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Bentley (Hawthorne Brothers Book One)

By:M.L. Young



Chapter One



Bentley



A few beads of motor oil dripped down my forearm as I opened the valve on the bottom of the car.

“Okay, that one is draining. Go get the other car and bring it in bay three,” I said to Dan, one of my technicians.

I stood next to the hulking Chevy Suburban raised on the lift. Business had been going well—so well, in fact, that my father and I were thinking of opening another shop sometime soon, though all the details weren’t ironed out yet. I’d been into cars, trucks, and anything else with an engine since I was barely old enough to say my first words. It just felt so natural to me, unlike anything else in my life. I was only twenty-five, but I already had more experience than some guys twice my age.

Dan brought the rusted Geo Metro into the third bay and got out before lifting it up and beginning to change the oil. He was new here, one of many mechanics we had, all of whom were more like family than employees. I was incredibly close with my own family, including my two younger brothers, Cash and Liam, but they chose much different paths than working with our dad in this shop. I didn’t blame them, though. They were never into this stuff as much as I was, and I guess a man needs to follow his own path in life instead of a path he thinks somebody else believes he should take. How can you ever be happy if you don’t do what you love?

“Got it,” Dan said, with an enthusiasm I hadn’t seen much before.

“Good, now work on something else, but keep your eye on the car. We have a few appointments today for oil changes and two other people in the lobby waiting,” I said before capping up the Suburban again.

We did everything here, from oil changes to full body restoration. We’d been voted best mechanic in the area for the past seven years since we opened, and we had so many customers that some days we had to push them away because we had no room for them. The perils of being successful, I guess.

As another technician came off break and took over my oil change, I walked over to the bench and grabbed a rag before wiping the oil off my arm. It never went fully away, instead making my tattoos glisten, looking more like tanning oil than anything else against my bronzed skin.

“How are things going out there?” my dad asked as he peeked his head into the shop from the front.

“Good. The Suburban should be done within ten, the Geo in fifteen,” I said.

“We have a blown muffler coming in next, so get ready what you need,” he said, shutting the door.

We had a good thing going here. My dad took care of most of the front stuff, including scheduling, ordering parts, and dealing with the public. He was always great with that, coming from a customer service-oriented background in sales. I took care of the actual shop part, though he was more than qualified. Hell, he taught me most of what I know, so he knew his way around the shop, that’s for sure.

I ran into him later that day at lunch as I grabbed my black lunchbox from the fridge and sat with him in his office. He was a simple man, eating a plain bologna sandwich with mustard, a bag of potato chips, and a can of Coca-Cola every single day of his work week and life. I tried to get him to branch out, to try something new, but he was never into it. I didn’t even know how he stomached the shit.

“Your mom wants you to RSVP for your cousin Kelly’s wedding soon,” he said.

“When is that, again?” I asked.

“I think in a month or two, I don’t know. She just told me to tell you to get on it,” he said.

“I’ll do it tonight,” I said as I took out my turkey, bacon, and avocado sandwich.

“Bringing anybody that we should know about?” he asked.

“What, like a date?” I asked.

“Yeah, like a date. I was married with a kid by your age, you know,” he said.

“I know, I’ve heard the story a hundred times. I don’t have anybody in mind, no,” I said.

“Well, you have to bring a date. You can’t just go alone,” he said.

“Cash and Liam will be there,” I said.

“You can’t bring your brothers as dates, Bentley. You’re telling me you can’t think of anyone? You date girls left and right,” he said.

“I go on dates with girls, there’s a big difference there. I don’t date them,” I said.

“Well, your mother isn’t going to let it go unless you bring a date, so you better stop taking girls out one time and instead take one to the wedding with you. Besides, Lord knows you could use a girlfriend. I think you’re sinking a little too much into this bachelor lifestyle,” he said.

“I’ll get right on that,” I said, taking a big bite of my sandwich.

•••

On my break later that day, I sat around and couldn’t help but think of what my dad had said at lunch. Maybe he was right, but I was never going to let him know that. It wasn’t my fault, though. I just hadn’t found the right girl yet. Maybe they hadn’t found me, either. I admit I’m not always the best when it comes to relationships, but the idea of coming home to somebody wasn’t horrible. I mainly just came home to a half-empty fridge and ESPN highlights. That wasn’t exactly the recipe for a perfect life, that’s for sure.

I’d tried dating sites and apps, like RandomMeetX, but all they ever brought me were women who were interested in a night together, and nothing more. That used to be fine, but having something a little more substantial wouldn’t hurt me any.

Maybe I’d go back on them tonight and see if something better was available. I didn’t know why the universe couldn’t just drop her in front of me with a big sign.





Chapter Two



Anna



“Come on, Anna, we have to leave in fifteen!” one of my roommates, Nina, yelled.

“I’ll be there in a minute,” I said as I pulled an outfit out of my closet.

They wanted me to go to a party with them tonight, a frat party, which was something that I never did. I wasn’t much for parties or drinking or anything like that, instead just wanting to watch Netflix or study. How I even ended up living with two party girls I have no idea. I guess that’s what high school will do to you. You meet people and make friends that you take with you to college, even if you don’t like the same things.

The weather was cold, which impacted my outfit decision. I chose black tights and a black dress, mainly because I didn’t shave my legs and didn’t think it was worth doing. My other roommate, Maggie, said that I was definitely going to meet a guy tonight, but that seemed like a bit of a stretch. She’d tried to say that there would be dozens of them there, and they were all horny and it’d be so easy, but I’m not exactly everyone’s type—especially because I’m not a crazy sorority girl like some of the other people who would be there. I’m not all that easy like they are, and guys don’t like that. They want a girl who will suck ‘em, fuck ‘em, and never talk to them again. That wasn’t me.

I finished getting ready, grabbed my puffer coat and gloves, and went out to Nina and Maggie, who were putting on their shoes and finishing up.

“You look…nice,” Nina said, her vagina practically hanging out of her short skirt.

“What’s wrong with it?” I asked.

“You just look cute, like you’re going to church or something,” she said.

“Well, maybe I’m going to need a confessional after this party,” I said.

“Doubtful. You’d be lucky to get laid before your wedding day,” Maggie said.

“It’s not like I’m a virgin or anything. I’ve been with plenty of guys,” I said.

“You’ve been with two, and one of them you dated for three years. Not exactly a crazy, wild woman, you know,” Nina said as she put on her coat.

I let it go, not willing to argue with them about my sex life or lack thereof. I knew I hadn’t been laid in a while, it’s not like it was any big surprise to me. It was my sex life, after all.

We walked out of our townhouse towards my car. The party was about fifteen minutes away on Greek row. We’d moved to a townhouse about ten minutes from campus, where all the quiet students and families went. Maggie and Nina pissed and moaned about it, but it saved us each a hundred dollars a month in rent over living somewhere more fun, and that adds up over a few years. I guess they liked the idea of having that money for parties or traveling instead.

My car, an old Honda Civic with a duct-taped front bumper and a CD changer that skipped over fifty miles an hour, was far from my pride and joy. I’d gotten it from my parents after graduating from high school, and while I was grateful to have gotten anything, the thing was a hunk of crap. It hated to start, and when it was this cold out it sometimes flat out refused, or even turned itself off while driving. I didn’t have much of a choice, though. I couldn’t exactly pick a new one off a tree and call it a day.

The car started for me, and I revved up the engine to keep it from turning itself off on this frigid night. Nina and Maggie covered up with blankets I kept in the car, and I hit the defroster before backing out of my space and pulling onto the main road.

“I heard they’re going to have jungle juice everywhere,” Maggie said.

“Taylor is there now and said that there are so many hot guys. At least one for every girl, but some might get lucky and have two,” Nina said.

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