“Maybe I should put some lime green color on the other
side, to contrast with the magenta.” Nola had pulled the rear
view mirror over to the passenger side, her long black hair
pulled down in front of her face. She was peeking through the
strands over her eyes, studying herself in the dim light of the
She tilted her head to the side, then pulled hair from each
side of her head and held it out in front of her. The hair on
the right side of her head had swathes of purple. “What do you
think?” she asked, studying him from under her hair.
Owen had been driving the van for five hours without any
breaks. The way from Montreal was mostly highway, but once he
crossed into the United States, he was on two lane roads that
climbed up and down mountains and were lined by thick brush and
trees, occasionally marked by small towns and farms. He was
mostly following the white line marking the middle of the road
at this point, just trying to make it to his destination, and
wasn’t paying all that much attention to what Nola was saying to
Nola squinted and frowned at Owen, then tried again. “Hmm,
I wonder if I cut my hair like Finn’s….” This time she got his
attention. He looked over at her, just in time to catch the grin
as she swept her hair back behind her ears.
“I don’t believe it would look as good on you as that
haircut does on Finn, but, hey, if it’s what you want, go for
it,” Owen played along. Nola grunted and pushed the rear view
mirror back over to an approximation of where it should be.
Owen reached up and positioned the mirror in place again.
He used it to look in the back seat to where Finn sat, headset
in his ears, listening to his iPod, his head bouncing to the
music. His hair was a mess of colors and stuck up in short
spikes. While it was a hairstyle that worked for Finn, Nola
would definitely not be cutting her hair like her brother, not
if Owen had anything to say about it. He liked her hair long and
There was a street light blinking up ahead and Owen braked,
gradually slowing the van. They were approaching another small
town or maybe it was just a crossroads. This one looked like it
was a gas station combined with a dilapidated general store.
Owen glanced down at the dashboard. There was about half a tank
of gasoline left according to the gauge. And it was a good thing
he didn’t need gas because the station was closed up tight. No
one seemed to be around, just a dim light in the store and a
crooked “Closed” sign on the front door. The only thing in the
parking lot was a rusty pickup truck, parked over on the edge of
the asphalt. He wheeled in anyway and stopped the van in front
“I need to stretch a minute,” he announced and turned off
Heads popped up in the back seat. “What are we doing?” said
Finn who couldn’t hear Owen over the music from his iPod. Conn,
who was sitting next to his twin in the middle seat, pulled his
earphones off, mussing his long hair, and waited patiently,
looking around the dimly lit parking area. He had been working
on his laptop, probably on an arrangement for one of their
songs, Owen guessed. There was no sign of Hugh who had been
stretched out sleeping in the bench seat in the very back of the
“I need to get out and walk around a little,” Owen
restated. “And I want to check the trailer.” Nola had already
opened her door and was standing on the pavement, stretching her
arms over her head, getting the kinks out of her back.
Owen got out, headed around the back of the building and
stepped back into the trees. He was joined by the rest of the
lads, Hugh wandering back last. He must have woken up with the
slamming of the doors. It had been a long ride with no stops and
Owen had drunk at least three cups of coffee out of the thermos
jug that Nola kept in the front seat for him.
Once they had finished their business, Conn and Owen went
back out front to check on the trailer. Owen crouched down and
looked under the frame while Conn pushed on the tires. The rig
looked fine. The trailer wasn’t very heavy, loaded mostly with
sound equipment and camping supplies. Their instruments and
personal items were in the way back of the van. Nola wandered
out from the other side of the garage where she had gone to find
a bit of privacy away from the guys.
“How much further is it to the pub?” Conn asked.
“I think that we have a couple more hours to go. It’s going
to be late when we get there,” Owen answered. Nola came over
and wrapped her arms around Owen’s waist, snuggling under the
denim jean jacket he wore. He stood there, resting his chin on
her head, while she rubbed the lower part of his back, pulling
up his tee shirt to get at his stiff muscles.