Our breathing rang in my ears, and I could feel my heart beating in my stomach. “Do you think they’ve stopped?” I glanced behind us. “I don’t know,” I panted. “And I don’t really want to find out. Come on.” I pushed off against the brick wall, forcing myself to go a little further.
The alley ended at a green wooden fence, and I helped you over before doing it myself. We were in the patio area of a restaurant. The patrons stopped their meals and looked at us aghast, their faces illuminated by the candles on the tables and twinkling lights strung over them.
“Reservations here are such a bitch to get,” you said, with a smirk and rolled eyes. I smiled at your response before taking your hand and leading you towards the front. We are being chased and you come off with a comment like that.
“Have a good night. It was delicious,” I state to the maître d’ as we walk casually out of the doors. He smiles and waves, just another happy customer opening up a table as far as he is concerned.
We head to the side street where the car should be parked, keys inside. I notice you holding your bag a little tighter to your side. The bulge inside it a little more conspicuous than I would prefer, but it blends in the shadows of the dusky evening light.
I opened your door first, taking the opportunity to take a quick look around. I saw him, about 300 yards behind us. Smoking a cigarette and trying to look like he was on his phone, the furtive glances giving away his true purpose. I walked slowly to my door, opened it, and started the car.
When I didn’t pull away immediately, you knew something was wrong. You began to swivel in your seat, but I placed my hand on your leg to stop you. The spark was immediate and surprising. “Two behind us.” I looked into your eyes. You reached over and kissed me. Passionately, twisting my head to the side. You let me go, a fire in your eyes. “Sorry, couldn’t be too conspicuous. One more in front.” “Hey, no argument from me. Should we just give up now?” I knew your answer before I asked the question. So did you, smiling with that grin that you saved for special occasions.
I pushed the brake in and slid the car into drive, slowly pulling forward, even signaling my merge with traffic. Another car peel away from the curb on the other side of the street. I needed to get to the other side of the city, but I wasn’t in any hurry. I was going to make these guys work for their daily rate.
I got on the freeway while you fiddled with the stereo, finally settling on some classic Soul. The music played, contrasting nicely with the seriousness of the situation. I couldn’t help myself, smiling and dancing in my seat to the music. You laughed at my antics, before joining in. The sight of the two of us rocking out to James Brown, and Kool and the Gang would must have begun to make the thugs following us question if they had the right car.
To confirm their suspicions one of the cars slowly sidled up to our’s. I got a quick glance of a bald head and leather jacket, before I swung the wheel sharply to the left and back; the car jumping at the combination of the maneuver and the lane bumps. You grabbed my leg to steady yourself, and I gripped the wheel a little tighter at the unexpected touch.
Their car had attempted to avoid my apparent lane change and ended up over-correcting, spinning out and facing the wrong way. I pushed the accelerator to the floor and watched the traffic snarl form in the rear view mirror. “Proud of yourself?” You asked this as you fixed your hair in the mirror. “Actually? Yeah,” I answered as I took the next exit. “Me too,” you stated, a contended look across your face.
You settled into your seat, snaked your hand into mine, and sighed. “Y’know, a girl could get used to this.”
I silently agreed with you, squeezed your hand a little tighter, and cast a quick smile at the bag on the floorboards. “I hope so.”