I went to Triple D’s the next morning dressed for success.
Not catering success, per say, but man-eating success. Form-fitting pencil pants; a red, sleeveless Elie Tahari blouse; and five-inch, red platform pumps topped off my look. As soon as Demo saw me emerge from the cab, he stood up and watched with pointed interest as I click-click-clicked into the garage. Sure, I was going to have to don a smock when I got to work, but all that mattered was I marched up to Demo with legs—and confidence—for miles.
That is, until he opened his mouth.
“Good morning, Demo,” I said, putting a hand on my hip and smiling. I wore lipstick in the exact same shade of deep red as my blouse and shoes, and every time I wore it I got compliments. I waited for him to respond, positive that Operation Seduce Demo-the-mechanic was in full swing.
He drew a long breath, then took his time to release it while he held my gaze, steady and strong. “I wondered when you’d show up.”
“I—” My hand dropped from my hip. “What?”
Demo jerked his head to the right. “Car’s ready.”
“Good.” I swallowed a snotty retort and hiked my purse further up my arm. Why in the world was I trying so hard to make this guy want me when he was so clearly disinterested? “What do I owe you?”
Demo ambled over to the metal desk, and tugged a grease-stained sheet of printer paper out from under a disassembled auto part. “The tow, plus parts and labor came to four hundred sixty-three and seventy-two cents.”
I walked around the circumference of my car, stopping to wipe at a piece of dust that disguised itself as a scratch. I could feel his eyes on me, but I didn’t hurry. Once I circled the whole car, I opened the driver’s side door and looked at the mileage.
“Looks like you drove it for a while. What gives?” I asked nonchalantly.
Demo faced me. “I drove it out a few miles down Highway 27and back once the new alternator was in to make sure it was running right.”
“Huh.” I slammed the car door. “Seems a bit excessive.”
He folded his arms across his chest. He’d not yet put on his coveralls, so his thin grey tee shirt did little to hide those delicious muscles. “You seem a bit nitpicky.”
Matching his pose, I let the smile drop off of my face. “You seem a bit overly sensitive.”
He took a step closer to me. “Well, you seem a bit rude.”
“Well, you seem a bit bipolar.” I took a step closer to him. We were only about a foot apart now, and I could feel electricity popping and crackling between our chests. I couldn’t tell if it was because we wanted each other… or because we wanted to throttle each other. Maybe both.
A line appeared between Demo’s dark eyebrows. “Bipolar? That’s the best you got?”
“Seriously!” I threw my hands up. “You work on my car at the crack of dawn to be nice, and then you treat me like garbage when I come to pick it up! I came in here in the hopes of making peace with you, but your mood swings are shifting like a hyperactive pendulum!”
He glared down at me. “You think coming in here dressed to the nines is going to make me give you some sort of discount or something?”
“I don’t need a damn discount.” Tugging my purse open, I produced my credit card. Again. “Four hundred sixty-two dollars. Take it.”
Demo snatched the card out of my hand. “And seventy-two cents.”
“Fastidioso,” I muttered under my breath.
He leaned in close. There was that aroma again. Why oh why did it smell so good to me? “For the hundredth time, I know what you’re saying. And I’m not annoying.”
“Good.” I met his steely gaze with my own. “And yes, you are.”