And I can’t argue with that.
The man sure as heck tempts me.
Lisa says it’s his “fuck me” eyes. Those eyes that imply that no matter what he’s doing, he’s also thinking about fucking, vividly imagining how he would pleasure any woman he met if they were naked and willing.
His eyes are incredible, but until that conversation, I’d only thought of them as soulful, expressive—fitting the artist’s heart behind his grease-streaked overalls.
But since Lisa said the “fuck-me” thing, every time I lock eyes with Jesse, it’s a struggle. A struggle not to think about him doing bad things to me. Or me doing bad things to him.
I’m equal opportunity when it comes to bad things.
At least, I think I am. Hard to say for sure, though, since it’s been a while. But no matter how long it’s been, friends with benefits isn’t an option when it comes to Jesse.
I’m his little sister’s best friend.
I am, because I refuse to put that part of what we were to each other in the past tense.
I will always be Claire’s friend, just like I’ll always be his friend.
I never expected Jesse to become someone who mattered so much to me. But when my life seismically shifted two years ago, Jesse and I shifted too.
We became friends, good friends, the kind who need each other to survive.
I’m not the kind of person who puts friendships like that at risk, or who crushes on guys who are out of my league.
Jesse is a masterpiece hanging in a museum. I’m a quirky mug someone’s grandmother picked up at a craft fair.
We don’t exist in the same more-than-friends universe.
Even when he gives me a treasure map I didn’t know I was looking for, one that promises to turn my confused, stagnant, shell-shocked life around, I refuse to let my mind go there.
Jesse and me? It’s never going to happen.
We’re on two different paths, and that’s not going to change, no matter what happens this summer.
Even if all roads do seem to lead back to him.
I park my hands on my hips, survey the garage, and drink in the place that’s been my second home for nearly a decade. Checking out the way this shop looks.
That’s how it looks.
Best in the city, best in the Tri-state region. Hell, let’s be blunt—best in the country.
It’s been dubbed the gold standard by countless magazines and papers, and topped tons of “best of” lists. That’s why my garage was featured in a reality series showcasing kick-ass rebuilt classics.
Framed posters of the cars I’ve restored line the walls. Like the Studebaker Golden Hawk that dampened as many panties as the leading man who drove it for six seasons of The Bad Doctor.
Or the 1971 Pontiac GTO that starred in a recent reboot of Disco Nights and Hollywood Days.
And, my personal favorite—the sleek black Bentley that ended up splashed across the movie poster for a blockbuster spy flick.
All courtesy of Jesse’s Garage.
I’m barely thirty, and I’m one lucky bastard to have had my tools, my hands, and my vision all over these sweet wheels.
Sweeping out an arm to encompass the goodness, I turn to my buddy Max. “Admit it. She’s perfect.” Because all garages, all cars, hell, all good things are shes.
“Of course she’s perfect. That was the plan.” He sets the final page from a stack of documents on the counter beside us. He offers me a pen. “And because she is, I’ll need your John Hancock one last time.”
I scratch out my signature on the final page, then hand it to him with pride thrumming through me.
I did this.
I made this happen.
Max takes the pages, drops them into a folder in his messenger bag, and pats the side of it. The messenger bag is incongruous on a lawyer. But then again, so are the skinny pants and paisley patterned button-down. Max is rocking a look I call Brooklyn hipster attorney versus city-slicker in a three-piece suit.
“And now you, sir, are the proud owner of a brand-new Edsel,” he says.
“Anyone ever told you you’re a smart-ass?”
“Anyone ever told you not to hire a friend as your business attorney?” he asks with a wink.
“Look at you. A lawyer, cracking jokes.”
“Almost as unheard of as hand delivery of documents from legal counsel.”
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