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Of Cars and Stick-shifts

Edward decides to teach Nessie stick-shift, thinking that if she mastered this skill, she would be able to drive anything. She's half vampire, right? What could go wrong with that. Edward soon learns that he gets more than he's bargained for.

Just a quick little story...nothing major. Popped in my head and wanted to write it.

1. Of Cars and Stick Shifts

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1019   Review this Chapter

Nessie had received her driving permit with the help of Jasper. I insisted that she learn to drive with a stick shift first. Hey, if she could drive a clutch, she could drive anything. She was part vampire at all and I knew all about a vampire's uncanny ability of learning faster than the smartest human. It made no difference what Bella or Alice or anybody else had to say, I'd made up my mind. My girl was tough and determined. Every ounce of logic told me she could handle it.

Unfortunately, with teens-even ones like Nessie-"logic" isn't always part of the picture.

"Dad, I'm really not feeling good," she said that fateful Saturday as we headed towards my silver Volvo sitting in the driveway. But her thoughts contradicted her words and I smiled.

"Nessie, you've been bugging me for months."

"I know, but-"

"But what?"

"Well, I've got a headache, and my stomach is hurting and-"

"Nessie...I know you're lying."

"But I wanted to learn to drive an automatic."

"No sweat," I said as I opened the door for her to climb in. "This is a breeze."


Once again I was surprised at how vulnerable this strong-willed child of mine could be, particularly when she was out of her element. But I had made up my mind and nothing could change it.

"Please..." she whined.

I shook my head, flitted over to my side, and climbed in. the lesson was about to begin.

Twenty minutes later, when she'd finally found a gear (and worn out the transmission and the process), we were off. The only problem was, "off" should have involved finding reverse and backing down the driveway into the streets of San Francisco...not dropping into first and leaping forward into the-

"Look out!" I shouted.

No doubt her reflexes were excellent, but she hit the brakes a split second after we hit the garage door.

"Sorry," she cringed.

I nodded, trying not to traumatize her with hysterical shouting. A moment passed before Nessie recovered and, after another wrestling match with the gearshift, found reverse.

"Good," I sighed. "Now you gradually let up on the clutch."

She obeyed.

"Gently, gently, there you-"

The car leapt backwards. Unfortunately, Nessie panicked, which meant she cranked the wheel too hard to the right, which meant Emmett's bicycle met the same fate as the garage door.

"Nessie!" I cried after she'd hit the brakes.

"Well, it's his fault," she sniffed. " Grandpa always tells him not to leave stuff in the front yard!"

I regained my composure and nodded.

At last, we made it out of the street. And gradually, as the morning wore on and the clutch wore out, Nessie began to get the hang of it.

"Gently, gently," I cautioned as we pulled up behind a sleek Lexus on Pinehurst, just a few blocks away from the high school.

"Dad, will you quit worrying? I've got it covered. Oh, no-look! There's Tina and Debbie!"


"Over there at the crosswalk!"

I turned.

"Don't look!" she cried.

"But you just told me-"


I did my best to obey as the light turned green. "Okay now," I said, "release the clutch gradually..."

"I know."


"Dad, I know!"

"Dad, I-"

"Look out!"

Apparently, her version of "I know" wasn't the same as mine. Once again we flew forward, only this time into something far less forgiving than my garage door. As we hit the Lexus, I could feel the sound of crunching metal throughout my body and I felt for sure we were going to get sued. Carlisle was going to kill me after Bella was finished killing me.

But Nessie would not be deterred. After all, those were her friends she was pretending not to see. Somehow rationalizing that she could minimize the damage by quickly backing up, she dropped the car into gear, and we shot backwards...directly into a white soccer-mom van.


Now she was panicking, though it didn't stop her from yelling, "I know, Dad, I know!" (apparently a reflex response for all teens). Effortlessly, she found first and again we shot forward.

This time she swerved hard to the left and, thanks to my prayers, mixed the Lexus by inches. As we zoomed past I calmly turned to my daughter and, in my most comforting and consoling voice, screamed, "Are you out of your mind? Stop the car!"

"But that's Tina and Debbie!" she cried, glancing in the review mirror. "Tina and Debbie are out there!"

"Nessie! NESSIE!"

We picked up speed.

"Nessie, stop the car! Nessie!" but by the looks of things we wouldn't be stopping until we ran out of gas. "NESSIE!"

Up ahead lay the high school. A couple of kids on bikes were pulling out into the intersection.

"LOOK OUT!" I screamed, no longer as worried about traumatizing my daughter as I was about charges of vehicular manslaughter.

This time Nessie obeyed. She yanked the wheel and we veered hard to the right, bouncing onto the curb and taking out a postal box in the process. It wasn't until we were up on the high-school lawn and running over the rose garden that we finally stopped.

I tried to remain calm and understanding. "Are you all right?' I asked.

"I'm fine, Father," she said in her most condescending tone.

"Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure. It's just..."

"It's just what?" I asked, looking her over, feeling the rise of concern about any injuries she may have incurred.

"You don't think...I mean Tina and Debbie, you don't think they recognized us, do you?"