“John, can you finish up here? I have to go.”
“Is everything okay?”
“Gina.” That’s all I have to say. My sister has attracted drama our whole adult lives. In fact, I am surprised I never got a call like this before.
He nods and I grab my purse and keys from the back office. Reaching my car in the parking garage, I start it up and immediately have to turn the radio down. Why is it that music seems so much louder at night?
I switch the channel until actual music plays. Trouble, by Pink. That’s Gina without a doubt. The song fits her, for the most part, but her theme song is Breathe. She keeps getting into messes, and I’m usually the one cleaning up.
It’ll take me at least twenty minutes to get from Midtown to Sandy Springs, a suburb on the north side of the city. Sandy Springs straddles the top of The Perimeter, the interstate road that circles Metro Atlanta. The drive is uneventful, which leaves me lots of time to think.
My sister is in her late twenties. She should have a job, and should not be calling me at two in the morning from a police department. The thought that she was there on a social visit never crosses my mind. In fact, I’m pretty sure she’s been arrested. I just hope I can cover bail, if I need to.
Halfway to The Perimeter, I realize I’m not sure where the police department is located. I glance at my GPS, debating whether I’m coordinated enough to type the destination while I drive. At almost three-fifteen in the morning, it’s probably a bad idea. Shit.
I’m on the interstate, so I can’t just pull over. I know the area well enough, so it can wait until I’m nearer and get off on one of those exits. Sandy Springs isn’t that large, so I shouldn’t need to get on the highway again.
I reach the exit for GA-400 and follow it for about a mile until I see the exit for Abernathy Road, one of the larger roads in the suburb. Memories of when I lived in this area flit through my mind. It’s like a ghost town at this hour, which is nice for me. At rush hour, this place can get like a parking lot.
There is a business complex with open parking just off the exit, so I pull in and type the police department into the “Points of Interest” feature of my pocket GPS. Good. It’s not far from where I am—only about a mile. I turn the car in the direction given and reach the building in no time.
Before I get out of the car, I take a deep breath. I try to tell myself I could be mistaken and Gina hasn’t been arrested. But there’s only one way to find out.
A female officer at the front desk looks up as I open the door.
“Luce!” My sister jumps up and runs to me, hugging me. “I’m so sorry.” Her eyes are focused, but bloodshot. She looks like she hasn’t slept in days and her long, dark hair is stringy.
Another officer emerges from a doorway and looks at Gina with an odd expression. It takes me a moment, but I realize he’s watching her movements, not in a suspicious way, but in a carnal way. Huh. A cop. I can’t see myself giving her crap about that. Better a cop than the string of previous and current boyfriends who are nothing but leeches. And the cop’s better looking than most of the guys Gina usually dates. He’s got wavy blond hair, and who can resist a man in uniform? Smiling at the possibility, I give her another head-to-toe sweep.
“You look like shit.” And she does. Her normally lustrous brown eyes seem lifeless. Her smile is gone. Her olive skin is tinged with grime. We’re several years apart in age, but people often mistake us for twins. The way she looks now, I hope that error would be impossible to make.
“Gee, thanks.” She finally glances over at the officer standing discreetly away. “Oh, Luce, this is Sergeant Mitchell.”
He nods. “Nice to meet you.” Curt, but polite.
“Likewise.” I giggle as I think of Bad Boys. Yeah, it’s cliché for a cop, but there’s a reason clichés exist.
Gina grabs my arm and pulls me to the door, tossing her goodbye over her shoulder. Rude. I pull back, but she tightens her grip.
“Any reason you’re dragging me out of here?” I ask.
“Do I need a reason to want to get out of a police station?”
“Fair enough.” Unlocking my car, I glance back. Sergeant Mitchell is talking with the front-desk officer, but his gaze keeps shifting to the parking lot.
She looks at me in surprise, over the top of my car. “Who?”
“Who do you think? The cop that couldn’t keep his eyes off you.”
“Oh. Yeah. Well, he’s probably trying to make sure I don’t hotwire a car out here.”
My eyebrows rise. That’s an interesting reaction to male attention. Maybe I’m not the only one with hot-guy trouble tonight.
Once we’re in the car and I start driving, I decide it’s unlikely she’ll jump from a car doing sixty on the highway.
“So.” I check her profile before concentrating on the road again. “Are you gonna tell me why I’m picking you up at a police station at three in the morning?”