Last week, I introduced you to Vinnie, a mugger, and a Pekingese. What comes next? Read this week's Rose and Thorne and find out. Also, join Marshall and Lee at Partners for some fun! Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tales. Enjoy!
Rose and Thorne #2 (1.2)
If I’d been possessed of the proper agility, I would’ve tossed those ungainly stilettos from my feet with one well-aimed kick so I could do battle on a more even footing. But, in truth, I was nowhere near that well-balanced. Plus the damn things were strapped on pretty tight. I’d made sure if I went down, they were going with me, considering what they cost.
Didn’t matter. I had the situation under control anyway.
I countered the perp’s kick with one of my own. But I didn’t waste my time going for his ankles. Instead, I directed my knee toward more tender regions and thrust up, hard. These legs might be pretty, but they have muscles to spare.
I caught him completely by surprise. Here he was thinking he could just grab my purse, take the money, and run. Plus he had that thinking I was a helpless female thing going on. The strong preying on the weak mentality. Well, he had another think coming. He let out a high-pitched squeal and toppled over backward. Unfortunately, he never let go of my bag, and as entangled in it as I was, the momentum of his fall carried me with it, and I plopped right on top of him, momentarily losing my breath.
“Hells bells!” I managed to get out as I yanked on the strap which bound us together. His eyes were watering with pain, but they were also glazed with horror. And well they should be, considering the situation. My falsies were smashed flat against his chest, and we were lying eye-to-eye and horizontal to one another in a far too intimate fashion. Bet he hadn’t bargained on that when he targeted me as his victim.
“What are you? A man-woman or somethin’?”
A what? I felt my irritation rising by the second. I guess my voice had betrayed my gender, although I would have thought my face would have done that already at this proximity. Either I looked better than I thought I did or his standards for womanhood were damn low. Then again, it was dark.
“Hang on, Vinnie, I’m coming!” Ethan’s deep voice echoed in my earpiece. My knight in shining armor.
The perp’s eyes narrowed and he began to growl. That set off the Pekingese, whom I’d forgotten about. It began to yip again, although I couldn’t be sure which of us the dog was barking at.
“You’re no lady, you’re a cop!” he snarled—the mugger, not the dog.
“Yeah, and you’re under arrest, asshole!” I automatically reached for the cuffs which normally hung from my belt, then remembered I wasn’t wearing a belt, and the cuffs were inside the purse. Shit. Well, I could rectify that. Once I got into a better position.
I pulled back on the bag with all the strength I could muster and managed to pry it from the mugger’s tight grasp. The purse and I tumbled backward onto the damp grass. Success was mine!
I reached for my piece, keeping my eyes trained on my prisoner, but I discovered to my dismay it wasn’t there. Maybe he’d managed to sneak it out of my skirt when I was lying on top of him. Instinctively, I ducked down, searching for cover.
The Pekingese was still barking for attention. Afraid the noisy pup might get hit by a stray bullet, I aimed one high-heeled foot at it, as if I intended to kick it. “Go on, get back!” I hoped I could scare it into running off, but no such luck. The animal gave me a quizzical look, as if it wondered what my problem was, then continued to bark.
Still keeping low to the ground, I wondered why, if the perp had my gun, I wasn’t being shot at. That’s when I saw the gleam of something lying in the grass at the dog’s feet. I realized what it was about two seconds before the mugger did. We both dove for my gun, colliding in mid-air. His head rammed painfully into my jaw. This time I ended up on bottom, staring up at him, his knees unpleasantly close to my fake chest. My skirt had bunched up around my waist, and a slight breeze crept unpleasantly between my thighs, but I didn’t dare try to yank it down.
“Dude, we really have to quit meeting like this. Now listen up while I inform you of your rights.”
Okay I was bluffing, playing for time. Neither one of us had managed to come up with the gun. It lay mere feet away, next to the dog. He’d finally calmed down and stared between us, tail whipping back and forth.
The question was who was going to get to my gun first? Did I feel lucky?
Well, did I?
He was watching me like a cat keeping an eye on a mouse hole. I could almost follow his thoughts—should he or shouldn’t he go after the weapon—as he kept the gun clearly in his peripheral vision. Same as I did.
The trouble was he appeared to have the advantage over me, seeing as he was on top, and he wasn’t exactly a lightweight. Still, I wasn’t worried. I’d gotten out of worse scrapes before.
“You have the right to remain silent—” I began my litany.
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
I felt his weight shift ever so slightly. I knew he was going to go for it; his eyes signaled his intentions. And I knew I had to get to it first. My common sense told me muggers weren’t usually killers. But in the right situation, give a desperate man a gun and things could go horribly wrong. Did I want to bet my life on the milk of his human kindness?
“Don’t do it,” I warned him.
He didn’t listen. With a strangled cry, he leapt for my gun….
to be continued
Moving Forward #2 (1.2)
“Why don’t I show you how old men get?” Lee rose as he spoke, his hand held out to Marshall. “If you think you can keep up, that is.”
“Shee-it, son, you done been challenged,” Rye hooted. The entire table broke up into raucous laughter and whistles, and cries of “Go get’em!” which could have been directed at either one of them.
Lee’s eyes positively gleamed with mischief. Marshall knew this wasn’t just a challenge. It was Lee’s way of saying all’s right with their world, and nothing and no one could tear them apart. They were going to live and love and have a damn good time doing it.
“I’ll take that challenge.” Drawing himself up to his full height, he laid his hand in Lee’s.
“Seeya boys,” Lee called back as he led Marshall onto the dance floor. They assumed the position. Lee placed his right hand at the small of Marshall’s back. Taking Marshall’s right hand in his left, across his body, they joined the other dancers in the promenade.
They’d done these steps together so often, they could have done them blindfolded. Marshall followed Lee’s lead. He loved the promenade, which was definitely a couples dance, but at Partners no one blinked an eye whether it was a man and a woman, two men, or two women. In fact, at one time it wasn’t uncommon for two men to promenade together when there was a scarcity of women. Of course now it was done for other reasons.
Marshall loved it when Lee spun him about, under his arm, or when they twisted in elaborate patterns that often earned them applause from their fellow dancers. Neither one ever missed a step, even if they were seemingly focused more on one another than the dance floor. When the dance was done, Lee pulled Marshall into his arms and kissed him, shutting the rest of the world out.
After a couple of promenades, the music switched to line dancing, and they kicked up their heels a little more before heading back to the table. While they’d been out on the dance floor, a newcomer had joined the table. Marshall recognized him as the obnoxious server who’d stepped on his foot . The same one whose tongue hung to his knees every time he looked at Lee. Marshall started to scowl, until he realized the man’s attention was all being given to Rye. In fact, he was practically sitting in Rye’s lap. Guess he didn’t have to worry none about him tonight.
“Not tonight or any other night,” Lee assured him.
Marshall’s jaw liked to have dropped. How had Lee read his mind? Lee leaned in to him as they took seats across from Roy, who was talking to Slim. “I know you well enough to know how you think,” he murmured. Marshall had to admit that was true for sure.
He glanced around the table. “Where’d Denver go? Back room?”
Rye stopped making goo-goo eyes at his current love interest long enough to respond, “He got a phone call, said he’d be right back. Something about a cousin, I don’t remember exactly what he said.”
Marshall snorted inelegantly, but didn’t make the comment that was on the tip of his tongue about Rye having his head too far up his date’s ass to notice an atom bomb going off.
Lee jerked a thumb in the direction of Rye and Blondie. “What’s up with that?” he asked Roy, who shrugged. Slim did likewise.
“Apparently they hit it off well enough to exchange numbers and meet up tonight,” Roy said. “I’d introduce you if I could, but someone here hasn’t had the manners to do it yet.” He raised his voice with his last words enough to actually catch Rye’s attention. Rye grinned good-naturedly at the ribbing.
“Sorry, fellas, guess I wasn’t thinking.”
“What else is new?” Slim quipped, producing more laughter.
“This here’s Stu.” He indicated Blondie with a wave of one hand. “You might remember he works here. Stu, these are my friends. Roy, Slim, Lee, and Marshall.”
Stu was dressed more conservatively than he was when he was waiting tables, Marshall noticed, but he sure enjoyed applying eye shadow and liner, making his eyes appear enormous. Everyone murmured their hellos as the introductions were made and regular conversation resumed.
Marshall scooted his chair back and began to rise. Lee caught his eye, brow raised. “Going to the bar? I was just about to order another round.”
“Naw, just seein’ a man about a horse.” He glanced uncertainly toward Stu, debating with himself if he trusted him not to hit on Lee once he left the table.
“You don’t have to trust him, just me.” Lee squeezed his hand. “Go on. I’ll order that round while you’re gone. Stickin’ with beer?”
“Yeah, draft is good.”
Lee pulled him down for a long, hard kiss. By the time he released him, Marshall felt his toes begin to curl. He knew he was being silly about Stu. Stu seemed more than content to be with Rye. Let bygones be bygones. “Be right back.” He kissed Lee softly, received a sexy smile in return, then headed toward the restrooms at the back of the club.
The men’s room was almost empty. Marshall took care of business and washed his hands. He was thinking about him and Lee on the beach in the Virgin Islands. Lost in thought, he accidentally bumped shoulders with another man. “Sorry,” he quickly apologized.
“You will be,” the man growled.
Marshall glanced up, puzzled. He recognized the heavy-set older man who stood before him. They’d had one dance earlier in the evening. He wondered what his problem was now.
“Who do you think you are, the fucking Queen of Sheba?”
Marshall tried to step past him. “Look, I don’t want any trouble with you—”
The man shoved him hard, catching him off-guard. Marshall fell against the door to one of the stalls.
to be continued
Now see what the other Briefers are up to!