“You sure about that?”
“Hey!” I lean back, affronted. “That’s not nice! I know I ran over you with my car, but it was an accident. I didn’t mean to. I’ve never run over anyone with my car before. I have crashed into another car before, but I’d call it more of a bump, and it was the other driver’s fault, not mine. He’d pulled out in front of me. And there was this one time when I clipped this dude’s side mirror, and he was pissed, but if he’d parked his car better and not left it sticking out in the road, then I wouldn’t have hit it. It’s not my fault there are incompetent drivers out there.”
Gabriel is gaping at me.
“What?” I ask, a little self-conscious.
“Do you actually hear yourself when you’re talking?”
“Of course I do.” I frown. “I’m not deaf.”
“Good. Because, for a moment there, I was wondering if you were actually aware of the crap that comes out of your mouth.”
He starts to get to his feet—well, foot. I stand and offer him a hand because I’m a nice person, unlike him, but he ignores my offer, choosing to struggle instead.
So, I watch as he gets up, balancing on one foot, his hand resting on the roof of my car for support.
He’s so tall. Six-four, according to his website. I’m only five-three. He’s a whole foot taller than me. Even with my heels on, I still have to crane my neck to look up at him.
His face is pinched in pain.
“We need to get you to a hospital. I think Presbyterian is closest.”
He lets out a hard laugh. “No, thanks.”
“Why? What’s wrong with Presbyterian?”
“Nothing’s wrong with Presbyterian. It’s you that’s the problem. No fucking way am I getting in a car with you.”
“Hey now! There’s no need for that. Seriously, Gabriel, you’re close to hurting my feelings.”
“Am I? Oh God, I’m so sorry.” He slaps his hand on his chest. “Because I would hate to hurt your feelings after you so kindly ran me over with your fucking golf cart of a car and broke my fucking foot!”
“It was an accident! And my car is not a golf cart!”
“It was not an accident! You didn’t see me because you were too busy bawling your eyes out to notice I was even there!”
Shit. He saw me crying.
I feel so embarrassed. It stains my cheeks.
“What happened? Did you have a fight with your boyfriend?” he prods sardonically.
“No,” I bite. “I don’t have a boyfriend.” Anymore. “And, not that it’s any of your business, but I was just fired.”
“Did you run over your boss as well?”
The urge to stamp on his good foot with my stiletto, taking that one out of action as well, is strong. But I won’t do it because I’m a better person than he is. He is so off the top of my celebrity crush list.
“You are not a nice person, Gabriel Evans.” I fold my arms over my chest.
“And you’re a danger to people everywhere. I should call up the DMV and have them take your license away because whoever gave it to you must’ve been fucking high.”
“Mr. Anders was not high! He was a nice old man! God! Why don’t you just skip the DMV and call the police to report me for dangerous driving? I’m sure they’d happily take my license away from me!”
Ah, hell. Why did I say that?
From the smirk he’s now wearing, I’m guessing he didn’t think of calling the police.
I am so going to jail.
I swallow down.
“As nice a thought as that is, you wouldn’t last five minutes in jail, Speedy. Call this me being nice, as I’m keeping your pretty ass out of jail by not calling the cops.”
Is it sad that I’m stuck on the fact that he called me pretty? Well, he called my ass pretty, but whatever.
God, I seriously need a slap across the face.
“You’re welcome,” he snips.
Then, he pushes off my car and starts to hop. I kid you not; he’s hopping away.
“You forgot your shoe and sock,” I call out to him, spotting them on the sidewalk.
“You can keep them as souvenirs,” he calls back as he hops toward a fancy-looking silver Audi parked a little further down on the other side of the road.
I bend down and pick up his sock and shoe.
I told him that he wasn’t a nice person, but there must be a little nice in him. He could’ve called the cops. He probably should have, but he didn’t. And I didn’t even thank him.
Sock and shoe in hand, I start to walk over to Gabriel, who’s just made it to his car and opened the driver’s door.
By the time I reach him, he’s inside, and the engine is on.
I rap on the window. He turns his head and stares at me.
“I brought you your sock and shoe.” I hold them up for him to see.
He rolls his window down, and he takes them from me without a word, tossing them on the passenger seat.
I awkwardly stand there, biting on my lip and twisting my hands together. “I should have said thank you. For you not calling the cops. I do appreciate it. And I am sorry about running over your foot. Really, I am. And I would totally understand if you changed your mind and wanted to call the cops. So, I can give you my cell phone number in case you need to—”
“Are you hitting on me right now? Because I’ve gotta say, that’s just straight up inappropriate if you are. You broke my foot, and now, you’re trying to get in my pants. Bad form, Speedy.”
“What? No!” I step back in shock, my hands going to my face. “I-I was just-just—” I splutter, shaking my head. “I am not trying to get in your pants! I was trying to be a good person! I can’t believe you think I was hitting on you!”
“Well then”—he scratches his chin—“I don’t know whether to be relieved or offended.” He looks me up and down. “I’ll go with relieved.”
“Ugh! God, you’re a…”
“What am I?” he goads.
Be the bigger person, Ava. Do not take the bait. It’s clear that he loves an argument. Don’t give him what he wants.
I take a few deep breaths in and out and then change tack. “Are you sure you can manage driving?”
He blinks back at me like he was expecting me to argue back. And I swear, I see a spark of disappointment because I didn’t.
“Of course I can,” he retorts. “It’s an automatic. I only need one foot to drive it.”
“Your right foot, and that’s your injured foot. I really don’t think you will be able to drive. You can’t even put weight on it. And, if you do somehow manage to drive, you could cause more damage to your foot than there already is.”
“Are you a fucking doctor now?” he bites. “Of course I can drive my goddamn car. Now, will you disappear, so I can get to the hospital?” He dismisses me with a flick of his wrist.
“Fine.” I raise my hands and step back. “I’ll leave. But don’t say I didn’t warn you, Hoppy.”
“What did you just call me?”
“Nothing.” I smile innocently. “You drive safe now.” I turn on my heel and walk back over to my car.
I hear the rev of his engine.
When I reach my car, instead of getting inside, I lean against the driver’s door and watch as he tries to drive his car, which I know he doesn’t have a hope in hell of doing.
It moves slowly at first and then jerks forward, like he went heavy on the gas. The car stops, then jerks forward again, and then stops.
“Motherfucker!” he yells, slamming his hands on the steering wheel, which sets off his horn.
I have to hold back a laugh. “You okay there, Hoppy?”
He doesn’t even look at me. He gives me the middle finger.
But, instead of getting annoyed, I laugh, knowing it will vex him more.
The engine loudly revs again, and then, suddenly, his car lurches forward and jumps the curb, right in the direction of a street sign.