Beneath the Smile - 15 in Beneath the Smile

  • April 16, 2021, 6:35 p.m.
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  • Public

Tesla hurried as fast as she could to the bus stop. She’d had a bad feeling the last hour or so that wouldn’t let up. Determined not to let anything stop her, she hurried as fast as she could even though she knew she was early. She ran through the few blocks between the apartment and the bus stop as fast as the luggage she carried would allow her to.

Footsteps pounded the sidewalk behind her and then a woman shouted.

Startled, Tesla glanced behind her.

And saw her worst nightmare charging toward her.

Tesla shot forward like a rocket. Well, she sure tried to. But she was quickly held back by the weight of her luggage. She knew there was no way she could make it to the bus stop before Nane caught her, even if the bus was already there waiting for her. Why the hell wasn’t the bitch at work?!

“Get back here you little shit!” Nane screamed in English.

Tesla thought her heart would burst through her chest it was beating so hard. She’d never been more terrified in her life despite the many people out and about.

A couple of taxis careened by.

“I said get back here now!”

Nane was gaining on her fast. She didn’t need to look behind her again to know this. Not caring that she didn’t have enough money for a taxi, she waved frantically at the next one that was heading her way.

It zoomed past her.

Her fear was about to turn to downright panic when the taxi behind the one that passed her came to her rescue. Tesla flung the door open, threw her suitcase in before the driver could waste time getting out to place it in the trunk, then she jumped in and demanded the driver hurry off.

“Ich spreche kein Englisch,” said the driver, shaking his head.

Tesla’s fear turned to frustration. She should’ve figured the driver wouldn’t speak English.

Nane reached the cab right as she shut the door. Tesla locked the door as fast as she could.

The man looked back at Tesla, then out the window at Nane. He was confused at first, but then it seemed to register that she was running from Nane.

“Go, please! To the airport.” Then Tesla repeated herself in German. “Gehen, bitte! Zum Flughafen.”

The driver nodded and stepped on the gas.

Tesla was breathing a sigh of relief when she looked out the back window just as a car came skidding towards them and out of control. Tesla wasn’t sure why the car was speeding as it was, but she sure thought it was going to hit them at first. But then the vehicle began to spiral in Nane’s direction. She had been standing on the curb when it spun toward the attractive woman whose abuse she had finally escaped.

“Whoa!” shouted the driver, as he watched the scene in his rearview mirror.

“Oh, my God!” exclaimed Tesla as she watched the vehicle hurl itself toward Nane. “Oh, mein Gott.”

Tesla sat dumbfounded as they made their way to the airport. She hadn’t wanted any harm to come to Nane. She just wanted to get away from her.

The fact that she didn’t have enough to pay the fare came into mind as they approached the airport. Tesla decided to act surprised once the driver put the car in park in front of the airport’s entrance. She handed over everything she had. “Es tut mir leid,” she said regretfully, knowing she didn’t even have half the money she owed the driver. “Danke.”

Tesla grabbed her luggage and ran from the cab, fearing that the driver - not at all happy with her - would throw the vehicle in park and chase after her, but she was able to lose herself in the crowd of travelers quickly enough.

It wasn’t until they were flying over the ocean a half hour later before Tesla’s heartbeat finally returned to normal and she felt like she could actually relax for the first time in a long time.

Until she reached the airport in her own country and the police came to arrest her.

The flight back to California seemed to last an eternity. And why wouldn’t it? After all, Tesla had traveled halfway around the world.

Once again and as it had all too often for nearly a year now, Tesla’s heartbeat sped up in nervous anticipation of being arrested as her plane pulled up to the terminal. She was exhausted and the last thing she wanted to do was try to catch up on her sleep on some worn, torn mattress in jail with a bunch of strangers capable of doing God knew what to her.

She ran toward her aunt as soon as she saw her, never gladder to see her than she was at that moment. She suddenly felt a newfound closeness to the woman that she’d never felt before. They hugged for a good long minute or two.

“It’s so good to have you back safe and sound, Tesla,” her aunt said as they prepared to head away from the terminal. “I was so worried about you.”

“Thank you so, so much for rescuing me,” Tesla said, eyes watery.

They were approaching the checkpoint where incoming passenger’s names would be checked.

“There’s something you need to know, Aunt Julissa.”

Her aunt didn’t seem to hear her as they pushed through the crowd of people and toward the officer that would run her name, see that she had an outstanding warrant, and place her under arrest.

“What’s that, honey?”

“I need to tell you something,” Tesla repeated.

“Tell me what?”

Too late. They were already approaching the station.

“May I see your license or passport, ma’am?” asked a cold-looking airport official.

Tesla pulled her passport from her handbag and tried to keep her hand steady as she handed it over.

The gruff appearing man took the passport, opened it and began typing on a computer. Tesla was unable to see the screen, of course. She tried not to appear so nervous-looking, but then again, what did it matter? She was as good as a mouse caught in a trap.

“Ok, ma’am. You’re free to move on now,” said the man, handing her back her passport.

What?!

“Oh, thank you,” said Tesla, trying not to sound overly relieved. “Have a good evening.”

Tesla and her aunt wound their way through the airport and out into the fading sunlight.

“Sure is a lot warmer here,” Tesla said.

Once in the car, her aunt asked, “So what was that all about?”

Tesla sighed in dismay. “You could tell, couldn’t you?”

“Well, you did seem a bit anxious in there.”

Tesla hesitated. Finally, after a few moments of deliberation, Tesla told her aunt about being charged for bouncing checks and failing to appear in court.

“Oh, Tesla honey, why didn’t you come to me if you needed money that bad?”

Tesla shrugged. It was all she could do. She simply had no excuse to offer up for what she’d done.

After another minute or two of silence, her aunt said, “Well, it’s got to be up to you to decide whether or not you want to turn yourself in or hope that you never have police contact of any kind that could cause a routine check of your name to be made.”

“But isn’t that what they just did?”

“I would think so, but maybe there was an error in the records department. It happens sometimes, you know.”

“Well, I sure hope that’s the case. Aunt Julissa?”

“Yes, ma’am?”

“I know the choice has to be mine, but what would you do? What would you honestly do if you were in my shoes?”

Her aunt chose her words carefully, and then said, “Well, I can’t say that I would be in any hurry to pay any fines or report for probation, let alone risk having to give up my freedom for a while. Besides, if I was hiding from a madwoman I certainly wouldn’t do anything to call attention to myself. I would just be sure to learn from my mistakes and hope they didn’t catch up to me in the future.”

Tesla smiled at her aunt, and spent the remainder of the ride home talking about Nane and how she’d been hit by a runaway car as she was making her terrifying escape.

“Good golly!” her aunt exclaimed. “You saw her get hit by a car?”

“Well, I didn’t actually see it, but the car was definitely heading in her direction. I’m pretty sure it had to have hit her.”

Tesla had been home for just over a week. The weather was warming up nicely and she was looking forward to returning to work soon with the production company. Life was back to normal and running smoothly despite the fact that she was now perfectly single once again. But she’d rather be single than with an abusive person like Nane was. She would miss seeing her gorgeous face, her hot body, and some of their sexual encounters, but nothing more. Other than being exceptionally beautiful for her age, Nane had been all wrong for her. She wouldn’t miss much. Not the drinking. Not the smoking. Not the verbal, emotional, and sometimes physical abuse.

She finished the dinner she’d cooked for herself and headed out on the porch with a cup of coffee. Sitting down she surveyed the lush landscape around her. How different it was from Munich! Munich had been bustling with people and buildings galore. She had hated the congestion and not having any breathing space around her. Here it was different. Here she had nothing but hills and trees for hundreds of feet all around her.

Once it got too dark to see much she went inside the trailer and settled down with a good book. An hour later she heard a slight thump from just outside her trailer. Raccoons, skunks or cats, she figured.

Setting her book aside, she rose to sit at her computer. Again she thought of Nane and the car that had struck her. The only thing that disturbed her more than the incident itself was the fact that she hadn’t been able to find any information about it. No news articles, no obituaries… nothing.

“I guess Germany is just a much more private country than the U.S.,” she said to herself.
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Last updated April 17, 2021


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