“I am so sorry,” she says, walking a wide arc around me and coming to a stop a few feet from the truck. “I…I…don’t know what to say. I’ll pay for the damage.” She shakes her head in disbelief and puts her hands on her hat.
“Don’t worry about it. My friend has an auto body shop. He’ll give me a good price.”
“No.” Her eyes are blue, like deep water, and they churn with a storm. For some reason I think of rough seas, tidal waves, salty spray smacking my face.
“No,” she repeats, stronger this time. “I’m taking responsibility for this. I will pay for the damage, even if your friend gives you a deal. It might take just a little time, though. I need to find a job.”
She purses her lips and looks around at the storefronts, like maybe a Now Hiring sign will magically appear in the window.
I’m aware of the irony. She needs a job. I need help.
I’m probably going to regret this. “Do you know how to use a screwdriver?” I ask.
Her eyes squint with her confusion. “Yes. Why?”
I point back at myself. “I’m hiring. I’m nice, only a little crazy, and I pay cash. Summertime is busy, and I need help.”
She eyes the logo on the side of my truck. Her eyebrows lift. “Vale Handyman Services?” Her tone is skeptical. “I’ll keep looking.”
My muscles tense. She’s one of those holier-than-thou girls home from college. She doesn’t want to ruin her manicure by actually working hard. The baseball cap threw me off, but I should’ve known better. She has the tight jean shorts, a signature part of the uniform. Her white tank top has something written in black Old English lettering, and it takes me a few seconds longer to read it, which is awkward because now it looks like I’m staring at her chest.
“Are you getting a good look?” She crosses her arms in front of herself.
“I was reading your shirt. I’m guessing that’s why you’re wearing a shirt that has words plastered on it. So people will read it.” My tone is snappy, matching hers. I’m not a Neanderthal. I know how to surreptitiously check out women.
She tips her head to the side and smirks. “And what does my shirt say?”
I have to bite my lip to suppress my laughter. “It says ‘Fuck Off.’”
“Uh huh,” she nods.
“Is that what you’re telling me to do?”
She gulps, watching me, and her lips twitch while she blinks a few times. I can almost see the wheels turning in her mind. “Yes,” she says.
A short stream of air leaves my nose. I walk to my truck, lean in the open door, and retrieve a card from the center console.
“Here.” I hold it out to her.
She takes it cautiously, her gaze going over the words. “Connor?” she asks, looking up at me. Her voice is sweeter now, wrapping around my name, like the attitude she had one minute ago never existed.
I nod. “And you are?”
She opens her mouth to speak but hesitates, closing her lips. “Brynn,” she finally says, nodding once as she says it.
“It was nice to meet you, Brynn. Call me if you can’t find a job that lets you take selfies and post them all day.” I keep a straight face, even though her jaw drops. Her eyes are rough waters in an instant, as though all I had to do was snap my fingers.
She gives me a nasty look and stomps past me. For a second, I fear she’s going to reach out a hand and rake her fingernails down the length of my truck. She disappears around the bumper and then I spot her on the sidewalk. She walks quickly, her head ducked.
“Fucking ridiculous,” I mutter, climbing into my truck and slowly peeling it off the fire hydrant and back into the street.
Now there are two crazies for Cassidy to warn her neighbor about.
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