It was barely six in the morning, yet Jason’s trailer was already heating up from the budding summer sun. Groggily, he crawled out of bed and started the coffee maker; too many early morning calls without coffee had taught him to get the pot ready before going to bed. Wearing only boxer shorts; it was so hot he did not want to put his clothes on until he had to leave, he wandered the small trailer checking to make sure all vents and windows were open as the pot percolated on the counter. If the trailer was this warm now, it would be a sweatbox by mid-morning; with the windows and vents open, it might be tolerable by late evening. Within half an hour of getting up, he’d finished his coffee, cleaned the pot, slipped off the boxers he’d slept in, and dressed to head down to the track before the day got to warm to race.
Once in the small stall that he rented at the track, he checked the pressure of the tires on his dark blue Nissan, topped off all of the fluid levels to make sure the gauges matched up, and finally inspected the hoses and fittings as well as the belts. No one worked on his car but him, unless the Chief ordered a new gadget installed or body damage needed to be repaired. Satisfied that everything was perfect, he took the car onto the track for a nice easy lap to warm up the engine. During the next two, he gradually increased his speed. By the fourth he was at full racing velocity. For the next hour he alternated between driving the track right down the middle and maneuvering around imaginary cars and obstacles; he enjoyed having the track to himself as most of the other drivers either slept in or had day jobs. After a couple of laps to slow down, he pulled back into the stall and rechecked everything, topping off the coolant and replacing one hose that he now didn’t like the looks of. He made a mental note to order new tires; he always did that well in advance of needing them as he had to get them through Center Neptune in order for his car to transmute properly.
By ten o’clock he was leaving the track, glad to have come early as it was now too hot to even consider racing. He headed towards town; Princess and Keyop were working at Jill’s today and the restaurant was air conditioned.
As he parked in his usual spot in the alley next to the diner, he saw the spigot and hose that Princess used for watering her plants. He looked grimly at the layer of road grime collecting on his car and set out to spray it off. After completely rinsing the car, a slow grin spread over his face. Princess would be aghast at the sight of him dripping in the restaurant and Jill, if she was around, would likely throw him out. But it was just too hot to let little things like that stop him.
Without a second thought, Jason took off his shoes and socks and set them in the car. He loosened his belt, unfastened his pants, and scrunched up his shirt to his midriff. Turning the hose on himself, he started with his feet. Then he moved up his legs to his waist. Wet jeans were uncomfortable, but this would be cooler than sweat-soaked jeans. He ran the hose around his navel, letting the water slide down his skin. Turning the hose upward, he placed his thumb over the opening and then sprayed the cool water up his chest and back. With his neck slightly bent forward, he took one hand and pulled up the back of his shoulder-length hair, letting the hose rest against his neck so the water fell across his shoulder blades; the cool flow dribbled down his chest and his back. The pressure from the hose against his skin sent a small spray up and over the back of his head, and down his arms.
Princess stood in the kitchen of Jill’s dinner and heard the water running outside. She opened the door that went to the alley, prepared to yell at whoever was wasting water. Her telling off died with all other thoughts in her head as she gazed at the sight in front of her. It was so unusual to catch Jason so unguarded.
She’d never really taken the time to just look at him during training. She’d seen him in swimsuits and birdstyles hide nothing. But this! They way the water dripped down his tan skin. They way his shirt was pulled up just enough to show abs that had become well defined by training. She could imagine the trail a drop took as it started at his neck, disappeared under his shirt, travelled over his chest (she knew it had to be as nicely defined as his abs), reappearing just above his belly button, and then disappearing again just beneath the opening in his pants.
Oh, my, was he wearing underwear? she wondered.
She caught herself staring and was embarrassed that she could not turn away. She stood there, watching as he moved the hose, imagining a drop that went down his muscular back, and a few down his arms that dropped off at his finger tips.
She knew she shouldn’t let him know that she had witnessed this unguarded moment, but she couldn’t resist.
“Jason, what are you doing?” Her voice interrupted his rare moment of self-indulgence.
“Cooling off, what does it look like I’m doing?” he answered as he leisurely moved the hose to the top of his head, thoroughly saturating his hair.
Princess did not respond; she only stood there staring at him.
Looking up, Jason noticed her intense observation and a devilish grin graced his face. Before she had time to react, he turned the hose on her and she screamed as he shot water at her.
Kicking off her shoes, Princess charged after him intent on wrestling him for the hose. Jill be damned. She was too hot to care.