Risking Heartbreak

Chapter Four

Melanie spent the second half of May and the first part of June doing her best to get over what had happened. She kept herself busy and did her best to keep Richard out of her thoughts. She felt like she’d done a pretty good job of it but hadn’t had a way to test it out because she hadn’t seen him since the day he’d went with her to look at houses.

One of the main reasons that she hadn’t seen Richard since that day was because she’d been avoiding any social settings with her parents. They’d had another barbeque two weeks before and she’d made up an excuse not to go. She’d also avoided going over to watch any sporting events at her parent’s house because of the risk of seeing Richard. She hadn’t been enjoying doing as much avoiding as she was but she knew being around Richard wasn’t going to allow her to stop whatever was going on.

When Michael called her on a Friday evening mid-June she was worried he had a suspicion of what was going on. He didn’t tell her what he wanted to talk to her about over the phone and instead asked her to come to his shop. She promised that she’d be by the shop bright and early the next morning to talk to him.

Melanie woke up and went to the gym with Erica at five on Saturday morning. After going back to her apartment to get a shower and after having breakfast with Angela and Jenna she headed for Michael’s shop. It was barely five minutes after eight when she pulled her car into a parking space in front of the shop.

Avoiding the front door that led to the office, Melanie went around the side to walk in through the shop doors. There were already two cars in the shop, one SUV and one vintage sports car, and both were being worked on. Melanie scanned her eyes over the area around the SUV and spotted her youngest brother, Stephen.

“Hey, Steve,” she said as she walked up to the white vehicle.

Stephen looked over and a smile spread across his face. “Mel!”

“You’re stuck on the not fun car huh?”

Stephen’s shoulders rose and fell. “You know how it is. I have to work my way up to the cool cars.”

“If he can hack it,” Kevin said as he walked up to join the pair.

“Which still remains to be seen,” James added.

“You two leave him alone. He’s doing just fine and he’ll get there. Should we bring up the time when you two were working your way up through the shop?”

Melanie had a distinct relationship with each of her brothers. Each of the Watkins siblings had developed their own distinct personalities as they’d grown. The difference in personalities had inevitably led to the distinct relationships that Melanie shared with her brothers.

When they were younger it had been as if she and James were two halves of the same person. Even when they fought they didn’t want to be far away from each other. That all started to change when they got to high school and each found their own friends and interests and they drifted apart somewhat. They each developed into their own individuals and their opinions began to clash. Even though they still had a special bond with each other things had changed from when they were young.

Kevin, on the other hand, had always enjoyed getting under her skin and went out of his way to irritate her. Melanie tried her best not to let Kevin get to her but she failed more often than she succeeded. She enjoyed spending time with her younger brother but he was the last person in the family that she confessed anything to.

Things where different with Stephen. Melanie had a special bond with her youngest brother. Because he was the youngest he’d grown up with constant teasing from both the older boys. Melanie had always been the one to stand up for him and always helped him when ever he needed it. Even now that he was nineteen she still felt the need to defend him from James and Kevin. Over the years it led to Melanie being Stephen’s favorite sibling and when he needed advice or help and he couldn’t go to his parents he went to his sister.

“So why are you here at eight in the morning?” James asked as he cleaned his hands off with a shop towel.

“Dad wanted to talk to me about something.”

“Well he’s making a deal. A big deal from what I’ve heard,” Stephen said as he motioned towards Michael’s office.

A smile tugged at the corners of Melanie’s lips. “I’m going to go find out what it is. Keep up the good work, Steve.” She moved her eyes onto James and Kevin. “Later losers.”

Melanie made her way to her father’s office, several different questions running through her mind. Michael’s door was closed and the blinds on the window had yet to be opened. Melanie knew those were both signs he was making a deal for a car so that coupled with her brothers’ comments had her interest peaked.

She didn’t bother knocking on the door before she walked into the office. Knocking would only interrupt any phone calls or conversations he was having and she didn’t want to do that. As soon as she was inside the office she quietly shut the door behind herself and turned so she could look at her father.

Her eyes didn’t make it to her father. Instead they landed on the figure sitting in the chair across from her father and her heart sped up. She’d been working to avoid this moment for a month and here she was. The last person she’d expected to see was Richard yet she was looking him directly in the eyes.

She sunk into the chair beside him and leaned over the chair’s so she was closer to him. “What’s going on?” Her voice was a whisper.

“No clue. Your dad just called me and said to get down here right away he needed help. He’s been on the phone the entire time I’ve been here.”

They both turned their attention to Michael as the tone of his conversation began to indicate it was almost over. As soon as the call had ended he stood up to give Melanie a hug . She stood up and walked around Michael’s desk to greet her father. “We’ll talk as soon as I tell Richard why I needed him down here right away.”

“Okay Dad.” Melanie returned to the chair, desperate to know what the deal was.

“I need you to go get a car for me,” Michael said to Richard without bothering with small talk.

“It better be a damn good car for you to call me down here at seven thirty on a Saturday morning to go get it.”

A smile spread across Michael’s face. “Oh it’s a good car. It’s a nineteen sixty-eight Shelby Mustang GT500. Convertible.”

Excitement surged through Melanie’s veins. She’d been waiting her hear her father say those words for the past decade. Since her teenage years she’d wanted to see one of those cars in person and actually be able to touch it.

“Where is it at?” Richard’s voice was interested now.

“Its just outside of Dallas. I’d go get it myself but I really need to be around here today because we’ve got customers coming in this afternoon that I have to be here to talk to.”

“I can go get it no problem. Did you already pay the owner?”

“Yes. I transferred the funds. He already knows you’re coming and he’s waiting on you. His name is Rupert Clements and here’s his address.” Michael handed Richard a piece of paper with an address and directions written on it.

“Can I go?” Melanie asked, suddenly feeling just like a child again.

“I don’t care. If Richard’s fine with it go for it. But you can’t keep the car.” Michael turned to look at his daughter.

“I’d appreciate some help getting the car on the trailer,” Richard said as he looked over at Melanie.

“In, not on,” Michael corrected. “Take the enclosed one so nothing happens to the car.”

“I’ll go start getting things ready.” Melanie stood up and left the office, in a hurry to get onto the road.

Richard joined Melanie shortly after she left the office. They worked in silence to get the truck and trailer ready for the nearly three hundred mile drive. Between the two of them it didn’t take long to get things ready. “Is Dad going to be here when we get back?” Melanie asked as they prepared to climb into the truck.

“No. I’ve got a key to the shop though so as soon as we get back we’re supposed to put it in the shop. You ready?”

“Whenever you are.”

“Lets go them. We’ve got a long drive.”

Melanie climbed into the passenger’s seat and tried to steady her breathing. Now that Richard was in the truck and barely a foot away from her the feeling was starting to come back. She hadn’t had much time to think about it since walking into her father’s office but now her mind was free. It was just starting to hit her that she was about to spend all day alone, in a small, enclosed space with Richard.

They remained silent until Richard merged onto the interstate heading out of San Antonio. By that point he was settled in from the rush of being sent on a trip half way across the state at the last minute and was ready for the drive. “So have you heard anything about the house you put a bid in for?”

Melanie beamed. “They took it. I’m just waiting on the loan to close now.”

“That’s great news!”

“Yeah, I’m really excited.” She paused and turned her head towards Richard. “Thanks for letting me come with you.”

“Not a problem. I wasn’t expecting you to offer but I’m kinda glad you did.”

“Well there’s no way I’m missing out on seeing the one model of Mustang I’ve been waiting to see for ten years.”

“You’re a mustang girl?”

“Hell yeah. You haven’t seen what I drive have you?”

“I don’t think so. Why? Is it a mustang?”

“A gray two thousand ten model. Its not top of the line or super badass but it’s a mustang that I could afford at the time.”

Richard grinned. “You still seem to like it though. Was it you or James that begged your dad for an old one when you started driving? I remember him saying one of you was begging for one.”

“Me. I wanted the mustang, James wanted a camero. That’s why you don’t raise kids around cool cars.”

Richard laughed and glanced at Melanie through the corner of his eye. It felt like there were a million thoughts running through his head at once again. He’d hoped the month of not seeing her would change things but it didn’t feel like it had. He still wanted to reach over and touch her just to see how it would feel to have his skin come in contact with hers. He wondered if it would feel like the night they kissed or if he was just stuck on what had only happened once. Then another question popped in to his head and it was one he didn’t want to think about at all.

Melanie steered the conversation back to cars. She questioned what his favorite cars were as well as what cars he’d had in the past. For the most part she asked the questions because they kept Richard talking and that was what she wanted. She was enjoying the sound of his voice and just wanted to keep it going.

About an half way through the drive, Richard decided to start asking questions. He tried to make his voice sound as normal as possible and remove any indication that he really cared about the answer from his voice. “So have you had any more bad dates?”

“A few dates,” Melanie said, rearranging herself in the seat. “they weren’t bad though. My friends have set me up on about five but not one of them asked me if I’m a hooker.”

Richard forced a chuckle out. “You going to see anyone of them again or have you already seen them again?”

Melanie’s attention perked up when she heard the tone in Richard’s voice. She was sure there was something underlying the question that he didn’t want to say and it made her wonder. For a second she wondered if he was going through the same thing she was but quickly pushed that thought out of her mind. “Nah. They were nice guys and all but none of them really interested me that much.”

Out of the corner of his eye Richard saw Melanie attempt to stretch her legs. “You wanna stop for a minute and walk around?”

“We don’t have to if you want to keep going.”

“I’d actually like something cold to drink. It won’t add too much time onto the trip. Plus we could use some more gas.”

“Sounds good then.”

After their stop they continued toward Dallas. The rest of the ride was pleasant and Melanie and Richard were both enjoying talking to each other. Melanie was thankful that even as she was trying to break being attracted to him that it was still easy to talk to and be around him, even if it wasn’t helping her get over what had happened. She’d feared that things might become awkward but that just wasn’t the case.

They made it to pick up the car around the time Richard had estimated being there. It didn’t take long to get the car loaded and get back on the road. The first three hours of the trip back went smoothly. They stopped for gas around the half way point and planed to drive straight to San Antonio without stopping. Their plan was disrupted when they hit a traffic jam in Austin that brought their drive to a standstill for an hour and a half. After a stop for dinner outside of Austin their trip was delayed enough that it was nearing ten o’clock when they pulled up to Michael’s shop.

“You wanna go get the shop door opened?” Richard asked, tossing the keys to Melanie over the bed of the truck.

“Yeah. Are you going to open the trailer up?”

“Yeah so we can finally get this car out of here.”

After getting the car unloaded and the trailer put back in its usual spot, Melanie and Richard took the opportunity to go over the car. Close to fifteen hours after their trip had started, Melanie and Richard found themselves alone in the quiet, empty shop.

As Melanie inspected the car with a smile, Richard stayed back several feet with his eyes trained on her. His mind was once again swimming with questions about his own emotions. The long trip was beginning to take a toll on him and he felt less in control than he had all day. He wasn’t trying to suppress the thoughts anymore and found himself wondering if that night really had just been a one time thing. Maybe he was feeling this strange attraction towards Melanie just because of the left over questions from that night. He realized the thought might be ridiculous but at the same time he prayed it was true. He didn’t want to torture himself by being around someone he knew that he shouldn’t want but did want.

He cleared his throat and caught Melanie’s attention. She looked over and he couldn’t stop himself from asking the question that had plagued him since earlier that day. “So why did you agree to go on all those dates your friends set you up on? Are you looking for a relationship?”

Melanie felt the air in the shop change. “No, I’m not looking for a relationship.”

“Then why? Just for the fun of it?”

Melanie shook her head from side to side. “No. You really want to know the reason why?”


A sigh escaped from her lips. “To try and get you off my mind. Ever since that night things have just been different. I never felt any type of pull or anything like that towards you until you grabbed my arm to keep me from falling then kissed me. Now its like every time I see you my heart is beating out of my chest and all I can think about is how I want to kiss you again.”

Richard let out a laugh and Melanie’s stomach felt as if it had fallen to her feet. Richard noticed the look on her face and felt his own stomach drop. “Melanie, I’m not laughing at you. I’m just relieved I’m not the only one.”

Melanie’s head snapped up. “Its been happening to you too?”

“Yes. And I really want to know if its just carried over from that night or if it’s a real problem that needs to be dealt with.” Richard moved closer to her. “And to be honest I’d really like to kiss you again.”

Melanie’s heart kick started for what she guessed was the hundredth time that day. Logic was telling her not to let him do it. She knew that this wasn’t a good idea and she knew nothing good would come out of a second kiss. “Then do it.”

Richard pressed his lips against hers and it felt exactly the same as last time except this time there was no delay in Melanie kissing him back. His lips moved over hers slowly and Melanie’s moved in sync with his, not fighting him at all. When he pulled away she drew in a deep breath and looked him in the eye. His brown eyes didn’t reveal anything to her but her blue eyes told him that if she wanted anything it was for him to kiss her again.

Neither of them hurried to move away. For several minutes they stayed in exactly the same position without saying anything. Finally, Richard said, “Yeah it wasn’t a one time thing.”

“No it wasn’t. Now where do we go from here?”

“We should stay away from each other and not let anything happen.” A smile tugged at the corner of his lips. He’d never been the type to do something just because it was what he should do. “How do you feel about going out to dinner with me tomorrow night?”