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“So, what’s your deal?” I ask him.

“You don’t need to know,” he says.

I knew this guy was going to be a dick. I glance to his hands, which rest on his crotch. I clear my throat when he notices that I’m accidentally staring.

“I picked you up,” I say, annoyed.

“And I’m giving you money. It’s a fair trade,” he says, staring out the window.

“I don’t need your money,” I tell him angrily. I start to slow down the car. “And if you’re going to be an asshole to me, you can get out now.”

“Feisty,” he laughs and looks at me. He stares at my shirt, and I realize that two buttons are open. I quickly button them up and cover myself.

“You’re a real jerk,” I find myself saying.

“I don’t mind being a jerk,” he says. “It’s better than being a hoity-toity city girl.”

I actually start laughing, but it’s the kind of laughter you give when something really pisses you off. “City girl?!” I exclaim. “You have no idea how I grew up, asshole. I worked hard to get here.”

“Settle down,” he smiles. “I’m just messing with you. I’m sure you did work hard.”

“Is that some kind of joke?” I ask him. I glance at the tattoos on his arms and swallow hard. He’s probably around twenty-nine, I’m guessing, and his body is rock solid, like he lives at the gym or something. His eyes are dark and he’s got a perfect five o’clock shadow. Okay, he’s hot. I’ll admit it. It doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s a total prick.

“No joke,” he says. “Did you just finish college?”

I cough awkwardly. “Yeah, actually,” I say.

“Your mother proud?” he asks.

“Very,” I give a faint smile when I think about my mother. “She’s the one who encouraged me to come out here.”

“That’s sweet,” he says, and he actually sounds honest saying that. “Seriously, you’re lucky.”

“You have a mother somewhere?” I ask him.

“Somewhere,” he nods. “Where, I have no idea. But she’s out there. I can feel it.”

“I’m sorry for asking,” I say.

The car is quiet as we pull up to the town. I still have about five miles to go, into the forest, before I find my new place, but I’m not about to sit in a car with Bigfoot any longer. I still can’t believe he called me a city girl.

“Alright,” he says, before I can slow down, “this is my stop. Thank you, darlin’.”

He winks and steps out of the car, boots smashing against the dirt. In a way, he scares me, but at the same time, I come from a city of characters. Los Angeles is the place of freaks. I’ve seen people like him, so it’s no big deal. However, he almost seems like he’s being real, like he knows no other method of being a human, besides talking low and being bad. At least, that’s the impression I get.

As he lowers his head back into the car, so he can grab his bag, he touches my arm. Goose bumps rise across my body and I hopelessly look down again at his crotch. He sees me and laughs. “It’s an accident, buddy,” I say, rolling my eyes. “Anyway, have a nice life.”

“Hold on a minute,” he laughs. “I owe you twenty dollars and a dinner.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I groan. “I don’t need it. It’s fine.”

“Come on.” He smiles. For a guy like him, he has perfect white teeth and his bone structure is amazing.

Bone structure? Since when have I cared about something that trivial? I shake my head at him. “Look, I don’t know you and I really have to go,” I say, hurriedly.

“It’s just one dinner. I ain’t going to bite,” he says.

“Are you serious? You’re some stranger I picked up,” I say, with wide eyes. I don’t mean to be rude, but my heart is starting to beat faster, and I’m realizing that maybe I shouldn’t have picked up a stranger like him.

“Suit yourself then,” he says, slamming the door so hard the car starts to rock.

I roll the window down and look at him angrily. I can hear him laughing and it really ticks me off. He may be hot, or whatever, but you don’t treat a woman like that. “You know, you can be a little gentler, asshole!” I yell and drive away, feeling pretty good about standing up for myself.

I see him in my rearview mirror. He shakes his head and sits down on his bag before pulling out a large map. I pull off the main road and head where I need to go, and of course, I start to feel a little bad for the guy. Still, it’s not my fault he grew up a certain way and I didn’t. I can’t blame myself for that, can I?

“You did the right thing,” I tell myself. “You can’t take a stranger up on dinner, let alone some guy like him.”


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