This car is not actually that dirty, Nicole thought. Her mom made it sound like she’d been off-roading or something, but there were just a few bugs splattered across the windshield of the shiny, silver Camry. Nicole gripped the hose tightly and frowned at the glimmering paint, blindingly bright in the midday sun. She was supposed to be studying for the trig test tomorrow. The mildly dirty car could’ve waited.
She circled the car as quickly as she could while the water from the hose roared against the steel. She held the nozzle far away from her body to avoid getting any excess spray on her jeans or her immaculately pressed Old Navy t-shirt. She hummed the first movement of Mozart’s second horn concerto to herself as she leaned forward to shoot water into the wheel wells of the car.
When she straightened, her next-door neighbor, James, was shuffling across the street with his gangly arms jammed wrist-deep into the pockets of his shorts. Not cool. His eyes shifted shyly between Nicole and the sopping Camry. He smiled. Nicole gave him a half-smile back that she hoped said, I’m happy to see you, but please don’t come over here right now. He kept walking towards her. She sighed.“Hi James,” she said as brightly as she could manage.