let me know how it goes.”

She hit the motorway and started some strategic weaving, she phoned Cesca.

“I think I’ve managed to shake them, I got them stuck behind a couple of overtaking lorries and I’m hoping I can sneak around a couple more on the three lane section before hitting one of your exits.”

“Where are you.”

Ally gave her the last junction number.

“Nice work! There should be an exit in two miles and it looks like a fairly quick bend with several turn-offs. Oh, and satellite says it’s quite heavily wooded.”

“Right!”, Ally grinned, made a note of the exit number and tucked into the near lane, ready to spot the exit, keeping Cesca amused with running commentary.

She was nearly at the turn-off when she saw Chris’s parent’s car speed past. Chuckling, she flipped on her indicator and exited, just as she saw their brake lights go on, then off as they remembered where they were.

She laughed and updated her remote navigator, who wove her through several back roads and three tiny villages before putting her out onto the other main road to the beach town she was after.

Cesca signed off with a promise to update on Lexi, and Ally brought Chris up to speed on her ploy and current location.

“I’m starting to understand what people are talking about when they call you three a scary combination.”

Ally grinned, “I’m taking that as a compliment.”

“Good news is, my grandparents are home, available and delighted to welcome us. Plus, your scenic route means I’m actually a little bit ahead of you, so I can meet you in the supermarket carpark on the edge of town, grab some odds and ends and we can arrive together.”

Ally had a sudden realisation and gasped.

“Don’t worry, I brought your laptop.”

“Now I’m teetering between delight and terror. You know me way too well.”

Chris was exactly where he said he would be and in the middle of a fairly serious phone conversation when Ally arrived.

“No mother, your behaviour this morning is actually bordering on criminal.”

“I’m serious.”

“You stalked and harassed a complete stranger, I’d be surprised if she hasn’t reported your car to the police.”

“Of course she would! Two random lunatics start chasing her car down a deserted country road, it’s exactly what I’d do.”

“No, I’m not going to phone and find out where she went.”

“If I have it my way, you’ll never meet her.”

He hung up and put his phone on silent.

“You know it never actually occurred to me to call the police. Some use I’d be in a proper crisis.”

“Don’t worry, I did.”

“WHAT?”

Chris looked mullish, “They can’t get away with harassing you and thinking it’s okay. I told the officer exactly what was going on, gave them the number plate and asked them to keep the incident on record or something, in case they do something even more stupid further down the line.”

She hugged him and they headed into the supermarket for provisions.

And this is where Changing Lanes kind of fizzles out. I think I’ve officially jumped the shark on this one but it was a heck of a lot of fun to write!

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