Beneath These Chains (Page 56)
Rix didn’t wait for an invitation, just sauntered inside. His black T-shirt and dark jeans didn’t give away his gang affiliation, but his tats did. I pushed open the door of the ’Cuda and almost told Elle to stay inside, but I didn’t. Rix wouldn’t hurt her—of that I was confident, and not just because I’d kill him where he stood if he made a wrong move toward her.
“To what do we owe the pleasure?” I asked, shutting the door behind me. But Rix’s attention wasn’t on me—or Elle—it was on the cars.
“Holy fuck, man. Didn’t realize this is what you had locked up in here. Dayum … you got some sweet rides.”
I did. And unloading one or two would put Chains even more solidly in the black—if I sunk in the cash to restore them first. I knew I needed to make the investment, but I didn’t want to risk the bottom line just yet.
“You in the market?”
Rix pursed his lips. “I might be. They look like they need some work though.”
“Better price if you want one before I put the work into it.” It was the truth, and maybe selling one before it was restored would free up the cash to restore the others.
He raised an eyebrow. “What year is the SS?”
“What about the Shelby?”
“That one’s not for sale.”
His eyebrows rose. “And here I thought everything was for sale in this place.”
“Not that one, and not the ’Cuda. You like the Boss 302?”
I had plans for the Shelby. Plans that included Elle overcoming her fear of driving and taking back control over that aspect of her life. She’d lived in fear too long about what could happen. And the GT500 named Eleanor would suit my Eleanor perfectly. If I sold the others, I could justify keeping it for her.
“So the Charger, the Boss Mustang, or the SS? Not bad choices. I could use some more muscle in my life.” He flexed his bicep and wandered closer to the cars. His inspection took only moments, and then he turned and said, “I’ll let you know on the cars, but I came to deliver some news.”
Elle, who had come around the car to stand beside me, tensed.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“I took care of the hospital shit for the kid who got shot. I’m not saying it was one of my guys, but I took care of it. All of it. You don’t need to worry about him or his ma. They’re set.”
“I’m sure they appreciate it.”
Rix ran his hand along the blue paint job of the Charger. He was getting attached. Excellent. “Gotta look out for our community. Ain’t no one else gonna do it.”
I didn’t say anything about the fact that a big part of the reason our community needed his brand of looking after was because gangs like his ruled the streets.
“I’ll let Con know it’s been taken care of.”
“You do that. Maybe he’ll quit banning my boys from his shop and actually let them get some decent ink.”
Con didn’t, and would never, allow any of his artists to do gang ink.
“If you wanted to add a butterfly to your sleeve, he’d do it.”
“Fuck you, Lord,” he said without heat. He turned to head for the raised overhead door. “I’ll be in touch about the car. Soon.”
“Well that was interesting,” Elle said.
“It was something.”
Then a question came I wasn’t quite ready to answer for her. “Why isn’t the Shelby Mustang for sale? I looked it up online, and you could get a lot of money for it. It’s in the best shape, other than the ’Cuda, obviously. I know you’re worried about things … and that could be the way to get you solid again.”
I reached down and grabbed her hand and tugged her toward the door. “That one’s just not for sale. Come on, we’re gonna be late opening.” I snagged the box hanging from the ceiling and pressed the button to lower the door. We were in the alley before I realized I should’ve handled the situation a little differently.
“Is that my cue to butt out of anything that doesn’t fit in a display case?”
I stopped, and Elle kept walking—until my grip on her hand tugged her to a stop.
“That’s not what I meant.”
The dreaded whatever. Even I was smart enough to realize the word didn’t mean anything good.
“You know I respect your opinion. I just … have plans for that one.”
She jerked her head around, and the eyebrow arched in my direction told me the issue wasn’t dead. “Plans you’re not going to share, I take it.”
The last two days we’d barely left my house, just lazing around, cooking, talking, and getting naked. It’d been fucking beautiful—a window into what I wanted my future to be. We were finally in a good place, and I wasn’t going to jeopardize that.
“You know what that car’s name is?”
“Seriously? You name your cars?”
I chuckled. “Sometimes, but this one came named already. Have you ever seen Gone in Sixty Seconds? Not the original, but the remake. There’s a ’67 GT500, and her name is Eleanor.”
Elle’s brow furrowed. “There’s a car named Eleanor in a movie?”
“Yeah, and ever since I found out that was your name, I knew she was yours. She couldn’t be anyone else’s.”
Her eyes widened—with what looked like both surprise and horror. “I don’t need a car. I don’t drive.” The words were emphatic, and so was the way she tugged at my hand.