The Hard Drive – Part 3

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Ass

I like women like my cars: expensive and dangerous. But the brunette hammering on the inside of the trunk lid of my 2015 Mustang GT was in a different class on both counts. Seemed like she was trying to outgun the pistons that raged a few feet ahead of me as I swerved around a beaten-up Honda and cut back in front, tires squealing, wipers on overdrive.Collateral is such an ugly term and I felt terrible to the pit of my stomach, but it had been unavoidable. An impulse. She was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time as I fled the building. And now? Red and blue strobes bounced off the car’s interior as downtown raced by in a blur of streetlights and darkened buildings. Cops in the rear view. Cops zigzagging in and out of the wing mirrors. I didn’t need reminding that Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.As I avoided a Chevy, the car slewed and I steered into the slide, hauling left at the intersection through a stop sign. A minor felony on any other day, but my pursuers would be only too happy to label it ‘dangerous driving’ if they ever caught me. They certainly wouldn’t take the word of the best stunt driver in the state that nobody was in any danger whatsoever. Especially when that driver had also racked up robbery, resisting arrest, and kidnapping in the last twenty minutes. Slam dunk case: do not pass Go, do not collect $200.I mashed the pedal and spun the alloys with exactly the right amount of torque to put some distance between the sirens and me. They could run the plates and chase their tails all the way to the inevitable dead end, but it didn’t change the fact the lead was temporary. Soon the fuckers would try to cut me off. I needed to clear my head and think. Think. The thumping from the trunk wasn’t helping, a percussive reminder of what I’d become. How far I’d fallen.The road crested and the Mustang was airborne for a second, suspension crunching as thirty-five hundred pounds of automobile landed on the asphalt and accelerated into the night. The car was made for manual shift. Such control, especially in bad weather. I opened her up, revs red-lining in each gear, and was in sixth before my pursuers even became visible. Left them for dead on the straight, darting between slower moving cars amid blasts of angry horns. With the needle into triple figures, my body was pressed into the reassuring hug of the Recaros; an expensive luxury, but worth every cent I hadn’t paid for them.As each crossroad shot by, I scanned the squat buildings and offices for somewhere to lay low for a while. An open warehouse door; anything.Six blocks of nothing.Seven.Eight.And then… there! I smiled, flicked off the headlights, dabbed the brake and snapped the wheel right, skidding the car into a lazy arc, straightening to bounce down a grassy embankment and powering it into a car dealership lot. I yanked the handbrake and spun the car, tires complaining against the wet surface but holding, doing their job admirably. The Mustang juddered to a halt alongside a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat like a fucking glove. Like I’d done in the movie Street Hounds. Like it had been parked there all afternoon, one of maybe a hundred high-performance vehicles for sale, the only telltale sign to the contrary being the wisps of steam as the rain splashed from the hood.Killing the engine and shrinking into the plush seat, eyes barely above the level of the dash, I watched the cops speed by above. The woman in the trunk, whose silence I’d assumed meant she was scared shitless by the hard drive, started hammering again. At least she was conscious, which was some small relief. But I’d had enough.“Shut up or I’ll put a fucking bullet through the back seat.”The sound ceased.Sirens faded into the distance, replaced by the irregular Doppler of cars in less of a hurry sending spray onto the embankment. I breathed out, heart slowing, focusing on the fat droplets drumming the car’s husk and windshield, gradually obscuring me behind the watery curtain. Safe for now, giving me time to reflect. Time to think properly.Facts.One: I got the diamonds and the money. The holdall on the passenger seat represented my last score. After I delivered the stones to Monroe, we’d agreed that any money on the side would allow me to leave the life behind. My second shot at happiness. At redemption.Two: I got the hard drive. Just two-and-a-half inches wide, the flat, metallic rectangle in the side pocket of the bag was the only evidence of my involvement. Disabling the cameras would have taken too long, and my reconnaissance during the prior weeks revealed that the feed wasn’t backed up, nor networked. No drive, no witnesses, no case.Three: I got her. A witness, upsetting the precision of the job. Aside from the rent-a-cop we dodged outside as he raised the alarm, the store was meant to be empty. So what the hell was her pretty ass doing there? And what could I do with her now? I wasn’t a mercenary. I’d lied about the gun.Without leverage, I had to somehow get rid of her without screwing up the operation. After all the planning, I couldn’t risk bringing bad news to Monroe’s doorstep, let alone spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder. I’d had enough of that for the past three years and was tired of it. Should have never got involved, but hindsight’s always a whole heap of shoulda woulda coulda.Reaching for the rear view, I angled it towards myself. I needed sleep. My hair, melanoid and unmanageable, would soon need cutting to prevent it curling and making me resemble Luke Duke. But other than bad bahçesehir escort hair and mismatched irises, I didn’t look like a villain. No scars, no tattoos, no crooked features. Just a regular Joe; someone you might find working on a construction site, or in a bank, or behind a desk. Unassuming. Anonymous. That’s why Monroe chose me. That and I can drive like nobody else and he needed a loner who could get away fast. While there probably weren’t any better drivers in town, in truth he didn’t really give me much choice. I was already in deep and he knew it.I cast my mind back to the night I’d called his bluff, claiming, “I’m not your guy,” despite owing him what I’d pissed away in the casinos. Plus interest. He’d remained impassive, standing there in the living room that Naomi and I had once called home, shaking his chubby head before stepping to the mantelpiece in his tailored suit that probably cost more than my couch. He picked up a photo of Naomi with Sadie pulling a face on holiday in the Rockies, his Southern drawl flicking from amicable to hostile in an instant.”It’s not a request, Mr. Carlton. I can be… persuasive if ya know what I mean.”I said nothing. Fiddled change in my jeans pocket.”Such a pretty girl,” he mused. “LakeView Elementary, no? Upstate?”My stomach tightened as the color drained from my cheeks and my mood darkened. “You so much as go near her…”It was supposed to be menacing but felt as empty as my insides, and Monroe’s twisted smirk confirmed it as he returned the picture. “So I can count on you?”I tried to retain some semblance of bravado, but knew I was trapped. Naomi had long gone with the shiny ski instructor, all perfect teeth and sculpted abs. I saw Sadie on alternate weekends and we’d hang out, get ice cream, play in the park. But a quick stream of Dad things wasn’t enough. The times in between were like someone had ripped out my heart and shoved a brick back in its place.Perhaps predictably, like one of the losers in the movies I’d been in, I hit the bottle. Hit the craps tables. Hit on women I should have avoided, night after night face first between the legs of the horny and the desperate. There was something about surfacing, face slick with pussy juice, crawling up and sinking inside someone else’s wife – as Brad the skiing prick had done to mine – that anesthetized the pain. A perverse kind of payback, bucking, clutching and groaning into the small hours, ending a knot of hot, naked limbs and false promises. And honestly, I didn’t get any complaints – just compliments and fuck me harders – so who wouldn’t have kept at it? I developed a thirst for it, addicted to the thrill of being out of control, the shot of adrenaline normally delivered from my job boosted at night too.And then? It would all be good when I saw my little girl’s smile and we’d become a lopsided family again, even if just for a few hours. I’d get to spoil her and watch Disney movies, but it’d be over way too quick. I’d try and fight the subsequent lull, remain upbeat, tell myself I wouldn’t fall, then end up drowning in self-pity, throwing myself wholesale at the mercy of whiskey and wasted, wanton wives who should know better. The spiral continued until Monroe gave me the lifeline that curbed my descent. Bought me out. Gave me purpose outside my day job.Yes, he’d called off the wolves that wanted my blood in greenbacks. But then I owed him.Since that day I’d been on the wrong side of the law more times than I cared to admit. Crime had a steep learning curve, but like any career, it got easier. I grew some sort of exoskeleton to try and shield myself from the terrible acts I was being forced to commit. I’d tell Sadie about right and wrong, how to grow up to be a good citizen, and hate myself for the hypocrisy. What if she found out? It would crush her to see me for the lying role model I was. It made me sick, but I couldn’t get out until the debt was paid. Until now.With each job I found myself gradually becoming the very thing I despised and feared. Cold. Detached. Cynical. The only satisfaction was that I got the car out of him. “If I’m gonna do this for you, I need something fast and powerful,” I’d said on that first day. “And I want to keep it when we’re done.”Monroe barely blinked. “Name it.”When given carte blanche, who’d pick a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, or McLaren? Too showy. No balls. It had to be all-American, unapologetic, raw and exciting to drive. And what better model than a car made by the pioneering company behind motoring history? The V-8 that created a thunderous, roaring symphony of combustion beneath the hood. The Pirelli P Zeros for unparalleled grip, even in wet conditions. And, I was reminded when she hit the lid a few more times, a sizeable trunk.The rain had mostly subsided. A flash storm. Even the moon was trying to peek from behind thinning clouds in the distance. It was only a matter of time before the cops realized I wasn’t ahead of them and they doubled back. Time to move. I gunned the throaty engine, revved it to remind me of the incredible power I had at my disposal, put the demisters on max, nosed out of the lot and headed back towards the city at less than half the speed I’d left it.– o –The Red Brick Motel, just the other side of downtown off the interstate, was a shining example of America’s network of nondescript places to sleep. Bland and tired, I suspected it had little need for the No Vacancy sign. But it was close enough to the drop point the next day, yet far enough from the city beylikdüzü bayan escort that I wouldn’t attract attention. And, unlike most places nearby, it had a strip of waste ground out back, away from the road, which was where I pulled up and parked.Only one room light was on, and when I climbed out with my knapsack and the holdall onto the shimmering, worn concrete and stretched, I could hear why. Someone was having a real good time, that much was damn certain, spanks and sighs ringing out into the night.Shaking my head, I rounded the trunk. Paused. Took a deep breath, then popped it. She was curled up, hair a mess, eyes wild, scared yet defiant, and I immediately felt further guilt for what I’d done. Somebody’s wife. Probably somebody’s mom. But I knew I couldn’t show weakness and fought it back.”Listen carefully. You’re gonna climb out as quick and quiet as you can and we’ll hole up here for the night until I can figure this out. Far as anyone knows, we’re just another couple that need a place to stay. You keep calm and quiet and don’t attract any attention, we both walk outta here in the morning. Got it?”She nodded, fast and scared, and I stepped back a pace to let her out. She was a tidy package; I hadn’t noticed the extent of her beauty when I’d bundled her in. Her pencil skirt rode high on bare legs as she straddled the tailgate, and hopped over to stand, slightly unsteadily, beside me. As she straightened her blouse and dusted off, I could see her eyes darting, calculating, perhaps wondering if she could make a run for it in her flats.”Don’t,” I cautioned, placing a hand on her bicep. She had good muscle tone. “Nice and easy, remember?” She softened slightly, nowhere to go, and I slammed the trunk, blipping the locks.We rounded the edge of the L-shaped two-storey building and crossed the pockmarked courtyard to a reception area on the far side. It was cramped and smelled of vinegar, sporting just a tiered stand bursting with leaflets advertising local attractions, a faux wood laminate counter, and pigeonholes of keys beyond. The proprietor, an old guy with more teeth than hair, looked up from his crossword. “Help ya?””Got a room for a night?”He peered over the top of his glasses, cast his gaze up and down each of us in turn and came to the wrong conclusion. I wasn’t going to correct him. His lip curled up at one side. “Sure. Hundred bucks, Casanova.”I shook my head. “It’s gone two a.m. I got sixty-five,” I challenged, laying it out note by note on the peeling counter at his eye level.His eyes narrowed. “Price is a hundie, friend.”I eyed him a moment, swept up the bills and turned to leave, grabbing the woman and reaching the door before he called out: “Wait.”One fake signature and seventy-five bucks later we climbed the concrete staircase at the corner of the compound, walking past two unoccupied rooms to reach fourteen. The extra ten bucks was to be away from any other guests on either level; a request that didn’t seem particularly difficult to fulfill. I unlocked the door and ushered her ahead of me, watching her ass from the doorway a fraction longer than I should before following and securing the lock.The room was basic, but I didn’t need more. Bed, table, chair, cable TV, and a bathroom that smelled vaguely of mold and cheap household cleaner. She looked at the bed and wrinkled her nose, then at me. “Seriously?””I’ll take the chair.””Chivalrous. You sure know how to show a girl a good time. Lock her in the trunk then treat her to a five-star dive.”Her accent was as all-American as the car she’d been locked in. Not whiney or nasal, just kinda… cute. Almost rural. Part of me wanted to remain featureless and distant, but I couldn’t do it. Too human, that’s my problem. “I’m sorry, okay?””Sorry?!””Hey, listen, it wasn’t meant to work out this way. I was… improvising.””So, until I came along you were just gonna, what? Rob my husband’s store and run?”I stared at her. “Shit.””Yeah. Shit. What’s he ever done to you?””I didn’t… it wasn’t-“”So you’re the brains of the operation, yeah?”I sidestepped the remark. “What the hell were you doing there so late anyway?”She strode to the bed, turned and plonked herself on the edge, the battered mauve bedcover deforming around her shapely ass. “Like it’s any of your business.”I remained silent. Waited.”Fine. Looking for my daughter if you must know.”I grimaced. “Not tucked up in bed, huh?”She fixed me a steely glare. “Evidently not.””How old?”A sigh escaped her lips. “Old enough to drive. But not like you I hope.””I know what I’m doing behind a wheel.”It was her turn to keep quiet, but her gaze wasn’t stationary. Kept flicking over me. Maybe sizing me up, to see if she could overpower me. Or looking for a chink in my resolve to exploit it. Perhaps she was checking me out, I couldn’t be sure. My imposed lifestyle demanded I worked out at home, and my ego wanted to believe she found me attractive, however unlikely the reality under the circumstances. I hadn’t been this close to a woman in months.As I watched her, something bubbled beneath my surface. Something primal conflicting with the reality of the situation, my mind still at a loss how any of this was going to end cleanly. There was no simple way out. She’d seen me, I’d seen her; it was a foregone conclusion what was going to happen when I let her go. As if she could read my thoughts, our eyes met and I dredged up some words that came out calmer than I felt:”You should get some rest.””Ha!””No, I mean it.””Like I could escort beylikdüzü sleep.””Just… try. Been a long night already.””But. The gun…”I fixed her with a look I hoped was loaded with compassion. “If I was going to use it, I’d have done so earlier. Hardly gonna fire in a motel am I?”I watched her sigh again, then eventually slither up the bed and lay back. It was a struggle to keep my gaze falling to her full chest as gravity took over beneath the tight blouse. I didn’t fight it. Seemed I did a lot of that. A weakness in my DNA, probably. The same weakness that got me into this whole mess in the first place. Sometimes I wondered if the car had more balls than I did.When she’d settled I sat replaying the evening in my head, primarily wondering how I’d missed her entrance at the store. I was usually so careful to keep one eye on the task and the other on the exits. But she’d caught me by surprise and I’d panicked. Perhaps it was the excitement of the last job or that I’d been too engrossed in the safe to notice… but no, the way she’d appeared from nowhere. Something didn’t add up. I grabbed the knapsack and rummaged through it for my laptop. I also shifted the holdall full of loot towards the desk, away from view. Fewer questions that way.Booting up Tails I connected a USB cable, retrieved the store’s hard drive from the holdall pocket and hooked it up, plugging my portable disk kit into the mains to supply it power. The drive spun up with a high-pitched whine, the laptop recognizing it shortly after, dutifully adding an icon to the desktop. Of course, the camera feed was in a proprietary format, but I had software for all the major vendors. I’m like that.The feed was a typical two-by-two grid of locations: top-left the back office that contained the safe; the square alongside covered the main entrance and part of the strip mall beyond. Below was a view of the small stock room, while the final camera captured the bulk of the store itself. The glass-topped units and cabinets dotted throughout the space housed rings, watches and necklaces in which I’d not been interested; maybe half a million in stock that would require fencing. The holdall’s content was more immediately useful, especially when added to the cash I’d already pilfered over three years of bad behavior.I hit the fast-forward icon and watched the timecode speed by. Customers and employees scurried around, transactions taking place, the ebb and flow of a normal day dwindling until the place was locked up for the night by the heavyset store manager. Then there was nothing much of anything happening for hours of footage. I tripled the playback rate until the front door cam registered a long-haired blonde cheerleader fumbling with the lock outside.She opened it, stepped into the store and I watched her approach the alarm panel, punch in the same code I’d used a couple hours later, then beckon to where a lanky youth stood waiting in jeans, hoodie and a beanie hat. She paused a moment, before stalking back and dragging her somewhat hesitant friend behind her at arm’s length. They hustled across the store, and I picked them up again from overhead in the stock room.She wasted no time. Pushed him back against one of the metal racks by the left wall, stepped in on tiptoe for a kiss and wrapped her arms around him. Moments later, his reservations melting, he responded fully, their kiss deepening until her hands began wandering between their bodies, over his chest and down his hips to unsnap the fastener of his jeans. She left the garment that way as they kissed, before slithering down his body to kneel in front of him, peeling his fly apart and scooping out his semi, admiring it for a moment then making eye contact with him before engulfing his rising erection in one motion.Clearly enjoying the attention, his head tipped back as she went to work. If he wasn’t quite twenty, he wasn’t far off, long pale features atop a chiseled jaw line registering pleasure. Certainly didn’t take him long to grow fully hard in her mouth. But with the amount of energy she was channeling into the blowjob, I doubted I would. And I had ten years on him. Soon, she was bobbing her head up and down, running her tongue and lips along his sizeable shaft, cupping his balls, looking up into his eyes. I could only see the back of her head from the upper left side but he seemed colossal in comparison to her dainty hand rubbing the full length. She treated him to some further teasing before taking the tip of it in her mouth and swirling her tongue around the head.The camera was fairly grainy quality, but unlike some models that captured footage resembling the stop-motion 1950s Godzilla movie, at least this one exhibited continuous playback. I could see wetness glinting off his erection in the stock room strip light each time she pulled away, before pressing him urgently back between her lips. The girl could suck dick, that much was obvious. She gradually increased the depth of her strokes until as much as she could of his length regularly disappeared and reappeared, glistening. Then she steadied herself, took hold of his hips and worked her way deeper, engulfing around two-thirds of his hardness and pulling back, beginning a gentle rhythm. He was clearly in heaven and I couldn’t blame him.She toyed with his impressive shaft for another ninety jaw-dropping seconds according to the timecode in the corner of the screen, before withdrawing fully. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she stood, reached under her tiny skirt to tug her panties down and tossed them on the tiled floor. Turning her back to him, she ground against his tumescence and he reached for her hips, pulling her to him harder. They writhed that way a little before she reached beneath her skirt, angled herself forward a few degrees and began to slowly reverse.

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