The next morning I wake up and head to Massey’s work. She also works at the law firm with her family, but she does marketing stuff or something. I am not too entirely sure what they do. I never felt like her dad was too fond of me, but he tolerates me because I’ve never asked a dime from him or Massey. I head past reception where at this point they just wave me by. When I enter her office she looks up at me with angry eyes.
“Bear claws, iced coffee, and an apology for outing you?” I ask.
“Oh girl,” She says. “You owe me big apologies for leaving me the douche duo.”
I cringe because I know she’s right. Bringing back up, of course, I pull out a pack of starburst and she gives me a fist bump.
“Ok, forgiven,” Massey says.
“So, What happened when I left?”Well, Lawson pushed Victor off my board and climbed on demanding we paddle away, so we did.” She says.
“Where’s my board?” I ask. That’s the board I made.
“Vic has it, he said he can bring it by one day this week,” Massey says.
I just nod my head, no surfing until I get my board back. I am about to say goodbye to Massey when her dad pops his head in her office.
“Collins, I’m so glad to see you! Our corporate car won’t start, mind taking a look? I can pay you,” he says.
“No payment sir, I’d be happy to take a look,” I responded.
“How’s the Chevelle?” He asks. Always trying to make plain conversation. I appreciate him for that.
“Rough and perfect. I am picking some parts today.” I say.
“Nice,” he says.
“Well, I’ll take a look and let your assistant know what I find,” I say.
Thanks, Collins, I appreciate it,” he says.
I just nod and head to the parking garage and run into Victor. Just as that night, when he looks up from the car and sees me, it’s like nothing I’ve experienced before. Tightening in my stomach, pulling at my ribs, nerves, and sweaty palms.
“Hey Collins, what are you doing here?” He asks.
“Checking the corporate car,” I say.
“I’ve got it,” he responds.
“But I can…” I try.
“Nah, it’s good, I wouldn’t want you to mess up your nails.” He says with such distaste.
I look down at my colorless nails with dirt underneath them. I have to laugh to myself when I look up at his brows furrowed and staring down at the engine. He has no idea what he is looking at.
“Well, we can’t have you ruin that crisp white shirt. God forbid you get dirty. We less fortunate people can’t have high-class assholes ruin a good shirt.” I say smugly. Can’t stand people like that.
I walk over and try to start the car and it sounds like the engine is trying to turn over so I think the spark plug is bad. I go to the engine and lean over pulling the spark plugs out to take a look. I walk towards my truck which has my mobile tool chest and as I am walking I hear Victor talking next to me.
“What are you doing?” He asks.
“Fixing the corporate car,” I say.
“I told you I had it,” He responds with such annoyance.
“Back off douche,” I warn.
He is pushing it with me. I drop my tailgate and climb up into the back where I carry some extra parts. I have always tried to keep some extra parts for Mr. Withers’s corporate cars. We do some work when we can, our garage is across the island. Even though he just tolerates me, he’s been good to me by at least turning his head when Massey passed food or something to help me get by. So, I do these things as a thank you for not throwing it in my face that I am not well off or fancy enough to sit at the dining room table.
As I put it all back together and climb back in the car, it starts right up.
“I was getting there! You just got lucky!” he says.
“Lucky?” I say. He’s starting to piss me off.
“Yeah, with this standard motor crap.” He says.
“You don’t think I know what I’m doing?” I say.
“Why would you? You are a girl,” he says.
“And you are an ass,” I say back fast.
“I…,” He starts.
I cut him off by holding up my finger to him, gesturing to be quiet as I take my phone out and call Mr. Withers’ assistant.
“Hey, It’s Collins. Let him know it’s back up and running… No, no bill...Thanks,” I say as I end my phone call.
When I hang up, I drop my hand and he goes to talk again.
“There is…,” he starts again.
I turn and give him a death stare before I raise my hand and flick him off.
“What the hell Collins?” He asks.
“Sad you don’t think more of me, especially when you have no earthly clue about me,” I say.
I just turn and walk away.
“No way you know your way around cars,” he yells across the parking garage.
“Welp, thankfully you won’t lose sleep over what I can and can’t do,” I give him a salute before walking away muttering under my breath. “Selfish douche,”
I climb in my old truck and head to the pick apart junkyard and spend several hours pulling parts I need for my Chevelle. She is a beast of a woman and she has expensive taste when it comes to parts.
I hover around another engine when I find the block parts I need for my girl. I pull everything and add it to the wagon of goods. I climb on the borrowed four-wheeler they let me use and head to check out. I pack the back of my truck with all of the parts and I am beyond excited to work on my woman this weekend.
As I am about to pull away from a car fly by me at a high rate of speed and it pulls at me. Stupid drivers. “Gonna get someone killed!” I spit.
I look around before I take off for the shop and when I arrive I see that car that flew by a corporate car. I know exactly who it is too.
I pull around to the back where I see Leland and Victor talking. When I get closer I can hear their conversation.
“They are willing to help pay to relocate everything!” Victor excitedly talks.
“I’ve been here for more than ten years. I’m not selling it!” Leland calmly states.
“Really?! What’s keeping you here? It’s a rundown shop. Prime location. Close to the water and you can probably get more money than they are offering!” Victor keeps trying.
“You’re thinking about selling?” I interrupt scaring the shit out of them.
“Collins, This is a private conversation,” Victor tries to make a point.
“Don’t you dare talk to her like that,” Leland looks at me, “No Collins, I am not selling,”
“I don’t get it!” Victor throws his head up in the air.
“You wouldn’t,” Leland shakes his head.
They are in a silent fight about selling this place just by looking at each other. After what seems like forever, Victor forfeits. Weak!
“They will give you a lot of money for this property!” he tries again.
“So money is what’s important to you, huh?” I ask.
“It’s a big factor. You can do a lot with it,” He explains.
“Wow, this is MY family. We’ve worked hard for this place and for what we have. I am no sell out!” Leland says harshly. Victor isn’t getting the hint.
“You are not selling out,”
“I am if I entertain this offer. People in this community depend on us,”
“NO! The answer is no!”
“Collins! Talk some sense into him!” Victor tries to put me on the spot. Bad move douche canoe.
“Leland, I got the block parts for my girl,” I say to Leland.
“Finally found it?”
“Yeah, took a while to get off the junk but I got it!” I proudly state. “Plus I found some for the other cars that are sitting around. We can sell or give locals a better price,”
“Better price? Wait, your girl?” Victor is confused about our conversation.
“Clearly, you are missing what is important in life,” Leland is finally fed up with him.
I look at Victor properly and when his hazel eyes look at me like he has finally registered what I look like. “Why do you look like that?”
I can’t even with him anymore today. It’s exhausting.
“I’ll grab the parts out of your truck. You can take the afternoon with your girl. Thanks for the stuff!” Leland gives me a nod and walks away.
I walk away and I can smell his expensive aftershave following me and I try to ignore it. I pull the cover off my girl and stand there proud and excited to start to rebuild the block.
“Hey, beautiful,” I say to her.
Then he talks and I can feel my eyes roll hard. I mean exorcist roll.
“This is your girl?” He sounds confused.
“70 Chevelle, 450 horsepower, she is feisty and sensitive,” I speak warmly of this car.
“She’s pretty for sure,” he sounds sarcastic.
“Let me guess. Import car?” I say.
“I mean they are fast,” he says wiggling his eyebrows up and down.
I squint hard at him. “Nothing beats the rumble of this girl. Loud, proud, pulling force with a classic I want to drive slowly around the curves of the earth and appreciate the power she silently holds. Imports are loud, annoying little suckers who only think of getting to or moving on to the next best thing. These babies,” I point to my girl,” Appreciate the road mapped out.
“I never thought of it like that,” Victor admits.
“You wouldn’t. You are ready to move on to the next thing. Like wanting my brother to sell. Close the deal, move on to the next corporate venture that will bring you a full bank account and empty life.”
“You don’t even know me!” He pulls.
“Yet you judged me wholeheartedly on my appearance as a girl and didn’t know anything about cars,” I make an excellent point.
“Guilty,” he hangs his head in shame.
“Now leave,” I turn to my girl and rub my hands together. “You are in her light,”
I see him back away but not leave. Instead, he takes a seat on the hill behind the property and just watches. I try to ignore him and focus on my girl but he is making it hard. I usually am left alone with all of this. Screw this guy.
“Do you need anything?” I yell up at him.
He pops off the hill and starts to walk towards me. “You just continue to shock me,”
“What does that mean?” I ask.
“I’ve just never met someone like you,”
“Fancy law school doesn’t look back at the help,” I say leaning over my car. I see him bite his lip like he’s trying to hold back what he’s thinking.
“Kind of a low blow, you know,”
“Yet, Victor, extremely accurate,”
“So, I came from money and I am a lawyer?”
“And you want my brother to sell his life to what? Make a buck? Make things easier for you?!”
“It’s a good deal!”
“You want to learn about locals, then come by tomorrow when we are open for business. Meet the locals and see how much money they don’t have and how much they depend on us to get from point A to point B. Research this kind of stuff before you try pulling in big business and raising taxes in an area where it’s already difficult to keep the lights on,” I finally take a breath.
I watch his hazel eyes register what he’s heard. I am expecting him to say no but to my surprise, he says yes.
“Fine! I’ll be here. Maybe I can get a few people to see my side of things,”
There it is, cocky douche. “Wear something you can get dirty. Cause grease doesn’t come out of crisp shirts,”
“You expect me to work!”
“You stay here all day, you work!”
“What do I get paid?”
“What I do. That will depend on the job and time spent on cars,”
“That doesn’t help me!”
“Then don’t come! If you show you do, if not then peace out sell out!”
I closed the big bay door and locked it. I can’t work on my girl when I am angry. She doesn’t deserve that. I hope he stays home, but I have a feeling he’s a challenging type of guy. I’ll give him a challenge.