Do Not Exceed Stated Dose: A Novel

 

Segment 2 - Deborah & Ingrid, Britain's answer to Thelma & Louise

They drove with the top down even though it was the middle of October and they were driving up the M6, somewhere between Birmingham and Manchester. Ingrid was wearing sunglasses, and her head was thrown back so that the wind whipped tendrils of blonde hair wildly around her head. Deborah struggled to keep her eyes on the road.

“You look like some 1940s Hollywood film starlet,” Deborah said finally, reaching forward to turn down the volume on the radio. Same old bloody boy band ballad-eering and imported high energy Eurodance.

Ingrid immediately adopted an exaggerated pout. “Why thank you, dahlink.” She pretended to smoke an imaginary cigarette, exhaling dramatically into the wind like Marlene Dietrich.

They both grinned.

Deborah’s hand flexed on the steering wheel as she pushed down on the accelerator with her foot. “God, I wish - ” she trailed off, fingers tapping a rhythmic beat on the wheel.

“What?”

“Nothing. Ignore me.”

Ingrid pushed the sunglasses down her nose so that Deborah could see her eyes, devoid as they were of their usual hint of sarcastic malice.

“Tell me.” Lips twisted in cruelty. “Or I’ll tickle you.”

Deborah glanced at her. “On the motorway? Fuck off. You wouldn’t dare.”

Blue eyes glinted back at her.

“I mean it, fuck off.”

The sunglasses went back up, concealing Ingrid’s expression and closing her off to the world as she stared forward.

“That,” Deborah muttered, too engaged by the perfection of Ingrid‘s profile to be angry. “I wish you wouldn’t do that.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Ingrid said, directing an enigmatic smile the Mona Lisa would’ve been proud of at Deborah.

She knew she could let it slide, like she usually did, but she felt the sudden dangerous urge to push the boundaries. “You get to me.”

“Do I?”

“You do.”

“And what do you intend to do about it?”

They stared at each other in silence, interrupted finally by the rude blare of a car horn. Their car, an elderly MG, had drifted into the inside lane, nearly colliding with a caravan but Deborah recovered in time to correct their course. Ingrid smirked.

“I dunno. Maybe I need a shag,” Deborah said with a shrug, enjoying the quick flicker of surprise on the other girl’s face.