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I’m Andrea Thorne, your average, twenty-something heiress. Some people think my story is hilarious, but you wouldn’t thi
“How much do you need this time?” My Dad’s will-she-always-be-a-burden-to-my-bank-account tone through my phone made me quake with self-loathing and humiliation. Mixed with those emotions was a touch of indignation about having to go through this every-single-time.
“I don’t know,” I squeaked, fighting back tears of anger and helplessness. “I haven’t figured it out yet.”
Okay. I did have a tendency to live beyond my means and I was always terrible at math. But in a way it was Franklin Edward Thorne the Third’s fault along with his perfectly coiffed wife, Evelyn. I mean, they never taught me how to budget, how to scrimp, save, clip coupons or, heaven-forbid, do without. All they taught me was how to order in the finest restaurants, shop in the most elite boutiques, travel in the chicest circles and lavish myself in luxury. In fact, I was a veritable master at all those things, thanks to them.
“They say they’re going to—to—,” I was determined not to cry, “repossess my cute little pearl white Porsche if I don’t phone-pay them all the back payments by this afternoon.”
The thought of some subterraneous car thief cloaked by darkness skulking around my high rise and stealing my pride and joy sent chills up my spine.
“How much, Andrea?” By his tone I could tell my dad’s patience was wearing as thin as his hair.
“Well, that plus the electricity and the cell phone and the spa membership and the back condo payments—” I shuddered, pretending to calculate in my head even though I knew the exact figure that would save my sorry, but firm ass. I just didn’t want to hear the number out loud.
“Forty-five hundred should do it,” I blurted into the receiver, figuring that sounded better than the actual five thousand I needed. Maybe I could hold off on the annual spa dues and Sak’s until next month.
I held my breath, waiting for the avalanche of admonishment I would receive as part of my prepayment of debt services rendered. I knew I shouldn’t have bought the new Porsche, and I didn’t actually need the high rise balcony view of downtown Dallas and I never worried about my phone minutes, credit card balances or turning off a light. Because I knew Daddy would take care of it.
“I’m sorry, Andrea, but you’re just never going to learn if I keep bailing you out. I warned you the last umpteen times you needed to trim expenses and quit depending on us. I guess you thought I was kidding.”
“No, that’s not true! That’s why I waited this long. That’s why things are so bad. I really wanted to take care of it myself.” My last word ended in a sob. I’d been known to use my high drama to get what I wanted from my father, but this time the desperation and tears were real. Those big, bad, ugly car-jackers were really going to take my pretty Porsche away.
“I’m saying this once and then I’m hanging up…I’m late for my flight. I know you make better than average income at the newspaper because I sign your checks. So, either you cut back to a lifestyle you can afford, and that may be without your precious Porsche, or you get another source of income besides mine. I don’t care if it’s a rich, Sugar Daddy or a part time job as a streetwalker.” His volume increased with each word. At this point he was almost to a shout. “I was pretty sure I made myself clear the last time I gave you money—the gravy train already left the station, Andrea, and your free pass has expired!”
Dad’s demoralizing metaphoric bellow was followed by the forlorn sound of a dial tone.
“Daddy?” I queried the lonely, resonant buzz.
~ * ~
Someone was coming to snatch my car right out from under my nose so the only logical solution was to hide it. Which sounds easy enough, except I didn’t want to park my Porsche just anywhere! And once I parked it (wherever) I had to somehow get myself back to the condo.
Or they could confiscate it at work. That would be embarrassing.
After imagining several different scenarios that involved long hikes through bad parts of Dallas and, heaven forbid, DART bus rides, I came to the conclusion it wasn’t feasible to hide my car without someone’s help.
There was no way I could ask Blaine for the money. As top salesman for MegaCompuDrive Limited, he had already informed me we wouldn’t be going out much this month because June (which was historically a bad month for computer sales) had been a bad month. He probably had the money I needed stashed away in one of his stock portfolios, but even I knew that was too much to ask a guy who had actually toiled for his net worth.
I couldn’t face Lenore about this, either. To her, I was all things rich and wonderful. And I guess, not too long ago, that was true. I had loaned her money here and there, bought her cute, little, expensive gifts and paid her way to Cancun because I wanted my best friend to go with me. I enjoyed having her adoration and admiration. I wasn’t going to spoil it now.
No. I had to do this alone. I figured I could at least hide my car at Blaine’s until he got back from his sales trip. So I waited ‘til after dark and headed to his apartment complex. I punched the code quickly into the security gate, surveyed my rearview mirror for anyone suspicious and drove to the back of the building. In a spot near the brick fencing, I parked and slipped out of my glove-soft leather interior. Shutting the door, I gave the car a little kiss with my finger. As I walked away, I suddenly wished instead of pearl white, which at this moment was shining in the moon with a high-gloss pearlessence, I had picked the midnight black. But at the time I signed the papers, I had no idea I’d be trying to hide it from barrio bandits gone legit.
I was feeling pretty smug as I headed through the parking lot. This wouldn’t be so bad. I’d take the bus in the morning; then drive in to work from here. Those road robbers would never be able to find my car. As I walked, my keys and a wad of dollar bills for the bus tugged on my pink velour Juicy Couture pants pocket. If I didn’t hitch them up soon, the guys loitering ahead would find out how desperately I needed a bikini wax.
I felt quite naked in these extremely low-rise, high-priced sweats with the coordinating bra-tank. In my peripheral vision, I could see my nipples protruding through the thin white knit, bouncing merrily along. Even though it was a still, balmy night in June, I suddenly longed for my matching jacket.
The teenaged hoodlums were smoking in a cluster under a stoop. I could feel them leer at me like I was some kind of strawberry ice cream they’d like to lick.
Finally, out of their drooling gaze, I rounded the corner. In front of Blaine’s apartment, I stopped in mid stride. What I saw hit me like cymbals crashing on either side of my face, causing my ears to ring and my cheeks to flash fiery-hot.
It was Blaine’s Mercedes parked in his usual spot. He’s not due back from Chicago for two more days! Then I saw them. Next to Blaine’s car, hanging from the rearview mirror of a very familiar cherry red Cougar, were fuzzy red dice with rhinestone dots. A souvenir I brought back from Vegas last summer—a gift for Lenore.
Dead in my tracks, I felt trapped. Ahead and to the right might be two of the most important relationships in my life on the very brink of mass destruction. Behind me were ravenous ice cream eaters. Sickening dread washed through my tanned, flat tummy.
About that time, Blaine’s front door opened and Lenore stepped out. She turned, her long dark hair flowing around her naturally tanned shoulders like a cascade of shiny silk, and wrapped her covetous arms around my boyfriend. Then she lifted her impertinent little chin and gave him a kiss that would tide over a sailor ‘til his return from a six-month stint at sea.
I instinctively backed up, sure I would puke at any moment, and turned to run. I couldn’t see. My eyes blurred with the sting of betrayal. As I blundered ahead, I yanked my bulky keys out of my pocket before they dragged my sweats down around my knees.
I heard the ice cream lickers shout, “Hey, baby. Look at her run! Bada boom, bada boom…”
Somehow I managed to unlock and slam myself into my car, starting it up through bleary tears, humiliation and utter pain. I blindly drove around the back side of the complex and pulled out of the security gate.
When I finally got to the gate of my own building, I realized I shouldn’t drive in. The guys licensed to steal might be waiting for me—or rather my Porsche. I parked on the street and slumped over the steering wheel, feeling the helplessness and hopelessness of the situation. It wasn’t just the fact that at any moment my car could be taken, and it wasn’t just that my best friend was fucking my boyfriend. It was my entire sucky day crashing down on me like my grand piano dropped from my 12th story balcony. Hiccupping sobs and pounding fists on the dash made me feel like a tantrumming two-year-old. Still, it didn’t seem enough of an expression for my pain.
My actions must have seemed way too dramatic to the guy who was tapping on my window, though.
“Excuse me, miss, are you all right?”
I looked over to tell him to go away and leave me alone. Then I saw the wrecker in my rearview mirror. I wasn’t positive, but I had a queasy feeling. This man was my repo guy.
AUTHOR'S BIO: Karyn lives with her husband and son in North Texas. She spends her days editing advertising for a major retailer and nights writing humorous, romantic stories. For Richer or Repo is her second novel.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 402
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