Jody had raised a brow when I’d told him I wasn’t in the mood to go to the lake with everyone.
I declined mainly because after seeing the thing at night, I’d resolved to get quite a few shots in the next time everybody decided to take their partying down there really late. My camera was around my neck and I was adamant on taking some photo’s that morning. It wasn’t often that I left the city and the vacation was only for a week so doing a little venturing of my own felt like a good idea.
I was glad when Jody didn’t take offence to my declination after I explained this to him. And when another few cases of beer had been taken out of the cooler and I checked my tattered wristwatch, I was glad I had declined.
I decided to take the trail I’d noticed when Jody and I first arrived. It disappeared off into the forest and I knew I was bound to find something cool. I’d heard owls a couple of times the previous night and I was sure if I snapped a sleeping one Mr. Hendricks would be in awe.
Don’t they sleep in holes in tree trunks or something? I wasn’t sure, but anything wild-lifey would be a good change from my norm.
Grateful that I didn’t have to walk far to get a great shot, I lifted the camera and held it still. It felt weird not having to check my aperture. Or my shutter-speed. And so I snapped.
He must’ve heard the snap because he suddenly moved out from underneath the car. Or maybe it was the sound of soil crushing beneath my shoes.
He was on the ground, shirtless and propped up on his elbows. I took another picture and then he laughed.
The first photograph of Bradley half underneath a big, rusted red van was awesome. I knew it would look amazing black and white. Like a mechanic working on his own priceless pile of junk. It would definitely get me the marks I needed when classes commenced next year. And then the second picture?
That one was mine.
“So you weren’t kidding,” Bradley said, rising to his feet. His muscle moved with him.
“The photographer thing,” Bradley touched my camera, “I know dozens of people who claim they are. Taking a few good pictures with your cell phone doesn’t make a person one. But this...”
I grinned as Bradley marveled at the gadget around my neck.
We had spent more time talking about stuff that morning. Just things in general. And I’m glad we did too. Because the more he spoke, the more I realized he was just another good looking guy. You know the type. Thinking he’s god’s gift to everyone even though his jokes couldn’t even make a kitten purr.
I’ve never liked arrogant. And that’s what Bradley was. Nothing like Jody, who was calm and mysterious of sorts. That’s exactly what I liked.
And I must admit that I’d shared quite a bit with Bradley, but that was only because unlike Jody, he asked more questions than he enjoyed answering.
And why the hell was I comparing the two of them anyway.
Bradley was wearing a pair of faded jeans, there was a rip in them but I was pretty sure it wasn’t self-made like mine. His arms and hair were a little sanded. After lying on the ground underneath that car, I’m sure the rest of the back of him was too.
Even more so.
I decided not to look at anything else but his eyes.
“Painting from real life still images is so much better than winging it,” I shrugged, dusting his arms casually.
I swear, that was all I was going to dust. And the only reason I did was because it looked pretty uncomfortable wearing all that sand. It was kinda annoying me too. And I needed to occupy myself from debating whether to take another picture of him. But even though I was initially going to dust only his arms, he turned around.
I wasn’t done with his arms yet. Damn it!
As Bradley rubbed the dry sand off his arms, I began on his hair. It was safe. Because his back? Well I’d prefer he take a shower.
It was way too … dangerous to touch. Not in my state, you know?
“I wouldn’t know,” Bradley said. “Only thing I’ve painted is my dad’s office walls with a roller.”
I chuckled, somewhat nervously.
“Aren’t you going under there again,” I said, just realising I was looking for an excuse to not touch him anymore. My mind was working in overdrive. Conjuring up stuff.
And I cursed teenage hormones.
“No,” He shrugged large shoulders, “You caught me at a good time actually. I needed to rev and have someone monitor the engine for me. Gonna help me out?”
“I was actually going to ask you what the hell you were doing down there.” I said carefully, running my hands down his back and focusing on the sand flying off. There was a thin trail of sweat right on his spine and it was making a mess of what I was doing. When he handed me the cloth that was hanging on the open hood of the vehicle, I had a feeling he’d done this before.
“Every time I come here I try my luck on this truck,” He chuckled a little. “Mr. McGregor said if you can move it, you can keep it.”
I was impressed with his superb impersonation of Mr. McGregor. That and the way his muscle flexed when I wiped him down.
My eyes snapped to his butt when he took it upon himself to dust the back of his jeans.
“I’ve been trying for years,” he continued, snapping me from my tiny zone.
“Is it a write-off?” I asked, glad that I knew at least something about cars.
”No such thing,” Bradley said, taking the cloth and tossing it after I handed it back to him.
Now, I’m not a snob. Far from it in fact. But after looking at the truck again, I started to wonder why anyone would actually make so much effort trying to put the rusted tin back on the road. Bradley was now standing beside me, and almost as if he was reading my mind, he laughed. I must’ve been making a weird facial gesture or something.
“I don’t intend on keeping it,” He grinned, walking to the driver’s side and hopping in. “I’ve seen a garage near by. They would pay loads for this if it moves.”
And that answered my question.
“You willing?” Bradley said loudly. I watched him through the windshieled, both hands on the wheel and with no doubt that his feet were ready on the peddles.
“Doubt I’ll be much help here,” I confessed. Because seriously, I suck at big machinery and things that move and all.
Bradley smiled and then nodded.
“Wanna switch?” he asked.
Fortunately, I’d been behind ma’s wheel long enough to actually know how to do that .
So I obviously didn’t decline.