Finally he got out and raised the hood. Maybe the poor thing had died of old age. A sudden breeze hit him and he shivered.
Reaching into his pocket, he realized his cell phone was still sitting on the kitchen counter in his apartment. There wouldn’t have been anyone to call anyway. It looked like he going to be spending Christmas Eve huddled in his broken-down car in the mall parking lot. He’d never felt so lonely in his life.
A low-slung MX-5 pulled up beside him.
“Need a ride?’
Rem looked up so quickly that he banged his head on the open hood. It was the girl in red again, but this time she was smiling.
“That--that would be great,” he stuttered, rubbing the back of his head.
“It’s the least I can do after giving you such a hard time. I’ll just call my mother to tell her what’s going on.” She reached for her cell phone and unlocked the passenger door. “Hop in.”
He crammed himself into the tiny two-seater and buckled the seatbelt.
“Hi, Mom. It’s me. I’m taking Remington home so I’ll be a little late for dinner. His car won’t start.”
He stared at the girl. “How did you know my full name?”
She laughed, put the car in gear, and headed out of the lot. “Remington Villalobos: tall, blond, chemical engineering major with a radiant smile. You were on my list.”
“I’m your third mystery shopper.” She stopped at a light and fixed him with her own radiant smile. “I’m Meredith Montano. The mall hired my mother’s firm to ride herd on cart employees, and she asked me to check you out. I was really stinky and you did a great job. You can have a nice Christmas Eve on that hundred dollar bonus I’m about to give you. What are your plans?”
Rem moved his hands in a gesture of futility. “Nothing, really. I’ll just sit around and watch some TV.”
“You’re going to be alone for Christmas Eve?” Horror was in the angel’s voice.
“Just a minute.” Meredith pulled to the curb and got on her cell phone again.
“Mom? Set another place for dinner.” She winked at Rem. “I’m bringing someone special home to meet the family."
THE END, BUT MAYBE A BEGINNING