Dom lifted his head from under the hood where he was attempting to replace a faulty fuel injector. He'd been at what should have been a half hour job for double that time. He was distracted. And who would have thought Dominic Toretto could be distracted by something as simple and inconsequential as loud music. Loud might not be the right word, he thought, looking to the rattling windows in the garage. The steady thudding of heavy bass had him suddenly clenching his jaw mercilessly tight.
"That's e-god-damn-nough," he growled, hurling the socket wrench in his hand, sending it skating along the cememt floor. He stalked out the garage and glared at the run down house across the street with its paint peeling, cracked windows and gutter sagging in places. It had been the same thing day and night for the past week, starting up just as the moving van had pulled out of the drive. Even from this distance he could tell it was some eighties crap. Not that he considered everything musically from that decade crap, but a large majority of it was.
Before he fully knew what he intended to do he was across the street and at the door, pounding. His fist slammed into the failing wood over and over and just when he thought there would be no one to answer to his anger, the door was jerked open. Blue eyes stared back at him, brimming with venom, ready to strike.
"What?" was yelled into his face, sending him into a fury born of constant aggrivation and at least one partially sleepless night. If for a moment he had slipped the bonds of that fury, he would have noticed the slight form in the doorway ... defiant to the utmost with long coppery hair settling at her hips and high tan cheeks. Her heart shape face was turned upwards to look at him. But he had neither the time nor the inclination to give her a once over.
"Turn down that shit!" he yelled back at her, stepping farther from the doorway as she advanced on him.
"Go to hell! Stays where it is!" The battle of wills began, back and forth, their voices raising to rival the decibels of the music.
Across the street Mia stood in the yard watching the exchange that quickly degenerated into a screaming match. Her hand came up to cover her mouth as she giggled. Brian joined her shortly, staring with more than a little surprise. Dom had actually gone on the attack because of the music. They had all known how it was getting to him but none seriously thought he would make a move to do anything about it.
"I could call the cops!" He spat the empty threat. They stood toe to toe in the middle of her yard now, each one refusing to compromise or give an inch.
"Then do it!"
"That's fuckin it! You don't turn it down I will!" He pushed past her, moving to the door.
"Think again, son of bitch." She raced the short distance to the outside tap and turned it on full force just as Dom got within reach of the door.
The water flooded over him, soaking him from head to toe. He stood there for a moment, his mouth set in a grim line. Oh she's gonna pay for this, he thought. She seemed to know that she had gone to far, that this was likely to gain her some horrible form of retribution. She dropped the hose and sprinted around the side of the house but not before she shouted one last needling remark. "Get the hell off my property! You're trespassing!"
Dom crossed the street fuming, noticing they had drawn a audience. Vince and Letty now stood in the yard gawking at him along with his sister and Brian. SHIT! Give 'em something to really talk about! He crossed back over the gooey summer asphalt, pinning them with a hard glare.
"Not one fuckin word," he growled, moving past them back to the garage.
Vince was laughing even before Dom was out of ear shot. "Guess this round goes to the babe with the great ass and amazing tits! Think he noticed?"
No one noticed the murderous glare that Letty leveled at him or would guess why.
Another week crawled by and, if possible, the music got louder. More than once Dom wondered why none of the neighbors called the cops. But then he figured they were use to listening to car engines all the time. And to compound things, Mia seemed to be getting chummy with the harassing bitch. Of course she tried to hide it, tried to keep him from noticing. She would dash across the street when she thought he was busy, usually carrying something ... a plate or a bag.
He'd decided to say something to Mia, try and get her to stop taking in strays. He sat behind the thick metal cage in the back going over the books, telling himself he'd confront her just as soon as he was finished when a flash of movement caught his eye at the front of the building. He stood, rounding the wired enclosure, to see her, the nameless neighbor chick, bolt inside and around the counter where Mia stood. He watched as she immediately hit the floor on her knees, back pressed against the counter. It was then he noticed it, black steel, clutched in her hand. Taking a step forward he intended to get her and the gun away from his sister. But the appearance of two men, hair pulled to the back of their heads, dark skin, suits. Ambling inside, trying to look casual, they hovered near the counter. He waited for the scene to play out.
"You seen my girlfriend? I think she came in here," the one closest to Mia spoke up.
"No. No one came in here," Mia smiled sweetly, moving over slightly to stand over the crouching woman.
"Ok. Thanks." They turned to go. "Puta," was hissed by one of the men. Dom made a move to go after them but Mia shot a warning glare over her shoulder.
Cammie sat on the floor below Mia, the best and only friend she seemed to have. She shook as much from the exertion of her back ally sprint as from fear. But she knew it was more than fear ... she was terrified. So much so that she momentarily forgot the glock she clutched in her hand.
"Cam?" Mia was leaning near her.
"I'm ok," she whispered, tremors evident in her voice. It was then that she remembered the gun, glancing at it like it as snake coiled in her hand. Turning it, she hit the clip release and it clattered to the tile. Grasping the slide, she ejected the final round left in the chamber and slapped the offensive hunk of metal on the floor, shoving it away from her. Mia stepped away from her clearing her line of sight and, with a sinking feeling, she saw the gun come to rest under Dom's raised foot. A hard retort was poised on her lips waiting for him to make the first move when she began to feel the penetrating sting across her hand followed by a slick warmth.
"You're not ok. You're bleeding," Mia admonished, reaching for a towel and wrapping it carefully around Cammie's hand. She tugged the woman to her feet.
"I got it," Dom told his sister, leaning forward and picking up the gun. He shoved it into the back of his jeans and came towards her. She took a step back, instinctively. The man was big and imposing and if she had the home field advantage it wouldn't have mattered. But here, after dealing with the her latest round of trouble, she had to admit to being afraid of him. After all, he still owed her. Dom gave her a none too understanding smile, placing a massive hand on the small of her back and pushing her towards the back to the establishment.
The bathroom was cramped but it held them both as Dom shoved her hand under a stream of cold water. She cringed not only from the hard throb in the appendage but the quick image of the man beside her soaking wet.
"How'd it happen?" he asked, his voice short and impatient as he examined the laceration in the soft tissue between her thumb and index finger.
"I grabbed the barrel so, maybe it was the site," she shrugged, watching him probe the torn skin.
"It's not your gun?" He pinned her wanting answers.
"No, I hate guns!"
"For someone who hates 'em you seem to know somethin' about 'em," he commented, dabbing away the slight trickle of blood.
"What's your name?"
"Cameron," She tried to extract her hand at that point as the conversation started to get a little to personal. He had a firm grip and she quickly realized she wasn't going anywhere unless he wanted her to.
"That's all just Cameron?" He cut his eyes to her and she had the urge to look anywhere but at him, at his eyes that felt like they could reduce her to rubble.
"Cameron Alexander," she stuttered. "Cammie to most or Cam. Doesn't matter to me."
"I'm Do..." he tried to introduce himself.
"I know. Your sister told me who you were." She wanted out of this room, the room that kept them touching at points along their bodies ... not intimate but not totally innocent either.
"What the hell did those two want with you?" he continued questioning her, not bothering to give her any more personal information about himself. Likely she would only use it against him next time they faced off, and they surely would again.
"They just loved my sweet disposition so much the wanted me to stick around. But I'm not much for parties." She actually managed to smile at Dom.
"Too bad. They could've been your next water torture victims," he replied, reaching into the first aid cabinet near the sink. He was quick and surprisingly gentle as he covered the wound with a sterile pad and tape.
Jerking her hand free, she glared, ready to go on the attack. "Yeah, well at least..." She suddenly dropped her eyes to her hand. The anger that was there seconds earlier drained away. Cutting her eyes up to him, she tilted her head, studying him.
"Thanks," she said with genuine feeling behind it.
The next week brought a change to the neighborhood, to the feud between neighbors. Dom waited every morning to hear the blare of music and to see the rattle of glass in their panes, but it never came. Only occasionally in the garage did he hear the muted sound of music, so faint is was hard to tell if it was his imagination.