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I’ve gotten in the habit of stopping at one gas station during my commute to work. I live in Pennsylvania and work in New Jersey. The gas in Jersey is always a little cheaper, so I buy gas there. The attendants have come to recognize me now. Probably because I stop there around the same time every day, I always give them tips…and because I drive a Mercedes. It’s a Mercedes convertible. It’s a sweet car that everyone fawns over. I can’t really afford it, but I simply had to have it, so I’ve been working my ass off to pay for it. Between the car and my new house, I barely have enough money to take an annual vacation. It’s a good thing I keep my vacations pretty simple (usually I rent a car and drive down to New Orleans to hang out with a college friend who moved down there a few years ago).
The job I commute to is not the most prestigious job in the world. I’m the executive assistant for the President of a small accounting firm. The guy I work for is a real nitpicky pain in the ass, but he pays me rather well, probably because I have some graduate school under my belt. I’ve worked for him for about five years now, so we’ve developed a nice rhythm. It’s rather amusing to see me, a 37 year old, five foot three, pleasantly plump dark-skinned woman taking a 62 year old, six foot two, lean, attractive white male who earns more than five times my salary to task. Everyone in the office loves it when I have to put him in his place periodically. And personally, I think he has a bit of a “mammy complex” since he tolerates it when I chastise him. Anyway, I say there’s no point in rocking my financial boat by looking for another job closer to home since this one is working out just fine.
So anyway, I moved out to the Poconos area of Pennsylvania about two years ago because I wanted to buy a house. I couldn’t afford to live in the “decent” parts of New Jersey. For those of you who don’t know the area, many parts of northern New Jersey became hot commodities for New Yorkers trying to escape the ridiculous prices of the City. But as they moved out to Jersey, the prices skyrocketed there. So, anyone earning a modest living, such as myself, and trying to buy a home, is up shit’s creek for the most part. Unless you move to an “up and coming” area like the Poconos. The area where I bought was still considered “rural” two years earlier. It’s only recently been defined as a “suburb.” What’s odd is that I like the area. I’m originally from Philadelphia, and a city girl at heart, but the population in my area is quite diverse (mostly Jews and Italians, but a few blacks and Hispanics also) and everyone is friendly. I’ve never really lived in a burb, so it’s been an experience. I bought the smallest house in the development, only two bedrooms, but it’s enough space for me.
Okay, so it’s around 6:30am and I’m on my way to work as usual. I always leave early (around 5:30) to try and avoid the horrific traffic on I80. I typically get to work around 7:30am and Michael, my boss, let’s me leave around 4pm. As I’m pulling into my favorite gas station, I start to smile. I like the guys on the pumps. They’re sweet and most of them have tried to hit on me at least once. That’s the thing with Hispanic men, they don’t seem to care if you’re carrying a little extra weight. I’m a rather attractive woman, even with my size 16 hips. An ex boyfriend used to call me his chocolate chip because of my dark skin color. I have a round face, almond shaped eyes the color of amber, a pudgy little nose and full lips. It was not a face you’d see on a magazine cover any time in the near future, but I received my fair share of attention. I hadn’t dated anyone in about three years, however. Not because no one expressed an interest, but because I’d grown bored with the dating scene. I was ready to settle down and get married, but the idea of being some man’s wife, and all the social bullshit that went along with that, made my skin crawl. So, I’d pulled out of the dating scene and just decided to enjoy life with me, myself and I for a little while.
Today Juan was pumping my gas. He was flirting with me a little while he cleaned my windshield and I smiled, enjoying the attention. When he was done topping off my tank, I handed him my credit card and prepared to wait for him to run it. I remembered I’d been listening to an interesting story on the BBC and decided to catch up while I waited. So, I turned the ignition key, preparing to hear the engine roar to life…and nothing happened. I raised a brow. This was a $65,000 car and I’ve only had it for two years. No fucking way there should be anything wrong with it! I tried turning the key again, as Juan was making his way back to me with the credit card receipt, and nothing happened. I felt my chest tighten up just a little. The last thing I need is for anything to be wrong with this car. I have a small cache of money set aside for “emergencies,” but I hadn’t had a chance to really build up that reserve yet. Something wrong with the car would really hurt me right now.
“¿Que pasa, negrota?” Juan asked.
I tried not beylikdüzü escort to flinch at the term. I used to think they were calling me a nigger, but I found out that ‘negrota’ was a term of fondness used for dark-skinned people in some Latin cultures. Hey, who knew?
“Fucking car won’t start.” I bit out, impatient and annoyed.
“Ah really? Lemme try it.”
So I hop out and he gets behind the wheel. I’m wondering if his hands smell like gas and weather or not that will fuck up the baby soft leather on the steering wheel. Sorry to sound like a snotty bitch, but did I mention this car was costing me $65,000? My monthly payments were over $1,200! He tried the key and got nothing. Now I’m getting pissed. Who ever heard of a fucking Mercedes dying after two years? I treated this car like it was my child! Ugh! Not to mention Michael had a Board meeting this morning and I had his PowerPoint presentation! Fuck, fuck, fuck!
Okay, by now almost every guy at the station had a turn behind the wheel. They had popped the hood and were looking at the engine as if they knew what the hell they were looking for. There was a garage attached to the gas station, but these guys weren’t mechanics. Finally, I heard someone say “get the boss.” I pulled my leather knapsack from the front seat and reached in for my cell phone. I was about to really fuck up Michael’s day so why delay the inevitable? I dialed his home number.
“Evy, what’s wrong? You okay?”
I smiled, he could be sweet when he wanted to, but that wouldn’t last long.
“Michael, my damn car died at a gas station.”
“What? The Mercedes?”
“Yea. And I have your presentation with me.”
A moment of silence before, “fuck. Uh…fuck! What do we do?”
I looked behind me, the guys were pushing my car toward the garage. I sighed, “there’s a Starbucks about 15 minutes from here. They’re wireless. If I can get someone to drive me there, I’ll email the presentation to you, okay? I’ll call as soon as I find out.”
“Uh, yea, okay. Why the fuck did you take the presentation home?”
“Michael, you made like a million changes yesterday, remember? I had to take it home if you wanted it done this morning.”
Another pause and I could hear his brain trying to find something else to bitch and moan about. He couldn’t find anything so he sighed, “yea, okay. Call me as soon as you know something, okay?”
And he hung up. Okay, he’s a jerk. But, like I said before, he pays well. I followed the guys into the garage. I’d never been in here before. It looked…well, like a garage. There are three of those huge lifts things, oil and dirt everywhere, tools that look like they hailed from the Medieval period, and other stupid things like half naked women carelessly tacked up on walls. The place needed some organization and a good cleaning, what my mother liked to call a “woman’s touch.” But it seemed like a woman hadn’t been in here for years.
“Get her the fuck out of here.”
The raspy growl came from a person half hidden by a car. I don’t recall seeing the legs sticking out before, I would have remembered. He was wearing black jeans that looked painted on and they revealed every inch of muscle on a pair of beautifully sculpted thighs. This guy worked out at a gym regularly, that was clear. I couldn’t help but admire those thighs before Juan tapped my shoulder and pointed in the direction of a tiny little room that must serve as an office. I wasn’t annoyed, I’d been around long enough to know they didn’t want you in their work space because if anything happened it would mean a wicked lawsuit. I sighed, glanced at the pricey Movado on my wrist (a gift from Michael for my fifth year anniversary) and headed in the direction of the office. I’d been sitting there for quite a few minutes when Juan came in to check on me.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Ah, the boss lady still looks.”
Boss lady? Did he say lady? That deep voice and those thighs could not have belonged to a woman.
I smirked. A woman with thighs like that, a deep ass voice and she worked in a garage? She had to be a big ol’ dyke. I mentally chastised myself for the un-PC thought and tried to ask Juan, with my very limited knowledge of Spanish, to drive me to Starbuck’s. He hesitated, biting his lip.
He finally said, which I think meant he had to ask the ‘boss lady.’ He disappeared and returned a few minutes later.
“She say okay.”
I sighed, dialing Michael’s number as I followed Juan to a very old, pretty banged up Honda. The engine purred to life, unlike my own overpriced vehicle, and we were on our way within seconds. I took in the lovely sight of leaves turning gold, orange and rust as we drove on the back roads to the coffee shop. I was walking Michael through the steps needed to retrieve the presentation off of his email and copy it onto a CD. It was amazing to me how much this guy earned considering he was still trying beyoğlu escort to master email. I sighed and walked him through it for the third time. When he seemed like he had a clue, I hung up and called the office. I knew Julie, the receptionist, would be in early. I told her what happened and suggested she make herself available for Michael just in case he needed help.
I bought Juan a café latte and a slice of lemon pound cake so that no one would kick us out while I accessed my email. Within minutes I had sent the email to Michael, with a back up to Julie, and I was now sitting in the Honda again as Juan continued to enjoy his $6 feast. It was close to 8am and I was losing hope of making it to the office before the Board meeting. Juan dropped me off in the tiny, dingy office before making his way back to the pumps. I smiled as he held up his cup of coffee and polished off the rest of the pound cake, much to the envy of his co-workers. I should have brought something back for them, Michael would have reimbursed me for it, but my mind had been a million miles away. I was growing more anxious and more annoyed by the minute. When my cell rang, and Michael demonstrated that he was indeed clueless when it came to computers, I told him to buzz Julie and the two of us retrieved the file for him. Julie agreed to sit in on the meeting if I didn’t make it there in time. I was pretty sure, glancing at my watch yet again, that I wouldn’t make it. I could hear Michael was annoyed, but my hands were tied.
I paced the tiny office again and began to wonder if I should just call a tow truck. The vehicle warranty stipulated that all work had to be performed by a garage affiliated with Mercedes. I doubt this little dump was affiliated. I sighed, looking around the office impatiently. I recognized all the required forms that had to be displayed in a mechanic’s office. They were all made out in the name of Pasadena Williams. Pasadena? What the hell kind of name was that, I wondered? I sighed again, growing more and more impatient.
When the office door swung open, I thought it was Juan coming to check on me again. It wasn’t. I guess this was the ‘boss lady.’ Our eyes met and I…well, I don’t know what happened. I think my mind went blank for just a moment as I took her in. She was tall, probably close to Michael’s height, but she was far from lean. She had muscles on top of muscles. It wasn’t just the perfectly sculpted thighs either. Her white wife beater tee revealed a taut, flat stomach, small, firm breasts, and biceps that were as wide around. She moved effortlessly, carrying her muscled bulk easily, almost gracefully. Her skin was a rich caramel, her face wide and flat, her nose narrow with an odd bump on the ridge, her lips thin, her jaw square. It wasn’t an attractive face at all. It was hard and…well, to be honest, a little masculine. Her hair, braided back into cornrows (think about the rapper Ludacris prior to the butchering of his hair), didn’t help soften her image at all. There was nothing appealing about her looks…and yet she still made my mind go blank. The entirety of her was mind numbing. I wouldn’t say I was attracted to her, but there was some kind of…I didn’t know how to describe it, so I decided to ignore it.
I thought she’d come to tell me about my car, but instead she sat behind a badly scratched metal desk and picked up the phone. She began speaking car talk and I tuned out, continuing to wait, pacing around the tiny space restlessly. I could feel my patience running out. When she hung up the phone, I turned to her. She was on her feet again, towering over me, and then she was heading toward the door.
“Uh, excuse me?” I came out as a squeak and I cleared my voice.
She turned around to look at me and raised a brow.
“My car? The Mercedes convertible?”
“You’re not first on my list, Princess.”
And she was gone, just like that. Now I was fuming. What the fuck? Rude and slow? I mean, it was fine when the guys called me nicknames, we had a bit of a playful relationship, but I didn’t even know her. And I had the feeling she didn’t use that term in a cute, friendly kind of way. Not to mention she hadn’t even looked at my car yet! I fumed for about 30 more minutes and then said to myself ‘fuck this.’ I had the gold package from AAA. They would tow me 100 miles without charging me a dime. I grabbed my cell phone, punched in some numbers and had been on hold for about 15 minutes when the office door opened again. It was her. I ignored her, waiting for someone to pick up the line at AAA. She was still there when I asked for a tow truck. When asked for an address, I snatched a business card from her desk and read it to them. They said I would have to wait 1-2 hours. I repeated it, shocked, and they confirmed. I hung up and was about to kick at an empty chair when my eyes caught her watching me. My mind went blank again. I’m not sure for how long, but I remember those intense, dark brown eyes, eyes the color of a deep, rich chestnut, bostancı escort bayan simply sucking me in for just an instant before I blinked and shook my head. I didn’t know what this woman was doing to me and I didn’t care to think about it at the moment. I just wanted to get back on the road.
“You want me to look at it or not?”
Her voice was really deep and quite raspy, but if you paid attention you could tell it wasn’t really deep enough to be a man’s voice. I was distracted by the ripple of her biceps as she wrote something on a notepad. When she looked up and raised a brow, I had to think for a moment before I could remember her question.
“Uh, yea, sure. But I think I have to have someone certified by Mercedes work on it.”
She looked at me intently for a moment and then glanced at a plaque on a nearby wall. I don’t know how I missed it, but the plaque clearly stated they were certified to work on luxury vehicles, including Mercedes. I was glad my skin was so dark because it hid my blush.
“Oh. Ummm…do you have any idea how long before you can look at it?”
“Already did. Starter’s bad. Juan went to pick one up. It won’t be ready for an hour at least. Warranty covers it.”
I nodded, glad it wouldn’t cost me anything. God, she was really making me nervous and I had no idea why.
“Anything else, Princess?” She asked with a smirk.
I bit back a snide comment, remembering she still had to fix my car, and shook my head. She left me alone in the office and I released a breath I hadn’t even realized I was holding. I was a bit miffed that she called me “princess.” She didn’t even know me. Glancing down at my red Armani power suit (I bought it at half price), the $300 pumps on my feet, the $700 watch on my wrist and thinking about the diamond studs in my ears, I had a better idea why she called me “princess.” It wasn’t true, however. When I had to represent Michael at Board meetings, he wanted me dressed nicely. I only had a few power suits, I hadn’t bought the watch, the shoes were a gift from my mother three birthdays ago, the earnings were a gift from my father when I turned 21, and the car…well, I already told you I was struggling to pay for it. I was no princess…and I shouldn’t give a shit if she thought I was. Shaking my head once more to clear it, I set about making a few more phone calls.
The ‘boss lady’ did not return to the office. Juan took care of me after that. I really didn’t have to pay a cent, I only had to sit and wait for almost two hours before my car was ready. I finished signing the paperwork, sat behind the wheel, and was relieved when the engine purred to life. I was also impressed that they had not gotten a speck of dirt or grease on my car. Glancing at my watch for the hundredth time, I realized I didn’t have time for gratitude.
It was almost eleven when I finally arrived at work. I was absolutely annoyed and hungry to boot. I walked in just as the Board meeting was ending. Michael was so happy to see me, as were some of the other board members, that he invited me to lunch with them, a first. I couldn’t decline, considering the importance of the people standing in the corridor waiting for me to answer, so I asked that they let me freshen up just a bit. I hurried to Michael’s private bath (I was the only other person allowed to use it), splashed some cold water on my face, reapplied my make-up, combed my fingers through the silken curls on my head, took a deep breath and put on my million-dollar smile. When I rejoined them, Michael took hold of my arm and led me to his car. We were escorting the President of the Board and Michael preferred to have someone else around whenever he drove with the muckety-mucks. I loved Michael’s car. It was also a Mercedes, a sedan, but it was much nicer than mine. We chatted about some of the current events in the news, the weather, I asked how the presentation went and Michael said it was perfect. He even took the time to praise me, something else that was rare. I decided he was probably going senile, but I intended to enjoy the moment.
Lunch at a local posh restaurant was excellent and the rest of the day flew by. Michael told me I looked exhausted and let me leave at 4pm anyway. I couldn’t believe my luck and left before he changed his mind. I beat most of the traffic home and was relieved when I kicked off my shoes at my front door and dropped onto the nearest sofa. I must have nodded off because when I woke, it was after 8pm and the house was dark. I undressed on the way upstairs, adding the suit to the pile intended for the dry cleaners. I showered, decided to skip dinner and went directly to bed.
The next morning, although I knew we didn’t have much planned for the day in the office, I took my time getting dressed. A slim fitting black skirt that stopped at the knee, sheer black pantyhose, rather plain 3-inch heels, an oversized print blouse, and light make-up. There wasn’t much I could do to my hair since I had it cut short last year, but the curls framed my face nicely. I took one final look in the mirror, assured myself I did not resemble a ‘princess’ today, and headed off to work. As usual, it was around 6:30 when I arrived at the gas station. Juan was off today so Pedro was helping me. I stood from the car as he pumped the gas, assured him he didn’t need to clean the windshield, and then shocked myself with my next question.
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