She sat on the long wooden bench alone, waiting. The station was almost empty. The handsome police officer in the dark blue uniform had driven her there for questioning. He'd taken notice of the cut on her forehead almost immediately when she met him in the doorway of her apartment. She had tried to hide it with her bangs, but it was too fresh and too new.
He never asked about it.
Now she sat, waiting for the inevitable, not even sure what she was going to say when they started asking questions that she didn't know the answers to.
She stared at the brown ring above her, the water stained panel on the ceiling, trying to remember what had happened the night before. As much as she tried, there was nothing between the neon sign of the bar flashing in her memory and waking up in the car on Bryan's street. Nothing.
This was bad. Really bad.
The beat up wood door with the hazy glass panel squeaked open. She gulped hard.
Ma'am, can you please step inside?
She stood, nervous and scared. Walked in to the plain room. The fan in the corner stirred the stale air. She reached for the back of the chair and was surprised with how light it was. Sat down and scooted up to the table. Fidgeted with her hands a little, then forced herself still.
The officer who had come to the door sat down. In the chair beside him, an older man in an ill fitting suit and tie.
The questions came and came, and she had no choice but to say I don't remember too many times.
They asked her if she would consent to a Breathalyzer test. She said yes, afraid of what it would show, but knowing that she really didn't have a choice.
0.04. At 2:34p.m. She hadn't had anything to drink since the night before, and she was still registering on the machine. They shook the device and did it a second time. Same number. They asked when she'd last drank, and she answered as truthfully as she could.
Late last night.
The older man asked her about the make and model of her car, and she told him. They said there was an investigation pending, and that there had been a hit and run the night before. They said she was a suspect, but nothing could be confirmed yet until they performed their investigation. They said she could leave, but she'd better not even think about running. They said a tow truck would be at the apartment complex within an hour and the car would be taken into their possession as evidence. They said she was free to go. For now. She was shaking.
She called Tracy from her cell phone and asked her to come to the station. Tracy was there within 10 minutes and they went straight back to the apartment. Silence.
She was scared to death. She was so afraid of what might have happened, and the police didn't tell her any details. She didn't want to go to jail.
She didn't tell Tracy anything, and quickly got out of the car when she pulled to the curb. Hurried away and said goodbye over her shoulder and disappeared.
She looked at the time. She had 45 minutes.
Checked to make sure no one was around, and went straight to the parking lot. The inside of the car reeked of alcohol, and she rolled the windows down to air it out. Sat in the driver's seat and started cleaning out the car. Empty bottles of Jack Daniel's under the seats. Some of those little tiny bottles, empty, stashed in the door. She fumbled through the glove compartment and under the passenger seat for all the receipts. Found another bottle of water and quickly ripped off her sweatshirt to scrub the crusted vomit from the door frame.
She feverishly scrubbed and scrubbed. Gathered all the trash, rolled the windows halfway up and shut the doors. Walked across the parking lot, dropped the bottles in the dumpster and turned.
He was right there, that guy from downstairs. What was his name? She couldn't remember.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you like that, he said. Dani, right?
Her heart was racing, adrenaline pumping. She took a deep breath and sighed audibly. Um, yes. I'm Dani. I'm sorry I screamed. I didn't realize anyone was out here. You just startled me, that's all.
Cleaning your car out, huh? he said.
Yeah, you know how it is....she trailed off. She quickly dusted the bangs back over her forehead, realizing just now that she was sweating. Forced a giggle. I'm sorry, what did you say your name is again?
They started walking back towards the building, slowly, awkwardly, neither one really leading the way.
I'm Scott. Scott Harris. He reached his hand out towards her for this, their formal introduction. He smiled, genuinely. She noticed the dimple on his right cheek.
She intertwined his hand with hers and it felt good. Firm, but not rough. She found herself looking down at his hand all of sudden. I'm Dani Williams. It's nice to officially meet you.
He was handsome, though she had never really noticed before. Now that she thought about it, he seemed to say hello to her frequently, often held the gate for her. He did so now, urging her through the threshold first.
What do you do for a living? she asked. She was desperate for small talk. Talk about anything other than police stations and cars being towed and hit and run suspects.
Scott replied, I am working at the exchange right now, as a commodities trader. Someday I'd like to take the chance and move to New York. Work the big floor. For now, though, this is good. I like it. What about you?
I, um, work in an office downtown. A construction company. It's nothing exciting like what you do. She paused, but only for a second. Is it really how they make it seem on tv? With people waving their hands in the air and the panicked phone calls and the people on the verge of a heart attack all the time?
Dani was interested, clearly. Her pitch was raised, and she was talking faster. Actually interested. She was flirting. She found herself shifting her weight nervously onto her hip. Suddenly aware of the fact that she'd thrown her hair into a ponytail and had no makeup on. She rolled the sweatshirt more into a ball so the mess was hidden.
He replied, not even close. I wish it was like that. He paused. Do you think that maybe sometime I could take you out to dinner? I could tell you all about my semi-exciting job...
I would like that very much, she said almost immediately. His eyes were bright green, and she'd just found herself staring.
Snapped back into reality, she glanced at her phone. The tow truck should be here any moment. Oh god she thought, I can't let him see the police tow the car.
I need to run, I have some laundry to finish up, as she motioned unintentionally to the sweatshirt.
He asked, are you busy tonight? Say 7 o'clock?
This is actually happening, she thought.
No, I'm not. She smiled.
I'll be by your apartment to pick you up at 7 then. It's a date. He turned to walk towards his unit, on the other side of the pool, then stopped. It was really nice to meet you today, Dani. I'll see you in a few hours.
He walked off, and her whole world was spinning. She was cleaning out the car before the police could take it and find what was in there, and this happens. Right now. She hadn't been on a date in months, hadn't felt attractive in even longer.
Somehow she did right now, with this ponytail and no makeup and a cut across her forehead. It made no sense.
What am I thinking? I can't go out right now with some guy I don't know, even if he has the most amazing green eyes that I've ever seen. I'm a suspect in a hit and run. I'm a drunk. If he knew any of that, he wouldn't want anything to do with me.
She unlocked her door and peeked across the pool. He was safely inside.
Her stomach was in knots.
She gathered up all the clothes she had worn the night before, and the sweatshirt that she'd used to clean the car and took them to the laundry room. As she shut the lid to the washer, she heard the truck arrive.
Nervously, she watched like a hawk from the balcony.
Suddenly she was less worried about the car and the mess she may have created and the trouble she might be in than whether he saw.
She might be arrested tomorrow, it was true. She didn't even know who or what had been hit, and right now she didn't care. For tonight, none of that mattered. She had a date, and she was going.
This post is part of a fiction challenge I am participating in. This is a continuation of a story that already has two parts. You can find them here: part 1 and part 2.
Here is this week's prompt:
Your character commits a crime. (What is the motive?) Your character's husband/wife/SO, discovers your character changing dealing with the evidence, and wants to know what's going on. Write the conversation. What happens next?
Check out the pieces from the other participants!
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