The Good Woman

"Excuse me," he said to the feet poking out from under the red Cortina, "I don't suppose you could take a look at my SUV up the road?" Boots wiggled an answer he couldn't quite translate into English. "Only I think my camshaft has hit one pothole too many."

Boots became knees with a metallic knock and what might have been a muffled curse. It was difficult to judge whether there was an actual head and arms attached to the blue overalls: he'd had more intelligible responses from weevils. "I'll make it worth your while." Now why had he said that with only a fiver in loose change jangling in his pocket? He'd have to phone Ianto and put up with the quiet superiority in the Welshman's voice as he explained how he'd totalled the car and could he please have some pocket money for the nice mechanic to fix the shiny black precious.

Knees rose up off the ground and a pair of tight slim buttocks slid into view. That was more promising. Very pert. Jack wondered if the boy was old enough to be legal. The crotch looked very baggy so probably not. "I'm Jack, by the way."

"Bob," said a voice as its owner appeared from beneath the vehicle, face streaked with grease. The figure stood up and removed a grubby baseball cap from its head releasing a waterfall of blonde locks.


She sniffed. "It's Roberta actually but none of the guys around here call me that."

Ah. He remembered the placard over the doorway. "Robert A's Garage."

"Ignorant dick of a sign-writer. But that's internet ordering for you." Button bright eyes peered up at him from a height of five feet nought, snub nose wrinkling as the sunlight brought in stray pollen from the fields outside. She smelled of diesel, axle grease, and WD-40 yet beneath the thin grimy film she radiated a certain electric exuberance. "I've been meaning to get it replaced for years."

"You know you're the spitting image of that woman from the sitcom about sustainable living."

Eyes rolled in mock horror. "Next time I hear that particular line I will spit… If I had a quid for every time someone called me Felicity…" Then narrowed at him. "You're not going to follow that by commenting on my boyish figure are you?"

The thought evaporated. "I was hunting for something witty about recycling and maintenance."

A half smile appeared. "Are you into self sufficiency?"

"Not when it comes to sex."

They both laughed.

She bent down to an open tool box and swapped a mole wrench for an ordinary spanner. "Would that be a genuine come-on line?" Her eyes were cornflower blue with mischief.

"I can't resist the lure of my oil being drained."

"Then perhaps I ought to clean up and take off my overalls," she said, "and prove I do have breasts under here. Otherwise I might think you're one of those who only finds me attractive because he thinks I'm a man." His momentary hesitation made her look back up. "Oh," he heard her say sadly. "It is like that, is it?"

"Actually," Jack replied, "how about losing the dungarees and keeping the war paint?" The stripes under her eyes made her look like a cartoon Squaw.

"I'll make you a deal," she said, hands on her hips. "I'll be Hiawatha if you promise not to turn into Mini Ha-Ha." The spanner glinted in her small fist. "I'm not having my tools turn out to be bigger than yours."

He bent down slowly and planted a kiss on the end of her nose. It left a smudge of clean skin behind. "That's a challenge I'll happily rise to."