Let Me Know If You Need AnythingbyRebeccasFriend©
The day had unfolded like most July days in Michigan, with the sun climbing fast and the temperatures, as well as the humidity climbing quickly too.
Rebecca Cheeks was on her way to meet the owner of a strip mall who needed some contract work done and he had called her on the advice of a fellow businessman. It was about 12:20 p.m. and her appointment was for 12:30. She was right on time.
Rebecca had taken the job, knowing that it might entail a week, maybe two weeks, depending on how well her results were appreciated. As she turned into the parking lot at the mall, she noticed a faded paint line along the sidewalk and paint chipped support poles supporting the overhangs of the businesses. She could also see the 4-5 large trash cans staggered every 25 feet or so needed a fresh coat of paint as well.
There was definitely work that needed to be done here, that was easily apparent. The work didn't really worry her.
She was a "Jack of all trades" or maybe a "Jacqueline of all trades" would be more accurate. After talking with the business owner, who had been referred to Rebecca by a mutual friend who had hired her for one of his work projects a few weeks earlier, she had learned that some of this project was going to be labor intensive. But this was work she had done to some extent before with another job and this type of work itself didn't worry her at all.
The businessman who had contracted her services, had recently purchased the strip mall, that he needed work done at, to keep the business owners who leased space from him happy, as well as staying in compliance with local ordinances regarding yellow striping along the edge of the side walks that ran along the front of the various businesses.
Along the way he told Rebecca there might be another odd job or two he would have her do, if there was time.
The strip mall was located on a relatively busy stretch of road that flowed north and south, on the southern edge of moderately sized city. "Grunt" work had never bothered the long haired beauty in the past. She enjoyed the work and the workout that many of these types of jobs would call for. As someone that had graduated from high school, but didn't have a college degree, Rebecca found work and created work skills through experiences she had developed on her own.
Often this came in the from watching and helping her father as a young girl and through high school. She also had picked up on a few work skills when a boyfriend or two along the way, had enlisted her help with a variety of jobs they would have, through their dating life.
Although married now, to a husband that made pretty good money, Rebecca had never felt comfortable not trying to pull her own weight when it came to money for the household. She had created a couple of part-time jobs through her skills as a seamstress, both in alteration work as well as making her own designs that she sometimes sold.
These jobs had helped her earn and bank money along the way and had stirred her creative juices to a fair extent. She liked both of those jobs for what they brought out of her, with her skills and for what they helped her develop when it came to taking those skills to levels even higher than she realized she was capable of.
There were other part-time jobs that she did along the way that fell within the realm of traditional "women's type work" as well as others that came from just rolling up her sleeves and just getting to work. It was while working on these "roll up your sleeves" type jobs that usually brought the most attention to Rebecca.
Her modesty didn't allow her to notice she was being noticed. But she was noticed.
This "being noticed" wasn't just because most of these roll up your sleeves jobs were in traditional "men's work" environments, although that was part of it. The being noticed came from the fact that Rebecca, was leggy and attractive, with long blonde hair and a body most women would love to have.
The fact that she could do the work that most men could and was very attractive, brought her much attention, some noticed by Rebecca, but most of it unnoticed.
As she stood there listening to Alex, the owner of the strip mall, go over what he hoped she could accomplish, she knew that if the weather cooperated, the work could be done in good time.
After he made sure that she had his cell phone number and office number, he wished her good luck and he was on his way.
When he finally left, she began to feel at least a momentary feeling of relief. The work itself was work that was something she could take care of in and of itself. She just wanted to get started.
As she looked around and observed the people traffic around her to the different stores and shops setup within the complex, she began to realize that there was more to the area than she had initially perceived.
The southern edge of Sagianw, Michigan, the area she was working in, was a mostly minority area. In the 15-20 minutes that she had been talking to "Alex" several black men and women had walked in and out of the various businesses that were apart of the strip mall, but no white's had been in the area at all.
That didn't matter to her one way or the other, what mattered was getting started on the work so that she could make at least a dent in the job, before the day would be over.
She had always felt that white, black, Hispanic, didn't really matter one way of the other, Rebecca made friends easily, was friendly and lived by the "golden rule" that you treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.
With that in mind, she walked over to her car and opened the trunk, grabbing her tools and supplies. The main job was to sweep the sidewalks, scrub any spill areas on the sidewalks, and scrape as much of the old paint off the curb-sidewalk areas, so she could put a fresh coat of yellow paint in a strip along the sidewalk.
She would also paint the poles and trash cans. Pretty cut and dried stuff. The few other odds and ends cleanup areas would be easily handled.
The next couple of hours moved along pretty quickly. Other than moving out of the way of an occasional shopper that didn't see her bent over scrubbing the problem areas on the side walk, that had to be scraped a little more aggressively than the norm. As she worked she could feel drops of sweat beginning to work their way down her neck both in the front and back.
Her tee shirt began to dampen with the build up of perspiration and she could feel it sticking to her back and chest as she would straighten up. She had worn jeans that day, even with the temperatures projected to be in the high 80's and her legs were beginning to feel sticky from the sweat building up.
Eventually she noticed that she was becoming a candidate for a wet tee shirt contest. Occasionally she would draw a whistle or two from someone, as she bent over and a flash of her black thong might appear creeping down the cheeks of her ass, as she put a little extra energy into her work. Rebecca was oblivious to this unintentional clothing geography shift.
The men that happened to be in the right place at the right time to see this, enjoyed it immensely.
She just smiled and kept working along her merry way. At 47, an appreciative whistle was good for her ego, as much of that as her humble nature allowed for.
With the pace she was working at, Rebecca thought should be able to finish her scraping by late morning to early afternoon the next day. The other odds and ends should be completed by the end of day two and day three would bring the start of the painting.
As she stood assessing her progress, Rebecca decided to take a well earned break and walked over to her car to grab one of the bottles of water she had in her cooler. She had munchies packed as well, but for the time being water was all that she needed.
After she opened the water bottle and took a good long drink, she twisted the cap back on and leaned against her car. It was now almost three o'clock and the heat of the day was reaching it's peak.
Several people moved in and out of the businesses and again Rebecca noticed that all of them were black.
Most of the women had avoided eye contact, or just gave her a look of indignation. One however walked by and said something that caught Rebecca off guard.
She had walked out of the dollar store and had immediately looked toward Rebecca and her face contorted a bit. The black woman was pretty, with a very well proportioned body and legs that looked like they had been copied from Tina Turner, with thighs that were barely covered by a short black leather skirt.
"Fucking white bitch slut," the tall light skinned black woman spit out, as she walked several feet away from Rebecca to a red mid-sized Buick across the parking aisle. She wasn't looking at the beautiful blonde, but there was no mistaking who the comment was directed to.
She got in her car and left, but not before adding a long stare at Rebecca before she pulled away.
"What the heck was that about," Rebecca wondered, as she stood next to her car.
She decided to let it pass. She had earned a break and she wasn going to enjoy it.
Now as she sipping form her water bottle, the black men that were coming out or going into the businesses were just giving her outright stares.
In truth most of the men coming and going had done this while she was working. but she had not noticed it with her attention focussed on the job she was doing.
Now, standing there on the hot asphalt sipping on her bottled water, she couldn't help but notice that she was being stared at. Actually, gawked at would be more accurate.
The men would look up, then down and then a few long looks right at her various areas that set "women apart" from men. Although they didn't act in a threatening manner towards her, Rebecca felt a bit uneasy, as she realized how vulnerable she probably was in this setting.
There was no pretense on the part of these black men about being subtle with their looks at her or with some of the comments that were now being directed towards her.
"Hi baby, watch ya got working in this part of town for me," one man who looked to be in his late 20's or early 30's asked, while licking his lips and grabbing his groin area through his baggy jeans.
He stared right at Rebecca as he walked past her to his car that was parked several spaces out into the parking lot beyond her vehicle.
Others would cast their eyes over toward Rebecca and let out a "MMMMMMMM," as if they were going through their kitchen at home, enjoying the smell of their favorite food wafting through the air.
"That shorrre looks good," one black man would say to a friend he was walking with. "Damn that is a sight. She makes me want to take a nice helping then go back for seconds," another black man could be heard saying as he walked into one of the businesses.
After listening to this, Rebecca decided that while working, it had been an occasional whistle that was cast her way, while standing there enjoying her well earned break, she was getting a lot more than the whistles. And with that, she decided it was time to go back to work.
So that is what she started to do.
As she picked up her scrub brushes and towel, she took a couple of strides the area she had left when she took her break, before she was interrupted by the deep tones of voice coming to her right.
She had noticed the large bronze colored late model Cadillac earlier, but had not seen the man sitting on the drivers side with the seat tilted back at nearly a 45 degree angle.
"Miss, my brothers were just a little bit rude, with their comments, but don't hold that against them," the voice said. "We don't get beautiful white women with long golden-like hair very often in this area," he added.
Although startled a bit by the sudden communication that shocked her from her own world inside her head, the soothing tone of the voice, was reassuring and immediately helped Rebecca to feel a bit more at ease than the previous 10 minutes of cat calls had left her.
"Besides, if any of them had done more than run their mouths and tried doing anything, I would have made that my personal business to take care of. Do you understand," he said, not in a questioning manner, but in a firm declarative sentence.
"Yes sir," Rebecca answered somewhat meekly. "Thank you sir," she added in relief.
"And as far as the black sista that gave you her shit, she's jealous and bitter. Probably had a brotha drop her for a white woman, or at least stepped out on her, for a white woman," he added.
"Black women are very protective when it comes to their black men," he added.
"I didn't know that," Rebecca offered uneasily. "But, "I have to go back to work," she continued and then hurried over to where she had left when taking her break.
When she got there she placed her pail with her scrub brushes and towel down. Glancing over to where the man with the deep baritone voice was parked, she could see him looking at her while working a tooth pick in his mouth, from one side to the other.
As uneasy as the comments had left her, her fears and apprehension were now almost gone completely and the wave of relief that had come over her almost immediately upon hearing the man in the car speak, who had unbeknownst to Rebecca been watching over her, surprised her.
The way he looked at her seemed different and she didn't quite understand it. But one thing she was very sure of, she was glad he was there. She could tell from how he sat in his car he was a big man, with wide shoulders and thick barrel chest. He was coal black, with his left arm resting in the open window of his Cadillac, she could see a very muscled forearm.
As she set about getting back into her scrubbing with the wire brushes to clean away the loose paint chips and spill stain areas, she kept thinking about her protector.
"How long had he been there," she wondered? Had he been watching her the whole time she had been working? As the questions would wander into thought process she would glance over to where he was parked. She could see him talking on his cell phone and once in a while he would write things onto a note pad he could be seen resting on the steering wheel.
More and more patrons pulled into the parking lot, parked and then walked in and out of the various businesses, while Rebecca plugged along with her work. There was the occasional whistle that caught her ears, but didn't distract her from the work.
Finally she decided that her day was over. She opened her cell phone and was surprised to see that it was nearly 7:30 p.m. She had been working nonstop for over four hours after her break. As she gathered her work supplies she looked over to where the Cadillac was parked and saw her protector smile. "It's about time we called it quits," the deep baritone voice boomed. "I am exhausted,' he laughed heartily.
This drew a laugh and then a smile from Rebecca, as she walked over to her car.
"That makes two of us," she said with a smile."Thanks for looking out for me earlier," she added.
"Glad to be of help beautiful lady. My name is Jerome. This is my business card. I live and work in the area," he said. "Call me if you ever need anything miss. Any day, any time, Anything. Do you understand?" he stated. Rebecca, quickly covered the short distance between where she stood at the back of her car and where his Cadillac was parked.
"Yes, sir. Thank you sir," Rebecca stammered. "I really appreciate that. By the way, my name is Rebecca, sir," she added. "Please call me Rebecca."
"Thank you Rebecca," Jerome said, while confidently looking directly into her eyes and then slowly and deliberately canvassing her body from top to bottom and then back to her eyes.
Although this outright undressing of Rebecca with his eyes might not have been any different from what the other black men had done to her throughout the day, when Jerome did it, the feelings she had were different. She wasn't completely sure why, but it was different.
"You going to be back here tomorrow Rebecca," Jerome asked?
"Yes," Rebecca replied demurely.
"What time, miss Rebecca," he asked?
"Well, tomorrow I will be here right around 8:30 so I can put a full day in. I need to get the rest of my scraping and cleaning done before I can start the painting. I have a full day left of just the grunt stuff, before I can begin painting," Rebecca told him.
"Sounds like a plan," Jerome replied. "See you tomorrow."
"Oh Sir, you don't have to come back just on my account. I am sure I will be OK when everyone gets used to me working out here," Rebecca responded apologetically.
"Rebecca, don't worry about me. This is my part of this city and I take care of what's got to be taken care of. Do you understand," he half asked half stated.
"Yes, sir," Rebecca replied, even though she didn't really understand what he meant.
"That's my girl," Jerome replied. "Now you drive safe and have a nice night," he finished.
"Thank you sir. You a have a nice night too sir," Rebecca replied as she tucked his business card in her back pocket.
"Thank you Rebecca," Mr. Baritone said.
With that she put her supplies in her trunk and guided her car out of the parking lot and headed home.
Along the way she assessed her progress with day one of her project and decided that it had been a very productive day. Aside from the catcalls and the brief outburst from Ms. Tina Turner thighs, it had gone well.
She also realized how glad she was that "Mr. Baritone" ... Jerome had been there.
Immediately she wondered if he really would be there tomorrow?
The rest of the drive and night went along quickly. Rebecca got up the next morning. got dressed, put together a few snack type things to eat during her breaks and then loaded her cooler, with a several bottles of water.
As she stood in her kitchen, there was something knew that she had forgotten, but couldn't remember what it could be? After a moment of letting her mind clear, it came to her. She hurried back to her bedroom and grabbed the jeans she had worn the day before and reached into the pocket that she had placed Jerome's business card.
"You never know," thought Rebecca, as she slipped his card into her right rear pocket.
She never let herself complete the thought as she walked into the kitchen. After grabbing her lunch snacks and cooler she was off for the strip mall.
Her work day was going to begin a few hours earlier, which would hopefully allow her to finish the last of her prep work before the painting would begin.
Just as he said he would be, Jerome was at the strip mall when she arrived at 8:30 a.m. They exchanged waves as she pulled into the parking lot and parked in a space a short distance from where Jerome sat in his vehicle.
"Good morning Miss Rebecca," Jerome greeted her when she got out of her car and began unloading her supplies."
"Good morning sir," replied Rebecca with a smile.
"It looks like it is going to be another hot one today," said Jerome, as his eyes took in a long look from top to bottom of her body and then returned to Rebecca's eyes.
"Yes, it sure sounds like it from all the reports I have heard from the weatherman on the news I watched this morning," Rebecca answered, feeling flattered that the man who had watched over yesterday was giving her this attention.
"Well, you be careful not to work too hard with this heat and the extra heat and humidity that the asphalt adds," Jerome said in an almost parental like manner.
The large black man, that filled up the drivers side of the bronze Cadillac genuinely seemed concerned about her and that gave her a good feeling.
"Thank you for your concern, I promise I will be careful," she responded gratefully.