I felt terrible for Eric, even worse after I made him run away. I’d been where he was. I didn’t have so many years with my dad, and I knew their relationship was strained, but it still sucked. Bad.
A few days went by before he came back to work. It was a Monday and I was really starting to get the hang of things. As a matter of fact, I’d figured out how to make closing and dispatching more efficient. Des was funny, and had a good head on his shoulders, but he could be scatterbrained and his process just wasn’t working. Needless to say, he was happy when I sat him down and showed him my methods.
I’d also brought up the Malibu he had for sale. He was hesitant at first, but ultimately he agreed to sell it to me. I could breathe a sigh of relief that I could retire Priscilla for something a lot more reliable. I’d never had anything as new as the Malibu, so I was pretty excited. They were still waiting on some parts for the transmission, but as soon as they came in I got to take her home. Maybe him… I’d have to drive it a few times to figure it out.
At work all day Eric had been quiet, but he didn’t seem as somber. I was sure he had to work through. I only talked to my Gran for the first month after my parents died, so I wasn’t judging. We were pretty busy, as always for a Monday, so we didn’t have a lot of time to talk. I took back to back calls, and I knew my drivers were getting frustrated with me, but it wasn’t my fault. I let it roll off my back. They could be bitches, but I could deal with it.
I’d just gotten off the phone with a particularly bitchy customer with my head dropped back and my eyes closed. I was over the day. I needed to go home, grab a beer, and sit in the bath for a while. My eyes cracked open when I smelled Eric come into the room. He smelled like car parts over a light, fresh smell that wasn’t at all offensive, unlike Des and Ras.
“What’s up?” I asked, closing my eyes again.
“Nothing. I’m bored,” he said in some weird accent.
I opened one eye so I was looking at him upside down. He looked funny from that angle.
“I can turn on some folk music and you can dance a jig,” I replied, finishing in a horrible Irish accent. If he could do accents so could I.
“In Mother Russia, no happy dance allowed. They cut off foot,” he said in a very convincing Russian accent.
“I don’t think you’d miss the inches, Stretch,” I said. I sat up straight and spun in the chair so I was facing him.
“I do have many inches,” he smirked.
“Let me guess, everything on you is long and thick?” I smirked right back.
“Yes, that is correct.” Eric returned to his post in the front when the phone rang.
I was sure that comment was true. It wasn’t any of my business though. I rolled over to look out the door at Eric. He had a nice bum. His pants were nice and snug.
Okay, done with that line of thought.
I move back to my own desk and pulled up my Spotify. For once there was a lull in the calls so I started looking for something else to play. I’d been playing country all day, and it was time for a change. Of course I moved right into 90’s alternative. Pearl Jam’s Jeremy started to play. My head began to bob without thinking. I wouldn’t dare try to sing along. I liked Eric too much to torture him with the sound of a cat being dragged behind a car.
I stood up to stretch and just when my shirt lifted above my waistline, flashing my belly Eric walked back in. His eyes shot straight to the newly exposed flesh.
“Ever see Operaman sing Even Flow?” he asked.
“Nope,” I answered. “I do like that song, though.”
“You should YouTube it,” he told me.
I turned to sit down again and pulled up YouTube. I punch in Even Flow Op… That was all it took. I saw the video and groaned before I clicked on it. It was at least 90’s Adam Sandler, so it had the potential to be somewhat funny. He lost his flair as he got older.
I wasn’t disappointed though. As soon as he started sputter out the words I began to giggle. It was ridiculous.
“I’m not mad I saw that,” I snorted.
“You shouldn’t be.” Eric sat down behind me. “The Wedding Singer is still one of my favorite movies.”
“That was a good one. As the years went on his movies got worse and worse though,” I told him as I spun around to face him.
“Depends on the movie,” he shrugged. “Grown Ups was pretty good.”
“I didn’t see it. I stopped watching by that point. I’d had enough of him by then,” I admitted. “How do you feel about feet?”
“Ummm… I don’t really have any feelings on the topic.”
I lifted my legs up, letting my ballet flats flop against the soles of my feet.
“You’re bored. You can paint my toenails.” I reached into the drawer next to me to pull out a bottle of glittery blue polish. I didn’t expect him to agree, but it was funny to see his reaction.
“I’m sorry; did you drink your lunch?” It wasn’t happening.
“Had to try, right?” I giggled as I turned to put the polish away.
“I think today is a go home and get shitfaced day. Maybe with steak…”
“Mmm, steak,” I groaned. I was getting hungry. “You’re off tomorrow, so why not?”
“I’m thinking about it.”
“My plan is to grab a beer and sink down as far as possible in my tub. It’s not that far since it’s a standard sized tub,” I shrugged.
“Not a bad plan.”
“Eh, it kinda sucks,” I shrugged. “I may find a book to read. Sadly, that’s the extent of my fun until I get a car that can drive more than five miles at a time.”
The front door of the shop opened and Eric hopped up to see who it was. He stuck his head in a minute later.
“Malibu parts,” he smiled.
“Really?” I grinned. I left my post to go out to the counter where he was. “Do you know how long these usually take to put in?” My car fixing knowledge was limited. What I really wanted to know was if I would be able to drive it home. I already had the keys, and Des was going to take payments.
“By closing time.”
“Oooh, really?” I practically squealed. “Hell, now I can do anything.” Within reason. I still had bills to pay.
“Yes, yes, now you do dance of leprechaun.” The Russian was back.
I cleared my throat, trying to better my Irish accent I said, “I don’t want to put an eye out.” I grabbed my boobs to let him know what I was talking about. Irish jigs usually included a lot of bouncing.
He started to reach out slowly.
“I hold deadly weapons,” he said.
“At least buy me a drink first,” I snorted, leaning back some.
“I go fix car.” He grabbed the parts and went out to the shop.
Hell, that was as good as buying me a drink. I really, really needed to stop thinking like that. Luckily I got a call that distracted me from anymore lusty thoughts.
It was nearing closing time, I had all of my closing paperwork done and was turning to put the cabinet keys behind the phone again when Eric peeked into the office.
“Hey,” I said over my shoulder.
“She’s ready.” He tossed me the keys.
I caught them and said, “I don’t know if it’s a he or she yet. I’m going to have to drive it a bit before I figure it out.” I looked at the keys in my hand before a slow smile spread across my face. “Really? It’s like, drivable?”
I jumped up, squeeing like a little girl. I wanted to hug Eric, but I stopped myself. I didn’t want to freak him out again. I basically did a little jig though, so he got to see Thelma and Louise bounce anyway.
“Now I want to drive for hours!” I was way too excited. I loved driving.
“Go for it. The car is outside.”
“I’m off in like four minutes, I can wait,” I grinned.
“Let me know if it’s acting up.”
“I will. Thanks.” I turned to grab my purse so I could put the keys on my ring. “You’re just about out of here too, right?” I asked as I slipped the keys into my pocket.
“Yep. I have to close out the cash drawer and credit card batch,” he said.
“Sweet.” I sat back down at the computer to close everything out. Eric walked out of the office to grab the cash drawer and brought it back into the office.
He sat down to do his counts and then put the drawer away where it belonged. Then he went back to the front counter to close the credit card batch. I locked my computer, grabbed my purse and walked back out front. I usually walked out with Eric. The neighborhood wasn’t terrible, but I felt safer walking out with someone.
“Ready?” I asked when he was done with his credit cards. I had my keys in hand.
“In a minute. I just have to check in with Hot Rain. I’ll be right out,” he told me.
Eric took off the white button down shirt he wore over his T-shirt. That day it was a plain gray shirt. And it was tight. Ugh, he was killing me. Poor Roger was tired. It didn’t matter anyway. I’d meet someone eventually that I could stand long enough to have something with. I shook it off and walked outside toward my car, I was going to be fine. I noticed the Malibu was parked near Eric’s Grand Prix anyway. I was about halfway there when he caught up with me.
“It’s beer o’clock,” he said.
“I may wait until I’ve driven around a bit. I wouldn’t want to crash my new baby,” I commented.
“Good call.” Eric unlocked his car. “Well, enjoy the drive. See you Wednesday?”
“Yep. Drive safe,” I smiled like I did every night. The Malibu had power locks and I practically peed myself with excitement when I unlocked it. Des had promised to take Priscilla to the scrap yard for me.
Eric got in his car and Linkin Park started to play before he backed up slowly. He waved and then drove away. I got into my new car and turned it on. I didn’t turn the radio on right away. I did roll down the windows though and smiled when I noticed it had a full tank. The seat was cushy, but it took a moment to get it to the right distance from the steering wheel. I sat back, got comfortable and put the car into reverse. I was happy there wasn’t a smell of burning oil, or the fear of the clutch falling out, seeing as it was an automatic, that wasn’t really an issue anyway.
About ten minutes onto the open road I finally turned on my radio. I found the local country station and cranked up Luke Bryan when Country Girl started to play. I was alone so the singing wasn’t an issue. I had driven up and down every road in Renard Parish at least twice when I noticed my phone light up. I picked it up and glanced at the number. I didn’t recognize it, but I answered anyway.
“Hello?” I had to yell so whoever it was could hear me over the wind. I was getting cold, but I wasn’t rolling up the window just yet.
“Natasha?” Eric’s voice was clear even if he was using that ridiculous accent. “You have mission.”
“Boris,” I replied. I decided to roll up the window. With the automatic windows. I picked up my own terrible Russian accent when I added, “What is this mission?”
“To procure steaks and bring them to me. I reward you with beer and winning smile.”
He was cute. He did have a great smile.
“I bring steak. I need location of drop off.”
“You get message. Maybe photo,” he said. “I wait for you.”
“Yes, sir,” I replied. I hung up my phone and turned around to go to the grocery store. It was a porterhouse night.
I got a text a few minutes later with his address attached to a picture of a shirtless Eric Northman. Good gravy! I was going to have to pick up new batteries for Roger for sure if I was going to be hanging out with him… drinking beer.