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Authors: Jennah Scott

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BOOK: Fight for Love
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“Whatever. Look, can we just get out of here? I know you’re going to take me downtown.”
 

“Watch your tone.
 
You
will
talk to me with respect.”

“Or what? You’re already taking me in.” Being a jerk wasn’t going to help, but my options at that point were to cry—which I refused to do—or fight. I chose to fight with words.
 

I heard the grinding of the cop’s teeth before he spoke again, “In the car. Now.”

His Texas twang sent waves of violence through my arms, and I found myself clinching my fists once again. It reminded me of my stepfather, a pureblooded Texan.
 

Another nudge to the shoulder, harder this time, signaled it was time to move. Regretfully, I began the march to the car. Mom was gonna be pissed. She told me if I landed at the station again, I’d likely end up expelled from school which would result in Dave kicking me out of the house. She tried to be firm with her words, but I didn’t miss the pain in her eyes. The directive came from him, and I knew even though Mom wouldn’t toss me out, that asshole would.
 

“Can’t you just take me inside and call my shrink? I swear she’ll back me up. I’ve got some kind of disorder, but we don’t know what it is or how to cure it. I go on these rages and can’t remember what happens. I didn’t mean to hurt him. I swear.” I pleaded with the officer, but his silence gave no indication he’d consider negotiating.

With a hand on my head, the office pushed me into the cruiser. As he turned to move to the driver’s side, a girl stopped him near the back of the car. She was familiar, but I couldn’t remember when I’d seen her. I looked over my shoulder again to see if there was some way she might have stood out in order to trigger a memory. Her body was hidden behind the officer, but I saw her face.
 
Her pouty lips were stretched tight as if she held something back. She kept making sharp, quick movements with her hands.
 
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hear their conversation. The cop gestured in my direction then shook his head. The girl’s body swayed with the movement of her feet shuffling back and forth. Her hands continued to dance through the air.
 

What was she saying? Did she know something about what happened that I didn’t?
 

I didn’t get much of a chance to contemplate what her appearance meant before the officer climbed into the squad car and started it up.
 
He took off slamming the accelerator followed by the brakes to keep from hitting a kid who jumped into the street. The momentum tossed me backward then sent me head first into the Plexiglas window that separated the front and back seats. I turned around to watch the girl’s brown curls bounce as she ran back to the school.
 

“What did she want?” I asked. My voice shook with uncertainty, not sure whether she’d help or hurt me.
 

“Do you know her?” The cop’s voice rose at the end. At the same time he wiggled his eyebrows.
 

My jaw clenched. I knew what he was doing. They all did the same thing. Little taunts here and there, waiting, hoping I’d slip up and say I purposely beat the shit out of my friend.
 
I took a deep breath in and counted backwards from ten. It didn’t work like Dr. G. said it would. “No, I don’t know her.”
 

“Well, then I guess it doesn’t matter what she said.”

CHAPTER THREE

We kept to ourselves on the way to the station. Of course, we weren’t that far from the school, only about fifteen minutes. I leaned my head against the backseat and closed my eyes.
 
There had to be something triggering the rages. At least that’s what Dr. G said. Her most common question spoke through my thoughts. “Luke, think back to the minutes before you black out. What do you remember?” Like every other time she asked, I didn’t remember a thing.
 

When we stopped in front of the dingy gray station I lifted my head off the back seat and watched the officer roll out of his seat with a groan.
 
A minute later my door opened. I slumped over and lifted myself out of the car. We made our way up the four or five steps that led to the booking area. I looked around -yep- nothing had changed since last week
.
 
The walls were still grimy gray, not purposely. I was sure they’d been painted white when the station opened, but now after years of dirt, blood, and God only knows what else, they had turned dull. My guide in blue pushed me towards one of the vinyl-lined chairs sitting next to a desk that looked like it’d been there longer than I’d been alive. The top was as dreary as the walls. Water and coffee rings scattered the surface, an obvious sign the cleaning crew wasn’t paid to actually clean anything.
 

The desk chair squealed in protest as the cop squeezed between the armrests.
 
“So, here’s what we’re going to do,” he began. I sat rigid in my seat, my hands still cuffed behind me. “You’re going to get your call and hopefully someone will come pick you up.” The cop pinched the top of his nose and groaned. “I don’t understand how you boys keep landing here. Parents don’t give a damn I guess,” the last was mumbled, and I wasn’t sure whether or not he meant for me to hear it.
 

“My mom gives a damn, but she wouldn’t say so with my stepfather around.”
 

The cop’s head jerked up, and he slanted his eyes at me.
 
“Sorry, kid.”

Somewhere in my head I knew he meant well, but sitting there in the ratty seat with my hands cuffed behind my back, the last thing I wanted was his sympathy. “I’m not a kid and I don’t need your pity. Just give me my call. Someone will come and get me, so you don’t need to worry about having to babysit.”

The officer reached across his desk and slid the yellowing phone in front of me. I eyed it with suspicion. The buttons were brown around the edges and the ones most often dialed had a white fingerprint in the middle.
 

“How do you expect me to dial a phone with my hands behind my back?”

He let out an exasperated puff of air, but pulled a key from the drawer wedged underneath the desk. The drawer and his protruding gut had less than an inch between them. He walked over, reached behind my back and unlocked the cuffs. I rubbed the red line circling each wrist.

As I lifted the receiver I noticed an oil ring around the earpiece. There was a good chance I was going to walk away from here with some kind of disease. But this was better than the pay phone they made me use the last time. At least I was pretty sure I’d know where the disease came from if I ended up sick. I didn’t have to look up the number I dialed. It was more committed to memory than my own home number.
 

“San Marcos Psychiatry Group, how may I direct your call?” The voice on the other end was professional and quiet, hesitant yet confident at the same time.

At the sound of Stacey’s voice I imagined her at work. She controlled everything in the office from behind the black marble topped desk sitting in the lobby. Typically Stacey refrained from talking about herself, but I’m persistent and I had to wait for Mom to pick me up more often than not. Which gave me time to talk. I wasn’t one to open up myself, but something about Stacey’s calm and controlled environment made it easy. So we played tit for tat while I waited. Often I wondered what she was like when she stepped from behind the desk. By the hesitation in her voice when she spoke I guessed she was shy, but the confidence she held in her body reminded me to not judge too soon.
 

“Hello? Is anyone there? How may I direct your call?”
 

“Oh, sorry. Um… I need to talk to Dr. Greenberg please.”
 

“Luke? Is that you?” Stacey asked, her voice a whisper now.
 

“Yeah, it’s me. Is she around? I really need to talk to her.”

A hitch in her breathing followed by a sigh made me worry for the first time since I stood in cuffs on the school lot. She wasn’t going to help me out. If Stacey didn’t come through, that left me with no one.

“Dr. Greenberg is out and won’t be back for a while. She’s having lunch with some colleagues. You got in trouble again, didn’t you?”

“Fuck me.” The officer pierced me with a sharp look and I apologized. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say that.”

“Yes, you did. You don’t have to apologize to me, Luke.” Stacey’s voice brought on an unexpected calm. I snorted at her forgiveness.
 

“Yeah, okay.” Moving on before I made a fool out of myself. “Yes, I got in trouble.”

“What happened this time? Were you at school or skipping?”

“I was at school, and I don’t know what happened. One minute I was playing ball and the next I’m standing over Brandt.” My keeper tapped his watch signaling time was almost up. “Look, I can’t talk long. Is there anyone else there that can come get me? I’d call my parents, but…never mind. Just, is there someone there that can help me?”

The pause this time was long enough that I thought Stacey hung up on me. Then she spoke, “I’m the only one here. I can’t leave, but I’ll tell you what. Let me call my brother. He’s at home and can come get you. Which officer brought you in?”

I placed a hand over the receiver. “Who should she tell them she’s here to see?”

“Tell her to ask for me, Officer Belmont.”

I repeated his name to her.
 

“Okay, but I’ll do this on one condition.”
 

“Fine, whatever.”
 

“You have to come straight to the office and wait for Dr. Greenberg to get back.”

“Stace, I can’t do that. I’ve got to get back to school before Dave figures out what happened.”

“It’s not up for negotiation, Luke. Either you come here or you stay at the station. Which one’s going to upset Dave more?”

She had a point. At least if I were at the office he wouldn’t call the school for details. Dave knew my visits to Dr. Greenberg were confidential. It was one request Mom actually listened to. I didn’t want him to have access to my files.
 

“Fine.”

“Good. My brother’s name is Chris. He’ll be there in half an hour. Can you keep from getting into more trouble until then?”

“Yeah and, Stace, thank you. I mean it.” I lowered my head in relief. Now just to figure out how to avoid the wrath of Dave. Because even though I didn’t want him to find out, he would. Just like he always did.
 

“You’re welcome. Good bye, Luke.”

“You better hope that kid’s…” Belmont paused, “Did you say his name was Brandt?” I nodded and the cop scribbled something on a calendar turned notepad. “Anyway, you better hope his parents don’t press charges. Otherwise you’ll be back and I won’t be letting you go home.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know the drill.”
 
The edge to my voice returned. Stacey distracted me enough that I no longer saw red when talking to Officer Belmont, but I knew the rage wasn’t gone for good. It lingered just below the surface, and I was aware I walked on a very thin tightrope. One that could—and would—snap at any moment if I didn’t get myself under control.
 

While I sat in the station twiddling my thumbs and waiting for Chris, the girl from school walked through the front doors. She stopped at the desk and looked around the room. Officer Belmont wasn’t with me. He’d gone for coffee. Her exploration stopped when our eyes met. She turned to the receptionist, said a few words, then made a beeline to me.
 

“Hey, Luke.” Confusion must have shown on my face because the next thing she said was her name and she said it slowly like you did when you were trying to prompt someone. “Chelsea.” Her brows furrowed.
 

“Hey.” Damn it, I still couldn’t remember where I knew her from. She looked so familiar, though. And those eyes, no way could I forget those eyes, they were gray. But not a normal gray, more like the color of the sky before a storm. “Where do I know you from?”
 

“You don’t. Well, we haven’t technically been introduced, but you’ve probably seen me at the psychiatrist’s office.”
 

Dr. Greenberg’s office? She was a patient? No fucking way. “You’re a patient?”

Chelsea laughed. “Nope. My brother is. Sometimes I have to meet him at the office and he takes me home after school.”
 

I had no clue who her brother was, but if she thought that’s how I recognized her then who was I to argue. “What are you doing here and what did you tell Officer Belmont earlier?”
 

“Hmm…” Chelsea gave me a once over and rubbed her fingers on her chin. “To the point. I like that.”
 

“Oh yippee. I’m going to wet myself.” My tone was dry, and I knew it. “You like me. That just made my day.”

“No need to be a dick. In fact, you might decide you want to be nice to me. You know, I could make a difference in how you’re treated here.”

“Ha. Glad you think so. My ride will be here any minute.” I nodded towards the front door, hoping Chris would show up early and I’d have my escape. Chelsea was cute, but she rubbed me the wrong way.
 

Officer Belmont joined us then. “Ahh, Chelsea. You made it. Thank you for agreeing to come by. Why don’t we go to one of the offices to chat?” He turned to me. “You’ll wait here. If your ride shows early please let the receptionist know and she’ll come get me. You aren’t to leave without my release. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

CHAPTER FOUR

A few minutes later Chris arrived as my escort to Dr. Greenberg’s office.

We pulled out of the parking lot and he looked at me. His gaze trailed from head to toe and back, sizing me up, like a father would his daughter’s date. “You look like an asshole.”

“What’s that supposed to mean, how does an asshole look?”

Chris waved his hand up and down. “You’ve got that look. The shaggy hair, old t-shirt, all muscled out. Your face is set in a permanent sneer, and I haven’t seen you uncross your arms since we left the station. The real question is what does my sister see in you?”

BOOK: Fight for Love
13.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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