Dakota drove all night.
WELCOME TO HILLSIDE, the sign read.
She finally decided to stop, fill up her tank and get something to eat.
“Good morning, miss,” the older lady at the diner right next to the gas station greeted her, “what can I get for you today?”
“Good morning. I’ll have blueberry pancakes and a big cup of coffee, please.”
“Coming right up, honey.”
What do I do now? Dakota tried to figure out her next step over breakfast, find a hotel? Get a job? How do you start over in a place where you’ve never been before and don’t know a single person?
I guess I’ll just keep driving…
She put twenty dollars on the table and walked back to her car. She sat down, put on the seat belt, turned the key and…nothing. Back and again and…nothing.
Dakota stepped out and looked around. The gas station garage was closed, she knew that. She noticed the sign on the door when she was filling up her tank.
What now, dammit.
But then she remembered. She saw a guy working on a car across the street from here.
Should I go ask?
She didn’t have any other choice.
“Hi, excuse me?” she started and stretched out her arm to shake the young man’s hand, “I’m Dakota. My car broke down at the gas station over there. I hate to ask, but….would you mind taking a look?”
“Broke down, huh?” he wiped his hands and accepted the hand shake, “Trevor. So what is it doing exactly?”
“I don’t know, it won’t start. It was fine before I put gas in it.”
“Alright. Let’s take a look.”
They walked back to the parking lot where her car was. Dakota quietly leading the way.
“This is it,” she pointed at her old Toyota. She sold her Audi few months ago when she needed money to pay rent.
Now all she had left was two thousand dollars and this twenty years old car.
“It’s very,” Trevor paused, “yellow.”
Dakota looked at him, he looked at her and they both started laughing.
It only took him a couple of minutes and he shut the hood.
“Well, miss Dakota, you put diesel in your car.”
“What? Are you sure? I’m so stupid. I was driving all night, and…”
“It’s ok,” he stopped her in a calming voice, “I can fix it. it’s gonna take me a few hours, though. I have to pump it out and replace the filters and stuff.”
“You would do that?”
“Sure. Come back around six, I should be done by then.”
“Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“Don’t worry. Do you need a ride somewhere?”
“No, no. You’ve done enough.”
“Hey, do you know if there is a motel around here? Clearly I need to take a nap,” she let out a small laugh.
“Sure. Right down the street, you can even walk there from here. Take a right on High Street and you’ll see it.”
“Thanks again. See you at six then.”
She walked in the direction he pointed her to and in less than fifteen minutes she reached the place.
Dakota walked into the office where she saw a red head girl with a huge butterfly tattoo on her chest and big cleavage to show it, behind the counter. She was speaking loudly on the phone, completely ignoring her.
I guess I let her finish the conversation.
“I met him at the gym. He is totally hot, Melissa. I’m telling you…”
“Excuse me?” Dakota grew impatient.
“Hold on,” the girl said to her friend on the other side of the line and finally turned to her, “yea?”
“I need a room..?” Dakota stated the obvious.
“Well, do you have any available?”
“I’ll call you back, Mell,” she hung up and started typing Dakota’s information into the computer.
“How many nights?”
“Um, one, I guess?”
The red head rolled her eyes and handed her a key with a shell shaped key chain with number six on it, “number six, right next to the office. Towels are in the room.”
“Actually…can you make it a week? I might stick around for a while,” Dakota changed her mind without really thinking about it.
She unlocked the door and looked around the room. One queen bed, big TV on the wall, dresser underneath it and a chair in the corner. From the back windows, she could see the ocean, which was really nice. She loved the ocean. Bathroom was small and outdated, like everything in this place, but it was clean.
Better than my last place.
Dakota laid down on the bed and turned on the TV. She was mindlessly flipping through the channels until she drifted away. Into a deep sleep.