On My Knees, Getting Dirty

Standing in front of her, as her sister once put it, "ramshackle" house, Riley took note of each and every thing she'd need to repair if she ever hoped to get out of Crestview. She'd bought the house when she was young, dumber, and in an ill-advised relationship with a former colleague in her unit. With things having ended the way they did, she wound with the place alone. Not that she'd ever want to share the deed to the house again. But knowing she couldn't particularly afford repairs on a bookstore budget, she knew she was looking at more DIY.

Her adjustments to the plumbing had, at least, been manageable. Riley repainted the house a few months back too, so now it looked less withered and old. But the roof, especially after the last hail storm, took a massive beating. Her yard wasn't in the greatest of shapes, she noted, with the weeds and cracked sidewalk. Grumbling, the woman ran a calloused hand over her neck as she took in everything, expression a mix of annoyed and determined. Riley drew pleasure from working with her hands, building things, being useful, learning. So this would get done. Hopefully by Spring, she could put the house on the market and find somewhere else to live.

Ugh, that was the next-slash-need-to-work-on stage in this whole plan. Looking into other houses in other parts of the state, somewhere closer to her pack with less apprehension between the inter-species mingling. At least this was allied territory. With a low exhale, Riley went to collect what she needed for doing some weeding. Riley gathered her gloves, a bucket, and a few other miscellaneous items. She got on her knees and got to work.

It had finally happened.

She knew how absolutely fucked she was sometime around when she was sitting at a red light, and the needle for her RPM gauge was bouncing on its own, the engine making all variety of shit noises.

But she drove the old car a little further until, finally, on a Crestview street, something was really wrong.

Backing out of a driveway where she'd done a shitty TaskRabbit delivery for someone, she shifted the car into drive and...

It stayed in reverse, a fact she realized only upon tapping the gas and nearly backing into a mailbox.

Drive? Reverse. Neutral? Reverse. Park? Reverse. Reverse? Reverse.

She would reverse to park somewhat crookedly on the street for lack of better options.

Foot on the brake and parking brake yanked likely with more spirit than was advisable, she slumped her head onto the steering wheel. Cris could not afford a new car. She could not afford a new transmission.

Stepping out of the car, unknowingly directly across the street of someone out in their yard.

And then, dramatically, she shoved her hands hard enough against the driver's side mirror that it snapped off, and with great gusto, she punted it down the street with a single powerful kick.

Riley missed the first attempts at troubleshooting the car, but by the time the woman had put the faulty vehicle into an awkward park, her dark eyes tracked the woman's movement carefully. Her brows lifted in surprise, almost amusement, as the side-mirror was punted well down the street. Unable to stop the commentary, Riley applauded and observed, "I didn't think mirrors could go that far." Her arms dropped as she took in the frustration, the sadness, and the overall demeanor of defeat the woman radiated.

And...goddamn knight-in-shining-armor complex activated.

"Uh...sassing you aside, you want me to...call someone or anything? I don't know much in the way of cars, but I could take a look at some of the basics, maybe see if we could get the car moving..." she eyed the rabbit, expression uncertain. "Or, you know, help you fully destroy that piece of shit. Either way works for me."

Cris was having one of those moments where she was pretty sure it would only take one last little tiny thing to send her bursting into flames or tears. To the sound of clapping, she felt very at risk for one of those, turning to face the stranger she'd missed entirely with a very tight frown.

One shitty comment would be all it took, and Cris was fairly sure she was going to go crazy fucking spider monkey on this woman.

But as she continued, it wasn't entirely what Cris had expected, and she let her guard down just a bit. What did she want to do with this stupid fucking car?

"It's stuck in reverse," she explained, waving one hand toward the vehicle. "I think the whole transmission is fucked. The car's worth less than what it'll cost to fix it. So."

A shrug of rare, sincere defeat.

"I don't know if it's worth more in insurance if I light it on fire."

Riley's mouth slanted in contemplation, her brows knitting together as she cautiously approached the woman. "Stuck in reverse...that's unfortunate," she observed before pulling out her cell phone. After a few searches, she frowned, muttering, "Damn it, I hate when it's not something I can deal with myself..." She slipped the phone back into her back pocket and rubbed her neck. "Okay, so I definitely have gasoline in my...well, it's not a garage, but I call it that, and if you can find matches and someone to lift the fucker we'll just down the hill and set it ablaze?"

She offered a sympathetic smile before exhaling softly. "I have a Jeep, I could at least try and nudge it a bit more out of the way if you want?" Riley cocked her head to the side, observing the woman. "Or, I mean, call a tow truck. I could also let you do that on my phone if need be."

The woman was trying to help. Talk of gasoline and fires was a little too on the nose for Cris' past behavior, and she felt a twinge of worry.

Chill. This woman did not know about your past bullshit.

Having a sense this was going to be a continuing conversation, she moved to sit against the front of her car. No supernatural vibes from this woman, something noted as her eyes flashed blue for a few seconds.

Everything was said in an attempt to be helpful, and Cris appreciated that, even if she felt a struggle to properly express it.

"I'll have to find some tow truck place that'll take it straight to a junk yard and pay me for it," she said in a sigh. "Thanks for not being shitty about me ghettoing up your neighborhood. I just need a minute."

"I mean, this neighborhood isn't exactly the nicest," she assured the woman with a laugh, nodding to a few other homes that could use some significant TLC. "If you want, I could boot up my computer so you could look for a good towing company. I'm just weeding my lawn, trying to get this piece of shit market ready so maybe I can get a better place to live..." Riley gestured to the home behind her, shrugging. "I'm Riley by the way- what can I call you?"

Her eyes traveled to the house as the chick explained away her area.

She was right. It wasn't the nicest. But maybe Cris had Cedar Creek sensibilities. A residential neighborhood just had a way of feeling a fancier.

"Cris," she answered of her name. Going into someone's house was sketchy, and she bit one lip as she pondered. Maybe she could just ask for Riley's wifi password and save herself some data usage.

Actually. Fuck it.

"That'd be great. The computer thing."

"Cris, good to meet you," Riley replied before nodding towards the door as if to say 'follow-me.' Riley let the woman into her house first, following after her. Riley's home was modest in decoration and size, with obvious signs of updates with apparent fresh paint and newly polished floors. She really wanted to get out of this area. "Computer's in the corner there-" She nodded to her desk where a laptop sat plugged in. "Just go ahead and hop on. Can I get you anything to drink?"

Chick was nice. House was nice. Cris appreciated it, and she kept thinking about it. Expressing that out loud was a much harder issue.

"House is nice," she murmured, making her way to the laptop in question. She prodded a finger to the track pad to wake it.

"Water would be nice," she answered, standing in front for the computer like she didn't know how to use a chair. Sitting felt like a commitment, but in retrospect, so did asking for water.

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