Title: Car Troubles
Sequel to: Familiar Issues
Universe: Magic!Verse Series
Characters: Chloe, Sebastian, off-screen Jo
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: When Chloe's car mysteriously breaks down on her way to St Cloud she calls for a tow to the town and meets Sebastian, whom she would realize has secrets of his own if she weren't so distracted by her attraction to him.
A/N: A/N: Sebastian is NOT an OC, though he is slightly out of character due to reasons which will be explained in another segment.
She couldn't believe it. What did all the power in the world really matter if she still couldn't fix her damned car? It was ridiculous! She could deal with ghosts and ghouls and had even secured and fried a demon who'd possessed her-but give her a broken radiator or carburetor or whatever the devil was wrong with her bug and she was just as helpless as the next woman. It cemented her resolve to have Jo teach her some basics in car maintenance once she got back home, since the blonde hunter found it sacrilege to take her truck to the garage whenever anything was wrong with it. Apparently it was a hunter thing (to know how to fix vehicles), which made sense because you didn't want to be in the middle of nowhere, with some beastie chasing you, only to find out that your vehicle won't start and you have no way of getting it to.
Hugging herself as she paced the road, the cold of night settling into her bones, Chloe kept gazing towards the road waiting for the tow truck she'd called in for. It'd seemed like forever, but then again it was late at night and she was lucky a mechanic's shop had been advertised not that far down the road. Turner Automotive Repairs was her last and only hope, and if whatever was wrong couldn't be fixed tonight (which she seriously doubted) maybe they'd be able to drop her off to the closest motel. It'd put her behind on her travel plans but hopefully it would be only a minor set back and he wouldn't be gone from the city once she reached there.
Something sounded in the darkness of the woods by the highway.
Chloe frowned and turned towards the sound, eyes narrowed, on the alert, a ball of energy flickering as it grew and manifested itself in her open palm.
Silence reigned by the highway as not a person was fool enough to be out of their comfortable beds at this time of night.
Finally light appeared in the distance, the rumbling of a motor smooth and comforting as the tow truck finally came to a stop next to her, and a surprisingly handsome young man stuck his head out of the window. "Sorry about the wait."
"It's okay." Chloe replied, pulling a strand of blonde hair behind her ear, surprised by just how aware she was of this guy. "Sorry for the late call."
"Oh, we're here to serve." He grinned, blue eyes flashing as he dismounted from the car, proving he wasn't overly tall yet tall compared to her, with shoulder-length brown waves pulled back in a ponytail as he went to her car, gazing under the hood. "So what seems to be the problem?"
"It just stopped." She shrugged, joining him as he gazed down at her engine, gazing at it as well though she wouldn't know if anything was wrong or out of place or if the second it'd taken her to say hi aliens hadn't stolen the engine and replaced it with something different altogether.
"Hmmm." He continued gazing, eyes narrowed in the dark shadows of the night, before closing the lid. "I'll take this to the shop and give it a look first thing tomorrow." His blue gaze went to her. "How about I drop you off at Madison's? It's a block from the garage and you can have a good night's sleep and come over any time tomorrow when you wake up."
"I'd like that." She smiled, reaching out her hand. "I'm Chloe."
"Sebastian." He reached out and clasped his larger hand against hers, suddenly going still, eyes widening.
Chloe felt a jolt pass between them, electric, yanking her hand away on instinct.
Sebastian's eyes were slightly cloudy before he shook his head and eyed her oddly, before smiling sheepishly. "Do you need me to get a suitcase or something from your car for you?"
"No, I have a dufflebag, that's about all." She reached into her car and pulled out her bag and turned to him, smiling and following his direction when he motioned to the passenger's side of the tow truck, happy to be out of the cold night as he hooked her car to the truck before getting back in and turning them around, heading back into the town she'd just passed before her own car had broken down.
The radio hummed softly, not loud enough to distract and yet soft enough not to overwhelm.
"So, where you headed to?" Sebastian finally asked after a couple of minutes of silent driving.
"St Cloud." She replied truthfully.
He sent her a sideways glance. "What's in St Cloud if you don't mind me asking?"
"No, don't mind." She smiled, shaking her head. "I'm meeting someone there."
"Oh." He murmured, gaze on the road. "Online dating then?"
She laughed, unable to keep the amusement out of her tone. "No! Not that I'm saying its silly, online dating I mean, it's just not what I'm doing." She shook her head, gaze going out the window. "This is purely business."
He frowned, eyeing her. "This is going to sound creepy, and so I apologize in advance, but you seem familiar somehow."
She turned to eye him curiously. "Really?"
"You're not a soap opera star? Right? My sister used to watch All My Children all the time and whenever I went to visit her she'd force me to watch it with her and don't tell anyone I told you this but that crap was addicting..." his eyes widened as he flinched and looked away. "And I just called your show 'crap'."
Chloe laughed, shaking her head. "Relax. I've never been an actress and I don't plan on it." She tilted her head to the side. "I've never watched All My Children either. My cousin has been injured and in bed rest and she's been watching this show called Days of Our Lives...and I'm starting to get reeled into it myself. Though it probably helps that my mom used to watch it all the time before when I was younger."
"Days Of Our Lives." Sebastian mumbled, shaking his head. "Stefano is in that one, right?"
"Is he still on it? I've been only catching pieces of the show with Lois after I get back home from work." Chloe admitted.
"I have no idea." Sebastian shrugged. "He's supposedly died how many times?"
Chloe laughed. "Good thing we don't really watch, huh?"
"Yeah." He smiled, dimples deep, amusement twinkling his eyes. "Good thing."
Sharing another smile they lapsed into silence as they neared the town, the lights in the distance.
"So, what do you do?" He finally asked, breaking the silence once more.
"I'm a journalist for the Cottonwood County Citizen," she replied with a grin. "It's not the Daily Planet's crime beat I'd always imagined I'd be doing, but it's surprisingly enough very fulfilling and I have some time off to do things I wouldn't be able to had I dedicated my life to snooping around crime bosses and such."
"Not to mention it's less dangerous." Sebastian declared.
She smiled and nodded, though she doubted her life was any less dangerous now than it could have been before.
They drove into town, Sebastian apparently deciding he was tour guide as he pointed out the best diners and such, warning her away from certain shops with little comments here and there, before pointing out Turner's Automotive Repair to her as they drove by. "And here you go, Madison's. Ring the bell and tell 'em that Sebastian sent you."
"Thanks." She nodded, sliding out of the passenger's seat. "Well, I'll see you tomorrow then."
"Yeah." He smiled, nodding.
Closing the door, Chloe cleared her throat and walked towards Madison's entrance, bringing a hand to her warm cheek. She shook her head at herself, firmly declared that once she got home she was going to go on a date, and then rung the bell at the front desk, where shortly after a pleasant older woman came to attend to her. Once she passed on the message that 'Sebastian' had sent her the old woman had been even pleasanter, ushering her to one of her 'finest' rooms and even bringing her a tea and some biscuits since everywhere else was closed for the night and she assured Chloe the blonde was hungrier than she realized.
Huddled in the warm bed, drinking tea and munching on biscuits as she watched an old rerun of Bewitched, Chloe had to admit that they'd filled an emptiness in her stomach she hadn't acknowledged until the first bite.
Her phone rang just as she was beginning to conk out, and she reached for it, bringing the cell to her ear. "Yeah?"
"So I'm thinking you should tell me where you are and I'll take a bus out there." Jo declared in a no-nonsense way. "If Lois wasn't constantly drugged thanks to her pain meds she'd already have tried tracking you down. As it is Adam has had to sit on her a couple of times. So for the best of everyone I think I should come along."
"I'm a big girl." Chloe yawned, eyes closing. "And I won't be more than a couple of days. I can stay out of trouble that long."
"I doubt it." Jo replied point-blank.
Chloe chuckled sleepily, rolling onto her back and turning off the television. "Good night, Jo."
"You haven't heard the last of me." The hunter threatened before ending the call.
Shaking her head, Chloe put the phone away and turned off the light, falling into a fitful, restful sleep.
Waking up was incredibly refreshing, and the service incredible. Magdalene, the owner of Madison's, was a sweet woman who'd brought Chloe breakfast in bed and had happily given her directions to the garage although Chloe had already been given them last night by Sebastian. She'd then sent over a bag with some donuts for Sebastian via Chloe, instructing the blonde to help herself to some as well since "one couldn't tell by just looking at him" but Sebastian had quite the sweet tooth and apparently tended to overdo it when it came to any sort of sweet. That tidbit of information amused Chloe, but as she entered the garage of Turner's Auto Repair all amusement left her along with her breath.
"Hey!" Sebastian smiled as he stood from where he'd been tinkering under the hood of her car, covered in engine oil and other such mess, shirt unbuttoned revealing his chest and abs. He was slightly sweaty, hair sticking to his forehead.
Chloe gulped, realizing that the daylight only improved on his looks.
"So, did mom take good care of you?" He asked, grabbing a towel and wiping his hands.
"Magdalene's your mom?" She finally was able to get out of her trance, surprised by this fact.
"Yep." He nodded, leaning his hip against a tool shelf. "She owns the inn and my father owns this place."
"I'm impressed." She realized in shock that she was flirting as she came towards him, lifting up the paper bag. "Mag-your mother-asked me to bring these for you."
"She didn't." He groaned, reaching for the bag and peering within, hanging his head low. "And I presume she told you all about my preference for sweets."
"Well, she put it more like an 'addiction' than a preference." Chloe teased, tilting her head slightly.
He shook his head, sighing in mock sorrow. "First I admit to the soap operas and now this. How can my manly pride survive?"
"You're covered in gunk, that manly pride will do just fine." She reassured him with a flash of a smile.
"If you say so." He grinned back down at her.
Clearing her throat, Chloe forced herself to look away and gazed at the open hood of her car. "So, what's the verdict, doc? Will my beloved jalopy make it?"
"It's hardly a jalopy." He snorted, going to the engine and sighing as he gazed down at it. "And that's the confusing part. I've gone over this three times already and I can't find a reason for why it's not starting. Everything's in perfect condition." He looked up at her. "Kudos on that, by the way."
She joined him and gazed down at the engine. "I always try to keep her in good condition, and any little sound she's sent straightaways to the mechanic...so I'm getting concerned here, especially if you can't find a reason for why she isn't working."
"I'll give it another look." He promised. "There's obviously something wrong, I just need to find what it is." He reached into the bag and pulled out a donut, giving a contemplative bite out of it before offering her one.
Chloe accepted a donut and gazed at the engine as well, before blinking. "These are the best donuts I've ever had."
His smile was incredible, his teeth straight and white, his dimples deep. "Mom will be glad to hear that."
"I'm going to have to get the recipe from her." The blonde declared. "My cousin is engaged, though she doesn't realize it, and she's been trying to become a Domestic Goddess, but her last attempt at cooking was disastrous. The kitchen still smells a little burnt." She shook her head at the memory of the fire that would have consumed the whole house had Adam not been outside the kitchen watering the lawn at that very moment. "Still I promised her to get the recipes of anything delicious I think Adam would like."
He chuckled. "She sounds like my sister." His smile disappeared as he gazed at the engine. "She was terrible at cooking as well yet wouldn't give up trying."
"Was?" Chloe asked softly.
"She was killed two years ago." Sadness filled Sebastian's blue eyes as he shook his head. "I had just returned home from visiting her and a couple of days later I get a call from dad saying that she was killed in her apartment. The police could never figure out who the guys were who did it, but there were signs of there being more than one, and there was also evidence that they were people she knew, trusted, due to the lack of a struggle."
"I'm so sorry." Chloe whispered, placing her hand on his shoulder.
He froze, his eyes widening slightly, going somewhat hazy, before he shook his head and gazed down, smiling up sadly at her. "My mom's never really gotten over it, but life goes on I guess."
They stared silently into each other's eyes.
"So," he cleared his throat, looking away. "You live with your cousin and her boyfriend."
"Actually, we live with him and his mother." Chloe admitted sheepishly. "I had planned on getting my own place but Kate's always wanted daughters and she got really offended when I went apartment hunting so...I ended up staying too."
"That sounds really nice." He smiled.
She nodded, smiling back at him.
Suddenly, the engine roared to life.
Her eyes widened in shock, and both she and Sebastian jumped away.
"What the-?" Sebastian frowned, going to the driver's side and leaning in through the open window. "Okay, I'm flabbergasted."
She giggled, if only because she'd never heard someone say that in this century.
"I think your car's possessed." He joked, pulling out of the car and running his fingers through his hair. "Stops with no reason, starts with no reason. You need it exorcised."
"I'll put that at the top of my things to do." She replied. "How much do I owe you?"
"For what? Being completely mind-boggled?" He asked in wry amusement. "Don't worry about it."
"Really?" She asked, shocked.
"Sure." He smiled with a nod. "If it's still giving you trouble just bring it back here on your way back home. I'll give it a look over for you and hopefully figure out what exactly is going on with her."
"Thanks, I'll do that." Chloe ducked her gaze before looking up at him.
He smiled down at her.
Someone cleared his throat.
They both jumped and turned towards the sound, seeing an older man standing there watching in amusement.
"Dad." Sebastian straightened.
"You got it working." He announced, giving the car a look.
"Actually," Sebastian cleared his throat. "It started on its own."
His father shook his head before turning to Chloe. "You bring that car of yours over when you've finished your business and are heading back. There's not a car problem Turner Automotive Repair can't find and fix. It'll be free of charge. Our honor rides on it."
"You really don't have to-." Chloe raised her hands.
"Please, it's a thing of honor." He smiled at her. "You can stay at the wife's inn and I'll give your little beauty a look over myself while this no good son of mine shows you around town." He sent a tender look towards his son, proving that despite his choice of words he quite loved him. "He'll have to make up for his terrible mechanical talents by his gift as a tour guide."
"Dad." Sebastian made a face, obviously embarrassed.
Chloe bit her bottom lip, deeply amused. "I'll definitely come back on my way to Windom."
"Good." Mr. Turner declared before walking away, whistling.
Sebastian palmed his face. "I swear he thinks he's being cunning and subtle."
Chloe chuckled, shaking her head.
She had a feeling that she was going to need the lightheaded fun this return trip was promising after she met with Patrick.