“Sorry, I know how much you prefer girls to be innocent,” Frederica replied with a wink.
“Isn’t there some kind of favor I’m supposed to be doing for you?” he asked.
“Right,” she said. “There’s an auto shop not far from here. The owner is related to the investigator who’s been harassing me. We’re going to pretend to be customers so I can try to dig up some dirt on her.”
“So you’re going to blackmail the blackmailer?” Tommy asked.
“If I have to,” Frederica replied. “Are you going to be uncomfortable with that?”
“No,” Tommy said. “I trust you to know where to draw the line.”
“Good,” she said. “Now pop the hood.”
“I have to make it convincing,” she said. “I thought you said you trusted me.”
He sighed again and pulled the lever.
“Please don’t make me regret this.”
The engine thumped and sputtered as they rolled into Keating Autobody. Frederica wasn’t entirely sure what she disconnected in there, but it seemed to have done the trick. She glanced around, quickly taking stock of the shop.
It was a decent-sized space, room enough for four vehicles to be worked on simultaneously. The floor was thick with grease and littered with tools and car parts. Gertrude was elbow-deep in the guts of a silver minivan off in the corner. She leaned around the hood and called out to a young black man behind the wheel.
“Try it now!”
She placed her hand over the battery and an arc of electricity leapt from her fingertips. The engine roared to life. Gertrude grinned and gave the man a thumbs-up. She turned to Tommy’s car. Frederica made eye contact for a second and felt pins and needles shoot up her arm. She pushed the feeling away.