“Come on! Come on.” Rebecca urged. She had been at the stoplight forever. Hundreds of cars must have zoomed past. Taking off her sunglasses, she tucked them into her blonde hair and flipped the visor down before putting on her wire framed prescriptions. Next to her on the seat, her cell-phone rang. With a glance at the light she grabbed it up and flipped it open.
“Girl, where have you been? I’ve been waiting on your call all day.”
The light changed and Rebecca proceeded through the intersection with the other cars on the street. On the phone Allie still chattered. Rebecca checked behind her before changing lanes.
“No, I’ve not seen it yet. I am actually working on a new script for daddy’s next commercial.” She paused and rolled her eyes. “What do you mean can’t you be in it? You were in the last one. Damn it,” she said, glancing at the time. “I’m gonna be late. I have five minutes to get to work.”
She hit the gas and picked up speed as she pulled onto the freeway. The sound of asphalt crunching under her flying tires made her feel better. Blue lights flashed in her rear-view mirror, alerting her to the cop following her car. “Great...” she said.
Pulling off to the side of the road, she announced, “Allie, I got to go.” Rebecca stopped the car, closed the phone, and threw it down as a stick of an officer walked up to her window and leaned in.
“Can I see your license and registration please?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she replied. Rebecca grabbed her purse and started dumping the contents out—makeup, wadded up balls of paper, and her eyeglasses case all fell into the seat beside her. Her wallet appeared last. She opened it up and held it out to the officer.
“Can you remove it from the cover for me, please?” he inquired instead of taking it from her hands.
The officer didn’t look amused and Rebecca quickly took the license from her wallet. She handed it to him, and while he looked at it she quickly dug through the glove box for the registration to her silver sedan.
“Here you go,” she said, but he merely took the registration and glanced at it.
“Please remain in the vehicle. I will be right back,” he spoke finally. He then turned and walked to his car. Rebecca slammed her head back into the headrest.
Just what I need.
Her last car had been built for speed and was a veritable police magnet. She could swear they looked for a reason to stop her when she had that car. She was once pulled over just for driving the car. His excuse had been that they were looking for a car with a description that matched hers. She had let the suggestion go as she was quite sure that her car was the only one like it in the city. She had finally sold the car back to a dealer the past winter but she still missed it. Rebecca liked speed.
There was nothing wrong with that, was there?
Besides, she really didn’t think her car type was her entire problem. It didn’t help the situation any, but she was not that naive.
Rebecca checked her mirror to see the officer coming back and this time and looked a bit friendlier.
“Rebecca Lindsey,” he said, leaning in. “You were pretty fast in coming off that light back there, and you sped up more crossing over Waterhouse Avenue and were at seventy before you hit the freeway.” He motioned toward the direction they had come from. The officer smiled and handed her license and registration back, along with a yellow slip of paper.
“We are going to have to give you this ticket. Good news is we haven’t stopped you yet this year so we won’t be sending you to traffic school again.” He tipped his hat at her. “Have a nice day and slow down, okay?”
“Sure.” She nodded. “And thanks.”
He tapped the side of the car as he turned to go back to his. That was her dismissal. With a slight grumble Rebecca started her car again and pulled out onto the freeway.
What a creep.
She glanced back at the cop fading away in the rearview mirror. Rebecca glanced at the clock. She was already ten minutes late. She took her exit and moved up 47th Avenue. The library where she worked was on the corner. She pulled up into the side parking lot near the glass windowed, two-story stone building and got out of the car.
Adjusting her white blouse and black skirt, she started toward the building. Rebecca tripped on the sidewalk but managed to make it inside without breaking a bone. She took the stairs and made it up to the top floor and pulled open the glass door.
“Ms. Becky!” The children’s laughter met her ears. She heard running feet and three of the kids latched onto her, two boys and a girl all about five or six years old. They were part of an after school program from East Side Elementary that came in every day. The program was supposed to create a little extra one on one time for some of the children. Rebecca returned the hugs.
“Hi kids,” she greeted them. She looked to where their teachers Ms. Emerson and Ms. Raul stood to see them smiling at her. Rebecca touched her hands to the children’s backs and directed them to the rest of the group. “What are we reading today?” she asked them, dropping to her knees to speak with them.
“Amelia Lee Builds a Tree House,” a girl name Anna said while holding up a colorful, hard covered book.
“Yeah,” Annie’s classmate Sammy announced. “She has to do it before her mom calls her to dinner.”
“Yesterday we read the book where Amelia visited her grandpa’s farm,” one of the girls told her in a slightly hurt tone. The child, Marigold, stared at her with her hands on her hips. “We missed you, Ms. Becky.”
Rebecca had been off the day before, and with her mother being sick she had been busy dropping off and picking up her brother Andrew from his preschool. While driving home with him she had received a call from her dad. He wanted her help in writing a commercial for Cranberry Carnival, the newest flavor of Ellipse Energy Drink. She was the writer in the family, he had said, and they needed something catchy. So she had spent the day with him.
Slowly she noticed that the children were staring at her. Rebecca blinked and brought herself back to the present. “I missed you, too,” she told them. She nodded toward the book the boy was still holding up and asked, “So, do any of you think Amelia will get the tree house done before dinner?”
The kids shrugged and laughed. Rebecca grinned and got up. “Let me know if she does, okay?” A chorus of yeses and nodding heads followed after her as she waved goodbye to them. She still had to check in. Her co-workers Robert and Elisa were crowding the desk and she nodded at them politely as she made her way to the back.
“You’re late!” Elisa called to her, but not in an angry tone.
“I know!” Rebecca called back. She found her time card and punched in.
“Callista won’t like it!”
“I know,” Rebecca said for a third time. “I got stopped by a cop.” She walked back out to the front and found that both Robert and Elisa had wandered off like they usually did when she came in, and as usual they had stopped in the middle of what they were doing and had left a stack of returned books on the countertop. Her co-workers were likely in the break room, doing what she probably didn’t want to know. Choosing to ignore their whereabouts, Rebecca decided to get the books checked in and to their proper places on the shelves.