Doctor’s appointments for my arm yesterday mean that I’m getting a late start on everything. So, where did I leave off?
Oh right. Miles waking me up the next morning from where I slept on the couch.
I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised that he already knew that Ben had gone home from my place plastered. He always was well connected, even in our hometown. The grape vine here in Blueville seemed to suit him with how fast he got his information. I honestly think that only the town newspaper would have the information faster than he does.
He woke me up with a “Good Morning, you hussy” and dangling a cup of coffee in my face.
I responded by promptly throwing up all over his new boots.
I instantly felt better and drank the coffee he provided while he cursed at me loudly from the bathroom where he was trying to get them clean.
“These were only a few hours old! How could you?”
“You didn’t show last night to help me unpack the truck. My neighbor ended up helping me until three in the morning.”
“That’s not the way I heard it from Miss Maggie down at the bakery this morning. She says that Ben, whose last name is Solt by the way, came in to drop off the ten that he owed her because you guessed his profession on the first try.”
“Mmmhmmm.. I did.”
Miles poked his head out of the bathroom and frowned at me. “I never could figure out how you could do that without freaking people out.”
“It’s a gift. Like my deal with cars and the way they respond to me.”
“Anyway. Miss Maggie managed to get out of him that he spent his Friday evening helping you move, but ended up getting toasted on a bottle of Jameson after he spilled the beans about his sister to you.”
“It’s seemed like a good idea at the time.” I said with a yawn.
Miles looked down at me with another frown on his face. “He also said you showed him your tattoo.”
I shot straight up and glared at him. “I did no such thing!”
Miles laughed. “Just checking to see if you’re paying attention.”
I thought about throwing my pillow at him, but got up off the couch instead and went to get something to drink. Miles followed me and grabbed the bucket and mop, walking back out in to the living room to clean up my vomit.
I decided to bake him a pie for doing that when I’d gotten unpacked and everything put where I wanted it in the kitchen. First though, he was going to help me finish unpacking the truck. That he was not going to get out of again.
“I was paying attention, I just don’t want to contribute to your grapevine when you already have the details.”
“But you know it’s more fun when confirm everything. Miss Maggie said that he had a smile on that she hasn’t seen in awhile.” Miles said as he stopped mopping up the mess to lean on the mop with his cheek pillowed on his hands.
I admit, I blushed with the smile I had on my face.
“I knew it, you like him. Damn I wish I had your luck. Do you know it took me three months to find someone to date in this town? You did it within your first ten minutes here. You make me sick.”
“I do not. You’re proud of me.”
“Yeah, well that’s only part of what I’m feeling.”
“Now you’re just being surly on principle.”
“Damn it, I was hoping he was gay. I really liked his ass.” Miles sat on the couch and tried to put on his best grumpy face.
The smile I was holding in bloomed with a laugh. “He does have a fine ass.”
“Oh don’t make me laugh, I’m mad at you.”
“You’re not.” I kissed his forehead and finished cleaning up the mess.
“You do realize that the reason why he hasn’t dated is because of where he’s from, right?”
I didn’t bother answering Miles right away. Instead I stewed about it while I took everything in to the kitchen. I knew where Ben was from, he told me last night. He also told me how the public around here had reacted when he moved in to the house next door and it wasn’t good. I walked back over to the door way between the kitchen and living room and leaned against the doorjamb.
“You know how much I hate that shit.”
Miles walked over and hugged me, placing his cheek on my head. “Which is one of the reasons why I love you more than my own sister.”
“I love you too, Miles.” I was about to say something about my own brothers when I heard a cough from the doorway. I poked my head around Miles to take a peek and saw Ben.
“Sorry for interrupting.”
“You’re only interrupting Miles’s yearly announcement that he heads my fan club.”
Ben looked at Miles and stuck his hands in his pockets, rocking back on his heels. “Oh yeah? When’s the next election?”
Both Miles and I laughed and separated from our hug.
“I like you even more now. Damn it why aren’t you gay?” Miles said with exasperation.
I kept laughing until I was red in the face and tears were present when I got a good look at Ben’s face. The shock that was there was hilarious. I don’t think he’d been around Miles and his honesty enough to get a full dose before. I watched Ben pull himself back together.
“Because I like your cousin’s legs.”
“I like his answer.” Miles said with a laugh.
“I do too.” I said when I’d gotten myself back together again. “Aren’t you supposed to be at the clinic today? I thought you said last night that you had a Great Dane that was going to pup soon.”
“She did this morning. They pulled me out of bed at four am and Missy delivered all nine pups, healthy and happy.”
“Aw, that’s fantastic. No problems? You were worried about that.” I said as I picked up the blankets and pillows that had fallen off the couch. Miles kept his mouth shut and hummed.
“No problems. She was great.” Ben’s lips twitched in a smile and I suddenly hated men who knew I was stalling by folding a blanket.
Miles spoke first. “Well, I should probably get going.”
“Oh no you’re not. You didn’t help yesterday like you said you would. You’re going to help today. As a matter of fact,” I paused and snatched up the keys to the truck off the kitchen counter and tossed them to Ben. “you’re going to help Ben while I shower. I need that truck emptied because I have to take it back on Monday.”
With that I left them in the living room while I retreated to my bedroom suite to shower and change. When I came out wearing fresh jeans and an Oiler’s jersey, Ben and Miles were struggling to get the armoire off the truck. I hurried out of the house to help them get it off the truck but found that they had more help coming. My neighbors from the other side were coming up the drive. We introduced ourselves and I found that they were an adorable couple. Anyway, Mark and Max helped Ben and Miles get the armoire off the truck and in to the house. I’d already picked out a spot for it so they only had to move it once, which they appreciated.
We spent the rest of the day like that, hauling boxes and things out of the truck until it was just my tool chests that remained on the truck.
“That’s it then?” Miles asked.
“No, but those stay on the truck until Monday. I have to go get the keys from the Realtor and then drop them off at my new shop.” I replied as I closed and locked up the truck.
“You’re opening up a new shop? I thought you were just going to join one of the shops in town.” Miles said.
Ben, Mark and Max looked on with interest. I sighed. I hated this part.
“I was, but when I called the other shops, they refused to work with a woman. Said they won’t spend their days listening to me bitch about how hard the job is and if I chipped a nail or not.”
All four men went silent and stared at me.
“That’s.. bullshit.” Miles whispered. I could always count on Miles to be on my side.
“Yeah I know it is, but I’m a woman in a very male dominated career. I expected that kind of welcome. So I’ll open my own. I’ve already done most of the paperwork to open it up. I just need to finish it off. By this time next week I should be open for business.”
Mark spoke up then. “Are you any good with foreign cars?”
“Like yours? I was the best my last shop had. No one wanted to work with them but me. Same with classics and refurbs.” I motioned for them to follow me inside and headed for the kitchen. I pulled out beers from the fridge and passed them around before hitching myself up on to the counter. Ben, who hadn’t said much since the topic started, propped himself next to me.
Max spoke up next, which surprised me because he hadn’t said much all day. “The Mackey twins don’t know beans about putting a care back together. They’ve trashed my Mercedes more than once and I’ve had to go to the dealership over in Clark too many times. It’ll be good to have someone here who can actually work on them. Junior doesn’t do anything with the cars he tows in to his yard. You’ll have my business. Mark’s too; he’s got a BMW.”
I laughed at the last part because his nose wrinkled up in mock disgust. Mark just rolled his eyes.”Thank you. That means a lot.” I said and I leaned over and covered his hand with mine.
Max smiled back and patted my hand before I let go. I sat back on the counter. Miles looks at his watch and freaked because he was late for a date with the same guy who he bailed on me the night before with. Mark and Max had to leave because they were going to dinner with Max’s parents. They promised to come for dinner when I got settled in as payment for giving me a hand. That left Ben and myself when I closed the door behind the guys. I turned around and he was standing in the kitchen door way, holding his beer.
“So, I hear Miss Maggie earned herself a ten this morning.”
Ben laughed. “How long did it take you to get plugged in?”
“Miles woke me with the news. That was around ten this morning.” I said as I made my way over to him, then past him in to the kitchen to find my beer.
“That’s fast. I never knew Miles had a mouth that fast.”
I did a spit take with my beer because he caught me off guard. Laughing, I wiped my mouth with a paper towel and tossed it in the bin.
“That’s Miles. Fastest mouth in the west. That man knows everything, or will, if you give him time.”
“That’s.. slightly creepy.” Ben said with a grin.
“No kidding. You get used to it though. He was always the best source of information when I was a kid, too.”
“I’ll make a note of that.” Ben said as he put down his beer and walked over to where I’d hoisted myself back up on to the counter. “So? Dinner tonight?”
“Date number two? Already?” I teased with a smile.
“If it’s too soon, I’d understand.” He said. There was all kinds of disappointment in his voice and his mouth no longer had a smile.
“Would we be going out or staying in again?” I asked.
“Out. There’s a great fish place over on Surf street that I think you’ll like.”
I thought about it for a moment. It’d been two days since I’d moved to Blueville and I’d already gotten one date, a second seemed a little unlikely. Here I was though, with a man who’d seen me sweat all day and still wanted a date that night. I was sunk.
“Okay. I’ll need to shower though.”
“Nah, you’re perfect.” He said with a smile.
Oh yeah. I could definitely be sunk over Ben.
“Okay.” I hopped down off the counter and dumped the last of my beer in the sink. We left shortly thereafter for this the fish place. I soon found out exactly how literally it was named. Yes, the place is actually called The Fish Place.
So, Winston is whining at me to get moving and my hand is killing me. I’ll leave it here for now. We both could use the break.