Estelle sat in the garage tinkering with a part that had been brought into the store. It was obviously broken, but she couldn't make it work and it was starting to wear on her nerves. That and the incessant screaming erupting from the house every ten seconds. By the time the tenth scream erupted, she threw the hunk of metal and let out a frustrated scream herself.
"Having problems Estelle?" her father asked from the garage door. Where he had been loitering watching his daughter fiddle with the hunk of metal.
"No." she sniped "but Joz might in a matter of seconds. What is with all the screaming?" she asked impatiently of her father.
"She is going to Aruba for a photo shoot." He paused briefly "With her boyfriend." He sighed clearly not happy about the situation. "The day after Christmas."
"Oh." She said thinking about all the things that would be happening in addition to the photo shoot. "And I suppose mom overrode your judgment on that?"
"She's the agent, I'm just the dad." He smiled at his daughter. He feared the day where a man found her irresistible, and he felt as though that time was creeping up on him. He watched as his son made a fool of himself for his girlfriends, and his other daughter making all the guys drool, but Estelle was going to knock some poor guy off his feet and that would be the end of it.
"What's wrong dad?" Estelle stood up, now concerned for her father.
"Nothing baby, just thinking about how old I'm getting." He laughed and she laughed weakly with him. "Your sister is going to make a fool of herself one day." He sighed and flinched as another scream erupted from the house. "Anyway I wanted to talk to you about something. I have a business associate who needs his car worked on, and it needs a lot of work. But he said he would be willing to trade a car in return for your services on the one that needs fixed. I told him you would probably be interested."
"What kind of car is it that he needs worked on?" Estelle asked standing to retrieve the car part she had chucked in frustration.
"That isn't the right question to ask. The question to ask is, what will you get in return?" he paused dramatically waiting for it to click and it did slowly so he finally told her. "It's a year old already but it's in mint condition… Miss Duquaine it's a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano."
Estelle froze in her tracks, not moving a muscle. When she recovered she asked "Just how much work needs done on this car that he is willing to trade another that is worth more than a very comfortable house?" Her eyes were wide and Toni could see the gears working in her head.
Chuckling her father responded. "He just doesn't want to ship it overseas to the dealer. We can order all the parts and put it back to right for a lot cheaper."
"What is wrong with it?" she was starting to get a little suspicious, at the run around she was getting.
"He let some crack pot mechanic under the hood and now the car won't run, there are parts missing, needs a serious paint job, so on and so forth, I imagine you will find it quite cumbersome but you can do it. Anyway I already set up an account at the store for him, you just have to tag the card." Toni tried to keep the smile off his face.
"When do I get the car?" Estelle asked, seemingly in thought about all the things she would do to the car. "And what does he do with the car? Does he race or just show it off?"
"It's on a flat bed at the end of the drive." He let the smile go finally. "I knew you would do it. He is—" Toni seemed to be searching for a word. "let's just say that his wife is not the only one he is unfaithful to."
She stared at the car as the tow drivers rolled it into the garage. Yea it was in bad shape, there was paint scratches all over the hood, and front fenders. But it only got worse when she opened the hood. There were a lot of essential pieces missing, this was going to get expensive fast. Why would you let a local good ol' boy work on your import car was beyond her.
Just looking at it she could tell it would be an easy two months worth of work to make the car even idle out of the drive and back into the garage. She started that night.
It was immensely helpful that her father had installed a lift in the garage for her. The transmission was shot and it appeared like the original problem was that he had ripped the clutch out of it. That was where she started. She blared Foreigner on the small C.D. player in the garage and worked all day on the car, it helped to block out her irritation with Jozlyn and her mother. Working on cars just calmed her.
After dinner every night she would work for an hour on the car before doing her homework, and some days instead of going to the store she would work on the car after school. It just depended on what needed done at the store and how much homework she had that night.
Two months of hard work, imported parts, and a fight with the painting equipment she had the car finished. It purred as she took it down the road on a test drive. The transmission shifted perfectly without the slightest hitch, and the steering was impeccable. It had a new coat of paint, specific to the customer's order, and it was done. She could deliver it tonight, and hopefully get the payment as well.
She was just about to head back toward home when her cell rang. "Estelle, bring that car to my office will you?" her father asked.
"Um, sure I'm real close it'll take me five." She answered, feeling a little giddy and nauseous.
"Okay just park it out front and come up to my office." He hung up.
She was a little worried about this. Her father never had her come up to the office, in fact she had only been in there a handful of times her whole life. But she followed his orders, and walked straight to his 8th floor corner office. His secretary led her right in.
"There she is." He said to another man. He motioned for his daughter to come stand next to him. "Estelle this is the man you have been working for. He has brought you your payment. If you will just trade keys and sign the title."
She did as she was told, and within minutes she was the owner of a sleek Ferrari. "Just that simple?" she asked once her client was gone.
"Just that simple." He smiled. "I have a few more things for you to sign. I went ahead and made a separate company under the name of the store. This way we are insured for when you work on these cars. I imagine that once he tells his friends about the excellent work you do you will be getting plenty of other business. I just need you to dot the I's and cross the T's so to speak." He unlocked the safe that was set into the wall behind one of his more expensive contemporary paintings.
As she signed the last page she noticed that it wasn't talking about the new company, it was about the store. But before she could take a closer look he had locked them back away in the safe. "Dad was that last one about the store? I don't think I was supposed to sign that one."
"It was about the store. I need to talk to you about that too." He sighed as he stared out of his floor to ceiling windows out over the San Francisco skyline. "I already talked to your brother about this, since he is oldest it would make since but he agreed that you are more passionate and deserving."
"Of?" Estelle prompted
"The store. What you signed there is you taking over ownership."
"Daddy no!" she said half hysterical. "I can't take it."
"Listen." He said patiently. "You have been running that store since you were 16. You know it inside and out, you know what I know" he paused "actually probably more. You do the inventory, all the men report to you, you personally see to cars when you have the time. I'm not saying you can't go to college, the assistant manager is capable of running the place with your supervision. But it is yours. It is not up for discussion." He said with a sense of finality.
"I… but… why?"
"Estelle that is your graduation gift. That is when it will be official, so don't worry about it until then. I just want you to be taken care of should anything happen to me, or your brother… because god knows your mother would let things go to hell." He chuckled slightly.
So she left the building for her new car, still a little awe struck with everything that had happened. It was a deep emerald color, with gold flecks in the paint and boy did it drive like a dream.
She was surprised to see the 57 sitting in the drive when she got home, that meant that Randi was home.
She walked in, to yelling. "You aren't honestly letting her go!" Randi yelled at their mother. "She's 18 do you have any idea as to the things that she is going to be doing while she is there with, that—thing she calls a boyfriend?"
"Don't you talk to me that way. And I will be there on the weekends. But this is a life altering shoot. From here she could get into the movies." Their mother said only raising her voice slightly.
"Ma you know how bad that will look. Come on."
"Not another word about it." She snapped at him. "I have decided and that is it." With her final words she walked away a cloud of her French perfume following in her wake.
"So you heard?" Estelle said, once her mother was out of earshot.
"Yea, you could have told me. Jesus, you've known for two months that she is going."
"Well it's not like I could ever get a hold of you… your always gone and you never answer your phone." Estelle shot back, she had been trying to get a hold of him mainly to tell him about her car.
"You could have left a message."
"You could have called me back." She breezed by him and up the stairs to the solace of her room. She closed the door and worked on her homework until she couldn't ignore the knocking at the door anymore. She had been working for an hour and a half, that meant that her dad was home now, and dinner would be coming up anytime. If she ignored that she would never see daylight again.
"Estelle?" her dad said from the other side of the door. "Can I come in?"
She sighed tipping her head back to look at the ceiling of her room and unlocked the door. She was slightly relieved that her brother wasn't standing behind her dad. She didn't want to deal with him just yet. "I think I stressed you out today, I'm sorry. But you shouldn't take it out on your brother."
"It's not entirely that. He said that once he left for college he would be here all the time but he is never here, and he never calls me and then he gets mad at me because I didn't tell him what was going on here at home." She raised her eyebrows that curt tone escaping her lips.
"He's sorry he snapped at you. He said he has been knocking on your door for over an hour and you never answered for him. Is that right?" Toni asked still incredibly patient with his daughter.
Here it was, the guilt trip. "Yea." She looked at her feet, she was feeling it already and he hadn't even said anything yet.
He pulled her in for a quick squeeze. "You might take advantage of that. You two should go out for dinner, dads treat. And then you won't have to listen to the fight that is bound to happen when I tell your mother about what we did this afternoon." He pulled her toward the hall, she could see feet sticking out over the edge of her brothers bed. "Be nice." With a quick kiss on the forehead her father headed toward the stairs.
She took a deep breath and walked to the door of Randi's room, and knocked lightly. When he looked up she smiled weakly. He was the first to speak, "I like your new car. Kind of a funny color though."
"Yea the guy was weird about his color selections, I will probably paint it when I get some money saved up." And just like that they were buds again.