I’ll keep this brief because the chapter is not. The aftermath of drinking is usually a hangover, the aftermath of prying into ones secrets is usually anger. Actions have consequences and it is important to include them. After all if I went to the trouble of including them I had better have a way past it all. This is something that needs to be addressed before the story can move on. In Drunken secrets Cal gave Sasha rum on an empty stomach and tried to get her to talk about her secret. Now she’s sober and it’s time for a little reality before things get crazy again.
Sasha woke with a pounding head. Sugar and alcohol on an empty stomach was a recipe for disaster. Her faded foggy memories came into focus as she showered her still aching body.
“That slimy bastard.” She muttered drying her hair with a towel. “Once a cop always a damned cop.” She pursed her lips and went out to find the coffee she smelled and hopefully some Tylenol.
“Good morning.” Cal chuckled and looked at his watch. “Or near afternoon.”
Sasha sat after filling a mug with coffee from the pot on the desk.
She glared at him.
“So you are mad.” Cal waited and cocked his head to the side. “You know it’s mean to tell a detective a juicy tidbit then drop the subject declaring it off bounds.”
She narrowed her eyes and sipped her coffee, downing the Tylenol he left on the table for her.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have pried.”
“You do realize how despicable you are. How could you ply me with booze and question me like that? Did you think talking about it would make it better? News flash detective, it wont, it will make me bitchier and angrier.” She got up, grabbed a Danish from the tray on the table and stormed to her room, once again the door eased closed with a gentle click even though she pushed heavily on it. Tears fell unnoticed and unchecked.
“Why is he so determined to make me talk about it?” She flopped back on the bed remembering that she fell asleep on the couch.She didn’t mind that he put her to bed nor that he put her clothes away. He was undeservedly kind to her.
Sasha was too distracted to focus on work. “This is crap. My idiot boss wants the impossible. I’m meant to fail this. This is how they get rid of people.” She nearly punched her laptop and when Cal knocked on the door, she nearly threw it. “Dammit I’m mad.” She opened the door.
“I ordered lunch. Mad or not, you need to eat.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Stop acting like a child Sasha. One of these days you have to face whatever was done to make you so angry and unhappy.”
She sat at the table. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Her favorite. She picked up her spoon. “I’m not unhappy. Just one week out of the year, sometimes two.”
“But you are angry.”
“Damn right I am. This is really good soup by the way.”
“Why do you let Ben win?” Cal asked taking a bite of sandwich.
“I don’t let any man win.”
“Sooo many pins. Listen, whatever Ben did is done. He, I’m assuming moved on and is happy, therefore you let him win. The thing is Sasha, being alone is sad, not something to be proud of.”
“Listen detective, I’m happy. This crap with Baylor on top of my usual self-pity party week has me off my game. I’m not myself right now. I earned the right to be miserable for two weeks. Drop it.”
Cal lowered his chin. “Nobody earns misery for being betrayed. Even one second of misery means he wins.”
Sasha ate silently. He was right, but she would never admit it out loud. She couldn’t stop her misery, but it only lasted for a little while. Then it faded. Mostly.
“I need a vacation from this fake vacation.” She sighed. “Any word on Baylor?”
“No. Nothing. He’s hurt and hiding. If he has any underground connections he could be treated off record.”
“Great. So why not use me as bait?”
“No way. He’ll up the ante now.”
“Why doesn’t he just give up?”
“Because you got him arrested, hit him with your car and you snubbed him at the bar. Not in that order.”
“Funny you should say that, I didn’t snub him. I… I did. I let him use cheesy lines then said no thank you. Just like with you moments before.”
“I wasn’t cheesy and I didn’t use any lines.”
“You don’t need to. I can tell which you’d use if you had. Happens every time I say no. For some damned reason guys try harder as if I’ll magically change my mind.”
“Why don’t you?” He popped the last bite of grilled cheese in his mouth.
“Drop it.” She held her breath.
Cal swallowed while shaking his head. “Okay Ben ruined you. Wow, he must have been impressive. So what? He gets to be happy and you miserably hate men for the rest of your life?”
“Ugh. I don’t hate men. I just don’t want a boyfriend. It’s why I snubbed you at the bar.”
He smiled slyly. “Who said I was looking for a girlfriend. You assume too much.”
Her mouth fell open. “You are a pig.”
“Now that one’s doubly funny.” He laughed. She took a moment to realize why and laughed too. “Sasha you can’t tell me you locked your heart and libido away for two full years because of one jerk.”
Her face went red and she frowned. “What is wrong with you?”
“Incurable snoop.” He shrugged and looked up startled as the fire alarm went off.
“What?” She jumped up dropping her spoon to the floor.
“Stop.” Cal grabbed her arm as she moved to look at the escape map.
“We have to get out.”
“No. We don’t.” Cal took out his phone and dialed. “Theo do you see smoke?” He listened. “Okay send Ducky around back and call back-up.”
“What’s going on?”
“Relax Sasha. No smoke no fire.”
“Maybe, maybe not.”
“We should leave.”
“Yes and get caught up in all the others panicked and running out the pre-determined exits? We’d be separated in seconds. They’ll call me if there’s real smoke or if they see anything suspicious.” They stared at each other a moment, both thinking the same thing. It’s suspicious.
I know that was a long one thanks for sticking it out. Sasha needs one more push I think. Something to get her back up on her feet. The aftermath was dealt with now I can move the story along.
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