I pushed with my elbows against the fine grain leather, threw my hips to the right in a move that would make Carmen Miranda pea-green with jealousy, and scuttled like a crab toward the open door. Lowering my hands to the hot and sticky asphalt, I drug myself hand over hand out of my prison, determined to make it to the outside world.
At last! My legs popped free of the infernal beast, landed with a plop on the pavement, and I lay there for a few moments, gasping for breath. I had won.
“You all right?”
Shading my eyes against the brilliant sun, I looked up from my spread-eagled position in the middle of the car lot. “Yes, fine. Why do you ask?”
“Maybe because you’re spread-eagled in the middle of the car lot?”
He might have a point.
I gathered my wits about me and rolled to one side in an attempt to land gracefully on my knees and rise like a phoenix from the ashes of near-disaster. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize my ever-so-fashionable and only fifteen-minutes-old messenger bag was hooked not only over my elbow but also inside the metal cage. The coffin. The bear trap of death.
Just as I was about to do a half-gainer back into the blacktop, my knight in shining armor captured me around the waist and saved me.
I spun in his arms, (wisely letting go of the messenger bag first) and planted a big wet one on his lips.
On his thin, wet lips. Covered with something that had to have been a mustache, but felt more like a nearly-plucked-naked caterpillar. I jerked back, a little gasp of dismay burbling from my throat. I bent to pick up my glasses (my new lavender colored contacts wouldn’t be ready until Thursday) and look more closely at Mr. Hero.
Wish I hadn’t done that. Even though it had been a most delicious day, and who wouldn’t be having a super-cali-fragi-listic-expi-ali-docious day after having won $100 million dollars, I ask you? Even so, kissing an oily-looking used-car salesman seriously made me want to ptooey.
His hands (manicured) reached out to touch my chin. I backed away, one step, two. I might have kissed him in over-exuberance, but having that lip-clinging-fur-worm coming after me on purpose was seriously giving me the willies.
“Your earrings?” He held up the two dangling diamond chandeliers I had purchased from Tiffany’s just a few blocks before I’d come upon the car lot. I’d ah…laid one on the jeweler too, but he was a nice elderly man. Fur free.
I snatched them from his palm, and dropped them in my new Prada (purchased just one block before the car lot – no kisses exchanged) messenger bag. “Er. Thank you. Very much.”
“No problemo.” He grinned at me. I wish he hadn’t done that. Now I could see where he had a gold incisor. Double ew. I had to seriously gargle with Listerine ASAP or I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.
He handed me his card, and another oily smile. I swallowed heavily and rooted for some Tums in my purse. No luck. “Call me, anytime. Day or night.”
“Absolutely.” I’d rather feed my left arm to a nineteen-foot-long alligator. The smile frozen on my face must have looked reassuring, rather than horrified. Maybe those acting classes in college had paid off after all.
“So, what do you think?” He swept his thin arm towards the vehicle that had imprisoned me only moments ago. His thin white fingers tickled the chrome like piano ivories, and made my gorge rise a few inches higher. He wiggled his eyebrows at me in was possibly meant to be a licentious manner, but instead caused me to pat a hand on my throat, trying to tamp down the violent acid reflux.
Ah yes. The 1978 Classic Corvette. In cherry red. Mint condition. The car of my dreams. I had money burning a hole in my pocket, and the car I’d wanted since I was fourteen sitting in front of me.
And an oily salesman I’d just kissed.
Boy, this deserved some thinking.
“Maybe I can help you make a final decision?”
He stood in front of Mr. Oily and blocked him from my view. His teeth were a blinding white (but not so blinding they looked fake), his black hair was smoothed back from his tanned face and his bright blue eyes twinkled at me from below luxurious black lashes. Mamma Mia. Ok, now this was a knight in shining armor.
“And you are…?” I played it calm, cool and collected. I really wanted to leap into his arms and wrap my legs around his slim hips, but decided I’d best control myself.
He held out his hand. “I’m Marc McGwire, owner of McGwire Autos.”
His hand was firm and strong. I shook it a few times, not wanting to let go. Everyone knew of Marc McGwire. Handsome, eccentric, owned a warehouse full of collectible autos. Rich, ridiculously handsome and rrrrrawrrr.
“Hi Marc. I’m Delighted.”
“Well, I’m delighted to meet you, too.” Those luscious lips turned up at the corners. “But I didn’t catch your name.” One eyebrow popped up like a jack-in-the-box. I loved a man who could do that.
“Charmed, I’m sure.”
“No. My name is Delighted. Anna Marie Delighted.”
His laughed warmed me from the inside out. I loved a man with a good belly laugh.
“You got me on that one, Anna Marie.” Still chuckling, he slung an arm over my shoulder until we both faced the ‘Vette. The setting sun bounced off the dimple in his chin as he smiled at me, and his arm felt just perfect around my shoulders. I loved a man with strong arms.
“I’ll take it.” And I meant more than just the car.
But, of course you knew that. =)