Ruben

The next day, Charlie and I go out again, just wander around town.

I wonder if we'll see Rebecca again today.

Probably. If her car is still not working.

Maybe I could fix it – I'm quite good at that, I used to do it as a little boy with Papa.

The sun makes the snow glisten like glass, and I smile.

I remember this sort of scene. As a little boy, I used to think the snow was magical and lit up like that when magic was in the air.

I was young and naïve back then. Sort of like Charlie.

We enter Smith's Park, Charlie going on about some nonsense and start doing the loop.

Part way through, who should we meet, but Rebecca.

"Howdy, Rebecca!" I greet.

"Hey there kids, what are you two doing out and about this early?"

"Oh, just wandering around town. Car still not working?"

"Yeah," she almost growls. "I swear that flipping car hates me. I didn't even do anything to, I always take good care of it…and I'm sounding like a crazy person. Sorry, I'm lacking coffee this morning."

"What's coffee?" Charlotte asks.

"I'll explain later," I say flippantly. Turning to Rebecca, I make my offer. "If you want, I can come over to your place and fix the car."

"Really? Because, my husband got called into work today and he can't fix the car."

"Sure. I fixed cars all the time with Papa as a kid."


I came up all greasy faced and grinned.

"Howzat, Papa?"

He smiled at me. "That very, very good, little buddy!"

I grin, showing my teeth that must have looked like freshly fallen snow with my face all covered with grease.

I pick up another bit. "Where does this go, Papa?"

"Right there." He pointed and I stood on my tiptoes to reach it.

Papa chuckled as I placed it incorrectly. "No, no. That's not how it goes. Lemme help you."

He reaches over and guides my hand…


"You are a lifesaver!" Rebecca's voice snapped me out of my daydream and brought me back to reality. "Not only for my car, but, for my feet. I have blisters the size of Texas on my feet!"

I chuckle. "Yeah, that'll happen if you walk around all day in heels. What say I come over right now?"

Rebecca grins from ear to ear. "That would be great! I just got off work, so now is perfect!"

"Cool." I fall in behind her and follow her to her house, Charlie trailing along beside me.

When we reach one of the quieter areas of the park on the way to Rebecca's house, a man steps out in front of us.

"Hey."

"Hello, sir," I greet politely. "How are you?"

The man reaches into his jacket pocket for something, soon bringing out a gun, pointing it at us.

I draw in a short breath and glance across to Rebecca. Her eyes are wide with fear.

"Give me your money," he hisses through gritted teeth. I slowly reach down, trying to find Charlie with my hand so I can push her behind me.

When I can't find her, I panic. I glance down, seeing that she's not with me. Great snakes! Where could that child be?

The man seems slightly agitated now, as he has no money yet. He scowls. "Hands up."

A shot of fear rips through my entire being. I nervously lift my hands and slide my eyes across to Rebecca.

Rebecca steps in front of me. "Dude, we don't want any trouble. All I have in my purse is fifty dollars, I'll give you that. Just don't hurt the kids, okay?"

She reaches into her purse and hands the man fifty dollars while I lower my hands.

The man snatches it and scowls. "I'll be back, lady" he growls lowly at Rebecca "You'd better be ready." Then he disappears into the bushes.

"Impressive," I say to Rebecca, looking around for Charlie.

Rebecca turns around, a smile on her face. "Not really. I've had a lot of crazy things happen in my twenty-three years, and that, that was minor."

I raise my eyebrows, wanting to know more. Matching pace with Rebecca, we start off again to her house.

"Really? Like what?"

"Well, a maniac kidnapped me and my brother back to back."

My eyes go wide. "Wow. Tell me about it!"

I love stories like that. I dunno why, but it's just…something about kidnapping stories that grips my attention.

What I didn't realise at the time is that I'd forgotten about Charlie.

Rebecca laughs, starting to walk again. "Well, when I had first turned eighteen, Andy had messed with my watch before I went to school one morning, so; naturally, I chased him from the kitchen until we reached Jason's yard. After Jason basically saved Andy's life, we went to school, and, after about five minutes, I get a call from Andy and he tells me that Levi, the sociopath that kidnapped my brother and I, kidnapped Anthony. I think he's joking, so I tell him that it's not funny and hang up on him. He calls Jason a few seconds later, and, at that point, we kinda realise that it's not a joke and tell him that he better not be joking and that we'd be there in a few minutes."

I'm shocked, to say the least.

From there, we chat about random stuff until we reach her house, where she shows me her car.

"Okay…" I say, inspecting it. "Gimmie about an hour, and I'm sure I can fix it."

"You really are a lifesaver, Ruben. I don't think I could've gone another day walking about four miles in heels." Rebecca smiles. "Let me go relieve my brother from kid watching duty and I'll be right back. He's probably out of his mind!"

I chuckle as Rebecca hurries off. She's really quite funny.

I open the hood of the car and stick my head in to check out the engine.

Charlie

I was the first one who saw the man coming with that metal thingy.

I thought it was dangerous, so I turned and went to the shelter.

I like the shelter. Jessie's nice.

I arrive and go in, seeing Jessie talking to Harold.

Smiling, I sneak up behind her, putting a finger to my lips to tell him to keep quiet.

He winks, making sure Jessie doesn't notice.

"Hi, Jessie!" I say in my scariest voice.

Jessie jumps and turns around.

"Charlotte," she warns.

"Hello!"

I grin. I love scaring Jessie. She's so scare-able.

She gives me her I'm-disappointed-in-you look, and, in return, I give her my best innocent smile.

She chuckles and rolls her eyes. "You hungry, Charlie?"

I nod my head eagerly and lick my lips.

She smiles and goes off to prepare something for me.

I sit down next to Harold who's still laughing.

"That was well played, Charlie!"

"Don't laugh. You next!" I retort, and he gives me a very suspicious look before we both smile at each other.


Writer's Note: G'day all! Hope you're enjoying the story so far! Another massive thank you to GinBrat for helping me with Rebecca's part!

So, how was this chapter? Was the gunman intimidating enough? Or was that part boring? Do you think that Ruben is generous offering to fix Rebecca's car? Or is he just bored? What about Charlie and Harold?

Suggestions and reviews welcome!

Adios for now!