Courtney Maquire © 2020
All Rights Reserved
Under the hood of a car, everything makes sense. Gears and wires. Oil and grease. All the parts fit together and just work. Each piece has its own function, a logic. Completely predictable even when damaged. Won’t turn over? Check the battery, the wiring, the alternator. Find the broken piece and the whole thing comes alive again, purring and growling and shrugging itself back into action.
I pulled my head out of the engine compartment of a Nissan Altima and flexed my back with a satisfying crack. The owner brought it in complaining of overheating. The repair was a simple one. Just a few hoses needed replacing. I wiped my grease-coated hands and folded my tall frame into the driver’s seat. I flicked the key, and the engine turned over easily. I tapped the accelerator and the temperature needle climbed before stopping at normal. I smiled and gave the dash an affectionate pat.
“Red!” I jumped at a sharp voice from inside the shop. I shut off the Nissan and stepped out to find my boss, Bo, poking his square head into the garage, gesturing for me to join him. Visible through a bank of windows behind him stood a neatly dressed man with long, ink-black hair and a troubled expression. I’d seen him before. Many times, in fact. He drove a silver BMW 5 series sedan, a fine machine and well-suited to a man like him, and he brought it in monthly for regular maintenance.
I always noticed. Not only the car, but the man. How the air changed with his appearance. How, like now, the gears in my head locked up and stopped moving, and all I could do was stare, mesmerized by the flow of his hair around his shoulders, the bow of his lips, his olive skin. He was nothing like the rednecks here in Black Creek. I struggled for a word to describe him. Pretty was what he was. Not in a feminine sense. More in the way you think of a Ferrari 458 as pretty. Sleek and stylish with a touch of ferocity lurking just beneath the shiny topcoat.
I jumped again, my eyes jerking back to Bo’s irritated face.
“What the hell are you doing? Get in here!”
Face hot, I slammed the car door behind me. I straightened my collar, immediately feeling ridiculous for doing so, and made my way into the shop.
“Mister Itachi,” he announced as I stepped through the door, “this is Redmond Cole. He’s our finest mechanic. I can assure you he’ll have you fixed up in no time.”
I nodded without raising my eyes, dirty hands shoved in my pockets. Mr. Itachi. Victor. I knew his name already, had seen it on intake forms and receipts, but unlike the other countless names I encountered daily this one stuck. He shifted nervously, his shiny leather shoes scraping across the shop floor. I lifted my eyes just enough to see his lips curl downward and lowered my head to hide my flush.
“I have a very important meeting in Longview, tomorrow,” he said, each word crisp and carefully formed. “It is absolutely imperative it’s ready by first thing in the morning.”
“Yessir.” My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, making the words thick.
“Trust me,” Bo assured him, slapping me roughly on the back with a meaty hand. “He’ll have it ready if he has to work all night.”
I frowned and swallowed hard as he gave my shoulder a tight, warning squeeze.
Mr. Itachi clenched and unclenched his hands at his waist, and he released a long sigh. “I guess I’ll leave it to you then.”
My tongue frozen in place, I nodded again. Bo released his grip on my shoulder and ushered the gentleman out in a fog of reassurances, each one laced with a subtle threat pointed at me.
Heart pounding, palms sweating, I retreated into the garage. I leaned heavily against the Nissan I’d just been working on. My coworker, Lawrence, squinted at me from underneath a Mazda 3, and I pulled myself up straight.
Goddammit, Red, get a hold of yourself.
“What is it with that guy?” he said in his three-pack-a-day voice, jabbing his wrench toward the windows.
My stomach clenched. “What do you mean?”
“Bo can’t seem to jump high enough when he comes around.”
I released a nervous laugh and shrugged. “Money talks, I guess.”
Lawrence snorted, disappearing back under the Mazda. Here in Black Creek, there were two classes of people: the obscenely wealthy and everyone else barely scraping by. Like every other East Texas town, we were founded on lumber and natural gas. Those who got in early prospered. Those who didn’t worked for them. Generations of people whose fate was determined by the luck of their great-great-grandfathers, though something told me Mr. Itachi’s story was different. The silver BMW pulled into the bay next to me, and I peered at it over the Nissan’s roof.
“What’s wrong with you?” I whispered to myself.
Bo escorted Mr. Itachi to a loaner vehicle, and I approached the BMW as if it were a wounded animal. I inhaled deeply to get the gears moving again, focusing on the machine in front of me. Metal and rubber and glass. Things I understood. But I saw him reflected in every surface. I ran a hand over the curve of the fender, and my face heated. I opened the driver’s side door, and the faintly sweet and musky smell of leather and expensive cologne was enough to make me swoon.
With a growl, I forced these distracting thoughts away and gave the ignition a vicious twist. It’s just a car, for fuck sake. After a brief hesitation, the machine sprang to life in a cacophony of bangs and rattles. I popped the hood, watched the engine tremble in its compartment, and frowned.
“You’re a sick girl,” I said softly, knocking my knuckles against the engine, “but I can fix you.”
Four hours later and I still struggled with the beast, flat on my back underneath the BMW and covered head to toe in grease. The shop had long closed, and with threats of firing and no small amount of bodily harm, even Bo went home, and I was alone with only the clank of metal on metal to keep me company.
“Okay, girl,” I said as I tightened the final bolt. “Let’s give it a shot.”
I slid out from under the car, gave my hands a quick wipe on a shop rag, and slid into the cab. I held my breath and said a little prayer as I turned the key. A slight hesitation before the engine jerked back to life, complaining and grumbling before settling into a steady purr.
“There ya go,” I said with a satisfied sigh. I switched the car off, sank back into the seat, and closed my eyes, my long day settling over me like a heavy blanket. A sort of exhaustion that made everything soft and dreamlike. I traced the stitching of the leather seats and imagined him sitting here doing the same thing. My eyes cracked open, and I spotted a powder-blue scarf pooled in the passenger seat. My heart skipped a little as I pictured him wearing it, wrapped up to the edge of his pretty lips in it.
“What are you doing?” I muttered to myself as I reached out for the scarf. My face heated up as I fondled the edge. Had his skin touched here? His lips? His breath? I shifted in the seat as my jeans tightened. No, no, no, this couldn’t happen here. Anyone could walk in and see.
“This is so fucked.” My gaze darted through the windows as I pulled the door fully closed. I dipped my hand into the little pool of fabric and pulled it to my face, letting out a groan as the sweet smell of his cologne enveloped me. Arousal screamed through my veins. My free hand drifted between my legs and squeezed. My hot breath filled the scarf, my smell mixing with his in a way that made my skin burn. How long had it been since I’d been so close to someone? So close, we rubbed off on each other?
I closed my eyes shut tight as a hundred voices swirled around in my head. My pastor’s voice declaring homosexuality a sin. My coworkers’ casual digs labeling anything less than hypermasculine as gay. The Colonel shouting his judgement: Disgusting. Pervert. Fag.
A light, tingly sensation danced across my inner thighs, and when I opened my eyes, Victor Itachi knelt in the floorboard. He pressed his palms to my legs, pushing my knees apart and drifting steadily upward. A little, disbelieving sound slipped past my lips as his long fingers grazed my zipper, pushed my hand out of the way, and tugged it down. My hips jerked as he freed me, and the voices disappeared as he, without ceremony or hesitation, took me into his mouth.
His lips, his full, beautiful lips, were just as soft as I thought they would be. He wrapped them around the head, easing them lower and lower down my shaft in slow, bobbing motions until he had taken me as far as he could go. Hollowing his cheeks, he pulled back in one long stroke, his tongue dragging along the underside of my entire length before plunging back down again, leaving me gasping.
His long hair fell around his face like a shroud, each stroke sending shivers through my hips and abdomen. I reached down and swept back the silken strands, gathering them in my hand and smudging a bit of grease across his cheek. Something about it thrilled me, how I’d dirtied him, and he looked all the more beautiful for it. I gripped his hair and lifted my hips, thrusting myself deeper into his mouth, and his throat shuddered, making me throw my head back and moan.
When I opened my eyes again, he straddled my thighs, naked from the waist down but otherwise dressed as he had been in the shop that afternoon, his cock poking long and hard from under his shirttails. He found the little lever under the seat and threw us back as he rolled his hips over me, pushing his hardness against mine and filling me with sparks.
I blinked, and I was inside him, my hands clutching his hips hard enough to bruise. His head tipped back, his eyes closed. My breath caught as I observed the subtle changes in him. How his face reddened, his eyes clouded with lust, his muscles contracting rhythmically around me as he adjusted to the penetration. I pushed my hips upward and he made the softest of sounds, little more than a sigh, his brow creasing and back arching. I pushed upward again, and he whined, breath quickening, hands balled into fists in my shirt. Again, and he cried out, words thick and slurred, calling my name.
Something exploded inside me at the sound of my name on his lips. I lurched off the seat and pounded myself into him, pressing his back against the steering wheel. Blood on fire, dizzy with the smell of him, my hips snapped and jerked with a will of their own, making the car shake and honking the horn with every stroke. I buried my face in his hair and tasted the salt of his skin. He poured his voice into my ear until the fire inside me grew so hot I could no longer contain it.
When I opened my eyes, I was alone. Panting, I slumped over the steering wheel with my cock in my hand, my pants and shirt stained with the evidence of my perversion. Ears ringing with a voice that never was, head swimming with ghost images, I gathered myself as best I could and slipped out of the car. I still held his scarf in my hand, now soiled with come and grease. I couldn’t leave it here. So, I took it with me.