The Reluctant Mechanic
A "Reluctant..." Series Fanfic By Melanie E.
A big thanks goes out to Melanie Brown for writing Chrissy's stories that inspired this, and for giving me permission to share it with everyone here.
This story is fanfic, and nothing but fanfic. Any similarity to canon events is purely coincidental, and should not be taken to mean that the author of this tale is somehow telepathic or anything.
You will forget I ever mentioned telepathy in 5... 4... 3... 2....
I gave a power yell as I gripped the wrench in both hands and hauled on it with all my might.
I let go of the wrench and stumbled backward, sweat pouring down my back.
"It's this da- darn bolt. I've been trying to get it off for the last ten minutes but it won't budge."
"Lemme see it," he said, putting down the piston he was working on and coming over to where I had the mostly-disassembled engine in front of me. Picking up the wrench in one hand, he placed it on the bolt and gave it a sharp tug to the left. The bolt screeched as it gave way.
I stared slack-jawed at the engine, unable to believe what I had just seen. "What the hell!?" I said, glaring at my dad.
"You must have loosened it," he said with a shrug, then returned to his work bench and his pistons again.
"Musta loosened it, nyah," I said in a snotty voice as I adjusted my bra strap and returned to work on the engine, the rest of the bolts coming off with relative ease and allowing me to pull the transmission casing off at last.
"I heard that, kitten."
I stuck my tongue out at him.
"Stop being childish."
Rolling my eyes in a last act of defiance, I gave up and studied the job at hand, wondering how the hell I was supposed to fix this thing.
It was all Diane's fault I was out here to begin with. After I had told her about my lack of plans for the summer, she had asked what I would have been doing if I were still a boy. The car, of course, was the answer. Dad and I had planned it for the last two summers, saving a little here and there to invest in an old clunker to tear down after graduation and rebuild into a lean mean asphalt-eating machine to impress the ladies with my freshman year at college. Becoming a cheerleader, and a girl, had thrown a kink in that plan, or so I had thought.
"Give it a shot," she had told me, with that gleam in her eyes that told me she wasn't going to take no for an answer. "Maybe it can help mend the rocky relationship you two have had lately."
"But Diaaane!" I whined, mostly just for the sake of it.
"No buts," she said. Then the bitch held my nail polish hostage until I agreed.
Looking up from the mess in front of me, I caught Dad smiling as he watched me in the small mirror situated above his work bench, and I reluctantly had to admit that she'd had a point.
Of course, the muscle car we had been eyeing before my transformation was out of the question now that I was a girl, as for some reason Dad had gotten the notion in his head that girls should drive safer, less rumbly beasts than guys. I had fought him, but it was a losing battle before I even began. The ancient lemon-yellow Beetle we had finally settled on wasn't quite what I had hoped for, but at least we were refitting it for four wheel drive to help tackle the snow, and as much as I had protested I really did think it would be cute when we finished it.
Though at the moment it was far from cute with its guts lying in an unholy mess before me. I had no idea what half the parts did, and I was pretty sure the half I did know about were too worn out to do anything with.
"Dad, are you sure this is worth it?" I asked, not for the first time, as
I picked up a wiring harness from the pile that looked like it was held together by chewing gum and hope.
"It's a leaning experience, sweetheart. Besides, even cheerleaders should know how to take care of their own car."
"You didn't do this with Diane."
"I might have, if I thought Diane could have done it without blowing the garage up."
I winced, remembering the infamous blowtorch incident of '99. Seeing my expression, Dad simply nodded and returned to his duties, prying a corroded ring out with an old screwdriver.
Abandoning the engine for the moment, I turned my attention to the stereo and speakers, laying in their own gory pile on a table against the opposite wall of the shop. The engine might be frustrating me, but I still had enough geek in me that delving into the electronics side of the repairs was my element.
"Nah ah, not until we have the engine working."
"But daaad, the stereo's one of the two most important parts of the car!" The other being working heat and A/C, of course.
"Aaaaawww," I whined as I sulked my way back over to the pile of greasy black steel that awaited me.
With the bolt gone and the casing out of the way, though, it was surprisingly easy for me to find my way through the carnage and clean things up.
"How's that, Dad?"
He smiled as he looked over my handiwork. "Very good, sweetheart," he said, kissing my forehead. "You make your father proud."
I beamed as I finished cleaning up my tools and shoved everything out of the way, to resume the next day.
"Oh, dear," Mom said as soon as Dad and I walked up the stairs from the garage into the kitchen. "Not again. Sweetie, that's the third pair of jeans you've ruined this month!"
I looked down and fought back another round of cursing as I noticed the huge gash across my right knee where some unknown part had ambushed me. From the looks of it I was lucky it was just my jeans, but these had been my last pair of work jeans, and the theater didn't pay enough for me to keep buying new clothes all the time.
"I didn't mean to!"
"*sigh* I know, honey. You just need to be more careful is all," she said as she crouched down and examined the rip. "We should be able to patch this up without too much trouble. I'll finally have an excuse to show you some of the sewing you've been missing out on."
"I can't tonight, though," I told her as I made my way for the sink in the corner, where we kept the orange scrubbing-soap for cleaning off grease. "I've got a date with Joey."
Mom smirked as she returned to the paperwork she had been doing at the table. "You two are getting really close."
I giggled, a dreamy look on my face as I thought about Joey. "Yeah."
My dad gave me an icy stare as he joined me at the sink. "You two are using protection, right?"
"Hey! I wasn't born yesterday, and you may not think we noticed you walking funny after the prom--"
"-But I'm a practical man." Just the slightest twitch marred his stony expression. "Just promise me you're being safe."
I could feel my face burning as I mumbled that yes, we were being safe. Not that it mattered, since I couldn't get pregnant even if I wanted to, but that was a whole different depressing subject.
"Good," he said, after a moment's silence. "Make sure you're home by nine."
"We're going down to Arnold's to pick up the new transmission tomorrow. He owes me a favor, so we're getting it cheap, but we have to be there bright and early in the morning. No buts."
"That's my girl," he said with a smile, giving me a quick hug before wrinkling his nose and stepping back. "Now go take a shower unless you think Joey is fond of Eau de Axle Grease."
"Ugh!" I groaned in disgust as I pushed past him and headed up the stairs for my bedroom.
I couldn't stay upset for long, though. I grinned as I imagined what Joey's expression would be like the first time I drove up to State to visit him, in the car my dad had helped me build.
Welp, that's it readers! I hope you enjoyed it, and again, anyone who enjoyed this and hasn't yet should read Melanie Brown's series of stories, "The Reluctant Girlfriend," "The Reluctant Cheerleader," "The Reluctant Sister," and "The Reluctant Prom Date."
Read and comment, people! Maybe if we're vocal enough about liking her stories she'll give us more!
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