A/N Sorry it took so long to update, I hope you all can find it in your hearts to forgive me. Please give me reviews so I know how I'm doing.
When I woke up everything was fuzzy. As my senses became attuned I figured it was at least seven in the morning judging from the amount of light that was flowing into my bedroom window. My bedroom …
"Aw, crap!" I exclaimed as I hopped out of bed. I was still wearing the light blue jumpsuit from the shop. "Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap!"
One my workers must have come in early and found me passed out. Instead, however, they thought I was asleep from being up so late so they just took me home. And the bike wasn't done yet!
Without changing my clothes (I'd never had a change of clothes on the street so it really didn't matter to me) I went downstairs to the kitchen. There was a note on the table
Boss, it read:
Found you asleep on the garage floor working on a bike .We figured we could fix it ourselves once we got you home in a nice, warm bed. You can come back and check on it once you have woken up entirely if you want. You don't have to though; you've been working really hard lately and deserve a break.
-Dale & Stanley
That was nice of them, I had to admit. However, I was not pacified. I'd made a special adjustment to make sure the piston rings would last longer and if it was tampered with this could end in a catastrophe. In ten seconds I had grabbed my keys (which Dale and Stanley had conveniently put next to the note) and was out the door and in my car.
I sped the whole way to the shop, not caring if I got pulled over. I had never once had a displeased customer, and was hoping I would never have to.
As I rode up to the shop I saw a car that I was not familiar with parked in front. It was newer, not the kind I would expect my workers to have. It must have been the customer with the bike.
"That'll be $340," Dale was handing a receipt over to our customer.
"Hold on a minute!" I grabbed the receipt just as the customer reached for it, slipping it into a pocket on my grimy jumpsuit. "Just let me check the bike out really fast Dale, I want to make sure you didn't mess up the adjustment I was working on."
"You mean the one to make the piston rings last longer?" Dale threw a mischievous glance at me.
"I made sure I didn't screw it up. I didn't want to have to see you dealing with an unsatisfied customer later."
"Let me check it out anyway."
"Um, excuse me," the customer waved his hand. "But I really have to get this bike to the show."
"Don't worry-" I began before stopping mid-sentence. Our customer was a boy, approximately two years older than me. He had sandy hair, and was fairly tan with (if I do say so myself) a nice build. All in all, hot.
"What Kayla was going to say," Dale interceded clapping a hand on the boy's shoulder, "was that she's the best bike mechanic we have in this garage, and that it shouldn't take her that long to check it over. Not to mention she'll catch anything else that could be wrong with your bike."
"Exactly," I said coming out of my trance. "It'll seriously only take a minute."
I threw a grin in the boy's direction.
"I can even show you how to make sure you don't accidentally ruin it, again."
"So that's pretty much it, Gabe," I said, wiping the grease off of my hands as I turned away from the Honda.
"That's great," Gabe, also known as the customer, smirked. "Now I won't have to worry about my dad nagging about it all the time."
"Oh, so you're a daddy's boy?" I laughed, pulling few strands of hair out of my eyes. "Aren't you a little old to still be living with your father?"
"Aren't you a little young to be running a whole garage?"
"Touché." I removed the receipt from my pocket. "Here, take this to Dale, the big man you were talking to in the beginning. He'll make sure the whole money part of this runs smoothly."
Gabe took the receipt and headed over to the front desk, where Dale was, with me close at his heels. The simple writing of a check went without a problem, and soon Gabe and his Honda were out the door.
"Kayla's got a cru-ush," Tracy said in a sing-songy voice as she flitted into the lunch/locker room. She snatched her brown lunch bag from her locker and then plopped herself down at one of the seats around the table.
"Huh?" I asked incredulously.
"Oh come on, admit it. You liked mister tall-blond-and-hot early today."
"Gabe?" I was still confused.
"Oh, that's his name? It's perfect. He's like the angel Gabriel, coming to save you."
"Gabriel was a messenger angel," I replied from what theological knowledge I had. "Michael was the one who fought all the evil spirits."
The irony made me grin, maybe if his name was Michael he could've helped me.
"Well, either way Kayla's got a cru-ush."
"Shut up, Trace."
Trace threw a teasing look at me, and then dug into her sandwich and water bottle lunch. Then Louis, another one of my workers who had just come in in time to catch the last part of our conversation, sat down at the table.
"So when's your first date?"
"Louis!" I growled as I shoved my seat backward and made a lunge, catching Louis by his arm.
"Whoa, whoa what's going on in here?" Dale, Stanley, and the rest of my employees on duty had just arrived, and it had to look pretty strange to see their boss attempting to tackle one of their coworkers.
"Trace and I were just trying to get some information on the mysterious blond-haired customer the Boss was working with this morning."
"Yeah," Tracy added, "You know, the one she was making goo-goo eyes at."
"And smiling at the whole time while she was talking to him? That was Gabe," Dale said, his face lighting up. "He needed the Boss to fix his bike for him and she showed him some upkeep."
"I was not smiling at him the whole time," I shot back. "If anyone was it was Louis. We all know what he does in his free time."
There was an uproar of laughter and Louis rolled his eyes.
"Well at least I wasn't making lovey dovey faces at my customer."
"That's it!" I roared and making good on my previous intentions, tackled Louis. Before I could make any death threats though, Dale had hauled me off Louis and Stanley had positioned himself between us.
"That's enough you two," Dale said in a patronizing tone. "Now everybody start eating before the Boss decides to keep us here for haranguing her instead of letting us go to the bike show."
Everyone obliged to Dale's request, and soon the lunchroom had returned to normal.
I was just getting ready to shut down the garage when Stanley called. All the workers had left two hours ago for the bike show, and that had given me some time to ponder my financial worries (and get a job to fix a busted radiator). I had eventually given up, devoid of any thoughts for a solution. I now had one week to pay the debt, or cede my garage to foreclosure, and the chances for the better outcome were getting slimmer and slimmer.
"Hello, Thomas Garage, how can I help you?"
"Boss, it's me."
"Oh, hey Stan," I sighed with relief, I had been afraid it was the bank. "What's up?"
"Just wanted to make sure you're okay. I was afraid you were going to crack when everyone started beating up on you at lunch today."
"I'm not that pathetic." I grinned "You know that."
"That I do," Stan replied. "Anyhow, I also kind of wanted to tell you to give Mr." Stan paused, and I heard papers flipping in the background, "Gabriel Eddings, a chance. You looked happier than I've ever seen you when you were with him today."
I desperately tried to deflect the bullet that was aimed at my heart.
"How do you know his last name? Don't tell me you're picking up on Louis's bad habits."
"That's besides the point Kayla." Uh-oh. Stan rarely ever used my real name. "All you've known in your life is – well not unhappiness, but you don't ever care for yourself, you're always looking out for others and just barely scraping by. Maybe it's time you looked at something for yourself."
A small, almost undetectable smile hinted at my lips. He was skirting around something.
"What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything. He saw me at the motorcycle show and told me to give you his number. He also gave me some raffle tickets. I honestly have no idea what they're for."
"Well probably something motorcycle related I would, guess."
"Because that wasn't obvious."
"Just trying to help."
"Anyhow, I'll let you know everything tomorrow, okay?"
"Yeah. Thanks, Stan."
I gently hung the phone on the plaster wall, and then put my hand up against the wall for support. Inside, though I didn't tell Stan, I knew I would never see Gabe again. Not because I didn't want to, but because everything and everyone I loved always seemed to get hurt, and I wouldn't allow that to happen to Gabe.