He looked at the black crowbar in the back of his barely cracked open trunk. His eyes darted away then, scanning the compound of the gas station. He noted the faces of the people filling their cars up, walking in and out of the market, and sitting in cars, waiting. It was early evening and busy, as it usually was in this part of suburbia.
He tried to keep his pulse down. He was in a potentially dangerous situation. His eyes darted back down to the trunk, and the crowbar was still there. He stepped back, and lit a cigarette. He had been in tough situations before. He had been in at least six or seven fights in his life, and countless other confrontations. The thoughts were working, and his confidence came back.
He walked around to his front seat, reaching in through the open window to get his cell phone. There were no new messages or missed calls. He knew that already. He had only been a few feet away and would have heard it. She was frantic when she had called him. She was scared. He hated that feeling. The mere suggestion, that the only person that ever mattered to him was helpless and scared, was too difficult for his mind to accept. “The car is following me Jacob! I don’t know what to do. They were yelling at me!”
The words echoed in his mind. He dragged from his smoke, and he started to shake again. “Fucking punks!” he muttered out loud to himself. She was still at least five minutes away. He scanned the gas station again. Nobody was paying him any mind. He was parked near the back, where the air and water machines were.
He was her sworn protector. They were only teenagers when they had first met. It was at a gas station as well, but not like this one. He was with his friend, Mark, when they pulled up and he saw her waiting nearby at a bus stop. She looked cool and indifferent, as if she were above anything petty. She had a serious look too, as if her mind was running with a million thoughts and worries. Then suddenly, something her friend said made her laugh and smile, and there it was. The immortal dagger of an image, the most beautiful smile he had ever seen, searing itself into his mind, and from that moment forward, driving his desire to meet her, and know her, and make her his.
An SUV rolled in suspiciously, with some punk looking kids in it and a headlight out. They pulled up to the store and parked. Jacob looked around, but he didn’t see her car. False alarm. He had come to her rescue once before. Eva had a loud mouth, and often used it to defend, or offend, anybody she deemed to be out of order. It was a quality that he both loved and hated about her. She had started a brawl at a nightclub once, and he had to practically carry her out while trying to fight off a couple of drunken guys. He was glad they were drunk, or he might have not been so successful.
He stomped his smoke out. Eva was taking long now. He was getting worried again. He looked at his phone, and there was nothing there. What if they had run her off of the road? What if they had stopped her car somehow? His rambling, worried thoughts frightened him. He held his breath, stretching taller from the tips of his toes, and looked off towards the road. It was useless though. There were too many cars, too many bright lights, and too many obstructions. Maybe they weren’t following her anymore.
He was far from a chain smoker, smoking only three or four cigarettes a day on the worst days, but he lit another one. She hated that he smoked. She had begged him to quit so many times. Her strong passion had turned against him so many times, both driving him mad, and imprisoning him in her rapture. He smiled at the thought. Her touch, her desire, her scent, her smile, her vulnerability, all culminated in a web of love, entrapping him for all eternity. What they shared was like no love he’d ever known or imagined.
He saw her car pull around the corner quickly then. His heart began to beat faster and he lost a breath, as he saw a dark blue van following right behind her. “It’s a van, not an SUV damn it!” he cursed out loud to himself. She rushed toward him, spotting him, and the van followed. People noticed, hearing the screeching tires, and were looking on as an almost out of control van followed closely after her. A guy was hanging out of the passenger window, laughing loudly and yelling something as the driver honked his horn.
She came to a screeching halt, right next to Jacob. He was trembling, both from fear and adrenaline. Her window was up, and he saw her face. Her beautiful Latin olive skin was scared white, and he recognized the fear in her eyes. It sparked something in him, propelling his spirit, and he looked past her to the van that stopped suddenly and abruptly right in front of them.
Jacob got a good look at them, freezing in his steps between his car and hers. They were in their twenties, the driver and the passenger, with nobody else that he could see in the concealed back. “How you doing boyfriend? We wanna talk to your girl!” sang the passenger. He was smiling with cockiness, trying to intimidate Jacob. The driver revved the engine.
“Get out, and I will wipe the concrete with that smile, tough guy!” Jacob yelled out. The fear and adrenaline pushed his legs forward, moving him towards the van. The side door sprang open, and a man about the same size as Jacob got out, and charged towards him. Jacob readied himself, and with lighting fast speed attacked, throwing a punch, connecting with all of his might.
The sting of Jacob’s strike shocked the punk, and he was dazed. Without mercy or hesitation, Jacob struck again, this time sending him to the pavement. Another guy was getting out of the van, and the passenger was too. Jacob ran back to his trunk as the punks followed, and he grabbed his crowbar. Flashing it with fury, he charged at them, and they turned back. The passenger, no longer displaying his cocky smile, retreated, and the other guy helped his wobbly-legged friend get back in.
A second later, they sped off, screeching their tires, throwing a beer bottle out of the window, sending it crashing against the side wall of the gas station. A man came over, to help. It was too little, too late. “Are you ok?” he asked, as Jacob leaned over, out of breath.
“Yeah, they didn’t touch me,” he admitted. Just then, a few more people came over, a woman as well. He put the crowbar down on the ground, allowing it to clink loudly.
“You really took care of them!” the man said proudly with a smile. Eva opened her door, the color flowing back into her face, and she hugged her man. Jacob could hear the man explaining to the others what he had seen, and the noise of the chatter began to rise. He held Eva in his arms, exhaling deeper than he’d ever done before. She was safe. It was over. He did it.