“Hey,” I protested. “You’re the same age as me. You aren’t allowed to call me old.”

“Yeah, but you’re beautiful.” He smiled wryly, as if he’d been caught in the middle of stealing something. “You’re the type of woman we all fall over ourselves to meet. I’m…” he searched for the right word. “Tired. Tired and heartbroken.”

“Don’t worry.” I reached up and brushed his hair off his forehead, then stopped, the motion too intimate. “That can be an irresistible combination to some women. Tired and heartbroken is the most common search engine query among attractive women aged nineteen to thirty.”

He laughed. “Okay, Elle Bell.” He closed his eyes. “Thanks for trying to cheer me up.”

The nickname was one he hadn’t used in years, not since I would shack up at his and Easton’s apartment, senior year. I almost teared up from nostalgia and leaned forward, wrapping my arms around him in a hug. “It’ll be okay,” I said softly. “I know it will.”

We jumped apart when something hammered on the roof of the car and I looked over to see Chelsea jumping beside the door and rattling the handle. I unlocked the door and slid back to my place on the seat as she clambered in, followed by an exasperated Easton.

“Got it,” she said cheerfully. “Though they made me spin on the pole to earn it back from the manager.”

“Yeah, that wasn’t how that happened,” Easton responded, closing the door and pulling me onto his lap. “If I hadn’t gone in, she’d still be on that pole.”

Chelsea launched into her version of events and I knotted my fingers through Easton’s, smiling when he lifted my hand up to his mouth and kissed it. Out of the corner of my eye, my gaze caught on Aaron who watched us, his own smile tinged in sadness.

I tried to catch his gaze, but he dropped his head back on the seat and closed his eyes, his arms crossing protectively over his chest.

13

LAS VEGAS POLICE INTAKE FORM

Name: Chelsea Pedicant

Offense: Indecency, Propositioning an Officer

Location: 3570 S Las Vegas Boulevard

Penalty: $500 fine and one night in jail

Report:

Ms. Pedicant approached cavalry officers stationed at the entrance to The Majestic on foot and appeared heavily intoxicated. She proceeded to hang onto Officer Stanton, who was also on foot. Upon being instructed to step back, she began attempting to disrobe from her wedding gown, but had trouble unfastening the back loops. Turning her back to Officer McGully, she asked for his assistance with the dress, then asked if he was “hung like his horse.” Upon repeated commands to put her dress back on and move away from the officers, she was read her rights and then detained.

“This is your fault.” I chucked a tater tot at Aaron’s head from my spot on the hood. Swinging my legs gently, I watched as our limo driver lit up a cigarette on the far side of the police station. He hadn’t seemed at all bothered by Chelsea’s arrest, and maybe this was common-place in the city of sin.

“Hey, I told her to get directions from them.” Aaron held up his palms in innocence. “I didn’t ask her to start humping the guy’s leg.”

“She’s referring to the part where you told Chelsea that cops counted double in the kiss count.” Easton sat beside me, a cheeseburger in one hand, drink in the other.

I stole the soda from him and sucked on the straw. “Yeah. Plus, you knew what you were doing. Sending Chelsea over to a trio of uniforms is like putting cotton candy in front of kids.” I had my own police fantasy, one I visited with frequent regularity, every time I sped through Coral Gables.

“Is there a reason you are in such a rush?” The officer would peer down at me, his gaze lingering on the open neck of my shirt, the top four buttons undone, my lace bra in full view.

My apologies and flustered explanations would be ignored, his expression getting sterner as he instructed me to step out of the car and move around to the passenger side, out of the view of the traffic. There, he’d tell me to put my hands on the roof of the car. He’d run his hands down my back and over my hips. He’d tell me to widen my stance and would sweep his hands up my bare legs and underneath my loose skirt. His breath would quicken when he realized I wasn’t wearing any underwear. He’d run his hand in between my legs and swear when he discovered how wet I was. His hand would tighten on my shoulders and I would hear the indecision in his silence as he warred between what he should do and what he wanted to do.

“Touch me again,” I’d begged. “Please, officer. I need it so badly.”

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