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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1976508-Aces---Chapter-1---Jailbird
Rated: 18+ · Other · Romance/Love · #1976508
Annabelle
CHAPTER 1 - JAILBIRD

Annabelle

“Oh God; it’s cold.” I growled while shivering. I tried to open my eyes but couldn’t see through the little sight I had. I really didn't want to move, my head ached with every muscle awakening. The smell of five days old urine and cigarettes, mixed with cheap perfume made me nauseous.

Something punched me in my stomach, over and over. Oh my God, I'm going to … My words weren't even forming in my head when I felt the bile rise up my throat. I tried hard to swallow it back. I needed to open my eyes…

Suddenly the racket of steel against steel sounded in my ears… What the hell? It sounded like a tin cup against steel bars, right in my head. Slowly I clutched my palms protectively over my ears. "Megan!" I shouted, but it sounded more like a frog was dying in my throat, all croaky, weak and faint. I seriously was going to throw up.

I had to get to the bathroom and away from this smell. My brain struggled with my ability to open my eyes and when I finally could, I saw a face I was not prepared for on my tumbling stomach.

She was middle aged. Bleached hair, ruby red lips clutching a half smoked cigarette between them. That sharp smell of cheap perfume mixed with nicotine was right in my face. She stood and kicked me with her bright red high heel into my stomach, "Wake up Sugar" she said in a southern accent, kicking again.

My gaze shifted from her to take in the rest of my surroundings. I was lying on a dirty tiled floor, with blood and mud stains all over… it looked disgusting. Where the hell am I? Then I saw it, right at the top of my head, the dirty silver toilet gracing me with its urine splendour. I couldn’t take another inhale of that smell and pulled myself up as the contents of my stomach poured right out of me, again and again. Resting my head on the rim I tried to figure out where I was. What happened last night?

I heard a voice so loud it sounded like the guy was screaming in my ear, "Hey Candy, where this time?" he asked. Who the hell was Candy?

An old record like voice all shredded and worn out like too many years of smoke inhaling and booze, answered back. "At your home Sweetie, you weren't there though." I could see the cheap woman standing at the steel bars talking to a man in blue uniform, "I could still do you a favour…" she added, "my get out of jail free card." she licked her lips.

"No thanks Candy, this isn’t monopoly." he said laughing, walking away.

Why the hell was I in a jail cell? I felt it again, that ugly feeling and I bend over the toilet while I let the dry heaves combust through my body, leaving me complete wasted after a few minutes. Feeling much better, I searched through my brain for any memory of the previous night.

A very vague but definite image of an outrageously sexy guy triggered my brain, and I lightly frown at my first memory that came to light. Trying hard to put a name to his handsome face, I failed miserably. It was not likely for me to meet up with strangers and not remember their names. I groan silently, closing my eyes while pressing my fingertips on my temples. Gently I started to make little circle movement, massaging them. Like a silent answer to my prayer, every memory slowly began to unfold.

Megan helped me to blow off that sexy stranger who came on to me at the club. He didn’t back off that easily because he kept on making himself visible throughout the night. After Megan kept on feeding me those yummy bluish drinks I seemed not to get enough off, his presence didn’t bother me anymore it was actually welcomed.

We talked, I drank, he disappeared, I drank some more, we laughed, I got wasted then he disappeared again.

I went to the dance floor and started dancing. I danced through the night which felt like forever. Stranger returned later, dancing with me closely. His hair was as black as the night, eyes that pierced through my soul. His cologne mixed with his sweat was intoxicating and every time he flashed his sexy smile at me, I knew even in my drunken state, I was captivated.

His body was tight against my back when we moved together on the dance floor. His hands were tracing down my arms to my sides travelling over my stomach. I turned and look at him, still moving. Our eyes locked and the physical electricity shocked me like a thousand volts. His right hand was on the small of my back, his left lacing fingers with mine behind his neck, we stared at each other the whole time, not once breaking eye contact. The moment was to big not to kiss. He didn’t disappoint when he slowly bent his head.

I felt angrily disappointed as the bile rose up my throat and devastated when I realized that I’ve drank way too much and was about to throw up on him! Trying very hard not to embarrass myself in front of him, I rudely pulled myself from his grip, turning instantly to run towards the bathrooms.

On my way I bumped into Gustav. My heart sank when he stopped me from going where I intended to go. I pushed him away slightly and headed for a stall inside, all I needed to do was throw up. And I did. I don’t remember much after that; I don’t remember how long I was in there or how much I threw up, I just knew someone was at some point in the stall next to me banging and I prayed they weren’t having sex. Suddenly I jumped at a sound so loud it made my ears ring and echoed in the little space there was in my skull. I tried to stand but my legs were too weak to support my weight, so I just pushed against the stall hoping I wouldn’t fall over. The next thing I do remember was someone entering my stall; I saw brown boots and the pipes of light blue jeans walking past me.

Not knowing what to do or having the strength to speak I just prayed that I wouldn’t get raped or killed, death by toilet sounded ridiculous to say the least. I tried to see who this man was, I squinted my eyes to put a feature with the blur, to no avail. Then he hit me hard, with what felt like a rock, against the side of my head and I slid down the stall wall to the floor as if in slow motion.

Through the dizziness and unfocussed sight I saw something black slowly moving towards me, loud sounds ricocheting throughout my mind as I tried to focus on the thing that’s going to drag me to hell with it. I accept that I’m going to hell; at least I was so full of alcohol I will probably burn quicker. And what I assumed was death took me over and black was everything around me.

The big haired cheap lady walked towards me. Her leopard leotard wrapped around her bulging curves, the gold belt exclaiming to the world her big breasts. The black leather skinnies she had on was so tight, I swear if you looked close enough you could see the cellulite. Her black skinnies ended where the bright red super high heels began.

“What you in for?" her shredded voice asked. I had no idea. I just stared at her expressionless, waiting for her to answer her own question, she did, "You stood on the corner too long?" I couldn't help but smile, she assumed I was a prostitute.

I looked at my black dress from the night before, it was so high up my thighs I could almost see my own panties, let alone what the cops on the other side of the bars saw. I quickly pulled it down just covering a little bit of skin and then stood up. I needed to know why I was in there.

There was a cop at a desk just across from me, "Excuse me, Sir?" I asked my dying frog throat still sore from the acidic volumes that burned it. He didn’t hear me so I walked up to the bars, holding myself up as I clenched the bars tight, "Excuse me, Sir?" I asked a little louder.

He looked up. "Yes?" he said his face pale. His thin moustache on his lip curved as he spoke.

"Why am I here?" I asked, not sure whether to laugh or cry.

"Possession of cocaine with the intent to sell." he looked at me as if I was stupid.

I shook my head in disbelief. Why would I do that? Where the hell would I get cocaine? I smell a rat. “Me... But how? ” I asked astonished. “But… When?” I said almost bursting out in tears.

The cop looked as if I was a retard and walked slowly across to where I stood behind the bars, “Club Aces, last night. They found you with a brick.” My eyes widened as he spoke and tears pricked at the corners. His eyes raked over my attire and I felt indecently exposed as I grabbed my dress and pulled it down with one hand while supporting my weight on the steel bars with the other. “You don’t remember that?” he asked confused.

There was no way I could be responsible. I shook my head slowly feeling my legs give way under me. As I hit the cold floor I knew I couldn’t stop the sobs from ripping through my soul. These allegations sounded serious, I was arrested for something I didn’t do and I was all alone.

Then I remembered about Megan, where was Megan? I stood wanting answers as I looked at him where he was back behind his desk writing, “Sir, I was with a friend. Is my friend here with me? Her name is Megan... Megan Knight, can you please check for me.” I heard the desperation in my voice but I didn’t care anymore. I needed to know where Megan was. Then I remembered something. “Sir, don’t I get to make one phone call?” He ignored me as he went on with his paperwork. Fury began to take over as I asked again if I had a phone call, he still didn’t answer. Panic took the place of fury, leaving me breathless as I spoke again, “Please sir, just tell me if she’s here. I need to call her. Please?” I begged as I gripped the bars willing my weak knees to stand.

“Miss, if you don’t quiet down, I’ll keep you here for another few hours. I advise you to keep quiet until you have legal representation present, because anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.” His words sounded in my ear and another memory flashed through my veins.

I sat in an ambulance squinting at the lights flashing all around me. The guy next to me held up something that smelled like ammonia, my heart rate climbed a mile and I flicked my eyes around to become aware of my surroundings. The lights were red and blue and the mixed voices sounded around me. I tried to focus on the man holding the smelly salt as he spoke, “Miss, do you know your name?”

I nodded, saying a faint “Annabelle” and he nodded back.

“Good, do you know where you are?” I looked at him confused, indeed I had no idea where I was and I had no idea what was going on around me. “Miss?” he asked again and I shook my head. “You’re in an ambulance, miss, at a club. Do you know which club?” he asked again.

I squeezed my eyes shut trying to remember where I was, I recalled the name had something to do with playing cards, “Spades…” I asked but he shook his head, it was the highest cards I knew it, what was it called? “Aces,” I whispered, wincing as the thinking brought a headache to life.

“Good, good.” He turned his head and spoke again. I didn’t dare look at what he looked at, the thought of turning my head brought a stinging pain to it and I grabbed to stop the pain, but only made it worse. “Detective, you can take her now.” The man said and I immediately turned to look at the man looking me over, the movement made me shiver with pain.
He had a handsome face and strong jawline, day old stubble spread across it. His eyes seemed warm yet hardened, I had no clue what to expect when he started to talk, first I admired his voice, it was stern and calming then I admired his eyes piercing to my soul, “Miss Clark, I’m detective Montgomery.” I nodded in acknowledgement. He smiled but his face hardened quickly, “You are under arrest for possession of narcotics with the intent to sell. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney…” I looked at him astonished as he read my rights and cuffed me before he walked me to a police vehicle.

When they threw me in the cell I hadn’t stopped crying and at some point just passed out because of the overwhelming emotions pouring through my mind.

The leotard lady's mouth made noises as she ate her chewing gum with her mouth open; fading the images I saw subconsciously, she spoke "You must've had one hell of a night." Yeah I did and I was apparently in the middle of the mess I didn’t even create. Why is Megan not here?

I eyed her over and shook my head "Some women wake up to a perfect naked stranger after a night out, I wake up in jail. I don't know what's worse." I said. I still wanted to know where Megan was.

The woman laughed roughly, and almost chocked on her chewing gum. After coughing it away, she answered, "Been there, done that. Both." yeah I didn't expect anything less. "Candy." she pointed her hand in my direction. I took it.

"Annabelle." I said shaking it. Her long nails bore holes in my hands. And smoke filled the air around us. “Do I get a phone call?” I whispered to her.

She nodded with intent but whispered back, “But Detective Grumpy over there has been on shift for twelve hours now, maybe you should wait for the new one to take over, they’re usually friendly in the beginning.” She nudged me in the side and winked. I just hoped the new cop would appear soon.

As it turned out through my sobs and comforting words from Candy I realized soon enough that the old cop has been replaced with a new one holding a fresh cup of coffee in his hands. I wiped the tears off my cheeks and walked to the bars where I could see his desk properly.
“Excuse me sir?” I said and he looked up with a bright smile.

“Yes miss?” he said taking a sip of his coffee.

“Do I get a phone call?” I asked hopefully as he set down his cup.

He frowned and walked over to the bars, “You haven’t called anyone yet?” I shook my head warm tears running freely over my cheeks again. “Yes you do.” He said opening the sell door, “Follow me.” He led me to his desk and sat me on the stool next to it. “You know the number?” I nodded.

I only knew four numbers from the top of my head, my dad, mom, Megan and Gregory, Megan’s brother. I was not about to call my parents from prison and I really wanted to know where Megan was, so I dialled her number. First I got excited it rang for a few seconds before it switched to voicemail and my heart sank to the floor. I looked teary eyed at the cop and gave the phone back to him, “She didn’t pick up.” I said knowing my fate.

I stood shoulders slumped heading back to the steel cage when he talked behind me, “Know any other number?” I turned on my heels and looked at him wide-eyed. Was he serious? He would give me another call? I thought one was the limit. I didn’t hesitate and took a seat again, again he handed me the phone and I dialled the only other number I knew.

It rang twice before the voice on the other side made my heart skip a beat, “This is Knight.” He said into the phone and I nearly broke down right there, but I couldn’t, I needed to keep it together to tell him what happened.

“Greg, its Bell.” I said with a cracking voice.

“Bell? This isn’t your number…” he was silent for a moment then spoke before I could, “What happened?” as if he knew I was in trouble.

“I’m at the…” I looked at the papers in front of me trying to find out which station I was at, “Chicago Police Department. I got arrested Greg. The charges are serious something to do with drugs. I don’t even know what happened, I didn’t do it, I promise.” My voice sounded like it wasn’t my own when I caught the cop’s eye as he frowned, but let the words go. He was sure I was guilty, it was plainly written on his face.

“What the fuck Bell?” the anger in his voice was clear.

“Can you help me?” I pleaded praying he could.

“I’m in Las Vegas, Babe…” he always called me that when he couldn’t help me. I knew then and there my fate was written black on white like the outlaw I was. “Wait I’ll make a few calls, see what I can do… Where’s my sis?” He added as an afterthought. I shrugged and then remembered he couldn’t see me.

“Don’t know. I couldn’t get a hold of her so I called you.” The officer placed his finger on his watch and I knew my time was up. “Greg, I gotta go, please help me, please?” the tears tugged on the corners of my eyes and I wished wholeheartedly he was right there to hold me and tell me everything will be okay.

“I promise I’ll do my best. Just hang in there Babe. Love you.” I broke into full sobs as I heard his words over the phone. I couldn’t speak and heard the dead tone on the other side for a full minute before I handed it back to the cop.
“Thanks.” I muttered, trying to smile through the tears.

Four hours later I was led out the steel cage I almost started to call home. It was pretty obvious what was happening. Greg probably pulled some strings and got me out. He was probably waiting for me just beyond the corridor, hoping I was okay. I followed the officer through a door that led to a desk with a sign ‘Admin’ printed above it. I was jittery the whole time I stood there waiting for assistance as the officer gripped my elbow tight. “Miss Clark, sign these papers to release your personal belongings.” I took them in hand read the first sentence and signed the bottom. I couldn’t wait to see Greg, so I almost ran to the reception area when the officer released my arm. But it was

Megan who caught my eyes and tears fogged my sight instantly. It was normal to run into her arms as she held them out to me. We both cried and I gripped her tight against me afraid they’ll throw me back into that metal cage. “I am so sorry Bells. We’ve been trying to get you out since six this morning! This is such a mess… a big mistake...” she kept on babbling. I didn’t care to hear it all. I just want to go to the apartment and take a shower, maybe even relax. I hugged her tight feeling I never wanted to let her go, "You’re okay?" she whispered in my ear. "I'm so glad you’re okay." she said again. She hugged me as tight as she could and I almost lost my breath for a moment. "You are alright aren't you?" she asked pushing me to arm’s length looking me over, smiling at my short dress and bare feet. I nodded trying to feel as fine as I wanted her to believe, eyeing her too, still in her dress from the night before, but she still looked amazing. I looked over her shoulder trying to see the faint image of my saviour, there was no sign of Greg.

“Where’s Greg?” I asked without thinking.

“Greg? Bell Greg’s not here…” I pulled away from her lightly and confusion transformed my face.

“But how…?” Fresh tears made their way over my cheeks and Megan pulled me closer to her.

“Here, let me introduce you…” She turned to face the same ruggedly handsome man from the night before, the one whose name I couldn’t remember, the man who appeared and disappeared like a ghost and the same darn guy whose face haunted me as they took me away. His face was unshaven with a two-day stubble, his white shirt, blue jeans, black leather jacket and boots made him look like a rock star. His eyes made me furious, the way his eyes slipped over my body as if undressing me. He instantly had me in flames.

My eyes squinted as I looked at his expression. I looked from him to Megan and back to him. They must have hooked up together last night. Megan grabbed my arm before I could walk towards him “No it’s not like that” Megan answered my unspoken question "He bailed you out." my eyes turned to her.

"Why?" I asked looking him over. “The guy who locked me up…” I said infuriated. I was sure I was almost breathing fire when Megan stopped me in my tracks.

“The guy who bailed you out.” She said calmly, gripping my hand as tight as she could. “This is Tucker, owner of Club Aces and he is responsible for …”

I gasped and finished her sentence “Jailing me!” I shouted. “How could you?" Pointing my finger in his direction I looked at Megan “He locked me up Megan, you bring him here and you dare introduce me to him!” I couldn’t believe what was happening. Why him of all the people in the world? "You mean the man who jailed me bailed me out?" I looked at him anger filling my thoughts, "He did that!" I screamed at his arrogance.

“Bell no, if it wasn’t for him dropping the charges you would still be back there!” she waved her hand in the direction of the door I not so long ago walked through.

What the hell? Irritated I turned to her. “You’re defending him now?! Megan, he got me jailed and now he’s the hero for dropping the charges! Listen to yourself!" I walked up to him looking him straight in the face as anger got a hold of me. His eyes suddenly made my blood boil, his features making me hate him even more, the sexy stranger from the night before was just the son of an ass who locked me up to die in a jail cell. “And you Mister, what do you have to say for yourself? You don’t know me, yet you throw my ass in jail for thirteen hours!”

“Miss Clark, it was a judgment call, like I told you when we questioned you earlier.” The detective they called Dean Montgomery interrupted as I lunged for the handsome man. I didn’t notice him standing only a few feet away. No one seemed to be on my side,
even my best friend seemed to like having me locked up and absolutely no one cared.

“This is Chazz Tucker, he bailed you out after he heard what seemed to actually have happened.” He placed a hand on Mr. Tucker’s shoulder and looked up at a man who called his name. “Excuse me.”

When outside the one thing I cared about most suddenly dawned on me… “Megan, my interview…?!” I said it as if I already knew the answer but hope still surfaced through my frog throat.

She shook her head sadness spread across her eyes, “Sorry Bell, I tried everything, I called hundreds of times, they accepted no reschedules, if you didn’t show, you weren’t accepted…” My whole world seemed to crash with three little words… you weren’t accepted… Sadness wasn’t an option anymore, fear was long gone but bravery surfaced with every breath I took.

My eyes shot towards Mr Tucker who was a few feet away from me, “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!” I shouted at the top of my lungs. He was ridiculously handsome, melting with sexiness at the edges just like I remembered, but today he didn't look delicious or hot or even sexy. He looked like a two timing ass who ruined my life. I stormed towards him. He took a step back. "You presumptuous beast…" Megan tugged on my arm and I ripped it away violently.

All I could see was red. "You son of a…" Megan smacked my arm. My eyes spit fire at her. Then I turned my attention to him again. "You’re an ass. You locked me up. Why the hell would you lock me up?" he took a step forward, decreasing the space between us. I did the same. I was not backing down. I was about a ruler length from him. I looked up at him, locking his eyes with mine. "You’re an asshole!" I shouted realising my mistake, I took a step back. He took one forward.

"I've been called worse! You laid there in the middle…" I cut him off knowing he had the perfect speech worked out.

"That doesn't mean shit…" I never used bad language; this was all new to me, exhilarating.

"What the fuck were you doing there anyway?" he added.

"I was dying!" I took a step forward almost standing against him. He smelled lovely. Redirecting my thoughts back to my argument I took a step back. “You’re the reason I have no future! What the hell am I supposed to do now? It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, you’re a selfish man." I didn't care anymore, what does it matter anyway? “Fine Mister Know it All, I did it all, I was the main character in the whole charade I can’t even remember.” All of the sudden I feel like I am on a roller coaster and I don't want to get off yet. I put my wrists together and stretch it out to him. “Let them lock me up. Let them lock me up forever! I don’t care anymore” my voice dared him. “I have lost my opportunity to work for one of Chicago’s biggest firms! You have just ruined my life! And my friend feels I need to thank you?” I start laughing hysterically.

“I think she is in shock, get her in the car. I'm taking you home. She needs rest.” I heard him talking to Megan.

I couldn’t resist snapping sarcastically at him “Oh now you also know what I need… how thoughtful of you. But what I really need is a damn job you asshole.” He looked at me with ice cold eyes and pulled his lips into a thin line as his jaw clenched stiffly together. His expression was undeniable anger he tried hard to control… I have just crossed the line and boy does it feel good.

There was a silence that overtook my thoughts when I realized what I just did… I never wanted to go back into that cell, I was happy being free; why the hell did I just say that? I looked over his shoulder into the eyes of Detective Montgomery, who was grinning from ear to ear. What the hell was he smirking about?

“Miss Clark,” he started and I knew the handcuffs were inches away from my wrists, what did I just do…? “It would be wise if you didn’t leave town.” I looked at him confused trying to make sense of what was happening, I eyed his handcuffs sticking out from his pocket, “You will be safer in the custody of Mr Tucker here, plus I think he has a club to restore so I think you have a job…” I looked at Mr Tucker who looked at the detective in shock…

“Wait! What?” I asked as I glanced from him to the detective, “HIS custody? Are you out of your mind?!”

“I could always keep you in witness protection till the trail, but that’s no privacy, no space, no money…” he said matter-of-factly. He turned towards Mr Tucker who was still stunned by the facts just revealed, clasped his hand over his shoulder and whispered something in his ear before walking away without another word.

“Your custody?!” I looked at him eyeing his confusion. I guess it was better than sitting in a jail cell for the rest of my life or having no way of freedom either… I guess I could live with that, but I’m not going to make it easy on him, that he could count on.

I looked around searching for Megan’s car, I couldn’t stand being near him for even another few seconds, “Megan, let’s just go…” I looked around some more but saw nothing that looked familiar, “Where’s your car?” I said dragging Megan towards the sidewalk trying to get away from the sexy asshole…

“It’s not here.” Megan said quietly.

“What the hell do you mean? How the hell did you get here without your car, where’s your car.”

“Tommy has it.” Megan said again calmly.

“Then call him, I want to get out of here.”

“Tommy’s not in town Bell. He’s our only ride…” Megan said pointing her finger in the direction of the man I hated more than life itself.

I turned to look at his smirking face, chuckling at the charade I was putting up. “What the hell are you laughing about, asshole?” I said walking towards him.

He lifted his arms in an I-surrender position and shook his head, “Nothing you have to worry your pretty little head about.” He said smiling.

“Where’s your car, I want to go home.” I asked crossing my arms over my chest and tapping my foot on the pavement.

“Right there.” He said pointing to a truck. I walked towards it and waited for the doors to unlock, he was testing my patience and that just made me angrier.

Our trip back to the apartment took forever. No one was talking and the silence matched my mood perfectly. I stared out of the window the whole time. Only once I looked in the rearview mirror and caught Tucker looking at me. I narrowed my eyes at him and quickly turned my eyes back, staring out of the window again. He stopped at an express shop shortly after, hopping out and returned a few minutes later with three bottles of water. He handed me an ice cold one, my first reaction was to push his hand away but the thirst overtook my senses and I immediately took it from him gratefully. “Thanks, I’ll pay your back.” I opened the bottle of water and start taking big gulps. I've never been so thirsty.

Once he stopped in the driveway, I opened the door and jump out quickly, walking towards the building as fast as I could, not once looking in Tucker's or Megan's direction. I definitely didn’t want another conversation with that ass. I knew my body language must’ve looked ridiculous but I just wanted to get to my room, have a shower and sleep, besides my head was still foggy and aching.

The next moment I felt my ankle twist and I connected with the hard cement slab leading to the entrance. I couldn’t believe it! From the corner of my eye I could see both Megan and Tucker running towards me, but I jumped up stubbornly and started running towards the door. I pulled on the handle, realizing the door is locked, Megan had my purse and my keys were in it. I loudly groaned when I saw both of them walking towards me. He had a grin on his lips and I suddenly felt stupid for my childish behavior.

Impatiently I started tapping my bare feet while I held out my hand for my purse. Megan rolled her eyes at me shook her head and handed me my purse not saying a word. I unlocked the door and quickly shoved the door closed in their faces and locked it again. I felt really bad that I had to do that to my best friend, but I knew if I let her in, he will follow and therefor she’ll just have to forgive me. I heard them whisper on the other side of the door and I lightly put my ear to the door trying to eavesdrop on their conversation, to no avail.

Snorting unladylike I headed to the bathroom. I grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste, opened the tap letting the water run a while. When I looked in the mirror shock embraced my whole body. Did I look like this the whole time? Why the hell didn't anyone tell me? My hair was in a mess, strands stuck together as the vomit clung to it, the rest looked like fine strings bunched together and lightly pulled apart. I looked like Cher on steroids; I could easily pass for a 70's drunken rock babe. My make-up was smeared. The black mascara and eyeliner mixed in two perfect circles around my eyes. Raccoon eyes. I looked like a Raccoon crossed with a drunken Cher at a 70's rock concert. It was hideous to say the least. No wonder no one took me seriously, no wonder he laughed at me.

I snorted again, harshly pushing the toothbrush in my mouth. Damn him and all of them, not saying anything about my raccoon appearance, I can't believe I was seen like this in public. I spit and slurped some water, then spit again. I opened the taps of the shower and filled the room instantly. Nice and warm. It felt heavenly washing all the sorrows, the disappointment, hate, confusion and hurt off my body. It was as if it flowed down with the water.

With a towel wrapped around me I heard Megan knocking on my door and then she opened it. As I was drying my hair with another towel she walked to the side of my bed where I was sitting, putting a glass and some pills on the bedside table.

"I thought you'd need It." she said walking towards the door. I fell asleep a few minutes later after changing into my pajamas, my bed felt like heaven and sleep felt amazing.
**************
I had awoken hearing voices coming from downstairs. I was excited. Hearing a Knight’s voice, but it wasn’t kind or inviting, it was furious, beyond an anger I ever heard. “What the fuck is this?” I heard him shout. His heavy footsteps on the wooden floors made me nervous, he was walking up and down still shouting; “You did this? You know this isn’t her. What the hell were you thinking Megan?” I heard the loud thump of something thrown on a table.

It was scary listening to him going off like that. I tip-toed down the stairs in my goofy pajamas and slippers; hearing Megan’s answer, “She had to have some fun; it was a requirement for graduating.” Her voice was stern but Greg’s was even angrier.
“You forced this on her… that is a disgrace. You of all people should’ve known better Megan. At least her face was blocked out.” I stopped in my tracks when I laid my eyes upon a Knight in the middle of my living room. I watched Greg intently waiting to see if he was just as angry with me. He wore tight fitted dark blue jeans, an untucked cream button-up shirt with sleeves rolled up and his favorite brown boots. His light brown hair was a little long and messy. He raked his long fingers through his hair and I could imagine his blue eyes tightly squeezed shut.

“All thanks to Tucker.” Megan said and my eyes drifted over the man sitting on a chair beside her.

When my eyes locked on Greg again he somehow sensed me and looked in my direction. His face turned from colorless Hulk to the perfect gentleman in a matter of seconds, his eyes softened and a smile rounded his mouth, “Annabelle Baby.” he said opening his arms wide for me to run into.

The happenings I could remember burned through my mind, but at least I wasn’t in jail or someplace worse. I ran towards him and threw my arms carefree around his neck, “Greg! Greg you’re here!” I shouted and he squeezed me tight against his hard body.

“Always Babe, I’ll never leave you here to sort out this mess on your own.” He cooed kissing my temple. I heard a throat clear from behind him and opened my eyes to see who would be so rude to interrupt my friend and me. There he stood; mister-so-much-sexier-than-the-day-before-Tucker. “Bell, do you want to see this man?” Greg said interrupting my dangerous thoughts. I nodded slowly still clinging to his side.

“What do you want Mister Tucker?” I asked matter-of-factly.

“I wanted to apologize and ask you if there’s anything you need or anything I can get you. I just came by to see how you’re doing.”

“Which is it now, apology or how I’m doing?” I asked sarcastically.

“Both I guess.” His eyes drifted over Greg beside me and he eyed me holding onto him so tight. For a second I thought I saw jealousy but then it disappeared into a huge smile as he sat back down again.

“Babe, there’s pizza on the counter you should get some.” Greg nudged me in the direction of the kitchen and I felt for the first time my rumbling stomach begging for food. I grabbed a slice and pushed most of it into my mouth; I grabbed two more slices and turned to walk back but decided to listen to the conversation instead. “I should be suing you, she should be suing! Who gave you the right to put their lives in danger?” Greg went off.

“I swear if I could do it over I wouldn’t have done it that way. There wasn’t supposed to be a shooting just a normal drug bust.” Mr. Tucker said apologetically.

“I don’t really care about that, I care about them. Megan and Bells are my family, you hurt them in any way I will come after you.”

“I understand but I don’t intend on hurting anyone.” He stood just as I entered the room with another slice in my mouth. First he looked shocked at my rounded cheeks, then my hands and then he locked my eyes with his, a grin played at the corners of his mouth. “Goodbye Miss Clark. I’ll see you Monday, eight o’clock.”

“Yes Sir” I mumbled with a mouth full of pizza, saluting him.

He turned and walked towards the door. Before he went out he gave me another one of his undressing-with-the-eyes-looks, an amused grin playing on his lips and he disappeared.I felt speechless. I had no way of knowing what it was, but it was overwhelming and taking me over.

Right then and there I crashed. I crashed into my uncontrollably heavy tears. I crashed into the hardwood floor making my knees hurt as much as my heart did. I crashed into darkness where there was nothing but fear and the distinct instinct that my life was over. I was out of control. I was everything I said I would never be again. I was a lifeless sobbing blubbering mess. The instant I heard my knees connecting with the floor I felt two arms wrapping around my waist, picking me up slowly and carrying me up the stairs. Megan’s voice was faint and far away asking if I was okay.

But it was Greg’s heartbeat that calmed me. It was his voice that broke through my sobs. “Too much for you?” he said knowing what I was thinking before. “I know, he’s a reminder of everything you lost, but Bells you still have something.” I looked at him confused and he answered my unspoken question. “You still have a job, you have a home, dammit Bells you’re alive. You didn’t die in the shooting, you survived and I know you’ll be great again.” I nodded realizing he was right, I didn’t die. He placed me on my bed and I grabbed his hand stopping him before he walked away.

“Could you do me a favor?” I asked pleading him with my eyes.

“Anything Bells.” He said seriously.

“Bring me… the rest of the pizza. I’m starving.” He burst out laughing and turned on his heels to do just that. I had wonderful friends. I had the kind of friends who would always make a horrible day seem like a comedy. Megan sat beside me laughing too at my request.

“You okay?” she asked waiting for another flood of tears. But surprisingly the tears were tucked where they should be, just because my friend said, you survived.

“Yup, I think I had to get the realization out of the way to get to the acceptance.” I said grabbing her hand to comfort her.

“I think so too. How about movie night tonight? All your favorites?” she suggested. I nodded in acceptance.
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