Crook Takes Pawn Part 34

"Yeah, I know," Greg says absently, as he produces his cell phone and scrolls through the contacts. He first called his friend that lent him the van before. No answer. It strikes Greg how few people he knows out here. After over a year, his cell phone barely had over a dozen numbers, and most of them were for restaurants.
"We can call Ben," Donny suggests, "maybe he can give us a ride."
    Greg was hesitant to contact Ben. It would look pitiful to their business partnership if Ben had to bail them out. Wasn't Greg supposed to be cunning, and self-sufficient? What did Greg have to bring to the table?
Greg paused on Rebecca's number. Should he call? It wasn't a matter of life and death, but it would still be a hassle for her. It was early yet, and any call would be unwelcome, especially one requesting aid because of a breakdown.
    Greg opened his door and stepped outside. The sun was leisurely rising, casting an orange glow to everything in sight. The Lebaron looked particularly shiny and sleek in the soft haze. One would not know the Lebaron's many problems from a passing glance at that time. But Greg knew that inside, the car was unreliable and untrustworthy. Should he even bother to get it fixed? Maybe it was time to junk the pile of scrap on wheels. Greg looked the car up and down without opening the hood. Like all motorists who become stranded, Greg wished he had mechanic knowledge bestowed upon him at that moment. He knew how to change a tire, and check the oil, that was about the extent of his maintenance skills.
"Fucking Christ," greg said, as the smoke dissipated from the furnace that was formerly the car's engine, "If it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."
"Just let me call Ben," Donny says weakly, "He can at least give me a ride to the clinic. We can figure it out from there."
    Greg looks once again at his phone. It is still flipped open like a clamshell. Rebecca's number is still highlighted in the tiny display. Fuck it. He wanted to talk to her anyway. The brief passing of time since he'd spoken to her in the shop seemed long ago. Truly, the hours dragged on for lonely people like Greg. He hastily dialed the call button before he could chicken out. She answered groggily.
"Rebecca, it's me, Greg."
"Oh, hey Greg,what's up? It's kinda early. Our date isn't until later."
"Yeah, I'm sorry to bother, Rebecca. I'm just--I'm in a bit of a predicament here. My car just broke down off of Burlington Street, and I was wondering if maybe you'd be willing to get me a ride? Possibly, by  chance?"
Greg winces, awaiting her response. In the beginning stages of courtship, it always seemed like you had to play things gently, and try to do much for the girl in question. Little things like opening a door, paying for dinner, the chivalrous things that all men must endure to start things off. And here Greg was, already making requests of her, and they hadn't even gone out yet.
Greg can hear a scuffling sound, but no response. A jangling of keys.
"I'm on my way now. You said Burlington Street, right?"
Greg's pained expression dissolves into relief.
"Yeah, a little bit past the dam, on the right side, coming towards downtown. You can't miss us."
"Okay, Greg. see you soon. Buh-Bye!!"
Yes, things were going to be alright, with little hassle. Greg grinned broadly as he entered the Lebaron again.
"It's all good, dude," Greg says, with that ear to ear smile, "Rebecca's on top of it. She's gonna pick us up."
"You still have to call a tow-truck or something'" Donny says reproachfully, "Otherewise the city will impound it, and you have to pay storage fees."
"Yeah, but they won't do that for at least 24 hours," Greg says, plotting his next moves carefully, "If we push this car towards that parking spot, we can feed the meter for a few hours until we can call the tow truck.
Donny begrudgingly agrees to help push the car towards the designated spot. Greg makes sure to hit his caution flashers on the turnsignal switch to alert approaching motorists.
    Greg once again can feel the uncomfortable dampness of sweat under his arms. Hopefully what they said about pheromones was true, because Rebecca most likely would be able to catch a whiff of Greg tonight, he just knew it. Damn BO.
Greg tumbles a few quarters into the parking meters slot, which buys them an hour and a half. Donny and Greg had a light sheen of sweat on them. They both sat on the hood of the crippled car, and took off their jackets to cool off. The sun had firmly risen, spiking the temperature up. To Greg, it was a perfect atmosphere, not too cold, not too hot. The crisp spring air was rejuvenating. The thought that he had an attractive women coming to lend him a hand was also joyful. Greg felt a burst of gratefulness. He was glad to be alive, and eager to repair his store, to improve his position in life.
    Donny's mood, however, was skulking. The bums' leg drummed up and down against the bumper so fiercely that it was starting to shake the car. A junky's rattle. No, that wasn't fair. Donny was legitimately trying to kick the stuff. Greg shouldn't make fun. Donny's body had developed a dependency, and it really did make him well to take the methadone. Donny was going through the proper legal channels to kick his habit, and that was important to remember as well. But still, Donny was visibly upset.
"How long has it been?" Donny snaps.
"About 15 minutes" Greg answers distractedly, "She lives across town, it's a little bit of a drive for her."
"Women always take forever," Donny says in a cranky voice, "When they say 30 minutes, it really means an hour."
    Rebecca proves this theory wrong by appearing over the crest of the hill above them. Greg chuckles and waves his arms to gain her attention. The mini van blurts its horn once in acknowledgement. Rebecca's turn signal clicks to life, and she maneuvers into a U-turn, pulling up right behind the two stranded men. Greg leaps from the hood and makes his way over to Rebecca.
    Greg centers in on the diverside window as it rolls down. Greg crosses his arms and plants his forearms against the window frame.
"Hello, beautiful" Greg greets with an easy smile.
Rebecca wears an oversized baggy Mountain Dew shirt. It is not exactly an attire that accentuates her femininity, but she is still a hotty in Greg's eyes. Her light brown hair is snarled up behind a ratty-looking blue scrunchy.
"I look like a mess, I know," Rebecca says playfully, "I just rolled outta bed and came over. I didn't even have a chance to brush my teeth."

Although it was an early time of day, Rebecca seemed to have her flirting game going on strong. Greg noticed her running her fingers through her hair, and stroking the strands slowly, and at length. It was a sure-sign indicator of at least mild attraction.
"I've still got to get my hair done, then my nails," rebecca says distractedly. As she named off the different activities she was planning today, Greg remarked to himself that there was a price for beauty. It made Greg feel full of himself to know that this dame was going to such care on his behalf. All Greg really had to do was take a shower and throw on some dress clothes. The spritz of cologne was mandatory, as well, but he had plenty to spare. There was a full, unopened bottle of scent Greg would use tonight.
"You look great," Greg says, dismissing her self-deprecation, "Only you can make those sweat pants look good." Rebecca giggles and lifts up one of her legs clumsily. The sweats are a checkered pattern of gold and black. the material slides down her shin, and bunch up behind her knee. Her foot is adorned by a pink fuzzy bunny, which has lost one of it's sewn eyes.
"I still have to shave my legs for tonight," she says between bouts of laughter, "They're pretty hairy."
There is a pause, and Greg seizes the opportunity. He reaches out slyly and caresses her leg briefly with his fingertips. Her leg jumps back in reflex, and her chilled blue eyes show her surprise. Her ankle colides with her keys, which dangle from the ignition. The keyring jangles, then sways back and forth in a silent pendulum.
"I'm sorry," Greg mutters, with a shrug. His charm has seemingly crossed into that awful territory borderlining creepy.
"How do they feel?" she asks seductively. Greg resumes his light grasp on her leg and runs a few soft swipes up and down. There is no resistance from rebecca. she raises a slender eyebrow. Greg's mouth struggles against a dopey grin that will not go away.
"They could use a razor," Greg admits, "I need to shave, too, feel my whiskers."
Greg tilts his head back and points to his chin. As if on command, Rebecca's small arm extends and runs her delicate fingers across his face. The tips linger, ever so slightly grazing the length, and underside of his chin. A wave of euphoria sweeps through Greg, which can only come from the chemistry of opposites. It was indeed chemistry, basic interactions of testosterone and estrogen. And it felt great to Greg's weathered heart.
    the flick of a lighter breaks up their intimate moment. Both rebecca and Greg turn their heads in unison towards Donny as he lights up a cig. Donny offers a casual wave and looks out towards the high-rises of buildings. Rebecca recoils her arm back into the van. Greg feels his cheeks burning, and clears his throat.
"So, my car broke down," Greg says hurriedly, "And I kinda needed a ride."
Rebecca nods, playing along in their act. She doesn't seem bashful like Greg, more likefear. Rebecca continues talking to Greg, but watches sharply from the corner of her eye at Donny.
Greg glances inward at the empty van.
"Where's Julie?" Greg asks.
"She'sShe's with my sister Amy now, she stayed the night, who is that man, Greg?"
Rebecca covers her mouth with her hand and nearly whispers to him. Greg has to lean forward in order to hear her.
"That's my friend Donny. He works for a business partner of mine."
Rebecca's entire demeanor has changed. Her hands had been lightly draped across the collar of her shirt, near her chest, in another subconscious reveal of her infatuation. Now, rebecca was pulling her hood sweatshirt closed, and zipping it up. Her hands clenched the steering wheel tightly, as if there were a knee-jerk moment of action needed soon.
    Rebecca could tell right away Donny was from the street. It was the way donnie carried himself, seeming so meek and vulnerable, as if the world would swallow him up. Donny looked far better now than he had at certain times, but he still wore the stress and worry of pavement mattresses. That kind of tiredness and restlessness can wear on a soul, especially around the eyes.
"soYou two were driving around?" Rebecca asks, on edge, "Where were you going?"
Greg knows where this is headed before anything else is spoken. I was going to take him to the drug clinic. How would that sound to Rebecca? Needless to say, her faith in the good of humanity was somewhat shaken by transpired events. Now, Greg was hanging around former addicts? It looked like Greg was tempting chance by doing so. Sure, he could tell himself he wasn't in danger with DonnyBut was he? Just being in a drug-laden environment surrounded Donny with unsavory people, like Jessie. Simply having Donny around might attract the wrong type of attention. Maybe Donny really was conning both Greg and Ben? Why must Greg keep treading over the same ground? Because, maybe an outside perspective is needed to truly make sense of motives and reasons.
"I was gonna take him to a clinic across town, but my car died," Greg says, finding his words to be long and drawn out. He didn't want to lie to Rebecca, but he hoped she wouldn't ask too many more questions. She again craned her neck towards Greg so only he could hear.
"Can you come inside, for  a second?" she whispers.
"Sure" Greg says heavily, "Wait a minute Donny!!"
Donny waves with his smoking hand, and some embers tumble down unnoticed to Donny's arm. The wind begins to pick up as Greg opens the van door. With a grunt of effort, he slams it shut, cutting off the shriek of wind. The silence in the van is loud. Greg scans his eyes across the vans backseat. He spies the baby seat, unoccupied, straps hanging like a childs arms offered in a hug.
"What's up?" Greg asks in a voice that cracks somewhat. It is nerves.
"Is that man homeless?" Rebecca asks somewhat suspiciously.
"No, he lives at the YMCA" Greg says in a controlled tone.
"I don't want to step on anybody's toes here, Greg," Rebecca says, "But you seem like a pretty trusting guy, with a big heart."
Greg shrugs and produces a smile he thinks looks painted on.
"Guilty as charged," Greg says humorously. Perhaps wit could defuse this potential conflict.
"I just don't to see you taken advantage of," Rebecca relays.
"Wait, where is this coming from? Donny's a good guy," Greg says, defending the character of his friend.
"After you killedI mean," Rebecca pauses, "Everything after the shooting has changed for me. I carry mace with me now. I don't trust anybody anymore. Just family, and maybe you. But I don't really know you either. I think you're a good man, I know that, otherwise you wouldn't have gotten Julie back. And I've been thinking about you a lot too, Greg. I want to get to know you."
    Rebecca turns towards him, those pale blue eyes swimming with empathy and kindness. Greg feels swept away by the look. The aforementioned sexual tension had thickened since last time. They were both in the throes of pre-emptive love. It was like entire stages of the dating scheme had been skipped over, and both of them were playing catch-up to how they really felt. Rebecca cast a hard, stern gaze toward Donny. Strangely enough, Donny suddenly stiffens. It is uncanny how humans can sense a stare being directed their way.
"I don't' have any interest in getting to knowcertain types of people anymore." Rebecca says distantly, " I have to lookout for my daughter. You understand that, right?"
    Greg glances at a picture mobile hanging from Rebecca's rearview mirror. Rebecca holds Julie, who is all a splendor in that same white Easter dress she wore in the Pawn and Payday. In crisp white letters, their names are written along the outside border, with the words "Julie's Baptism!!" lining the top and bottom of the clear plastic frame. Rebecca holds a somber pose in the the picture. It is the solemn sight of a daughter and mother alone against the odds, and world at large.
"I know how much you care for your daughter, Rebecca. Believe me, I know."
Another large gust of wind rocks the van, distributing enough force to sway them both in their seats. Greg watches the mobile twirl on the string, and there is a second picture on the back, this one with both Rebecca and Julie laughing uproariously. Greg felt another stab of longing within. He wanted to be part of their lives, to share in that laughter. That one single snapshot held more evidence of happiness than Greg himself had felt in years. Greg was familiarizing himself once again with that abstract magic that women seemed to posses. That essence that set a female apart from a male. The gaps and empty holes dotting their separate lives could be intwined, filling their emptiness. Greg wanted that dearly.

    Rebecca says everything without pause, in one long, quick sentence. "I know he's your friend, and everything, but I don't trust strangers I've never met anymore, not since what happened, I won't be able to give him a ride, I'm so sorry Greg"
Greg should never have called her. It has put Rebecca in a very awkward situation. Her fears were founded. She didn't want to give a former junky a ride to the rehab clinic, and that was quite understandable. After the shootout, the poor woman probably traveled around with even more anxiety than a pretty girl feels normally all the time. Greg could detect the regret in Rebecca's voice, mingled with a real desire to help out. This did not bode well.
"Alright," Greg says abruptly, "I understand"
    Before Rebecca can say more, Greg has already exited and shut the door. Greg realizes he is taking his frustration out on Rebecca, although he didn't intend to. His mind conjures up a vague excuse of being pulled between his friend and a chick.  He pauses mid-stride, his feet skidding a bit on the dirt and dust gritted into the pavement. He wants to go back and apologize immediately, but feels caught and indecisive. Greg returns to her window, but Rebecca is on the phone now. He utters an exasperated sigh, and turns first towards his own car, then back to Rebecca's vehicle, turning himself in a full futile circle. Why do all the headaches occur all at once?
    Greg elects to retreat back to the Lebaron, which Donny is still leaning against.
"Change of plans," Greg says quickly, "Here's my phone, give Ben a call. He can pick us up instead."
Donny takes the phone readily enough from Greg.
"What brought that about?" Donny asks quizzically, "What happened?"
"She doesn't feel comfortable riding withUh" Greg trails off, unsure how to finish that particular sentence. One thing good about being jaded is that true surprises are few and far between. Donny simply nods, and flips open Gregs cell to make the call. No explanation is needed. Donny caught brief site of the milf babe as she pulled up. Donny couldn't say that he blamed her for the mistrust. All things considered, it was to be expected.
With Donny occupied, and not just standing there sucking wind and smoke, Greg hurriedly goes back to Rebecca. He tries the doors, but they are locked. Greg's shoulders sink, but then the click of the electronic locks can be heard. Greg catches the tail-end of Rebecca's conversation.
"That's right, it's at Burlington, by the Gilbert intersection," Rebecca says, "It's a greyJust a sec, what kind of car is that, Greg?"
"It's a Chrysler Lebaron," Greg says blankly. What was going on? Greg raises his hands and scrunches his brow in a questioning gesture. Rebecca holds up a finger to wait until she is done on the phone.
"ChryslerYup, ok. You have my card number then, right?"
rebecca's purse is spread open. Greg catches sight of Rebecca's credit card, glimmering with light from the suns eager rays. 
"the name on it is Rebecca Drake. That's right, the repairs too. OkayThank you muchOh, wait a second!! can you give them a ride back to the shop? yeah, there's two guys."
Greg assembles the gist of whats happening.
"Ok, what? ohWell, I'm sure he'd really appreciate that. Yeah, until it gets fixed, yessirThanks so much!! Buh-Bye!!"
Rebecca taps the screen of her phone and the call is ended. Jeez, everybody and their brother had smart phones these days.
"Problem solved," Rebecca says cheerfully, "Your tow truck is enroute, they will take it over to Speedy Motors. The guy said he has an extended cab in the two vehicle, so they can give you and your buddy a lift.  And they'll fix whatever's wrong with it."
"how much is it?" Greg asks, with a suddenly dry throat. Surely, she wouldn'tWould she?
"It depends on what the issue is, but don't worry," rebecca says, wrinkling her nose in a hilarious way, to convey a dismissive tone, "I've got it covered."
"I can't let you do that," Greg says, "C'mon, you can't pay for it."
"There's more than enough limit on the card, trust me." Rebecca says, as she begins to toss things back into her purse, "they have a loaner car they lend out while you're waiting."
Greg is dumbfounded.
"What if the repairs are really steep?"
"Greg, I said don't worry about it. I want to do this for you."
Rebecca smiles wholeheartedly and grasps the picture mobile between her dainty thumb and index finger. Julies beaming face is beneath her grip.
"I owe you." rebecca says simply.
"oh, girl" is all Greg can say. He leans across the seat, and envelopes her in a tender hug. she shifts her weight to allow his arms to reach around her completely. Settling her head against Greg's shoulder, rebecca revels in their embrace. Greg runs his hand up and down the slight curve of her back. He can tell she is not wearing a bra underneath, there is no clip strap between her shoulder blades where there normal would be. The slight sagging weight of her breasts confirms this, as Greg feels that comforting pressure against his arm.
"thank you" Greg says into her ear.
    They finally pull apart, but Greg's hands linger on her thin shoulders. Their faces are mere inches apart. Greg steals a kiss from her lips. It is little more than a peck. It has been too long since Greg had locked lips with the fairer sex. Rebecca goes to him the second time. It was a straight-forward kiss, literally. No tilted heads, no upturned faces. The tips of heir noses bumped slightly, like an eskimos. Her lips puckered hard, sucking his own flat against hers. Greg added his own pressure, and the kiss was locked. Their air intermingled as they stopped momentarily to breathe, then they kissed again. Several times, they did this, at the end they were practically gnawing on each others faces like horny teenagers.
"Okay, okay," Rebecca says, through peals of laughter, "easy there, stud. Save some for tonight!!"
Greg chuckles lustily and draws back from her with great effort. He glances down and sees the peaks on her Mt. Dew shirt have arisen. Her nipples pierce through both the shirt and hood. Greg feels a pleasant rousing in his groin, and knows with certainty he will pop wood soon. He hastily exits to prevent her from seeing that happen. Greg is not a prude, but feels digression should be the better part of valor on this occasion.
"I can drive you tonight, don't worry," Rebecca shouts out the passing window.
He waves merrily to Rebecca as she starts up and hauls off.

Part 35:
Uploaded 02/28/2012
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