Unedited and subject to change
Copyright A.K. MacBride
“Brett, just drive.”
Next to me, Kenzie seemed uncharacteristically nervous for, what I presumed, was a routine traffic stop. She tried to hide it, but I saw her hands tremble in her lap.
“Kenzie?” I stole a quick glance in my side mirror and noticed that the officer had yet to step out of the patrol car. I had a minute, at best, to get to the bottom of my girlfriend’s weird behavior.
Kenzie shifting in her seat drew my attention back to her. I frowned when I saw that her blue eyes glistened with unshed tears. “Brett,” she pleaded. “Please? I can’t get arrested, my dad will kill me.”
Arrested? What was she talking about? We were heading back to her apartment after a small get-together with friends. I made sure not to drink and I wasn’t driving over the speed limit. So, why the hell would she think we’d get arrested?
“Kenzie,” I said again, firmer this time. “What the hell is going on?”
Those tears that had threatened to fall earlier, came running down her cheeks, thick and heavy. Her bottom lip wobbled, and I saw her work down a swallow before she squeaked out, “I’m sorry, I was going to tell you.” She swiped at her tears, to no avail, they just kept spilling from her eyes.
My heart dipped and nervous tension licked its way down my spine. “Tell me what?”
She slipped her hand into the back pocket of her jeans and pulled out a bag filled with a bunch of white pills. Still crying, she stared at the packet in her palm.
“What’s that?” The harsh tone of my voice caused her to jump in her seat. There was no time to feel bad because if that was what I thought it was, we were in trouble.
Kenzie’s gaze slowly lifted to mine before dropping to the bag again. “It’s methylphenidate, it helps me study.”
There was a slam of a door and a quick glance in the mirror confirmed that the officer was heading our way. I had zero time to think it through. Holding my hand palm up, I said, “Give it here.”
“Dammit Kenzie,” I gritted out. “Give me the damn bag.”
We didn’t have time for her to be hesitant, I reached forward and snatched the bag from her. When she turned her frown to me, I said, “You know nothing about this bag, got it?”
Before she could answer there was a tap against my window. The instant I spotted the officer I knew why we were pulled over in the first place. All hopes of getting out of this mess immediately dissolved.
Gregory Heart and I did not see eye to eye at all. The disdain we felt for each other traced all the way back to high school. When I’d caught him trying to spike a girl’s drink, I’d handled it the only way I knew how—with my fists. But because his daddy was the chief of police, I had been the one in trouble.
Officer Heart tapped against the window again. I placed my hand over Kenzie’s trembling ones in her lap. “It’s going to be okay, Sweetheart. I’ll never let anything bad happen to you.” I rolled down the window only to be blinded by the bright ball of light coming from Gregory’s flashlight.
“Would you mind stepping out of the vehicle, Brett?” A sense of foreboding tugged at my spine and I just knew trouble was on the horizon.
I gave my girl one last reassuring look before I opened my door and unfolded myself from my car. Outside, the asshat smirked knowingly at me before shining his light in Kenzie’s direction. “Hey Kenzie, you alright?”
I couldn’t hear her answer, I only saw Gregory nod. A second later, his flashlight was trained on me again. “Did you know you have a broken taillight?”
“Pretty sure, it’s not broken, Gregory.”
“That’s officer to you, asshole.” He let out a sinister chuckle before he moved to the back of my car. I was still blinking away the tiny stars when I heard the loud smash of glass shattering followed by, “Well, it is now.”
Kenzie let out a mortified scream, but just as I ducked inside to console her, Gregory yelled, “Hands where I can see them!”
I raised my hands—when all I wanted to do was break this asshole’s face—and slowly turned around. A second later his flashlight blinded me again.
“You been drinking tonight?”
I squinted and held my hand above my eyes as a shield. Flashing red and blue light was already slicing through the blackness of the night, I didn’t need this idiot’s light in my eyes too. “No, Officer,” I said through clenched teeth.
Finally, Gregory switched off his flashlight and slipped it into its place on his belt. He then proceeded to put me through a number of sobriety tests despite the fact that the breathalyzer showed I had no alcohol in my system.
He did all of this in front of the car, I had no doubt he was trying to humiliate me in front of Kenzie. But it didn’t bug me in the slightest. The only thing that got to me was the terrified look I saw in my girl’s eyes the few times I stole a glance at her.
“Turn around, hands on the vehicle,” Gregory suddenly demanded.
“Did you think I was just going to take your word for it when you said you had no concealed weapons or drugs on your person?”
Shit. My heart jackhammered against my ribcage. For a minute there, I thought we were in the clear.
“Are you hard of hearing?” Gregory sneered.
I bit the inside of my cheek until the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth. There was no use in digging a deeper hole for myself by telling this asshole exactly what I thought of him. I raised my hands, palms facing Gregory before I slowly turned around and planted them on the hood of my car.
I locked eyes with Kenzie through the windshield and I could tell she was debating on whether she should get out or not. I held her gaze while subtly shaking my head. She was right; her daddy would be beside himself if she got arrested.
He owned a PR company and had some pretty famous and influential clients. He wouldn’t take kindly to his daughter smearing the family name. Mr. Michaels was already looking down his nose at his daughter for dating an art student.
I kept my focus on my girl while Gregory started to frisk me. It didn’t take him long to find what he was looking for. “Do you have a prescription for these?” He asked way too cheery as he dangled the bag in front of my face.
“No,” was my flat reply.
“Well, then I’m going to have to take your ass to the precinct. Hands behind your back.”
The sob that broke free from Kenzie’s throat tore through my heart. I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around her and pull her into my chest. She was my entire world and there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. Where I came from you protected the ones you loved, no questions asked.
The cold metal circling my wrists brought me back to reality. Instead of pulling me to my feet, he leaned over me and whispered, “You know, with you gone that girl of yours is going to need someone to keep her bed warm,” his arm on my back pressed me deeper into the hood. “But don’t worry, I’m only too happy to be of service. I mean who wouldn’t want a piece of that perfect—”
The rest of his sentence was lost to the night air as I jerked back, and my head connected with his. I ignored the sharp pain shooting through my skull as I started to twist my body around, ready to finish what I started. “You come near her, I’ll kill you!”
With my hands clasped behind my back, I had no way to defend myself against the blow that came courtesy of Gregory’s police-issued baton. The pain in my head multiplied and I was helpless when he slammed me back down on the hood.
“Now, that little stunt is sure to earn you some extra jail time.”
My eyes locked onto Kenzie’s, and for a split-second, everything else disappeared. With one look, I tried to reassure her that everything was going to be okay even though I knew it wasn’t. I kept my gaze on her as long as I could while Gregory led me to the squad car.
Little did I know that would be the last time I saw my girl.