Get Me Off:A Dark Bad Boy RomanceBy: Brook Wilder
It was a quarter to eight as I drove down Main Street in my beat up, old pickup truck. The temperature was already at least eighty and climbing, and my poor car’s engine was starting to hitch from the heat. It sputtered and died just a block from the courthouse, and I swiftly popped it into neutral and coasted smoothly into a nearby parking spot. As I killed the engine, I thought back to the first time this truck had died on me. I’d panicked and almost swerved into a pedestrian trying to cross the road. That was on my way to my second day at work and here I was, two weeks later, already an old pro at dealing with stalled engines.
I sighed as I threw open the door and hopped out onto the sidewalk. I desperately needed a new car, but my salary as a defense attorney in this tiny desert town wouldn’t allow for a luxury like that. You would think an Ivy League girl like myself would be driving something a little more high end, but, unlike the rest of my classmates who relied on their parent’s wealth, I had to make my own way in life. After four years of undergrad and three years at law school, what little was left of my pay check after bills and groceries went to paying off student loans. With a sigh, I reached into the bed of my car, grasping for the bottle of antifreeze. I found it and hoisted it out, noticing it felt light. Shit. I’d run out last Friday and had completely forgotten to pick up more. I threw the empty bottle back into the bed and jumped back into the cab, hoping I had a bottle of water to cool the engine. I found nothing, cursing and slamming my hand on the steering wheel. It could take all day for the engine to cool off now, especially since there was no shade to speak of on the street. I’d be surprised if I’d even be able to drive home at the end of the work day.
My only choice was to walk now, but thankfully it was only a block. I grabbed my purse from the front seat and tied my long, black hair back into a ponytail before slamming the car door shut. It was a windy day, as well as a hot one, and I kept my eyes trained on the pavement as the breeze kicked up the dust and sand that seemed to be ever-present in Black Rock, Arizona.
“Hey, you! Yeah you, girlie! You're a pretty one,” a harsh voice called out. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”
I looked up and saw two surly looking men sitting on the run down porch of the bar that the bikers in town used as their hangout. It was an eyesore of a building that sat close to the courthouse, so I was forced to walk past it almost every day. I ignored the one catcalling me and kept walking. This apparently pissed him off, judging by the torrent of obscenities he started hurling at my back.
“Shut up, Tex, she’s not interested,” another voice said, presumably the other man on the porch. I wasn’t about to turn around to find out.
I heard the sounds of a fight breaking out between the two men and started walking faster. It was far too early in the day to be witness to a crime, and, besides, I already knew how it would all turn out. The owner of the bar, whose name I didn’t know and didn’t care to ask, would do his best to calm the boys down, and no one would call the cops. No one ever called the cops for anything less than a murder here, and it was a fifty-fifty chance even then. People seemed to like handling things on their own terms here, which made my job as a defense attorney a challenge.
I did my best to wipe the morning’s events out of my mind as I climbed the courthouse steps, but it was no use. I’d come into work with a plan today, and what had happened to me on the way here only seemed to galvanize my course. I stopped by the break room first for a cup of coffee. It was sludge at best, but it was free and available. I longed for the luxury of just swinging by a coffee house, but unless I opened one myself, that was not an option in this town. I then headed to my office to get settled for the day. The room was tiny, barely big enough for my desk, but at least I could say that I had an office all to myself. I stood in the threshold for a moment, trying to get as much coffee into me as I could before I headed off to the main task of the morning. I needed all the caffeine and strength I could get.
After I finished my cup, I threw it in the trash and started to march down the hall. The offices that comprised the Fulbright Firm took up a small section of a hallway on the second floor of the courthouse, and I only had to pass two other doors before I arrived at my destination. After taking a deep breath, I knocked on the door and entered after the voice inside invited me in.