Cheesy on the Eyes by Teagan Hunter Page 0,1

this time by my confession, and they continue making their way to the front of Slice.

I turn my attention to the books spread out in front of me.

I’ve been sitting here for the last hour and a half crunching numbers, triple-checking all the figures.

Some might say I’m a bit of a workaholic, and they’d be right. Running an auto shop when you’re not even thirty is no small feat. Now add in being a woman in a male-driven industry.

To put it bluntly: it’s damn hard.

But it’s worth it for me because there is no doubt in my mind I was born to do this.

I distinctly remember the first time I held a tool. Okay, maybe not the first time, but I remember the time that changed me.

I was six, my dad had taken me out to grab hot dog buns for dinner, and we blew a tire on the side of the road. No big deal to change a tire. It’s a simple task, but one that’s exceedingly difficult to accomplish with a six-year-old kid who won’t stop whining.

“It’s hot. I’m bored. Can I play in the field?”

“No!” he shouts, and I flinch at his outburst. “Sorry,” he says, scrubbing a hand over his head. “Sorry, peanut. Daddy is just…a little frustrated. These old lug nuts aren’t wanting to cooperate, and we need to get home before Mommy notices how long we’ve been gone. I don’t need her hollerin’ at me again.”

I blink up at him. “Is Mommy mad at you? Like that time we ran out of diapers for Jonas and he kept poopin’ everywhere and you tied one of her fancy dish towels around him to catch it?”

He laughs. “No, she’s not mad, but she will be if I don’t finish this.”

“Can I help?”

“You want to help?” I nod. “Well, hell. If it keeps you busy…” he mutters. “Okay, peanut. Here, take this.”

He sets a heavy, weird-looking thingamajig in my hand.

“What is it?” I ask. My lisp from my missing teeth makes me sound like a baby again, and I am not a baby anymore. I haven’t been a baby for a long time now.

“That’s called a tire iron.”

“Tire iron?” I curl my fingers around it, eying it, trying to figure out what exactly I’m holding.

It looks like a big L, and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing with it.

“What’s it do?”

“All kinds of things. Want me to show you?”

I nod again, and he motions for me to scoot closer.

As I kneel on the ground next to him, the grass squishing under my knees, my dad takes the tire iron and puts it over some knob-looking thing.

“What’s that? What are you doing?”

“These,” he says, pointing to one of the knobs, “are call lug nuts. They’re tight and I need to loosen them up so I can take them off. You use the tire iron to do it. I’m not having much luck though. I usually have a power tool to help me, so I’m a little out of practice doing this on my own.”

“Are you using your muscles?”

He puffs his chest out. “Of course I am. I ain’t called Super Dad for nothing.”

“Who calls you Super Dad? Does Jonas?”

He grumbles something, but I don’t understand him. “Here, help me give this thing a shove.”

My dad fits the tire iron over the lug nut and pushes hard. Nothing happens.

“Well?” He looks at me, brows raised. “Are you just gonna stare, or are you gonna use your muscles?”

So I did. I got in there, giving the tire iron as big a push as my six-year-old muscles could muster.

And it moved.

I had never felt so powerful before.

After helping my dad take the rest of the lug nuts off and replace the tire, I decided right then that one day I would be the one to change the tire all on my own.

I asked my dad a million questions on the rest of the ride home and he answered every single one with enthusiasm, a prideful glint in his eyes at my interest in something he so obviously loved.

From that day on, I became his little shadow, following him around his shop and learning how to do anything and everything related to vehicle repair.

His passion turned into mine.

It never dawned on me to work anywhere other than Schwartz Auto. It felt like home. It still feels like home.

“Oh my gosh, Jaden. You are so bad!”

I bristle at the name the girl just practically cooed, my eyes shooting straight toward