There were a few things in the world that could stump Amity Walker, and there were fewer things that could blow a hole in the woman's carefully formulated plans.
Amity ran her schedule like a well-oiled machine, the color-coded schedule that she kept tucked away under her arm at all times playing a big hand in making sure that she was on time and prepared for any and all commitments that she made... ever, and boy, did the woman make commitments.
"Cierra, I don't think you understand what I'm asking right now." Amity spoke into the empty void that was the inside of her car, her bluetooth attached to her vehicle's radio so that she could focus on driving despite the fact that the familiar route she was taking did little to keep her attention anyways.
"See, now I'm almost positive that you are asking me to cancel your dinner reservations with Tyson or did I misread the fine print?" A woman's voice asked over the speakers, pulling a slightly overdramatic sigh from the redhead's lips.
"I'm not asking you to cancel, I'm just... asking you to reschedule it for me." Amity reasoned, her words not entirely truthful but she was selling it to her best friend, and secretary, to the best of her abilities.
"For the fourth time?" Cierra pointed out, making Amity cringe a bit in response.
Okay, maybe she was asking her to cancel.
"I'm a busy woman!" Amity defended.
"Amity, baby, you're going to your dad's then to France for an entire week. The date with Tyson isn't until four days after you get back... just at least wait until you're back in the country, let alone Georgia, where I can knock some sense into you before you cancel on him again." Cierra requested.
Tapping perfectly manicured nails against the leather of her steering wheel, Amity considered her friend's request a moment before nodding to herself, her lips pursed as she already mentally rearranged her schedule around the two hour period that she had allotted for dinner with the man.
"Fine, I guess I can do at least that." She answered, rolling her eyes when she heard her friend cheering on the other side of the line, playing it up to annoy the redhead and doing a killer job at it.
"I hate you, you're dead to me." Amity deadpanned into the air, making a face at nothing as Cierra's laughter echoed around her.
"Love you too, baby girl. Have a blast on your trip and text me when you get to your dad's." Cierra requested and after confirming that she would and bidding her friend farewell, Amity pressed the touchscreen of the stereo to hang up the call.
For the next couple of hours, Amity's drive was filled with songs shuffling through over her radio from the playlist she had carefully crafted for that drive alone. Her organizational kick bled into almost every aspect of her life, and though she was supposed to be taking it easy for the next week and some change, the woman had her work folder and blackberry tucked away in her carry-on.
Humming along to the song playing over the radio, Amity's eyebrows furrowed slightly as she focused on the road that was now becoming a bit curvier as she entered the mountains.
Though the drive between her newer home and her father's ranch was a familiar one, climbing the mountains in her sports car was a bit of a task. She had opted for driving to her father's and then, subsequently, the airport and parking at there rather than having to take a cab- again, something that was a piece of her carefully crafted plan.
The redhead was convinced that she had thought through, considered, and had a game plan for every second of the relaxing vacation she was taking.
Peaking the mountain that she was gliding up, Amity couldn't help but feel a bit breathless at the sight that the high altitude had provided her. The mountain range stretched out before her, the mist rising from it caressing the ridges and peaks in a way that was so natural it appeared almost supernatural.
Despite how quickly Amity had fled the area that she had grown up in, she couldn't help but admire its beauty.
Quickly checking her GPS with a few taps of her fingers against the touch screen sitting in place of the stereo dial, Amity's blue eyes followed the curvature of the highlighted route and noted that she was still about a half an hour out from her father's, and only about ten minutes out from the small town that Amity had always forgone for the slightly large town on the other side of her family's ranch.
Barely paying the small town any attention, the engine of Amity's foreign beauty purred as she came to a stop at one of the two stoplights that the town held.
Again, the woman found her fingers tapping a rhythm against her steering wheel as she pointedly ignored the gawking that came with the vehicle she was driving.
Even Amity would admit that the sleek Maserati GranTurismo Coupe that she had bought only a year before was a bit showy, but it was something fun that she had splurged for as a bit of a self-congratulation for all the work she put into her career.
Glancing at the clock on the center screen, Amity nearly sighed at how late in the evening it was getting. She hadn't been able to leave until after seeing her last client of the day and the hour was edging closer to midnight every second.
That was something else that played into the crowd gawking at the luxury vehicle that was idling on the street.
Though Amity didn't know much about the small town she was planning on simply blowing through, she knew enough to recognize the fact that for a population of less than 500 people, there were three bars around.
One of the rougher ones lived on the corner of the street that she was currently sat waiting for the light to finally change.
There was no cars approaching in either other direction for fuck's sake- what was the damn hold up?
Ignoring the small conglomeration of drunken men that were toeing the edge of the sidewalk to look over the sleek body of the car, Amity chewed her lip and was fairly grateful for the tinted windows that offered a bit of reprieve from the sleazy comments that were more than likely to accompany the sight of a woman in the sports car.
Finally, as if by the grace of God himself, the light ticked green and Amity more than happily laid on the gas to carry her through the intersection and away from the skeevy bar.
At least, that had been the plan.
So focused on simply getting away from the situation that she could sense building, Amity hadn't noticed the fact that there was now a vehicle approaching with a driver that apparently didn't understand what the shiny colored lights above the intersection meant when they changed.
So quickly that her mind barely had time to comprehend what was happening, the rear end of Amity's gorgeous vehicle was slammed into by a force strong enough to send her, and the vehicle, into a tailspin.
Clutching the steering wheel as her sandal-clad foot pushed the brake to the floor, Amity found her eyes scrunched nearly closed as her vehicle came to a full stop before the engine shut itself down.
In that moment, Amity noted three things. One, the airbags didn't deploy. Two, she had triple A and full-coverage on her baby, thank God. And three, this was definitely not according to her plan.
Sucking in a shaky breath, Amity forced herself to address the situation like an adult though the sight of people already rushing around the accident site was enough to make her want to simply stay put safe and sound inside her car.
Realizing that she couldn't move her car, and that there was really no reason to due to the late hour and tiny ass town with little to no vehicular traffic, Amity grasped the handle of the door and shoved it open in a way that would hopefully restore some of her shaken confidence.
Standing up, the redhead took in first the few men standing around looking at her with a wide variety of expressions, and then the grey truck that sat only a foot or so away from the demolished tail end of her car with a barely smashed in front.
Looking at the amount of damage to the truck compared to the amount of damage to her car, Amity wanted to stomp her feet and pitch a fit like a child.
She wasn't even the cause of the accident and yet the perpetrator gets the good end of the deal.
Striding around her car, Amity pressed her lips tightly together as she approached the man just now climbing out of the driver's seat of the old Ford.
She took in the sight of the man under the streetlights from his dirt-smudged wife beater that was probably white once upon a time to the haziness of his gaze as he wildly looked around the intersection.
"God damnit, Merle." Amity heard a man call out from amongst the group of bystanders, but the driver, Merle apparently, paid them little mind as he blinked hard a couple of times before focusing in on Amity as she approached.
The woman already had her cellphone in hand, the number for the local police pulled up as she strode towards the man who had smashed in the back end of her car and subsequently, ruined the beginnings of her relaxing vacation.
"Get out your insurance information. I've already got the number for the police." Amity said, pausing a foot or so away from the man.
She was about to tap the pad of her finger against the touchscreen of her cell to send the call, but Merle spoke up and startled her as he was a hell of a lot closer to her than he had been a mere second before.
"Hold on there, Sugar. Ain't no reason to get any damned pigs involved in all this." Merle drawled out, the stench of alcohol on his breath being enough to have the woman sneering at him as she took a pointed step backwards.
"I'm sure you would think there isn't, but unfortunately, I have no patience for idiot drunk drivers who smash into me." Amity stated, her voice cold and her tone clipped.
"Fuckin' bitch." She heard the man mutter under his breath, the snarl on his face being enough to have her moving to press the call button that much quicker.
"Wait, wait, just- fuckin' wait a damn second, sweetheart." Merle requested, running a hand over his close shaven head and for some reason, Amity waited.
"My brother works at the auto shop a couple of blocks from here. He'll fix up your car, this is his damn truck." Merle offered out, but Amity shook her head, her wild curls bouncing as she did so.
"Listen, girl, shit. He'll get the dent out and the paint job fixed up, you can do your insurance shit or whatever but it ain't worth the police gettin' involved." Merle reasoned.
Looking again at the rear end of her car, Amity conceded that the damage wasn't as bad as she had initially decided it was with the adrenaline from the crash racing through her system.
If she was honest, she could care less about the insurance claim and everything else. She just wanted to get her car fixed so that she could get back on the road and back on schedule.
Clicking her tongue against the top of her mouth, Amity mentally cursed herself before giving into the roughneck's conniving words and nodding her head.
"Call your brother, and you better hope to God he answers or I'm calling the police then Triple A." Amity warned the man who immediately began to fumble in his pockets.
Turning away from the man who hurt her baby, Amity cut her eyes towards the crowd of drunken idiots that were still wandering about and nearly hissed like a damn alleycat at the sight of one of them about to touch her car.
"Hey, asshole! Hands off!" She snapped, making a few of the men's eyes widen while the man in question simply looked over at her, tilting his head a bit as if sizing her up.
"Ya gonna make me, baby?" The man asked her, his tone taunting and Amity considered the taser that was abandoned in the driver's side door of her car to the pepper spray that hung from her key ring, but it seemed that she didn't have to use either as Merle sidled up next to her.
"Boy, keep yer damn mitts to yourself before Red here tears your damn throat out and I kick ya while you bleed." The man drawled out, causing Amity to look over at him, her head tilting up slightly to catch a glimpse of the warning look on his face as he held his outdated flip phone to his ear.
"I ain't pickin' no damn fight, Darylina. I'm helpin' out a damn lady- just get your ass here with a tow truck." Merle then growled into the phone, assumedly to his brother, before flipping the device shut and looking at Amity as the man they had both snapped at retreated back to the bar with a good majority of the crowd.
"So, Princess, what brings you into town?" Merle asked her and Amity nearly snorted at the ridiculous polite act the redneck had slapped on in order to play nice with her.
"Not the nightlife, that's for damn sure." Amity replied, walking over to the dented in side of her car to gently run her fingertips over the folded metal.
"Ooo, girly, ya kiss yer momma with that mouth?" Merle asked, his tone taunting and Amity shrugged her shoulders.
A beat of silence fell between them, but it seemed that the flat answer didn't perturb the still less-than-sober redneck.
"Ya comin' to visit a boyfriend then? Some rough good for nothin' that you're pissin' off yer daddy with? Because there sure as hell's no other reason for you to be visitin' anyone in this place." He asked, actually pulling a snort of amusement from the redhead with that assumption.
"Hell no. I'm just passing through." Amity replied, finally explaining herself in hopes of getting the man to simply shut the hell up, but it was to little success.
"Ya lookin' for someone to piss of yer daddy with?" Merle asked, the attempt at a seductive tone making Amity roll her eyes at the man.
"You just hurt my pride and joy, I wouldn't touch you with anything less than a crowbar." Amity told him simply, her brows raising in surprise when he let out a barking laugh.
"Fair enough." He mumbled, holding up large rough hands as he stumbled a step back, the alcohol in his system so blatant in every one of his movements that Amity reconsidered her decision to let him off the hook for the wreck.
Fortunately for Merle, before Amity had time to truly reconsider much of anything, headlights shone on the pair of them as a tow truck approached.
Amity lingered by her vehicle as Merle loped over to the truck's side as it backed its way up and over to the wreck site, parking before the driver's side door swung open and a pair of tattered muddy boots emerged.
As they touched down on asphalt, the owner approached Merle, an angry sneer twisting his otherwise attractive face in a way that had Amity deciding to stay put where she was though her eyes trailed over the man.
She sized him up, taking in his sleeveless flannel and the way his hair was slightly unkempt as if he had just been sleeping on it, which he probably had been.
The only thing that had Amity snapping out of her scrutinization of the new-comer was the sound of boots as both him and Merle approached her.
"See, baby brother, I told you I was helpin' out a lady." Merle said, his words slurring as he spoke and Amity pursed her lips a bit.
"Yeah, helping a lady after smashing in the ass end of her vehicle." Amity snapped, obviously surprising Merle's brother as she did so.
"Oh yeah, Princess here's got a fuckin' attitude problem." Merle told his brother, as if it was a fast fact about her that he had forgotten to add.
"Honestly, fuck you- a drunk driver hit me in the middle of the tiniest fucking town in Georgia at midnight! I think I have a right to have a damn attitude problem!" Amity snapped, once again finding herself reconsidering her decision to give the redneck an out, but as Merle laughed loudly and his brother shifted slightly at his side, muttering something to the man that she couldn't quite catch, Amity forced herself to suck in a deep breath.
Her eyes closed for a couple of seconds as she gathered herself before opening them once more and instead focusing in on Merle's brother, a man that, though he looked as nearly as rough as his brother, seemed to be the more reasonable and sane of the two.
Definitely the more sober, nonetheless.
"I'm Amity by the way. Sorry your brother called you out here this late. He said you could help." Amity greeted, holding out a slender pale hand towards the man who looked at it as if it might bite him.
Just as Amity was considering pulling her hand back and awkwardly dropping it to her side, the man seemed to snap out of whatever state he was in and grasped her hand, completely enfolding it in his own.
The woman was taken aback for a moment at the warmth of the mechanic's large rough grip. Her hand was lost in his grasp as he gently shook it, acting as if she was likely to break under his fingertips.
"Daryl." He grunted out and Amity gave him a small smile.
"Well, Daryl- think you could give me a tow?" She asked and he nodded, grunting out what sounded like a confirmation before dropping her hand like a hot iron, causing her smile to falter a bit.
He moved towards her car, his brother trailing along at his side with Amity following a step behind now.
"God damnit, Merle. Ya just had to smash into somethin' forgein?" Daryl growled at his brother who shrugged his broad shoulders in response as if to say, 'well, what can you do?'
"Can you fix him?" Amity asked, causing both men to turn and silently look at her for a beat.
"Yeah, I can fix it." Daryl said simply, garnering himself a bright smile in return.
"Perfect, then I need the keys to the truck." Amity replied and both men looked at her like she had just suggested they find a nearby lake to jump into bare ass naked.
"The hell you need my keys for?" Merle asked and Amity could have swore that Daryl muttered a correcting, 'my keys', but she didn't dwell.
"My car is getting towed, Daryl has to drive the tow truck and you are sure as hell are not getting back in that thing to run it into someone else and ruin their night too." Amity reasoned out.
She watched the brother's exchange a long look before Daryl was holding out his hand and Merle was placing a set of keys into them.
Turning narrowed eyes on Amity, Daryl held the keys out to her but didn't let go once her fingers had closed around them.
"Be careful with her. The engine's touchy." He informed her and Amity nodded, holding the man's surprisingly gorgeous eyes to reassure him that she wasn't going to wreck the truck any further.
"You can trust me." Amity told him, watching as he blinked once, seemingly unsettled by her words.
With another noncommittal grunt, the man was releasing his hold on the keys then disappearing to the back of the tow truck.
Amity looked over to Merle to find the man grinning at her like a fiend and rolled her eyes once more before heading towards the grey truck with the metal of the keys biting into her palm.
None of this was going to plan.
A couple of redneck brothers, one with pretty eyes and warm hands and the other with a drunken grin and sleazy attitude, were definitely not a part of her plan.
She just needed to get her car fixed and back on the road, then everything would get back to how it was supposed to be.