Make it a double, p.25
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       Make It a Double, p.25

         Part #2 of Last Call series by Sawyer Bennett
Page 25

  She gives me a quick okay and hangs up, and I’m proud of her for not breaking down into hysterics. I call Hunter and, without giving him the details, I tell him I have to leave. He tells me to just go, he can be here in five minutes, and the bar won’t fall apart in that time period. As I punch out of the cash register, I hit Wyatt’s number from speed dial.

  “What’s up?” he answers on the third ring.

  “Chad was just here. He’s been watching Alyssa’s house at night. ”

  “What the f**k?”

  “Isn’t there some type of restraining order on him?”

  “Yeah, the judge put an order in place prohibiting him from coming within one hundred yards of her. ”

  “Well, he apparently doesn’t understand that,” I snap at him as I walk out the door of Last Call, pulling my keys from my pocket. “He knows I’ve been going over there after I get off work and that I have a key. Which means he’s been sitting outside her house at two in the morning. ”

  “Where’s he at now?” Wyatt asks.

  I raise my head to look at my car, stopping in my tracks. I answer him through gritted teeth. “He’s standing right beside my car with two of his cronies. ”

  “Do not engage him, Brody,” Wyatt warns me. “I’m five minutes away. ”

  “No need to tell me that, dude. I’ll be cool. ”

  I disconnect and put my phone in my pocket, walking casually to my car. Chad’s BMW is parked right beside it, and he’s leaning back on the hood with his arms crossed over his chest. He smirks at me as I approach, and his buddies stand by idly with their hands in their pockets. I wonder if they know what’s really going on here.

  “Where you running off to?” Chad jeers at me.

  Stopping my progress, I turn my head toward Chad. Pointing my finger at him, I say, “I’m making sure you… you sick, stalking f**k… stay the hell away from Alyssa. ”

  Chad’s face colors beet red, and a quick glance at his friends tells me they’re a little freaked by this interchange. I relax marginally because I can tell they’re not here to stomp my ass into the ground with Chad. In a moment of clarity, I realize he gets his jollies off by playing mind games with people. He would probably piss his pants if I came after him physically.

  Standing up from his car and pulling himself up to his less-than-impressive height of maybe five-ten, he says, “Tell me… is Alyssa worried? Scared? Or do you make her feel safe?”

  I don’t respond, because I know he’s trying to goad me. Instead, I turn toward my car, intent on getting in it and driving to The Haven.

  “Or, do you think she realizes yet… that there’s really no such thing as being truly safe?”

  I pause with my hand on my car door. Looking over the roof at Chad, I say quietly, “If you touch her or hurt her in any way, I will end you. ”

  As the words come out, I realize they’re not so empty any more. I can clearly envision me wrapping my hands around his throat and squeezing the life out of him. God help me, but the consequences of such an action don’t bother me all that much.

  “Think you can take me?” he asks with a creepy sort of curiosity, his head tilted in question. Stepping away from his car, he starts walking around the front of mine. I notice his friends now look uneasy, and I’m positive they didn’t sign up for this.

  When Chad rounds the front of my car, his hand reaches into his pocket and I brace for whatever he may pull out of it. He pauses, observing the way I’m eyeballing him with caution.

  “Worried what I got in here?” he taunts, moving his hand around.

  I don’t take my eyes off his pocket, and I don’t respond. I have no clue what may set this guy off and no clue what the hell he has in there. Could be a tube of Chapstick for all I know.

  Chad starts laughing, and it sounds almost childish. His hand comes out and while I’m poised to lunge if need be, I’m really not all that surprised when he pulls out nothing but his hand poised in the shape of a gun. He points two index fingers at me, his thumb cocked high.

  “Bang,” he says as he pulls his hand back and blows on the ends of his fingers. “Just that easy. ”

  Gravel crunching behind me grabs my attention, and I turn to see Wyatt pulling in the parking lot. He pulls directly in front of our cars and gets out. While he’s a plain-clothes detective, the badge that is clipped to his belt shines in the afternoon sun.

  “Mr. Gates,” Wyatt says affably. “You and your boys need to get in your car and leave. ”

  “Not doing anything, sir. Just chatting and hanging out. ”

  Wyatt turns to me. “You want them here?”

  “Nope,” I say, giving Chad an evil wink.

  He turns back to the three guys. “It’s private property. You’re now officially trespassing. Get going. ”

  Chad gives a bob of his head and a friendly smile to Wyatt. “Sure thing, Officer. ”

  “Detective,” Wyatt corrects.

  Chad nods his head again. “My apologies… Detective. ”

  “And Mr. Gates… let me remind you of that restraining order that’s in place. I’ll be making sure officers check on Miss Myers’ house frequently. Would hate to catch you near there and take you back to jail. ”

  Walking backward toward his car, Chad smiles merrily at Wyatt. “One hundred yards, right? I’m good with distances. No worries. ”

  Chad climbs in his car along with his friends, pulling slowly out of the parking lot. When they are gone from sight, I slam my hand on the roof of my car. “Fuck. ”

  “What’s your take?” is all he asks.

  “Seriously twisted. This was all a mind game to him, but his message is clear… he’s not done with Alyssa. And you heard him… he’ll be at least a hundred and one yards nearby. He’s not afraid of getting caught. ”

  “You know there’s nothing the police can do unless we catch him breaching that order. ”

  “I know,” I tell him in frustration as I open the car door. “I’m heading to The Haven to get Alyssa. I think she needs someone with her 24/7. ”

  “Agreed,” he says. “Up for a pizza party at her house and we’ll gather everyone to discuss?”

  “Seven o’clock?”

  “See you then. ”


  Alyssa is embarrassed that I’ve gathered all of our friends to discuss her stalking, crazy ass, psycho ex-boyfriend. I’m not sure why… it’s not like she made him this way. Hunter and Gabby are here, along with Gabby’s old roommate, Savannah, who is also friends with Alyssa and volunteers at least once a week at The Haven. Wyatt came, of course, and rounding out the group is Casey, who is chewing on her lip in worry.

  After we scarf down some pizza, we all sit around on Alyssa’s back deck, because it’s a gorgeous, warm night, and listen as Wyatt gives a summary of what’s been going on. I’m sitting beside Alyssa on a bench built into the deck railing, our legs touching slightly. As Wyatt talks about the restraining order, I notice Alyssa’s hands on her lap are shaking slightly… barely noticeable. Reaching over, I pick up one her hands and lace our fingers together. She doesn’t turn to look at me or acknowledge me in any way, other than to squeeze my hand tightly.

  Glancing around, I see all of our friends are raptly listening to Wyatt.

  All except Casey.

  She’s staring at me with a misty smile. Her eyes drop to where Alyssa and I are holding hands, and then raise back up to meet mine. Her smile deepens, and she need not say a word. My sister is beyond happy for me.

  When Wyatt finishes, I tell them about my run in with Chad at the bar this afternoon. Hunter curses, and Gabby looks sick to her stomach. Alyssa’s hand squeezes tighter against mine. This is the second time she’s heard the Chad story, and I don’t think it’s less upsetting this time around. My girl is scared, and that pisses me off.

  “I’ve run a background check on this guy, and he’s clean. So either he’s never done this before to an
other woman—”

  “Or he’s covered his tracks,” Casey supplies.

  “Right,” Wyatt agrees. “But this guy is too cool about it all. He’s not intimidated by the police. ”

  “Or me,” I add on.

  “Here’s what I don’t understand,” Savannah says as she stands up. She’s normally shy and quiet, but I think the very real possibility that Alyssa is in danger has her busting out of her shell temporarily. “This guy is smart. He’s educated, comes from money, and has everything to lose by doing this. Maybe he’s just playing mind games, and that’s all this is. ”

  “I tend to agree with you,” Wyatt says. “He’d have to be seriously deranged to risk everything he has, and I think… chances are… he’s going to get tired of it and move on. But—”

  “We can’t take the chance,” Gabby says. “Not with Alyssa. So what’s the game plan?”

  “Someone needs to be with Alyssa at all times,” I command. “I’ll be with her during the day at The Haven and after I get off work. ”

  “I can give you some time off for a few weeks,” Hunter says. “That way you could be with her 24/7. ”

  “That’s not a bad idea,” I muse.

  “She can stay with us too,” Gabby interjects. “That way you can work, and she can come over to our house until you get off work. ”

  Alyssa releases my hand suddenly and stands up. “Can everyone please just stop? You are all freaking me out. No one is going to disrupt their lives because of this. We go on as normal, and I’ll be careful. But Brody, you are not taking off work, and I am not staying at anyone’s house. I want to live my life the way I normally live it. ”

  I don’t say a word because if I had my way, I’d tie Alyssa to me with a chain and cart her around with me every minute of the day. So I stay seated and watch how this plays out.

  Wyatt tries to reason with her. “Alyssa… this isn’t forever. It’s just for a while, and we only want to keep you safe. ”

  Casey walks over to Alyssa and holds onto her shoulders. “Let us help, Alyssa. We are worried sick. ”

  Shaking her head, Alyssa leans in and gives Casey a quick hug. When she pulls back, she turns around and looks individually at each of her friends. “I love you, guys… a lot. But I’m not going to live my life constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for the boogeyman to jump out at me. I’m not going to have anyone babysitting me. And that’s final. ”

  Gabby turns to me with a frustrated look on her face. “Talk some sense into her, Brody. ”

  I pin Gabby with a thoughtful look, and then turn to Alyssa. Holding my hand out to her, she hesitates for only a second before taking it. I pull her to me, right down onto my lap so her back is resting against my chest. Wrapping my arms around her, I put my lips near her ear. “Are you sure about this?”

  She nods, placing her arms over mine and squeezing me tight.

  I look back at Gabby and although it goes against every bit of common sense I have, I say, “It’s her choice. Everyone, let’s just be vigilant and hope this asswipe gets tired of this game. ”

  Everyone sort of nods and murmurs assent, but all that matters is what Alyssa wants. She leans her head back on my shoulder and whispers, “Thank you. ”

  Chapter 20


  “I think you’re making a mistake,” Casey says for the third time since we ordered our breakfast.

  “Shut it, Case,” I tell her with a glare that doesn’t do more than make her smirk at me. “I’m not going on a babysitting roster. ”

  Casey huffs and reaches across the table to steal one of my sausages. My hand shoots out and slaps hers on the back… not overly hard but with enough of a sting that she yelps and pulls it back quickly.

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