I Need One More Favor
Quinton Thompson? Bullshit. I started to laugh at Tyler and he merely arched a brow.
He took a step closer to me and I inhaled deeply from being in close proximity to him.
“Okay, cut the crap and be honest Ty. I haven’t even met the owner of this diner but I know that Mr. Thompson can’t possibly own a diner since he’s famously known for a security firm,” I responded as I tried to move past Tyler. He didn’t budge so I stopped trying to walk around him since his crossed arms said I wasn’t going anywhere until he was ready to move.
I rolled my eyes and let out a sigh.
“Please move Ty,” I said, adding warmth into my voice. I got a smirk in approval and he finally let me squeeze past him.
“I like the pet names Karina. First Stormy Eyes and now Ty. What’s next hothead?” Tyler said as he looked at me.
I rolled my eyes again and walked into the kitchen with him behind me.
I practically ran over to the sink near the kitchen and wet a long strand of paper towels to wipe down my face. I cringed as I felt chucks of dough and Windex peeling off of my face as I scrubbed my face clean.
“Owwww,” I moaned out as my facial hair ripped with the chunks of dough from my face.
I paused for a moment and realized that Tyler hadn’t answered my question about Quinton, the owner of this bakery who I’d never met. I voiced my question to him and he finally answered it.
“Well, why can’t a multimillionaire own both a security firm and a diner? I think it’s definitely a possibility,” Tyler retorted with a smile as he watched me struggle to clean my face.
“Fine, let’s say that I believe you but then, you should explain why I’ve never heard of or let alone seen Quinton Thompson on this establishment,” I retorted.
I could finally see my face in the mirror that was hanging above the sink. At least it was sort of clean.
Ugh who was I fooling? I looked ratchet as fuck.
My hair and bangs, on the other hand, were a completely different story. I had squishy chunks of dough coating my long black hair. It was disgusting to look at so I grabbed my paper towels to scrub viscously at my face again.
“Maybe because he’s a busy man. And since Mario does a good job managing everything, he’s never had a reason to stop by,” retorted Tyler with another signature smirk.
He placed himself in front of me and took the towels from me. He dipped them under the faucet and started wiping my face for me. It was almost an intimate gesture, one that I wasn’t used to.
Tyler’s touches were as gentle as a feather but damn this man did what I couldn’t. He got rid of the flour from my face in silence and tried to salvage my bangs but couldn’t do much about them.
After a few minutes of gentle scrubbing, Tyler put the towels down. “Do you need anything?” answered Tyler. He was looking at the ratchet condition of my black leggings and purple running top.
“No. Actually yes, if you don’t mind, can you stop at the boutique on Mainstreet and buy me an outfit, please? I’ll even pay you for gas money,” I asked, hoping that he’d say yes. I really didn’t want to be stuck smelling like Windex all day.
That would be a nightmare. Imagine serving customers and looking like something that belonged in an oven? I shuddered at the thought and pulled out cash from my purse near the back door to give Tyler.
“Ight, I’ve got you. What dress size are you?” Tyler asked as he watched my every move.
“I’m a medium in women’s dress sizes. Just pick anything as long as it’s work appropriate. That means a dress that I can bend down in without flashing my ass,” I said to him.
His cheeky smile caught me by surprise and I raised a brow to question his motives but he didn’t comment. He reminded me of Knox a little bit. I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe they were related or something.
“Got it, anything else?” Tyler asked.
“A bottle of Suave Shampoo please from the convenience store next door. Here’s some cash. Thanks so much, Ty!” I exclaimed after touching his arm. I could feel his bicep twitch in response to my touch. That was a new feeling too.
“Alright, be right back,” Tyler said as I walked away from him to do my job.
I put my hair up into a ponytail and decided that the dough in my hair was a temporary resident for the day.
Some customers approached the counter to place their order and I walked over to them.
“Poor girl, look at her hair,” said an old man, frowning at my appearance.
“Ha! She just looks uglier than before,” said a young brunette, sniggering at me.
They didn’t even bother to whisper. I put on my biggest smile and no bullshit attitude to serve the customers.
“How can I help you guys?” I asked.
“We’d like some spaghetti to go and a cup of coffee please,” replied the older man.
The younger woman had other ideas and said, “Can I have a red velvet cupcake, please? Oh, wait all of the flour is in your hair. I change my mind, I’m good without this bakery's terrible services and foods,” she says and the other people in line laughed.
“Look ma’am, mistakes happen. You’re free to say whatever you’d like about me but don’t make the mistake of insulting this bakery. To do so would be to insult a very respected man,” I responded in a patient and peaceful tone.
“Or what,” she mocked as she obnoxiously chomped on her gum. People waited for my response in pitch silence.
“Or else I’ll call Quinton Thompson, my boss, and tell him that you insulted one of his establishments. I don’t think you want that,” I said with a shit-eating smile.
She harrumphed and stomped away like a petulant child.
Nobody’s going to miss you girl. Keep walking straight out those double doors.
I finished serving the customers and began to clean up the mess on the floor.
I needed to call Mario and tell him about his horrible life decision of choosing Max as an employee. I was paying for his mistake with my hair and clothes.
After twenty minutes or so, I saw Tyler walk into the diner again with a bag of clothes from the boutique. My breath caught as his stormy blue eyes connected with my forest green eyes. We were like yin and yan. I was the firecracker and he was the calm after a storm.
He strode towards the end of the counter and walked behind it to give me my clothes. He also picked up the remaining pieces of the wooden shelf that had conveniently decided to collapse on me, just like the rest of my life did years ago when my mom died.
“Go change, I’ll man the counter for now,” he said, grinning at my elation of seeing a pretty yellow dress and shampoo. I made sure to grab the receipt.
I smiled a genuine smile with my four dimples showing and then I decided to get a little closer to Tyler to ask him something.
“Before I change, I need one more favor,” I asked.
“Sure, what can I do?” asked Tyler as he plucked the receipt from my hand and shoved it into his pocket. I tried to protest but I didn't want to stick my hand in his pocket for a receipt. That'd be too up close and personal for me. I'm not that type of woman.
I grabbed his hand to drag Tyler towards the kitchen and told him to fill the steel pot with cold water. There was a back door to the diner so we could have a few minutes of privacy.
I pulled out the shampoo Tyler bought me and said, “follow me outside. Bring the pot of water.”
Tyler looked beyond confused but he’d understand what was going on in a couple of seconds.
I quickly propped the door open and placed the boutique bag near the door as I took a step out into the cool alley. Armed with a shampoo bottle, I flipped my head down to shake out all of the flour from my hair. The chunks remained.
“You’re going to dump small amounts of water onto my head so I can wash out the flour,” I said.
I looked up at Tyler and he tried to stifle a laugh at my wasted efforts.
“Are your sure this is a good idea? Someone could see you,” Tyler responded but he complied with my request.
I took a handful of shampoo and lathered it into my hair after Tyler dumped some water into my hair. I quickly washed out the sticky chunks of dough from my bangs and hair.
It was fucking cold despite being a sunny day in March.
“Okay slowly dump the rest so I can wash out the soap please,” I said and Tyler continued to laugh at me. His shirt rose a little as he poured some water. Not that I was looking to closely but the man had a 6 pack which was super hot.
“Okay done, thanks for your service,” I said with a salute. I stripped off my jeans and top to change into the yellow dress but realized that Tyler was staring at my back.
Shit, the scars on my back and lower neck.
I don’t want anyone to see them. It makes me look pathetic and grotesque.
“What happened to your back Karina?” Tyler asked, looking worriedly at my body. I could see he was trying to hold back a shitton of questions.
I quickly yanked on the dress and grabbed the pot from his hand so I could place it in the sink.
I wasn’t about to tell him my depressing life story about how my father beat my mother up several times because she wanted to divorce him for cheating. I wasn’t going to tell him about my failure to call the cops and nor would I ever tell him about getting beat up over something so trivial.
“Don’t worry about it, it’s in the past. Thank you for the beautiful dress. Next time I go clothes shopping, you’re coming with me. I have a feeling you'd be a lot of fun to spend time with,” I said with a small smile.
“With pleasure. Fashion is a lot of fun and shouldn’t only be limited to women. Just like street racing shouldn’t be limited to men only,” he said with a smirk as I gaped at him. A million questions ran through my mind.
Did I meet him on the streets a couple of years ago or at the NASCAR races?
Or did somebody tell him about me? Does he know Seth? My father used to force Seth to accompany to the NASCAR racing track on the weekends. Maybe Seth and Tyler were friends? God, I hope not.
Tyler actually seemed like a cool guy.
We walked towards the counter and saw a huge line of people waiting to be served.
“Well, that’s my cue to leave,” I said, looking back at Tyler remorsefully.
"Don't worry Beautiful, I'll see you again soon. This conversation isn't finished. Don't forget to store those phone numbers that Knox left on the fridge," Tyler said, touching the nape of my neck...right where my scar was.
How did Tyler know Knox???