This one is one a started a long time ago but thought I'd come back to:
A cool summer breeze filled the air Saturday morning; Jordan Davis pulled on a pair of white socks and running shoes. She had decided to go for a jog this morning, although she really didn’t have time. It was almost five a.m. and the horses needed to be fed and watered, not to mention the fact that stalls had to be cleaned before lessons were to begin at ten. Today Jordan didn’t care. It had been a hard week; she had been overbooked in extra lessons for the regulars. The summer camp children had turned out to be an obnoxious bunch from a local private school; the only good that had come out of that was the fact that they had already taken several lessons and were passed the lead line stage. At least this year she would be able to put a dent in some bills.
She grabbed a hair band and pulled her shoulder-length strawberry blonde hair into a pony-tale, fiddled with her bangs for a second and turned to view herself in the full-length mirror. She wore a pair of royal blue spandex running shorts that had a neon green stripe down the side and a matching sports bra. She grinned at herself as she fit a baseball cap onto her head. All this trouble to run a few miles, like she’s actually going to impress somebody. She turned and made her way down the wooden staircase of the old farmhouse she had made into her home. She sat on the living room floor and stretched her tanned legs. The sun had just begun to rise when she set out towards the park. Her small riding stables covered one hundred and fifty acres, most of which was wooded, the park actually ran along side of the Clover leaf stables and if she followed the outside edges of the park, her run would equal nearly 3 miles.
Twenty-five minutes into her jog, Jordan neared the playing fields. She slowed to a walk as she watched a group of men playfully taunt each other while playing a friendly game of softball. After a few minutes she took a seat on the damp grass near first base. She smiled as a handsome man in his late twenties slammed the ball into the outfields. She laughed as he raced around the field, stopping at each base just long enough to clown around with the basemen before darting off to the next base. He stopped halfway to home plate to pick a daisy. He then skipped towards the base holding his hands in a loose fashion, realizing almost too late that the ball was now in the hands of the second basemen. He raced ahead and slid safely home, bringing the catcher down on top of him. He scrambled to his feet and blew dust from the wilted flower that he was holding and offered it to the large man in the protective gear.
The catcher threw off his mask and chased this obnoxious player across the field. Jordan soon realized that she was in the path and leaped to her feet. She tried to dodge him but he was looking over his shoulder at his pursuer and hadn’t noticed her.
“Stop!” She screamed as she covered her head. It was too late. Jordan squeezed her eyes shut as they all tumbled to the wet grass. Amazingly the ball player had some how managed to avoid landing on her with his full weight. He was standing and yanking her to her feet before she ever opened her eyes. He held her gently by the elbow, she placed a hand on his sweat dampened T-shirt to steady herself. He was staring at her, concern clouding his dark eyes.
“Are you ok? I’m really sorry, I was goofing off, I…” He shook his head, looking a little embarrassed.
“I’m fine, really.” She finally answered realizing that she still had her hand resting on his chest. She could feel the rise and fall of each breath. She was surprised he wasn’t a little more out of breath after all that running around. She pulled away and gazed at him, taking in his full height, he stood about six foot two. His muscles weren’t bulging but
they were defined. He was lightly tanned by the summer and he had dark hair that was neatly cut, not too short, but not too long. Jordan felt butterflies in her stomach as she took in his deep brown eyes. He sort of reminded her of a puppy dog.
“Do you need me to take you home or anything?” He asked.
“No.” Yes. Take me to bed. She giggled. “I just live over there.” She thrust her chin in the direction of Cloverleaf stables and started walking in that direction. “I need to get back. Enjoy your game boys.” She called over her shoulders as she picked up a jog. Wow. She thought, he had to be married, she should have looked at his left finger. Where did that thought come from? She stole a glance over her shoulder and bit her lower lip as she held back a smile. He was limping. He held onto that giant of a catcher as he limped towards the field. He had been concerned about her well being while he was hurt himself. He had to be married. Some girl had to be in love with that man.
A big fluffy, yellow dog bounded towards her as Jordan walked up the gravel road that led to the barn and then her house. She stopped in her tracks. She wasn’t afraid of dogs but she didn’t trust strange animals either. This dog however wagged it’s tail excitedly and was carrying a green Frisbee. He had one ear that flopped forward while the other stood straight. She knelt down to pet the dog. She fondled his ears and took the tag from his collar. JAKE. Was all it said. The dog placed the slightly chewed Frisbee in her lap. She tossed it towards the house and clapped when he leaped to catch it in mid air.
“I see you’ve met Jake.” Allison Harway called from the entrance of the barn. She stood with a pitchfork in her hand.
Jordan grinned at the sight of her best friend. She wore a pair of oversized overalls, most likely to protect her pale freckle covered knees from burning. She had her unruly red curls pulled back with a piece of bailing twine and she had just a little to much sun screen on her nose.
“Did you trade Riley for a dog?” She asked, referring to Allies husband of two-years. He was a very well known lawyer, who worked just a little to hard and loved his wife dearly.
“If I did that, I couldn’t afford to work here now could I?” She asked as she tossed the Frisbee for Jake. “He just showed up about a half an hour ago, You’d think if the owner was going to take the time to have his name put on a tag, they’d also at least add a phone number.”
Jordan laughed. Allison was the reason she owned this place. She had given her the down payment and helped pay the first few months mortgage, under the condition that she could quit her job as an accountant and be a full partner. Jordan had gladly agreed, noting that she would save a lot of money by not hiring a private accountant.
She grabbed a pair of sweat pants from the wooden locker area and slipped them over her tennis shoes.
“I saw the most amazing man today.” She grabbed a pitchfork and began to clean a large stall. “His eyes were so wonderful. The prettiest shade of brown I’ve ever seen, almost black.” She added filling a wheel barrel with manure.
Allison untangled a hose and stretched it across the aisle as she went from stall to stall filling water buckets.
“You actually thought some guy was worth looking at? Who is he? What does he do?” She replied yanking on the hose. It was stuck under the wheelbarrow.
Jordan laughed. What did he do? Who was he?
“I don’t know, His name is probably something really normal like… Bob or Joe and I’ll bet he works at some construction sight, lifting heavy boards all day. I’m sure I’d have noticed him before if he was from around here.” She sighed wistfully and continued to clean stalls, Ally laughed as she rolled up the hose.
“Construction worker, eh? Does he have a nice dark tan and great big muscles, ooh, I bet he’s got a tight little butt. Why didn’t you talk to him Jordo?” Her light brown eyes sparkled as she tried to picture a man in tight blue jeans and a cut off flannel wearing a hard hat and holding a sledgehammer with sweat glistening all over his body.
“I did talk to him.” Jordan grinned, mischievously. It wouldn’t hurt to let Ally get just a little bit curious. She was always so easily excited.
“You did!” She screamed. “Ha! Maybe now I won’t have to worry about you growing old and grumpy from lack of sex.” She raised her eyebrows up and down.
Jordan shook her head. Allison had been trying to marry her best friend off since they were twelve years old. She was forever introducing her to eligible bachelors and begging her to date them. The problem was Jordan didn’t want simple companionship, she wanted that old-time kind of love, the kind of love that songs were made for. How often did that come along?
“I talked to him but I didn’t get his name or occupation. I don’t even know where he’s from.” She had to burst the bubble before it blew away.
Bobby Garrett sat at his desk scowling at his partner Monday morning. He was angry with himself for not keeping a closer eye on his dog while they had played softball over the weekend. Normally, Lawrence Washington brought his children to the park and they kept Jake busy while the ball game was in session but they had both come down with the chicken pox and stayed home. Bobby stared at the desk next to him. Lawrence was busily filling out an arrest form from earlier that morning. He was a huge man, with a broad chest and bulging arms. His face however was that of a happily married man, softened by years of fatherhood. Lawrence finally looked up from his paper work, His dark eyes mocking.
“Are you still blaming my poor sweet children for that stupid dog running off?” He laughed.
Bobby leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.
“I’m blaming you.” He glared at his buddy. He pulled a pen from his desk drawer and began scribbling on his own report. “Jake is not a stupid mutt, He’s my sanity.”
He added grumpily.
Lawrence was used to Bobby and his temper. They had been partnered since Bobby came to the force, a young man full of promise. He had turned out to be a good detective and a better friend. It had taken years for Bobby to show any emotion around Lawrence, but once he had developed a trust and a fondness for the older gentleman, it came easy. Lawrence was a good listener and amazingly good at understanding personal situations.
“Did I tell you that the kids put signs up yesterday?” Lawrence asked.
Bobby looked up quickly, his eyes brightening. He hadn’t even thought to put signs up. Jake had his name on a tag, and tacked to the back of his old leather collar was a brass label that had Bobby’s phone number and address engraved on it.
“Natasha and Evan love that stupid mutt, ya know.” He added leaning back in his own chair.
“If you helped them draw the picture, I’ll get a Dalmatian back.” He signed his report and shoved it in a basket. He tried to keep a mean expression on his face through the rest of the morning but scowling was hard work and it really wasn’t his nature. He hated office work but it was part of the job. Calverton was a large town but crime was scarce among the farmers and the wealthy estate owners, the busiest times were weekends when the local teenagers, having nothing better to do got drunk and loud.
Bobby ran a hand through his sleek black hair. He was hunched over his desk, busily drawing a picture of a winged super hero when he heard the telltale clipping of Jake’s feet padding across the tiled floor. He looked up to see a wagging yellow tale above the desk.
“Jake. Old boy.” He laughed. Looking up, he saw that same girl from the park. She had on a well-worn pair of jeans and a plain white T-shirt that laid softly over the curves of her breasts. She had a body that reminded him of an aerobics instructor, she was petite and every part of her was firm although she wasn’t too muscular. Her hair was a little bit wind blown and her face was with out make-up, although as far as Bobby was concerned she really didn’t need any, well maybe just a tiny bit to help show off those amazing eyes.
“I got the impression that somebody missed this guy.” She handed him the hand drawn poster that Lawrence and his children had spent their weekend creating. It had a picture of a dog that looked a little more like a yellow cow. The words “lost dog” had been crossed out and in it’s place, in a seven-year-olds handwriting was “Jacob Come Home” The phone number and address to the Calverton police department was scribbled in the corner with a small note that said Ask for Bobby. Bobby folded the paper in half and stuck it in his desk.
“I guess I owe my partners kids a couple of Ice cream cones, huh?” He asked patting the dog fondly.
“Garrett!” An angry cry from the Captains office caused Jordan to jump. “Is that your dog?” He yelled. Bobby stood up. “He hates dogs, he’s allergic.” He whispered as he excused himself and made his way into captain Clanceys’ office. He shut the door behind him as if that would keep the noise in. He sat in a large leather chair that was located in front of the Captains large desk. He rested his right foot on his left knee and massaged his sore ankle. He leaned back and watched Clanceys face change from one shade of red to another. He liked the pudgy, balding, older officer. Clancey kept a grumpy attitude and yelled at each officer plain clothed or uniformed on a daily basis. Sometimes Bobby thought that the reason he did that was so that none of the others would feel left out.
“Are you listening to me?” He was asking. Bobby looked up, fighting to keep a straight expression on his face.
“Did you get that little girls name?” He asked. “She looks to be about the right age you know.” Captain Clancey sat at his desk and rubbed his clean-shaven face.
Bobby laughed and shook his head. He stood and walked across the office. Getting reprimanded for having a dog at the station was one thing but love lessons from a middle aged man on his third marriage was another. Bobby had been married once. He was sorry that it hadn’t worked out. He didn’t like the idea of divorce but when Caitlin had come to him with that high dollar lawyer of hers he’d had no choice but to sign the papers or drag the pain on for several more years. He wasn’t going to waste time on girls who looked to be the right age or because she had that sexy look about her. He was just going to wait for the right one to walk into his life. He owed that much to his two-year old daughter, Brittany, who was being raised without a mother because she didn’t fit into the life that Caitlin wanted to lead.
Upon returning to his desk, Bobby was only half surprised to see his dog missing again. He raised his hands in a questioning gesture. Lawrence laughed, handing him a neatly folded piece of paper. He said. “She took him home because she was afraid you would get in trouble.”
Grinning Bobby took the piece of paper. “Jordan, huh?” He said shoving the paper into his pocket.
“I hope.” Lawrence grabbed his sports jacket and shoved his chair beneath his desk. Bobby stood at the edge of his desk with his leather jacket half on he raised one eyebrow, waiting for his partner to continue. “I hope, because I am tired of listening to my wife worry about you when we are in bed at night. Sometimes I think Kendra worries more about you then she does me. God knows my kids do.”
Bobby laughed. They headed out the door to grab some lunch and investigate a few unexpected leads on a missing persons report that had been filed almost a year before.
Jordan had put in a long day at the barn. She was glad when it ended, she hoped that Bobby wasn’t angry with her for taking the dog home with her. She had brought the dog straight to the police station after Carli, one of her students had brought that Crayola-drawn poster to her. She was sure some child was home crying over that silly Frisbee-carrying dog. She giggled at the thought of Bobby scribbling on a poster board. He hadn’t called; she was beginning to wonder if she had remembered to put her name on that note she’d left. That would be smart, I’m sorry about the trouble, I took your dog home. No phone number, did she leave an address?
She took a long hot shower taking time to work the soap into a rich lather. Working in a barn wasn’t exactly the most luxurious of jobs, that was for sure. She went to bed each night with aching muscles and wet hair because she couldn’t wait until morning to get clean and she was usually too tired to use the blow dryer. After a long hot shower she pulled on a pair of cut off sweat pants and a white T-shirt, no bra and slipped into a pair of white socks. She forced a comb through her hair and made her way to the kitchen. She hadn’t had time to eat dinner and it was nearly 8:00. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich would have to do. She had just pulled the peanut butter out of the cabinet when Jake started barking. Soon after she heard a knock at the door.
Jordan pulled the door open just enough to peak through the crack. Bobby was on the other side with a pizza under his arm.
“Do you like pepperoni?” He asked. She couldn’t see his face but she was sure he was smiling.
“You’re not mad that I stole your dog?” She asked stepping aside so that he could come in. He shut the door behind him and glanced around shyly. The house from the outside had appeared old and run down, but the inside was completely refinished. The walls were neatly painted with pictures carefully hung, there was a fireplace and country styled furniture that matched a patchwork boarder. The room was filled with healthy plants and little glass figurines. A huge chair was angled in one corner facing the window; perched on the headrest was a large gray and white striped cat. He could here a cockatoo ranting and raving from somewhere in the back of the house and his own dog, Jake wagged his tail and returned to what Bobby assumed was his “claimed” spot in this new house to lay down. His gaze rested on Jordan. Her hair was wet and dripping against her white T-shirt making all the right spots somewhat see through. He felt an urge inside him as he took in the sight of her cold nipples. He breathed in slowly and tore his gaze from her.
“Are you hungry?” He asked wondering if he should have called first.
“Pepperoni, You said?” She asked raising one eyebrow. Jordan crossed her arms. She was holding a butter knife; she pressed it to her lips thoughtfully.
“I don’t know, you see I was just about to fix a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” She bit her lower lip and scrunched her eyebrows together.
“Crunchy or creamy?” He asked. She seemed to be in a playful mood.
“Crunchy, of course.” She answered wandering into the kitchen. Those shorts were really short and they rolled up at the bottoms where they had been cut. He watched the fabric wrinkle with each step as she disappeared from sight. He heard a drawer open, silverware rattling and then a cabinet open and close. She came back with two paper plates, forks and two cups balanced upside down on a two liter bottle of soda.
“I guess you want pizza huh?” He asked finding a seat on the oversized sofa. He set the box on the coffee table and opened it. He scooped up a piece and put it on the daisy- covered plate she handed him. He slid two pieces on another plate for himself. The fat cat rolled to its belly and stretched his front legs displaying his well-sharpened claws; he sniffed the air and then settled back into a comfortable position.
Jordan climbed onto the fluffy couch, folding her legs pretzel style and pulling a quilt from the headrest to cover her bare legs. She smiled shyly, picking up her fork.
“You eat pizza with a fork?” Bobby raised a dark eyebrow.
“I do.” She nodded. “Do you like old movies?” She asked. Her attention was on the dog, which was inching his way slowly across the hardwood floor until he lay on top of his owners’ feet.
Bobby glanced at the Television screen. A black and white movie was displayed although he didn’t recognize any of the actors, the female actresses were all surrounded by a light and blurred just enough to look like a dream. He shrugged.
“I guess I never paid much attention before.” He told her, noticing the odd, but somehow beautiful color of her eyes. They were sort-of a grayish, bluish shade of green. He couldn’t quite pin the exact color. Her eyes’ were an average shape, a little wider than most and she had these long dark lashes that cried innocence but threatened danger. He felt a warm ache inside and shifted position.
“Ouch.” He muttered under his breath. “Jake, move.” He eased his foot from underneath the ball of fur that lay snoring at his feet.
“Did you do that on Saturday?” She asked, referring to his ankle. She had noticed that he wasn’t limping anymore.
“Nah, Years ago, I played college baseball, I messed it up real bad my junior year, it likes to tease me every now and then.” He shrugged, allowing his gaze to shift from her face to that white T-shirt where her firm breasts were hidden only by a cotton barrier. This is what was teasing him now. The promise of pure pleasure lurking beneath a hand-sewn quilt that was securely wrapped around a thin waistline. He leaned forward until he was only inches from her soft, inviting lips.
“I wanted to thank you for taking care of my dog.” He looked into her sparkling eyes. The way she was gazing at him, with her head slightly tilted, lips parted, she reminded him of one of those old movies. He bent forward and tasted her sweet lips. They were warm and comfortable. He pressed against them and gently forced his tongue forward. His body was quickly filled with a warm antagonizing feeling that cried out for more. He ran his hand through soft, oh so soft hair, and allowed himself to carry his hand along her neck, beneath her arm against a breast that he ached to take into his hand. He pulled away and looked into her eyes again, hoping that he didn’t just step over the line. From the look on her face, he guessed she had felt the same.
Suddenly he remembered the time. He’d only meant to stay for a few minutes, a quick friendly conversation a thank you and out the door. Lillian Chambers, his x-wife’s’ grandmother was watching Brittany and he’d promised to be home early. He checked his watch and jumped to his feet.
“It’s almost 10 o’clock, grandmas gonna kill me!” He apologized. “Jake, let’s go.” He told the dog opening the door and racing across the porch. Jordan watched as he and Jake climbed into a fairly new, well kept, black Monte Carlo and drove away.
“Grandma. Huh?” Allison shoveled clean sawdust from the back of Jordan’s red pick-up truck into a clean stall.
“That’s what he said.” Jordan stacked a few bales of hay to make room for the truck to fit through the wide aisle of the barn. She climbed into the truck and moved it forward a few feet.
“Was it a good kiss?” Allison blew a lock of red curls from her eyes. She ran the pitchfork across the stall, smoothing the sawdust into an even bedding.
Jordan felt a tingle as she thought about the kiss. “It was a kiss.” She told her best friend. A kiss I’ll never forget.
“What kind of a kiss?” Allison began shoveling sawdust into the next stall. “A thank you kiss? A lets get to know each other kiss? A let me be your lover kiss? You have to tell Jordo.” Allison leaned against her pitchfork.
“I don’t know. I’m not exactly a kiss expert, you know.” Jordan climbed into the back of the truck and shoveled sawdust toward the tailgate.
Allison sighed. “You’re not getting off that easy.” She complained. “OK let’s do it this way.” She paused dramatically, “After he kissed you. How long was it before you couldn’t feel it any more?”
Jordan felt herself blush. She had wanted to keep the kiss to herself, but she was no Juliet and it was time for a good romance. She was going to need advice on this matter.
“I still feel the kiss.” She confessed, jumping from the back of the truck and climbing in to the drivers seat. She pulled it forward once again. “Would it be a bad thing if I called him?” She turned sideways in the seat and rested her chin in her hands.
“Don’t you dare call him.” Allison called from a stall.
Jordan sighed. She walked to the end of the barn and began to rake left over sawdust from the clay aisle.
“The girl never calls the guy.” Allison explained. “You have to let him chase you. It’s a man thing.”
“I guess.” Jordan stopped raking. The question was would he call her? And if he did, did she really want a man that reported home to his grandma? What a silly thought. She had never really been interested in a serious relationship before, of course at twenty-six…
Bobby glared at the clock above the stone fireplace, It was nearly nine o’clock and he still hadn’t packed Brittany’s diaper bag. He had enrolled her in the Shining Star preschool as a part time student partially to give Lillian Chambers, her great grandmother some time to herself and partly so that she could learn to play with other children her on age. This morning he was glad that he had put her in the day care because Lillian had been very angry when he had come home the night before, luckily though the sight of Jake’s return had eased her temper, slightly. He glanced over his shoulder towards the dining room in time to see his little girl dunk her toast into her glass of milk and stir it with a spoon.
“Brittany, daddy’s late.” He complained. He grabbed the diaper bag and shoved an extra pair of pants into it and counted the pull-ups to make sure she would have enough to get through the day, she was getting pretty good about using the potty and he was glad for that small miracle. Satisfied with the contents of the bag he set it by the door.
“All done daddy.” Came a sweet little voice from the kitchen. He grabbed her dishes and tossed them into the sink. She outstretched her pudgy arms motioning for him to pick her up. He scooped his little darling into his arms and gazed at his daughter’s face. She had the same dark color of hair that he had. If he allowed it to hang loose, her baby fine hair would fall in long soft curls that reached the middle of her back. In order to keep tangles away he kept it pulled up in pigtails and held together with ribbons that always matched the little outfits that her grandmother made for her. The part was never quite straight but that was ok because if grandma didn’t fix it the lady at day care would.
Brittany had soft sky-blue eyes just like his mothers and the promise of that same killer smile that Caitlin had used to win Bobby’s heart the year they were married.
“Say goodbye to Jake.” Bobby told her as he rushed out the door, child in one hand, diaper bag, case files and car keys in the other.
“Bye-bye my Jake.” She called over his broad shoulders. Brittany lifted her little arms to help make it easier for Bobby to strap her into the child safety seat.
“Where my grandma?” She asked Bobby as he pulled the passenger seat back and shut the door. She was snuggly secured in her car seat that was situated in the back seat of the two-door car.
“Where is my grandma.” He corrected tugging his seatbelt on and turning the ignition to start the car.
“No. My grandma.” Brittany argued with her lips puckered in a small frown. He shook his head and backed the car onto the quiet two-lane road.
“Your” He said the word slow and half teasingly, “grandma is at home. Today you go see Miss Stephanie.” At the mention of the daycare teachers’ name the little girl sighed. She tugged at the ruffles on her hand made green dress and remained silent throughout the entire drive to town.
Bobby found his mind wandering to that old farmhouse on Gravel way. He thought about Jordan and tried to picture her in anything but that oh so revealing white T-shirt that she had been wearing the night before when he’d claimed his dog. He wondered about the kiss they had shared. He couldn’t believe he’d been so stupid. He had no right to act that way, especially when any type of relationship would, in some way or another, affect the well being of his daughter. His life was no longer his own, it hadn’t been since that first night of passion that he’d shared with Brittany’s mother. He would have to call her today and apologize, or maybe ask her to dinner, after all she really didn’t seem all that disturbed by the kiss, at least she didn’t try to pull away at all. He shook his head and cursed himself.
Upon arrival to the daycare Bobby became aware of a sniffle coming from the back seat of the car. He glanced at the rearview mirror to see crocodile tears cascading down his daughters pink cheeks. He felt the familiar twist in his gut that he’d become accustomed to over the past few years, any time his darling daughter cried.
“Brittany don’t do this to me today, I don’t have time to play games with you.” He complained. The sight of tears coming from any women at all old, young, large or small had always been something of a threat to him because Bobby never knew just quite how to handle those things. Luckily Brittany was small enough that he could scoop her into his arms and usually hug the tears away. With a big sigh he climbed from his seat in the comfortable car and made his way to the passenger side to pull Brittany from her Child safety seat.
The tears continued to fall as father and daughter made their way to Miss Stephanie’s two-year old class. Bobby whispered a promise to be home early and told her that he loved her. He offered a small bribe: a trip to the zoo on Saturday and he swore he’d rent a movie she had been wanting to see about a little mermaid. Finally the tears began to subside and he felt better about leaving his tiny tot behind. He Bent down to get one final hug before making his escape.
“Mr. Garrett!” Ms. Stephanie gasped. Bobby looked up to see a disapproving glare on the young teacher’s face. She shook her head causing her auburn colored pony-tale to sway from side to side.
“Miss Stephanie?” He asked, “is there a problem?” He put his hands in the pockets of the khaki pants he wore.
“You know better then to bring a G-U-N to my class.” She spelled out the word with an exasperated shake of her finger.
Bobby glanced down. He had a sports coat covering his shoulder holster, it must have slipped when he hugged his daughter. The gun was completely out of sight now and besides, he was a cop and cops carried guns.
He raised an eyebrow. It wouldn’t do him any good to make any smart comments and he was really late for work by now.
“I’ll try to keep that in mind Miss Stephanie.” He handed her the diaper bag with a wink and made an abrupt retreat, praying that the day would get better.
“Good morning Detective Garrett.” Candice, the department secretary’s lipstick covered smile oozed a sugary charm and her over-accentuated southern accent dripped with molasses as she greeted Bobby. She batted her heavily coated eyelashes offering him a steaming cup of coffee, just the way she’d seen him fix it on numerous occasions. Black. She flipped her waste length reddish brown hair over her shoulder as he accepted the mug in mid-stride.
“Morning Red…mind reading today are we?” He teased as he continued past her desk to the conference room in the back of the station. He checked the clock on his pager before entering the room 9:42. He was 12 minutes late, again. The room was set up in the fashion of an old schoolhouse with single desks set in neat rows. He slid into the nearest vacant seat without so much as a scrape of the chair. He dug a notepad from his jacket pocket and scribbled the date on the sheet. Captain Clancey was reciting the description of a suspected rapist that had been sighted in a nearby county.
“…Lastly we have initiated an hotline for anonymous tips that may lead to the arrest of the person or persons involved in the abduction of Sarah Tanner. See Detectives Garrett and Washington if you hear anything.”
“Abducted? There was never any proof of foul play, the kid ran off.” Officer Dick Pruitt argued from the back of the room. Bobby shot a warning look across the room to where he knew his partner would be sitting. Lawrence swung around so quickly that he knocked his notepad from his desk.
“You stupid son of a –“ he growled. Bobby quickly intervened with a more tactful argument.
“In light of some newly acquired information the department has decided to reopen the case. Lawrence and I won’t give up as easily as you did.”
For reasons unknown to Bobby and possibly the rest of the force Lawrence Washington was a very touchy man when it came to dealing with one Officer Pruitt.
“I’d be more impressed by such a strong display of determination if you had enough will power to get your ass out of bed in the mornings.” Officer Pruitt grumbled loud enough for his partner and nearby detectives to hear, but low enough to avoid further conflict. Lawrence Washington may be a giant of a man, quick to lash out with harsh words, but it was Bobby Garretts hot temper that kept him in check.
Captain Clancey threw up his arms. “And on that note, get your asses to work!” The room quickly filled with the low drone of voices and the sound of chairs scraping as officers exited. Bobby sat on the edge of the desk and waited for Lawrence to make his way across the room. He stared at his coffee cup allowing the black liquid to slosh from one side to the other.
“One of these days I’m going to ask for an explanation.” He told Lawrence standing up strait and leading the way towards their desks.
“One of these days I’ll be ready to talk about it, until then, thanks for the back-up partner.” He pulled open a file cabinet drawer and yanked out a swollen folder. Shoving wayward papers into place he handed the file to Bobby.
“Officer Pruitts notes on the case.” He explained.
Bobby opened it and stared at the illegible script on the first sheet. He flipped on his computer before beginning the tedious task of deciphering notations. It didn’t take long to realize that the sheets had no specific order and held no format. With a curse he realized he was going to have to start this investigation from the beginning, a year late. He shoved the contents back into the file, grabbed a pencil and his pad of paper before heading towards a closet sized office. He flipped the light on, tossing the folder on an empty table he yanked papers and notes from a bulletin board. He was going to need this space if he was going to make any sense out of this case.
He spent the next few hours scribbling his own notes and jotting down questions regarding certain discrepancy’s in the case. Officer Pruitt was less then helpful when it came to sharing information. Bobby wasn’t sure if his unwillingness to help was because he had hard feelings about having the case revoked or because he honestly believed that the girl actually ran away. Just from reading statements from friends and family he was having a hard time believing that she would have left of her own accord. One thing he did agree with Officer Pruitt on was that there was very little evidence of foul play or any other kind. This was going to be a hard case to solve, but he was determined to find out what happened to that fourteen-year-old girl.
The Tanner’s had moved into his neighborhood just a few months after Sarah’s disappearance. They looked like any American family, two children, a boy in high school and a girl in middle school, a dog and two loving parents. Bobby had introduced himself immediately with hopes that the teenaged son would be babysitting material. The instant the family had realized that he was on the force they’d shown him a school picture of Sarah. She was a cheery, bright - eyed pixie with dark curls cascading around her shoulders. He’d recognized her face immediately, although it hadn’t been his case at the time, her photo had been widely publicized.
Bobby rifled through the papers until he found the picture. It was a school photograph from her 9th grade year, taken eleven days before her disappearance.
“What happened to you little one?” He asked aloud. He tacked the picture on the bulletin board.
By late afternoon with Lawrence’s assistance the photographs, evidence, character statements, and other facts were neatly arranged on the bulletin boards in the small conference room. They’d also scribbled several notes onto a black board and because the family was a close neighbor of Bobby’s they had agreed that Lawrence would question them. He was worried that if the Tanner’s knew that he was now involved in their case they’d pry for information and that would make things harder for everyone. Especially when the outcome was grim to say the least.
“Carli, bring your chin up. Shoulders back. Heels down.” Jordan was standing in the center of the riding arena barking commands to her favorite pupil. She grabbed her dingy pink t-shirt and shook the neckline trying to pull in some cool air. It was hot and sticky, she could feel a bead of sweat cascade between what she liked to refer to as cleavage, if that’s what one would call it when your barely in a full B cup. She rubbed her shirt against her damp belly and shaded her eyes wishing she had remembered to wear her ball cap.
“Chin up Carli!” She corrected again. The little brunette on the large bay gelding thrust her chin into the air and struck a snooty pose groaning dramatically. “Not that high!” She threw up her hands in disgust and let out a growl. “You don’t want me to borrow a neck brace from the rescue squad!” She threatened. “Because I will!” Carli laughed loudly and then took a deep breath.
“Ok! Ok! I’m serious! My heads up!” Carli sat up straight, held her head proud, pulled her shoulders back, and shoved her heels down. She held a picture perfect position halfway around the arena then glanced at the horses’ withers and immediately dropped her head allowing her shoulders to slump and legs to slide forward.
“He’s still there Carli.” Jordan complained. “If he wasn’t there you wouldn’t have to check because you would know! You would be face down in the dirt. Head up!” She set a jump for two and a half feet then measured the distance between a second jump with her feet. She set that jump for the same height then climbed to the top rail of the fence and seated herself on the top rail.
“Next time around I want you to TROT the line of jumps, halting in between.” She ordered her pupil. Carli was a really talented rider, and although she was a competitive rider, she hadn’t quite mastered the “when to behave and when to goof off portion of riding.” Jordan knew that with time, it would come but for now, she was a teenager doing what she loved. Carli turned her head to look directly at the jump as she rounded the turn, when she was headed in a straight line she shifted her gaze to somewhere in the distance, straight ahead. The horse picked up the pace but remained at a trot, she took the jump beautifully with a smooth landing. She squealed with delight sticking her tongue at Jordan before attempting a messy halt between the jumps. She only managed an animated strung out cross canter as she leaped over the second jump landing hard in the saddle.
“Graceful.” Jordan shook her head. “Do you know what you did wrong?” She asked her student. Barely hearing the answer. Her mind had drifted to a certain dark haired detective with his boyish good looks. She couldn’t help but imagine what his bare chest would look like, was it matted with hair? Was it evenly tanned a golden bronze or pale from constant protection from the sun? Did he have a fine path of dark hair leading passed his naval continuing beyond waistline to his manhood? Jordan slammed her eyes shut and shook her head! What was she thinking? She barely even knew this man!
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Wow, you really are amazing. All three of your stories I have read are really, REALLY good
I love it..... KEEP GOING!!!!! You have a real writing talent- it's a gift and you know how to use it! I love your work.
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