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Each time she tried to inch the old Ford Mustang forward out of the garage and another gear ground with a high-pitched shriek, Gypsy cringed. She was going to ruin the vehicle at this rate, which would not be conducive to endearing herself to Mr. Johnson. Her culinary skills had been stretched to their limits with the meager supplies, and because he was rather meticulous in tending his own needs, other than spot-cleaning the downstairs, there hadn’t been much for her to do to impress him. Or convince him she was the right one for the job.
Taking a deep breath, Gypsy tried again. This time the car lurched forward, springing to life as her foot floored the pedal. Before she could get excited, utter fear washed over her when Hyde appeared in the direct path of the vehicle.
“Jesus Christ, fucking shitballs!” she screamed as she tried to sort out the brake.
The car stalled as it came to a stop about a foot from her boss. Her chest hurt where the seatbelt tightened across it. When she dared to look up, the livid expression on Hyde’s face was enough to make her dribble in her pants a little.
His hands came down on the hood of the car, and his words could be heard through the Ford’s windows as he yelled, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
Full of remorse, she took the keys from the ignition and then got out of the car. Her head was down as she walked forward. Gypsy winced when the keys were snatched from her hand.
“What did my car ever do to you?” The words, spoken so close to her face, sent warm air across her cheek.
Telling herself she had to make this right, that she couldn’t run away this time, Gypsy firmed her resolve and looked up into his dark eyes. Out here in the sunlight, she realized they were blue, not the brown she’d thought when seeing him inside, in the shadows.
“Are you going to answer me or stand there gawking?”
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Johnson. I just wanted to run to the Food Lion for some fresh ingredients to work with. And, well, I hadn’t realized your car was a stick. I’m afraid I never learned. I apologize if I woke you.” Hyde retreated a step, giving her some much-appreciated space, and Gypsy sucked in a breath.
Then, he started laughing.
“Of course, you can’t. I swear, Zeke and Connie never think things through when they start meddling. Why would they make sure the person who’s supposed to be my errand girl, or whatever, can drive? Oh, because that would make sense. Fucking hell. And that racket would’ve woken the dead.”
“I can drive,” she mumbled.
“What was that?”
“Technically, I can drive. An automatic.”
“If that helps you sleep at night, sweetheart.”