A Bike Ride Through The Park

A Bike Ride Through The Park
By Sarah
Short Story

        Mike smiled at his cousin.  "Ready?"  He asked.
        His cousin nodded.  "Ready."
        Mike smiled.  "And, go!"  He yelled.
        The two took off, pedaling quickly down the long driveway.  They turned at the end of the driveway, going down the long road.  They raced against each other, each trying to stay ahead of the other.  Mike was ahead for a long time, passing all the gated communities nearby his house.  His cousin was staying with him and his family for two weeks on vacation with her family.  His cousin was cool, just as sporty as he was, and they were both children at heart, though in reality, they were both seventeen.  Mike always had believed that Liz was the best cousin, she did everything with him, yet still managed to keep her personality as a girl.  To him, though, she was just his best friend.
        "You wonít win!"  Mike yelled to her.
        "My ass I wonít!"  She yelled back, turning a corner ahead of him.  He followed, pedaling as quickly as possible.  Out of all the times theyíd raced against each other, theyíd always done so where she lived, in New Jersey.  But since Mike had moved to Florida, and he couldnít exactly drive the few hundred miles to Lizís house, he invited her and her family to stay with him and his family for a while.  It was tradition they raced on their bikes around the town, and up to that year it had been a tie.  The first year they started, when they were nine, Liz had won, but that was because she always raced against the train as it went by her block.  So she had practice in going fast for short distances, therefore beating Mike on the sidewalks.  The next year they had the race at a wilderness park and Mike won, since he knew the trails better.  Year after year, it went back and forth, but this year, Mike was determined to win.
        And Liz wasnít planning on letting him.
        "Liz, I'm gonna beat you!"  Mike yelled to her as he pulled up along side of her.
        "No you arenít!"  She hollered.  She flashed him a quick smile before pedaling away again, weaving in and out of the woods in front of them.  They arrived at the other side and Liz went straight, going into a gated community as the gate started falling, and Mike came to a screeching stop, barely stopping in time.
        "Liz!"  He yelled to her.  She didnít hear him, she was still pedaling faster than she ever had.  Mike sighed as the guard came out of his booth and started for him, knowing that he was going to yell at him because no one was allowed in the community without permission from the people that lived inside.
        "You, young man, who was that that just came whizzing past?"  The security guard asked, gesturing at Mike with his clipboard.
        "That was my cousin Liz, she doesnít know that she canít be in there," Mike said, getting off his bike and trying to go under the gate.
        "Oh, no, you stay there, we donít need you going in there too," the man said.  Mike watched as the security guard went back to his booth and picked up his phone, no doubt to call the police and the residents to warn them that someone was in their community.

        Liz looked around at the houses as she passed by them quickly, all of them looking the same.  ĎGood God, where am I, whereís Mike?í  She thought as she slowed down, turning a smooth corner.  She stopped as she came to a dead end and fought to catch her breath.  ĎDammit!  Mike, why didnít you warn me about this?í  She asked in her head as she brushed a few stray brown hairs out of her face.  She turned her bike around and started back the way she came, trying to retrace her route.  It was impossible, sheíd made so many turns that sheíd forgotten which way sheíd come.
        ĎIt doesnít help that all these houses look the same, now does it?í  She thought as she started picking up speed.  She rode around the streets, looking for something familiar, listening for Mike, who she knew would be calling for her to get out.

        Mike looked at the security guard as he waved him to the side as a car pulled up.  Mike obligingly moved to the opposite side, getting out of the way.  As the gate rose up to let the car past, Mike made a split second decision and climbed on his bike, riding in next to the car, then rushing past it, calling and looking for Liz.

        Liz could hear Mike as he called her and she called back to him, but didnít stay put.  She started pedaling faster to his voice, concentrating only on finding him.  She turned a corner onto another street and rolled up on the sidewalk as a car came slowly by.  She watched it go, looking at the car, remembering how it was practically her dream car, and turned back around just in time to swerve, narrowly missing the person standing in front of her, holding the hose.  She went off the high curb, landing hard on the front tire at a high speed, then hit the brakes, falling off the bike sideways and ending underneath it, hitting her head on the asphalt.
        "Shit, my head," she mumbled as she tried to get up.  She pushed her mountain bike off of her legs and sat up, resting her elbows on her knees.  She reached up and yanked out the already broken hair tie, letting her waist-length brown hair down.  She rubbed her head as she heard someone come up next to her.
        "Ohmigod, are you ok?"  He asked.
        Liz looked up at the guy and managed a crooked smile.  "Iíve been better," she said weakly.
        "Iím so sorry, I didnít even see you coming, I shouldíve moved out of your way-"
        "No, no, it was my fault, I wasnít looking where I was going, I was only trying to get out, Iím kinda lost," Liz said, closing her eyes in pain and looking down to the ground.
        "Are you sure youíre ok?  I think you hit your head pretty hard," he said, kneeling down next to her.  He rested his hand on her head and rubbed the already forming bump.  "Feels like you have a bit of a goose egg already," he chuckled.
        Liz winced as he pressed on the bump.  "Ow," she said feebly, reaching up to his hand and putting hers over his.
        "Come on, letís go inside and get you some ice," he said, not moving his hand.  Liz tried to nod her head, but could only wince again, shutting her eyes tightly.
        Liz looked up and saw Mike riding over to her and practically jumping off his bike, running to her side.  "My God, Liz, are you ok?  What happened?"  He asked frantically.
        "Relax, Mike, Iím fine," Liz said, trying to stand up.  She made it to her feet.  "See, Iím fine," she said.  She shut her eyes as she felt a black out and stumbled, then looked up to find herself in the guyís arms.
        "No, you arenít.  Come on, letís get you some ice," he said.  He picked Liz up, all the while her protesting.
        "You really donít have to do this, Iím perfectly fine, I donít need anything from you, and Iím really sorry I practically ran you over, and-"
        "Liz, stop babbling," Mike said.
        "Shut up, Michael," Liz snapped.  She looked around the house as the guy carried her in, shocked at the beautiful surroundings.  The house was absolutely gorgeous, looked brand new.  Liz was in awe.
        "Nameís Nick," the guy said as he set Liz on the counter in the kitchen.  He shoved a box of cereal, Cookie Crunch, into the cabinet, and crossed to the refrigerator, opening the left side and pulling out an ice pack, then brought it back over to Liz.
        "Iím Liz, thatís Mike," she said as she took the ice pack, putting it on her head.
        "That much Iíve gathered," he said, smiling at her.  Liz couldnít help but smile back, he had the cutest smile sheíd ever seen.
        "Iím really sorry, weíll leave if you want us to, we werenít even suppose to be here," Mike said, glaring at Liz.
        "Why not?"  Liz asked, looking at him, confused.
        "A little thing called a gated community, Lizard, we arenít authorized to be in here," Mike said to her in a Ďduhí tone.
        "Oh, so youíre the ones that Iíve been warned about," Nick said, smiling at Liz again.  Liz looked down, feeling a blush coming to her face.
        "Iím sorry, I didnít know I wasnít suppose to be in here, I was just trying to win the race," Liz apologized, not looking up.
        "Hey, its all right, thereís no harm being done, you didnít know," Nick said.  "If you donít mind me asking, which race?"
        Liz didnít look up, instead she glanced over at Mike.
        "Every year, Liz and I have a bike race around the town, and weíve gone back and forth for the past few years on winning.  Since this is the first year that weíve raced here, Liz doesnít know her way around.  So it wasnít really her fault, but she shouldíve known to wait for me," Mike said, glaring at her during his last comment.
        "I didnít know!  So sue me!"  She exclaimed, exasperated.  Nick laughed.
        "I donít mind, trust me," he said, smiling down at her.  Liz blushed again and she heard Mike emit a loud, angry sigh.
        "Are you feeling better, Liz?"  Mike asked.
        Liz just remembered that she was holding the ice pack to her head and noticed that her head felt a little numb.  "Yeah, I think so, my head still kinda hurts, but Iím ok," she said, lowering the pack from her head and putting it on the counter.  "Thank you, Nick," she started.
        "But weíll be going," Mike said, lifting her down from the counter and dragging her out the door.  They got outside and Mike led her over to their bikes.
        "Letís go, we have to get out of here," he said sternly, picking up his bike.
        "What on earth crawled up your ass?"  Liz demanded, not making any movement to get her bike.  "Nick just took care of me and was nice to the both of us and you throw his hospitality in his face?  Are you insane?"
        "No, now letís go," Mike said, getting on his bike and waiting impatiently.
        "No!"  Liz exclaimed, setting her hands on her hips.
        "Yes, Liz, now letís go." He repeated.
        "Liz, so help me GodÖ."
        "So help you God?  Michael Cory Clark, so help me God, you better be happy that I donít beat your scrawny ass right here and now," Liz warned.
        "Whoa, whoa, calm down, you two!"  Nick said, coming outside and running over to them, stepping in front of Liz and holding her back as she tried to advance towards Mike.
        "I swear, every year he gets more and more cocky," Liz said, shaking her head.
        "And every year you act more and more snobby!"  Mike fired back.
        "And my little brother and sister act more mature than you two do and theyíre eleven!"  Nick interceded, laughing while serious.
        Liz couldnít help but smile back at him, forgetting her anger towards Mike.  "Sorry, it just that sometimes, Mike and I do not get along for some reason," she said apologetically.
        "Itís ok, it happens to all relationships," Nick said.
        Liz raised her eyebrows.  "You mean you thinkÖmeÖand him?  Ohmigod!"  She couldnít help but laugh and could hear Mike even laughing a little.
        "What?  What did I say wrong?"  Nick asked.
        Liz shook her head.  "Me and Mike?  No way, never, weíre-"
        "Cousins!"  Mike finished, still laughing.
        "Oh, oops, my bad," Nick said, blushing and laughing to himself.  Liz kept laughing and held her stomach, feeling it hurt as she laughed harder and harder.  She finally calmed down and looked at Nick, who was sitting on the curb by the street, still laughing lightly.  She noticed how his blonde hair shone in the afternoon sun, his blue eyes sparkled as he laughed, showing nothing but joy.  She couldnít help but fall for him, and fall for him hard.
        "Thatís ok, its not the first time thatís happened," Liz finally said.
        "Yeah, I remember this one time that this old lady that Liz just had to stop and help-"
        "And she thanked us both after we helped her and her granddaughter bring in the groceries-"
        "And she told us that the bond that we shared for finishing our sentences and everything would one day be our trademark as a married couple!"  Mike finished, starting to laugh again.
        Liz nodded.  "Yeah, and it took us a half an hour to explain to her that we were cousins and best friends, not boy friend and girlfriend."
        Nick nodded.  "I get that a lot, I have a lot of friends that are girls, so whenever weíre together, people think the worse.  Or when Iím with one of my sisters, the same thing happens," he said, smiling.
        "Thatís nice to hear and all, but we have to go," Mike said, suddenly remembering his goal in the first place.
        Liz glared at him, then looked back at Nick as he stood up.  He was taller than she was, somewhere around six-foot-one, about four inches taller.  She came right to his shoulder and looked up to him.
        "Thank you again," she said quietly as Mike walked away from her.
        "Youíre quite welcome, I hope you feel better," Nick replied just as quiet.  He held out his hand and Liz took it, feeling a piece of paper between his fingers.
        "Call me later, around seven, ok?"  He whispered.
        Liz nodded and smiled, putting the paper in her pocket.  She waved shyly and turned, going to her bike.  She followed Mike out of the complex, racing by the security guard in the front before he could yell at her, and raced Mike back to his house, beating him.
        "I won!"  She yelled as she pulled into the driveway.  She hopped off her bike and hurried inside, going upstairs to the guestroom and slamming the door behind her, hopping on the bed and picking up the phone, barely believing that the clock already said seven-oh-five.
        "Hi, is Nick there?"  Liz asked shyly.
        "Hey, Liz, howís your head?"
        Liz smiled as she leaned back on her bed, hearing Mike come up the stairs and calling for her.  She chuckled to herself and turned on her side, looking away from her door.
        "Itís feeling better," she said.  "Thanks a lot for what you did today, not very many people would be so nice."
        "It was no problem, trust me.  I wanted to ask you, Liz, would you go out to dinner with me tomorrow night?"
        Liz grinned.  "Sure, I would like that."
        "Great, so Iíll see you tomorrow night at seven?"
        Liz nodded and gave him directions to her aunt and uncleís house, then they talked for the rest of the night.  By the time theyíd gotten off the phone, it was nearly one oíclock in the morning, but Liz didnít mind, she was too happy to care.  All she knew that she was going to have a lot of fun the next night.
 With the one and only Nick Carter.

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