Chapter 7

Walking along the gravel drive, Carol surveyed the car, taking in the sleek lines, practically melting at the convertible top.

“I heard you bought the Miller’s old car.” She smiled at Billy’s frown. “Word travels fast in a small town.”

To his relief, Carol slowly nodded her approval. He hadn’t realized he was holding his breath, was nervous about her reaction. Oddly, he realized, her opinion mattered quite a bit to him.

Leaning into the engine compartment, they gazed at the various components together. “Holy cow, Mr. Miller sure keeps his cars clean,” she marvelled.

Billy nodded in agreement, caressing the air hose. “Mr. Miller said she has the J-2 option package which ...”

“Which gives her 300 horsepower instead of the stock 277,” Carol interrupted. “With the V8, she’s going to go like smoke.”

Billy slowly turned his head, dumbstruck. “I didn’t know you knew all that junk,” he said, awed.

She grinned mischievously, moving around the car. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me, Billy Peterson,” she added airily and, opening the passenger door, she sat inside, adjusting the side mirror. “With the top down, I bet it feels like you’re flying.” Raising her arms straight up, she closed her eyes, a small smile playing on her lips and, tipping her head back, she imagined driving along a quiet road, the wind blowing her hair wildly behind her.

Billy felt a drop in his stomach then, like cresting a hill a little too fast. She looked fabulous sitting in his car like that; it skewed everything. Opening her eyes, Carol saw Billy staring at her, an odd expression on his face. Suddenly self-conscious, she brought her arms down, wrapping them around her waist, and stared at the floor.

Billy came around and sat in the driver’s seat, gripping the steering wheel with both hands as though it was a life preserver. Glancing over at Carol, he noticed she had a streak of grease on her arm. It was obvious she had seen it—it ran the length of her forearm. He marvelled at the fact that she hadn’t made a big to-do over it like other girls, running home to wash it off, possibly changing her entire outfit. Come to think of it, she was never fussed about her clothes. Instead, she was comfortable in cropped pants and a loose shirt, ready for the next venture at a moment’s notice. Darn if she didn’t make that simple outfit look sexy.

And what was that smell, he wondered. Billy leaned a little closer, breathing in her scent. Earthy with a slight floral hint, he decided. It smelled heavenly to him and he closed his eyes, enjoying the fragrance, smiling to himself. It occurred to him that his dad was right. It wasn’t just anyone that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. It should be someone that you’re comfortable with and want to spend time with. Someone you can laugh with, who is your friend. Someone you love.

Billy’s stomach dropped again. Love. He rolled the word around in his head, let it sit there a moment. Love. It flowed through him, warming every part of him. Huh, he thought, isn’t that something. Sometimes you can’t see what’s right in front of you.

Or next door.

Suddenly aware that the silence had gone on too long, Billy shook himself, clearing his throat awkwardly. Carol took this as a dismissal, embarrassed she had overstayed her welcome, and grasped the door handle, prepared to leave.

Billy grabbed her arm. “Wait.”

The End

6 comments about this story Feed