I had spent Sunday morning looking up facts on wolves and was absolutely certain I didn’t outrun any by the time I was done. Wolves are far too fast for any human to outrun, so whoever that guy was called them off. He must have wanted to scare me like I guessed earlier, which had me wondering how Evelyn knew him. I still felt lost thinking about it through work as I helped Howard Patterson with a bit of remodeling. Today, Monday, I felt as if i had an abundance of free time. Since I failed to realize my spring break was coming, I never changed the schedule on my website to show my true availability this week. All I had to worry about was catching track practice four days and a track meet on Thursday. I smiled as I imagined how I would likely end up at Emma’s house at least once this week.
Then, to my pleasant surprise, she called me just as I was thinking about her. “Man-slave! I know you don’t have school this week, and” I was already anticipating her asking me to come over when instead she finished with “I was wondering if friends were allowed to hire you. Not as my man-slave for today, but I found out some of my friends are coming to town. Being a tad immobile at the moment, I can’t really help them look around, and they’re determined to see some sights. Is there any way I can pay you to pick them up and show them around? ” I had to pause a moment and convince myself I was hearing her correctly. “If you want me to help you out, it’s not really a problem. I wouldn’t dream of charging you for this.” Then she paused for several seconds before replying. “Honestly, I think things will be better if you let me pay you for this. Would you mind?” She was far too talented at giving her voice that pleading sound.
“I honestly don’t like mixing my business with my personal life, but I’ll do it this time for you.” She sounded like she was excited and relieved at the same time. I felt like something strange was happening here. “Ok,” she said, “The girls are named Ai and Mai Drache. They’re half-Japanese, identical twins. Just be at gate thirteen by eleven o’clock to pick them up. Most likely, they’ll spot you before you spot them.” They would spot me first? “How would they spot me, Emma?” There was giggling on the other end of the line. Oh no. She didn’t. “I may have just texted the only picture I have of you to them.” She did. “Thanks, Emma. There’s nothing like starting off a job on the right foot. I’m sure you even labeled the picture ‘my man-slave’ when you sent it.” Laughing, she replied, “You are getting to know me! I’d totally give you a treat if you were here. The girls need a little excitement after a long flight, so don’t be upset with me.”
“Knowing that I don’t have a car, how am I to pick them up,” I asked. “Man-slave, I told you that I’m hiring you. You get to drive my new car!” I hadn’t ever been inside the purple garage and never considered that Emma might have a car. “New car? Actually, don’t tell me. I’ll see it when I get there.” Emma’s choice of decor had me shiver at the thought of driving her car. “Aww.. I promise that it’s very cute! So more about the twins.. The only way I’ve found to tell them apart is their eye color. Ai’s eyes are a slightly lighter shade of brown. I’m not sure how well you can get to know them in a day, but they tend to purposely confuse everyone about which is which. They’ll probably be wearing identical outfits and be giving the wrong name at random times, so I’m attempting to give you a fighting chance. You, sir, as my dutiful man-slave must show the girls a good time, take them wherever they wish to go, and resist their flirtations no matter what.”
“You’re purposely sending me out to spend time with girls you are certain will flirt with me but want me to resist them?” Emma might very well be the queen of mixed messages. “Exactly! Consider this a test of your loyalty, man-slave.” I had no clue what to think of this situation. Perhaps girls just enjoy playing with my head. My thoughts were interrupted by Emma saying, “James, I really appreciate you doing this for me. This truly is a huge, important favor to me. I’m going to pay you through your website. I’ll offer an amount and you can get around to debating it after you see what they put you through.” That was one of the few statements Emma had said to me since I met her which didn’t have a hint of humor. “Don’t worry,” I told her purposely trying to put a laugh in my voice. “I won’t drain your bank account completely.” She was laughing again when she answered, “Oh good. Thirty cents will be enough then.” Emma was truly a strange addition to my life.
After we finished conversing, I called up my coach to tell him that I’d be missing practice again. He was less than happy with the news and threatened to make me sit out at the meet on Thursday, but he did end up agreeing that work should come first. I then freshened up before heading over to Emma’s for the car. She greeted me at the door for once, hobbling along on her crutches, only to drop them and wrap her arms around me in an embrace. “Man-slave! You totally need to carry me to my room after I get to see what you think of my car! Careful with the leg!” I was going to pick her crutches off the ground for her, but I realized she wasn’t letting go quite yet. Instead, I carried her to the garage, let her open the door for us, and then took in the sight of her car, a hot pink Volkswagen Beetle. Judging by the spoiler, I was guessing it was a turbo-charged version, but I still felt that my manhood would be taking a hit by driving the thing.
Emma was giggling in my arms. “Isn’t it the cutest car you’ve ever seen? I can’t wait until I can drive the thing. You should feel special, getting to drive my car before me. You best get going though. To my room, man-slave!” I shook my head and carried her to her room, assuring her that the car was plenty cute in the process. “I just don’t know if that shade of pink is really me though.” She smiled, leaned up, and kissed my cheek. “I am rather certain that you can make any color look good. You may put me down now.” Mixed signals were flying through my head and not just from her. Part of me wanted to take advantage of the moment and kiss her. Another part warned me that I was better off doing as she said for now. Why did girls have to be so very confusing? “Considering that you’ve never seen my driving, I’m surprised that you aren’t worried about that paint job surviving the night,” I teased with a wink.
“If you can handle driving a Mercedes, I’m sure you’ll be fine with my little Beetle. Please do be careful though. The twins can be a handful.” I paused from turning toward the door and asked, “How did you know about the Mercedes I drove?” She rolled her eyes and responded, “Jarod. Duh. Do you think he can resist talking about a car?” I laughed, realizing I should have known. He definitely would never let that one go. I was surprised that he wasn’t begging to be Aaliyah’s next babysitter still. Perhaps I would be ready for a partner eventually, but I felt my business was still too young at this point. “I’ll make sure to stick any parts that fall off in the trunk. Try to behave until I get back.” She gasped as if in shock. “Man-slave, you would accuse me of misbehaving? I am most offended!” I smirked and waved as I headed out the door. Hopefully, the twins already knew what all they wanted to see. With no reasonable amount of prep time, Emma couldn’t expect me to be an expert tour guide.