“Parker!” My mom’s voice crackled in the air as she burst through the door, wine glass in hand. I must have just dozed off to my happy place. Not even the earphones could hide the hoarse voice of my mother.
“Get those things out of your ears so you can hear what I have to say.” Pulling them out was a mistake. I knew what she wanted: a shoulder to cry on. Of course, I thought to myself, I have to be related to the trainwreck standing in the doorway.
“Yes, Mom, I am listening.” I couldn’t fight her in the state she was in. Drunk as a skunk and maybe high as well, I couldn’t really tell the difference.Through the course of three months, I have witnessed the disaster that divorce could leave behind.
“Your dad is a no good son of a-”
“Yes, Mom.” I cut her off before the crude words can leave her mouth. It’s only too bad that those words have been engraved in my brain, what with me being the daughter of a cheater and a drunk. Never a good combination.
“I have to go, Mom. Francois has me working the night shift this week.” I move fast so that she can’t protest against it. I hear the words, almost as if she had said them. It sounds something dangerously close to, “You don’t need to work. Your father will provide for you, like he should, the homo.”
My mother has this grudge against him that won’t give way and it’s destroying my relationship with my dad. My dad may be a cheater but he’s never said one ugly word about her, and that makes me mad. She’s the monster that tears people apart with her horrible attitude. And she is the reason he started looking for love elsewhere.
My Yamaha purrs as I start him up. As the engine vibrates between my thighs, I can’t help but feel this intense amount of freedom. Pulling the helmet down, adrenaline coursing through my blood, I take off to Co-Mac. The wind and traffic pass me by but I take no notice. My mind was wandering off to the only place that felt like home. Francois’ home was open to me from the day I sat outside in the rain crying over the divorce my dad wanted a year ago. The final paper work was drawn up only a few months ago, but it seems to never have an end.
“Hey Parker, you are early for your shift.” Francois’ voice reached my ears as I walked into the auto shop, the place that has my blood pumping high on adrenaline just by being there.
“Yeah, my mother is at it again.” I try to sound as if it doesn’t bother me but the hurt comes through. Francois went on as if he didn’t notice, but I know he heard the squeak.
“I got a Ford back there that needs a few parts replaced and a test run around the track.” He was always so business-like anytime emotions came into play. That was how I got the job. I’ve been hanging around the track for five years now. My dad brought me here for some business deal. The second my eyes landed on the cars, they had me hooked. Watching the cars power through on the track at unthinkable speeds was amazing. Ever since then I have came here to live the dream.
“Got it. Would like to see what that baby can do. If it is anything like that Mercedes Benz of last week, I’m definitely going to have some fun.”
“As long as it’s on the track.”
“Of course, Sir. Where else would it be?” I put on my most innocent face and looked at him. He glanced at me over his glasses
“I am just saying. News travels faster than any car out there.” He knew about the drag race I had with Banjo last week. Why wouldn’t he? He use to do it too before his busted knee. I walked back and saw the blue Ford Mustang standing in the light. Touching the craftsmanship was invigorating and the thrill of driving this monster soon grew.
“Parker, just remember, I have faith in you but never push too hard when it comes to turns.” Francois’ voice came from behind me.
“Whose car is this?” I ask as I opened up the bonnet to have a good look at her power.
“A guy named Nick Wesley.” He said as we observe the most amazing engine known to man.
“As in Nickolas Wesley the Dakar champion?”
“I don’t think so, why?” He looked at me suspiciously.
“No reason, it would be kind of cool if it was. Then my theory of him would be correct.” I say as I turn to the workbench.
“That being what?”
“That he likes living dangerously in all the aspects of his life. I mean turning eighteen and winning the Dakar in one week is kind of legend.” I could not hide my excitement from him. I loved the sport and, to be honest, wished I had what it took to be there.
“So, he is kind of your idol.”
“No, not really. I do admire his achievements but, to be honest, I think he can be a jerk.”
“From personal experience?” He looked at me more closely.
“No, it is more like my observation of his body language and the way he deals with the press.”
“Well, your body says something totally different to what you mouth is talking about. Parker you sure you don’t have a crush on Wesley?” He teased as my face turned bright red.
“No, I don’t have a crush.” The skeptical look I received was enough to make me squirm on the inside. “Okay, maybe just a little one. I would say it’s closer to jealousy, though, because of his achievements.” The smirk on Francois’ face flashed to me as I moved to the other side of the Ford. I wished more than anything to turn the tables, but I am out of ideas. He knows more about me than I know about him.
“So, how are things with that boy you talked about the other day?” He was moving the conversation away from Nick but went to dead man’s land by speaking of the prick that was known as Shawn.
“Could we just go back to work and leave my nonexistent love life out of this.” My head went low into the open bonnet of the car.
“Well, I guess that means nothing happened.”
“Yeah, nothing happened because there was nothing. He’s an a-hole at best. He just wanted to get into my pants, end of discussion. Now can we work or what?” I looked at him straight, knowing I would get an ‘I told you so,’ but he only shrugged and went back to work.
My shift ended hours ago but I didn’t care much about the time. The less time I spend in that house the better. If I had my way, I would either be living here or someplace near here, but with my birthday weeks away, I can’t make any moves until then.
Pink’s song is playing over the sound system as I close the bonnet. I am overly excited to test this baby around the track before doing some last adjustments tomorrow. I walk to the office located at the front of the huge warehouse filled with parts and cars.
Francois’ collection stands in the garage, all muscle and adrenaline pumping cars. I have had the pleasure of testing some around the track but still haven’t had the chance to get a lap in with Eleanor. But tonight, I am taking her kid sister for a spin.
The office was set in a low light as I open the door. Francois had already gone home a few hours ago, leaving me behind to work. He’d tried previously to get me out of here before he leaves, but his attempts always end in failure. The Ford’s key was hanging on the keyholder just waiting for me to take it.
“Francois?” I hear someone call from the warehouse door, stopping me dead in my tracks. Who could be looking for him at this hour? I moved slowly towards the office door, peeking through the opening to see if I was just imagining things, only to stumble back as a shadow appeared in the workshop.
My heart raced as fear and panic started to settle in. I grabbed the nearest thing for protection. Luckily for me, it was Francois’ putter. Not that he plays golf. He uses it as an intimidation tool. And it sure helps to prevent nonpayments. Many have tried to come and steal their cars here to avoid payment. Thankfully, Francois has always had the upper hand on all attempts.
“Francois, are you here?” The voice came closer, making me grip the golf club tighter. I count to three before jumping out of the office.
“He is not here.” I say forcefully, looking at the guy standing a few feet away. “What do you want?” I tried to keep myself calm and not do anything that could mean trouble. Okay, I should have called Francois before jumping out and facing the intruder but what can I say, I am an impulsive person. Just look at the situation I am in now.
“Hey, he said that he would be working on my car tonight.” He took a step closer, his arms up in the air as defense. The light caught his face and my knees buckled. He was something to look at and what a waste to ruin a face like that. I quickly compose myself before I lost all functions of my body.
“Well, he is not here. What kind of car?” I go through my mind trying to recall al the cars we’d been working on over the last few days. Besides the Ford Mustang, there are four others. Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Audi and Toyota that came in for parts and some custom detailed paint jobs.
“Ford Mustang. I asked him to look at the gears.” He lowered his hands and hooked his thumbs into his jeans pockets. My eyes took in his lean body, only to whip back to his eyes the second I realise what I was staring and where my thought where going.
“So, you’re Nick.” I walked to the switch board. The half-lit workshop was not doing it for me.
“Yes, I am Francois stepbrother.” He replied behind me as the lights turn on, one by one.
“Stepbrother? I didn’t know he had one.” I turned back to him only to stop and look at the hottest guy I have ever set eyes on. He looked better than any picture that had been taken of him. They didn’t do him any justice.
“Yeah, well, we are newly stepbrothers. It has been almost a year now. And to be honest, I didn’t know he had such a babe for a secretary.” His words shocked me and the fire in me builds. Men always presume that a pretty face means no brains.
“I am not his secretary for your info.” I walked past him, fuming.
“Well, you’re too young to be his girlfriend, so the only options left are that you are either a groupie or a shop assistant. And I would say the latter. Also, I didn’t catch your name, sweetheart?” I can feel his eyes roaming over me, inch by inch. Something that would normally give me the creeps.
“I didn’t give it.” He was annoying me with the names. It was the same tactic my mother used when she wanted something.
“Okay. Now, I could try and guess it but I think I’ll just call you,” he paused and acted like he was in deep thought, “hot stuff.” Now he looked like the pictures in the magazines and in the paper. With that dangerous smile and charming good looks he probably had girls falling at his feet.
“Please don’t, I hate being called things other than my name.” I said truthfully.
“So, are you going to give me the chance to call you by your name?” He asked in an almost whisper.
“Parker.” I reply as I turn back to the office, only to find myself immobilized by a firm grip on my arm. As I look up into those grey eyes all things come to a stop. And for those few seconds, I allowed myself to fall.
“Nice to meet you, Parker. I am Nickolas Wesley, but you can call me Nick.” He smiled and the feeling of butterflies fluttering around in my stomach made me want to giggle like a teen seeing her celebrity crush. And I am so over those years. Or at least I think so.
I hated Francois at that moment. Why couldn’t he just tell me that Nick, the guy who is - more like was - my idol was his stepbrother? Francois is an arrogant guy and flirts with every girl that will give him the time of day. Even though Francois definitely has a sensitive side of him, if it weren’t for the step part, the fact of them being brothers would have been a no brainer.
Francois’ dad was the owner of this race track which made him popular by default, like my rich family made me in school. Status was one thing that could make you or break you.
“I know who you are.” I answered bluntly, trying to move back a few steps and widen the gap, but without success. He was too strong and manage to hold me closer.
“Another fan? Maybe my biggest?” He smirked at me and all I feel are my cheeks heating.
“No, Francois and I talked about your car.” But his smile didn’t falter once.
“Keep telling yourself that, Sweetheart. Your body is very expressie and what it’s telling me and what is coming out of your mouth are two contradicting points.” The fact that both he and Francois made that point starts to worry me. What if I am always showing people my real feelings?
“Then obviously you’re reading the wrong signs, buster. I don’t like you. And you may leave now. I am locking up.” He is getting under my skin and that only makes my blood boil.
“Defensive aren’t we now? Sorry.” The sarcasm hit me and I decided I’d had enough.
“Either you get out now or I’ll show you defensive.” This guy had some nerve, but that only proved my theory.
“No need to get physical, okay. I am out of here.” He turned on his heels, heading towards the door. Right before he crossed the threshold, he turned back, devils dancing in his eyes.
“Hope to see you again.” Nick says before disappearing out the door.