I had no other choice than to shake his hand. Jen did the same.
“So, I saw you guys struggling out here and saw that you had a little one. Don’t worry, I’m not some crazy axe murderer, I just want to get you guys home safe.”
Once again, Jen and I exchanged glances. We were weary of this guy. Given our past, who wouldn’t be?
“Yeah that’s fine. We just live right up there,” Jen said, pointing in the direction of our apartment.
So now not only were we getting into a stranger’s car and now, said stranger knows where we live. Still hesitant, I stood back, watching Jen and Jordan load up the groceries in the back of his car. I put my load in and slowly got in the front seat as Jen and Vinnie got in the back. I quickly looked around the car, making sure there wasn’t any rope, tape or a gun to be found. I had seen my fair share of murder mysteries, I knew what to look for. I didn’t put my seatbelt on, just in case I had to make a quick exit. Clearly, that wouldn’t even be an option at this point because I couldn’t leave Jen and Vinnie. What did we get ourselves into?
“So, I have to ask: Why are you walking down the highway?”
“It’s a long story” I said quickly, not wanting to engage in conversation with a possible serial killer.
“Her car got stolen” Jen said, with no hesitation.
“Damn, that sucks. How long ago did it get stolen?”
“A few days ago,” I said, really wishing this guy would stop asking us question and just get us home.
“It’s not the first time it was stolen. She also had it stolen when she lived down in Cali.”
Jen just couldn’t stop. Next, she would tell him my social security number and probably tell him where I work. Did she want me to die? Finally, our apartment came into view and my rattled nerves settled a bit. Jordan pulled into the parking spot and started to get out.
“It’s fine. I think we got it. Thank-you for the ride.” I said, wanting for this day to be over already.
“I can grab some bags and help you guys up…it’s not a problem”
I looked over at Jen and she shrugged her shoulders.
“Ok, yeah that’s fine.”
We made it up the 3 flights of stairs. Exhausted, I flopped on the couch. Jen took Vinnie to the room to lay him down but not before she mouthed to me “Ask him if he wants a drink of water” I rolled my eyes at her. Something she was used to.
“Jordan, would you like some water or something” I said, less than enthusiastic.
“No, Im good but thank you” Unexpectedly, he sat down on the chair across from me.
I was not in the mood for conversation. My legs hurt, my hands permanently disfigured from the bags and my back felt like it had been hit with a hammer.
“So, I don’t think we have officially met. I didn’t get your name.”
“I’m Christin and I really appreciate the ride. It’s been a really long – “
Jordan cut me off.
“I get it. What kind of guy picks up strangers off the side of the road, right?”
He read my mind.
“Well, yeah. Do you pick up strangers on the side of the road often?”
“Honestly, I wouldn’t have but I saw the baby and felt bad for you guys.”
“Well, we made it home safe and sound. It’s getting late and I have work in the morning.”
“So where do you work?”
I didn’t know whether to tell him or not. Chances are if I didn’t, Jen would.
“That’s cool. I work down the road at Boeing.”
“Boeing, huh. How long have you been there?”
“Almost 6 years. My dad got me the job. He’s been there for over 30 years.”
“6 years? How old are you?”
“How old do I look?”
“I would say maybe like 22 or 23”
“26, but you know what they say.”. Black don’t crack.”
That made me laugh, maybe a little too hard. He smiled.
“You have a really nice smile”
“Thanks”, I said, embarrassed at the compliment.
The next 2 hours flew by. We talked about nothing and everything at once. I couldn’t get over what a gentleman he really was. Whether it was genuine or not would remain to be seen.
“Are you guys still talking?” Jen asked as she came out of the room.
“Yeah, Christin wouldn’t let me leave” Jordan said, with a grin on his face.
“Whatever” I said, rolling my eyes.
Jordan got up.
“I have to go, I have to be to work at 5am”
I got up to show him to the door. Jen was lingering in the kitchen, keeping a close eye on things.
“It was really nice to meet you, Christin. You too Jen.”
“Thanks again for the ride.” I said, while walking him out.
“So, would it be okay for me to ask for your number and maybe call you sometime?”
Well, chances are if he didn’t murder me by now, it wasn’t going to happen at all. Plus, he had a good job and manners, something I hadn’t seen much of lately.
“Sure” I gave him my number and he gave me a hug in return.
I walked back in to find Jen with her ear at the door and her eyes in the peep hole.
“Tell me everything”
Jen made herself and I a vodka and coke, we sat down and I filled her in.
“He seems like a really nice guy” I said. Jen wasn’t convinced. Probably because I said that about every jerk I had ever met. I wasn’t really convinced either.
Oddly enough, as I was wondering around the store parking lot, looking for my Jeep with the pink sticker on the back, I wasn’t convinced I would be able to give up chocolate either. And then it hit me. I had parked on the other side of the store. Quickly, I made my way to the other side of the parking and there it was: MY JEEP. My car wasn’t stolen today, thankfully. However, I never did get my car back when it was stolen about 16 years ago but what I did find unexpectedly, was on the side of the highway in the form of a genuinely, nice guy.