He stared down at her for a moment, wanting to heal everycut on her soft skin. But he couldn’t, not yet. He needed to get her,and her car, far from this place so neither he nor Kate would beimplicated in any way with the gruesome murder site.It also meant he would have to drive.In all his years, he had never driven an automobile. The closest hehad come was watching various assistants through the years as theychauffeured him. He wasn’t sure he could even remember how tostart the car, but right now he had no choice.Grudgingly, he got into the driver’s seat and finding the leverunderneath, he pushed it back so he sat comfortably behind thewheel. After trying three different keys, he found one that slipped intothe ignition.From what he had seen over the past hundred years, driving wasnot a complex operation and he was an immortal with reflexes farmore keen than a human man.How difficult could it be?He turned the key and nearly jerked the wheel off the steeringcolumn when the car surprised him by lurching forward. The car wentsilent. The engine wasn’t running. What was he doing wrong?He stared at the gearshift, wondering if he should move it. Hisfrustration reared up, but his agitation would not make the car driveitself. He had to keep a cool head.Not knowing what else to try, he pushed one of the pedals at hisfeet to the floor and turned the key again. This time the car didn’tmove and it roared to life. Grasping the gearshift, he jammed it intothe first position and glanced over at Kate.Why couldn’t she have owned a car with an automatictransmission?Shaking his head, he put some pressure on the gas pedal andslowly released the clutch. Thankfully the car rolled a few feet, butwithout warning it jumped forward. He pressed the clutch back to thefloor before the engine lost power again.Calisto slammed his hand against the wheel, muttering under hisbreath in Spanish. At this rate it would take him all night to drive herhome.The faded yellow convertible pitched forward again, threateningto stall as he continued out of the parking lot, thankful it was late. Thestreets were fairly empty. At least he wouldn’t get into an accidentwith another car. Her car staggered ahead, lurching each time hetried to release the clutch, bouncing and jostling them both until Katefinally stirred and woke up.§Are we out of gas or something?Calisto watched her with a tight smile. Not exactly.Kate winced in pain when she laughed. You can’t drive a stickshift,can you?Does it show? Calisto pulled over, finally allowing the engine tostall.She nodded her head slowly to avoid more pain. Just a little.What happened?You don’t remember?I remember being mugged. And I remember seeing you, buteverything after that is blank. She watched his eyes as Calistoreached over to brush her hair back from her face and his touch sentshivers through her body. This wasn’t how she had hoped she wouldrun into him, but she learned a long time ago fate didn’t always workout the way you expected.
Lisa Kessler