~Chapter 4….Already??~

For those whom are ready for Chapter 4 to my novel Hopes and Destinies, here it is. I know, you all are probably thinking already?? Yep, I had more time to write this week plus this chapter I already had in my mind so I was all about writing it down. Please be sure to comment or like my page!! But also for those who are tuning in for the first time, you can go back and read all the other chapters on my site as well. I do ask that everyone keep my aunt in their thoughts…she is not doing very good which is why I had more time to write this week (I had to take a few days off work). As an update on the following chapters, now is the time to keep up with what’s going on because some major things are going to happen! So make sure you are following if you aren’t and if you can’t don’t worry…I’m publishing when I’m finished with it so stay tuned for updates concerning that. I will be starting Chapter 5 tomorrow. The plan is to have Chapter 5 done by the weekend (I will be taking this weekend off again due to having our son this weekend). So be prepared for some weekend reading as well to any of those that are interested. Until then, I hope you all enjoy Chapters 1-4 so far!! 

Chapter 4:

What would happen if I opened the car door and did the “tuck and roll”? Would he come back for me? I’m being ridiculous, I think to myself as I watch tree after tree pass by on the side of the road.

“Where are you taking me?” I ask, shakily. I am scared.

“I never kiss and tell,” Jason says with a big grin on his face. “Plus, you told me to pick the place because I’m driving, so you as the passenger get to sit there in anticipation and enjoy the scenery.”

I realize now I should’ve sucked it up and picked the place because I hate surprises. I really hate surprises. I look back out the window and try to enjoy the scenery like he said. Farms and the occasional house is what we pass by. Nothing too spectacular, but is peaceful to look at all the same. Every few minutes, an eagle out in the distance flies away from the tree it’s perched on; it was spooked by something. They look so graceful as they spread their wings and take flight.

The sun is almost set now; the darkness has just about consumed our part of the country. I look at the clock on the dashboard which reads 7:25PM. Jason notices me glancing at the clock.

“Don’t tell me you have a certain time you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day?” He asks with a sigh.

“Do you really think I live all of my life on a schedule?” I blurt out without thinking. The sarcastic comments come easy with him, I don’t know why.

He laughs and looks at the road again. My guilt starts to kick in. Why do I have to be such a bitch?

I take a deep breath, and continue with, “I don’t eat breakfast because I don’t have time to. Every now and then I’ll eat lunch. I usually go to my aunt’s house to eat dinner. So, basically I eat whenever I’m hungry.”

“The night I pulled you over in front of your aunt’s house, you were going there for dinner?” He asks, curiosity in his voice.

“Yep,” I nod.

“How often do you go there?”

“Usually four or five times a week.”

“Do you have specific days?”

“Nope. Whenever I feel like going over there, I go.”

“Good to know,” he mumbles more to himself than to me, I think.

“Don’t tell me you’re going to start stalking me at my aunt’s house, too?” I say flatly, a little anger in my voice.

“Maybe, maybe not.” He smiles. He thinks he’s being alluring, but he’s being downright annoying.

Silence again as we continue to drive down the quiet, lonely road. What feels like hours later, ends up being five minutes later, we are arriving in a town. Madison, Wisconsin.

I look at him. “Why did you bring me to Madison?”

He looks back at me with a sincere look on his face. “I thought we were going out for dinner? Don’t tell me you have short term memory loss or something. Where you only remember up to five minutes’ prior…”

“No, I remember,” I snarl. This guy knows how to push buttons. It’s like I should spell everything out for him. He knows exactly what he’s doing; if this is his way of trying to pry and “get to know me” I see right through it. Time to start turning the tables around on him. “What I meant was why are we going to supper in Madison?”

“You told me to pick a place, and I did.”

I roll my eyes. What he’s doing is such a turn off and I hope he sees that.

“You should’ve picked the place, then. Like I asked you to,” Jason responds to my eye roll with a solid voice.

I cross my arms and watch the traffic roll by as we drive straight into the city.

Anger is an emotion just like sad, happiness, and love. Love. What is the true meaning of love? Or is it lust I’m confusing it with because I can’t help but feel more attracted to this police officer the angrier I am with him. He is annoying, and very much into invasion of privacy, and anything else that should be a turn off to women, but I can’t help but want to be with him the angrier he makes me. This isn’t right. I need to go home and lock myself in my apartment for a few days until I don’t feel for him anymore. I shouldn’t feel for him…but I do.

The car comes to a stop at a red light. We are in the turn lane to turn right. We turn right onto a separate side road and drive all the way down it. We see hotel after hotel, a side mall of restaurants, and more hotels. Oh, no, he’s going to get us a hotel and try to get in my pants. NOPE! Not happening!

I stat to hyperventilate, and grip the door handle. He notices and the look on his face goes from smiling to pure concern.

“Hope? What’s wrong?”

“Why did you bring me here?” I blurt out.

His expression is confused. “I thought we went over this…Are you sure there’s nothing wrong…?”

“NO! The…hotels…!” I point, breathing in and out, in and out. I close my eyes and hope this is all a dream.

“What?” He asks still not understanding. “Hope…”

He touches my arms and I start to scream. “TAKE ME HOME! I SAID TAKE ME HOME, NOW!”

I open my eyes to see him wide eyed and, maybe for once, terrified. More at my outburst than at the situation. The car is now parked in a parking lot, which I assume is whatever hotel he picked out.

“Hope, what is wrong?”

“Do you take every girl here? Is that what you do? Go and seek out a vulnerable girl you can take advantage of and tell her you’re taking her out to dinner when in reality you take her to a hotel where no one can find you and have your way with her?” I’m rambling now, ready to make a run for it.

“You’re making no sense, Hope. What girls? What did my sister tell you about me?” Jason is now fighting back. He’s hurt and I can see it on his face as he fights back. He is in my face now. It is taking everything I have to not lean all the way over and kiss him. I close my eyes again and take another huge breath.

“Huh?” He’s impatient now. I open my eyes again to see him sitting all the way back by his door, all his attention on me, waiting.

There’s a lump in my throat and I swallow hard. “I don’t know anything about you, and the next time I see you after you gave me the ticket and tried to pry on my family you say you’re taking me to dinner…”

“So, you automatically assume I’m going to take you to a hotel and have my way with you?” He’s disgusted by that question.

“Well, look at you. You are young, hot, and you know how to have your way with people by bossing them around and intimidating them.” My voice is rough sounding, small.

“Intimidating people is what I’m trained to do, Hope. I take my profession seriously. I do not ever use my profession for my own idiosyncrasies. I’ve never once taken advantage of a girl and I don’t plan to. For your own thoughts, it’s been a long time since I’ve even been out with a woman. Have I had girls at the bar try to get with me? Yes. Have I been drunk and tempted? Yes. Have I taken a girl home before? Yes, but nothing happened. My plan with her was to, use your words, take advantage of her, but once I got her back to my place I couldn’t go through with it. I made her a cup of hot tea, and told her she could sleep it off in my guest bedroom. That’s exactly what she did, too. She left the next day with no goodbyes and no numbers left,” he explains in a calm voice, staring right into my soul the entire time.

I suddenly feel ignorant for my outburst; embarrassed to use a better lack of words. I feel my face get warm, so I try to hide it by turning away from him in shame.

“Can I ask you something?” He asks as I turn away. I don’t answer him, so he continues anyway. “Why are you always so quick to overreact and assume?”

I slowly turn back to look at him, and say, “Because I don’t trust easily.”

He puts a hand on my knee and makes me look at him by bending low to look me in the eyes as he says, “Well, even if you don’t trust anyone, trust me. I’m not here to hurt you. All I want is to have a nice meal with a pretty girl.”

I can’t help, but smile. My face instantly flushes the color of roses at his comment, and there is no way to stop it. I don’t want to stop it. I want him to see how that comment lights me up.

“There’s that beautiful smile,” he says, smiling with me. “Are you ok, now? Are you ready to eat? We are here.”

I turn around to look through the back window of the squad car, and see a sign next to a dark green building that says PERKINS. Perkins? He’s taking me to a breakfast shop?

“Perkins?” I say, not sure how that sounded coming off my tongue. I crinkle up my nose.

“The best place to eat fresh baked pie,” Jason says creating the biggest smile on his face I’ve witnessed in all the time knowing him. He looks like a little kid at Christmas. Lighting up like fireworks from excitement. “Come on!”

He gets out of the car faster than I can unbuckle my seatbelt. I get out of the car cautiously.

“You’ve never been here, have you?” He asks me, gauging my expressions and my movements.

“Once when I was a kid. I was with Aunt Bethany, though.” The memories come flooding back as soon as I say that. Aunt Bethany and I always came here to eat breakfast every morning when we moved out here. It was also here at this restaurant that an undercover detective that was working with my father almost spotted us. That was the last time we ate here. Having those memories has me stopped in my tracks and fighting for air. I must keep reminding myself that that was ten years ago, there’s no way my father would have people still looking for me not to mention at the same place for ten years.

Jason meets me at my side of the car after I get out of it. Looking at him has my emotions going in all sorts of directions they don’t even know which way is the right way.

“Hope you brought your appetite,” he says in his low sexy voice as he loops my arm around his and walks us inside the restaurant.

Inside it smells like fresh baked bread and pastries. We wait a few minutes to be seated by our waitress. He chooses a booth; he sits on one side and I sit opposite him. He stares at me the entire time I’m studying the menu.

A few moments pass, and our waitress named Katie comes back to take our order. She is middle aged and loves to flirt with the newbie cop. For some reason, I hate that he flirts back. Jealousy. We order our food; I order a diet coke and the chicken tenders basket, and he orders a coke and the mushroom burger basket. The waitress walks away to give the kitchen our order and to fill our drinks.

“She flirts with me every time I come here,” Jason says as he spots my angry expression.

“And you said you don’t date girls often,” I scold.

“I said there are many girls interested in me, but I am not into them. She is one that is interested in me and tries very hard. But I keep it at a friendly level.”

“Why did you turn that girl down? The one that you took home?” I ask the question that’s been festering in my head since he brought it up. If he wants to flirt with other girls in front of me and pry in my life, I get to at least pry in his.

“I told you, I just couldn’t bring myself to take advantage of her,” he says flatly.

“Yes, I know, but why?” I lean in so no one else around us can hear our conversation. “I mean you’re a typical young guy with…urges. I’m sure she was hot, especially if both of you were drunk…”

He stirs in his seat. He’s getting uncomfortable. Good, pay back is a bitch.

“I just wasn’t into her, OK?” He fights back, but I don’t take that for an answer so I keep prying.

“Why?”

“What is your deal?” He shouts back, darting me an angry look I’ve never seen before.

“You said to trust you, but how can I trust you when you’re flirting with every girl we run into? You say that you don’t date much and that you haven’t been interested in anyone, but here you are. With me. And you don’t even know me. You give me a ticket, then take me out to dinner and flirt with waitress right in front of me. So, what I’m saying is that something doesn’t add up with you and if you want me to trust you, you better stop lying to me.”

He takes a deep breath and covers his face with his hands for several seconds as if doing so is calming him down.

“Doesn’t feel so good, does it? When someone pries into your personal life,” I say as he’s trying to find the words to say.

“You want me to be honest with you? Fine, here it goes,” he preps himself for a long speech by taking a sip of his pop that the waitress brought over not even seconds before this conversation started, and sits back against the back of the booth. I do the same, waiting patiently for his story.

We are seated by a window, so he looks out the window before starting his story. He looks at me when he’s ready to talk and doesn’t take his eyes off me the entire time he’s speaking to me.

“I was sixteen and when I thought I met my soulmate. We were in all the same classes, and did everything together. I knew this was the girl I wanted to marry. I even had it planned on the day of our college graduation I was going to propose to her. I decided to take a year out of school after we graduated high school to work and save up money for her ring while she went off to college here in Madison for nursing.” He takes another sip of his drink. I’m staring at him barely breathing. I wasn’t expecting him to talk about his dead girlfriend, but he is.

“It was around the time I was trying to figure out what I wanted to go to college for when I got the call. She called me first,” his voice starts breaking. “She was underneath her car. Her car had rolled and she was ejected from her car…”

“What happened?” I ask in a tiny voice that I don’t recognize as my own.

“She was on her way home during a snow storm. She called me from campus and told she wanted to come see me. I told her to be careful because I didn’t know how the roads were. She was driving next to a semi and he lost control of the semi and the trailer was loaded. He swerved, the trailer unhitched and smashed into her car making her car smash into the guard rail and flip over it. She was ejected from the car when it flipped over the guard rail and the car landed upside down on top of her. She had just enough energy to call me and say she loved me and she was scared. She was in so much shock she couldn’t remember where she was and the more she freaked out the faster she would die.

“I hung up the phone and ran out to her just in time to watch her die. It was hard to distinguish her features because the car smashed every bone in her body and her face. Watching her die made me lose a part of myself I never got back. I went into a deep depression that I still think I’m in. Anyway, it was that day I decided to become a police officer because it makes me feel closer to her,” he explains softly with no emotion showing.

“Shayna says it was because you felt the need to make everyone obey the law.”

“That too, but mainly because it makes me feel closer to the dead. That was the only thing I looked forward to everyday, and Shayna doesn’t even know that. I don’t tell her because I know she would only think I’m crazy and admit me to a psych ward or something, knowing her. Looking forward to being close to the dead was the only way I could feel something again…until the day I pulled you over and met you.” He’s still staring at me like he has been through this entire conversation, a little glow in his eyes as he says that.

At that moment, the waitress brings us our food. She asks us if there is anything else she can get for us, mainly speaking to Jason the entire time. He waves her off never taking his handsome grey eyes off me, waiting for my response to what he just said. It is so easy to get lost in his eyes, and that’s exactly what I just did because I can’t remember what I was supposed to say to him. All I want to do is stare at those eyes forever.

I am lost in thought, watching him eat; watching him stare back at me. The atmosphere around us starts to become thick with intensity; thick with awkwardness.

“Are you going to eat?” His voice brings me back to reality. Where am I? Oh, Perkins.

“What?”

“Your food is getting cold, and you haven’t taken a bite yet,” he says, noticing my uneaten chicken tenders.

“Sorry,” I mumble, taking my eyes off him finally. I am picking through my food, still thinking about his comment a while ago. He’s happy to have met me…I make him feel something…

I take a few bites of my chicken in silence, still in thought when he says, “Tell me about you.”

I look back up at him in mid-chew, swallow, and say, “Like what? What do you want to know?”

He leans in, arms folded out in front of him on the table next to his plate of half-eaten food, and says in a deep, seductive voice, “Anything you want to tell me.”

The sound of his voice makes me want to tell him everything; tell him how I lied to him about my real name and why, tell him about my past life in Chicago, tell him about my father…But I don’t because I’m not sure if I can trust him or not, yet. Aunt Bethany would be so angry with me for telling him. If she ever found out I had dinner with him today, she would have my neck. What do I tell her if she asks? She can always tell when I’m lying to her and I hate it because I can’t hide anything from her.

“I went to college in Stevens Point for Business Management,” I say the first thing that I think is safe to share with him.

He takes another bite of his burger, chews, swallows, and then asks, “What made you decide to go to school for Business Management?”

I take a sip of my diet coke. “I don’t know. Aunt Bethany says she thinks it was because I have this thing where I always feel the need to fix things and make them better.”

“Make them better, how?” He says, intrigued by my answer.

“Like the grocery store where I work for example. We used to go there all the time when I was a kid, and as I grew older I grew an understanding of the fact the store wasn’t making any money and hadn’t for some time so they were in the process of shutting it down. I just reopened it when I started there because I believe with enough hard work and dedication the wrong can be righted. Not to mention, I know how much that store means to the local people, so I made a promise to bring it back to life,” I explain, all the while fingering my food in front of me that has barely been eaten, without looking at him.

“Is that why you chose to stay here after college?” He asks, clearly making small talk as he finishes his burger and starts in on the fries.

“I guess, and to take care of Aunt Bethany. I like it here,” I respond, finally deciding to nibble on another piece of the chicken tenders.

“You didn’t grow up here, did you?” He asks this like he is curious, but a part of me thinks he already knows the answer.

I swallow hard, refusing to look at him because my expression might give me away, and then I’ll be forced to tell him.

He must sense the sudden fear in me because he continues explaining, choosing his words wisely. “I’m just saying I grew up in Arlington, and I would’ve remembered seeing you if you did as well.”

I take a deep breath and close my eyes. “I moved out here when I was twelve so I might as well have grown up here.”

“Hmm,” he nods while he eats his last French fry and then takes a sip of his cola. “I wonder why I never seen you until now…”

Probably because for one: you had a girlfriend you were tremendously in love with, and for two: I didn’t draw attention to myself because of my situation, I thought to myself rather than speak aloud. I know if I said that out loud to him that would’ve opened a different conversation path I didn’t really want to go down in this moment.

To prevent him from going any further in this conversation, I start eating more of my food. It is cold now, but filling. It keeps my mouth preoccupied so he doesn’t feel the need to keep asking me questions about my past life right now. This is what Aunt Bethany didn’t want to happen, and now it is, so I must try to anything I can to make sure it doesn’t go any further.

RING! RING! Someone’s cell phone chimes as an incoming call. It startles me, and I look around to see whose it is. The sound is coming from Jason’s pocket. He realizes this as well and pulls out his cell phone. He looks at it, makes a disgruntled face, and pushes a button to answer it.

“Hello, Dad,” he says, unenthusiastically into the phone. He pushes his plate to the edge of the table indicating he’s finished with his food.

A long, anticipating pause on Jason’s end, then he says, “No, I made other plans for tonight, Dad. I told you I didn’t know…”

Another long pause as he listens to his father, whom seems to be on the other end of the phone call.

“Tell Shayna she’s wrong, then. She’s stupid for thinking I was going to be there. She should know better than to expect especially with my work schedule and all.” Jason starts to get angry about the conversation that is happening over the phone between him and his dad.

Jason takes a deep breath, then says, “Dad, I’m sorry, I have to go. I’m busy.” He hangs up the phone call before his father is prompted to say anything else.

“Sorry about that,” he says to me as he puts his cell phone back into his pants pocket. “My sister apparently told my dad that I was joining them for dinner at their house. He was calling me to talk about it.”

“Shayna mentioned something about seeing you today,” I tell him as I remember my and Shayna’s conversation about him at the store today.

“She’s dumb. I feel sorry for you having to deal with her every day.”

I push my half-eaten food to the edge of the table as well indicating I’ve finished eating, and take a sip of my soda. “She’s actually not that bad. She keeps me in line almost every day, and I can’t tell you how many times she’s saved my butt at work. I like to think of her as my lifesaver.”

“Well, at least one of us does,” he says, smiling. “She does have a good heart, I suppose. You are the first person to give her a chance at being an assistant. She’s a hard worker, and takes pride in her work, but has never been given the opportunity to have this kind of position until you came along. It really makes her happy to have you in her life.”

“She’s not the only one,” I say. I am shocked at the same time knowing that Shayna has never been a manager at any job. She’s got the experience, sometimes more than I do. “She’s got the experience…”

“That’s because people would always take advantage of her. She would let them, too. She started to believe that she was never good enough for anything higher until you came along and reopened the grocery store. She always tells me every time she sees me that for the first time in her life she found a job she can be truly happy at and have a boss that doesn’t take advantage of her abilities like the others used to,” Jason explains, drinking the last of his soda. He puts the glass on top of his empty plate.

On cue, the waitress walks by and picks up our dirty dishes, and slides Jason the bill. Jason opens it up after she walks away, takes a piece of paper from inside it, and crumbles it up in haste.

I am staring at him in confusion.

“She always gives me her number every time I come here. I’m not interested. The only person I’m interested in is the one sitting across from me right now,” he explains as he puts a couple twenty-dollar bills inside the black envelope where the bill is and closes it.

“Why me?” I croak out feeling the lump in my throat getting bigger with each comment of his. Soon, I’m not going to be able to breathe for real.

“I don’t understand…” His confused expression I think is my favorite of his because his eyes look so innocent which makes his face look at least five years younger than what he really is. I can feel it all the way down to the bone.

“What’s so special about me? You tell me all about your past girlfriend whom is dead, and how you haven’t felt anything since then until the day you pissed me off with that damn ticket…” I could go on, but the more I think about it the more I get lost in my own thoughts again, and I would hate to say what’s really on my mind right now out loud to him.

He stares at me for a moment trying to find the words to say.

“I don’t know,” he starts. “I just felt this sense of pull towards you. He way you fought back with me that day had me falling head over heels for you because I thought ‘damn, this chick is feisty and fights for what she believes in’. I didn’t know you, but I knew I wanted to get to know you. In some ways, you remind me of my ex-girlfriend, but in others you are your own person and you make people know it. I like that quality about people. Shows that they are as real as real gets, and like you, I don’t trust easy. I want to trust you. You’re beautiful, smart, and keep me on my toes with your feistiness. It makes me laugh, and it’s been a very long time since someone made me laugh the way you do. I don’t want that to go away, Hope.”

I think my heart just completely stopped for good. Did he just open up to me without knowing who I really am? I know if I go any further than this with him, both of us are more than likely going to get hurt. I wish I could trust him because I so badly want to tell him the truth; all the truth…

“Anyway,” he says quickly, like he’s embarrassed he shared that part with me. “We better get going before my boss yells at me for taking too long of a break.”

He stands and so do I. We walk together back out to his squad car. We get in, he starts the car, and pulls it out of the parking lot. We are heading back home to Arlington.

“Tell me more about you,” Jason says minutes after being on the road again.

“I’m really not that interesting,” I say. “But if you insist, what else would you like to know about me?”

“Well, you say you grew up with your aunt…what happened to your parents?” A deep question that will probably lead to the conversation I was trying so desperately to avoid.

“My mother is dead. My father didn’t want me,” is all I say. A vague answer and I’d like to keep it that way.

“How old were you when your mother died?”

“Twelve.” I am looking out the window so he can’t see me face. I’m hoping he’ll get the hint and drop the conversation, but he doesn’t.

“How did she die?”

This time I don’t answer. I can’t answer because I’m so tempted to be honest with him and I know the moment I am, my undercover life is over. My life will be over.

He’s looking over at me now, concerned. “Hope, if you don’t want to talk about it that’s fine. I’m sorry for stepping over the line.”

At least he’s apologizing and understands that I don’t want to talk about it…ever…and I hope he never finds out either.

“If it means anything, I’m sorry about your mother.”

“Thank you,” I whisper.

“My father and I don’t see eye to eye anymore,” Jason says, changing the subject. I’m relieved because that means he’s not thinking about my life at the moment.

“Why’s that?” I ask trying to sound interested so he stays away from interrogating me about my life issues.

He takes a breath indicating it’s a long story I should be preparing for. I wait patiently for him to speak as I watch the town of Madison disappear out my window.

“My father is a typical man,” he starts by saying. “He always wanted what was best for me and my sister. He expected us to settle for nothing less. With that being said, he had this idea in his head that Shayna and I had to go to the best schools and graduate with the best grades possible, but with the major he picked for us. Shayna went to the community college part time for nursing, which was alright with my father. She’s clearly the daddy’s girl who can do everything right and no wrong. But me? His only son that went into police academy to become a police officer and save lives did everything wrong.”

“What do you mean?”

“I would’ve been daddy’s favorite son if I went to Harvard instead and graduated top of my class, and became a lawyer instead.”

That statement hits me hard. My father graduated from Harvard and top of his class AND became a lawyer. Chicago’s best lawyer…

My head is spinning. I can’t see the road in front of us right now…Are we even on a road anymore?

“Hope, are you ok?” Jason asks. I can barely hear him now. It takes me a moment to gather what I can of myself. He is a police officer, now. He is a police officer, now; I keep saying to myself repeatedly.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m sorry about that, though. That you had to deal with that.”

“My dad just doesn’t understand is all,” he shrugs.

Silence again. This time awkward silence. What could I say? At this point in the conversation, there is nothing I could say. Instead, I do something that goes against all the emotions I’ve been working so hard to fight today. I reach over slowly and slide my hand into his free hand. He responds by intertwining his fingers with mine and squeezing. Holding his hand feels so right, but wrong at the same time. I squeeze harder trying to reassure him. He responds by looking at me with sad eyes, a faint smile forming at the corners of his lips.

We ride like this all the way back to Arlington. The moment so perfect, yet shouldn’t be, but I don’t care anymore. He’s a lost boy who just needs someone true to love him, as do I. Even though it is so hard to trust him right now, I feel a little part of me slowly start to trust him…maybe one day I’ll be able to tell him my real story without it affecting me and my safety. Until then, I can tell him the story I’ve lived by for the last ten years of my life; the one that matters. I’m sure I’m starting to fall for this guy. I secretly like the way he’s so intimidating in his job profession; how he’s bossy and pushy when he wants his way, and especially how he goes out of his way to seek me out. I like the way he trusts me enough to tell me how he feels, like he doesn’t even have a care in the world that he just met me not even a week ago.

I look continue to look out the window, but it is now getting too dark to see anything. I suddenly don’t want to go home, but I know I should and I know he should get back to work.

I see the welcome sign for Arlington letting us know we have reached the town limits of Arlington again. Home. A few minutes later, he’s stopping the car in the middle of the road outside the grocery store again. He throws the car into park and looks at me, his hand still intertwined with mine. He’s rubbing his thumb over the top of my hand; making circles.

“Well, this is my home,” I say awkwardly, not sure of how to break the heavy silence.

“Yep,” he responds with a sad tone to his voice.

None of us move a muscle, though. His stare has ne pinned to the passenger seat of this squad car. I watch him, wondering what he’s thinking in this moment. His grey eyes hollow, staring into me like he already knows all the answers about me.

He clears his throat suddenly, and says, “Sorry, I don’t mean to stare…is it bad of me to say I don’t want you to go home? I wish you could drive around with me all night…it would definitely make my night better.”

I continue to stare at him unsure of how I’m supposed to respond to that comment. Am I even breathing?

“Would I be intruding if I asked you if I could see you again?” He asks innocently, the face of a child.

It makes me smile and I’m literally hating myself for it, but I can’t help it. HE LOOKS SO DARN CUTE WITH THAT INNOCENT BABY FACE!

“I take that as a yes?” He asks smiling with excitement it literally lights him up inside and out.

I reach for the door handle and open my door. I don’t get out until I look at his smiling face one more time and say, “I have tomorrow off”. Then, I’m out of the car, closing the door behind me, leaving him to his own thoughts about tomorrow.

I walk around to the other side of the road toward my apartment when I hear him shouting after me. I turn around to see him still parked in the middle of the road with his window rolled down, waving for me to come towards him.

“HOW ABOUT WE DO BREAKFAST, THEN?” He’s shouting at me from his car. “YOU’RE CHOICE THIS TIME! I’LL SEE YOU AT 9:00AM!” Then, he closes his window before I can protest, and drives down the road until I can no longer see him.

What am I getting myself into? Is there any way to turn back time? Yet, is there any way to make time go by faster so I can see him again?

I make the journey up the rickety steps to my apartment. Once inside, I shower and wrap myself in a warm blanket on the futon. Tonight will be the night I get zero sleep because the cop is all I can think about. I glance at the clock which says 8:45PM. I groan, roll over, and close my eyes hoping sleep will consume me before my dangerous thoughts do.

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