The problems are growing for Tara in Climbing Heartbreak Hill:
Tara’s cell phone vibrated against her hip. She wiggled the phone out of her skirt pocket and scowled at the display. “Charles,” she said with a huff. “What’s his problem? Hot date fizzled and looking for a booty call?”
“Don’t answer it,” Ryan said. “Whatever his problem is, it can wait until Monday.”
Tara wrapped her hand around the phone and nodded. “You’re right.” She slipped the phone back in her pocket. “Have you found anything?”
“Not yet. I’m getting a backup started, so that he can’t go back in and change anything when he comes back to work.”
“I’m not letting him back through the door. I’m calling Leslie in the morning to see if I can find someone else to help.”
“I don’t see why you don’t do this yourself.”
“Isn’t it obvious? I’ve only had Charles here a week and he’s committed identity theft and fraud. How badly would I screw up if I was doing everything on my own?”
“Well, you wouldn’t have Charles trying to put you in prison.” Ryan was cut off by the buzzing of Tara’s phone. She glanced at the display, snarled something atrocious and shoved it back in her pocket. “Charles again?”
Tara didn’t have to answer because the office phone rang. Tara thanked God one more time for the invention of caller ID. It was after hours and she would only answer the phone if it was important. But when Hammerin’ Hank’s Towing Service number appeared on the display, curiosity got the better of her. Hank wouldn’t be calling her this late unless he was towing her car. She craned her neck to see the rust bucket still corroding in the parking lot. She picked up the phone. “Hey, Hank, whatcha need?” her voice surprisingly more cheerful than she felt.
“Can you get this idiot out of his car?” Hank bellowed into her ear.
She had a bad feeling about which idiot Hank was referring to, but asked for confirmation anyway. “Who are you taking about?”
“I’m out by Bubba’s and that fancy-pants you work with hit a deer and put his swanky car in the ditch. And now Bubba’s out here, scoping out the deer carcass and Mr. Fancy-pants won’t get out of his blasted car with that Neanderthal waving his shotgun around.”
It was tempting to tell Hank to let Bubba shoot Charles. She didn’t want to lift a hangnail to help him out. Frustration and exhaustion warred with each other. “I can’t help you.”
“C’mon, Tara. I’ve got three calls to get to tonight and Angelina is home with the twins who have been puking their guts out since dawn. She’s gonna break my neck if I don’t get home before midnight. And this moron won’t get out of his car.”
“Tow the car with him in it. Park him at Dave’s garage and he can cool his heels there until he decides to get out of the car.” Ryan was nodding. Tara took that to mean that he liked the plan. Her confidence boosted a smidge.
“I can’t tow a car with a person in it. My insurance would get yanked, then I’d be up a crick for sure.”
“Then leave him there. I don’t care.” Tara rubbed her forehead. She didn’t want to deal with this now. She’d rather be finding a way to save her own butt than rescuing Charles’. Ryan raised his finger and mouthed something to her, but she couldn’t make out his message.
“Just talk to him. He’ll listen to you.”
Tara squeezed her eyes shut and murmured the words, “Put the moron on the phone.” Then she realized, she didn’t actually say anything. She repeated them loud enough for Hank to hear.
“I can’t. He won’t even open his window.” Tara picked up a pencil from her desk and crammed the eraser end down on to a manila folder. She was surprised Hank hadn’t already broken the window and yanked Charles through the jagged glass. She raised her eyebrows. The idea had appeal. Shredding Charles’s freshly dry-cleaned suit on the shards. Then Hank asked, “Can you call him?” shaking her out of her revelry.
“My life’s on the line here. You know Angelina. She’ll bust my chops if I don’t get home.”
Tara knew he had a point. Few people could scare Hank, but his wife led him around on a leash. And if the twins were sick, Tara knew Angelina would need a break. On their best behavior, they made Boppy seem like the teacher’s pet. “Okay, I’ll call him. For Angelina. And next time my car takes a dump, you’re there in five minutes.”
“You got it. It’ll be a freebie,” Hank promised and hung up.