Toby tightened the last bolt and grinned. The water pump on the truck had been a breeze for her to replace. She enjoyed her job as a mechanic even though some days work was sparse. She heard the telephone and answered it on the third ring.
"Bringing one in for you, Toby," the wrecker driver said as a greeting.
"Good timing, Mike," Toby replied. "I just finished a job."
"You got a spot inside?" he went on to ask.
"Put it in the end stall," Toby answered. "How far away are you?"
"I'm on the other side of Glenrio."
"Then I'll eat something and be ready when you get here," she explained.
After hanging up, Toby backed the finished truck out of the stall, and straightened up the workspace. She was just finishing her lunch when the overhead door opened. It occurred to her she hadn't asked what kind of vehicle was coming in. Toby glanced at the flatbed of the wrecker and almost stopped breathing.
She had to be dreaming. Toby shook her head and looked again only to see the same vision. A '37 Chevy Business Coupe was strapped to the trailer in front of her. The car of her dreams was so close she could touch it. A myriad of colors reflected off the car's teal blue paint as she watched the wrecker back up. The chrome sparkled in the sun like diamonds.
"Did you see this car? Mike, look at it, just look!" Toby said as the wrecker driver walked over to her.
"Toby, I brought it here, remember?" Mike reminded her. "You okay, girl?"
As the owner of the wrecker service, Mike saw Toby often, but he never saw her like this before.
"Do you know how old I was when I saw one of these for the first time? I was ten and my dad took me to a car show," Toby explained all in one breath. "That was almost twenty years ago."
"It's a beauty, Toby, for sure," Mike chuckled.
"Seeing all those cars was amazing. I went to every show with my dad after that."
"I have the paperwork—" Mike began.
"Did you see the paint on this, Mike? Check out the sheen. Did you ever see anything better?"
Toby hopped from side to side as she spoke. Mike watched her and laughed at her enthusiasm. She stepped up onto the flatbed to check the Chevy a bit closer. He leaned against the bench and waited for her to finish before unloading it.
"Oh my gosh, Mike. Look at the interior. Can you imagine how long it had to take to get it like this?"
Mike looked at his watch and decided to give Toby a few more minutes before he unloaded the car. He had to admit it looked great. Mike felt bad for the owner though. Car trouble on vacation really sucked.
"This is just how I'm going to do mine someday. I'm going to take my time to make it perfect. Mike, this is why I took the job at the café. I don't want to be old before I get my dream car," Toby explained as she jumped off the trailer.
"Can I take it off the trailer now?" Mike teased.
"What? Oh, yeah, go ahead. But you better be super careful, Mike, so you don't hurt this baby."
"I think I can do that, Toby. This isn't the first car I hauled anywhere," he replied.
"I know, but this is a special car, and she deserves to be treated right."
Mike laughed as he got into the cab of the wrecker and positioned the truck. While the winch did its job, he began to fill Toby in with the few details he had.
"The owner is a teacher, on summer break, traveling part of Route 66. He said it's something he always wanted to do. I dropped him off at Zelda's so he could get a room for the night. You know she has that big old place ready for travelers all the time," Mike said.
"Good idea, Mike. That will give me time to check this baby out."
"I'm out of here, Toby," Mike said when he was finished. "Enjoy yourself."
Toby gave a little wave as she went back to admiring the Chevy. She found herself envying the owner. Curious about the exhaust and the rear end, she laid on the floor to get a closer look. Several minutes later, she was eyeing down the side when the boss walked in.
"Nice ride," TC said with a whistle.
"This is my dream car, TC. Someday I want one just like this. Isn't she gorgeous?" Toby asked.
"It's a looker alright. Mike bring it in?"
"Yeah, maybe an hour ago," Toby said.
"So what's wrong with it?" TC questioned.
"Wrong? She's perfect."
"Then why is it here?" he chuckled.
Her cheeks went pink when she realized what her boss meant. They went over the paperwork and she explained where the owner of the car was staying.
"I'm sure we'll hear from him quite soon. Why don't you head home for the day and you can start fresh tomorrow," he said.
"Thanks, boss, that sounds great. See you in the morning," Toby replied.
Since Toby didn't have to work at the café, she went to one of her favorite online sites with vehicles for sale and browsed the ads. The prices made her cringe, though, since they were so much higher than the amount she had saved. However, she was determined to afford one for herself someday.
Early the next morning, Toby walked into the garage, anxious to check out the Chevy. As she had done yesterday, she walked around it, again admiring the sleek lines of it.
"Looking for the problem, Toby?" TC teased.
"Morning boss," Toby replied.
"I talked to the owner yesterday. He was running her at about fifty when it sputtered on him. Before he could get to a stop, it sputtered again, and he lost power. He bought the car a year ago and never had any trouble with it," he explained.
"It sounds like the fuel pump, but I'll get right on it, boss," she told him.
Toby tried to start the coupe to hear what happened herself. She determined the car had an electric fuel pump, a common feature on street rods, and it was definitely the problem. She walked into the office to give her boss the information. The Chevy was the only job waiting for Toby. She wandered around the car while TC called the owner with the news. They would need his permission to order the new part. Toby heard the boss talking as she stepped back into his office.
"I've got my best mechanic on it, sir," TC said into the telephone.
After a couple minutes of silence, the conversation continued.
"That's not a problem. You won't be disappointed, sir," TC remarked. "I'll call you as soon as I have any information."
Toby waited for the okay to order the fuel pump. She smiled at his nod and went back to the shop phone. One of their regular suppliers should have it in stock for immediate shipment.
"On it's way, boss," Toby said a bit later. "It should be here first thing in the morning."
"Great, Toby. Go on home and if something comes in, I'll call you," TC offered.
It wasn't uncommon for her to have a lapse between jobs. She appreciated the way her boss let her leave when there wasn't any work. The hours at the café made her tired enough that she let her housework go. Having the afternoon to catch up would be great.
"You got it, boss. See you later!"
Toby had the laundry and cleaning started when the telephone rang a couple hours later.
"Toby, I just talked to the owner of the '37. He stopped in to check on his car and get the rest of his luggage. Zelda drove him. I think she likes the guy," she heard TC say.
"Too bad I was gone. I'd love to meet him," Toby remarked.
A couple minutes later she was back to cleaning. She put some dinner on, watched a little television, and went to bed early for a change. In the morning, she woke revitalized, anxious to get to the garage and work on the coupe.
As promised, the fuel pump came first thing. Toby opened the package and frowned. She was positive she ordered the electric fuel pump exactly like the one on the car now. The model she held definitely didn't match the part number that she ordered. With a sigh, she went to find TC, aware he would have to let the owner know of the delay.
Close to an hour later, she finally located someone else with the correct model in stock, and a promise of quick delivery. One of the hazards of living out where they did was not having parts readily accessible to them. For travelers, that often meant spending a few days of their vacation stuck.
Now Toby had nothing to do again for the day. She decided to call the café and see if they needed any extra help. One of the regular servers was out with the flu, the manager said, but they hadn't called Toby since they assumed she was working at the garage. They would be glad to have her fill in as soon as she could get there.
After a quick trip home for her uniform, Toby drove to the small town of Adrian, and the MidPoint Café. She parked towards the back of the small parking lot and shoved the car door to get it open. After a second push, it flew open, and hung at an odd angle.
"Stupid door, why can't you ever cooperate?" she mumbled as she struggled to close it.
"They say talking to yourself is a sign of old age, Toby," Herman said. "Or that you're plumb crazy."
"Well, I can't argue with either of those, Herman."
"You're just a kid, Toby, and you're not crazy," he chuckled.
Toby smiled at the old man as he shuffled down the sidewalk to his home. He was one of the few people that actually lived in Adrian. Years ago, it had been a busier place, when Route 66 was the main road across America. With the new highways, most of the towns nearby, like Glenrio, sat abandoned. Yet the café kept busy.
One of the items served was world famous. Travelers stopped in for a slice of "Ugly Crust Pie" after reading about it in such places as The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, or Texas Monthly, to name a few. When the baker, Joann, used her Grandmother Glenn's no-fail piecrust recipe, she never seemed able to make them as beautifully shaped as her grandmother had. They were misshapen, lumpy and UGLY.
Instead of taking the time to learn the art of piecrust shaping, Joann simply began calling her pies the "Ugly Crusts" and let it go. They were ugly but great tasting and the name stuck. Now, years later, travelers still stopped in to enjoy the dessert.
Today was one of those days were everyone wanted pie. Toby served customers all afternoon. She kept busy relating the tale for some, and assuring others it had really happened exactly that way. Each table received a smile and a friendly greeting, no matter how tired Toby was, or how rude the customers were.
With her shift over, Toby went to the back room, removed her apron and checked her tips. The amount was much higher than she ever had made before. She grinned as she thought about the coupe sitting in the garage. Someday she would have one too. Toby waved to her co-workers as she went out the door. A quick stop at TC's to be sure nothing needed her attention there, then home and a shower.
"Hey Toby, you just missed the teacher. He was on his way to the café. I'm surprised you didn't see him there," TC said.
"Well, there were several people there, TC. How would I know who he was?"
"Good point," TC laughed. "I got nothing new for you, kid."
"So I guess I wait for the fuel pump to get here or whatever else comes up," Toby replied.
She gravitated to the coupe as she talked, and walked around it again several times. Each time she noticed some other feature that impressed her. As she got ready to leave, she saw TC was on the telephone and just waved goodbye.
The evening went by quickly while Toby made some phone calls and wrote out some checks for bills. Her mind wandered so much she finally gave up and checked the ads again online. An hour later, more determined to own one than ever, she turned the computer off and went to bed.
TC had a couple of small jobs waiting for her when she arrived at work the next morning. Both belonged to locals this time. Several hours later, when they both were back to running again, Toby cleaned her hands and picked up the work area. There wasn't a package yet from the supplier though.
"Did the fuel pump come?" Toby asked.
"Not yet, and no call from the supplier either, so maybe soon," TC answered.
"If it doesn't come today, we might have a really irritated customer on our hands," Toby went on.
"Nothing I can do, Toby," he said. "I'll call him with the update this afternoon."
Mike called to say he had another car he was bringing in that needed some minor work. Toby went about emptying a stall for it away from the coupe. She didn't want anything near it at all. By the time Mike unloaded the old Ford that Herman used, and she gave it a complete tune-up to keep it running better, the day was gone. Herman's daughter brought him in right at closing time to get his car. The old man was amazed at the difference in how his car ran.
"Toby, girl, ya made this old piece of junk sound like new again," Herman told her.
"Simple enough, Herman. It just needed a complete tune-up. Enjoy your evening and I'm sure I'll see you around the café soon," Toby remarked.
He grinned at her as he got into his car and slowly took off for home. She knew he drove so seldom that he never put a thousand miles on in a year even. It gave him a sense of independence though. After she cleaned up her work area, Toby went to find TC, and to find out what happened with the delivery of the fuel pump.
"Toby, the fuel pump was sent out east by mistake. The company tracked it and discovered the error about an hour ago. I called the customer and he's on his way now," TC said.
"You want me to stay, boss?" Toby asked.
"No need to. Go on home and enjoy your weekend," he replied.
Saturday Toby was covering a shift for one of the other girls at the café. It gave her ten hours there, and she knew it would be tough, but the extra money would be great. In the morning, she got ready for her first shift, grabbed a light breakfast and headed out to work.
It was extra busy so Toby started right in helping. Table after table emptied and filled again for the next four hours. When it finally slowed down, Toby grabbed a cup of coffee and a piece of apple Ugly Crust Pie and relaxed. Just as she sat down, she heard the door open and turned to see who entered.
Toby dropped her fork at the sight of the man striding across the room to a back table. He was gorgeous, with black hair, a trim, lithe body, and a smile that lit the room. She guessed he must be several inches over six feet tall. As he glanced around the room, his eyes widened when he saw Toby. Several seconds passed before he noticed the young girl by his table asking if he wanted coffee. Toby's heart dropped into her stomach as she continued to observe him. She forgot her pie and coffee and just sat there.
"What's wrong, girl?" Herman asked. "You're not getting sick are ya?"
"Hello, Herman. I'm fine, thanks, just a little tired," Toby explained.
"Ya work too darn much, if ya ask me. Don't know why ya need two jobs anyway," he went on.
"I'm okay, Herman, really."
"If ya ask me, ya need to get married," Herman stated.
"I would, Herman, but you think you're too old for me."
With a chuckle, Herman shuffled off to find a table near some of the other locals. As she watched him go, she glanced at the stranger, only to find him staring at her. Toby blushed as she stood and took her dishes back to the kitchen. One of the girls leaving for the day gave her a brief run-down on the customers in her section. Toby would now be taking care of the handsome man.
The café got busy again as dinnertime approached. Toby stopped at the table where the stranger was.
"Can I refill your coffee or bring you anything else?" Toby asked.
Trevor had only stopped in for coffee after he checked on his car. He was irritated, but it had nothing to do with the garage owner, or even his mechanic. From experience, he knew parts for the coupe never seemed to arrive when promised. Though he bought the car pretty much as it was, he had modified a few things to his own liking.
"I think I'll try a piece of pie. What's today's special?" Trevor said.
"We have several today, sir. There's apple, cherry, blueberry..."
"Make it apple," he decided. "I'll take a Dr Pepper with that, please."
"I'll be right back with that," Toby acknowledged.
Trevor watched the server walk away and smiled. She had confidence and class. He wondered why he never found anyone like her back home. Maybe he wouldn't still be single if he did. With a sigh, he sat back and waited for the dessert he wasn't even hungry for knowing it was just an excuse to sit here longer and watch her.
When she returned, he glanced at her hand to see if she wore a wedding band or an engagement ring. He smiled at her and looked at the nametag before he spoke.
"Toby is an unusual name for a girl," Trevor remarked.
"My dad chose it. It's confusing sometimes at my other job. People assume the name belongs to a male. When they see me it surprises them," Toby explained.
"This isn't your main job?"
"No, this is my second job. I'm a mechanic at TC's," Toby said.
"I haven't seen you and I've been there a few times this week already," Trevor told her skeptically.
"Why have you been there? The only thing I have still waiting for parts is ... you're the teacher?"
Toby stood with an incredulous look on her face. This hunk was the teacher that owned the Chevy?
"Well, yes, I'm a teacher. Trevor Coutcher," he introduced himself.
"Your coupe is amazing. I mean, the depth in the paint, the chrome, and that interior is awesome. Did you look at the motor? That thing must fly."
Toby was so excited she forgot her manners and sat at the table with him. She went on about the features of the Chevy until she noticed he was grinning at her.
"What? Why are you grinning like that?" Toby asked.
"Do you know how rare it is to find a woman that knows cars? I'm lucky if the ones I know can remember to get the oil changed in their car," Trevor said.
"I fell in love with cars when I was ten and my dad took me to a car show. When I saw the street rods, I knew that someday I would save enough money to buy one for myself. That's why I work here too."
Trevor looked at the way her eyes sparkled when she talked about street rods. He had no doubt she would save enough to buy her own.
"So you'll be fixing the coupe for me. Does that include a test run?" Trevor asked.
"Generally one of us will test a car out, yes. Why do you ask?"
"So are you going to be the one taking the coupe out?" He winked as he spoke.
"Oh my gosh, I didn't even think of that. I'm serious, I've been so absorbed in getting her fixed, I never thought about having the chance to drive her," Toby admitted.
"You can test her with one condition," Trevor said.
"Anything, you name it," she replied.
"I go along when you take her out."
"Deal," Toby agreed.
"TC has my number. All you have to do is call me when she's ready and I'll be over."
"You have no idea how much I've wanted to drive something like her all these years," Toby told him.
They talked a few minutes about the Chevy before one of the other servers called Toby for help.
"I don't have to work tomorrow, so if you get bored, I could maybe take you sightseeing a bit. Here's my number in case," Toby said as she scribbled her number on her order pad for him.
"Sounds like a plan to me," Trevor agreed as he tucked the paper into his pocket.
"I guess it would help if you knew my name, right? I'm Toby."
"Yes, that's what your nametag says," Trevor laughed as she blushed.
Toby smiled for the rest of her shift. She thought about getting behind the wheel of the coupe so much she forgot orders. Many of the locals teased her for mixing up their meals. She laughed and apologized for being distracted and soon it was time for her to leave.
After working so many hours, Toby was tired, and went to bed early. In the morning, she jumped out of bed, eager to start the day. She wondered if the handsome teacher would call. In case he did, she dressed with care, and added make-up. Her hair was a simple style, so it didn't require much time. After a light breakfast, Toby took down a book she had been meaning to read, and opened the pages.
Half an hour later the telephone rang and she was still on page one.
"Toby, this is Trevor Coutcher. If you're still willing, I'd like to see some of the area while I'm here."
"It's a great day for it, Trevor. I can pick you up at Zelda's in about thirty minutes," Toby told him.
"I'll be waiting."
Toby grabbed her purse and a lightweight jacket as she headed out the door. It had been a long time since she had been around a man other than the ones she worked with. Trevor was waiting on the front steps when she drove up just under thirty minutes later.
"Hi, Trevor. All ready to go?"
"I sure am, Toby. Although, from the looks of your car, it sure would be nice to have the Chevy today," he teased.
"Are you implying this gem doesn't compare to the coupe?" Toby joked.
"What am I thinking anyway? Sightseeing in this baby will be an experience," he clarified with a laugh.
"It looks pretty bad, but it runs smooth, Trevor."
That began the conversation as Toby took off down Route 66. She pointed out Glenrio, a deserted town just down from Adrian. They followed the old highway until Toby stopped in one of the ghost towns.
"You can't travel Route 66 without checking out a ghost town," she stated.
They wandered around for a while, talking about the old days, imagining how things were, and laughing. Toby felt comfortable with Trevor.
"What made you decide to become a teacher, Trevor?"
"One of my teachers in elementary school had a great impact on me. She took extra time for the kids that struggled but never ignored the smarter ones. I wanted to help kids like she did," he explained.
"I did okay in school," Toby stated. "After the first car show I went to I knew I wanted to do something with cars."
"So what made you decide to be a mechanic? There are other professions, like automotive sales, or interior work..."
"My dad did all the repairs on his truck and I was fascinated by how he could make it run so good all the time. I helped after school and soon I was doing the work while he watched. Doing anything else never crossed my mind," she explained.
"Do you ever have customers say anything about a woman repairing their car?" Trevor inquired.
"A few will comment, but after they hear their vehicle run, they take it back," she laughed.
"This is a beautiful area, Toby. It's a big change from the city life, for sure."
"I assume you live in Tennessee somewhere since your plate is from there," Toby stated.
"Yes," Trevor replied, "I live in Knoxville."
"That's a long way to travel in the coupe. Have you taken it on trips before, Trevor?"
"You're right, it's a long trip, but one I've wanted to do for a long time," he admitted.
"We're almost back to Adrian. Are you hungry?" Toby asked. "We can stop at the café."
"I am hungry, Toby," Trevor confessed. "It sounds great to me."
Toby talked about the area a bit more as she drove the last few miles to the café. When she pulled into the parking lot, she saw Herman, grinned and waved.
"You have an admirer, Toby," Trevor teased.
"Herman is a sweet man. His wife died a few years ago and since then he comes here quite a bit. I think he enjoys the companionship more than the food," Toby said as she shut off the car.
Several people greeted Toby as they walked inside. Trevor noticed how she made sure to reply to each of them. She smiled as she spoke and truly paid attention to them all. Several of the women he dated before were selfish, often short with others, a trait Toby certainly didn't share.
"This looks like a good table, Trevor. It will give us a bit of privacy unless it gets busier. I'm glad you agreed to stopping. I just heard my stomach growl."
One of the young girls working came over and took their order. She eyed Trevor and gave Toby a questioning look as she walked away. It amused Trevor how Toby seemed to take everything in stride. She was always laughing or smiling when he saw her. She appealed to him in several ways.
"I wonder why I never meet any women like you back home," Trevor hinted.
"Looking in the wrong places?"
Toby chuckled as Trevor raised an eyebrow and pretended to think.
"I've checked the mall, the grocery store, even the gym. No one like you in any of them," he replied.
They laughed and talked about Trevor's trip on Route 66. Toby had never gone far on the famous road. She wanted Trevor to describe everything he saw along the way.
"The only way to get the feel of Route 66 is to travel it," he told her.
"Someday, when I have my own hot rod, then I'll drive some of it," Toby stated.
Their lunch came and Toby dug in. Trevor noted that she didn't pick at her food. It always irritated him to see women take a couple bites then push their plates away. Toby enjoyed her meal and yet she had good manners. Trevor was finding that he liked several things about Toby.
"Toby, girl, I think this is the one," Herman said as he went past their table.
Trevor saw the pink creep into Toby's cheeks as she looked up. When she saw him watching her, she turned her head away, the pink changing to red. It was the first time Trevor had seen Toby uncomfortable. The silence was broken when the server asked if they wanted dessert.
"It's up to you, Toby. I have all evening to do nothing, and I know the pie is scrumptious here," Trevor remarked.
"Is there any of the blueberry left?" Toby questioned the young girl.
"Two slices, Toby," she answered.
"Sounds good to me," Trevor replied.
"Bring them over," Toby said. "I love the blueberry the best."
Talk went back to general topics as they enjoyed the Ugly Crust Pie. Toby shared a bit more of the story behind the name for the pies. When they finished, Toby offered to pay her share of the tab.
"My treat, Toby, since you used your day off to give me a tour of the area," Trevor told her.
"I enjoyed it, Trevor," she commented.
The drive to Zelda's was short and soon Trevor was getting out of the car.
"I'll talk to you tomorrow, Toby, when I check on the Chevy," he said as he opened the car door.
"As soon as the fuel pump is delivered I'll get right on your car, Trevor."
Toby waved as Trevor walked towards Zelda's front door. Already she missed having Trevor with her. As she drove home, Toby wondered why, when she finally met someone that interested her, he lived so far away. She often dreamed of her wedding. Never did she think she would still be single by the time she hit thirty. Her smile faltered as she thought about going home alone once more.
The night was long and Toby slept little. She tried to get comfortable as she turned from side to side. When the alarm rang, she slowly got up to start her day. Once in the shower Toby shook off the gloominess and drowsiness enough to feel normal again. After a bit of breakfast she left for work at TC's.
"Morning," TC greeted her. "You look tired."
"Hey, TC, I didn't sleep very good last night."
"Knowing you, you spent all day working on something yesterday instead of relaxing," TC said.
"No, I took Trevor sightseeing," she answered.
"Trevor? Do I know ... the owner of the Chevy?"
It fascinated TC to hear that tidbit of news. He didn't realize the two had met, and though Toby was friendly, spending the day with a complete stranger surprised him. He smiled when Toby blushed.
"I, ah, see, he was in the café Saturday, and, um, well, he's a nice guy," Toby managed to get out.
"So you just offered to take a stranger for a tour of the area?"
It was incredulous to TC how fast Toby trusted the teacher. Trevor was polite and seemed quite nice each time he talked to TC. The two of them talking was slightly different from Toby inviting him out for the day.TC felt protective over Toby since her parents were both gone.
"TC, we talked for a long time in the café first. He's a teacher, not a murderer, so calm down. We went through some of the ghost towns, stopped at the Midpoint Café for lunch, then I dropped him off at Zelda's," Toby explained.
"He had better have been a gentleman," TC went on.
"All day, TC. He was very respectful and interesting. We got along great. I enjoyed myself," she admitted.
"You know I'm just concerned," TC told her. "I worry about you."
"No need to worry. We had a good time, a nice meal, and nothing more," Toby explained.
"Alright, then I won't worry," TC said as he dropped the topic. "The part is here for the coupe already."
"Did you check if it's the right one this time?" she asked.
"It's the electric fuel pump we need. I matched it to the one here before I signed for it," TC said.
"Then I better get to work right away."
Toby went over to the tool chest and unlocked it. When she had everything set up, she went to work on connecting the pump, and TC turned back to his office. The morning slipped away as they each completed their respective work. When TC walked back to check on her later, she had just closed the hood, ready to test the pump.
"Great timing, TC, you're clean, so you can get in and start her," Toby told him.
"Sounds like a good idea to me," he grinned.
A few minutes later, when he had familiarized himself a bit with the gauges, they heard the Chevy start. Toby loved the deep rumble it made and smiled. The deal she made with Trevor to test drive it came back to her.
"You have to call him, TC, right now," she demanded as he stepped out of the Chevy.
"Aren't you going to test it out?" he asked.
"Trevor said I could take it for a test run but he's going along," she stated.
"Then I'll call him later after you finish that truck over there," TC teased.
"TC, you have to call him now!" Toby implored. "Please, TC, you have to."
He laughed at the anxious look on her face and turned to the office without replying. He laughed as he heard her stamp her boot in frustration. Something more was developing here between his mechanic and the teacher. It was very interesting indeed.
Trevor answered right away when TC called. As soon as Zelda could bring him there, Trevor would be by to check out the coupe. TC told him what time the shop closed so he was sure to get there in time. After he hung up, TC wandered out into the bay Toby was in, and gave her the update. Less than an hour later Trevor walked into the shop.
"Hello, TC," Trevor greeted as he scanned the shop for Toby.
"Thanks for coming in, Trevor. I hear you're going along on the test drive," TC inquired.
"That's the deal, yes. Is there a problem with that?"
"The only problem is if you hurt Toby," TC warned.
"That won't happen. I like her, a lot," Trevor began, "but the distance between where we live makes anything more impossible."
"You know where I stand."
TC's unspoken threat came through loud and clear to Trevor. Somehow, knowing Toby had a protector in TC, made him feel good. He reached out to shake hands with the shop owner just as Toby joined them.
"Are you ready?" Toby asked without any hesitation.
"I should ask if you are, but I think from the excitement glowing in your eyes, I know the answer," Trevor teased.
They walked to the Chevy, laughing, as TC observed the interaction between them. Satisfied Trevor understood his stand on Toby, he went back to his office, a small smile on his face. The overhead door slid open as the Chevy roared to life.
Toby was extra careful as she drove the exquisite car through town. Trevor saw how she went around every hole or dip in the road and grinned.
"Head up to the interstate and open her up," he told her.
"Are you serious?" Toby replied. "You'll let me do that?"
"I want you to, Toby," he grinned.
Toby felt the exhilaration of speeding up as she took the ramp onto the highway a few minutes later. Traffic was light, since it was the middle of the day, and she merged without a problem. Toby drove a bit under the speed limit.
"Come on, Toby, you know you want to see how she responds when you kick her down," Trevor goaded.
"More than you know, Trevor," she admitted.
"Do it," he declared.
With a quick glance his way, Toby checked the traffic near her, laughed, and opened up the Chevy. She felt alive and free as they shot past the other cars. The car responded like a dream. Toby was in love all over again with hot rods. After a few minutes, Toby backed down to the speed limit, not wanting a ticket at the speeds she had gone. Trevor stared, her inner beauty electrifying, matching the seductive allure of her appearance.
"That was awesome!" Toby confessed. "She's amazing, Trevor."
"Yes, amazing," he concurred as he looked at Toby.
Toby didn't catch the heated look in Trevor's eyes as he watched her. He wondered if she handled a lover with the same intensity and care as she did the coupe. Once again, he regretted living so far away that he couldn't pursue getting to know her better. Lost in his own thoughts, Trevor didn't realize they were back at the garage until he heard Toby shut off the motor.
"That was so awesome, Trevor," Toby began. "I'll never forget driving this beauty."
"You're welcome, Toby. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself."
TC met them at the door. He needed to be sure Toby was okay. She wouldn't like it if she knew he worried as much as he did about her.
"How did it go?" TC asked.
"She runs like a dream. Trevor even let me open her up out on the highway," she replied.
"Great. I'll go get the final bill for you Trevor and you can get back to your vacation," TC said.
"I'd like to check out a couple more states before I have to head home. More than likely, I'll take a different route home, so I can see more areas."
Trevor went inside with TC to settle his bill. Toby was still standing by the coupe when he returned.
"Keep saving for it, Toby. If you want it bad enough, you'll get it."
"I will. Driving yours was an experience I will never forget. It was a pleasure meeting you, Trevor. Enjoy the rest of your trip," Toby replied.
"Of all the places for the car to break down, I'm glad it was here," Trevor added. "You're a great mechanic, Toby, and a beautiful woman as well."
Toby blushed at the compliments. As Trevor got into his car, she felt a moment of sadness that he was leaving. When he started the car, she smiled, backed away, and gave a small wave. Several minutes after the car disappeared from sight, Toby still stood in the same spot, a sad look on her face.
"You standing there all day or coming back to work," TC called out to her.
"I'm coming, relax," Toby said as she finally moved.
The day went slowly for Toby. She struggled to find the enthusiasm for her job that was present so often. When it was time to leave, she cleaned up, nodded to TC, and left.
Dinner was a sandwich that went untouched. When nothing held her interest on television, or even car sites on the computer, Toby went to bed early. Images of Trevor smiling at her as he stood next to the '37 Chevy filtered through her dreams. In the morning, Toby had to admit to herself that she was attracted to Trevor.
When she got to work, TC had another job for her, so her day was busy. Toby took time for a quick lunch and went right back to work. When TC called out to tell her there was a call for her, she had just finished a job. It wasn't unusual for customers from the area to talk to her about their repair.
"This is Toby."
"Do you think I can talk you into dinner tomorrow night?"
Toby was shocked to hear his voice. She grinned and turned away from the office and a curious TC.
"How many other guys call and ask you to dinner?" Trevor wondered.
"Just Herman," she teased.
"Oh, so I have competition. I'll remember that. Now, are you free tomorrow night?" Trevor repeated.
"Where are you? I thought you were going several hundred miles," Toby ignored his questions in her excitement.
"Toby, just answer my question."
"Yes! Yes, Trevor, I'd love to. What time will you be here?"
"I'll be there mid-afternoon and explain everything then," he told her.
Toby gave him her address and directions before they said good-bye. She turned back to the shop and saw TC standing outside his office with a grin.
"Why didn't you tell me it was Trevor?"
"He asked me not to," TC replied.
TC didn't mention that he had talked to Trevor first. He was concerned with the distance between where the two lived. It was obvious Toby had feelings for the teacher.
That night Toby went through her closet to find something feminine to wear. Trevor had only seen her in jeans or her uniform and she wanted to look good for him. It had been a long time since she had been nervous over a date. Satisfied with the clothes she chose, Toby ate some dinner, then looked online at the hot rods for sale. After a futile search for a deal, she went to bed.
At work the next day Toby asked TC if she could leave early to get ready for her date. Nodding his permission, she dug into the truck waiting for repair. By noon, she had it running again, cleaned up her work bay, and went to find TC.
"The truck is done, TC, but there isn't anything else. I'm knocking off now if it's alright with you," she told him.
"Go ahead, Toby. Enjoy your date and tell Trevor hello for me."
Toby ran out to her car and took off for home. Though she had several hours before Trevor would be there, she panicked as the minutes ticked away. After her shower, Toby applied a layer of lotion over her freshly shaved legs, and then did her nails. The rose-colored polish went with the sleeveless dress she had chosen. It had a matching waist length jacket in case the evening was chilly. She loved how the silky material felt on her skin.
When the polish was dry, it was time to do her hair. Though Toby wore it short, tonight she used some hair wax to give it body and shape. Satisfied with the outcome, she went to her bedroom, slipped into the dress, and added a pair of stiletto sandals to complete the look. It had been so long since she dressed in anything other than work clothes or jeans that she almost didn't recognize herself in the full-length mirror. The doorbell rang to interrupt her perusal.