Original prompt: “The police escorted me to the cruiser. I thought I had hit rock bottom. The next 72 hours would find me falling even farther.”
I hadn’t told them who I was, but I knew the jig was up when the cute blond cop took my ID back to their cruiser. When he looked up at me through the windshield, I groaned. The older cop was standing in front of me with his hands on his hips, finger tapping his pistol holster. He raised his eyebrows, but I didn’t bother saying anything. The blonde climbed out of the car and motioned to him.
“Stay put, Miss,” he warned.
“Yeah. Sure. Whatever,” I muttered.
He gave me a stern glare before he turned to walk toward his partner. I thought about running for half a second. But I stayed put. Like a good girl.
They talked for a couple of minutes, both looking over at me. The older cop was keeping a watchful eye. The blond was curious, I could tell. I wondered if I could get him to call me, some other time.
Finally, the older cop waved me over. I shrugged and walked toward them. He took my elbow, gently enough, and led me to the back door of the cruiser, which he opened with an audible sigh. I hesitated at the door and wiggled my hands behind my back.
“Do ya think?” I asked.
“Not a chance, Miss Robinson. Your father was very clear.”
I didn’t bother with a protest or a snappy comeback. I just let him put his hand on my head and guide me into the back seat. I shook my head in resignation as I gingerly sat against the well-worn leather. I hated cop cars. They always stunk of sweat and fast food and puke, with an aftertaste of fear and anger.
He leaned in to buckle the seatbelt around me. I could see the hairs curling against his neck and smell his aftershave. Not overpowering. I kind of liked it. Old fashioned, maybe Old Spice even. If it had been the blond, I would have whispered in his ear, or blown on his cheek maybe. He didn’t say a word. At least he wasn’t a talker. I hated sermons.
When we drove up to the house, Dad was standing on the front porch in jeans and a pullover, looking up at the night sky like an astronomer, not an angry father. I couldn’t tell, looking through the car window, how drunk he might be.
I tensed as the two cops got out of the front and closed their doors. The timing was crucial. I only had a few seconds before the blond opened my door. It only worked if I was alone. I concentrated on the handcuffs around my wrists and shimmered. They tumbled onto the seat behind me. I reached down and picked them up, balling my fists together so they wouldn’t notice right away. If I was lucky.
The blond reached in and took my arm, pulling me out of the car. He kept his hand under my elbow, like he was escorting me home from a school dance or something. He really was a cutie. Too bad.
The three of us reached the steps and stopped, looking up at my father.
“Good evening, Judge Robinson. Sorry about this,” the older cop said.
Dad nodded to him but didn’t say anything. He looked at me. The cops stepped back and he spoke in a deep, stern tone that boded very, very ill for me. “Caroline. Please.” He nodded towards the officers.
I knew what he meant. I swung my arms down and held the handcuffs dangling from one finger to the blond. He stared at them for a second with his mouth open, then looked up at my face, then my father, then the other cop, then the handcuffs again. Before he could make another circuit, I held them closer to him. He slowly reached out to take them, holding his palm out. I dropped them into his hand and brushed my fingers over his. I tried not to see him flinch.
I looked up and said calmly, “Thank you, officers, for the ride home.” Then I held my head high and walked inside. I knew I wouldn’t be going out again for a long time. I wasn’t sure I’d be walking or talking for awhile once Dad was done with me. I felt them staring after me.
As the screen door closed behind me, I heard my father say evenly, “Good night, gentlemen.”
I turned around to watch them leave. For another half second, I thought of running after them. “Take me with you! Take me to jail! Book me! Put me in protective custody!”
I said nothing, standing still on the first stair, with my hand clenched tightly on the railing.
They walked back to the cruiser, looked back and nodded to my Dad, then got in and drove away. They didn’t see Dad shimmer from the front porch into the hallway. Anger flashed from his eyes, and danger laced with the scent of single malt Scotch washed over me.
I didn’t flinch as he lifted his hand. I knew better than to speak. Or to shimmer. There was nowhere I could go that he couldn’t follow. So far as he knew.
Dogs in house:
January word count: