Champagne & Chaps(9)

By: Cheyenne McCray

“Well, let’s see what I can find.”

She watched as he looked under the hood and moved a few wires around.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a five-dollar bill. “Tell you what, take this in and buy baking soda. If they don’t have the baking soda, just get a Diet Coke. I need to go get a few tools from my truck.” He handed her the bill and smiled. “And the Coke is not because I’m thirsty.”

“All right.” She took the five and turned to walk back into the general store. If he wasn’t thirsty, she wondered what he needed the Coke for.

Bells on the door jangled as she entered the store and she glanced back through the glass door to see the cowboy going to a nice black truck and rummaging in a toolbox on the back. He was a good-looking man, almost a pretty boy look to him. If she didn’t already have the hots for Wyatt Cameron, she might have been intrigued with Derrick. But for some reason, other than the fact she had a thing for Wyatt, Derrick didn’t have the same kind of appeal to her.

She turned away and headed into the store. The old woman leaning against the counter said they didn’t have baking soda but pointed her to the coolers where the drinks were. Cold air washed over her as she opened it and grabbed a can of Diet Coke.

“Something wrong with your car?” The woman asked as she rang up the soda.

Sabrina nodded. “It won’t start. Lucky for me someone stopped and asked me if he could help. At least it will be lucky if he can fix it.”

The woman peered through the glass as she rang up the Diet Coke then counted out change. “Looks like Derrick Harper.”

“Yes, that’s what he said his name is.” Sabrina took the change in one hand, the soda in her other.

The woman looked like she was going to say something else, but her lips seemed to tighten before she said, “Good luck, honey.”

“Thanks.” Sabrina smiled and pushed the door open with her hip before letting it fall back behind her.

When she returned, she found Derrick scrubbing the battery cable connection with a wire brush.

“Two things,” He took the change from her and slipped it into his front pocket. “Your battery cables are corroded and the connections are loose. I’ll take that Diet Coke now.”

“See that white?” He pointed to the battery. “That’s the corrosion. It prevents the connection and the car has no chance of turning over. Not to mention the cable was loose. Surprised this hasn’t happened before now.”

He opened the can of Diet Coke and poured some of it over the battery cable, which was coated with white. She watched as the white corrosion sizzled and began to disappear.

“Regular Coke works too, but you don’t need the sticky mess from the sugar.” He’d grabbed a thermos with his tools and he poured water from it over everything to rinse it all off.

He worked the wire brush on it a little more, then began to tighten down the bolt on the cable.

After a few moments, he said, “Why don’t you give it a try now?”

She climbed back into the vehicle and turned the key. It started at once. A huge sigh of relief went through her as Derrick came around to the driver’s side door. The underarms of his shirt were damp with perspiration from the exertion and the heat.

“Thank you so much.” She rolled down the window as he shut the door. “I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

He smiled. “No problem, ma’am.”

“Please call me Sabrina.” She returned his smile. “I hear enough ma’am during the school year.”

“You a teacher?” he asked.

She nodded. “What about you? What do you do?”

“I keep busy.” He gave a shrug. “Hey, I was just going to a late lunch or early dinner now. However you look at it, I sure would like some company.”

Sabrina looked at her watch. Still plenty of time for lunch and to get back in time to get ready for her dinner with Wyatt.

“All right.” She smiled. “But, I’d like to treat you to lunch to thank you for saving me a fortune in towing fees,” she said.

“That’s great,” he said in his drawl. “But I can’t let you pay.”