The interior of her car was a virtual trash bin. Empty coffee cups, crumpled receipts, and dried leaves littered the floor. The passenger seat was covered with dog fur. A fine layer of dust coated the dashboard, and the steering wheel felt sticky. No more procrastination. It was time to get a car wash.
She pulled in behind a long line of vehicles. Scanning the various cleaning options, she decided on Number 1, with air freshener. 15.99, plus tip – 20 bucks. A young man leaned towards her through the rolled down car window, blinking his heavy lashes over shimmering green eyes, he convinced her to get an unnecessary tire treatment.
After paying inside, Charlotte headed to the covered exterior waiting area. It was early spring, and today happened to be one of the first times the sun had appeared in days; an eternity by SoCal standards. She sat in a plastic chair, enjoying the warm soft breeze, watching cars being polished and detailed. Feeling a bit of a chill, she repositioned her seat in the sunlight, adjacent to a sparkling white Bentley convertible. An older man was gently tending to the interior. Mesmerized, she watched him as he meticulously cleaned each window, inside and out. She was so fixated, that she hardly noticed when another chair slid up next to hers. A man’s deep voice startled her, “Nice day, huh?” Looking up, she saw a gorgeous guy about her age. Messy blonde hair framed amber eyes, and he was dressed in a stylish casual way that appealed to her fashion sensibility. She crossed her legs, dangling a low heeled black pump in his direction. She was wearing her favorite faded cropped jeans with an old leather jacket over a yellow t-shirt that read “Lover’s Only-Jamaica’. Laughing nervously, she responded, “Yeah, it’s super nice out.” Cringing at her own awkwardness, she sighed. He looked around the lot, then glanced at the Bentley in front of them. Motioning casually with a hand, he offered up, “Sweet Ride.” She responded with, “Yeah, it sure is.” Just at that moment, a large black Range Rover with tinted glass slowly rolled out from the wash area to be polished. They both watched as it pulled up behind the Bentley. She felt butterflies in her stomach as she noticed his eyes follow the shining behemoth.
Turning slowly to face him, she smiled and said, “My name’s Charlotte.” She then ventured to ask. “So, do you work around here?” He cooly slipped on a pair of sunglasses, and answered, “Nah, I work on my own. Name’s Jimmy. I’m in the music industry, producing and stuff like that. What about you?” She laughed nervously, ” Um, not so glamorous. I’m a dog groomer. Lots of celeb clients though. The dogs have all of the dirt on them! If they could talk!” Laughter broke the ice, and the conversation flowed. After a few minutes of small talk, he asked her, “Hey, you wanna coffee? I’m gonna go inside and get one.” She gladly accepted, and watched him make his way into the carwash retail area. He had a sexy swagger, and she liked the confidence he exuded. Plus, that Range Rover. She was definitely intrigued.
As he filled two cups from the free for customers coffee pot, Jimmy peered out the smudged window towards the carwash lot. His eyes narrowed as an old grey Honda rolled out. Visible dents marking the sides and those trademark mismatched hubcaps a dead giveaway. His old standby. Never let him down.
Strolling out towards Charlotte, he handed her the coffee cup, pausing to gently caress her soft, slender well-manicured fingers. She felt a tingle of excitement. He stood close to her as they watched the flurry of activity at the carwash. Just then, her eyes shifted to another car coming out to the lot, this time a tiny white Toyota Yaris. She giggled with delight. “Yay, she’s ready!” His eyes widened with horror. “That’s your car?” “Yeah, isn’t she a cutie? Gets great mileage. 120,000 miles and going strong!” He visibly cringed, and after an awkward pause he said in a flat tone, “Uh, I thought you owned the Bentley.” Suddenly one of the workers shouted in their general direction, twirling a damp dirty red rag over his head. “Honda! Grey Honda!” Jimmy lowered his head, as he motioned over to the beat up old car, “Well, my chariot awaits.” Charlottes eyes widened with disappointment, “You mean….that’s your car?” “Yup.” With that, he got up, and swiftly headed over to give his ticket to the car wash employee. Charlotte made her way back to the plastic chair in the lot, waving sheepishly as Jimmy exited, watching the Honda disappear into LA traffic. She stared at the Range Rover, and then discreetly sized up the remaining patrons, trying to match up cars to owners. A man with silver slicked back hair and aviator shades sat reading a paper in the corner. She slowly got up and made her way over, sitting in an empty chair next to him. Crossing her legs, she cleared her throat.