The last part in the short story. Enjoy
Marty’s Mustang – Part Three
Chris smiled as he sat behind the wheel of the Mustang. Hans was smiling softly as he leaned against the door. “Alright, son, let’s see how she handles.”
Nodding, Chris waited for Hans to step back. Then he pulled out of the shop. The Mustang ran perfectly. “Come on, Pa, you’ve gotta try her out.” Chris called as he stopped the Mustang.
Laughing, Hans walked over to the passenger side. “I haven’t been behind the wheel in a long time, Chris. I think I’ll just let you drive.”
“I wonder how she handles on the blacktop.” Chris muttered under his breath.
“Supper’s not for a bit. Let’s go off-compound and try her out.” Hans suggested with a content smile. With the ragtop down, Hans fit in the Mustang easily. He wasn’t sure how Chris planned to fit with the ragtop up.
Twenty minutes later, the sound of sirens caused Chris to look panicked. “I wasn’t breakin’ any laws, Pa.” Chris said hurriedly. Being pulled over while Hans was in the Mustang had Chris scared. He knew any officer could use the stop as an excuse to arrest Hans.
“Just be polite to the officer.” Hans tried to keep his own concerns hidden. Noticing who was walking up, Hans wondered if Chris would be arrested, too. “Good evening, Mark.”
“Evenin’, Pa,” Mark Jones said with a shocked look. “Sorry to pull you over, but thought there might be a problem.”
“A problem?” Hans inquired.
“Well, I was pullin’ out of the diner when I noticed Mama’s car drivin’ by. Figured the Mustang had finally gotten stolen.” Mark admitted almost sheepishly. Mark had been planning on throwing to book at whoever had stolen the precious Mustang. The sheriff could still hear Marty’s squeals of joy as Hans handed her the keys. Each one of the older kids had gone on special rides in to town with Marty in the Mustang.
“Mama’s car?” Chris asked as he looked over at Hans. The young man was in shock. In many ways, Marty was the dead mother Chris had never known. Hans even referred to Marty as “your mother” when talking to Chris, even in front of the others.
“I bought this for your mother’s birthday, her twenty-fourth.” Hans whispered as he looked at Chris. “That’s why she was in the back of the pool. I couldn’t handle seeing anyone else behind the wheel of Marty’s Mustang.”
“Not even his boys,” Mark stated knowingly. “Sonny would have given his right arm for this car. Sadie wanted this car somethin’ fierce, too.”
“I didn’t know.” Chris whispered as an apology. “I’ll…”
“Drive her with the same love your mother had for this car.” Hans interrupted what he assumed was Chris’ attempt to give the Mustang back. Neither occupant of the Mustang seemed to notice that Hans had called Chris one of Marty’s boys. It hadn’t escaped Mark.
Mark had been eleven when Marty had died giving birth. His parents had died the year before, and Marty had become a second mother to the young man. Her death had deeply affected all of the boys who loved her. “Sorry I pulled you over, Pa. Just had to make sure.” Mark apologized to the older man. “Probably had Chris worried I was arrestin’ you.”
“I think you did.” Hans didn’t mention he was worried about the same thing.
“I remember Mama’s response to this baby. I remember how much it hurt you to see Marty’s Mustang. Just figured that she was stolen. Might have been plannin’ to kill the man for stealin’ Mama’s Mustang.” Mark confessed with a small grin.
Looking over at the sheriff, Hans nodded his thanks. “I appreciate that, Mark.”
“Not for you, old man. I wouldn’t want anyone but family behind the wheel.” Mark teased slightly. “I’ll let you get back to the compound. And I’ll tell my deputies the Mustang’s on the road with Chris as her new driver.”
“Thank you.” Hans said softly.
“Oh, Leslie is gonna call you tonight about some get-together for my birthday. Figured you could use a head’s up.” Mark drifted in to casual family topics. “Your grandkids are putting it together.”
“I’ll be there.” Hans stated with a small grin.
Mark looked down at Chris. “Try to sound like you’ve never heard of the party. It’s a surprise, and the kids are thrilled with themselves.”
“I will, older brother.” Chris grinned at being included once more. It never escaped his notice that Peter was usually left out of the events. “And I promise not to speed.”
“Doesn’t matter to me. I happen to know what works better than a ticket.” Mark chuckled, but he knew his father could dole out more punishment than a mere fine ever would be to the rich young people. “See ya both later.”
Waiting for Mark to walk back to his car, Chris looked over at Hans. “I don’t know what to think, Pa.”
“If Marty had been alive, she would have accepted you as her son instantly. She would have noticed what you, Bob, and Callie were going through earlier. You are so much like Karl Bob and Lars. Sometimes I forget I haven’t always been your father. This was meant to be, and you were meant to drive your mother’s car.” Hans lectured gently. “Now, it’s about time for supper. Let’s go home, son.”
Suddenly, the simple word meant so much more to Chris. “Sure thing, Pa,” Chris whispered as he drove towards the compound.
Callie was standing on the steps talking to Sarah and Sadie. As the Mustang came in to view, Sadie gasped. “What’s wrong, Sadie?” Callie asked softly.
“That’s Mama’s car.” Sadie whispered as she smiled. Tears burned in her blue eyes. “Papa put the Mustang up when Mama died. I never thought we’d have it out again until after Papa died.”
Sarah looked over at the car. It looked almost brand new. “Mom?”
“Papa bought it for your grandma the year before we lost her. Sometimes, I think Chris is David reincarnate.” Sadie whispered under her breath.
Hans exchanged looks with Sadie as the car stopped. The look in her eyes said it all. Sadie thought it was the right move. The car needed to be driven, not rusting in the fleet pool. Chris pulled in to his parking spot. After he rolled up the top, Chris grabbed something out of the trunk.
“Son?” Hans wasn’t sure what Chris had hidden back there.
“We don’t got a garage. I aim not to let the sun damage my ‘Stang. My baby will be covered.” Chris explained to his father as Chris began to unfold the cover.
Rolling his eyes, Hans looked heavenward. The others living at home would tease Chris soon enough. If Mark saw, the teasing would just get worse. ‘What did I do, Lord, to deserve such children?’ Hans thought as his older boys came up to the Main House. ‘I don’t remember aggravating Pa like this when I was their age. I apologize for whatever I did wrong.’ The teasing started, and Hans walked in to the house shaking his head. Some things he could not change, no matter how he tried. Perhaps it was a good thing his sons were close enough to tease each other. Hans had always wanted his children to be close. Family was all anyone truly had in the world. Family, and the memories of a beautiful woman with wind blowing through her auburn hair as she drove down the dirt drive. Hearing the Mustang’s engine revving up, Hans realized more memories were about to be made in Marty’s Mustang.
In sudden shock one last thought occurred to the man. “God, don’t let that one do what his mama and I did in that car. I don’t need more grandchildren at the moment. Quite happy with the nine I have, thank you very much. The rest of my brood needs to grow up some more before they have children. Amen.”
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