Bankers' Hours(6)

By: Wade Kelly


“Oh my God, Mel. Don’t make this harder than it already is,” I whined.

His tone changed right away. “I’m sorry. I know relationships are hard for you. I didn’t mean to poke fun.”

“I’d almost prefer being a slut to being alone. I hate it. Every night I come home to an empty house. Maybe I should move back in with my mother.”

“Grant,” he warned.

“She’s all alone. She’s got that stupid cat I’m allergic to, but I could take shots.”

“Grant, don’t.”

“But, Mel!”

“No buts. Moving out last year was the best thing you’ve done for yourself. And if you do meet a hot farmer, then at least you don’t have to explain why you’re still living with your mother.”

“I could tell him she’s sick,” I countered.

“But she’s not. Your mother is perfectly healthy and active. There is no reason that doesn’t make you sound pitiful. You’re a big boy. You can take care of yourself.”

“You’re right. So do you think I’m attractive?” I asked, even though we’d covered the answer before.

“Yes, you know you are. But I’ve told you before, I’m attracted to girls, so your looks don’t matter to me either way.”

“I know. But do you think my looks would be enough for an auto mechanic?”

“You know I was only joking about the auto mechanic, right? There are other professions in Carroll County.”

“Oh, I know. I’m asking because there was a guy who came in today who’s an auto mechanic.”

“And?”

“And he’s hot,” I whined.

“Oooh, do tell.” I appreciated his interest. Mel had egged me on for details about all three guys I’d been interested in since we’d met. And he’d been there to support me after all three had bombed after one date. He was used to my crushes and hadn’t discouraged me from dreaming.

I drew my knees up and tucked my afghan under my feet, positioning myself for the juicy details I was about to spill. “Okay, he’s built like a tank. Taller than me, and he has more muscle than the bodybuilder guy we used to make up stories about last year.”

“Mr. Goodwin?”

“Yeah.”

His voice went up two octaves. “Oh my gosh! How do you know? Was this guy wearing a tank top or something?”

“No. He had on a uniform and coveralls, but his sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, and his forearms were bigger than my biceps.”

“Niiice. What else? Hair, eyes, height, name?”

“His name’s Tristan Carr.”

Mel giggled. “And he’s an auto mechanic? I bet that’s a drag.”

“Yeah. I guess. I thought it was amusing. Anyway, I didn’t look directly into his eyes long enough to notice the color.” I had wanted to look, but I’d been too nervous.

“And you say he’s taller than you? Jeez. You’re six foot, Grant.”

“I know, right? This guy has to be six four, and I’ve never seen shoulders that wide.”

“Wow. I’ll seem like a midget.”

“You aren’t a midget.”

“I said seeeem. I know other guys shorter than me, but compared to six foot four, my five five is going to seeeem like I’m a midget.”

“Okaaaay,” I mocked his mocking tone for mocking me, and then we both laughed.

“What color’s his hair?”

“Don’t know. His head’s shaved.”

“Fair enough. I’ve seen some hot bald guys. So what’s your opinion? Do you wish he had hair, or is he fine without it?”

“Oh, absolutely fine without it. He’s very tan and sexy. Possibly cover-model material for a biker magazine.”

“Good, but I’ve got a question for you. How clean are his hands? I know how you are.”

My heart sank. I had been fine talking about how nice Mr. Carr looked until Mel brought up his hands. “Well, they looked like they were covered in grease. He shook my hand and they didn’t feel greasy, but I still had to wash my hands after he left. His hands were rough and huge, and stained black around his fingernails.”

“That’s typical. When I work on my car, I get oil and grease on my hands, and sometimes it takes days to come off. Imagine working on cars every day. I bet his hands were clean, but you couldn’t tell.”

“You’re probably right, although my hand did have an odd scent on it after he shook it.”

“Odd good or odd bad?”

I knew why he’d asked. Mel was one of the few people in my life who understood where my hand-washing fetish came from. I said, “The jury is still holding session over that one. The scent was new to me, and I paused before I bolted for the bathroom.”

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