Stars 7
By Lusi Solona
Date: March 30, 2022
Ch. 2The Unexpected Meeting


My car just passed the bumpy road when I got the feeling that there was a problem with it. Climbing out of the car, I checked the engine. Nothing was wrong with it. I almost jumped looking at the car’s flat tires. My heart was etched with regret. I should have checked on it before driving.

My apartment took hours from Montpelier where the school was. I thought of calling my roommate, Anne. She was the only person I could contact because my parents lived in another city. As the only child in my family and having no relatives in this city, I knew no one except Anne. My limited networking sometimes made me disheartened.

I fished my handphone out of my coat pocket. Woefully, the battery was dead. I rushed to the car, looking for the charger. That object was not in its place. I might leave it in the teachers’ office or my apartment. Feeling frustrated, I kicked on my car’s flat tires. It would not be helpful, indeed. At least, it released a bit of my stress.

The time on my wristwatch had shown 4 P.M. Why did this happen to me here in a quiet place where nobody I came across? My gaze only caught the serene long road and maple trees with beautiful colorful leaves. The fall season created the best scenery in Vermont. A shiver ran down my spine driven by the breeze. The wild thought suddenly arose. Fate was playing with me.

I squatted near my car in despair while rubbing my face with my hands hoping the miracle came. Sometimes, I walked back and forth to think of the way out of this situation. Yet, all was in vain. I was standing with my back facing my car when the car’s horn blared. The car roared very smoothly so that I barely heard it.

I bet relief was painted clearly on my face. The man my age with a tall and well-built body got out of the car.

“What happened with your car?” He asked genially, approaching me. His brown eyes and short razor-cut hair attracted my attention.

“The tires got flat and my battery was dead. I’ve been waiting for help here for almost an hour.”

“I can give you a ride. I’ll call the mechanic to drag your car to the workshop. How about that?” Without hesitation, I nodded, accepting his offer. It was our first meeting. But, I didn’t doubt him. I didn’t even want to speculate that he could kidnap or do something bad to me. He didn’t look like a criminal. At least, that was what my heart believed. He called someone, explaining about my car’s issue with the one on the line. After hanging up the phone, he came closer to me. “Let’s get in the car. The problem’s fixed.” He reported and led me to his car which was being parked behind mine. That man gently opened the door for me.

“What about my car?” I asked him after he climbed into the car. His sport red car devoured the road in a minute.

“My friend will take care of it. He is a mechanic.” He reassured me. I could see his sweet smile from the rearview mirror.

“How long does it take for your friend to get here?”

“Less than twenty minutes, what’s your name?” He turned to me.

“Kara. Kara Corby. What’s yours?”

“I’m Nick martin. Just call me Nick.”

“Well, nice to meet you, Nick. Thank you for helping me out.”

“Don’t mention it. You live around here?”

“Yeah, I just moved here three months ago. What about you?”

“I worked as a modern dance coach in Montpelier. I owned a studio there.” I was too excited to hear that he was a dance coach. It seemed that God had sent this guy to favor me. I was about to open my mouth and talk to him about my issue. However, I held back because he was a stranger to me.

“That’s great. I mean I’m always excited about dance but I don’t have talent at the dance.” I throw pleasantries, instead.

“I can take you to my studio if you want to.”

“That sounds interesting. I hope to visit your studio soon.”

“Do you work here?” he asked with his eyes kept facing the road.

“Yeah, I’m a teacher at one of the high schools here.”

“What do you teach?”

“History,” I gave a short answer.

“I used to like History in senior high school. I just felt as if I could travel back to the past.”

“Yeah, you’re right. That’s the reason why I love history too.” I commented on what he said.

We just met. But, we were like old friends, conversing about anything after that. Our talk moved to his career. He graduated from AMDA in New York. Failing the Broadway audition, he got an offer from a dance school in New York upon his completion of the study. Yet, he chose to establish his studio. His accomplishment amazed me. Moreover, he was guileless. I could conclude that he was a nice guy, even the nicest one that I’ve ever encountered.

I did not expose my ordinary life too much to him. After completing my master's degree, I taught at Bridge High School in Montpelier. Everything was on its track until the school principal gave me a nightmare with an impossible-to-do duty. Of course, I skipped that part. Nick should not have known about it yet. It was just not the right time to reveal that.
The conversation came to an end when the car finally halted in front of a huge open building. I could say that having talks with him was exciting.

“Here’s the workshop, by the way,” Nick announced. I unbuckled my safety belt. “We just need to wait for your car to be fixed.” We climbed out of the car. I trailed Nick who strode in front of me. He talked to someone in a mechanic uniform.
Not long after that, my car arrived. The mechanic changed the tires with new ones immediately. It only took less than twenty minutes to finally be done.

“Your car has been ready,” one of the mechanics told me. I thanked him and paid the bill at the counter.

“Thank you so much for everything.” I expressed my sincere gratitude to Nick who was leaning against his car, concentrating on his gadget. Nick turned his head to me.

“Anytime, so, where are you going?”

“Home, I need to rest after having a hard time today,” I blurt out. I should have kept what I felt off him.

“Nice talking to you.” He said and I replied that I was glad to talk to him as well. He took a wallet out of his jeans pocket and pulled a card out of it. He handed the card to me. “This’s my name card. You can visit my studio anytime you want. Just contact me if you want to come.”

“Thank you.” A small smile garnished his face. “I should go now. See you.” I bid a farewell. He waved his hand at me when I had been in my car and driven away.
Instead of waving him back, I smiled and bowed.

I barged into my bedroom as soon as I arrived at my apartment. Anne wasn’t at home. She left a note that she went out to do grocery shopping. Today was a very tiring day for me. The faces of Star 7 popped up in my mind again. It reminded me of my new challenging or even difficult task, dance coaching. I let out a sigh.

I reached into my pocket and took the name card out of it. The name of Nick’s studio and the address were written vividly on the card. I came up with the idea of hiring him to coach those seven boys. That would be a great plan. My lips curled to form a smile.

I plugged the cable to recharge my handphone that lay on the table. Pressing the power button on, the word “welcome” appeared on the screen. I put it back on the table and toppled myself onto the bed after taking off my coat, trying to close my sleepy eyes. My handphone rang and prevented me from shutting my eyes.

Lazily, my hand grabbed that thin rectangular black object. A message from the school principal was displayed on the screen. I wanted to scream out.
Miss Corby, I have reset your schedule. Your coaching will start tomorrow. So get ready.

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