Disclaimer

copyright: i own and control these characters and the world they’re stuck in.

sex/subtext: subtext? of course.

violence: a smidge, yes.

 

Note:  i just want to thank everybody that emailed me, asking me to continue with the uber. i didn't think i'd get such a great response. i thought everybody that read it would be like, 'argh not another xena police officer story again.' but i didn't get that at all and i was just surprised how many emails i did receive from readers. thank you again everybody and this story is continuing because i heard so many good things. so i hope ya'll enjoy.

 

feedback: can be directed to me at red_hope@yahoo.com

website: http://www.redhope.net

 

started: August 28, 2003 – Thursday

 

Series 3: Putting the Puzzle Together    Series Number: 19                 Story Number: 57

 

 

Maryland State Trooper #1153

The Test Trial Ứber

by Red Hope

 

 

Part I

Ashley lifted the thin but long knob up next to her steering wheel. Her car suddenly took control of the speed and kept it at a constant sixty miles per hour. Ashley yawned a little then stretched her legs out between the pedals. The ride back home had been rather long for her since she was headed back from Lancaster Pennsylvania. She wasn’t even sure why she was bothering to drive this far anymore but she was dating.

For the past six months, she’d been with Laurel after they’d met at a bar in Fell’s Point near the Baltimore Inner Harbour. They’d hit it off pretty well and after a few nights out together, they decided to stick it out together. Although, Ashley hadn’t known that Laurel actually lived up in Lancaster until Laurel decided to tell her she was moving up there.

At first, Ashley had been tempted to break up with Laurel just for that and well because of the distance too. Yet, here she was driving back home a little after midnight headed back home after just seeing Laurel. She had yet to understand how she always ended up driving up to see Laurel and Laurel never drove down to really see her.

Ashley shook her thoughts away then reached up to wipe away her own tiredness. It didn’t seem to help and what didn’t help any better was the fact her car was rather warm right now. She sighed and decided a little fresh, brisk air was what she needed to wake up. She reached over and turned off her heater then slipped her hand down to hit the window button. She pushed it briskly and the windows used their express feature so that they went down automatically. Ashley’s rich midnight hair suddenly started to fly up from the cool air coming in from the open window.

The sudden jolt of cold air woke Ashley up immediately and it made her sigh happily.  She’d been driving this road for about half an hour, maybe more now but it’d been too long as far as she was concerned. She did know she was still in Pennsylvanian especially considering the condition of the back road. There was also very little traffic to speak of especially considering how late it was anyway.

But then Ashley noted an old Blazer not far ahead that was driving rather slowly as well. She eventually caught up to it but remained steady behind it despite she had the urge to zip around them. She tilted her head to the left some and took a second to reset her cruise control to a slower speed. Like an old habit, she began to study the car’s details as well as the occupant.

It was a white Chevy Blazer with a little chrome running down the sides. The license plate was from Pennsylvania, which was hardly lit up. That bothered Ashley sum but she shrugged it off as she focused on the driver. She assumed the person was a male and rather tired or distracted one since he kept going off the white line every now and again.

Then it occurred to her, there was also a passenger in the car as well. She hadn’t noticed at first because they seemed rather small plus their head had been resting on the passenger door. Suddenly, Ashley saw the driver turn the Blazer to the right onto the shoulder and turn onto a dark, dirt road.

Ashley furrowed her eyebrows but drove onwards anyway. She started to slow down, as she became worried for some reason. She pulled off to the side of the road and turned her headlights off. She kept her foot on the brake as she turned and looked back at the dirt road. She continued to watch the Blazer travel down the dirt road and throwing up dust. Suddenly the Blazer jerked to the right then swerved back onto the road before running off the road into a field.

Ashley narrowed her eyes then she reached down with her right hand to shift her car into reverse. Her car sped down the road, past the entrance of the dirt road then stopped. Ashley shifted the gears again, doubled checked to make sure all her lights were off then she turned down the dirt road.

As she quietly and slowly travelled down the road, she reached across her car and opened her glove compartment. She pulled out a 9mm gun and a pair of handcuffs. She controlled the wheel with her left hand while she slipped the gun between her pants behind her back. She then dropped her handcuffs in her right back pocket. Just ahead, she saw the Blazer and it’d stopped in the middle of the road with its headlights still running.

Ashley quickly but slightly stopped her car and remained in her car. She realized the passenger had gotten out of the car and was on the ground, she figured the passenger must have jumped since the passenger door was wide open. The driver was already out and racing around his car after the smaller person. The passenger had gotten up onto their feet and was already running when the driver lunged at them. Both people went crashing to the ground and rolling off the road onto the side of a field.

Ashley didn’t wait any longer. She threw open her car door and hastily sprinted towards the pair.

“You bitch!” yelled a man’s voice.

The passenger was underneath the man and rather stuck. They were trying to fight against the driver but the struggling wasn’t working.

Ashley heard a female yell then there was a loud smack against skin. She wasn’t far from them so she reached behind her shirt with her right hand.

The driver lifted his right hand, fisted and prepared to bring it down. He grinned as he saw the other person’s fearful look but then his grin slowly slipped away. He’d already felt the cold circle pressed against the back of his head.

“If you do that I can guarantee you that you’ll be dead,” whispered a deep, angry voice.

The driver actually considered it for a second but then he heard the gun’s hammer being pulled back. He now had the fearful look as he lowered his hand down.

“Now get up with your hands behind your back,” ordered Ashley. “You make any move and I will pull this trigger.”

The driver moved his hands to his back then carefully lifted himself up to his feet.

“Go to your car,” continued to order Ashley. Ashley kept her gun behind his head. She took a quick glance at the other person and realized it was a woman as she suspected. She quickly looked away when she realized the woman’s blouse was ripped. She returned her focus to the driver and marched him back to his car.

The driver came to the open passenger door and was temped to do something but with the gun against his head it made him rethink that idea.

Ashley reached forward and shut the door. She saw that the man was about to turn around but she growled, “Keep your back to me and put your hands up and palms against the side of the car.”

The man followed the orders and remained motionless.

Ashley lowered her gun but leaned forward with her left hand coming up. Her index finger and thumb came around the back of the man’s neck, she began to squeeze.

The driver suddenly sucked his breath in when he could barely breathe.

“Listen to me good,” whispered Ashley, “don’t ever try this again. Or I’ll make sure to hunt you down if I find out you’ve done something like this again. Is that clear?”

The driver opened his mouth to answer but suddenly the piercing pain in his neck shot up. He could only nod now.

“Good,” purred Ashley. She lifted her head up and straightened up to her full height. She took a faint step back and lifted her gun up but now holding it by the barrel. She suddenly slugged the man over the head. She watched as he fell to the ground but leaning face forward into the Blazer. She then heard a scuffing noise behind her and she’d just remembered the younger woman. She looked back at her. “Get into my car,” she ordered.

The girl looked up from the unconscious man and peered up at Ashley. “I….”

Ashley sighed when she saw how scared and shaken the girl was despite she tried to keep a calm look. “Please get into my car, you’ll be fine. I promise.” Ashley reached into her right pocket and extracted her inferred key. She pointed it at her car and clicked a button on the keypad.

Suddenly the car’s lights flashed and it unlocked.

The young woman looked away from Ashley’s car and said, “I need my stuff out of his car.”

“I’ll get it,” promised Ashley. “Go ahead.”

The young woman faintly nodded and dropped her head. She tightened her arms that were around her body, which held her blouse closed as well. She went to Ashley’s car and climbed into it.

Once Ashley heard the car slam shut, she returned her attention to the unconscious man. She shook her head at him then grabbed the door’s handle. She flung it open and poked her head in, her eyes resting exactly on the girl’s bag of stuff. She reached in and pulled out the heavy pack. She swung it across her back and slammed the door shut. As she knelt down, she reached behind her right pocket and pulled out her handcuffs. “You’re lucky I’m off duty today,” whispered Ashley.

The man seemed to hear her as he groaned.

Ashley sighed and snapped one of the handcuffs around his right wrist. She then stood up but still holding the other end of the handcuffs. She slightly dragged the man closer to the right and locked the other cuff threw the handle of the door. “You’re even luckier you’re not in my district.” She reached behind and put her gun away.

Looking back at her car, she saw the smaller woman huddled to one side of her car. She sighed but went to her car and opened the rear driver’s door and dropped the girl’s stuff in the seat. She then shut the door and opened the driver’s door, she climbed into her seat. “Are you okay?” she quietly asked.

“Yeah,” replied the young woman. She looked over and gave a reassuring smile.

Ashley faintly lifted an eyebrow because she could tell this girl was still shaken. She knew though that was something only time could fix. She pulled her inferred key out of her jean pocket and inserted it into the ignition. After the key and ignition read each other, she turned the key and her car immediately started up. “Put your seat belt on,” ordered Ashley.

The young woman didn’t hesitate when she got the direct order. She reached back and pulled the seat belt around. She bent forward some and snapped the belt into place. As she lifted her eyes, she couldn’t help but notice the metal object shining in the dash area. For a moment, she just stared at it then quickly straightened up.

Ashley hadn’t noticed her staring at any thing, she was too busy reversing the car down the dirt road. “I’m Ashley by the way.”

The young woman knew her savoir was trying to start some kind of conversation. “I’m Katia.”

Ashley’s eyes flickered from the rear view mirror to Katia then back up to the mirror. She then saw the end of the dirt room coming up so she turned and looked out her back window. She backed up her car onto the road but made sure to turn the wheel to the left. She stopped the car then shifted gears and continued travelling down the road towards home. “So Katia, where are you from?”

Katia quietly sighed and ran her fingers through short blond hair. After her hand was back in her lap, she replied, “The Eastern Shore.”

“You’re a little ways from home, huh?” Ashley could tell this younger woman was getting a little nervous. She sighed and said, “Can you grab that notepad there on my dash?”

Katia sat forward some and grabbed the notepad and pen that were tucked down in the little nook in the dash.

“Open it up,” instructed Ashley, “and write something for me.”

Katia flipped to a blank page and clicked the pen.

“Write the time and date.” Ashley waited until she heard Katia finished scribbling down the information. “Then write down PA 176HR0.”

Katia wrote the numbers and letters down and it struck her. Ashley was recording the Blazer’s tag number. She sighed and flipped the cover back over the notepad then put it back into its place. Her eyes met with the same metal object again when she put the notepad beside it. She sat up again and quietly said, “You’re a cop huh?”

Ashley focused on the long turn ahead then finally answered the question. “Sure am.” She glanced at the younger woman then back at the dark road ahead. “Or a pig.”

Katia quickly peered up when she heard Ashley use that slang name for police officers. “Well….” She peered down at the badge in the dash then back up at Ashley. “They’re the cops that tend to only eat donuts and do nothing else but hand out speeding tickets,” she tried to joke.

The amused Ashley started to quietly chuckle. “I see. I take it you’ve had a speeding ticket or two.”

“No,” confessed the young woman, “But I did get a warning once.”

“Oh?” The officer now had an interested look.

Katia smiled some and she finally felt relaxed around the older woman. “Yeah I was doing like seventy in a fifty-five.”

“And you got a warning?” complained the officer.

“Yeah well… my uncle is a judge,” joked the young woman.

Ashley’s eyebrows went up high. “You told the officer that?”

“Well no because I’d probably get a higher ticket then.” Katia chuckled. “I don’t know why he let me off, honestly. But other than that, the only other time I got stopped by a cop was for another warning.”

“What was this one?”

“My brake lights were out.” Katia sighed and shook her head. “And on my car it has this indicator that tells me if any of my lights go out. So I played the duh game with the sheriff and pointed at my indicator.”

Ashley felt an amused grin pull at her lips. “You must have a Mercedes then.”

“Yeah I do,” agreed Katia. Then a smiled pulled at her lips. “But not as nice is your one.” She then began to scan the car as if it was the first time she realized she was in one. “What year is it?”

“1998… it’s a C230.”

Its beautiful,” commented Katia. “I have a fondness for them.”

“Mmmm,” agreed Ashley. “What type do you have?”

Katia huffed and straightened back in her seat after looking in the back. “An old 1990 190E.” She shrugged and looked at Ashley. “What can I say… she’s good to me.

“That’s important,” reminded Ashley. She then noticed Katia had gone silent again and was huddling to the door side of the car. “Where from the Eastern Shore are you from?”

Katia knew these questions would be coming soon. She dropped her head against the cool window. “Chestertown Maryland but I go to college at Salisbury.”

Salisbury University?” suggested Ashley.

Katia faintly nodded and took a deep breath.

“So why are you around here?”

Katia just shrugged and tried to stray around the subject. “Just on a weekend trip,” she brushed off.

Ashley could tell the prying would be hard especially since she was use to being a cop and just getting straightforward answers. “Well… I’ll take you to my home for tonight. I think it’s a little late to be travelling to Salisbury tonight.” She glanced over and saw Katia had closed her green eyes as if to end the talking. “Get some rest… it’s a long drive to my place.”

Katia faintly nodded and started to actually drift off. She felt a little chilled in the car but ignored it as she began to slip away. For once, she actually felt safe and she wasn’t sure if it was the badge sitting in the dash or just simply because of Ashley. Whatever it was it helped her slowly fall asleep.

Ashley sighed and tried to remain focused on her driving. She wasn’t tired like earlier because her body was still feeding off the remains of the adrenaline rush from earlier. She quickly looked at Katia and noticed she was cold. She sighed and turned the heater up some but not too much because she knew she’d boil over. So then she flicked the switch for the heated seat on Katia’s side.

Ashley continued driving down route 1 until she connected with route 273 and went through a small town in northern Maryland. It wasn’t long until she connected with I-95 and headed south for Baltimore. Occasionally she would glance over and see Katia sound asleep. She could only wonder why this girl was so far from home or college right now. Although she knew exactly what Katia was doing but she didn’t know why. Many things in a person’s life can drive them to runaway and believe they can escape their life.

After about another hour, Ashley took the ramp and went onto the beltway around Baltimore then it wasn’t long before she got onto route 83 and headed north yet again. Every now and again, Katia would take the long cut around and tonight was one of those times. It wasn’t long before she took her last exit and went into the small area called Hunt Valley. She drove down a large road named Shawan then came to an intersection, she made a right onto York road.

Ashley couldn’t wait to get home now especially considering she’d have an early morning tomorrow. She drove north on York road for a ways then once she got past the Wal-mart and over the small bridge, she made a right into a housing complex. Driving down the road, she went to her house. She decided not to bother with the garage tonight since she’d be getting up in a few hours anyway. She parked her car in her small paved driveway in front of the closed garage. She turned off her car and unbuckled her belt.

For a second, she didn’t move and just stared at Katia. She debated what to do but with a sigh, she grabbed her badge off the dash and jumped out of her car. She then opened the back driver’s door and pulled out Katia’s backpack. She slung it around and put both straps on then walked to the other side of the car. She had Katia’s door open and it had yet to wake the young woman.

“I bet she could sleep through an earthquake,” joked Ashley quietly to herself. She leaned down after putting the car key in her mouth and stretched her long arm out and unhooked the seatbelt. Carefully she slipped one arm behind Katia’s back and the other under her knees. Ashley held her breath as she backed up and lifted the woman at the same time.

Katia moaned softly and suddenly a shock rippled through her when she realized that she was in midair.

The officer pulled the young woman in tightly and stepped back. With her right foot, she gently shut the car door.

Katia opened her eyes some and peered up at Ashley.

“Before you fall asleep,” muttered Ashley between the key, “take this key.”

The sleepy Katia reached up and pulled the key from the other woman’s mouth.

“Thanks.” Ashley adjusted the woman in her arms more and then quietly said, “Click on that large button for me.”

Katia faintly nodded and clicked on the button. Ashley’s Mercedes flashed its front lights and the doors all locked. She had a silly grin at how the key made the car do that. She then rested her head against Ashley's shoulder and her eyes drifted shut.

The officer grinned some and saw how Katia was so relaxed around her. She turned around and walked onto the small path to the front of her house. She then almost cussed aloud when she realized her house keys were in her pockets, which required a hand to pull out.

But Ashley had a little hope and thought maybe she’d been in a real rush and left the door open earlier. “Katia,” whispered Ashley.

The young woman woke up some but she was rather dazed.

“Grab the door for me,” uttered the older woman.

Katia blinked and looked of her left shoulder. She then stretched out her left hand and grabbed the doorknob. She turned it and pushed the door some.

Ashley sighed in relief even though it was dumb of her to leave her house unlocked. She stepped into the dark house but she used her left shoulder blade to flip the switch on the wall beside the door. She then kicked behind and shut the door. Straight-ahead were the steps to go up stairs and she quickly flew up them. Off to her right was her bedroom and she went in there to deposit Katia in the middle of the double bed.

After Ashley rid herself of Katia’s pack, she went to one side of the bed. She carefully collected the car key from Katia’s hand. She then took off the young woman’s shoes.

Katia had been sleeping the entire time but rather lightly. She soon heard Ashley’s voice calling her name and she heard Ashley asking her to sit up. She sat up and faintly cracked her eyes open. She sensed Ashley taking her torn blouse off and then a cool tee-shirt covered her body. The next thing she knew she was being pulled under comfy flannel bed sheets and tucked in for the night.

The officer remained on the edge of the bed after pulling the covers over Katia. She sighed then stood up. She went to her dresser and pulled out a pair of flannel pants and a tee-shirt. She went to the bathroom next door and quickly changed into her clothes. Afterwards, she went back into her bedroom and put all her items on the dresser along with her gun and badge. After chucking her dirty clothes in the laundry basket, she quietly left the room and shut the door.

Ashley crept back down stairs and went into her living room where she smiled at her huge, comfy couch she’d fallen asleep on in past times. She went over to it and fell into it. She stretched her long legs out and reached up to jerk off the huge blanket she kept on it during fall and winter. She threw the blanket over her body and snuggled in as her couch warmed up.

Before she almost forgot, she reached across to the glass coffee table that had her spare alarm clock. She shoved several magazines out of the way until her hand found the clock. She always kept one down here since she had a tendency to fall asleep here. She set her alarm clock to seven thirty in the morning and when it read two sixteen the morning already, she sighed at it. She just rolled over onto her side and closed her eyes; it wasn’t long before she drifted asleep.

 

Part II

Katia rolled onto her back and groaned a little. She almost drifted back into her deep sleep except a rattling noise pulled her awake more. She started to woke up more and last night’s events seemed to filter back into her mind. She opened her eyes quickly when she heard somebody move.

“Its okay,” soothed a deep voice.

Katia stared at the police officer standing at the foot of the bed. “Wh….” She didn’t finish her question when she realized it was Ashley. Her confused expression broke and she blushed some when Ashley grinned at her.

“Forgot about that huh?” Ashley grinned and her hands moved up to clamp onto her large belt buckle.

“What time is it?” whispered Katia.

“About eight o’clock.” The officer turned around and stepped closer to her dresser. Her handcuffs on the back of her belt rattled in protest. She reached up and pulled her gun and badge off. She slipped her gun away into its holster then turned around with her hands up and pinning her badge into place.

Katia watched her hook the badge into its spot on her chest. She then found blue eyes lifting up to her.

“Stay here today,” suggested Ashley. “I assume you have no classes on a Saturday.”

Katia simply shook her head.

“Good because I think you need some rest.” Ashley walked over to Katia and gripped her belt buckle again with both hands. She bent her right knee then continued to talk. “I can take you home or back to your college tomorrow… if you want.” She could tell she wasn’t going to get an answer anytime soon from Katia. She also knew she could not hold Katia especially since she was over eighteen. “Think about it, Katia.”

“I will,” uttered the college student. She dropped her eyes for a moment but lifted her gaze back up. She stared at Ashley as a police officer and decided Ashley looked really nice in uniform. “Are you state or local?”

“I’m state police,” answered the officer. She then freed her left hand and reached up into her shirt pocket. She pulled out a card and handed it to the young woman. “This has the number to my barracks and also my cell phone number. I don’t always answer my cell phone because I can’t hear it, I’m too busy getting shot at or… just out of reception.”

Katia gulped and looked down at the card after she’d taken it. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“No problem.” Ashley turned around and went back to her dresser. She kept her back to Katia as she grabbed something off her dresser.

Katia curiously watched as the tall woman pulled her dark hair up and used a hair tie to keep it in a bundle.

Ashley then grabbed something else off of the dresser and turned around. “Get some rest today, okay? Call if you need anything and I’ll be back around four or five. Feel free to use anything in the house.” She then stepped over to the door.

Katia noted the brown hat in Ashley’s right hand. She peered up at the warm blue eyes that stared at her.

“Go back to sleep,” ordered Ashley. She lifted her right hand and put her large brimmed hat on then she smiled.

Katia couldn’t help but smile and she wasn’t sure if it was because of the transformation Ashley took on or because of the smile, maybe both. “Bye.”

Ashley tilted her hat some then walked out but called, “Bye.”

Katia sighed and closed her eyes. She could hear Ashley going down stairs then leaving the house. Slowly she opened her eyes again when she felt the paper item in her right hand. She lifted her right hand up over her head then opened her eyes. “Ashley Carver,” she read aloud, “Maryland State Police huh?” She looked to her left and saw a nightstand; she carefully placed it down on the nightstand.

That was when she caught sight of a framed picture. She rolled onto her left side and studied the picture closer. She knew the woman to the left in the picture was Ashley but she did not recognize the other woman at all. She furrowed her eyebrows as she tried to place where they were standing in the photo. Behind them was some kind of large building with a set of neon lights that made wave design and large buildings just behind like in a city.

Katia huffed then studied the other woman more carefully. She was just about as tall as Ashley but she had bright blond almost white hair. Her smile was huge and her eyes were like a hazel. For some reason, Katia shivered just from looking at her.

Deciding she’d seen enough of the photo, she rolled into her back again and closed her eyes. After a few deep breaths, she began to drift back into her sleep. She couldn’t argue with Ashley, she still felt exhausted and a little more sleep would help. After awhile, Katia’s little bit of sleep turned into three and half hours and she soon woke up just before eleven in the morning.

Katia finally rolled out of bed and actually felt pretty good. She was sitting on the edge of the bed and still letting herself wake up. Her feet hung off the side of the bed and didn’t touch the floor. She blinked and rubbed her face some then stood up. Her feet met the rug floor and she squeezed her sock-covered feet in the thick rug.

“Wish I could do this every day,” she muttered. Katia then spotted her pack sitting on a chair near a window. She went over to it and picked up her heavy pack. “Goddamn what did I pack in here?” she grumbled to herself. She hauled it back to the bag and tossed it onto the bed. “Should check my messages.”

Katia hopped back onto the bed, her left foot dangling off the side and her right leg crossed on the bed. She unzipped a small side pocket on the front of her bag and pulled out her cell phone. She’d turned it off when she left her college, which was back on Thursday. She could only imagine how many messages and voice mails she may or may not have on her cell phone.

With a heavy sigh, she flipped open the LG cell phone and pressed the power button. It took a few seconds for her cell phone to start up but once it did and logged into the system, it started blinking and ringing like crazy.

“Great!” complained Katia. “Just super.” She shook her head and further complained. “You disappear and then everybody decides to call yah.” She first decided to deal with the three text messages she had on her cell phone. She already knew who sent them.

“Mike… that figures.” Katia read Mike’s message first, which basically was him begging her to call. “Next message.” She scrolled down and found the next one from Sara. “Yeah, yeah I’ll call you too,” she grumbled. The last message was from Erin, who also wanted to know where she was and why she hadn’t seen her around. “Guess I outta start with Mike,” muttered Katia.

Katia backed out of the messages then went into her phonebook. She searched for Michael O’Brian then clicked the send button. She lifted the cell phone to her ear and listened to it ring.

Mike was one of Katia’s closest friends on the campus and he also happened to be one of her cluster mates. Katia lived on campus and in her dorm, she was down a small hall away from the main hall. In the small hall were three separate rooms with two students per room. Then there was also a small bathroom that all six students would share. That type of setup was called a cluster and Mike happened to be one of the guys that lived in her cluster. He was also gay.

“Hey Mike,” greeted Katia. She sighed when she heard the first question out of Mike’s mouth. “No, I’m fine.” She paused then repeated herself, “I’m fine, Mike… honestly.” She dropped her head some and stared at the flannel bed sheets. “I’m at a cop’s house.” She felt a small grin tug at her lips. “Yeah right… she arrested me.” She reached forward with her left hand and smoothed out the flannel blanket. “Her name is Ashley, Ashley Carver and I don’t know… she’s just some state trooper.” She sighed and her shoulders slumped. “I don’t know if she’s a sergeant or detective… no wait, her badge said Trooper on it.”

Katia pulled the flannel blanket over and found the next layer of blanket was the heavy quilt. “No, I just… had to get away, Mike. I told yah, I’m fine.” She closed her eyes and squeezed the blanket some. “I guess I’ll be back.” Her eyes opened quickly and she felt a growl climbing up in her throat. “Mike, I’m fine… honestly. And yes I know Sara and Erin are worried. I’m a big girl, yah know.” She calmed down some and small smile tugged at her lips. “Yes I know and thank you.” She started to nod a few times. “Alright, alright I’ll give them a call and I’ll keep you posted.” She pushed the flannel blanket back over top of the quilt. “Okay thank you. Love yah too. Bye, Mike.” She lowered her phone and flipped it shut at the same time. Mike was also her part-time boyfriend, she was sure of it anymore.

Katia opened her cell phone again and decided to give Erin a call next. Erin was her roommate and basically a sister to her. She also knew Erin was probably freaking out that she’d picked up some of her stuff and just disappeared without a word or even a warning. She hit the send button on Erin’s name.

“I’m fine,” was the first thing from her mouth. “How are you?” She laughed a little. “Just an unexpected vacation, Erin… no big deal.” She drummed her fingers some on her right leg. “I’m staying at a friend’s house.” She laughed again and answered Erin’s next question. “In Baltimore.” She rolled her eyes but was still grinning. “Yes, I know somebody in Baltimore well I do now.” Her smile slipped and she went more serious. “Her name is Ashley and get this, she’s a cop.” Katia now almost groaned at her friend’s words. “Okay what’s more safe than a cop’s house huh? Gee, I’m fine, Erin.” She bit her lower lip and held it there until Erin finished her next question. “I don’t know yet, I’m still deciding.” She bobbed her head up and down a few times. “Yes I know, Erin. Just… just keep everything the same, I might show up.” She lowered her head again and stared at her corduroy pants. “Okay yeah, I will, Erin. You take care of yourself.” She smiled sadly. “Thank you… I will, promise. Talk to you soon… bye.” After she heard Erin say goodbye, she hit the end button.

Katia sighed and knew she had one phone call left to go. She could only image what Sara would have to say about this. She knew though whatever it would be, it’d be funny. Katia brought up Sara Davidson’s number and hit the send button. She grinned and she fell back into the bed.

“Hey, Sara!” Katia laughed really loudly. “Yeah I hear yah… its good to get away. I’m so glad you agree.” She chuckled a few times. “No, I don’t think you wanna come.” She sighed and stretched her legs out over top of the blankets. “Yeah I’m in Baltimore right now like on the north side. I’m staying with some chic by the name of Ashley.” She suddenly laughed harder and shook her head. “I don’t know, Sara. She doesn’t look like it not that I can tell.” She shook her head and her grin appeared. “You have the gaydar, Sara… I don’t.” She snorted and rolled her rich sea green eyes. “I’m straight as a line, Sara so get over it.” She listened to Sara whine for a second then Sara suddenly threw another question at her. “She’s a state trooper for Maryland.” She suddenly laughed again. “Yeah… she’s pretty good lookin’ if you’re into women.” She snickered and just rolled her eyes yet again. “I don’t know how old she is… probably in her thirties. And no I’m not getting a picture of her for you.” She narrowed her eyes. “Forget it, Sara.” She then laughed and smiled to herself. “I’ll tell yah all about her later. Right now, I need to get up and get a shower.” Her amused smile softened some. “Yeah, I know… its nothing to worry about. Thank you, Sara. I’ll get things straighten out.” She closed her eyes. “Okay, thanks Sara. I’ll talk to yah soon. Byyye.” She pulled the phone away and snapped it shut, ending the phone call. Katia adored Sara as family and Sara was Katia’s first lesbian encounter.

Katia stared up at the ceiling and tried to force herself to get up and get her shower. She rolled her head to the left and the picture of Ashley and the other woman captured her attention again. “Pretty good lookin’ if you’re into women,” she repeated quietly. “Huh.” She reached over and picked up the photo. She held it over her head and stared at it for several moments. “What do you see in women, Sara?” Her eyes shifted away from Ashley to the other woman. “And who are you to Ashley, lady?” She lifted her right hand and tapped finger at the nameless woman’s face. “You got some kind of shit eattin’ grin on your face too.” Another shiver rippled through her body at staring at this woman’s wild eyes.

Katia forced herself to put the picture back in its home. She finally rolled out of the bed and put her cell phone into her pack. She then opened the main portion of the pack and pulled out several items of clothing. She then gathered her clean clothes for the day and she went out of the bedroom. She had a feeling the door to the right of the bedroom doorway was a bathroom. She pushed open the door some and found a tile floor and sink appeared in the sunlit room. She smiled and opened it more then stepped in only to have her feet get chilled by the cool tiles. She quickly jumped onto the fluffy green rug in the middle of the bathroom and looked at the toilet, which had the lid down and a few items on top of it.

“Huh.” Katia bent forward and with her right hand she lifted up the note that was on the top. She then proceeded to read the note aloud, “Thought you might need these and feel free to use anything in the house. Make yourself comfortable. Ashley.” She smiled at the small print writing. She lowered her eyes back down to the three green towels, which were a regular body towel, hand towel, and wash cloth. “Definitely a nice cop,” she joked. She carefully folded the note and placed it on the sink.

Katia though had brought most of her toiletries, figuring she would need them when she left. She slipped the bag of toiletries out and set it on the sink counter, which was rather large. She then lifted the three towels and put her clothes down instead. She replaced the regular towel down but put the hand towel and washcloth on the sink counter.

Within a few minutes, Katia was in the shower and taking a warm shower that seemed to sooth her body and mind. As she cleaned her body, she began to take note of various bruises and cuts on her body from last night. She hadn’t noticed them last night at all but then again, too much occupied her to let her take notice of them.

After her shower, she dried off and put her clothes on and took some time to brush her teeth, organize her hair, and then went back to the bedroom. She pulled out a clean pair of socks from her pack and then she hunted around for her Sketcher shoes. She finally found them under the chair where her pack had been earlier. She easily slipped her feet back into them and she went back into the bathroom to gather up her items. She also picked up Ashley’s note and instead of tossing it like she had done with past notes in her life, she kept it. Once back in the bedroom, she put her stuff away and slipped Ashley’s note away in her pack and after she zipper it up, her stomach suddenly growled in demand.

“Can’t forget about you,” muttered Katia to her stomach. She went downstairs but not without grabbing her cell phone. When she made it to the bottom of the steps, she realized she wasn’t quite sure which way to go to find the kitchen. She peered to her left and saw a television and large couch. “Not there,” she muttered and turned her head to the right. When she looked that way, she suddenly heard a refrigerator kick on and her face brightened up. That’ta way.” She laughed and hurried into the kitchen. If it was one thing she loved doing it was feeding her own stomach.

Katia carefully opened the fridge and just stared at all the food within it. “By god… this woman is a food goddess.” Her smile seemed to grow larger and larger as she took in all the food on each shelf in the fridge. “Now this is what I call a stocked fridge.” She laughed and bent forward and started to mill about, not able to control her stomach’s control. “Mmmmm… I think eggs.” She grabbed the carton of eggs. “Some milk.” She pulled out the jug of milk. “Oh fruit.” She was just able to pull out the drawer that was labelled fruit. “Jesus Christ… she’s a fruit.” She laughed happily and spun around. She sprinted over to the kitchen counter and unloaded the milk and eggs. She then hurried back over and picked through all the fruit. Ooooh kiwi.” She grabbed one of those. “Green apple, perfect.” She took one of them too. “And a nectarine would be good.” She snatched one of those as well. She pushed the drawer shut, backed up, and closed the door with her right foot. She rushed back to the counter and unloaded her arms again. “This is the best.”

Within half an hour, Katia had made herself a nice late breakfast. She sat down at the small kitchen table on the one side of the table and quietly ate her cheese omelet then ate the kiwi and nectarine together. After she cleaned up her mess, she picked up her apple last and grabbed a napkin from the supplies on the table and went into the living room. She thoughtfully munched on the apple while she stood in the doorway of the living room. She shrugged, bit into her apple again, and strolled over to the couch. She flopped down into it and decided to watch tv.

Katia sunk back into the couch and tried to find something interesting on the tv. She eventually settled on the movie Austin Powers II on the Starz channel. She finished her apple, wrapped the core in a napkin, and placed it on the coffee table. She then decided to try the couch out more and actually lay down.

It wasn’t long though before Katia started to feel sleepy again. Near the end of the movie, she drifted off to sleep. She slept rather deeply and for several hours because the only thing that slightly pulled her out of her sleep was the sound of some noise outside that seemed to fade away. She mumbled in her sleep, rolled to her right and now faced the back of the sofa.

Quietly the front door of the house opened and an officer stepped into the house. Ashley pulled her key out of the door and silently closed the door. In the living room, she heard a man yell, “Nice to mole you, I mean meet you!” Ashley snickered at the recognizing the line from a movie. She walked into the living room and stopped in the doorway when she saw the small woman conked out on the sofa.

Ashley shook her head and her eyes shifted to the apple core resting in the napkin. “Hmmm.” She took a few steps closer and picked up the napkin and apple core. She turned around and went into the kitchen to dispose of the apple remnants. After she had, she glanced at the sink and saw the clean dishes sitting in the dry sink. “Musta been a feast,” she muttered, a grin crept along her lips.

She spun around and marched back into the living room. She couldn’t help but smile at Katia’s sleeping habits. She knelt down and reached forward, she gently shook the girl’s shoulders. “Come on, Katia. You’re gonna be up all night.”

“Mmmm… another minute,” muttered a whiney voice.

“Come on,” urged Ashley. She shook the girl a little more, she was trying so hard not to laugh.

Katia swatted at Ashley’s arm but missed yet she didn’t fail to protest again. “Wanna sleep.”

Ashley groaned and shook her head. “Don’t make me handcuff you and drag you off the sofa,” she growled deeply.

Suddenly Katia’s eyes flew open and she half rolled, half tried to get out of the sofa. She basically miscalculated and started to fall out of the sofa.

Ashley moved quickly and caught the younger woman.

Katia gripped the other woman’s body and her panic settled down when she realized Ashley had caught her. “Don’t do that,” she hissed. Ashley lowered her back onto the sofa.

“Well you weren’t getting up.” Ashley had a stoic expression and a raised eyebrow.

Katia looked down at her feet and shifted her shoes off the sofa so that she wouldn’t mess up the sofa with her shoes. She then returned her attention to the officer. “Back already?”

“Back already?” repeated the trooper. She reached over and picked up the alarm clock, she held it up to Katia.

Katia squinted and read the time. “Oh shit, its five o’clock.” She turned her head to the left and looked out the window to see it was pretty much dark. “Oh god.” She started to blush. “I slept almost all day.”

Ashley was shaking her head as she lowered the clock back down. She smiled at the young woman. “You must have been worn out. You look better,” she mentioned.

“Yeah?”

“Mmmm,” agreed the trooper. “A lot.”

“Didn’t think I looked that bad.” Katia gave a teasing grin.

Ashley slowly grinned back and quietly added, “No, you don’t look bad at all.”

Katia’s eyes widened some and a faint blush appeared on her face. She cleared her throat and looked down at the length of her body. She wanted to look at anything but at the officer right now.

“Have you thought anymore about what you wanted to do?” Ashley could tell the change of topic helped the young woman because Katia now looked at her again.

“I’m not sure,” confessed Katia.

Ashley was afraid of that. She reached up and pulled off her gray hat. She lowered it onto the coffee table then stood up some. “Scoot over,” she ordered.

Katia rolled onto her left side but pressed her back against the back of the sofa.

Ashley sat down on the sofa but she twisted her body around some so she could partially face Katia. “How old are you, Katia?”

“Twenty,” quietly answered the young woman.

“What year of college are you in?” further urged the officer.

“This is my second semester,” replied Katia.

Ashley considered that for a little bit, her eyes staring at the wall past Katia’s head. “Look….” Her eyes focused back on the young woman. “I’ll tell you a little something that might help you out.”

Katia was interested, she lifted her head up and placed it on the armrest of the sofa.

“I graduated from high school when I was sixteen… from a private school at that.”

“Really?” whispered the surprised girl, “You finished early?”

“Uh huh.” The trooper could tell the other woman was baffled just as much awed. “After high school, I took some time off and did some traveling before I started college. My folks thought it’d be awkward for me to just jump into college when I was so young.”

“Yeah, I bet,” agreed Katia. “How much travelling did you do?”

“A lot actually,” confessed Ashley. “The first year was in America mainly then I went over to Europe a lot.” She smiled sadly and she laced her hands together in her lap. “At one point, I ended up in Spain and really enjoyed it there. Found a family and stayed with them.”

“You’re good with Spanish?” inquired the college student.

Muy bien,” joked the officer. “Probably not as good as I use to be though.” She lost her smile and went more serious. “Anyway, I had to come back home and I really did not want to. My parents demanded me to go back to college knowing I needed to go. I guess I was still on a Spain, traveling high and didn’t think my education was all that important.”

“What happened?” whispered Katia.

“Well after many fights with my parents, I finally decided to take control of my own life. I still wanted to travel and the best way I could think of still doing that without any money was by joining the Army.”

“You went into the Army?”

Ashley nodded her head slowly. “I did travel… I was in the Army for several years. After I was released, I applied to be a trooper here in Maryland. I’ve been here ever since and been promoted to First Class Troop but… that’s about it.” She shrugged.

“Wow,” whispered Katia.

“Not really wow,” countered the trooper. “I enjoy being a trooper and I think of all the good I do for people but… I’d rather have gone to college.”

“Why?” Katia shook her head and her eyes dropped to the space between them. “I mean, you can get a job anywhere… money doesn’t matter.”

“No it doesn’t,” agreed Ashley, “until you have bills to pay and your mouth to feed.” She studied the young woman’s softy mossy eyes. “The point I’m trying to make, Katia is that I much rather have a degree right now than be doing this job.”

“What would you have gone into?” quietly asked the Katia.

“I’ve always thought about being a lawyer.” The trooper shrugged and said, “Or maybe something in entertainment, like acting… maybe even modeling.”

Katia grinned at that.

“All I’m saying, Katia is… think before you leap.” Ashley could tell now she was having an influence on the young woman. “Whatever is going on in your life is not worth losing your future to. A degree is four years and that’s it… almost three now for you.”

Katia felt her chest fill with warm air. Her eyes dropped again to the space between them.

Ashley could tell Katia was seriously reconsidering her previous plans now. “One other thing.”

Katia looked back up.

“How old do you think I am?”

Katia shrugged and whispered, “Maybe late twenties to early thirties.” She suddenly became worried when Ashley gave her a huge grin.

“Try twenty-four, Katia.” Ashley patted the girl’s knee beside her then she stood up. On the way up, she grabbed her hat and carried it at her side as she went towards the steps. “I’ll be down soon,” she called then went upstairs.

“Twenty-four?” whispered Katia. “That’s it?” She laughed in surprise and shook her head. “It must be her height.”

Ashley had gone upstairs to change out of her uniform. Once she’d slipped on her blue jeans and a blue button top on, she grabbed her black low cut boots. She sat down on the side of her bed, near the nightstand, and she slipped on her boots. She bent forward and tied them but for some reason, she peered up while she systematically tied her laces. Her eyes rested on the photo of her and Laurel on the nightstand. She sighed and looked down when she finished lacing her boots.

Ashley stood up and in the process, grabbed the photo of her and Laurel. “I wonder what you’re up to, baby.” She tossed the photo in her hand a little then placed it back on the nightstand. She stared at the photo for another second then walked away.

Katia tore her eyes away from the television when she heard a set of heavy feet hit the bottom of the steps. She smiled at Ashley.

The trooper grinned at how the college student just invaded everything like it was hers. She liked that about Katia and only because Katia also respected her stuff. She noticed how Katia had made the bed, cleaned up the dishes, and like right now dangled her feet off the sofa so her shoes wouldn’t scuff up anything.

Katia smiled more when Ashley came into the living room. She still laid on the sofa and now she put her hands under her head.

“Hungry?” asked the cop.

“Yeah, actually.”

Ashley thoughtfully stared at the floor then she peered up. Her grin returned. “I feel like a carnivore.”

Katia suddenly mirrored Ashley’s grin. “Where to then?”

“Let’s do the Outback,” simply stated Ashley.

Katia was up and out of the sofa without a second thought. “I’m there.” She grabbed the remote, clicked the power button, and was off to the door.

Ashley turned around and saw Katia opening the door. “I like her style.” She laughed and followed after the young woman. She went out the open door but closed it behind. She turned around and fished out her house keys and car keys. She used her house key to lock up the front door then she strolled down the patio where she saw Katia standing beside the passenger door.

“Hurry up,” urged the college student. “My stomach is roaring.”

Ashley laughed and clicked the unlock button on her car’s keypad.

The red Mercedes flashed its lights and the locks popped up. Both women jumped into the car and Ashley immediately started the car up. Ashley carefully backed the car out of the driveway and onto the main street. It only took them three minutes to make it to the Outback, it happened to be right off Shawan road. The Outback was just starting to build up a crowd so they had to wait about fifteen minutes before getting a seat. Once they were taken to their spot, they both slid into a booth, facing each other.

“I love this place,” whispered the happy college student.

“They have great steaks,” agreed the trooper.

Hehehe,” uttered the gleeful Katia. She whipped open her menu and started looking through it. “Oh god, you ever had these coconut shrimp?”

“They’re fat free right?” joked Ashley.

“Yeah… they’re anything you want them to be,” teased back the young woman. She suddenly lowered her menu. “Let’s split it.”

Ashley slightly lowered hers and grinned at Katia. “Four for me and two for you.”

“No, I was thinking more like one for you and five for me,” taunted the hungry girl.

“Yeah, I bet.” Ashley shook her head.

“Good evening, ladies,” greeted the young man. He smiled at them both then his smile grew at Ashley. “Well Officer Carver, its been a few.”

“How are yah, John?” Ashley lowered her menu onto the table.

Katia carefully started to watch the exchange between the server and Ashley.

“Pretty well.” John lowered his writing tablet onto the table. “I haven’t seen you around in awhile.”

“Yeah been pretty busy,” admitted the trooper.

“Get shot at lately?” joked the server.

“Actually,” started Ashley, “just the other week.”

John laughed but more in surprise. “I’ll be damned. Well glad to see you here, miss seeing yah here.”

Ashley smiled warmly at his words. In the corner of her eye, she noted intense green eyes flickering between her and John. “You’ve been well, John?”

“Yeah, real well… college is good. I expect to graduate this semester, finally.”

“Glad to hear it.” Ashley then held a hand out in Katia’s direction and half-looked at her. “John, this my friend Katia.”

“Nice to meet you, Katia.” John held out his hand and pleasantly smiled at the young woman.

“Nice to meet you too.” Katia took the larger hand and briskly shook.

“I didn’t know Officer Carver had any friends outside of the station.”

Katia laughed as she let go of the man’s hand. “Well… I’m a new friend.” She almost glared at Ashley for the smirk she got from Ashley. “We just kinda… bumped into each other.”

“Well I can tell you, Ashley is a great person… a better trooper though.” John suddenly grinned and said, “Just don’t let her catch you speeding.”

“I take it that’s happened to you huh?”

John suddenly laughed and more so at memories “Actually that’s how we met. One day she gave me a speeding ticket and the next night I was serving her dinner.”

Katia laughed hard and shook her head. “Yeah she seems to meet her friends that way.”

Ashley groaned at that and just lifted her menu up.

“It’s alright though, Officer Carver and I worked it out now. I don’t screw up her orders, give her large portions, and she doesn’t give me tickets. Right, Ashley?”

“Yeah sure, John,” humoured the trooper.

Katia chuckled at that and smiled. “I can sympathize with yah, John.”

“Look anyway, I better get your orders instead of letting everybody think I just socialize.”

Ashley grunted and dropped her menu again. “Nothing new there.” She grinned at the young man then said, “Katia wants to split an order of the shrimp.”

“Got it. Anything to drink?”

“Sweet ice tea,” replied Ashley. She then nodded at Katia.

“Lemonade works for me,” ordered Katia.

John straightened up after writing the items down. “Alright I’ll be back for the rest.” He headed off.

After he was out of earshot, Katia laughed and asked, “You really gave him a speeding ticket?”

Yyyeah, of course.” Ashley huffed and folded up her menu. “He was doing sixty in a thirty.”

“Gee that bad?”

The trooper grinned. “Yeah, that bad.”

“Huh.” Katia took one last look at the menu and decided on her meal. She folded up the menu as well but she stared at it.

“You thought anymore about your plans?” inquired the officer.

“I’m not sure,” admitted Katia. She peered up and studied her new friend for a bit. “I just….” She shook her head and looked back down. “I don’t know.”

“I’ll admit, I don’t know what’s going on, Katia. I just happened to show up right in the nick of time last night.”

Katia huffed and shook her head some. “Like it was fate,” she muttered.

“Maybe,” agreed the cop. “In either case, I just hope you make the best decision.”

“I know,” whispered the young woman. “Just so many things have happened… stuff I don’t want to even deal with right now.” Slowly, Katia lifted her eyes up to Ashley.

For the first time, Ashley could look into Katia’s soft emerald eyes and see just how troubled the young woman was right now.

“If one more bad thing happens, I swear I’ll just… just go insane. I can take a lot but….” Katia sighed and lost her words in the air and her thoughts and fears raged again.

Ashley just studied her friend. She tried to read all the emotions locked in Katia’s darkening moss eyes. She wondered what stirred so much in her friend and scared her so badly. Ashley hardly ever faced fear in her life anymore, too well trained to resist it yet here she saw so much of it just in Katia’s eyes.

“I just feel so… alone anymore,” whispered Katia. Her head lifted and her eyes met with Ashley’s.

Ashley sighed and quietly said, “I know.” She paused and tried to find the right words to say not that she was ever the best with them, especially emotional ones. “I am here for you, Katia. I know that’s not much but… I am here to help.” Her words seemed to bring a smile to Katia’s face that was a mix of happy and sad.

“Thank you,” whispered Katia, her voice full of emotions.

Ashley was worried at that point Katia would begin to cry. She hastily thought of something to try and calm her or relax her. “And I don’t mean just as a cop.”

Katia laughed some and her head bobbed a few times. “I know.”

Ashley softly smiled but her trance with Katia was broken when John appeared with their drinks and the shrimp.

“Sorry I’m late on the drinks,” announced the server. He dropped them off in front of the two women then placed the shrimp between them. Last, he placed two small plates down in front of each of them after they moved their menus. “You decide on your meals?”

“Yeah,” replied Ashley but she gave a question look to Katia.

The college student looked up at John and said, “That swordfish special ya’ll have sounds good to me. Saw that up on the board.”

“Oh yeah, I hear its real good,” agreed John. He wrote the order down, took her menu, then looked at Ashley.

Ashley held up the menu and said, “You know what I like, John.”

The server laughed, took the menu, and said, “Prime rib… still medium?”

“Yup,” replied the officer.

John wrote it down while walking away.

Ashley saw that Katia was busy drinking her lemonade. She decided to take a drink from her own mug. She lifted her head up, her lips coming off the straw, and she brought up her right hand. She swirled the tea around with the straw.

Katia pushed her mug back some and sat back into her seat.

“I don’t have to work until tomorrow night,” mentioned Ashley.

“Late shift huh?”

“Pretty much,” agreed Ashley. “So if you need anything… taken care of tomorrow, just say so.”

Katia faintly nodded. “Thanks.” She sighed and folded her arms in her lap. “You know, I’m still tired.”

“You look it,” agreed the officer. She was studying the shrimp and finally decided on one, she snatched one up.

“Mmmm.” Katia furrowed her eyebrows as she realized she left her cell phone in Ashley’s kitchen. “Damn,” she muttered.

“What?”

The young woman shook her head. “Remind me to grab my cell phone from your kitchen.” She sat forward and pulled the mug back closer to herself.

“Call anybody today?”

“Yeah a few of my friends from college,” mentioned Katia. “Including my roommate.”

Ashley nodded a few times. “Good. What about family?”

Katia faintly huffed and shook her head. She didn’t reply right away since she was taking a sip of her drink. Once she swallowed, she looked up from her drink. “They wouldn’t even notice.” She finally reached forward and took a coconut shrimp.

“I doubt it,” countered the cop.

“You don’t know my family,” reminded the college student. “They have busy lives… which don’t include me.”

Ashley let out a deep sigh and she folded her arms on the edge of the table.

“What about you?” asked Katia.

“What about me?” urged the trooper.

“What about family?” Katia raised an eyebrow. “You have family, right?”

Ashley mocked the raised eyebrow. “Yeah… two brothers and my folks.”

“Oh two brothers?” asked the curious girl. “How old are they?”

Ashley suddenly laughed at her friend’s interest in her brothers. “Ones younger than me, Lucus is his name.”

“How younger, like twenty younger?” urged Katia, a grin on her lips.

The trooper faintly grinned but she lowered her eyes and replied, “Actually yes. My older brother, Thomas, he’s the married man… has a couple of kids.” She grabbed another shrimp and took a bite from it.

Ooooh so you’re an aunt and you’re the middle child too.”

“Yeah, afraid so.”

Katia finished off her shrimp and put the tail down onto her plate. She carefully glanced over the remaining ones and picked up one. “So that makes you the best part, right?”

Ashley looked up after she put her shrimp tail down on her plate. “Best part?”

“Yeah… you’re the crème in the middle of the Oreo… that type of best part.” Katia gave a warm smile.

The trooper chuckled and reached forward, she didn’t quite grab her last shrimp but did say, “I guess that’s one way to look at it.”

“Mmmm… I like the middle,” muttered Katia. She snitched the two remaining shrimp before Ashley got one.

“Hey,” protested Ashley. “Give that back.”

“Now Officer Carver, what’s the polite way to ask?” taunted the young woman.

“Give me the damn shrimp or I’ll arrest you for stealing,” growled the trooper.

Katia blinked but slowly a grin creased her lips. “Oh right.” She suddenly went serious and said in a deep tone,  “Ashley, what the Hell did you book her for? Stealing my shrimp, sir.” She rolled her eyes. “Get real, Carver. You’re gonna have to give me somethin’ for this here shrimp.” She held up one of them by its tail, she waved it back and forth in front of Ashley’s face.

Ashley’s eyes suddenly darkened and her grin appeared on her lips.

Katia though quickly noticed Ashley’s grin wasn’t a typical one but it was a rather vicious one.

“Give me my shrimp, Katia,” whispered Ashley in a growling tone, “or you’re going to have a really hard time sleeping tonight, I promise.”

“What you gonna do?” asked the curious student.

Ashley licked her lips, she said nothing but her dark eyes started to glint.

Katia suddenly shivered since her imagination just reeled with so many possibilities. “Okay… you win.” She held the shrimp out like a peace offering. “I’m not going to mess with that.”

Ashley happily plucked the shrimp free.

Katia huffed and took her one. She thoughtfully munched on it as she tried to think of what Ashley would have done tonight. She peered up and asked, “What would you have done?”

Ashley smirked and said, “I forget.”

“Smartass,” muttered the young woman. She heard her friend snicker in response, which only made Katia roll her eyes.

After they each finished off their appetizer, they soon found John showing up with their entrees. He placed them down and took away the plates. The two women went right into their entrees and ate in mutual silence. After the meal, John asked if they wanted desserts but both of them were too full to do that. So he brought the check and Ashley jumped on it before Katia. Ashley took care of the bill and after she got her credit card back and wrote the numbers down, she got up with her friend. Slowly, Ashley and Katia strolled out of the restaurant and into the parking lot.

“Thanks for dinner, Ashley but you shouldn’t have paid for it.”

“It was my pleasure,” stated the trooper. She saw her car just ahead and she slipped out her key. “Just glad you ate.”

“What’s that mean?” asked the confused young woman. She walked around to the passenger side.

Ashley opened the driver’s door after pushing the unlock button. “You don’t look like you eat much, Katia.” She didn’t say anything else and got into her seat.

Katia furrowed her eyebrows and looked down at her stomach. “I’m big as a house,” she muttered. She realized her passenger window was going down and she poked in her head. “I’m not that skinny,” she protested.

Ashley rolled her eyes. “Get in,” she ordered in a deep tone.

Katia had a silly grin but pulled her head back out and opened the door. She fell into the seat and slammed the door.

“Easy,” growled the trooper. “This is a Mercedes,” she reminded.

Katia smirked and opened the car door. “Okay… let me try it again.” She slowly and carefully shut the door.

“Thank you,” taunted the officer. She buckled herself then said, “Seat belt.”

“Right… forgot you’re a cop,” grumbled the young woman. She reached around and pulled the seat belt down.

Ashley was grinning and shook her head. She started her car and backed out. Drove around Hunt Valley Mall where the Outback was situated. She went around the back way, past the Wal-mart parking, and down the mall drive onto York road. She didn’t have to drive far before she was back in the housing complex. As she neared her home, she reached up to her sun visor and pressed a button on the visor. When they arrived in Ashley’s driveway, the garage door was already open.

“How’d you do that?” asked Katia.

Ashley pointed at her sun visor.

Katia stretched over almost to the point of having her head in Ashley’s lap. She peered up and saw the three black buttons in the sun visor. “Oh cool.” She stretched her hand up and pointed at each button. “Your Maine house, your Maryland house, and your Florida house.”

Ashley cracked up laughed as she drove her car right into the garage. “I wish, Katia.”

Katia sat up and grinned. She noticed how when the car entered the garage and automatic light in the garage kicked on for them. “You have such a setup, Ashley.”

“Its great,” agreed the trooper. She turned off her car and got out. She’d hit the same button on her visor earlier and the garage door was busy rolling back down. She directed her friend to the door off to the right and she walked to it with Katia, she pushed her lock button on her keypad.

The Mercedes flashed its lights in a seeming goodnight gesture but its parking lights were still on to light their way. And once they stepped through the door, the parking lights dimmed out.

“I was wondering where that door led too,” whispered Katia. She stood next to the kitchen table with her hands on her hips in mock approval.

Ashley grinned and reached onto the kitchen table. “Don’t forget that.” She put the cell phone in her friend’s hand.

“Oh thanks.” Katia finally started to move for the main entrance room. “What now? I’m not ready for bed yet.”

“Figured.” Ashley grasped the smaller woman’s shoulders and pushed her towards the living. “Can zone out with the tv.”

“Sounds good,” agreed Katia. “Let’s watch the Discovery channel and entertain our brains.” She hastily moved to the sofa and fell into it.

Ashley laughed and walked over. She sat down near her friend and grabbed the remote. “Whatever you want.” She handed it over to the smaller woman.

“Wait, you have Court TV?” asked the excited college student.

Ashley simply arched an eyebrow.

“Seriously. I bet you’ll be on that station.”

“What?” asked the confused trooper.

“Oh come on.” Katia flicked the television on and flipped through the channels. “I wouldn’t think you’d be on the FBI Files since you’re not an FBI agent.”

The officer grunted. “I hope I never am,” she grumbled.

“Well… you could be Judge Judy’s guard,” persisted Katia.

“Katia,” growled the trooper. “Watch the tv and be quiet.” She sat back into the sofa and stretched her long legs out and underneath the coffee table.

“No fun,” teased the young woman. She continued to flip through channels but as she did so, she sat back next to her friend and got comfortable. “How about….” She finally stopped all the rapid flicking and came to the Starz channel again. Oooh its Gladiator.”

“Keep it there,” ordered the officer. She reached over and took the remote before Katia changed her mind.

Katia chuckled and just settled in to watch the movie. They were close to the beginning of the movie and they remained comfortable beside each other. But after about twenty minutes of non-conversation, it was suddenly broken.

“Russel Crowe is great in this movie but after this one, he sucks,” complained Katia.

Ashley groaned and rather loudly to emphasis her annoyance. “Be quiet.”

Katia glared at her friend but she only got a grin in return. She huffed and continued to quietly watch the movie. After about another twenty minutes, she started to feel pretty tired so her head started falling to the right.

Ashley sensed a weight on her left shoulder. She knew it was Katia’s head. “Whatever you do,” she whispered, “don’t drool on my shirt.” She heard a small laugh in her left ear.

“I don’t drool,” quietly stated the college student.

“That’s not what my passenger car window shows,” muttered the trooper. “I got a drool mark about this size on my window.” She held up both her hands and demonstrated how large the drool mark was on her window.

“Whatever.” Katia lifted her head and stretched her hands out. She covered her hands over Ashley’s as best as possible, and squeezed the large hands together until there was no open space between the large hands. “That’s how big… none.”

“Sure, sure.” Ashley grinned and lowered both of their hands down.

Katia put her hands back into her lap and lowered her head back onto Ashley’s shoulder. “Wake me at the end,” she muttered.

The trooper smirked to herself and quietly watched the movie but quietly only lasted so long. Eventually her left ear could only hear the light snores from Katia. “You got to be joking,” she complained and she dropped her head against the sofa. “I’m so glad Laurel doesn’t snore,” she whispered to herself but yet she looked down at Katia’s head against the side of her shoulder and she couldn’t help but smile.

“Time to put her to bed.” Ashley reached up and carefully moved Katia’s head off her shoulder and shifted her head against the back of the sofa. She then slid out of the sofa, turned around, and bent forward to pick up Katia. “Deja-vu,” muttered Ashley under her breath. She straightened up with the small woman in her arms. She started for the stairs.

Katia started to wake up after Ashley went up one step. “Mmmm… not again.” She lifted her head off Ashley’s shoulder.

“Its okay,” assured Ashley.

Katia gently lowered her head back on her friend’s shoulder. “Ashley?”

“Mmmm?” Ashley was about halfway up the stairs.

“I think you’re right.”

“What’s that?” The trooper came to the top of the steps almost.

“About school and all.” Katia opened her eyes slowly.

Ashley sighed as she turned to her right for the bedroom. “It’s really up to you, Katia.”

Katia pressed her lips together but she didn’t say anything. She turned some and stretched her arm out to push open the bedroom door.

“Thanks,” whispered the officer. She came over to the foot of the bed and lowered to young woman.

Katia sat there on the foot of the bed and looked up when her friend towered over her. “I think you like doing that.”

“Doing what?” Ashley had turned the light on and now stood with her hands on her hips.

“Carrying me,” teased the younger woman.

Ashley huffed and walked away. She went to her dresser.

Katia sighed and went over to her bag to pull out her one set of pajamas. She bundled them all up in her arms and went into the bathroom next door.

Ashley had watched her leave and she took the time to get changed as well. She finished the same time that Katia had and she was about to head out of the bedroom for the night.

“Wait, you’re not going to sleep down on the couch again, are you?” Katia was putting her clothes away and her cell phone.

“Yes.” Ashley grabbed the outside door handle but was facing her friend.

“Sleep in your own bed. I’ll sleep down there.”

“Its okay,” protested Ashley. “I’m use to sleeping on it.”

“I can sleep on it too,” reminded the college student.

“No,” simply stated the officer. She started to turn away.

Argh.” Katia folded her arms over her chest and said, “I’ll just sleep on the floor to urk you.”

Ashley stopped closing the door and her shoulders dropped. She looked back at her friend. “Don’t be stubborn, Katia. This is my house… not a Republic.”

Katia corked an eyebrow and rocked on the bottom of her feet.

The state trooper sighed dramatically. “Fine… we’ll both sleep in the bed.”

Katia opened her mouth, she hadn’t expected a compromise and she didn’t expect that for a compromise. She closed her mouth then weakly said, “Fine… okay.”

“Fine,” agreed the officer. She came back into the room. “Ready now to sleep?”

“Uh… yeah.” The hesitant Katia stared at the bed but then climbed into it.

Ashley smirked out Katia’s initial reaction but she reached over and flicked the lights out. She walked around to the other side of the bed and crawled into it. “Just don’t steal the sheets, Katia. I hate that.” Right after she said that, Katia jerked all the bed sheets to her side. “I’m starting to hate you,” whispered the cop in a low, menacing voice.

Oooooh was that a tone or what,” taunted the young woman. She threw the bed sheets back over. “You’re welcome.”

Ashley grunted and adjusted the sheets. She snuggled in and rolled to her left side, her back to Katia.

The college student mimicked Ashley’s movements but moved onto her left side so her back faced Ashely’s back. She closed her eyes but only for a few seconds until she opened them again and found herself starting at that photo again.

“Ashley?”

Ashley’s blue eyes slowly drifted open. “Yes, Katia?”

“I was just curious about something.”

“Yes, Katia. What is it?”

Katia grinned some but lost it as her eyes flickered from Ashley’s face in the photo the stranger’s. “Who’s this woman in the picture with you?”

Ashley chewed on her lower lip as she debated how to handle that question. After too long of a pause, she finally answered, “A close friend of mine… she’s family.” She almost sarcastically laughed at her own double meaning.

Katia blinked but stared closer at the woman. “What’s her name?”

“Laurel,” simply responded Ashley.

Katia finally had a name for the face and it was a face she couldn’t forget and now the name stuck to her like crazy glue. “She looks… well energetic.”

Ashley almost laughed at how many ways she could have taken that comment. “You could say that, Katia.”

Hmmmm.” The young woman closed her eyes and almost drift to sleep but yet, she opened her eyes again and stared just at Ashley in the picture. “Ashley?”

“Yes, Katia?”

Katia grinned out her friend’s annoyed yet also patient tone. “You don’t have to work until tomorrow night?”

“Yes… and?”

Katia kept staring at the photo of Ashley and Laurel that she could just make out in the darkness. She felt like she was speaking to the picture of Ashley much less Ashley herself. “You think you’ll have time to… drive me back to my college?”

Ever so slowly a smile grew on Ashley’s face. “I have all the time in the world, Katia.”

Once again, Katia closed her eyes and something seemed to ease in her. “Thank you.”

“Anytime,” whispered the state trooper, “Goodnight.”

“Sleep well, Ashley.”

“You too, Katia.”

And it was actually a night Katia did sleep well instead of her usual nightmares that woke her up. Ashley also slept better in her own bed instead of down on the sofa. It was a good night’s rest for them both.

 

Part III

Katia closed her eyes and dropped her head against the headrest on her seat. She smiled at feeling the cool breeze from the partially opened window.

Ashley glanced over at her friend then focused on her driving again. She’d been driving Katia for the past hour and she was currently on Route 50-Route 301 headed east towards the Eastern Shore.

“I like this music,” mentioned Katia.

The officer smiled at her friend’s comment.

Its different. Its dance?” she asked and opened her sea green eyes.

“I call it techno or electronic,” replied Ashley.

Katia nodded and looked at her friend. “Who’s the group?”

Lasgo.”

“Can I turn it up?”

Ashley chuckled but nodded her head. “Go for it.”

Katia loved to have good music turned up nice and loud to the point she could feel it. She reached forward and turned the volume up and up but she hesitated some. She was worried she’d blow the speakers.

Ashley sighed but grinned as she reached forward and grasped Katia’s hand. “It’s a Mercedes,” she reminded and she started to turn Katia’s hand to the right more.

The college student laughed as the music went louder and the bass started to vibrate through the car. She could feel the music through her entire body now. She pulled her hand away and Ashley released her hand as well. A few times Katia bobbed her head with the beat of the music.

Ashley was grinning happily. The beat of the music and the loudness captured her and she started to speed up, passing by the cars in the right lanes.

Katia began to really get into the music. She closed her eyes and started singing the words as well. “Don’t be afraid… there’s no need to worry.”  She paused and bobbed her head with the beat then sung again. “Because my feelings for you are still strong… hold me in your arms… and never let me go… hold me in your arms because I need you so. I can see it in your eyes there is something, something you wanna tell me… I see it in your eyes, there is something you hide for me.” She stopped and just listened to the lyrics now.

Ashley grinned and sped past several more cars then slowed down and switched into the middle lane. She tapped her left foot to the fast beat. Then the lyrics started again and she heard Katia begin to sing and this time, she joined her. “Hold me in your arms… and never let me go, hold me in your arms because I need you so. I can see it in your eyes, there is something, something you wanna tell me.” She went silent and listened to the lyrics and Katia singing with it.

Ashley soon realized they’d just passed through Annapolis Maryland and were approaching the Bay Bridge. She saw the toll just ahead so she slowed down.

Katia also realized it too and she reached forward to turn the music down.

Ashley got into a toll line and she opened her ashtray. The tray lowered and she pulled out the money in change for the toll. Once she got the toll window, she handed over the money and gave a wicked grin at the toll person since they had to deal with all that change.

“Gee thanks, ma’am,” joked the young man.

“No problem.” Ashley lifted her sunglasses and winked at him. “Have a good one.” She dropped her sunglasses back down and heard him say bye. She sped off for the bridge.

Katia snickered and grabbed the volume nob but said, “You’re terrible.” She just got a smirk for a response from Ashley. She shook her head and turned the music back up.

Ashley made it across the bridge and onto the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the first area of the Eastern Shore was Kent Island. She went flew down the highway, heading for the split between Route 301 and Route 50, she knew she needed to take Route 50 since it was the byway to the southern shores of Maryland.

Within about another hour, they started to come closer to Salisbury. Ashley turned the music down, knowing she would need Katia’s help at this point. “Where to once we get into Salisbury?”

Katia shook the music trance away and tried to quickly recall the directions. “We connect with Route 13 south.”

“Alright.”  Ashley then just saw the sign for Route 13 ten miles away. And when those ten miles were up, she crossed over onto Route 13 south as Katia told her. “Next?”

“Stay here in the right lane. A mile or two down the highway, you’ll see a street called West College Avenue.”

“Hang a right onto it?” asked the trooper.

“Yeah,” replied Katia.

Ashley did what Katia told her when she West College Avenue came up. She turned onto it and slowed down to a legal speed. “What next?”

“Go to the left onto Camden… its right up here.”

Ashley saw the avenue just ahead and made the left at the intersection. She slowed down a little more knowing they were now just driving around the campus.

“Okay up here after these three buildings, go to the left and that little road takes us into the parking lot.”

“Gotcha.” Ashley saw the parking lot entrance and turned into it.

“I live in that dorm.” Katia pointed at it.

Ashley briefly glanced at and noted it was the closest to the parking lot.

“Oh wait, can you stop here. That’s my car.”

Ashley came to a quick stop behind several parked cars.

“I gotta get something.” Katia opened the door, which unlocked all the doors automatically. She was pulling a set of keys from her right pocket while walking around the front of Ashley’s car.

Ashley intently watched as Katia opened her Mercedes and leaned into it. She then watched as Katia came back out, carrying something in her left hand while her right hand ran down the side of the older champagne Mercedes. The item in Katia’s hand though disappeared into her front pocket with her car keys. Ashley looked at her friend when she got back into the car. “So explain to me why you ran away and didn’t take your car?”

The college student laughed and said, “How’d I know you’d ask that?” She buckled her seat belt as Ashley drove around the parking lot to get to the other side. “Because she’s low on fuel, I have no money, and people could have tracked me easy with my tag numbers and that car. You don’t runaway to be found again.”

Ashley smirked and teased, “Looks like you missed that part by a long shot.”

“Very funny,” grumbled Katia. She then saw the front of her dorm and the car came to a stop. She chewed on her lower lip and stared at the dorm.

Ashley grasped the young woman’s left leg. “You’ll be fine,” she promised.

“Yeah I know.” Katia tried to smile some. “I have to admit, it was nice staying with yah.”

“It was nice to have company… even if it was unexpected.”

Katia laughed and she sensed her leg cooling off when Ashley pulled her hand away from her leg. “Thanks for everything, Ashley.”

“Anytime,” promised the officer. “That’s what I’m here for… to serve and protect, ma’am.”

Katia just rolled her eyes so dramatically. “Yeah right.” She went serious however and smiled at her friend. “Seriously though, thank you… you know for saving me.”

“You’re welcome, Katia.” Ashley nodded then glanced at Katia’s dorm then looked back at her. “You can repay me by getting your diploma huh?”

Katia swallowed but gradually nodded. “I will,” she promised. She then reached over and opened the door. She got out.

Ashley wasn’t about to leave it there. She parked the car, reached into her door’s side pocket and grabbed something. She then got out as well. She saw Katia was getting her pack out of the back of the car so she said, “You forgot one thing.”

Katia looked up after she shut the door. “What’s that?”

Ashley grinned and lowered her head so she could look over the rims of sunglasses. “Something you’ll enjoy.” She lifted the item in her left hand.

Katia laughed after she read the title on the cd case. “Ashley, that’s yours.”

“And you can burrow it.” Ashley came around to the trunk of her car. She opened the trunk and shifted to the right side where her six-cd changer was located.

The college student slung her pack on and came over to her friend.

Ashley was pulling out the cd case and pulling out the Lasgo cd. She opened the empty cd case, put the cd in, and inserted the six-cd case back into the changer. “Enjoy it.” She held out the cd case.

Katia smiled and took it even though she felt guilty. “Thank you.”

Ashley smiled and lifted her sunglasses to place them over her head. “You still have my card, right?” While she waited for an answer, she shut the trunk.

“Yeah, yeah.” Katia could really admire her friend’s blue eyes now in the bright sunlight. “I didn’t give you my cell phone, did I?” she laughed with an embarrassed tone.

“Nope,” agreed the state trooper.

“Well its-”

“Wait,” cut off Ashley. “Let me get my cell phone.” She went back to her driver’s door and opened it. She plucked her small Samsung cell phone from the centre console and came back around. She was already starting to punch in things. “What is it?”

“Its 410… 810… 3310.”

Ashley had the number in then started to put in Katia’s name. A grin appeared in her expression and she peered up at her friend. “Its Katia what?”

Katia’s face broke out in a deep crimson blush as she realized she hadn’t told Ashley her last name. “I’m sorry… its Danforth.”

Its okay.” Ashley put in Katia’s last name then pressed the okay button. After she had it in, she flipped the phone shut and lowered it to her side, still in her hand. “Look Katia, if you need anything just call me okay? I’m serious.”

Katia smiled and nodded. “Thank you.”

“Call me anytime, I don’t care.” Ashley bent her right knee some and shifted her weight to her left foot. “If you want to come over to my place again for some time away, that works. Just let me know and I can pick you up or you can drive over.”

“Thank you, Ashley.”

Ashley could tell Katia wanted to say more and she didn’t want to push the young woman into anything. “Like I said, just call if you need to talk.”

This time, Katia couldn’t repeat the thank you and she did the next best thing. She stepped forward and pulled Ashley into a hug.

Ashley smiled warmly and hugged the smaller woman tightly. She realized just how hard Katia was hugging her and she became a little worried but before she could anything more, Katia pulled away.

“Thank you for everything, Ashley.”

“You’re welcome.” Ashley smiled and knew she needed to push Katia off before she changed her mind. “Go on.” She shifted her smile into a warmer one then forced herself to her car door.

Katia now also forced herself to walk away and towards her dorm. “See yah, Ashley.”

“Bye, Katia.” Ashley gave a brief wave then climbed into her car. She buckled herself in and without another look, she put her car into gear and drove off.

Katia kept watching until she couldn’t see Ashley’s deep red Mercedes in the crowd of cars. She sighed and turned her head around as she continued to her dorm. She looked down in her right hand and stared at Ashley’s cd she let her burrow. “That’s one way to make me see you again,” she muttered then lowered her hand with the cd.

“Katia!” suddenly yelled a woman’s.

The young woman looked up when she saw Erin come racing from the dorm to her.

“Oh my god, I’m so glad you made it back.” Erin didn’t hesitate to pull her friend into a long, hard hug. “The cluster has been murder without you.”

Katia laughed while she hugged her roommate.

Erin pulled away from the hug and led her friend into the Severn dorm. “I was starting to worry you wouldn’t come back,” she whispered.

Katia shook her head and gave a half smile. “Nah… somebody persuaded me otherwise.”

“Oh yeah, that mystery cop. Where is she?”

“She just left actually,” replied Katia.

“What? And you didn’t let me meet her?” Erin gave a dramatic sigh. “I wanted to know your saviour, Katia. You better introduce me next time.”

Katia smirked and said, “Maybe.”

“Come on, girl.” Erin opened the door and let her friend in first. “Mike has been going out of his mind without you.”

“Ain’t he always? He couldn’t live without me,” Katia joked. She went to the stairs to go up two levels to their hall. When she made it to the top of the steps with Erin, the door bursted open and Sara stood here in all her glory.

“I saw her!” yelled Sara, “from the window. That is one fuckin’ hot cop, Katia. You know how to pick ‘em.”

“Sara!” yelled back Katia.

Sara laughed loudly and jumped to hug her friend.

Katia smiled happily as it felt so good to see her friends again. “Miss me, Sara?”

“I was about to ask you the same thing,” tormented Sara. “Of course I did.” She released her friend and backed up but not without holding the door open. “This way, ladies.”

Erin rolled her eyes and pushed Katia into the hallway.

“Mike is waiting for you,” called Sara before she stepped into the hall.

“Oh joy,” muttered Katia.

Katia went first into her bedroom and there on her bed sat Mike. “Oh god,” she groaned extremely loud.

“Okay so the runway decided to come back huh?” Mike jumped up from the bed. “What? We’re not good enough for you?”

“That’s it, Mike,” teased Katia. She dropped her pack near her desk and came over to the taller man.

“Yeah right.” Mike smiled happily and hugged his closest friend. “Don’t do that again,” he whispered in her ear. He then kissed the side of her head then stepped back.

Erin leaved over and whispered to Sara, “I swear he’s in love with her.”

“Yeah but Katia is gay,” muttered Sara.

“I heard that,” growled Katia. “I told you, Sara… I’m straight-”

“Oh no!” cut off Sara. She stepped forward and pointed a finger at Katia. “Now I know that long ass hug with that cop chic wasn’t over that damn cd.” She lowered her finger to the cd in Katia’s hand.

Katia glanced at it then back at Sara. “Whatever.” She spun around and put the cd down carefully on her desk.

Sara snickered and said, “My point has been made.” She threw up her arms.

“Get over yourself, Sara.” Erin pushed her friend out of the way and went to sit on her bed. “You just want Katia and you’re sore she isn’t gay so you can jump her.”

“Who says I can’t jump her?” Sara held up her hands and stepped closer to Katia.

Katia had spun around already, her hands up too, and a silly grin on her face. “Don’t mess with me, Sara. I got a cop backing me up.”

“Oh I bet she’d back up you, honey,” taunted Mike from in the corner.

Sara laughed hysterically. “Hell! That chic, what’s her name? Ashley right?” She stopped laughing just enough to say, “Ashley probably would love to jump Katia.”

“Sara!” hotly yelled Katia. “She’s not like… that!” she roared. She stomped off but her face held a grin.

“Yeah I hear yah, Katia but I don’t believe yah.” Sara smirked and sat down beside Erin on the bed.

Katia sat down on her bed and pulled Mike down beside her. “So exactly how long were you at that window, Sara?”

“Hey it wasn’t just me.” Sara pointed to Mike and Erin.

Katia glared now at all three of them. “You three are so goddamn… nosey!”

“Yeah, you tell ‘em, Katia,” applauded Sara.

“And you,” yelled Katia, her finger pointed at Sara. “Get back in your closet!”

Mike and Erin suddenly bursted out laughing together between Katia’s joke and Sara’s slack jawed expression. The group of friends continued to talk through the rest of the afternoon until it was near dinnertime. Katia explained most of what happened but kind of glazed over how she first met Ashley, not wanting them to know about the man that almost raped her. But after their dinner at the dinning hall, they each went back to their rooms to do whatever. Katia though had to do her homework since she was so far behind.

As she sat down at her desk, she stared at her cell phone resting in the corner. She sighed and felt so tempted to call up Ashley but knew she needed to get her work finished. Yet she also wanted to know Ashley got home safe but then she realized Ashley was probably at work by now. She then thought of another way to get in touch with her friend.

Katia grabbed her cell phone and flipped it open. She went to her text message area and quickly punched in a message to Ashley and sent it. She then closed her cell phone and placed it back in its spot. She tried to go back to her Calculus homework in front of her but she kept looking at her cell phone.

The cell phone’s ringer was off but the front LCD display suddenly lit up in various colours, indicating a message arrived. Katia snatched her phone and opened it; her smile grew as she read Ashley’s reply. She had a silly grin as she replied and simply punched in, ‘Be careful at work. And thanks again.’ then she sent the message. After that, she didn’t hear anything from Ashley because she knew she was probably pretty busy.

 

Ashley just finished her shift and it was a little after midnight. She ducked into the Lieutenant’s office after being permitted in the office.

“What can I do for you, Ashley?” Lieutenant Grissom looked up from his paper work and smiled at the young woman. “Sit down first.”

“Thank you, sir.” Ashley took her hat off and sat down in the wood chair. Once she was comfortable, she asked, “How’s your evening, sir? You’re working late.”

“I am and I should be home soon instead of here,” agreed the commander. He folded his hands over top of his paperwork then asked, “What you need, Ashley? You never come in my office so I’m kinda curious.”

“Sorry, sir.” Ashley faintly smiled and sat back into her chair. “I wanted to request a transfer.”

“A transfer?” The commander shook his head. “Ashley, you’re my best trooper.”

“Yes, I know, sir.”

“Where would you like to transfer to?”

Ashley licked her lips then replied, “Barrack E, sir.”

Salisbury, really?” Lieutenant Grissom sat back into his chair. “What’s on the Eastern Shore?”

“New atmosphere, sir,” replied the trooper. “I’m worn out with the city life.”

Salisbury is not much better, Ashley. They have a lot of trouble with drugs unfortunately.”

“Yes, sir I’ve heard of it.”

Lieutenant Grissom considered Ashley for a few quiet moments then he sat forward again. “You know, Ashley… you’re due up for a promotion.”

Ashley sighed and nodded. “I’ve heard that too, sir.”

“You know I’ve got Detective Burns out there getting ready to transfer too. He’s headed far out west and I need somebody to take his position, Ashley.”

The trooper’s expression went a little confused but then it dawned on her.

“Ashley, you’d make a great detective.”

“I’m not sure I’m quite qualified for that, sir,” protested Ashley.

The commander shook his head and said, “You’re very qualified, Ashley but I cannot make you my Detective Sergeant if you go racing off to Salisbury.”

“I know, sir.” Ashley lowered her eyes and stared at her hat. She wasn’t sure what to do now.

“The other thing too, Ashley is I have Sergeant Hagger breathing down my neck to take Detective Burn’s spot. Hagger is good but… he’s got nothing on you, Ashley.” The Lieutenant could tell his officer was struggling with her decision. Slowly though, blue eyes lifted up to him.

“Isn’t Hagger due to retire in four to six years, sir?”

“Yes of course,” replied Lieutenant Grissom. “Why?”

“Sir, it’s just… I’m not ready for all that extra paperwork,” explained the officer, “I wouldn’t mind a few more years out on patrol.”

The commander sighed and leaned back into his seat. “Is that what you really want, Ashley?”

“Yes, sir. I mean, if that is okay by you, sir.” Ashley sat up in her chair. “I’d like to transfer to Barrack E… give me a few more years, sir then I think I’ll be ready to step up to Detective.”

“By that time, Hagger will be retired,” whispered the commander. He stared at all the paper work on his des then he looked up at his state trooper. “Are you sure, Ashley?”

“Yes, sir,” persisted the officer. Her eyes held her conviction in them.

“I don’t know what’s over there, Ashley but I’ll get in touch with Captain Smith at the Salisbury Barracks.”

Ashley suddenly smiled and stood up with her hat. She held out her right hand.

The commander hastily stood up and took the woman’s larger hand.

“Thank you, Lieutenant.”

“Thank you, Ashley.” He released her hand and watched her go to his office door. “Oh, Officer Carver?”

Ashley stopped and looked back. “Sir?”

“I’m going to at least promote you to Sergeant if not First Sergeant.”

The trooper suddenly smiled even brighter. “Thank you so much, sir.”

“Don’t thank me, you’ve earned it, Ashley.” The commander smiled warmly.

Ashley couldn’t help her smile as she put her hat back on again. “Have a good evening, Lieutenant Grissom.”

“You too, Sergeant Carver.”

The trooper walked out and decided she liked the ring of that. She closed the door quietly and all her nervousness just spilled out and she began to relax finally. She now needed to get home and tomorrow was her day off, a good day to work on finding a place in Salisbury. She grinned happily as she called goodnight to a few of her fellow troopers then she left the barracks. Tonight ended as a good night for her and she could not wait to see Katia’s face in a few weeks.

 

To be continued.


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