Across the Tracks Ch. 02

Ariel felt a cold cloth on her head and heard some soft murmuring.

“Hey lady…. Wake up…. You can do it…. Uppsy Daisy.”

It was the last one that made her giggle,and open her eyes. The look of relief on the grease monkeys face was comical. Ariel giggled.

“It’s OK scary man. I’m fine I swear.”

Otis felt as relieved as he ever had. He exhaled a giant breath and said,

“Good. Thats good. Now,do you mind me asking why you did that?”

Ariel chewed on her bottom lip momentarily, torn with indecision. Obviously the grease monkey had no idea who she was, and why his story freaked her out so bad. So, she did what she thought was best. She lied.

“I think my blood sugar’s low, I haven’t ate all day.”

She could see the doubt in his eyes, and silently prayed to every divine force that he would just let it go. He made a non-committal grunt, shrugged and appeared to be thinking for a moment.

* * * * * * *

Otis knew she was lieing. Don’t ask him how, he just KNEW. But, being who he was, he respected secrets. And it wasn’t like she had any reason to tell him the truth, it wasn’t like there was any connection, not even friendship. Silently he walked over the what his boss meanly referred to as Otis’s Cave Of Wonders, a large toolbox. Unlocking the top drawer, he pulled out a couple different brands of mini candy bars and offered them to her.

“To help with your blood sugar.” He silently made an offering motion. * * * * * * Ariel tentatively reached out for a Butterfinger. He didn’t act like he was going to jerk it away or anything so she took it and unwrapped it. She started nibbling on a corner while Otis returned to his work.

“Mind if I turn on the radio?”

Ariel jumped a little in her seat, startled once again by his voice appearing from nowhere. She merely nodded her head. She didn’t want him to here the little startled note that her voice would have had, she didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable. Again. She studied his movements once again, watching him move with a grace that belied his size. She grinned a small grin and let it get quiet again as he looked for a cd, deciding she would break the silence this time. She looked at his visible tattoos, which was more than a long sleeve shirt usual had since he was wearing a baseball shirt. She spotted one that was a boar and wolf protecting a sword with weird looking letters around it. She decided it was the perfect time to break the silence.

* * * * * * * *

“What’s that tattoo mean?”

Her bell like voice startled him making him jump a little. Her giggle that sounded like wind chimes hit him next. Great, he thought, Next I’ll be comparing her beauty to the moon or something. Before that thought even finished, he already deciding he was wrong. Her beauty was like the moon on the sea. Pale, flawless, with eyes that could be calm or turbulent. Then he changed his thoughts to answer her question.

“Which one? There’s quite a few.”

She pointed to the tattoo on his right forearm, starting at his wrist and going halfway up. He studied it for a moment, ordering his thoughts to explain it.

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“Promise not to laugh first?”

* * * * * * * * * *

She looked at him, trying to decide if he had asked a question or a demand. Either way she nodded yes.

* * * * * * *

“Ok. Well, the words are Ancient Greek. The words on top say Son of. The words below the animals say Ares. The wolf and boar are symbols of Ares, and the sword was added because it’s Ares. God of War. I got it 3 years ago.”

He looked through his Cds sheepishly, embarrassed. He just knew the next thing to happen would be her saying it was stupid or making some really fake sounding comment about how cool it was. Just like everyone else he explained it to. Just like every other girl he had ever talked about his tattoos too. He was totally unprepared for what she actually said.

* * * * * * * *

“What a coincidence.”

Ariel barely breathed it out, meaning every word. He turned around and looked at her with a question clearly on his lips. Before he could ask, she figured to explain it to him.

“Ariel’s not my first name. I was adopted at 12 and my adopted parents decided they didn’t want me to keep the name I was given at birth, which was Alena. I don’t suppose you know who she is?”

Otis looked at her with a piercing intensity, and slowly nodded.

“But it would be nice to hear you explain it.”

Ariel shivered a bit, something about his voice had changed. It was deeper. Huskier somehow, like he had added pure black smoke to the undercurrent of his voice. It wasn’t unpleasant at all. Matter of fact, it was sexy. She shook herself a bit, he was still a grease monkey, she was Upper Class Princess. She cleared her throat and began,

“She was Poseidon’s daughter who Ares fell in love with. He was going to give up his ways and give the mantle of God of War to someone else, and be the God of all Wild Things once again. Poseidon didn’t approve at all, so he had Alena turned into a star. Ares pines for her for all eternity, staring at the skies, wanting to be with his soul mate, the other half of his heart again.”

Her voice had dropped to a mummer, an appreciative coo to what she thought of as the worlds strongest myth of love.

All the sudden she heard him say very gruffly, “I need to get your car finished so you can get to where you need to go. “

Ariel felt like she had just been rebuked, and fell into and uneasy silence. She felt a little miffed and a little angry. Who was he to talk to her like that? Nobody. That’s exactly who. Except the son of the man who died saving me from a deadly fire…

* * * * * * * *

Otis felt bad for talking to her like that, but he had too. He was so close to telling her xactly what he thought of her at the moment. Her raven wing hair, her soot eyelashes, her porcelain skin and her ruby lips. Knowing that she knew Greek mythology was just another fantastic link in the chain. He smiled grimly to himself, remembering how Ares had been caught in a chain that he couldn’t break. So had another subject of one of his tattoos, the Fenris wolf. He began to work a little faster, trying to get her out of here faster, before he was completely snagged on an unattainable star.

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Ariel looked up from her phone about 20 minutes later when she heard him gently but firmly close the hood of her car. He wiped his hands off on a rag carefully, getting as much grease off as possible with a simple rag. He looked at her and shrugged.

“It’s as fixed as I can make it. It really needs a complete overhaul or a junkyard. You should get another couple thousand miles out of it, just don’t go real fast and try to avoid the highways and interstates if possible.” She flicked her hair over her shoulder.

“How much do I owe you?”

She put as much ice and distance in her voice as she could possibly master, making Otis feel like he was in the middle of a Siberian like plain on a planet five thousand miles away from her. He dismissed her offer of payment, even though he could use the money.

“Consider it my act of Good Karma for the week. Just remember my advice.”

Ariel snorted, if he wanted to work for free that was fine with her. He’d probably do something stupid with the money anyways. As she went to climb in her car he handed her a piece of paper that was handwritten. It said;

“Otis C. Andrei

Roadside Assistance

24/7

502-542-1991″

She felt some of her icy exterior breaking, because this was probably the sweetest thing any one had done for her in a while. She actually thought about him for a second, his shyness, his non-talkativeness, and realized how big a deal this must have been for him to break his shell and give her something as personal as his number. She quickly kissed him on the cheek and started her car and began to leave, calling back to him,

:”I may call even if I don’t break down. Thanks for everything!” She smiled at the deep crimson blush all over his face.

* * * * * * * *

“Please dear God don’t have let her see me blush..” Otis said in a soft mummer to himself.

He slowly walked around the shop, his safe haven, where nothing ever touched him. As impossible as it seemed, it was like in the space of the hour and a half it took him to fix her monstrosity, she had permeated his shop. He could smell her fragrance over all the other odors of a auto shop, car paint, oil, grease all of it. He had never felt anything like this, and he didn’t even know her. He walked to the front of the shop and grabbed a smoke, looking up into the pale dawn sky wishing he could see the star he knew he was now stuck on.

Updated: April 16, 2018 — 3:47 AM

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