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Beautiful Mistake(7)

By:Vi Keeland


I wasn’t late. I was really freakin’ late.

I also needed a shower, a mechanic, a bottle of wine, and quite possibly a new job—not necessarily in that order. And to think, I’d been running a half hour early just four blocks from the college. Plenty of time to find a parking spot and still walk in fifteen minutes before I was supposed to meet him, showing Professor Punctuality that I could be on time. But then…a blowout. A loud boom followed by a long whoosh. I tried to ignore it and kept on driving, but eventually the repeated flopping and tug of my car to the right made me pull over.

It sucked. But I had time, and my ex-roommate, ex-whatever he was for a little while, Davis, had taught me how to change a tire. All was good...at first. I whipped out my jack, lifted the car like a pro, and went to work on the flat. Everything was moving along nicely until I got to the very last lug nut. The damn thing was stuck. Really stuck. At one point, since the lug nut was at the three o’clock position, I had the wrench on it and used my foot to try to bear down—it still wouldn’t budge. Then I had the bright idea that maybe I should put all of my weight on it. So I jumped up on to the long handle of the lug-nut wrench, hoping the sudden force would pry the sucker loose. But instead, the wrench slipped off and somehow snapped back to smack me right in the shin.#p#分页标题#e#

Now I was twenty minutes late, my leg was killing me, and I’d just limped to school in ninety-degree heat, smelling like tire grease. My only hope was that maybe Professor West had also gotten a flat and was late himself. It was a long shot, but I had to hold on to something in order to keep from having a total breakdown as I rushed through the hallways.

Arriving at the lecture hall, I peeked in before opening the door. Of course, Professor West was sitting at his desk.

I took a deep breath and went inside to face the wrath.

“Before you say anything—I was a half hour early. I swear.”

He’d been writing in a planner, and when his head came up, I saw he was wearing glasses for the first time. Damn. They make him even sexier. Was I insane for even finding his scowl kind of hot?

“And what happened today, Ms. Martin? Did you get distracted somewhere between parking illegally a half hour ago and finding my classroom? Stop to play in the dirt, perhaps?”


He looked me up and down. “You have dirt all over your face and clothes.”

My hand rose to my face, where I began to rub at my cheek. “Oh. This isn’t dirt. It’s grease.”

“That makes it much better.”

“I got a flat tire on the way over here.” I had no idea where the dirt was on my face, but I was nervous and rubbed at random spots all over as I spoke. “The lug nut was stuck, and I couldn’t get it off. I tried to—”

“Ms. Martin,” he interrupted. “Stop doing that.”

“But it’s true. I really tried to get here early. I built in all this extra time and then boom—a flat tire. It wasn’t my fault this time.”

“I wasn’t referring to your elaborate story. Stop rubbing your face. Look at your hands.”

I examined my palms. Shit. They were full of grease. “Did I get it all over my face.”

He pulled some napkins from inside his desk, stood, and walked to me. “Your face is covered in grease. Why don’t you go to the ladies’ room and wash up.”

I nodded. Turning, I took a few steps toward the door and then thought of something. “You’ll be here when I get back?”

Professor West smiled. “Yes, Rachel. I’ll be here waiting. It seems to be our thing.”

After I scrubbed the grease from my hands and face, I considered trying to wash the big spot from my shirt, but it was no use. So far I’d met my new boss three times. The first time I told him off, the second time I interrupted his class wearing a shirt stained with coffee, and the third time I made him wait almost a half hour and walked in covered in grease, looking like a disaster. It just kept getting better and better.

When I arrived back at the classroom, Professor West was already packed up.

“I’m sorry. Do you have a class now?”

“No. But it’s going to start to get dark soon so we better get going.”

Dark? “Ummm…okay. Can we reschedule? Maybe I can come before class tomorrow, and we can quickly go over what you’d like me to do?”

“No. We’ll do it tonight.” He put his hand on the small of my back, guiding me to start back up the stairs of the lecture hall with him. “You don’t have to work your other job, do you?”