Turned out I didn’t have to wait that long for Billie. About ten minutes later a red pick up trundled down the track. The door opened and out stepped Billie. Billie was wearing a red cap, a red lumberjack shirt, jean shorts, and had long, tanned, smooth gleaming legs. As Billie walked closer, I could make out the tail of a tattoo snaking a little way down her thigh.

“How are you Miss,” said Billie.

I looked at her. She was a little taller than me, she had the tanned skin you get from a life spent outdoors and shoulder length dark curls, bleached at the ends, tumbled from under her cap. It was just my luck to get the woman mechanic. In Nebraska, we generally learn that there are some things a woman can do and some things a man can do and I didn’t have time to indulge in political correctness.

“Can you fix my car?”

Billie looked me up and down. Then she smiled.

“Sure. Ah can fix pretty much anything.”

I shrugged.

She brushed past me and I caught a sent of roses and oil that was pungent but sweet and lingered around my nostrils. Billie tried to start the car. Then she cranked the hood and sauntered round to have a look at it. After a couple of minutes during which time I gazed forlornly at the dust, she waved me over.

“See that there?” she said. She was bent over and her tight shorts were bulging with the round of her ass. I tried not to look at it.

“What?”

“Your oil tank’s empty. Jammed up completely. Must’a sprung a leak somewhere.”

“That’s impossible,” I replied, “I only hired it this morning.”

“Well, they borrowed you a wrong ‘un,” she said, standing up and wiping her hands on her jeans. The taught blue denim was smeared with black oil prints. I think I may have shuddered at the sight.

“How long will it take you to fix it?”

She shrugged.

“I guess three or four hours.”

“I need to be in Hattiesburg in twenty minutes!”

She slammed the hood down and the sound made me start.

“Well that ain’t happening.”

She stood in the dust, altogether too close to me for my liking. I was conscious how weak and weedy I looked, in my pastel cardigan, my prissy blouse, my pale violet skirt and heels that were already picking up dust.

“But don’t worry. Ahll be done quick as I can. Hop into the car an ahll tow yer.”

I think I may have pouted a little as I stood there, but Billie was already walking back to the tow truck. So I sat in the front seat of my hire car, sulking. After a few minutes of fiddling with ropes and cables, she gave me a thumbs up and I sneered back at her as I watched her preposterous ass in those ridiculous little shorts wiggle back to her cab.

We set off down the dusty track, then we turned a corner onto an even dustier, bumpier track. The car was jolting along and at every lurch I swore under my breath, because, well I wasn’t the sort of girl to swear out loud. After several long minutes of this we pulled up outside the most ramshackle garage you’ve ever seen. The courtyard merged with the road, and there were weeds everywhere. Five cars in various states of repair were parked in a chaotic arrangement next to a rickety looking building. Off on one side was a garage, the doors of which were wide open, showing an interior that was a mess of parts and junk.

Billie was already unhooking the car.

“You can wait in the office if you like,” she said, without looking at me.

I didn’t have much choice. I stepped out of the car into the midday heat and walked with some trepidation to the office. As soon as I entered I was met with an unholy stench of oil and coffee and sweat. There appeared to be three rooms in the place: a tiny cramped office with a rickety chair and table, a slightly bigger room with three threadbare, filthy armchairs and an unspeakably vile toilet.

I was still standing, aghast, when Billie came in.

“You wanna take a seat, Miss,” she said, smiling at me.

“Are you kidding me? I wouldn’t sit on those!”

“What’s wrong with em?”

“They’re filthy! Seriously, don’t you have anywhere for customers to wait that isn’t like something out of a hillbilly horror movie. I mean, really. Customer service anyone!”

Billie looked at me while I gave my little speech. This sort of thing usually worked in most places, from hotels to gyms, but it didn’t seem to work with Billie. She stood without saying anything, arms folded, but when I’d finished talking, she smiled.

“Yeah sure. I got a better place,” she said brightly.

“Well that’s more like it, I thought. Stroppy never failed.

“Just follow me,” she said. She walked to the back of the office and opened a wooden door onto what appeared to be an overgrown back yard. I followed her along a dirt track through grass that was strewn with rusted car parts and debris. My heels were wobbling with every step and I swore I could already feel insects biting at my bare ankles. Eventually we rounded a corner in the edge of the forest and stood in front of a ramshackle wooden cabin.

“Is this it?” I asked.

“Sure is. Why don’t you judge it from the inside?”

I shook my head and followed her inside. It was at least clean. Off to the left was a kind of living room with a couple of wooden chairs and a table.

“You can wait here if you like.”

“Fine,” I sighed, “but I expect a discount. And I want a glass of water.”

“Sure, missy. I’ll get that for you.”

I looked around the place, forlornly. Was I really going to have to wait here for three hours. It was like a nightmare.

“There you go,” she said. I turned round to see Billie pointing a gun at me.

My blood ran cold. I suddenly realised what was happening. I was alone, in the middle of nowhere. I was driving a Mercedes. Of course she was going to rob me.

“What do you want? I don’t have any money on me.”

Billie smiled.

“Oh I don’t want nothing like that honey,” she said. “Now put this on.”

She handed me something. It had a black strap with a pink rubber ball attached.

“What is this?”

“It’s a gag. You put it round your head and fasten it at the back. Now put it on.”

“You want me to put this on? Why?”

“Because even though this is the middle of nowhere and ain’t nobody gun hear you if you start screaming, if I have to hear your goddam whiny Mid West voice any more I swear I’m gonna go batshit crazy.”

Whiny? I didn’t even have an accent!

The gun was lifted straight at me. I could clearly see the rim of the barrel.

“Put. It. On.”

My hands were shaking a little as I fumbled with the gag, but I managed to fasten the buckle behind my head. The ball felt enormous in my mouth and the strap was squeezing my head because Id fastened it too tight. My mind was leaping ahead as the situation caught up with me. She could just shoot me. My handbag was in the car. She could take the Mercedes. The situation was catching up with me.

Still, Billie didn’t seem to be in a hurry. She walked around behind me. Then, out of nowhere, I felt her fingers in my hair.

“You’re pretty. You’re an uptight pain in the ass, but you got a pretty face. And a cute body. I like you.”

That was weird, I thought. It got weirder. I felt her breathing close to my ear, and then, suddenly, I felt her hand on my ass, squeezing, stroking. She took her hand away, then a second later, I felt a stinging slap on my right ass cheek. I yelped through my gag. I was more terrified than when I thought she was going to shoot me.

“Please,” I tried to say, repeatedly. “I’m not a lesbian. I’m not a lesbian. I’m engaged.”

Of course, all of this wasted and turned into random noise by the gag. Billie was still standing behind me. I felt her ample breasts pushing into my back and I looked down with horror to see her hands stroking and squeezing my thighs through my skirt, sliding up slow.

I was horrified. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I tried to pull away.

“Oh no you don’t,” she said. “You ain’t going nowhere.” She held me tight with her left hand and in her right hand appeared a length of rope. I realised that she must have put the gun down but I was too slow to react and anyway she was much stronger and taller than me. She wound the thin rope around my wrists with expertise and tied it tight, so the rough material dug into my skin.

“There.”

She wandered round in front of me and stood there for a while, tilting her head to one side like she was admiring a sculpture she’d just made. The heat and the fear were getting to me and with my hands tied in front of me it was harder to balance in my heels, so I swayed a little as I stood. Then, she pulled off her red cap. Her hair was released, and for a second I completely forgot my situation, because her hair was so beautiful wavy and rich and dark, like curls of chocolate dipped in ginger.

“Now what could we do with you? I bet you got a rich daddy, ain’t you. Maybe ah could get rich off a girl like you.”

She walked over towards me again and I tensed up. Her face was close to mine now. I could feel her hot, sweet breath close to me, see her sun-burnt, freckled skin, her clear blue eyes, her perfect nose and lush lips.

I felt her fingers brush across my blouse, and beneath I could feel my nipples stir. Oh God no! I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer to apologise for the blasphemy. Her fingers didn’t stop, then I felt an increase of tension in my chest before a sudden release. I opened my eyes in alarm to see that she was unfastening my blouse.

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