She loved the sensation of speeding down the road, blasting through the air while riding the bike she’d had for about a year. It reminded Des of the extreme rapidity she experienced while traversing the former multiverse. She could never replicate that exact feeling, but her motorcycle trips were about as close as she could get without actually using her power again. It became the girl’s favorite thing.
During one of her many joyrides through the back-country roads of North Washington, she suddenly felt a strange energy in the air, alerting her mind that something wasn’t quite right. The universe swelled then contracted in a briefly fleeting moment that no one else would perceive, with the exception of maybe her parents. Without warning, a figured appeared out of nowhere standing in her direct path immediately ahead.
Releasing the throttle and leaning to her left, the blonde slammed down on the rear brake, abruptly screeching into a sideways slide that left a long, black skid-mark behind her. She came to a halt as the white smoke of burning rubber caught up and engulfed her momentarily, the reeking cloud drifting in the day’s light breeze. Through squinted, searching eyes, she stared at the person standing in the middle of the lane with her arm still extended, palm facing Des’s direction. If her reaction time had been a split second late, she would have barreled into the unflinching woman.
Des felt anger surging through her body, as she began mentally preparing herself for a potential fight. The burnt tire smoke denied a clear view, so she flipped up her helmet’s tinted visor to get a better look. When she realized who was standing before her, a ripple of shock pulsated through her body causing the girl’s breathing to stagger. “It… it’s you.”
“Yes,” the woman nodded her head in confirmation. “It’s me.”
One year prior
It nearly blew the girl’s mind when her blue-haired mother wheeled her gift over to the driveway from its hiding spot around the far corner of the house out of eyeshot. She told her parents she wanted a Yamaha VMax motorcycle for her twentieth birthday supposing it would never actually happen. As children and young adults often do, she asked for the most badass thing she could think of assuming the answer would most likely be a resounding ‘no’.
Being Chloe’s daughter, she knew there was a chance, but after her brunette mother indicated she wasn’t thrilled with the idea, Des was positive getting a bike wasn’t in the cards. Part of her wanted to remind Max about how she spread herself out over an infinite number of realities, saved their lives, and returned home with hardly a scratch. If she could navigate her way through all of that, she damn well could learn how to operate a motorcycle, though she knew it would require her full focus and commitment. Over the years, Chloe learned not only how to ride a bike, but she also understood the innerworkings of the vehicle. With that kind of knowledge at her fingertips, Des wouldn’t have an issue learning everything she needed to know.
She laughed when her more outspoken mom made a nana-nana-boo-boo face in Max’s direction. Even Des had to admit her mother was cute when she got flustered. With both Des and Chloe laughing, Max apparently couldn’t resist cracking a smile as well. There was one amazing thing about her parents’ relationship; they were deeply in love, just as they always had been. Like all couples, they argued from time to time but never stayed upset for long.
As a compromise, Des agreed to “wear a helmet like it was welded to your head,” at the insistence of her mother. It wasn’t like Max was overbearing, but she did get maybe a little too protective of her family from time to time. After all she’d been through, Des couldn’t really blame her.
The birthday girl pulled the women in for a family hug, each on either side, successfully transforming Max’s smile into a soft giggle. Having released her frustration, Max disappeared inside the house, retrieved a camera she kept in the living room for leisurely shots, then returned to capture the moments the group of three created together that afternoon.
The next couple of months seemed to fly by. Des practiced and studied for her motorcycle operator’s exam with every free second she could find; it became an obsession for the girl. Because of her dedication and determination, she easily passed the driving and written portions of the test on her first attempt. After that, she was on the road constantly, rarely being back home unless she was needed by her moms. Besides the physical feeling of being on the road, there was something special to the girl about the solidarity of zooming through the open air with not a worry in the world, nothing ahead of her but time.
Having just narrowly avoided wiping out, the girl’s heart was still thumping. She could hear the thunderous drumbeat in her ears, echoing with a booming dissonance. Somehow, even though the woman almost caused her to crash, Des was able to stop the bike without any injuries.
“Sorry, I had to startle you like that. Literally, Des, it was the only path I could see to get to you.” The woman dropped her hand down, an impish smile tightening the skin on her face. Hazel, olive-shaped, ageless eyes stared back at the girl with a combination of child-like playfulness and the wisdom of a hundred lifetimes.
Lowering the kickstand and pivoting her vehicle over on its support, the blonde, with a strawberry-red streak in her bangs, removed her helmet and set it on the bike’s seat. She rapidly shook her head back and forth, then ran her hand through messy hair.
Stepping around to the front of her ride, she hesitantly walked closer to the woman. “You’re not supposed to be here… right? I thought your job, for like, all of eternity, was to just… watch.”
“About that,” Rachel began. “I know you’ve paid more than your fair toll and should be able to enjoy a peaceful life now. But, Des, you have a very specific set of skills, and I need your help. One final time.”