"Every time you do something nice for me, something bad happens," Veronica bemoaned.
"That's not true," replied Erica.
Veronica rubbed her hands over her face. "It's the truest thing ever."
"I'm literally just dropping you off at the airport. That's it. That's it!"
Veronica clenched her teeth, eyeing the clock against the wall. She'd need to leave soon to make her flight.
She sighed and threw up her hands, "Okay. Fine."
Erica popped up from the couch. "Great! Let me find my keys and we'll get going. They're around here somewhere…"
"Erica, I don't have time for–"
"I can find them fast! I promise."
Erica did not find them fast. It took her nearly twenty minutes of searching through discarded laundry and under furniture to find her keys, somehow in the sink beneath the dirty dishes. Veronica wanted to question how that happened, but there was no time for whatever long winded story Erica had. Instead, she just shoved her luggage in the back of Erica's car and begged her roommate to ignore their neighbor's fluffy dog to hurry up.
Traffic was backed up the entire ride there, and every car horn honked and cranky driver they encountered frayed Veronica's nerves that much more.
Erica playfully poked her tricep. "Wanna play 'guess that artist' on the radio?"
"It'll take your mind off the traffic."
"We wouldn't have to deal with the traffic if we'd left sooner."
"Maybe. Maybe not. But don't worry, there's a good chance we'll make your flight."
Veronica sprang up from her slouched position. "'Good chance'? I need to make it!"
Erica scoffed. "Chill. I–"
"Oh my gosh, Erica, I need to make this flight," Veronica groaned. She rambled, "This company is making an exception for me to have this interview. I have to make it there in time to have any chance at this job. And I need this job!"
"Okay, I get it."
"No, you don't. You're content with your life. I'm not. This could be my one chance to change how it is going."
Erica clicked her tongue, her brows pulling together with a look of offense. "I get it– Dang it!" Erica slammed on brakes to avoid running the red light.
The car behind them slammed on brakes in turn and honked their horn in quick succession.
Erica took a deep breath, encouraging the other woman to do the same. "Calm down, Vee. Look, I got you. I'll get you to the airport in time."
Veronica gestured to the traffic around them. "How?"
There was a brief pause. Then, Erica replied, "There's a back road towards the airport. Usually, it's a slower route, but it'll be better than all this mess."
With time ticking down, Veronica hesitantly agreed.
"Are you sure you know where you're going?"
"Vee, I like you, but I will kick you out of my car if you ask me that again."
They hit a pothole, the third one since turning onto the narrow road. The car jerked, the sound of Veronica cursing under her breath drowned out by the sound of her luggage clunking in the trunk.
Veronica sighed, body jerking against another pothole. "Fine."
She was instructed to take another deep breath, but struggled to do so. Her nerves frayed with each dip and jolt.
Erica glanced over. "We're gonna make it," she assured. "Then, you're gonna get on that plane, go to Houston and have the best interview of all time and totally crush that job."
"Gosh, I really hope so–"
"None of that attitude. You'll get the job. I wouldn't have taken off work to get you to the airport if I didn't believe in you."
Veronica gasped, "You took off?"
"Yeah, I was about to leave when I saw you needed me. But I texted Rodney to take my shift, so it's cool."
Veronica stumbled over her words as she attempted to ask why her roommate would do something like that.
"Girl, we've been roommates for– what– five years? I've watched you study your butt off for an opportunity like this. I just want to help."
"Says the woman who teases me for working so hard," Veronica scoffed, though a small smile turned her mouth.
"True. I mean, you study so hard it's weird. But I guess it's sort of nice, you know, having motivation like that."
Erica sucked in the side of her cheek, contemplating what to say next. "I guess I'm a bit envious of that kind of motivation. Like you said, I'm content in my life. All I do is deliver pizzas and make earrings. I don't have a problem with that, but I admire you won't stop at anything to get more out of life."
Veronica's smile widened, though she tried her best to keep it hidden.
The elated mood in the car was cut short as they came to the end of their detour. Erica was about to merge back onto the highway
– just ahead of the long line of traffic they barely managed to beat– when the car jerked. Then, the engine sputtered and gave what could only be described as a rattling croak before a plume of smoke rose from the front of the car.
"Wha– no way!" Erica maneuvered the car as best she could onto the grassy shoulder.
She popped the hood and ran out to inspect the damage. Veronica didn't have to wait for her assessment to know they wouldn't be making it to the airport.
"Fu– ugh!" Erica groaned. She hit her fist against the car, swearing she had fixed the car last night.
"I shouldn't have followed that stupid tutorial," Erica huffed. "I should've just taken it to a mechani– Oh, don't cry, Vee!"
Veronica shook her head, her face hidden behind her trembling hands.
"I wanted this job so much!" She sobbed. "But, of course, things don't go right for me. They never do."
Erica slid back into the car. "It'll be okay. Even if you don't get this job, they'll be others." She touched her roommate's shoulder. "You're super smart and super determined, ya know? Plus, that company isn't the only one in the business."
Veronica started to protest again, but Erica shut it down. "Listen, I may not know where I put my keys most of the time or how to fix a car, but I know this will all turn out for the best. Trust me!"
Veronica choked back another sob and forced a tight lipped smile. Before she could say anything though, her phone rang. It was from the interviewer.
Veronica wiped away her tears, cleared her throat, and answered the call.
Erica gave her some privacy to attempt to fix the car again. Her attempts were in vain. A wave of dread passed through Erica as she realized she could be responsible for Veronica's failed dreams. And all because she didn't properly take care of her car.
"Oh my gosh, Erica, you won't believe what happened." Veronica practically skipped back to the car. "The interviewer said he had to cancel. Apparently, his wife went into labor early or something. Anyway, he asked if I could reschedule for next month. The company will refund the plane ticket and everything!"
Veronica was beaming and bouncing for joy and soon Erica was too.
"See? Everything worked out! I told you it would!"
Veronica wiped at her damp flushed cheeks. "I guess it's kind of a good thing we got held up. I could've ended up on that plane for nothing," the woman chuckled.
Erica got a smug look on her face. "Something bad may happen whenever I'm around, but it's always for the best."
Veronica sighed. She said as she rolled her eyes, "I guess that's the truest thing ever."