Maybe I'm crazy to do this again, but: Highspeed to love! I don't know where this is going to but we will see, right? It's a totally AU story, without Herrington High and Marybeth, my first AU ever. Feel free to read.
Title: Highspeed to love (1 / ???)
Fandom: Zeke; OMC (no pairings, no Casey - at least not in the moment)
Disclaimer: of course, not mine
Author's notes: AU without Marybeth and Herrington High - Zeke is 23 years old in this story, living in Youngstown, Ohio - Casey, yeah, we will see
Zeke frowned when he opened the door to the small car repair shop. Something was wrong. It was already the second time this week that he had the feeling that someone had been here during the night. Though it actually couldn't be. Because he was the only one who had the key.
But he was sure. The power drill didn't lie on the small table any more where he had left it last night after he had fixed two shelves back in the office. Now the drill lay on its usual place between all the other tools.
When he entered the office he found the striking proof. The pot of the coffeemaker was empty and cleaned up. Though he knew he had been way too tired after a long working day to deal with it. He had just switched off the machine and had left the garage.
Zeke sighed. Ben! He was the first one who crossed his mind. Damned. He had trusted him. He had given him a chance to make something out of his life. It was disappointing and annoying that he seemed to have been so fooled by him. Because Ben reminded him a lot of himself.
Zeke knew all too well what it was like when no one supported you. If you grew up in a small village in Ohio you needed to adapt to the standing rules of the community. But Zeke was always a rebel. His parents had never cared much about him. He had no real friends. Finally he dropped out of school. He started to sell self-made drugs and booze - easily earned money. Problems with the police were inevitable. The first stay in a juvenile detention facility.
It was the turning point of his life. Because he met Simon. A committed social worker, who figured out what Zeke really loved. Cars. Cars had always fascinated him. Simon offered him a deal: you're going back to school to graduate and I will find a job for you.
He had kept his word. And when he had to move to Massachusetts last year because his father was becoming ill and needed permanent help, he had had a last gift for Zeke.
"The garage is shut down for nearly two years now," he had said, after taking Zeke to Youngstown, forty miles away from the small village he lived.
"I know the owner. He's a good guy, ready to give problem teens a second chance. But now he is retired and his children have no interest in the garage. He would sell it to you for a fair price!"
Zeke had thrown a longing look at the repair shop. He wanted it. But he needed to stay realistic.
"I can't. Fair or not - I don't have the money. You know that!"
"You can pay him by small installments."
Simon had smiled.
"Oh, and I forgot to tell you. Over the garage is a small apartment, just one room, but with a bathroom and a kitchenette. It will be enough for the beginning."
Zeke looked at him distrustfully.
"Why me," he had asked.
"Because I believe in you," Simon had answered.
"You deserve the chance!"
Since then he was the owner of his own repair shop. It was not always easy. Business was slow and he didn't make a lot of money. He was struggling with the installments and the utility costs. But he was on his own. No one who could tell him what to do and what not to do next. For the first time in his life he felt happy.
Back to Ben! He could remember lively the first time they had met. It was in the nearby K-Mart. He had observed him how he had stolen two bottles of beer. Later he had met him again, on the parking lot where he sneaked around Zeke's GTO.
"Do you like her," he had asked.
"The GTO. My baby. Touch her and you're dead!"
"Hey, calm down. I wouldn't. It's a great car. Maybe one day I'm gonna have one like this too."
Before Zeke knew what he did, he had offered him a ride home. Ben was living in an area no one came to voluntary. A place where violence and crime were daily occurrences. Zeke could imagine the everyday life for the boy.
"Can you need a job," he had asked.
"What kind of job?"
"I could need help in my garage!"
He had seen the boy's eyes sparkling eagerly and grinned.
"Come by tomorrow after school!"
"I'm not going to ..." Ben had started but Zeke interrupted him.
"No school - no job. Are we clear?"
He knew it was stupid what he was doing. Actually he couldn't afford to pay Ben. Even if he came only for a few hours in the afternoon. And at the weekends. And over the holidays. The boy was good. Smart and willing to learn. Zeke already considered to offer him a full-time job next year, after his graduation. If the repair shop - hopefully - would be a bit more profitable.
Zeke threw a look at the clock and sighed. Nearly eight. Ben would show up soon. He needed to talk to him. If he sneaked into the garage secretly after work there had to be a reason for it. Hopefully a good one. He could only hope that Ben had not contact again with his old pals. That he didn't plan something illegal, criminal.
go to part 2