Hard Working Hero (Hard Working Hero 1)

Page 11

“That's why I'm here, to get this done and go back to my life.” I can feel him eyeing me, but I glance away. I don't want him thinking that what happened yesterday opens the door to anything.
He stands still for a long second, then picks up the sander, and attempts to bring it to me. I move away, not letting him get close, circling to the other side of the table.
“I need to show you how to use it,” he says.
“I'm pretty sure I can figure it out.” Holding out my hand, I flip my fingers. “Just let me see it.”
“Not a chance. These need to be done right, and I'd feel better if I just show you first.”
“Fine, then show me.” I cross my arms over my chest and hug myself tight.
“I need you to come closer.” Oliver lays the sander on the wood as he keeps his eyes on me.
“I'm fine right here, I can see.”
He stands up straight, tilting his head as he asks, “What's wrong? Afraid of me now?”
I furrow my brows, my eyes turning to slits. “Will you just show me already so we can get this done? I don't want to waste my entire day here.”
“Wow. Waste it, huh? Yesterday you couldn't get enough, but today you're too good to be here. That's really nice. I'm happy you're showing your true colors.”
“I'm not showing anything, I am who I am. Look, let's just get to work and make these cabinets.”
“You mean let’s remake the cabinets you destroyed, because that's why you're here, remember? Because you drove your car over the ones I already made.”
“I'm here because my father is forcing me to be, otherwise I'd be doing something better with my time.”
Oliver's lips thin as he leans forward, resting his bear sized hands on the table. The very edge of his lip pulls back angrily, his pupils turning to pinpricks. “Who the hell are you to—” He cuts himself off as the door opens forcefully, and a man comes storming through.
“Mr. Coolen,” he says, his tone changing drastically pleasant. “What can I do for you?” He's level, the anger almost gone completely, but I can still hear the faint edge of his sharp voice.
“What can you do for me? What can you do for me? How about you start by doing the job I hired you for,” the man snaps, his fists clenched at his sides. “My wife and I hired you to install a deck around our new pool, but I haven't heard from you in two weeks.” Mr. Coolen crooks his jaw, veering his stare at Oliver.
He doesn't even look in my direction. I don't even think he's noticed me at all. All his anger and rage are focused on Oliver. There's a thick vein in his neck that's bulging out from under the skin. His hands open and close at his sides, and I can hear his teeth grinding down against each other.
Oliver steps out from behind the table and walks toward him as he bounces a hand in the air. “Mr. Coolen, we talked about this. You and your wife want Bubinga wood. I have to special order that type of wood, and it takes a few weeks to get here.”
“This is unacceptable!” His voice bellows through the workshop, vibrating against the steel walls. “We paid you for a service.” His lids widen to expose all the white of his eyes. Small red veins spider their way across the sea of white like a river.
“Look, I'm going to give you what you want, I'm a man of my word and stand by what I say. But I need you to be patient, there's nothing I can do to make it get here faster. If you want to hire someone else, be my guest, but they're going to tell you the same thing.”
“Is this how you run your business? You agree to do a job and then fail to come through? Do you want me to destroy your reputation? Is that what you want? I'll have my lawyers here so fast you won't know what hit you.”
“Sir, I'm not—”
“Excuse me,” I snap, cutting Oliver off, “what the hell do you think you're doing?” I can't stop myself. I blurt it out before I even have the chance to pick my words wisely.
“Who the hell are you?” he asks, whipping his head in my direction.
“Me? Who the hell do you think you are? You came storming in here, demanding magic, and this man gave you a reasonable answer a second time.”
“Narissa, I got this,” Oliver says, trying to regain control of the situation.
I'm not having it though. This man is rude and has no right to come in here and talk like this to Oliver.
“No, this man needs to stop acting like you screwed him over.” My eyes move from Oliver back to Mr. Coolen. “Oliver is the best damn carpenter in the state, and if he gives you his word, he means it. Now, you can go find someone else, but guess what? You'll get a bullshit line, telling you what you want to hear, and then you'll end up with a deck made of shitty wood that's lopsided and buckled beneath your feet. Is that what you want? You want a piece of shit deck?”