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Linda Andersson & Sara Marx - In Sight of the S...docx
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It had turned into an absurd conversation. “Oh really?”

“In fact, it crossed my mind that that’s why Captain Briggs paired us up.”

Growing more absurd by the second…

“What?” Guin laughed to break her own mounting tension. “You think he was matching up the two lezzies?”

“You mean there’s only the two of us?”

Guin’s chuckle died as she thought about Cheryl again. Her former partner’s naked body pressed up against hers, their legs intertwined under covers, the feel of her soft lips as they kissed…

“Guin?”

“No, I don’t think Briggs would do that.” Or would he? After all, he had to have known that something was going on between her and Cheryl. But there was department policy that forbade such things. Then again there was a matter of her own mental health. She was a bit of a loose cannon, as Burnette had teased—perhaps giving her a hot partner was a sort of insurance that she would continue to report to work? Boy, that would certainly be something the LAPD’s HMO didn’t cover…

Insanity. She shrugged it off.

“Earth to Guin.” April waved her hand before her partner’s face. “Hello? Where did you go?”

Guin blinked. “I was just… thinking.”

“Okay.” April glanced at her watch, sighed. “Well, I need to sober up a bit before driving all the way back. Wanna grab a bite?”

“Sure.” Guin set a couple of bucks tip on the bar top. “Do you like sushi?”

“I love sushi.”

“Good. I know a place near here.”

They noticed the cowboy still watching them.

April shuddered. “Maybe we should go to the ladies’ bar next time.”

Feeling a new wave of self-confidence given April’s fresh confession, Guin only shook her head. “Nah, he’s harmless.” But she glanced over in time to see Cowboy shoot them a wink. She hopped down from her stool. “Well, on second thought…”

April nodded. “Yeah.”

After dinner and the long drive back to her place, April was surprised to see a late-model Benz parked in her designated space. She sighed. A nearby guest spot was vacant and she pulled into it and locked her car. The security lights had been broken for weeks and despite her repeated reminders to the super, the lot was pitch-black. She wedged her keys between her knuckles and headed for the building. In this neighborhood, one always had to be prepared. She waved her fob before the electronic security eye and was granted entry. Once inside she was met with yet another surprise.

“What in the hell are you doing here?”

A pale, Twiggy-thin woman sat cross-legged on the floor in front of her apartment door, eyes closed, leaning against the wall as if she’d been napping there.

“Hello to you, too,” the woman sleepily remarked as she came around. “I wondered if you’d recognize me these days.”

“I always recognize trouble.” April didn’t smile, just jammed her key into the door lock and pushed past the woman. She sighed, stepped back and made an obligatory wave toward her apartment. What else could she do? “Come in, Lauren.”

“Can you help me up?” Lauren’s voice sounded particularly weak. Always the damsel in distress, April knew better.

“Jesus, you’re white as a sheet. What’d you bring me? A plague?” April was fed up in advance with whatever tactics her guest would surely try to inflict upon her. She extended her hand and pulled the frail figure off the floor. “Didn’t your mom ever tell you to stay home when you’re sick?”

Lauren followed her into the apartment. She lugged an oversized gold leather purse over trendy black leggings and long striped tunic. Altogether it looked more like a tent than a fashion statement. No matter, April was sure it was the best style money could buy. She rolled her eyes.

“I need to talk to you.” Lauren plopped down onto the couch. Started to slip off her designer boots, but April raised a hand to halt her from getting too comfy.

“I think it’s a little late to talk now. I don’t have time for this.” April dropped her gym bag on the countertop, turned to assess her former lover. Lauren’s hair was pulled into a simple straight ponytail revealing perfect streaks of blond highlights in her auburn hair and further emphasizing her pale, pointy cheekbones. “And I mean it—whatever diet you’re trying is wretched. You truly look terrible.”

“Thanks. Great to see you, too.”

April grabbed a water out of the fridge, half-heartedly offered one to Lauren who declined. She sat on a bar stool across the room from her, took a swig, prepared her defenses.

“So, what’s so urgent that you needed to come here, park in my assigned space with what I’m assuming is her car? Couldn’t we do this over the phone?” April’s voice was quickly ramping up in anger.

“I needed to see you in person.”

“How did you manage to get in my building anyway?”

“Same thing I did before. I told the landlady I’m your sister.”

April folded her arms, pulling Guin’s track suit jacket more tightly around her body, as if to glean a little bit of needed emotional strength from it. “All right. So talk.”

“I want to come back.”

April dropped her arms, felt her jaw fall in surprise. “What? Are you kidding me?”

“Look—Lisa and I broke up. She left me her car, all right. And also three months of unpaid rent and a stack of bills.” She rubbed at the worry lines that coursed across her forehead. Her big finish was a whisper, “Landlord locked me out of the apartment. Here I am.”

April looked at Lauren with sheer disbelief. At one time she would have done anything for this woman. “So, you just want to…move right into here? With me?”

“I don’t have anywhere else to go. Please, April.”

April felt her anger peak. She took several deep breaths, tried to be reasonable. Her response was brief and to the point. “You broke my heart.”

“I know it. And I’m sorry.” Lauren stared at her boots. Everything about her at that moment was pathetic. But even in that state, the poor-little-rich girl was not willing to own even the smallest part of her actions as she added, “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how erratic your hours are.”

“Yeah, well it’s called earning a living,” she snapped back. “I promise you most of the people in this world can attest to that. Most of us were not born with the benefit of a trust fund.”

Lauren’s head bobbed close to her chest as she sighed.

April studied her for a moment, stated her conclusion. “And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if you’re here, something’s wrong.” She paused a beat, got no reaction. “They cut you off, didn’t they?”

Lauren nodded. She raised her eyes to her ex at last. “I still love you.”

April hadn’t seen that coming. She wondered if Lauren had confused love and need. Being needy was surely a foreign concept for the young woman.

“Sorry, I can’t do that.” But her words lacked the strength she would have preferred. She hopped off the stool. “I’m just getting my life back together. And I’m not staying here anyway. My lease is up and I’m moving at the end of the month.”

Lauren could have guessed that from the few boxes already scattered around the place. Her voice grew significantly quiet. “Where to?”

“I’ve been transferred to North Hollywood and I’ve found a place in the Valley.” She took the last swig of her water and dropped it into the recycling container, then confidently announced, “I’m moving on, Lauren.”

That rejection hit home for real was evident in Lauren’s eyes. At last she stood, gathered the bag that was bigger than her, forced a smile. “Fair enough. I lose.”

April followed her to the door. Lauren stopped once more. Her eyes were unnaturally large, sunken in appearance.

“Maybe you can let me know when you get settled.” Lauren waved her hand slightly. “Maybe we can go for a drink or something.”

“Maybe,” April said. Once the door was closed and locked, she leaned against it, breathed a sigh of relief. She was getting stronger. Still, there was no reason to tempt herself unnecessarily.

“Or maybe not.”

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