00076. Side Story 002: Ten years ago. 2/3
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I woke up to see I was trending number one today. Feels pretty awesome. Here is another chapter to enjoy.

Jacob had just spent the day driving to pick up a new project car for a client and was currently driving back home. He was on one of the lesser used interstates of New York State when he noticed a car parked off to the side of the road coming up ahead of him.

He slowed down and as he came closer to the car he noticed something touching the ground under the rear of the car. He continued to slow down and pulled over in front of the car to see if the driver needed help.

When he exited his truck he took a look at the car, but it seemed like it was empty from where he stood. He wanted to double check so he moved closer to the car and as he reached near the end of his truck he paused.

He could hear someone sobbing over the idle of his truck's engine and when he took a closer look, he finally noticed a woman in the driver's seat of the car hunched over with her head buried into her hands. He had no idea what she was going through, but he only heard that type of grief twice. Once when his friend’s mom died and once from himself the night a police officer showed up to his house to tell him about his parents.

He shook his head to clear it from darker thoughts and decided to do the easy thing first. He pulled out his flash light and shone it under the car as he crouched down low. He easily noticed part of the drivetrain had snapped off and was currently touching the ground. He inspected it for a few moments as he thought of what to do. Handling the issue with the car was easy, he would just offer them a tow…

It was the other part he had no idea how to handle. How the heck was he going to calm her down and stop her from crying. He stayed in his crouched position as he thought of different ways he could solve the awkward situation ahead of him. After a minute he had no clue what to do, so he decided to act like it wasn’t a big deal in the first place instead. He stood up with renewed confidence and moved to the driver side door. 

Her hair was slightly messy, while her eyes were red and puffy from crying. She looked towards her window to see someone standing next to her car door. It was hard to see who it was in the darkness of the night and the flash light they were holding wasn’t helping much. Daniel rubbed the sleeve of her sweater over her face a few times before she reached her right hand into her purse and grabbed her pepper spray. Once she had that in her hand, she slowly cranked down the window an inch.

Once the window was opened a little bit, the person aimed the flashlight at themself a little and Daniel could see an average looking man with black hair and brown eyes wearing a pair of coveralls. He smirked at her as he said, “Sorry to interrupt, but it didn’t look like you were gonna stop anytime soon. I just wanted to check if you were okay. If you are, I can let you get back to crying if you like.”

Daniel was flustered for a moment before she started to laugh. She didn’t really know why she found it so funny, but she felt better as she laughed. The man kept his smile as he said, “Looks like you're fine. I can’t say the same thing about your car though.”

Daniel took a moment and calmed herself down as she asked, “What's wrong with my car? I had someone check it out before I started my trip and they said everything was fine... But it seems that wasn’t true?”

The man nodded as he said, "It probably was if they did a standard inspection. But unfortunately it looks like part of your drive train snapped off. Honestly it's a miracle you didn't crash when it happened."

Daniel was a little surprised but also skeptical so she asked, "How'd that happen? I don't know much about cars, but I don’t think that’s normal given the age of the car."

The man nodded as he said, "You’re right. But I've seen a lot of strange things over the years. I wouldn't be able to tell you for certain how it happened, unless I take a closer look at it myself."

The man then shined his flashlight in front of her car and she finally noticed what he was driving. Stopped in front of her car was a flatbed tow truck with a beat up looking car on the back of it.

As she glanced at his vehicle the man said, "If you want I can call someone to help you out on my radio or I can tow you to the nearest town and drop you off. Unless you want to sit out here in the middle of nowhere all night."

Daniel took only a few moments before she said, "If you could give me a tow that would be great. Thank you."

"You're welcome. My name’s Jacob by the way." The man flashed her a friendly smile as he pointed to his name embroidered on his coveralls.

"I'm Daniel, it's nice to meet you."

Jacob smirked as he said, "I know." He chuckled to himself for a moment before he said, "Just wait here for a bit, I need to unload the other car first."

Jacob didn't wait for a response before he walked over to his vehicle. It took him about thirty minutes before he had her car on the bed of his truck and the other car hooked up to the rear wheel lift. After he double checked everything was secured, he added his magnetic lights to the trunk of his client's car and then joined Daniel in the cab of his truck. As they pulled away Jacob glanced at his passenger as he said, “I think we’re about half an hour from the nearest town with a repair shop.”

Daniel only nodded her head in response so Jacob asked, “You said you were on a trip? Where are you going, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Daniel looked out the window for about a minute and Jacob thought he was being too forward with his question when she finally said, “I’m heading to NYC.”

Jacob glanced at Daniel for just a moment as he said, “I was actually on my way back there before I found you. I can tow you all the way there instead if you want. It would save you time, but you would be stuck with me for the next few hours.”

Daniel smiled at his attempt to joke for a moment before she said. “If it’s not a big deal, I would greatly appreciate it.”

They settled into a comfortable silence with just the stereo playing some low background music for about ten minutes. Daniel seemed fine with the silence but Jacob couldn’t help himself. He enjoyed talking so he asked, “So what are you going to do in New York? Are you moving there or just taking a vacation?”

“Moving, I just graduated and I’m going to look for a job there.”

Jacob chuckled as he said, “Planning to make it big on broadway?”

Daniel looked at Jacob as she asked, “Broadway? Why would I want to do that?”

Jacob smirked as he said, “Isn't that what pretty girls with big dreams do when they get out of highschool? Head to NYC or LA to become a star?”

Daniel pointed at her sweater as she said, “I think you've watched too many movies. I just graduated from Harvard law school. I am going to New York to be a lawyer.”

Jacob glanced at his passenger as he said, “No offense, but how'd you even do that? You look like you should still be in high school honestly.”

“I turned eighteen last week.” Daniel smiled slightly as she said, “I was accepted into Harvard when I was fifteen and their law school program only takes three years to complete.”

Jacob smiled at Daniel for a moment as he said, “Well happy belated birthday and congratulations, your parents must be proud of you.”

Daniel couldn't stop herself at the mention of her parents and started to sob again. She quickly turned away and buried her head in her hands as she tried to calm herself down, but it only made it worse. Jacob knew he messed up, her parents must have just died and she must be moving away from her hometown to get away from the memories of happier times. That was the only thing that made sense to him. He reached over with his right hand and lightly placed it on her shoulder as he said in a gentle tone of voice, “I’m sorry, I upset you. But just know everything will be okay.”

Through her sobbing Daniel asked while hiccuping, “How. Do. You. Know. It'll. Be. Okay?”

“Because it’s what my godfather told me when my parents died.” Jacob let out a little chuckle before he said, “And look at me now, I am sharing a car ride with a very smart and beautiful young woman. I would say I am doing pretty good right now, if you ask me.”

Daniel laughed a little between her next hiccups and she seemed to be calming down slightly. It took about five minutes before she finally stopped and wiped her face clean. She stared out the window of the truck for a while before she said, “Thanks.”

Jacob smiled a little as he said, “Your welcome.”

Before they could settle into silence again, Daniel asked Jacob a question and it didn't take long before they started a conversation that lasted the entire drive to NYC. While Jacob was only a couple years older than Daniel, he quickly realized as they talked that he had a lot more life experience than her.

While Daniel was highly intelligent and well spoken, Jacob thought she might have lived a very sheltered life. That or she just didn't want to share information about her life with a stranger, it was hard for him to tell which one it was. He made sure to stay away from questions about her family. But whenever he asked questions about friends, hobbies or what she enjoyed doing. Daniel wouldn't really have an answer to any of the questions and would in turn ask the same question back at Jacob.

Jacob on the other hand was the opposite of her and so whenever she flipped his questions around he easily had an answer for her. But that didn’t stop him from trying to get answers from her. Daniel quickly found out about Jacob’s life and was a little surprised to find out Jacob’s father had served in World War Two. His parents were told they wouldn’t be able to have kids but when they were a little passed fifty they had a surprise pregnancy which turned into Jacob. While Jacob was a miracle kid for them, they didn’t spoil him. His mother taught him to be polite and caring, while his father taught him to be honest and to always take pride in anything you do. 

Jacob was very proud of the fact he practically grew up in his father's business once he could walk. He was helping around the place as soon as he could hold a broom and started working on cars by the time he was five years old. When he lost his parents at fifteen, he was taken in by his father's business partner. Instead of finishing high school, he dropped out and acquired his GED. Since then he spent the last five years working at the shop and learning how to run the business from his godfather who was planning to retire soon, so Jacob and one of his sons could take over the business from him. 

They spent the rest of the car ride getting to know each other, mostly it was Daniel getting to know about Jacob. But Jacob was able to get a few answers from Daniel after a lot of work though, which he was happy with. When they finally made it to NYC it was close to midnight and Jacob drove them directly to his shop in Brooklyn.