Chapter 23.

For the next few hours Otto sat at his desk and watched as car after beautiful car rolled in, and then out again. Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, BMW's. Few words were spoken, what needed to be said?

Otto intentionally paired Sway with Rachel for most of her boosts. They did not need any more trouble and the girls worked well together. They returned with another car, the sheen of adrenalin-fuelled excitement, still holding in their eyes.

"Hey there ladies. How's it going?" Otto asked pulling another boost sheet from the pile.

"Fan-fucking-tastic!" Rachel beamed "I just got Belle. That car is hot shit; I always wanted to drive one of those!"

Belle was a 1995 Maclaren F1.

Otto grinned and handed her the piece of paper.

"I'm gonna sit this one out Rach." Sway called over her shoulder as she strolled to the back of the garage and sank into a chair.

"Ok. Whatever man. See you later." She gave Otto a quick look and turned on her heel just as Mirror and Tumbler walked through the door.

"Hey Tyson!" She called, "Fancy a ride in a Lambo?"

Tumbler grinned "Sure."

After a while Memphis returned alone from a boost and Otto listened to the unmistakable roar of an old Porsche as his pick was driven away. The old man took a deep breath preparing himself for fireworks.

"Hey son. How's it goin?" He asked sorting another sheet from the tangle on his desk.

"Yeah. Okay." Memphis had barely strung together one full sentence since the earlier trouble with Frankie.

Debating whether to bring it up, but deciding it was better sorted now rather than in the crucial last few hours of the boost, Otto jerked his thumb over his shoulder in Sway's direction "I think you got someone waiting for you back there. Been here a while."

Memphis's eyebrows shot up and he stood still for a second before advancing towards the back of the garage. Otto buried his head in paperwork and prayed for patience.

Memphis stood in front of Sway and neither party spoke for a good few seconds.

"Hey." She finally ventured.

"Hey yourself."

Sway pulled her cigarettes from her pocket and tapped the pack on her leg to shake one free.

"I wish you wouldn't" Memphis gestured at the box.

"Why?" She raised a smoke to her lips anyway, defiantly.

"Because I don't like it when you smoke, it reminds me too much of old times, and the reasons you did it."

"The old times are the best baby." She smiled insincerely and lit the cigarette.

Memphis made an indignant noise.

"Come on," Sway gestured around "You're not enjoying this? Even just a little?"

"No. I'm really not." He pulled up a chair. "This seriously isn't my idea of fun."

"Are you shittin' me!? The cars, the adrenaline – "

"The guns, the cops?"

Sway fell silent and Memphis kicked back in his chair, wiping a hand across his face.

"Sway, I'm really sorry about Frankie okay?"

She let out an infuriated snort and he shook his head softly. "I know. I know he's a complete asshole and it was a stupid thing to do getting him out here, but I didn't know what else to do okay." He gestured forcefully with one hand. "Things were falling apart at the seams here. I'm not as good at this as I used to be. I'm older and I'm wiser but I have more to lose; and I can't lose this bet Sway. I just can't. I have too much riding on it."

"We won't." She said

"We might." He lent back in his chair and pushed the heels of his hands against his eyes.

Sway sat for a second watching the strong powerful man she thought she knew crumbling before he and her resolve faded.

"No Memphis," He sat upright and looked at her as she leant forwards and placed her hands on his knees "We will not lose. We're doing great okay, you're doing great! We can do this."

He frowned and searched her deep, rich eyes. "I hope you're right."

"I am."

"You know we could just leave." He stared at her earnestly and she sat back looping her fingers behind her head.

"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that."

"You could have died today."

"I could have died plenty of times in the past Memphis. It comes with the territory."

"I was young and stupid in the past. I didn't know what I had to lose."

"Yeah well you haven't lost anything now. I'm fine." She winked at him playfully but his expression remained serious.

"No you're not. You're far from fine." They stared silently at one another for a few seconds, Sway remaining defiant before Memphis sighed and rubbed a hand over his face again. "But I guess that's something I'll have to deal with when this is all over."

She raised an eyebrow "What's that supposed to mean?"

He didn't reply and Sway narrowed her eyes.

"I told you Memphis, I'm fine. Full working order. You don't have to worry about me okay."

"But I do. And I can't help that. I know you Sway, you're fine whilst you've still got so much to think about. As soon as this all stops it will hit you and it's a big weight this time. Just promise me you won't do anything crazy." He reached over and took her hand.

She stood up and moved so that she was straddling his lap. "I promise." She whispered in his ear.

Memphis sighed and wrapped his arms tightly around her waist enjoying the feeling of her warm breath against the shell of his ear.

A sound of a voice being cleared pulled them from their own little world and Memphis growled. It was Otto.

"Hey guys, I'm sorry, but I thought I'd better give you something." He passed Sway a boost sheet.

"Yeah baby." Sway smiled and turned the piece of paper around to show Memphis what was written upon it.

Amy – Ferrari F40

For the final few hours as the fiery orange sun forced its way up over the water, the gang raced around for an array of last minute boosts. Sway remained teamed up with Rachel, the small piece of paper with the F40's location written upon it tucked tightly into her back pocket. Within the haze of shiny, expensive boosts Memphis's voice suddenly floated across the airwaves.

"Oh Swaaaaaaaay!" He called, his voice laced with a school boy taunt.

"What?" She asked cautiously.

"I just trampled your little record sweetie. 25 seconds! Beat that!"

"Yeah you do!" Mirror man interjected.

"Can anyone verify that one boss man?" Rachel quizzed as she glanced across at Sway a sly little grin on her face.

"Yep." Donny answered "25 on the dot. Sorry ladies."

"Hey, it aint over yet little boys okay, we still got 90 minutes till this bet ends!" Rachel retorted.

"Yeah!" Sway cut in, "and Raines, I'm gonna kick your ass little boy."

"Sure you are, sweetheart."

Sway could hear the humour and cockiness dripping from his voice.

"We've resorted to name calling now have we?" Rachel asked.

Memphis laughed. "I'm sorry girls, but I think you'll have a job beating 25. I'm going to be boosting that lovely shiny F40 for sure!"

"Not a chance." Sway replied slowly.

"Come on Sway!" Memphis laughed "A bet's a bet. I bet you the boost of the Ferrari that I could beat you!"

"Fine." Sway swung her feet up onto the dash of the pickup that Rachel was driving. "You let me boost the F40, and I will beat your time."

"Kinda defies the point."

"I bet you my 'vette."

"Ooooooh!" Mirror chuckled from his boost "this is getting interesting."

"Shut up Mirror." Memphis cut in "You'd never give me you 'vette."

"Yes I would," Sway replied, "If I lost. Like you said, a bets a bet."

"This was a bet and you backed out of this."

"No I didn't. I raised the stakes."

Memphis let out a bark of laughter. "Okay you're on. But I want the skirt we talked about earlier too."

"Sure why not." Sway sighed "Throw whatever you want in there, because you know I'm gonna kick you ass."

"We'll see."

"Yes we will. Me and my Amy will see you paying up."

"What am I paying up if I loose then?" Memphis smiled to himself.

"A new bike."

Memphis chuckled a shook his head "It's a bet."

Sway grinned at Rachel and tipped her head back in her seat "Amy here I come baby!"

"Ah! This is so fixed!" Mirror exclaimed. "I knew you'd get her. How come you get all the good cars?!"

"When you're screwing the boss we'll let you boost what you want." Sway responded.

Rachel let out a bark of laughter and Memphis cleared his throat uncomfortably.

"Yeah. Okay, no offence Memphis but I'm good." Mirror muttered quickly.

Rachel laughed again.

"Anyway!" Memphis said loudly "Finish up, and everyone back to the garage for the last run. We'll pair up and pick up the last 5 ladies. Bring on the home straight."

Otto sat back and watched as the entire crew gathered for the final time (or so he hoped) in his garage. His chest twinged again, and he resisted the urge to wince. He was far too damn old for all this stress now. When this was over, he was going to sell his share of the garage and set his Junie up a nice little house somewhere. And what's more, he was going to visit the doctor.

Memphis stood quietly, his hands in his pockets, looking out of the doors at the gathering sunlight. 6am. Such a beautiful time of day, he had to start getting up earlier. He'd decided that these few boosts would be their last of the bet, regardless of the two hours of boosting time that still remained. It was too risky to work at such a busy time of day. A flock of birds swooped across the skyline, forming and elegant silhouette. "I have to start getting up earlier" he thought.

For the first time since she arrived, Rachel opted against being alone and strolled over to where Tumbler sat picking idly at his finger nails. He looked up as she approached him, unable to hide the look of dumb shock on his face.

"Hey." She leaned against the wall next to him.

"Hi." He replied disbelief and slight caution in his voice.

"I think I lost my partner to the boss." She nodded over at Sway "Fancy teaming for the last boost?"

"Depends." Tumbler relaxed instantly and grinned up at her.

"On what?" She raised an eyebrow.

"Are you gonna let me drive?"

"Ha! Don't push it boy scout."

Tumbler laughed.

Sway ran her finger over the piece of paper in her hand and smiled to herself. She had dreamed of getting back in an F40 for such a long time. She was going to love every minute of it. And then, that was it; they could go back to their lives. The apartment, the garage, the touring build. A little twinge of grief for her ruined bike flowed through her. Her dad had left her the money for the Yamaha before he died, she'd always wanted one and it was special to her. Maybe she would really let Memphis buy her a new one, maybe not. Nothing would ever replace that particular bike. It was hard to believe that just over 48 hours ago she'd been riding it, hard to believe that this whole thing had been started by the explosion of one Yamaha R6.One hell of a starters pistol.

End Chapter 23