“Excuse me.” A familiar female voice coming from the front door echoes through the shop.
Monika’s here. She’s wearing tight jeans and a white lace top that accentuates her honey-colored skin. Damn, she’s beautiful. I can’t help but stare and be stunned that she’s standing in the shop.
Isa pushes past me and puts on a smile I’ve only seen used with customers. “Can I help you?”
Monika nods, then glances at me with those sparkling green eyes. “Hey, Vic.”
“Hey,” I say.
Isa has easily transitioned from bitch mode to business mode. “I’m Isabel, the owner of Enrique’s Auto Body. Do you need an oil change? A new battery?”
“I need a job,” Monika blurts out.
Wait, what? I don’t think I heard right.
“A job?” I say, practically choking on my words. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I’m not.” Monika straightens. She directs her attention to Isa. “I don’t know much about cars, but I can come by after school and on weekends. You won’t even have to pay me much.”
“No,” I tell her.
Monika looks at me with daggers in her eyes. “I can do this.”
Isa looks her up and down, like she’s assessing her abilities just by looking at her clothes. “Do you have any experience working on cars?”
“I know how to drive them,” Monika mumbles, then perks up. “But I promise I’m a fast learner. I need this. Please.”
I can tell Isa is considering it.
“She can’t work here,” I blurt out. I don’t want her here. It’s dangerous. On top of that, it’ll be torture working with her. She’ll never be mine. How long can I pretend I don’t want to hold her and touch her and kiss her? “Monika has cheerleading practice. She’s obviously under too much stress and isn’t in her right mind if she thinks she can work in a dirty garage. She’s a cheerleader, Isa, not a mechanic.”
Isa pushes me out of the way. “You can’t tell me who I can and can’t hire.”
This is the one place where I can escape thoughts of Monika. With her here…
I point to the white lace top Monika’s wearing. “Look at her, Isa. She’s into lace and designer clothes, not cars and dirt. She’s got diva written all over her. Besides that…” Time to go for the jugular. “She’s got some medical issues.”
“I’m fine,” Monika snaps. “I’m not a diva. And my medical issues aren’t going to be a concern. Don’t listen to him.”
“Why are you doin’ this?” I need distance from her.
Isa seems very entertained by the turn of events. The smirk on her face is an indicator that my life is about to get much more complicated than it already is.
“Because you and the guys said I couldn’t do it, and I’m going to prove you all wrong. Listen,” Monika says to Isa. “If you hire me, I’ll work for free while you train me.”
Isa holds out her hand. “You’ve got yourself a new job.”
I just got myself a new problem.
Taking a day off school for my infusion treatments sucks, especially when I’d rather be in school. But this weekend is homecoming, and since my entire body has been aching, my doctor wanted me to fit in a treatment before the pain overwhelmed me.
So I’m sitting at the hospital, waiting to get poked and prodded by the nurses.
One of the nurses comes in the room with a cheery smile on her face to match the splattering of cherries on her top. “How are you doing today, Monika?”
“I’d rather be somewhere else,” I tell her.
She laughs heartily as if I just said a joke.
My mom, who’s sitting in the chair next to me, is frowning, and her brows are furrowed. It pains me to see her so worried.
“Mom, go to work. Your meeting with your client is in ten minutes. I’ve been through this a thousand times before.”
Mom settles into the chair while clutching her purse on her lap. “I want to wait until the IV is in. I can be a few minutes late for my meeting,” she says.
The nurse has the needles and tubes set in front of her. “So I hear homecoming is this weekend. Do you have a date and a dress?”
“I have both,” I tell her.
I shrug. “I guess.” I don’t tell her that my boyfriend and I broke up but I’m still going with him to keep up appearances.