Right on cue, the chief pulls Logan and me away. The opening ceremony is about to start, and Logan was asked to say a few words after the introduction. A few weeks ago, he pulled me to the side and asked if I’d join him on stage as his partner and his brother in blue.
Logan’s previous partner was one of the officers killed on duty years ago, and it only made sense for him to speak of his character. The families of all fallen officers were asked to attend, and we would be presenting them with plaques for the sacrifices they’ve endured. All the funds raised today would go toward a scholarship fund in honor of the ones we lost.
A girl sings the National Anthem, and after the introduction from the chief, we listen as a trumpeter plays taps. Every time I hear that song, it gets to me. It’s hard to listen to without feeling some sort of emotion. As it’s playing, we stand at attention until the song ends. I look out at the families who have tears streaming down their faces, and I begin to choke up. The park is completely silent, and the only noises that can be heard are passing cars on the street.
Logan steps up and clears his throat and composes himself. He speaks of the bravery of the man he once knew, and I proudly stand beside him. I look out into the crowd and glance over at Courtney, and her eyes never leave mine. I can tell she’s touched by his words but I can also see the sadness that’s written all over her face. Speaking about officers killed on duty is not an easy topic, but Logan handles it in a cool and collected manner.
Unspoken words float between Court and me, and it’s hard for me not to go to her and pull her into my arms right now and tell her everything is going to be okay and that I’m going to be okay. But the risk I take for my job is undeniable.
The audience erupts into a loud applause once we hand out all the plaques and walk off the stage. Logan gives me a handshake and pulls me close and gives me a hard hug. He’s not an emotional guy; hell, his wall is as thick as the earth’s core, but talking about losing a partner isn’t easy for him. With his background, loss is something he’s become accustomed to and it hurts knowing he keeps it bottled inside.
“I’ve got your back. Always,” he tells me, and I say it back to him. I’d take a bullet for him any day of the week, and without a doubt, I know he’d do the same for me. A few fellow officers walk up and speak to Logan, and I take it as my cue to go to Court. As I round the back of the stage, soft hands grab mine and twist me around.
Smiling, I turn because Courtney found me first, but as soon as I see brown eyes my happiness vanishes.
What the hell is she doing here?
Mia wraps her arms around my neck and places her lips against mine before I can even process she’s standing in front of me. I push myself back, needing to separate her lips from mine. Seething, I grab her arms from around my neck and place them by her side. I realize for the first time that I feel absolutely nothing for her. No electricity, no love, no connection—absolutely nothing.
“Don’t play hard to get,” she whines in an annoying voice. “I’ve missed you.”
I narrow my eyes at her and can’t help my nostrils from flaring. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“You invited me.”
“No. We aren’t together. Why would you come here?” My voice begins to rise.
“Yes, you did. It was a few months ago. I wanted to support you like I always do.”
Her words catch me off guard because, over the course of our relationship, I’ve invited her to all my work events and not once has she ever showed interest or showed up.
“Bullshit. This is total bullshit, Mia,” I shout, infuriated that she’s come on a day like today.
I study her and she takes a step closer, removing the distance between us. I cross my arms over my chest and glare at her. “You need to leave.”
She places a hand on my arm as she speaks. “That’s no way to treat the love of your life. I love you, Drew. I really want to try and make us work, but you’ve been ignoring my calls, and you don’t respond to my text messages.”
“And yet you didn’t take the hint,” I blurt out, taking another step away from her.
“Well, I’ve had time to think about us, and I want to take it to the next step. I want us to move in together and really give us a chance this time.” She’s smiling, completely delusional to what’s happening here. I’ve heard her words of promised change so many times, I could recite them verbatim. Slowly she licks her lips and begins to undress me with her eyes, giving me that look.