I watched every movement of her hands until the wires were connected.
“All set. You should be good to go. Wanna test it?”
“I trust you.” Truth was, I didn’t want to get in the car and leave just yet. Instead, I stalled. “Where did you learn to do all this?”
“It’s kind of a secret.”
We both leaned against the truck.
She flinched when I lifted my hand to her face and swiped my finger along her cheek. “You had a ton of grease right there,” I said.
“So, what do you mean…a secret?”
“I have this friend, Adelaide. She owns a car repair shop. I was actually going to visit her when I passed you on the road.”
“She taught you how to fix cars?”
“Yeah. My parents…they don’t like me going over there at all. They think I’m going to visit another friend when really, I go see Adelaide and hang out with her and the other mechanics. They all taught me everything I know.”
“Why don’t your folks like you hanging out there?”
“It’s kind of a long story.”
“I have time. Let’s go sit on the grass.”
What was I doing? I was so late in getting to Elle’s. But I wasn’t ready to leave this girl. She fascinated me. We both sat down, and she started to open up.
“My parents just don’t think that Adelaide shares the same values as they do. And they don’t think that fixing cars is a suitable career for a woman.”
“I think it’s badass.”
“How old are you, anyway?”
“Twenty,” she said. “How old are you?”
“We’re the same age. I’ll be twenty-one in a week, though.”
“Thanks.” I picked at the grass. “Thank you for fixing my truck and for trusting me with your secret.”
“Well, we’ve known each other for like…a whole forty-five minutes, after all.” We both laughed. Her smile lit up her entire face and when it faded, it was like the sun going down. She continued, “So, anyway, I feel really badly about lying to my parents, but I just feel like they’re wrong, you know?”
“What they don’t know won’t hurt them. You’re not hurting anyone by doing what you love and being around people that make you happy.”
“Adelaide and her friends…they’re good people.”
“I have no doubt. Your parents sound unreasonable, kind of like my stepmother. You’re not doing anything wrong. Don’t ever believe that.”
“That’s what I try to tell myself. I just hate keeping secrets.”
“Everyone has secrets.”
“Tell me one of yours.” Her words were abrupt and caught me off guard. Her eyes were searing into mine with a patient curiosity.
I’m heading to the house of the girl I’m going to marry. I’m supposed to be starting a new life right now, but all I want to do is stay here on the dirt and talk to you until darkness falls. How’s that for a secret?
I definitely couldn’t tell her that. And let’s face it; we could have had a field day with the possible answers to her question. My life was a smorgasbord of inappropriate and bad things kept secret.
“Hmm…gosh, I don’t even know where to begin.” I chuckled and looked up at the sky, thinking long and hard about what to tell her. “Okay. So…since I was about thirteen, I’ve been drawing these pictures.”
“Yeah…um…” I hesitated. “Pictures of women. Not distasteful. They’re just drawings of the female form.”
Her face turned red. “They’re…naked?”
“Yeah. You think I’m a big pervert now?”
She burst out laughing. “No, I didn’t say that. I guess it would just depend on the context.”
Over the next several minutes, I told her the story of finding the sketch of my mother and how the drawing all started.
“That’s more like art,” she said.
“Exactly. But I still had to hide it because my stepmother would have kicked me out of the house or gotten me exorcised or something,” I joked. “So, anyway…see? We all have secrets.”
Her reaction made me feel relieved, like I wasn’t crazy. Still, I’d never told anyone about my hobby or how it started.
“Thank you for sharing that with me.”
“Well, you make me want to share things with you for some reason. I don’t know. You seem…familiar to me or something. I’m not used to this.”
“Yeah. Me, neither. Actually, I’m not even allowed to be talking to guys unless they come preapproved.”
“Well, I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.”
“Okay.” The smile on her face was so beautiful it hurt. When the sunlight caught the gold speckles in the brown of her eyes, I had to look away to grab my bearings.
I never even asked her name. But what’s the point? I needed to leave.
I just want to know her name.
Then, I’ll leave.
“We know each other’s secrets, but we haven’t even exchanged names. What’s yours?”
She hesitated then said, “Sienna.”
“Sienna? That’s nice.”