Chapter One: The Mechanics
Her high heels clicked as she walked into her most favourite of all showrooms. Her eyes landed on the only thing that stood out in the vast white glass room.
It was black and shiny, sleek and smooth … it was by far the most appealing machine Man had ever invented and the rest had ever laid eyes on. It was perfection. If perfection was a form of machine, this would be it. Only a few in the world and only the wealthiest of people have access to this model of automobile. There was it parked, the Bugatti, in the middle of the room.
Kaucy let out a heavy sigh that would have been easily mistaken for a lovelorn sigh – had it been for a man who looked like God's most prized Ken doll, but no, this sigh of hers was directed and, and was caused by a car – this car, to be specific.
"Dei, look at that …" she said, full of emotion, glancing at her best friend who stood at the door and then looked back at the car.
Kat looked nonplussed, yet smiled at Kaucy's weird obsession with the car.
"Yeah, wow," she said, looking as though it was nothing special. She didn't understand of course, this deal with cars. Cars were cars to her, and yes, some did look cooler than the rest. But that's just it. Just the same as how she would go insane over books and to Kaucy books were books, and yes, some were cooler than the rest.
Yet here they were. Another day of work, and as usual during lunch break after having their meals, they popped into the bookstore for a while and then went into the car showroom for a while to see Kaucy's one true love.
"It's so sexy, Dei!" Kaucy exclaimed, close to tears as she dragged her fingers over the sleek, smooth coat of the Bugatti.
"Yes, Dei." Kat's reply was immediate and automatic, not feeling anything in particular for the car.
(Dei was an accidental habit of calling each other that, and turned into nicknames solely meant for the two friends.)
Kat dropped into a seat by the wall and grabbed a brochure and read through, ignoring Kaucy's exclamations of 'oh, wow', 'so sexy' and 'oh my God', only replying with the occasional 'hmmm', 'yes' and 'of course'.
Kaucy made a move to hug the car and almost succeeded, not before she was interrupted by a jiggling of keys by the door.
"Ah-ah, hands off …" the security guard, Uncle Melvin, warned as he watched Kaucy. "Hands off, I don't want to be polishing that again!"
"Okay, okay! Sorry!" Kaucy said but not seriously, as she grinned at the fatherly figure.
"But I didn't say anything about not keeping your hands off the …" he grabbed a set of keys and then waved it in front of him – they keys bearing the Bugatti emblem. "… insides."
"Is that …" Kaucy began to ask, heart hammering wildly in her chest.
"Yes. Catch!" Uncle Melvin threw they keys and Kaucy grabbed a hold of it, looked at it, squeezed it and then looked at her best friend, still seated by the wall and who was now sporting a cheeky smile. She gave Kaucy a wave of her head that clearly meant 'go ahead!'.
"Just don't drive it out to the streets!" Uncle Melvin warned.
Kaucy didn't waste a moment more, she dropped her bag to the floor, searched for the key to the driver's seat and ran to the door, sliding the key in and turning the lock – her heart threatening to burst at the weight of her excitement.
She opened the door, and like a wave of fresh air (fresh new car smell), she gasped. She slid into the seat and felt as if she had died and gone to heaven … the seats, the space, the steering wheel, the gears, the meters, the everything – the feel of it, the smell of it … the view of it … were all spectacular.
She could have lived inside there for the rest of her life and she knew it. Her hands rested on the steering wheels and she wished she could have gone for a test drive with it – obviously she couldn't.
Unfortunately her heaven-like daze and trance was cut short by Uncle Melvin who now stood by the driver's seat door.
"Sorry, dear. You'll have to come out now. Some corporate guys want to come and have a look," he said.
"Are they going to buy it?" Kaucy frowned, a rush of panic coursing through her veins, protectively tightening her grip on the steering wheel.
"They might, who knows? If they've got the money." He shrugged, hand held out.
Kaucy took his offered hand and spared one last glance around the car before getting out, a pang of sadness hitting her. She grabbed her bag off the floor and stood just in time to see a group of men dressed in business suits and glasses, led by a balding, chubby and short man in a grey suit.
"And this, gentlemen, was what I was talking about earlier during lunch. This beauty could be my latest buy," the chubby man said, gesturing towards the car. The rest of the group hummed in approval and nodded, all looking very, very impressed and awed.
Just then, the chubby man caught Kaucy's eyes and smiled. Kaucy smiled back out of courtesy … though, deep inside she wanted nothing more than to give the man her most charming smile yet, lunge forwards and wrestle him to the floor and strangle him until he had not a breath and a speck of life left within him – all the while sporting said smile.
Nobody takes my baby away from me, she thought murderously.
She walked back to Kat who was waiting for her outside, and she grumbled under her breath, and praying hard that they wouldn't take the car away, that it would still be there tomorrow and for many more days to come or until she becomes sick of it. But the latter seems very, very unlikely.
After all, how can one get sick of that?
"Why so angry?" Kat asked, watching Kaucy's deep frown and the dangerous twitch of her fingers as they walked back to the office.
"That whole bunch of old men there might buy him," Kaucy whispered waspishly.
"Him?" Kat asked in bewilderment and doubled over in laughter.
Kaucy rolled her eyes.
"Oh, so … so it's a him now?" Kat asked, grinning widely.
"Yes, it's a him. To me, it's a him. Men usually think of their cars as women, so the same concept should apply to women as well, cars are like men to us … and, and yeah …" she trailed off at the look of amusement on Kat's face. "Oh stop looking at me like that."
"Like what?" Kat asked innocently.
"You know like what," she huffed.
"Aww, but don't worry, Dei. I'm sure he will be there," Kat said, linking her arm around Kaucy's, putting emphasis on the 'he'. "For a long, long time. Remember, that's a Bugatti. And Bugattis cost a lot of money. I'll bet the man earlier on doesn't have a quarter of the prince in his bank. He'll have to work many, many, many years before he gets it."
"What if someone richer comes?" Kaucy frowned some more.
"Doubt it. I'm sure most of the people go in there just to see it and gawk at it, not seriously buy … like you do."
"Trust me, Dei. If I had the money …"
"Indeed. That's why I said, they're all just like you. They come to worship, it's like a friggin' shrine, you know? Shrine of Bugattism, or something."
Kaucy laughed and shook her head.
"So yeah, don't worry. They're just admiring," Kat reassured her.
Kaucy smiled at that, not long before she started frowning again.
"Other people admiring him, too?!" She snapped.
Kat shot her a what's-wrong-with-you look.
"You sound like jealous girlfriend."
"Maybe I am!" Kaucy responded petulantly, "I mean, look at him, Dei!"
"First of all, he does not exist. It is a car. A non-breathing, non-living object," Kat raised her hand while she spoke, cutting Kaucy off before she even started her argument, leaving her open-mouthed. "And two, I'm sure no other girl obsesses over a car as if it is a real man like you do, because you're crazy like that."
Kaucy seemed satisfied with that.
They stepped into the lift and Kaucy pressed the number, looking at the light blink at every floor.
"Though it would be nice," Kaucy said. "Right, Dei?"
"What would be nice?"
"If he was a real man."
Kat raised her eyebrows at Kaucy's border-lining insanity but smiled at her imagination.
"Yeah, I suppose."
They returned to their respective desks at the office, Kat reading one of her romance stories online, and Kaucy surfing pictures of Buggatis.
And that Friday night, though like every other night, the latter dreamt of a black, shiny Bugatti.