Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.
Evan has taken on a double shift to help a colleague. Somehow he feels as if it might be better to give Chan and the kids time alone, without him. Yet he feels guilty for feeling that way. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!Super Trooper #53 (12.4)
Evan’s night had been a long one, but relatively uneventful. He’d issued warnings to a few speeders, ticketed a couple he recognized as repeat offenders. Helped a stranded motorist with a flat tire and was called to the scene of a domestic dispute which ended with him taking an abusive spouse to jail. Now he was done, paperwork complete and turned in, and he was ready to call it a night.
The trouble was that for once the thought of going home didn’t appeal to him. And that only served to make him feel guiltier than he already felt.
According to the clock in his cruiser, it was already after one. Chan and the kids would be long asleep, so no sense in calling. They wouldn’t miss him, or notice his absence. He tried to tell himself he just wasn’t tired. He wasn’t ready to go to sleep, too wound up from having worked an extra shift. But if he was completely honest with himself, it was much more than that.
He considered just driving around Tucker Falls until he was ready to head back to the house and go to bed. Not that there was exactly anything to see at this time of night. Maybe it was because he spent so much time in his vehicle that it had become a form of refuge for him.
Or a place to hide, he couldn’t help but think.
Not until he found himself driving by Partners did he decide that he could use a night cap. Something to get him through the night. He didn’t really have time for more than a drink or two anyway, since the bars all closed at 2 AM, and last call came at least fifteen minutes before that.
He pulled into the parking lot. Typical Friday night, maybe thinned out just a little due to the lateness of the hour. That and a new place had opened on the other side of town. He’d been meaning to take Chan there, but the opportunity had yet to present itself.
He parked the cruiser away from the other cars and headed inside. He was the object of a few glances as he headed toward the bar, but once they realized he was only there for a drink, not to roust anyone, they relaxed again. Evan wasn’t the only lawman who wore his uniform in Partners, although he didn’t do it that often.
He stood at the bar, surveying the crowd as he waited for the bartender to move his way. He wasn’t sure what or who he was looking for, if anything. In the back of his mind, he’d hoped maybe Roy would be there. That was kind of a long shot, though. He saw no sign of his friend or his boyfriend.
That being the case, he took a seat on a vacant bar stool and ordered a draft when he was asked what he wanted. It was cold and went down smoothly, giving him something to focus on other than himself, or anything else.
Before he realized it, his glass was empty and he ordered a second.
“Put that on my tab and give me the same,” came a voice beside him. Evan turned in surprise to see an older man slide into the seat beside him. Maybe fifty or so, his dark hair was lightly salted with a little white. He wore a dark suit, but had unbuttoned the jacket, revealing the white shirt underneath. He smiled at Evan.
“That’s not necessary,” Evan began but the stranger waved his hand at Evan’s words.
“My pleasure. You looked alone, I’m definitely alone, and you know what they say about drinking alone…”
Evan couldn’t help but ask, “No, what do they say about drinking alone?”
“That you shouldn’t do it.” The man laughed, even as the bartender set their beers in front of them. “And you shouldn’t drink with a stranger either, so let’s get that out of the way. Frank Murdoch.” He held out one hand toward Evan.
“Evan Rainsford,” Evan said, shaking the proffered hand.
“Nice to meet you, Evan,” Frank said. “I guess it’s not going out too far on a limb to ask if you’re in law enforcement.” His gaze raked up and down Evan, making him slightly uncomfortable, although he pushed the feeling aside.
“That’s pretty obvious, I guess.”
“Now it’s your turn to guess what I do.” Frank grinned. “I know what you’re thinking. Funeral home, am I right? People tell me I dress like an undertaker.”
“I wasn’t going to guess that,” Evan admitted. “Honestly, I don’t know. Clothes can be misleading, I’ve learned. Like judging a book by its cover.”
“How right you are,” Frank agreed. “I like the way you think.” He leaned closer to Evan, laying his hand on top of Evan’s arm. Evan automatically moved his arm back, out of reach. The man didn’t seem fazed by Evan’s apparent rejection of his overture. Assuming that’s what that was.
“I’m in insurance, by the way. Auto, life…whatever you need. What do you need, Evan?”
This conversation had taken a sudden turn for the worse, not anything like Evan had envisioned. Although what he thought was going to happen, he couldn’t say either. Before he could tell Frank he had the wrong idea, Frank leaned in close enough to whisper in Evan’s ear.
“I know lonely when I see it, Evan. And you have lonely written all over you. How about you and me go into the back and get un-lonely together?”
Evan fought to keep from showing just how repugnant that idea was. The idea of going back there for any reason was repulsive to him, but especially to be with this man or any other man. He loved Chan, he would never do that to him.
Rising so suddenly, he sent a startled Frank careening back into his seat, he said, “No thank you,” tossed a few bills on the bar and hurried off.
to be continued
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