Age of Edward Contest 2012
Title: Shut Up n' Drive
Type of Edward: 1960's Edward
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended
He looked around the tiny boarding house room—the one where all new parolees were sent—one last time. Soon they'd be gone and with any luck, they would just disappear. He couldn't wait.
. ~ .
"Good morning, gentlemen," she said as she breezed into the dealership. "I'll have the coffee on in just a few."
She propped one foot on the chair at her receptionist desk and leaned over, careful not to let the hem of her plaid mini-dress ride up too high. It was a small thing to give these guys a little show, she thought as she tugged on the tops of her white, square-toed knee boots. She was glad though, that she'd only have to put up with their ogling for a little while longer. When she straightened up, she caught Mike, the Sales Manager, eyeing her legs hungrily, and gave him a wink.
He had the nerve to waggle his eyebrows at her, point his finger like it was a gun, and make a flirty clicking noise.
As he walked away, adjusting his brown, bell-bottomed trousers higher on his waist, she rolled her eyes and giggled as she thought about how the paisley print made his butt look big. He really thought he was God's gift to women. It was sad how sorely mistaken he was.
"Hey, Charlotte," said Eric, one of the salesmen. "Did you do something different with your hair?"
He tried to be more subtle in his flirting, but was still awkwardly obvious in his attempts to draw her notice.
She adjusted her white headband and gently patted the teased poof of chestnut brown hair that flowed smoothly into sharp, turned-up curls at the ends. "I decided I'd try something new. Do you like it?" She batted her eyes and turned her face down coyly. When she looked up through her lashes, she could see him swallow hard and cast a nervous glance around the room. He was always so easy to rile.
"It's … uh, nice. Very pretty. Um … can you let me know when the coffee's ready?"
She went about her duties, dusting the showroom vehicles, rubbing away any fingerprints that might have been left, and finally organizing a few blank contracts for the potential sales of the day.
When the coffee was ready, she prepared mugs for Mike and Eric. With a sway in her hips she sidled up to Eric's desk and placed the steaming beverage in front of him. She knew he'd been watching her; his face was beet-red and he wouldn't look her in the eye. Best to keep him off balance—especially today, she thought. He nodded and mumbled a terse "Thanks."
His nervousness around her tugged at her heart just a little. He was a nice guy, though he was on the short side and a bit too militaristic for her tastes. The fact that he had perpetual sweat stains on the armpits of his shirts and never once spoke of any kind of social life added to her pity for him. She preferred the usual tall, dark, and handsome, but there had to be that special something, too, and Eric just didn't have it.
As she walked toward Mike's office, two other sales guys hurried into the building. "Hey, Char," said Tyler, closely followed by a, "Morning, Charlotte," from Ben. They were both happily married and seemed to dedicate themselves to the selling of vehicles over the pursuance of cute, single receptionists. For that reason, she didn't bother expending her charms on them; they wouldn't have paid her any mind.
She knocked on Mike's door and turned the knob. He was speaking to what sounded like a supplier or someone from the factory. His face had turned a mottled shade of pink and he had tugged his wide, striped tie loose from the collar of his shirt.
"I don't care what the demand in Peoria is. I've only got one Shelby on the lot and I need more."
Charlotte waited with one hip resting on the doorjamb as he continued to holler ineffectually at the other person on the line. When he slammed the receiver down, he was practically breathing fire. She needed to figure out a way to soothe him. The better his mood, the better things would go. And on this particular day, she needed things to go off without a hitch.
"Ah, just the usual idiot pencil pushers." He picked up the mug of coffee and took a greedy slurp. "Mmm. Just the way I like it: Sweet and creamy."
Charlotte's insides twisted in disgust at the blatant innuendo. Instead of letting her revulsion show, she plastered a practiced smile across her face. "Glad you like it. I'm going to need some petty cash. I need to hop down to Woolworth's. We're running low on a few supplies for the front des—"
"Yeah, yeah. No problem," he said as he moved to the generic lake painting that hid the wall safe. He made a big show of concealing the combination, not that it was necessary. The measurements of his ideal woman were hardly a secret amongst those that worked at Newton's Ford, nor were they a very strong combination for a safe lock.
She accommodated the charade by turning her back to the office and scanning the showroom floor. When she'd ascertained that all was quiet inside she glanced to the lot outside. Tyler was already busy with an older couple looking at station wagons, Ben was circling a man peeking into the windows of the Thunderbirds, and Eric was doing his best to look busy.
"Here you go," said Mike as he thrust a twenty dollar bill into her hand. "And could you pick me up a Snickers bar and some Pepsi?"
"Sure. Anything else you need, boss?"
A smirk spread across his lips and she could imagine quite vividly the things he'd like to say, but somehow, he refrained from being a complete jerk. "No, that's all. See you back in a bit?"
"Less than an hour. Looks like the lot is under control and there are no appointments until eleven."
He nodded and went back to the papers that littered his desk, though she could feel his gaze on her back as she walked away. She added an extra measure of bounce to her step until she reached the reception area.
She picked up her handbag and strolled out the front door. The air was warm, almost uncomfortably so, but a welcomed change from the bitter Chicago winters. With a wave to Eric, who was now awkwardly engaged with a young family looking at the Falcons, Charlotte headed to the store.
Just as she reached the sidewalk, an old Studebaker chugged into the lot, backfiring loudly, as it came to a stop in one of the customer parking spaces. Charlotte smiled. That guy definitely needs a new car, she thought.
. ~ .
His head swiveled, eyes focused on the beautiful brunette walking down the sidewalk, as he pulled into the dealer's lot. "Mmm. That is one fine skirt," he muttered as the old rust bucket he drove sputtered and popped.
He shut off the engine, folded the keys in the visor, and stepped out of the nearly dead car. It was too hot for his jacket, but he didn't want to leave it in the vehicle, so he slung it over his shoulder and started walking around the lot, chumming the waters, so-to-speak.
Sure enough, it wasn't long before one of the "sharks" appeared. A man in his mid-thirties, a bit doughy in the middle, came strutting out of the showroom. He wore ill-fitting brown pants, an ugly tie which he was cinching up as he walked, and longish hair parted deeply to one side and swept over his whole forehead. While it was a popular style, it looked ridiculous on this man.
He strode up with his hand outstretched. "Welcome to Newton's Ford. I'm Mike Newton."
"Peter Jones," said the newcomer and shook Mike's hand. It was a little sweaty and Peter tried to devise a way to discretely wipe away the unwelcomed moisture.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Jones," said Mike as he pumped Peter's hand up and down. "In the market for some new wheels?"
Nope, my car's just fine, he thought, though he managed to keep the sarcastic quip to himself. "Yeah, man. You probably heard my old ride as I came in."
Both men chuckled and Mike nodded as he shoved his hands into his pockets. "And what are you looking to replace her with?" he asked, rocking back on his heels.
"I'm not too sure, though I don't want to spend a lot of money."
"Something in the economy line? We've got a number of Falcons and of course there's the Thunderbirds over here, and if you want a little more get-up-and-go, there's the Torino."
For the next hour, Mike dragged Peter all over the lot, expounding on all the advantages of each car they looked at, while all Peter could do was think about the woman that had walked off the lot when he'd first arrived.
The low belt of her dress fit snugly around her hips and the tiny skirt just barely covered her butt. His pulse quickened as he thought about the sun-kissed skin of her thighs. The boots coming up to her knees covered everything else, making that little show of flesh all the more enticing.
Mike was rambling on about horsepower and acceleration rates, but Peter had tuned him out. She was back, sashaying her way up the drive and into the showroom. He felt the quirk of a smile at the corner of his mouth as he watched her settle in behind the reception desk.
At the harsh clearing of a throat, Peter snapped his eyes back to the windbag salesman. "So what do you think about the cars?"
His emphasis on the word "cars" was not lost on Peter. It was an unspoken warning to quit gawping at the female employee.
"I'm not sure," he said. He ran his hand over his heavily waxed coif. He didn't usually use so much junk in his hair, but it was necessary today. "Give me a few minutes to look around by myself. I'll signal you when I'm ready."
"Sure thing, friend," Mike said as a tight smile pinched his lips.
Peter chuckled as he watched the man walk away. What a flake, he thought.
. ~ .
Charlotte watched the exchange between Mike and his customer, and knew it wasn't going very well. So when he stormed into the showroom, barely keeping a lid on his temper in front of the other customers, she was ready and waiting to shuttle him into his office.
"I hate the browsers. A man should know his own mind when he comes to buy a new car. This guy, he's just … I don't know what he is, but he's driving me nuts."
"He's really gotten under your skin," she said and looked over her shoulder to the sales floor. "All the other guys are busy with customers. Do you want me to give it a try?"
"What? You want to try and sell that wannabe greaser a car?"
She placed her hands on his desk and leaned forward, thankful that the neckline of her sleeveless dress came up to her collar bones. "I know these cars just as well as any of those guys out there," she said and tossed her head in the direction of the sales floor. "Maybe this customer needs a different approach."
Mike snorted and crossed his arms as he leaned back in his chair. "Maybe you're right. I'll give you fifteen minutes, but be careful. This guy looks like he's on the make and gunning for you."
"Be cool, Mike. I can handle him."
"Shake it. Don't break it," he said as she strutted away from his office.
Charlotte smoothed her skirt over her thighs as she walked across the outdoor lot. She didn't have to look very hard for this particular customer; he was the only one on the lot at that moment. She did, however, take plenty of time to admire the man's handsome physique.
He was tall, over six feet if she was judging right, and dressed in a black suit with slim fitting pants. His jacket dangled carelessly over his shoulder and he wore a pair of aviator-style sunglasses. The highly reflective mirrored finish of the lenses hid his eyes from her but she could feel his gaze follow her every step.
That was her cue to turn on the charm. With each strike of her heel she threw her hip a little further out, emphasizing the shapely curve of her figure. A wide smile spread across her face as she watched the man lift the glasses up and stare at her with an appreciative expression on his face.
And what a face it was. Bright, mischievous eyes were framed by a generous fringe of lashes, longer neatly trimmed sideburns covered the sides of his cheeks down to an exquisitely angular jaw, and his lips looked deliciously kissable. The only thing that turned her off was the bushy mustache that reminded her far too much of her father's. But that was a minor thing.
"Hi. I'm Char," she said stopping right in front of the man and extending her hand. "How's everything going?"
"Everything is copacetic," he said with a wide grin that she couldn't help but return. "The name's Peter, by the way."
His warm hand engulfed hers and the way he held on a little longer than was strictly necessary, how his fingers seemed to caress her own, sent her heart beat into erratic and excited rhythms.
"Keen-o," she said in a breathy sigh as he released her hand.
"So the boss man sent out the big guns, did he?" he said with a lazy, humorous quality to his voice.
"He said you were having a hard time making up your mind. Perhaps a woman's perspective might be helpful in making a decision?"
He took a step closer and his smile widened. "I think I could use your perspective on a whole heap of things, beautiful."
"Why don't we start with the cars?" she said and bit her thumb. "What exactly are you looking for?"
He walked past her, brushing the entire length of his body against her, as he moved toward the T-birds. Heat raced through her chest all the way down to her toes as the feel of him lingered. She inhaled sharply and walked over to the vehicle he was looking at.
"Do you prefer bucket seats or bench?" she asked.
"Hmm, well, that depends entirely on what you plan on doing in the car. Which would you prefer?"
She could feel a hint of color rise to her cheeks, but ignored the urge to shy away. She'd worked too hard to overcome the blushing, cringing girl she used to be, to allow some cocky hunk to make her feel intimidated. With one eyebrow raised she said, "Buckets."
"Definitely." She crossed her arms, silently daring him to challenge her answer. When he didn't say anything more, she relaxed her posture slightly.
"Buckets it is. So what can you show me with bucket seats? And I think I'd like something with some speed."
"How fast are you looking for?" She mentally ran through the inventory, eliminating all the vehicles that didn't meet the growing list of criteria.
"As fast as you've got, doll face," he said as he encroached on her personal space.
She was encompassed by the subtle, spicy mix of his aftershave and the clean, soapy smell of his own personal scent. Without thinking, she inhaled deeply and closed her eyes only to be interrupted by a soft chuckle. She might have moaned, just a little.
Her eyes snapped open to see him smirking, his lips askew just enough to give him that roguish, handsome look. Trying to regain some footing, she straightened, which brought her mere inches away from him.
"Are you sure you can handle it?" she asked, dropping her voice down to a low purr.
To her great satisfaction, he looked momentarily stunned. After he took a small step back, he cleared his throat and adjusted his skinny black tie. "You bet your boots I can handle it," he murmured.
"Then the only car I could, in good conscience, suggest, would be the Shelby." She shrugged and began walking toward where the cherry vehicle was displayed. "It's the newest Shelby Cobra GT 500-KR. It's got the 428-horsepower Cobra Jet engine as opposed to the older police interceptor engine, and this model is equipped with almost all the upgrade options."
"Such as?" he prompted.
"Such as power steering, power disc brakes, AM push-button radio, and tilt-away steering wheel. It also has shoulder harness safety belts. The only option it doesn't come with is the Select-O-Matic transmission. This has the four-speed manual, instead."
She stood aside as he gave her an impressed nod and walked around the car, kicking the tires, and running his finger along the front fender. "It's a convertible," he said as he reached in and unlatched the hood.
"Yes. Is that a problem?"
"No. Not for me." He grinned ruefully as he pointed to his heavily slicked down hair.
"Somehow, I get the feeling your hair isn't always quite so tame."
He seemed to ignore her comment and focused instead on examining the engine. She wanted to maintain the balance of power they'd seemed to establish, so she reached across him, making sure to graze his arm with her chest, and said, "Here's the dipstick, if you want to check the oil."
"You certainly know your way around an engine," he said, his warm breath fanning over her neck and shoulder.
She turned her head to look at him, her body still angled toward his and practically humming with anticipation. "I had a very good teacher."
"I'll just bet you did, kitten."
The sound of his deep voice as it echoed against the hood of the car sent her thoughts scattering like so much dandelion fluff in the wind. His intense eyes burned into hers and her heart pounded in her chest. She hadn't been this excited by a man in a long time.
The moment of acute tension only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough to set Char's world on its side. She was broken from her stupor by Peter's voice.
"May I?" he asked, pointing to the door.
"Oh. Of course. See if it's a comfortable fit for your frame."
"Care to join me?"
"Um, I don't know if I should."
"I need a woman's opinion of the passenger seat. It's vital to my decision."
She narrowed her eyes playfully, to which he responded with an equally jovial look of innocence. She slipped into the passenger seat and gave it a little bounce. "Seems fine to me. What do you think?"
"Uh … it's good," he said, his eyes riveted to a point a few inches below her chin.
"You wanna take it for a spin?"
He looked at her and a grin slowly lit up his features. Her own smile mirrored his as she stepped out of the car.
"I'll be right back with the keys."
Just as she passed the driver door, he reached out and grasped her wrist. "I'll only drive it with you. I don't want to work with that square peg, Newton."
She nodded once and hurried back to the showroom. She breathed a sigh of relief in the air-conditioned showroom and walked confidently to the box that held the keys to all the vehicles on the lot.
"So?" asked her boss. "How'd it go?"
"He wants to test drive the Shelby," she said as she hunted for the key.
"He … What? I thought he was looking for something inexpensive."
She tossed the little key ring up in the air and caught it as she shrugged. "I guess he just needed a different kind of persuasion."
Mike eyed her with suspicion. "You didn't promise him anything, did you?"
"Only that I'd be the one to take him out for the test drive."
He crossed his arms and started tapping his foot on the linoleum floor. "I don't know about this, Char. You don't have any experie—"
"If it's not me, he'll walk," she interrupted. "You are in the business of selling cars, aren't you?"
"Well, yes, but …"
"No buts about it, Mike. That's a forty-seven hundred dollar sale. Let me take this guy for a ride, then you can seal the deal."
He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "Fine, just keep it short," he grumbled and stalked toward his office.
She smiled darkly as she stopped at her desk, opened the file drawer and pulled the folder for the Shelby, then grabbed her purse.
Casually she made her way through the rows of cars to where Peter was waiting. "All set?" she asked as she tossed him the keys.
His smile was predatory as he slid behind the wheel. He turned the key in the ignition and pumped the gas pedal a few times. The roar of the engine rumbled through the lot in sensual, energizing waves.
He sedately maneuvered the car out of the lot and onto the street. Without any warning though, he revved the engine, dropped the clutch, and peeled away from the dealership.
She gripped on to the door, but her smile was unstoppable. Once he'd slowed to a slightly faster-than-normal driving speed she released her hold on the door. "If you take a left down here you'll come to a strai—"
"How much longer are we going to keep this up, love?"
"Until we're a hundred miles away from Chicago," she said with a saucy wink. "Where's the stuff?"
They pulled up in front of an old, Italian restaurant, and he jumped out, leaving the car idling. When he came back out with two suitcases and a duffle bag, he also brought Esme, the aged woman who'd been like a second mother to her, and Carlo, Nona Esme's husband.
Charlotte stepped out and hugged the elderly woman tightly. She probably wouldn't see her again and just the thought brought a prickle of tears to her eyes.
"Take care, bella ragazza," she said in a scratchy and weathered voice.
Charlotte then heard Carlo say, "Addio, mio figlio," as Peter hugged him and within moments they were both waving at the couple as they drove away.
"I'm gonna miss them," she said.
"Me, too." He sighed and shifted gears.
"Do you think they'll be okay?"
"Yeah, they'll be just fine."
Somewhere on Route 66, between Pontiac and Chenoa Illinois, he pulled over. "Come here, baby. I can't wait to hold you any longer."
Quickly, she undid the seatbelt, climbed over the gearshift, and straddled his lap. His hands ran up and down her back, the wolfish grin on his face grew larger by the second until finally, he tossed his head back and let out a loud whoop.
"I can't believe we did it, baby. You were amazing."
Very gently she peeled away the phony mustache and threw it in the back seat. "I'm so glad that thing is gone," she said as she ran her fingers through his hair, mussing the carefully styled locks. Once it was sufficiently disheveled, she grabbed hold of his face and lowered her mouth to his, crushing their lips together in a hungry, desperate embrace. "You have no idea how long I've been waiting to do that."
"Trust me, I have an idea. Those guys you were working with, jeez. I wanted to rip their heads off. How much did you get, by the way?"
"About ten grand. There was more in the safe, but I didn't have room in my purse."
"That's okay, kitten. Once we get to Mexico, we'll sell this, set up shop on the beach somewhere and never look back."
"Do you think we'll ever be able to prove you were innocent?"
"I don't know, babe. Between the corruption in the precinct and the mishandling of the evidence, the truth may never come out."
"I know you didn't do it." She placed a trail of kisses along his jaw up to his ear where she sucked gently on the lobe.
He hummed with want as his hands squeezed her backside, drawing her closer to him. "That's all that matters." He placed a tiny kiss on the tip of her nose. "Here, I have something that belongs to you."
Awkwardly, he dug into his pocket and produced a set of shining gold bands, one plain, the other with a little round diamond in the center. After he'd slipped the rings on her left ring finger, he pulled out his own wedding band and put it on as well.
"I love you, Edward," she said, her eyes shining with that same emotion.
He groaned and kissed her again, caressing the seam of her lips with his tongue until it was twined with hers. When the kiss ended, he buried his face into the crook of her neck and crushed her to his chest in a desperate embrace. "I love you too, Bella."
They were both breathing hard, trying to rein in the frantic emotions of reunion and of breaking the law.
"Do you have the new passports?" she asked as she slid back over to the passenger seat.
"Yep," he said and jerked his thumb toward the trunk. "You know, it's funny, it took me going to prison in order to become a criminal."
"We're just doing what we have to do," she said as she caressed his chin with outstretched fingers. "So who are we now?"
"Eduardo and Isabella Mendes, from Spain."
"Edward," she whined, "I haven't had time to brush up on my Spanish."
"Don't worry, baby. I'll just tell everyone you're very shy."
She punched him on the arm, then snaked her hand around the back of his neck and pulled him towards her. It was like an unstoppable force of gravity that brought their mouths together in a passionate ferocity that left them both breathless. It had also been almost two years since they'd last seen each other.
"I will never be that girl again."
"I know you won't, you're too strong for that. It's what I love most about you."
"I love you too. Now, shut up and drive."
bella ragazza: beautiful girl
Addio, mio figlio: goodbye, my son
Huge thanks to LJSummers and ikss for their help with this story. Thanks so much for reading!