Anyone But Him 2: Maddox

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Can't Catch a Break

Having Willow in the shop changed everything for me. I did my best to stay away from the front. I went straight upstairs at 5 not bothering to even say bye to my mom if she happened to still be there.

I had to immerse myself in my work to keep from being hyper-aware of her. If not I knew the minute she arrived to work, the minute she left. It drove me crazy.

Dad hadn't been able to find out much from mom. The only thing he really was able to tell me was she was having money trouble and mom had offered to help. No shit I could have told them that.

For the first time ever I was actually dreading tonight's race. It wasn't that I didn't think I could place it was that every time I looked at that damn car all I saw was Willow. I had told dad I was driving the other car tonight. I rarely drove the Toyota but at least I wouldn't see Willow laying on its hood naked and...

"Fuck," I said slamming my hands down coming out from under the car I had been working on. Looking up I let out an aggravated breath, "what the fuck do you want?"

Willow looked down at me crossing her arms, "your sister needs you. She asked me to come find you."

Rolling my eyes I stood up grabbing a rag and walking toward the office not bothering to wait on her. I was expecting to find Presley behind the counter so when I saw Harper I instantly calmed down some. Harper couldn't handle the attitude I had been prepared to throw at Presley for interrupting me. She would cry.

Looking up at me she smiled, "have I ever told you that you are my favorite brother."

I smiled shaking my head as I hopped up on the counter, "I'm your only brother dumb ass."

She tilted her head looking over at me, "if I order us some food will you go pick it up for me?"

"What's wrong with your car," I turned around pointing at Willow who was standing behind me in the car, or hers. "

Willow threw her hands up, "I'm not in this."

"Maddox, please. I never ask you for anything."

I laughed, "you ask me to do shit for you all the time Harper."

She smiled, "I just want some Mexican ok. Besides I already told dad you were picking it up. I ordered you fajitas."

I let out a breath, "one day I'm going to say no."

Smiling she nodded handing me envelopes. I looked down frowning, "what is this?"

She shrugged, "everyone's money."

I looked down at her, "and how many people am I picking food up for?"

Harper shrugged, "well including you 6. I asked the boys if they wanted anything."

Rolling my eyes at her I turned to leave looking down at Willow, "you couldn't have gone to get this?"

"I couldn't ask her to go get it when she didn't want anything," Harper said as if I was stupid.

Looking down at Willow I grabbed her arms, "then you can ride to hold shit, come on."

She looked up at me confused but followed me as to not cause a scene. As we approached my truck I turned around, "what are you even doing here Willow?"

She paused, "you told me to come on. I..."

"I mean here, at the shop. You couldn't find anywhere else to work?"

She looked down, "I've put in applications all over this town Ok. Trust me this is the last place I want to work."

Getting in my truck I almost thought she wouldn't get in beside me. Throwing the truck in reverse I looked over at her, "you could have said no."

"I'm not fucking stupid," she said buckling up. "I mean I guess I did but damn Maddox let it go. Pretend like I don't exist like I pretend that you don't."

Gripping my wheel I wondered why I even asked her to come ride with me in the first place. "Trust me sweetheart I don't spend my time worrying about you."

"Then why do you care if I work in the shop for a couple of months? You don' have to deal with me. You don't have to see me. You don't have to talk to me."

"Your kidding," I said. "You do know that I live at the shop right?"

She cut her eyes at me, "I don't give a fuck what you do Maddox."

I rolled my eyes, "what do you want to eat?"

Willow frowned looking over at me "what? Nothing? I'm not hungry."

"Bullshit," I said, "you can tell me or I will just order some random crap."

She watched as I pulled my phone up to my ear, "yeah I need to place an order."

She sighed, "Maddox, I don't need you to..."

I ignored her, "yeah I need to get a..."

"Jesus Maddox just get me chicken quesadillas if you feel you need to."

She glared at me the entire time I ordered her food. Hanging up I looked over at her, "why do you get so pissed off when someone tries to help you Willow? I could let you sit there and watch everyone else eat knowing your stubborn ass is hungry. "

She shook her head, "I do not need your help Maddox. You've helped enough."

Pulling into the restaurant parking lot I looked over at her, "and what's that supposed to mean?"

"What I fucking said. It's because of you I had to hurry up and get a job. If you would have just left me alone that night I wouldn't have..."

She stopped talking looking down and I knew she had told me more than she had meant to. I leaned back in my seat, "look if I've gotten you in some sort of trouble don't you think I deserve to know how?"

Watching her shake her head I got out slamming the door behind me. She got out quickly stepping in line behind me. Willow was silent as I paid. Grabbing the drinks she walked ahead of me to the truck still not speaking.

It wasn't until I was back on the road that she spoke, "look it's not really your fault. It's mine. I thought I had things taken care of and I didn't. It's wasn't right of me to blame you."

I cut my eyes at her, "so is this your apology?"

"Fuck no," she said, "you've done nothing to deserve an apology. I mean if anything I think you owe me."

I snorted, "you can hold your breath on that one."

We rode back to the shop in silence, not even the radio on. As I pulled up I saw dad standing in the bay door and I caught the grin he flashed my way before he turned around and walked off. I shook my head. That's the last thing I needed.

Getting out we walked to the office still not speaking. Dad was upfront with Harper. Sitting the bags down I sat the envelopes back down on the counter. "Next time count me out."

Harper rolled her eyes as she started taking everything out of the bags. Turning I sat down beside dad turning to look at him. "I'm going to take off around 2:30. I have shit to do."

He nodded, "do what you want. It's not going to help."

I looked over at him but Harper had handed him his food distracting him. I wanted to ask him help from what? Was he talking about tonight's race or Willow? Whatever it was I didn't need help with either situation. When Harper handed me my food I stood up leaving the room not bothering to tell anyone bye.

That night as I raced I instantly regretted my decision of driving the Toyota. I didn't know this car like I did my other. I still managed to pull in second but it aggravated me knowing if I would have just got over the whole Willow thing I could have won tonight.

I met up with everyone else at the bar later and was already several beers in when I felt arms wrap around me. "I haven't seen you in a while. Did you miss me?"

Turning around I found myself face to face with Lisa, a blonde that I'd been known to occupy my time with. Looking her up and down I wondered if maybe she wasn't what I needed to forget that annoying ass girl. "Maybe a little," I said watching as she smiled sitting down beside me.

She laughed looking up at me, "so does that mean you might want some company tonight?"

I took a sip of my beer, "perhaps."

In all truth I just wanted to go home and lay down but I needed the distraction and Lisa was a pretty damn good distraction if I remembered correctly. "Your place"

She nodded, "of course."

Nodding I stood up paying my tab, "you ready?"

Lisa beamed up at me, "I'm always ready for you."

I winked at her walking outside. She pulled at my arm as we stepped outside. Looking down at her she stood up on her tiptoes giving me a kiss. "I'll be waiting on you."

Walking to my car I hoped in and headed toward Lisa's house. Lisa knew the rules and didn't mind playing by them unlike Rosalyn. Tonight I could use her body to clear my mind then maybe I would feel like myself again.

Turning on the road that passed in front of the park I cursed. Willow was sitting on the bench alone. She looked up wiping her eyes as I passed but didn't notice me. Why did I have to see her tonight of all nights?

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