“Because,” Cara begins softly, “you said yourself yesterday that it doesn’t matter if you work hard. It doesn’t matter if you pass school, or if you fail. Today, I’m going to show you just a few of the reasons why it does matter.”
“I’ll pay you seven dollars an hour to wash those.” Ed gestures with his spatula. “That’s minimum wage.”
“I can wash some stupid dishes. It’s not hard.” Seth scowls and sets his jaw.
Ed’s lips twitch. “Okay, get started then.” Ed shows him how to work the nozzle and how to wash them properly, then leaves him to it. Cara and I stand to the side and watch. I can feel her body heat next to me. I glance down and tuck her hair behind her ear, smiling when she looks up at me in surprise.
“This one has a spot on it. Rewash it.” Ed hands a plate back to Seth, who scowls at him.
“It does not! It’s clean!”
“I say it’s not. Rewash it.”
I feel my hands clench. I want to argue with Ed—it looks clean to me—but I remind myself that they’re trying to teach my nephew a lesson.
Fuck, I hope he learns it.
Cara sighs beside me, flinching when she shifts her feet. I have a feeling it’s because her ass and inner thighs are sore from riding yesterday.
Without thinking, I reach down and cup her ass in my hand. “Are you sore?”
She gapes at me, looks over at Ed in a panic to make sure he’s not looking, which he’s not, and then gapes at me some more.
“Yes,” she hisses, and moves out of my grasp. “Stop that.”
Her face flushes as she clears her throat, crosses her arms under her round breasts, and unknowingly presses the fabric against them, showing me that her nipples are puckered.
Damn, I want to take her right here.
“I’m done,” Seth announces, his voice tight with anger.
“Here’s some more.” A waitress drops off a tub full of more dirty breakfast dishes, and Seth growls before pulling them out and washing them.
So it goes for the next hour, Seth washing and grumbling and Ed barking orders at him. Finally, at around nine thirty, Cara kisses Ed’s cheek and turns to Seth.
“Okay, I think we’re done here. Dry your hands.”
Seth quickly dries his hands and starts to walk out of the kitchen without a word to anyone, but Ed stops him.
“This is where you can thank me, son.”
“Thank you for what? You should thank me for washing those gross dishes.”
Before I can step in and remind Seth of his manners, Ed shakes his head and says sternly, “No, you can thank me for the seven bucks an hour.”
Seth just shrugs and nods and walks sullenly out to the car to sit in the backseat. “Are we going home now?”
“How was that?” Cara asks rather than answer his question as she pulls out of the parking lot.
“Okay.” She nods thoughtfully. “Was it as easy as you thought it would be?”
Seth shrugs and looks down at his feet.
“Answer my question, please.” Her voice is strong, leaving no room for disagreement.
He exhales as he drops his head back against the seat. “No, it wasn’t easy.”
“Was it something you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life?”
Seth’s eyebrows rise in surprise. “Not for the rest of my life!”
“Well then, an education might be a good thing to have, Seth.” She winks at him in the rearview mirror.
I glance back to find Seth with his jaw dropped, staring at Cara in shock.
Cara pulls the car to a stop at the curb in the heart of downtown, right in front of a law office. My longtime friend Ty Sullivan is a partner here.
“Are we going in to see Ty?” I ask Cara.
She smiles and nods.
“Why do I need a lawyer?” Seth asks, his voice suddenly scared.
“You don’t, but you might work for him for a little while.” Cara leads us into the air-conditioned building as Ty walks out of his office to greet us.
“Hey, man, good to see you.” Ty moves toward us, extending his hand out for mine.
“You too. We need to go shoot pool one night soon, catch up.” I grin and shake his hand.
“I’m up for that.” Ty smiles softly at Cara and kisses her cheek, and my defenses immediately go up, even though I know being jealous of my best friend is irrational and ridiculous. Still, I can’t help but wonder, are Ty and Cara an item? If they are, I haven’t heard about it. “Hey, Carolina.”
“Hey, Ty, thanks for this.”
He just shakes his head, and when he looks down at Seth, Ty’s eyes grow cold and his face gets tight. This is exactly how he looks in a courtroom.
“Yeah.” Seth’s voice is soft but still defiant. His eyes are large and he takes a step toward my side, which surprises the hell out of me.
“I’ve heard that you’re looking for a little work.”
“What can I do here? I’m just a kid!”
My thoughts exactly.
“Cara tells me you’re pretty smart. You know the alphabet, right?”
Ty narrows his eyes at him and waits for a different reply.
“Good, then you can do some filing. It’s important that you file them perfectly. If papers get lost, bad things happen and important people get really pissed off.”
“I can file.”
Ty nods and leads us into his office, where he has a stack of papers about two inches thick that need to be filed away.
I pull Cara back out to the hallway. “There could be sensitive files in there, Cara. Is this appropriate?”
“He assured me over the phone that there was no confidential information in the paperwork, and it’s a big enough pile to keep Seth busy for a while.” She smiles as she rests her hand on my arm. “Trust me.”
“How much do I get paid?” Seth asks.
“Seven bucks an hour, kid.”
“But this is a lawyer’s office!”
“You’re just filing, not saving someone from the death penalty,” Ty responds dryly. Seth settles in to work and Cara and I sit across from Ty at his desk.
“Can I listen to my iPod while I do this?” Seth asks hopefully.
Cara looks to me and I nod.
“Sure,” she responds.
Seth eagerly plugs in his earbuds and turns the volume up.
“How’s Jillian?” I ask Ty.