If you haven’t read Part 1 you can do that here.
“No problem. Scott here will fix you right up.” The large round heavyset man in charge pointed to the man he called Scott.
“Scott,” the large man with a name tag that read, Bob, bellowed from beside her to the man on the other side of the room, “gray Civic in Bay 2, slip is on the hood.”
The man who had been bent over a toolbox, shifting the items within, looked up when he heard his name. Abigail’s pulse quickened and she squeezed her thumbs to keep from fidgeting with her hands. He was called Scott now. She wasn’t sure how she felt about the name. Scott only nodded at them and turned to walk toward her car. She let out a breath she didn’t know she had been holding.
It’s ok, she thought, you knew he wouldn’t recognize you right away, you don’t exactly look the same. You didn’t recognize Sam until you looked him in the eyes. Ethan or Scott, whatever his name is, might when you get closer… plus your back was to the sun. He —
“You can go wait in the lobby. We’ll call you when its ready.” Bob had spoken and she tore her eyes away from Scott, after what was surely an inappropriate amount of time, to look back him. He was scratching his pencil across his smudged clipboard.
“I’ll just wait out here.” She told him. He looked up at her with one eye and she added, “I like the fresh air.”
He shrugged and went back to the clipboard, “Whatever, just stay on that side of the bay doors,” he said pointing to the parking lot, “and out of the way. My insurance doesn’t cover anyone without a tool in their hand.”
As he walked away, dismissing her entirely, she wondered if his insurance covered her knocking him over the head with a socket wrench. She spent half her life, well this life, in her father’s garage and had less chance of getting injured than the man in the corner swinging an impact wrench by the air hose. She took a deep breath and reminded herself it didn’t matter. The reason she was getting her oil changed again after she had just done it herself last month was because it was the cheapest service she could think of that would buy her some time. She needed to talk to Scott, and she could do that while he was waiting for the oil to drain from the engine.
Scott reached Bay 2 and grabbed the work slip off the trunk of the car. It read:
2018 Honda Civic
Oil Change and Filter
He looked up from the slip and watched her as she walked across the garage floor. The sun coming through the open garage bay doors reflected off her light brown hair making her look almost blonde. She was wearing tight-fitting blue jeans and a plain white T-shirt but, she walked with an elegance that should have been reserved for someone wearing a ball gown.
When his eyes found hers, she was already watching him. She didn’t try to look away or be coy about anything as she came to a stop right in front of him. She was close enough to touch. He became conscious of his desire to reach out and touch the vision in front of him. Why? Probably to confirm her beauty was real and he wasn’t imagining things.
He watched as her eyes search his and found himself wanting to give her whatever she was looking for. Her eyes held ocean waves and he felt like swimming.
“Hello, Scott is it?” Her voice cracked through the magic her gaze had created and brought his attention back to their surroundings. How long had they been standing there? It felt like time had stopped and was now suddenly moving faster to make up for what was lost.
“Yea, I’m Scott,” he hesitated trying to remember what he was supposed to be doing next, “How do you know my name?”
She raised her eyebrows, “Really?” she asked pointing to the name tag on his shirt.
“Right.” He shook his head. Great, now she thinks you’re an idiot. He finished the thought in his head as he looked over her shoulder and saw his co-worker Travis mouth the words, “smooth move.”
He coughed and looked down at the slip in his hands as if seeing it for the first time.
“Plus, Bob over there said you would be working on Silvia today.”
“Silvia?” He asked looking up from the work slip.
Abigail smiled, “Silvia the Civic.” She patted the hood of her car as if it was the family pet.
“Oh,” he smiled back at her, “well you and Silvia are in good hands.”
Her eyes darted to his hands and he saw her bite the side of her lip. He wondered what that lip tasted like. This time the sound of a loud power tool snapped him back to where he was. What the hell was wrong with him? He just met this lady. Or had he? A thought occurred to him and he had to ask.
“Have we met before?”
He saw her back straighten and her whole body seemed to tense up. Shit, he said something wrong. Either she knew him, and she was hurt he didn’t remember her, or she didn’t know him, and she thought it was a lame pick up line. He assumed the latter since she hadn’t answered him. The air seemed to crackle with tension between them, and he wanted to do something to bring back the smile. He wasn’t ready to have her look at him with pity if she knew the truth, so he settled for something in between to break the silence.
“Sorry, my memory isn’t quite what it used to be.”
“That’s the understatement of the year.” Travis jeered from a toolbox a few feet away.
Scott broke free from the hold this woman had over his attention to shoot daggers at Travis. How long had that ass been standing there?
“What do you mean by that?” Abigail asked Travis over his shoulder.
Before Travis could respond to her question Scott threw a grease rag at him. Travis caught the rag, raised his hands in surrender and turned his attention back to the truck engine behind him.
When Scott turned back around, he avoided eye contact with Ms. Townsend by tinkering with the wrench in his hands.
“What did he mean?” She asked him.
“Nothing, Trav just likes giving people a hard time.”
Wasn’t he supposed to be doing something? The vehicle had already been jacked up a couple feet so, Scott grabbed a screwdriver and ratchet from the toolbox. He sat down on the mechanics creeper seat, still not looking at the car’s owner.
He could tell she wanted a better answer. Why she cared he didn’t know but, he couldn’t think of anything else to give her off the top of his head so before she could pry further, he laid back on creeper seat, slid under the car and effectively cut off all opportunity for conversation.
He started removing the engine plate when he remembered the drain pan was still out by the toolbox. He cursed under his breath. Before he could slide out from under the car, he heard what seemed like an exaggerated feminine sigh and the drain pan appeared next to him as it was kicked under the car toward his general direction. Crisis averted.
There was no reason to wait under the car as the oil drained but, he did anyway. When he finally reappeared, Abigail stood right where he left her but with arms crossed and one hip jutted out to the side. She didn’t press for further details so, he took the oil filter and filter wrench and dove back under the car taking that as a win.
The next time he reappeared she wasn’t silent.
“That’s the wrong oil.”
Scott looked at the jug of oil someone had sat on the flat workbench by the toolbox. Looking at the label he thought she might be right.
“Doug, what kind of oil you use on the 18 Civic?”
She answered only loud enough for him to hear, “full synthetic.”
Doug echoed her words, “0w-20, full synthetic. Why?”
“Just checking.” Scott looked over at the lovely Ms. Townsend who was now looking at the oil jug. “You know,” he said to her, “That oil filter looked pretty new when I took it off your car.”
That’s all she said and all she seemed to be going to say on the matter. If she was deliberately trying to make him curious it was working. Who was he kidding? She didn’t have to try, he wanted to know everything about her but, didn’t really know where to start unraveling this beautiful mystery in blue jeans. As he opened the hood of the car to pour in the new oil, he asked the first thing that came to his mind.
“So, what made you decide to opt for waiting in the noisy garage as opposed to the air-conditioned lobby?”
“Because I wanted the chance to talk to you.” That answer caught him off guard and he looked up from the engine at her. From the look on her face, it seemed to catch her off guard as well. Good at least he wasn’t the only one.
“Why’s that?” he found himself asking.
“You remind me of someone I used to know.”
“Is that good or bad?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“Maybe, I could help you make up your mind over dinner?” Had he just asked her out? That really didn’t sound like something he would do but, maybe it was? How did he know really? Besides, now that he found himself finishing up the job on her car, he realized he didn’t to want to lose her company.
“Are you asking me on a date?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.
“I think, I am.” He answered.
“Then I think, I’ll say yes.”
“I work late tonight but, how does tomorrow at seven sound?”
“It sounds like a date.” She looked around at the workbench found a pen near the work slip he had set down and ripped off a corner of the paper. “Here, is my number. I’m renting a place outside of town so, text me which restaurant you want to go to, and I’ll meet you there.”
He nodded and felt the warmth of her fingers as they brushed against his when she handed him the piece of paper. He stared at it, memorizing the numbers and the feel of her hand, then carefully folded it in half and slipped it into his pocket. He wanted to run to his locker and tuck it securely in his wallet so he wouldn’t chance losing it but, he didn’t.
“By the way, you can call me Abby.” She said, quickly following it up with, “Thanks for the oil change. I’ll go ring this up at the front desk.”
She started walking away before she finished talking. He got the feeling she was upset but, couldn’t explain why. He stifled an urge to follow and wrap her up in his arms. He reminded himself, that reaction to someone you just met is grounds for a restraining order. Instead, he watched her walk away as gracefully as she had arrived.
He sat in her car and turned the ignition to reset her digital oil life monitor before driving Silvia the Civic over to an open parking spot in the lot. There were already cars lined up waiting to take her spot in the garage.
At least work would keep him busy and his mind off Abby. The stupidest decision he could ever remember making was waiting a whole day to see her again.
Part Three: “The First Date” will be posted on Monday, May 24th.
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