The lunch shift had ended ten minutes ago. I wasn’t late yet. I parked the truck and headed inside. I hadn’t seen Della in six hours and that was just too damn long. I wasn’t scheduling her for two shifts again. No matter how hard she begged. I shoved open the kitchen doors and everyone froze. Normally my entrance didn’t get much notice. They were used to me walking in and out. Jimmy was clocking out. He glared at me and cocked his hip to the side.
“You just now showing up to worry about the lack of help we had around here? You go and arrest the best damn help I’ve had since Blaire worked here. Then no explanation or peep out of you.”
Arrest his help? What help?
“What are you talking about?” I asked looking around for Della. Maybe she could explain the drama queen’s outburst.
“Oh, I don’t know Woods. Maybe the fact the po-po shows up and arrests sweet little Della and scares the shit outta her then you do nothing. You let them take her and you don’t worry about the fact she’s scheduled to work two shifts today.”
I grabbed the first thing I could reach which was the front of Jimmy’s shirt. “What did you say about Della and the police? Stop blabbering and fucking explain yourself,” I roared. The blood was rushing to my head and pounding in my temples. I had known something was wrong but nothing Jimmy had said made sense.
“The police came and took Della right after she got here this morning. You didn’t know? They said Mr. Kerrington wanted her escorted out of the building before they cuffed her. She was scared man. Really scared.”
I let go of Jimmy’s shirt and he stumbled backwards. The selfish controlling fucker had my Della arrested. She was scared. She was gonna need me and I wasn’t there.
“FUCK,” I roared and stormed out of the kitchen and started running. I had to find her.
“It was Josiah Burton who arrested her,” Jimmy called out behind me.
I was going after Burton first. I’d gone to school with Josiah and it wouldn’t be the first time I’d beaten the shit out of him. It would however be the first time I got charged with assaulting an officer.
“If you hear anything, call me,” I replied and opened the door to go to the police station and the sorry ass police in this town that could be bought.
I’d go see my father last. He wasn’t going to be as easy to threaten.
I didn’t check in at the front desk when I got to the station.
“You have to check in Mr. Kerrington,” Margaret Fritz called out as I stalked past her without a word.
Deputy Sheriff Josiah Burton was in his office when I reached it and I walked into without knocking and slammed the door closed behind me. I locked it just in case I needed time to kill him. I turned to glare at the man I knew had been paid off to do my father’s bidding.
“You better start talking you sorry motherfucker, or the last thing I do before they lock me up is blow your sorry ass head off,” I growled.
Josiah jumped up from his desk his beady eyes going round in surprise.
“I did just what your dad had me do. I covered everything. The paper work is done and filed; she can’t come back to town. I secured it. Calm down. It’s done. No reason to get so damn demanding.”
He thought I knew about this. I forced the raging need to rip his head off down and stared at him deciding exactly how to play this. I needed more information.“What time did you arrest her?”Josiah shook his head. “I didn’t. Like your dad told me I just cuffed her and threw her in the back of the squad car. Scared her a bit. Then took her to him.”My chest was about to explode. They had purposely scared her. My father would pay for this. Every minute she was terrified he would pay tenfold.“Where was my father? Where did you take her?Josiah frowned. “Your house.”He had taken her to my house.“Is she still there?”“No man. I told you I did all the paperwork. She was warned not to come back or I’d arrest her and then she was shipped off to wherever the hell he had Leo take her.”“Why can’t she come back?” I asked balling my hands into fists.Josiah started to answer and stopped. He studied me a minute and then his jaw went slack. “You don’t know. He did this and you didn’t know. Fuck me,” he said, sinking back down into his chair. “Oh man, Woods. I thought you knew. I thought she was crazy and you were scared of what she might do. I was getting rid of her for you. Your dad said she was dangerous. A mental case. I even roughed her up a bit. I didn’t know… please tell me that girl is screwed in the head and what I did was good.”I closed my eyes tightly trying not to think about the part where he said he’d roughed her up a bit. I needed to hit someone. “How did you rough her up?” I asked in a slow even voice.“Just jerked her around unnecessarily by the arm and put the cuffs on a little too tight.”I grabbed the front of his uniform and jerked him up out of his seat. “Even if she had been crazy, she’s a woman. No woman needs to be handled like that. Ever.” I took a deep breath. “She’s the woman I love. The woman my sick fucker of a father doesn’t want me to love.” I threw him back in his chair and he rolled back and slammed into the wall. I didn’t apologize or wait to see if I was going to deal with charges of my own. I jerked open his door and made my way back out to my truck ignoring questions as I went.Leo. I had to find fucking Leo.Leo wasn’t in town. My parents had left on a plane for New York City after I left their house today. No one knew anything. I stood on my porch staring out at the ocean and dialed Della’s phone for the hundredth time just to hear her voicemail.“It’s Della. Can’t answer my phone right now but leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.”Beep.“It’s me again. You’re gone. I wasn’t there and you were hurt. God baby, knowing how scared you must have been and I wasn’t there. I just need to find you. Where ever you are. I need to find you, Della. Call me. Let me know you’re okay.”Beep.Then a dial tone.I dropped my phone on the table and gripped the railing in front of me. She was going to have to sleep without me tonight. Her bad dreams would come back and I wouldn’t be there. Would someone be there? Was she alone?