When the final bell of the day rang, she released a sigh of relief, not even bothering to hide it from her students.
“You could try looking less happy, Miss Mulberry.” One of her students chimed jokingly as they all rose to their feet and began packing up the things to head home for the day.
“No chance! I’m not on the clock anymore.” She called after him and laughed softly as some of the other students joined in.
Once the room had emptied, she walked up and down the centre pathway in the middle of the room, tucking in chairs and swiping any scraps of paper off the tables. After a single survey of the room, she grabbed her purse and headed out of the school. There were only a few seniors left hanging around in the hallways; all wolves.
She smiled politely at them as she waddled by, her hand placed protectively over her stomach as it was always was nowadays, her lips curling up at the corners as she felt the baby kick for what felt like the millionth time today. After the first few times, the novelty had worn off and now that she was nearing the seventh month of the pregnancy, the baby growing inside of her was much more active than ever before.
It probably didn’t help that she was carrying a wolf pup and not a human baby. Either way, she wouldn’t change a single thing about her decision as she was doing the greatest service for her friends that a person could possibly do.
As two males who had been paired together by the Moon Goddess herself, no one could dare deny their matching or compatibility. Justas and Raphael couldn’t conceive themselves even though a little pup to call their own was the one thing they wanted the absolute most. When she had heard, she offered up herself as surrogate immediately and while it had been a rushed decision, one which she hadn’t initially put much thought into, it had very quickly turned into the best thing she had ever done.
Unfortunately for Anastasia, the happy mood didn’t last for long as she slipped into the driver’s seat but instead of humming to life as her car usually did, she was met with a low growl that did not come from a wolf.
Anastasia frowned as she twisted her key and tried again. When that didn’t work, she groaned and slammed her hand down on the wheel in frustration, immediately wincing as the horn blared loudly and a few pupils that were still lingering outside the school momentarily halted their conversation to stare at her.
She huffed and fished for her phone in her purse. When she had experienced car troubles in the past, she had always called her dad who had worked as a car mechanic for many years however, he was currently travelling the world with her mother so she had no choice but to turn to Google.
Fortunately for her, the nearest garage was only a few minutes away but since her car refused to start up, she punched in their number and pressed her phone against her ear.
Twenty minutes passed before she spotted the pick-up truck pull up into the school parking lot. At the sight of him, Anastasia softly pressed down on the horn to alert him that she was the one in need.
It was only when he stepped out the vehicle and approached hers that she recognised him as Harvey from the diner a few weeks ago. Anastasia followed suit, swinging her purse strap onto her shoulder, her keys in hand.
“Fancy running into you here.” Harvey chuckled as he came to a stop next to her, slipping his hands into his pockets.
“You’re the mechanic?” Anastasia asked in surprise, staring up at him with wide eyes.
“One of them, yes.” Harvey chuckled with a light glint in his eyes, his lips stretched into a wide grin. “I was fortunate enough to get a job just a few days after that day at the diner.”
Anastasia could only blink at him, surprised to have seen him again as both the first and last time that she had seen him, it had appeared that he wouldn’t be sticking around but with currently standing right in front of her, her previous train of thought had been proven false.
“Congratulations are in order, I guess.”
“I could say the same about you.” Harvey laughed as his eyes purposely travelled down to send a pointed look to her stomach. “You were really holding out on me the other day.”
“No, I wasn’t.” She shook her head and denied, but struggled to keep the amusement off her face. “I just didn’t tell you the whole truth. There’s a difference.”
“That’s basically the same thing but you’ve just chosen to take a political approach by answering the question without actually answering the question. So, essentially you’re just saying to take my attention away from the fact that you haven’t really answered the question in the first place.” Harvey snorted at that.
“And your point is?” She cocked a daring brow, taking more amusement from this conversation that she probably should have, but she was starting to warm up to the fellow. Especially since he didn’t appear to have any intentions of asking her out again.
“There’s not really a point.”
“Let me guess. There’s no boyfriend?”
“What? Just because I’m pregnant you think my boyfriend left me or something?” Her lips curled down in a mock frown as she braced her hands on her hips for added effect. Unfortunately, the ruse didn’t last long as she failed to hold in the giggle that threatened to escape.
Harvey stared at her with wide eyes but once he registered the audible laughter sounding from her, he chuckled.
“You really had me there.” His lips twitched higher. “So, what do we have here?” He paused to ask, gesturing his attention to her car which was still parked in the parking space she had occupied this morning.
Anastasia internally groaned at the reminder, having momentarily forgotten that she was having car troubles and was stranded at school. The thought to call either Justas or Raphael popped into mind but she was sure that if she did, they would just worry and try to convince her to come back with them to the pack house however, since the incident with the Alpha a few weeks ago, she refused to return there.
For now, at least.
There was also the small fact that she had acted out on her rage and while she was absolutely certain that he had gotten wind of it – there was no way he wouldn’t know about the complaint by now – she was a little afraid of how he would react.
“It won’t turn on.” She groaned and set a pointed look toward the bonnet. “I tried turning the keys a few times but it kept making this groaning sound.”
“Let me take a look at it.” Harvey pursed his lips as he moved around the car.
Anastasia moved to glance over his shoulder, trying to discern the root of the issue but all she saw were wires and compartments that she couldn’t quite make sense of.
From where she was standing, she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary but there was a reason that he was the expert and she was not. There was also the fact that she had never paid all that much attention when her dad tried to teach her the way around a car’s internals.
Oh, how she regretted that now.
“It appears as if you’ve got an engine misfire problem.” Harvey hummed as he leaned in to compose a more thorough inspection. “It also looks like you’ve got some mayonnaise under your oil cap.”
“What? How did mayonnaise get under there?” She asked in shock, taking a step forward to get a better look at what he was staring at. “Maybe it’s one of the kids from school playing a trick on me.”
His back stiffened and he slowly turned his head to glance at her from over his shoulder, not even trying to conceal the large grin on his face, waves of mirth swimming in the pale blue of his eyes.
“Why are you laughing? That sounds pretty serious.” Her lips tugged down in a frown, her eyes not wavering from all the different parts of the engine, trying to figure out exactly what was wrong. “What do I have to do to get rid of the mayonnaise?”
“By mayonnaise in this scenario, I am referring to the fact that a mixture of water and oil has formed when the water condensed. It is serious, but nothing you won’t be able to repair so don’t worry too much about it. Everything else seems fine but I’ll need to make sure that this isn’t an indication of component failure.”
“Okay.” Anastasia blinked, stupefied by all the terminology that he had just flexed on her with. “What’s the next step?”
Harvey chuckled as he wiped his hands on a rag he pulled out of his pocket and moved back to close it up before turning his gaze on her.
“It means, I’m going to have to take your car back with me to the garage and get the engine replaced.”
“What about me?”
“Just into my truck and I’ll tow your car.”
“Thanks.” She smiled graciously and released a sigh of relief before following his instruction as he jerked his thumb at the tow truck behind him.
Anastasia sat in the passenger seat and twiddled her thumbs for a few moments, watching Harvey move about in the mirror. She watched as hooked the tow part of his truck into the bumper of her car as well as carry out some other checks she didn’t quite understand before he jogged around the side of the car and slipped into the driver’s seat.
“The garage I work at is very near to here so the drive should be quick, and then I’ll be able to properly check out the engine.”
“Thank you. I really appreciate your help.”
“Don’t worry.” He hummed dismissively as his truck hummed to life and he began to slowly peel out of the parking lot, very much aware of the few students that were still lingering about. “It’s actually my job to help out people like you.”
“People like me?” She asked quietly in a confused tone, willing herself to calm down before she decided to jump to conclusions.
Harvey spared her a sideways glance and chuckled. “Damsels in distress.”
Anastasia huffed and leaned back in her seat as she crossed her arms over her chest.
“Just because I don’t know my way around the internals of a car bonnet doesn’t make me a damsel in distress.”
“You’ve got a valid point there.” He agreed, his eyes occasionally flitting between her and the road.
A comfortable silence filled the car and once she realised that she had been spaced out for a while, she cleared her throat and turned to him, only to find a peculiar, curious expression on his face even though he was focused on the road ahead.
“What is it?” She asked as she could tell that there was something that he wanted to ask. “What do you want to ask?”
Harvey spared her a sideways glance. “How do you know there’s something I want to ask?”
“You’ve got this funny look on your face. Kind of makes you look constipated.” Anastasia laughed softly, resting her gaze on him.
“So, there’s no man in the picture?” Harvey asked quietly, finally voicing aloud the question that he had been wondering since they had first met at the diner a few weeks ago.
“No.” Anastasia confirmed with a shake of her head. “And I’m currently not taking any applications either so please refrain from asking me to dinner again.”
“Duly noted.” Harvey chuckled as he continued driving, merely sparing her a sideways glance. “How about I ask as a friend?”
“Are you asking me to dinner as a friend, or are you asking about the baby as a friend?” She quirked a questioning eyebrow, watching him carefully.
“Whichever one you’re willing to answer.” He grinned widely, pushing his luck.
Anastasia laughed softly at his attempt to sneak in another dinner request, but chose to ignore it and focus on the latter instead.
“I’m actually carrying this baby for my friends.” Anastasia explained, not feeling the need to mention the sexual orientation of Justas and Raphael as she didn’t see how that piece of information was relevant. If they were straight and couldn’t conceive, her decision would have still been the same.
“So, you’re a surrogate?”
“Yes.” She nodded, a soft smile on her face as she gazed down and rubbed her protruding belly gently, a natural instinct she had developed ever since that first moment she found out she was pregnant. Even before she had felt the baby moving in there.
“That’s really cool of you.” Harvey noted aloud with a glint of appreciation in his eyes.
“I like to think so.” Her lips twitched a little higher at the corners but the conversation soon came to an end as they pulled up into the garage.
While Harvey called over one of his colleagues so they could inspect the engine together, she took a seat in an empty chair and scrolled though her phone absentmindedly, wishing she had her laptop on her to get some writing done. Since she hated writing on her phone, she had no choice but to jot down her ideas in her notepad for now and just write them up later.
As she was so invested in this new character that she had come up with, choosing to pen his name Nixon, she didn’t notice that they had finished inspecting her engine until Harvey called out to her.
“Do you want the good news or bad news first?” Harvey asked as he approached her, leaving his colleague behind to close the bonnet as he wiped his hands on an old rag.
“Bad news.” She answered immediately without a slither of a doubt. “I always want the bad news first.”
“Well, your entire engine needs replacing and it’s going to take a few days, maybe a week for us to order it and get it delivered.”
“And what’s the good news?”
“I get to give you a ride home.”
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