Joe's eyes sparkled and he wrung his hands uncharacteristically. I was growing accustomed to the spots of oil smudged on his hands and lower arms. The shirt he was wearing looked beyond rescue; it was so dirty with oil and dirt. I could imagine June or Abriella scrubbing away in vain at the white material in a bid to somehow salvage the shirt. The messy, workman look suited him and I could see past the grime to his handsome face.
"Good. I want to ask you something as well." I told him, leaning against the car.
Joe's blue eyes lit up and the grin I was so familiarised with leapt to his features. He wiped his hands on the jeans that he wore when working on the cars. Taking his expectant silence as permission to continue I phrased my question in a way which I hoped didn't give too much away.
"Where are the keys to the car kept?"
Joe's smile faded slightly as if he hadn't expected my question to involve car keys. Slowly suspicion crept onto his face.
"You're not still trying to escape are you Lizzy?"
"Yes," I admitted with a sigh. "So where are the keys kept?"
In truth, Ashley's unfriendliness had been one of the factors that had spurred my sudden, more intense want to escape. I didn't want to spend one more moment in Ashley's company when he was acting so distant with me.
"There are no keys. I've told you that before."
He motioned towards a shiny black screen next to the door handle, just large enough for a finger to be placed on. This, I supposed, must be the fingerprint-initiated lock he was talking about.
"But don't you need a key to turn the engine on?" I asked, wondering if I was really so clueless with cars that I'd got this fact wrong.
"No, not in this car. Goliath knows that nobody but him and that son of his-."
"Ashley." I interrupted.
"Yes, him. Goliath knows that nobody but those can get into the cars so there's no need for a lock. I assume that there's a button you can press once inside to turn the engine on."
I nodded, taking this in. There were no car keys which only made my task, providing I could actually get into the car in the first place, easier. Plans of obtaining a fingerprint from Ashley looped around in my mind. I doubted that pressing a fork with his fingerprint on would work but it was worth a shot. I sighed, realising that I had little chance of escaping in the car.
"So what did you want to ask me?" I changed the subject.
Joe, instead of seeming pleased at the subject change, turned a shade of pink. He stood motionless for a few seconds and then, following my expectant look, fumbled around in his pockets. Finally he pulled out a tattered piece of paper and a pencil.
"Will you do this for me?"
He thrust the paper and pencil into my hands and then disappeared back under the car. Puzzled, I opened up the sheet. Columns of numbers were written down the paper under headings such as 'Hex-head bolts' and in pencil Joe had scribbled some attempts at addition. I let out a giggle at the confused face he'd drawn in the corner.
"Math isn't my forte!" His muffled voice came from under the car in response.
I quickly did the math and then prodded his foot.
"I've done." I told him.
"What?" He asked in amazement, checking my numbers. "How did you do it so quickly?"
"Eh, I guess math has always been my 'forte', as you put it. Now," I said, putting on a business type tone. "What did you really want to ask me?"