"Okay everyone, listen up!" Joan commanded. "The annual SPRQ Point car wash is on Saturday, and we drew the short straw again this year."
The entire fourth-floor team let out a collective groan.
"Well, like it or not, we still have to do it. And everyone is to be there this year, no excuses," Joan stated, glancing pointedly at Zoey.
"It's not like I planned to fall and break my wrist," Zoey grumbled to Max.
Max chuckled, "Joan doesn't see it that way."
"This year we're raising money for the San Francisco Public Library's STEM Programs," Joan continued explaining. "Everyone needs to be here by 8 AM on Saturday, and please make sure to wear clothes you don't mind getting wet. We don't need another cardigan episode …."
Leif glared at Max, "It's not my fault that somebody decided to use it as a towel!"
Max held up his hands defensively, "Dude, you're going to have to let it go eventually. I apologized and replaced it, didn't I? Besides, who brings a cardigan to a carwash?!"
"Was it his special "car washing" cardigan?" she whispered to Max.
Max barely managed to smother his laugh as Leif glared at him again.
"Okay, enough slacking off. Those Smart Pants aren't going to program themselves!" Joan said, dismissing the group.
Zoey mumbled a greeting and handed Max his morning coffee.
"Why are we here this early?" she asked, once the caffeine had hit her bloodstream.
Max shook his head, "Because Joan likes to torture us?"
"Where is Joan by the way?" Zoey had yet to see their boss.
Max pointed to where Joan was sitting atop a tall chair placed off to the side. She had a whistle in one hand and a megaphone in the other, looking completely in her element.
Zoey laughed, "I'm not going to even ask how she managed to get her hands on a lifeguard chair."
Joan blew her whistle, "Okay people, let's get to work!"
By mid-afternoon, Zoey was hot and exhausted from all the cars that they had washed. She grabbed a bottle of water and took a seat under their tent hoping to cool off a little.
As she sat there she heard the telltale strains of music signaling a heart song. Tobin and the other brogrammers were scrubbing the cars and singing:
Working at the car wash
Working at the car wash, yeah
Come on and sing it with me, car wash
Sing it with the feeling now, car wash yeah
Come some of the work get's kind of hard
This ain't no place to be if you planned on being a star
Let me tell you it's always cool
And the boss don't mind sometimes if you act a fool
"DAMMIT GLENN!!! You spray the outside of the car, not the inside!" Joan shouted.
Leif quickly grabbed the hose from Glenn, to avoid further issues.
Leif sensed an opportunity to exact revenge for his cardigan. He grabbed a bucket and filled it up with water. Luckily, Max was distracted, soaping the wheels of the car.
Sneaking up behind him, Leif dumped the bucket of water right onto Max's head.
"Dude, what the hell?!" Max stood up, sputtering.
"Oops. My hand slipped," Leif said, unapologetically.
Max rolled his eyes and walked over to the tent in search of a towel.
Zoey looked up and did a double-take as she saw a very wet Max making his way towards her. His white t-shirt was now clinging to his body like a second skin. She could see the outline of his surprisingly muscular body, and her mouth ran dry.
"He did that on purpose!" Max complained, running a towel through his hair. "All to get back at me for that stupid cardigan!"
Zoey continued staring as Max dried himself off, the water making his curls more prominent than usual. Her eyes followed a drop of water, making its way down his neck. She bit her lip to keep from groaning aloud at the thought of licking that water off him.
"Zo? Is everything okay? You look a little flushed," Max asked, concerned. "Are you hot?"
"No, but you are," she mumbled.
"Hmm? No, no just fine here," she replied. "Well, better get back out there!" she quickly stood and left the tent. She needed to put some space between Max's wet body and her traitorous thoughts.
Nope, do not go there, Zoey. Yes, he's hot and you desperately want him, but he's your best friend.
"You alright, Z-dog?" Tobin asked, glancing at her red cheeks.
"Yup, everything is just fine," she insisted, grabbing a sponge and getting to work on the next car.
Tobin glanced over at the tent, and saw a wet and confused Max watching her. He chuckled and shook his head, they were both so obviously in love with one another it was ridiculous.
Glancing at Zoey's outfit, Tobin realized she was wearing a swimsuit under her clothes. He grinned as he got an idea, maybe they both just needed a nudge in the right direction.
Max finished drying off as best he could, and got back to work. He took the hose from Leif, refusing to let the other man anywhere near him with it.
Tobin made sure that Joan wasn't looking in his direction as he grabbed one of the wet sponges and threw it directly at Zoey. It hit her chest with a loud smack, soaking through her shirt.
"Tobin! What has gotten into you!" she yelled, chasing him around the car. "Get back here!"
Tobin ducked behind another car and lobbed another sponge at her, this one hit her stomach.
"Seriously? What are you five?" Zoey yelled, throwing a sponge at him in retaliation. Tobin ducked and the sponge sailed over his head, hitting Glenn in the face. Grabbing another sponge, Zoey began to advance on Tobin, determined to hit her mark this time.
“Move, Glenn!!” Tobin yelled, shoving past him as he ran away from Zoey.
Zoey chased after him, weaving through the cars to try and reach him. Just as Zoey caught up to him, sponge in hand, they heard Joan's whistle.
"ZOEY! The sponges are for cars, not your co-workers!" Joan yelled.
Grumbling, Zoey put the sponge down and stomped off to the tent to dry off. Thank goodness she had thought ahead enough to wear her bathing suit. She peeled off her soaked shirt, laying it out in the sun to dry, and headed back to the line of cars.
Max's mouth fell open as he watched Zoey walk by. He had never seen her wear a swimsuit before. The simple blue one-piece dipped low in the back, the straps making a criss-cross pattern that his fingers itched to trace.
"DUDE, STOP!" Leif burbled. Max turned and saw that he had accidentally been spraying Leif, instead of the car he was supposed to be washing.
"That truly was an accident," Max said apologetically, as Leif stormed off.
Zoey caught Max's eye and they both laughed.
After what seemed like the five hundredth car, they were finally on the last car of the day.
"Wait a minute…." Zoey said, frowning at the car. "Max, isn't this your car?"
Max grinned, "Well, we're already here. So I figured why not?"
"No way, bro!" Tobin exclaimed. "You can wash your own damn car, I'm out!"
The rest of the brogrammers murmured their agreement and walked off with Tobin.
Zoey shrugged her shoulders, "Looks like it's just you and me then. Let's get to work."
With fewer distractions around, they were able to make quick work washing Max's car.
"Come on, I'll give you a ride home," Max offered, once they had put the cleaning supplies away.
"Tobin sang Carwash?" Max laughed, Zoey told him as they walked up the stairs to her apartment. "That's a little on the nose there, isn’t it?"
Zoey shrugged, "It's Tobin. Sometimes he can be deep and mature, and other times he's well...Tobin."
Max hummed in agreement, "True."
A silence fell between them as they reached Zoey's door.
"I don't think I'd ever seen you wear a swimsuit before today," Max commented.
"I figured it was a safe bet when being around Tobin, Leif, and water. Looks like I was right too," she chuckled.
"It's a good look on you, you should wear one more often."
"Well, what about you, Mister Secret Buff? Don't think I wasn't distracted by the outline of your muscles through your wet shirt," Zoey replied, unthinkingly.
"Oh, you were distracted, were you?" Max teased.
Zoey flushed as she realized what she had just revealed. "I mean...well...how could I….yeah...I was," she stammered.
Max grinned, "You weren't the only one who was distracted."
Zoey's eyes lit up in understanding, "You mean?"
"There's a reason Leif got sprayed in the face, and it has everything to do with you and that swimsuit," Max confessed.
Zoey gasped as he pulled her towards him, capturing her lips in a toe-curling kiss.
They broke apart and Max smiled softly at her, "I'll see you later, Zo."
Zoey nodded, dazed as she watched him walk down the stairs. She walked into her apartment, unable to keep the smile on her face as she began singing to herself.
Working at the car wash
Working at the car wash, yeah