In the morning Rex dropped me off at Jake's house. Jake already had his motorcycle out in the driveway and was working on it with some tools. I hoped that it was just some last-minute adjustments and not that something was wrong.
"Thanks for doing this, man," said Rex.
"No problem," said Jake. "Like I said, I was planning to ride to Vegas one of these days anyway."
Then Rex turned to me and sighed. "Good luck," he said. "And try to... try to have some fun on this trip if that's at all possible."
"Thanks," I said.
"Don't worry about Mom and Dad," said Rex. "I'll take care of damage control on the home front if anything happens." Then he got back in the car and left.
Jake gathered up his tools and put them away in the garage. Then he came back out and walked around the bike, looking at it from all angles. It was really quite a beautiful motorcycle, although I couldn't claim to know much about them. Jake took out a white cloth and polished it until it was gleaming in the morning sun.
I looked over at the porch and noticed that Jake's mom had come out and was standing there smoking a cigarette and watching.
"How are you holding up, honey?" she asked.
"I guess I'm okay," I said. "I'm a little nervous."
"Well, you can't wear that light jacket on a trip like this. Here, I'll lend you mine." She went in the house and came back with a black leather jacket. She handed it to me with one hand, still holding her cigarette between two fingers of her other hand.
I took off my backpack and my jacket and tried on Jake's mom's jacket. It was heavy and a little too big for me, but I figured it would be okay.
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