A blue Volkswagen polo drew up beside GrinderLight garage at two past nine. Richie was the first to notice them and place his spanner on the floor as he told the other guys that Grady was back. As Tom, Jamie, Richie and Dillan turned from their work to see Melanie step out of the driver’s seat; the boys sniggered and laughed as she moved her sunglasses down her nose to let them register the look of annoyance and disgust, for once not in the mood to deal with their banter.
Jamie called out “Hey princess!” and grinned as Grady followed Melanie out of the car.
“What have you to been up to last night?” Dillan asked.
“Nothing.” She snapped. “Grady was just giving me a ride because I still had a bit of a hangover this morning, that’s all.”
“How come you were in the driver’s seat then?” Tom enquired, grinning all the while. Melanie scowled.
“Half way Grady made a bet with me that I couldn’t drive the rest of the way with a hangover, and I just proved him wrong. So that’s a tener Grady.” She held out her hand and a motion to say: ‘come on, give me my money’.
Grady made a small growl in protest but fished out a tener from his wallet anyway because he knew just as well as her that she led their lie. Melanie smiled inwardly as she pocketed the cash.
The guys were about to continue teasing them a bit longer, but at that point they could hear the voice of their boss even louder than before, shouting into the phone. Melanie peered round to see through the glass windows. Tears had welled up in Mr. Wells’ eyes, he was fighting with his wife again about the divorce papers, again.
“I’ll go make him a cuppa.” Grady said, desperate to break the silence, allowing him to walk out of the ever-growing awkwardness.
After he had left their boss had stopped yelling, Melanie could read the words that were being spoken: “Ok then Sandy, I give up.” That touched her heart, but of course Melanie would never voice her feelings, she was one of the guys, always was and always would be.
Mr Wells put down the phone regrettably and stepped out of his ‘soundproof’ office.
“Oh, hi there Mells. Didn’t see you there.”
“That’s because I was late, sorry.”
“Oh. Were you? That’s okay, I didn’t even notice.” He responded absent-mindedly. She didn’t know what else to say and let him walk away to do whatever business her boss usually had to deal with. Before he disappeared he quickly turned around to say “Oh, Mells. There’s a client who’s just scheduled an appointment today for nine-thirty. Can you cover his car? We’ve still got a lot of tough cars that the boys have to finish.”
“Sure thing Boss. What’s his name?”
“Mr… Actually, I don’t remember him ever telling me. Hmm. That’s odd, I usually remember the customer’s name. Well that’s okay, you can ask him when he gets there. Besides, apparently he’s minted, so don’t worry about that.”
After seven minutes, the mystery client arrived.
He stepped out carefully out of a brand new Chevrolet Sonic with stainless steel grey paint and titanium alloys. Melanie gaped at the car. Firstly, wow. Secondly—
“Hi there. My name’s James Domainery. I’ve got a bit of a dilemma here.” He stuck his hand out to Melanie, which slowly she returned. He was wearing a crisp, pale yellow shirt with a maroon sweater over it. He had dark blond hair that was pulled back into a neat little ponytail with tinted sunglasses rested on his head. Lower down he sported a perfectly groomed goatee and a beaming, crystal-white smile that could scare away any shadow. Melanie tried to ignore all of that.
“A dilemma? What kind? You’re car looks like it’s in perfect shape!” She exclaimed.
“Well that’s the exact problem you see. My mother lives in a private estate in Dorchester and, well, she’s a crazy old bat. Anyway between me and my brother he’s the rich one—" Ha! Melanie thought. Is he trying to say he’s the poor one?!
“And my brother made a silly bet with me that- if he bought the car- I could convince her that I’d been to the future and back, and to prove it to her I would have to bring something back from the future. But I thought that the best way to make it look more convincing was to have it look a bit run down, you know, as though this was actually a low-grade car that I’d able to afford.”
What? Before Melanie was about to questions his completely bonkers, lie-infested story, she stopped herself. Why question a valuable customer? I’ll just do the job and get it over with. Then there’s Grady to deal with…
“Can I get you a coffee?” That snapped her back.
“What?” She asked baffled.
“Well you look like you’ve got a lot on your mind. And I’ve got most of the day to kill. I mean I know I’ve got to run some errands in around half an hour but, I’ve got time to kill. Do you want to come? I’ll leave my keys in the car.”
Melanie bit her lip in confusion.
“Uhh… Yeah. I guess.”
“Great, while we’re there I can run over you what needs to be changed to the car.” His phone rang. “Sorry, can I take this?”
“Oh yeah, sure, sure.” She replied and stepped aside while he made his phone call.
“—good. So the café door’s been fixed then? For sure?”
“I’m as sure as I can be.”
“Well then that’ll have to be good enough.”
As Melanie and James walked over to the newly opened café five minutes away from the garage, she paused as they got to the door.
“You know, I don’t understand why I haven’t found out about this place before, I mean if we’re only like two minutes away then… Hmm.” James shrugged his shoulders in response.
“After you.” He said, without opening the door.
“Uhh, thanks. I guess.” She mumbled the ‘I guess’ part under her breath as she opened the black door. A brilliant stream of white light burst through.
“Ah!” She grimaced. “What the hell is that?!”
“Doesn’t matter Miss Ardy.” ‘James’ replied as he shoved her through the door.
It shut on its own this time.
Two down, six to go.