I had a flat tire last week and while waiting for the shop to fix it this little plot bunny hopped into my head and refused to leave until I wrote it down. Hope you enjoy.
"Dammit!" Lindsay Monroe kicked at the flat tire in frustration. She'd taken a course on basic car maintenance and knew how to change a flat, so the tire being flat wasn't the problem. The problem was with the lug nuts. They were practically stripped and she wasn't able to get a good enough grip with the tire wrench to get them off. With another kick at the tire she dropped back to her knees for one more try.
"Hey Montana, what are ya doing?" the distinct voice of her co-worker came from behind her as footsteps indicated his approach. With a groan Lindsay leaned her head against the side of the car. She was not in the mood to deal with him, not now.
As Danny stepped closer he noticed the car looked lopsided with one side jacked up, then realized the tire in front of Lindsay was flat. "So, got a flat tire?"
Lindsay glared at him. "Nope, the other three just swelled right up. What does it look like, Messer?" She turned back to the tire and once more fit the tire wrench over the lug nut.
"Need some help?" he asked, trying to adopt a helpful tone in his voice.
"I am more than capable of changing a flat tire," Lindsay grunted as she tried to turn the wrench only to almost fall sideways when the wrench slipped loose of the nut.
Danny reached out to steady her and chuckled. "Looks like you're doing a bang up job of it, too."
"I know how to change a flat tire. It's the stupid lug nuts. They're stripped and I swear the mechanic put them on with automotive goop. Damn things aren't budging." Frustrated, Lindsay tossed the wrench onto the ground.
Danny crouched down beside her and reached out, testing the lug nuts with his hand. "You're right, these things are almost perfectly circular. No ridges for the wrench to grip." He picked up the wrench and examined the four ends, fitting each one over a nut. Finding one that gripped the nut a bit better than the others he turned to Lindsay. "If you can back up I'll give it a try. I think this side might work."
Lindsay complied immediately. She knew how to change a tire but it was hard, dirty work and she wasn't above letting someone else do it for her. Dropping to his knees Danny pushed against the tire wrench while at the same time turning it. It wasn't easy, but he finally had all four nuts loosened and finished removing them by hand, dropping them into the hub cab one by one. Lindsay pulled the spare tire out from under the side of the car and rolled it towards him as he slid the flat tire off and rolled it to her.
"You know, Montana, you need a man in your life. It's a good thing I came along when I did."
"Excuse me" she answered, her voice squeaking. Clearing her throat she went on, "And how, pray tell, did you reach that particular conclusion?"
"Well, if I hadn't shown up you'd still be here swearing at the tire but no closer to changing it than you were when you first reached your car. But I came along, and boom! The tire is changed." Still facing the car Danny replaced the lug nuts and using the same technique he had to loosen them he tightened them up again, oblivious to the growing fury on Lindsay's face. "Now, if you had a steady man in your life you could have called him, or better yet, he would have been right there with you when you found the flat, and you wouldn't have had to worry about dirtying your hands trying to fix it yourself." He quickly lowered the car back to the ground and mounted the hub cab. With a firm tap of his hand the hub cab was back on and he stood, turning to face her.
"Is the tire all set?" she asked sweetly, no indication of the fury raging within shown on her face.
"Yeah, but I wouldn't suggest driving too far on that. I know a garage a few blocks from here, just tell them I sent you and they'll get you set up with a new tire and new lug nuts."
"Thanks, I really appreciate it." With a devilish grin Lindsay continued. "You know Danny, you're right."
Danny blinked at the unexpected remark. "I am?"
"Yes, you are. New York is a tough city and a good, strong man in my life would make me feel a lot safer. And as a benefit he could help me with things like flat tires and carrying heavy bags of groceries. And, maybe someday if he's willing, can carry in a sleeping toddler while I get the infant."
Danny swallowed, hoping his eyes weren't about to pop out of his head. He hadn't thought as far ahead as kids with Lindsay, but wasn't at all opposed to the idea. He swallowed once more as Lindsay stepped closer.
"I think, right now, I'm going to go upstairs and see if Hawkes has any plans for dinner tonight." She turned abruptly and walked quickly towards the elevator, a huge grin on her face. The stunned expression on his face was priceless. Ha!! You walked right into that one, Messer.
Shocked, Danny was left standing by her car. Hawkes? She wouldn't, would she? As Lindsay's laugh echoed through the parking garage he grinned. I walked right into that one. "Hey Lindsay, wait up!" he yelled, breaking into a jog as he followed her to the elevators.