Red and blue lights flickered over Hatred’s face. Jealousy shook his head in disappointment, looking back and over her at the squad cars that littered the parking lot.
I snorted, turning the key over, and started my car.
“I wouldn’t do that, Dinlas,” Hatred warned.
“They can’t do anything to me,” I replied. “You know that.”
“I also know what our high-speed chase would look like across the world and the domain that runs underneath it,” she said.
She was right. The rest of my family could misconstrue my antics. They could zero in on me and mess things up for me. They don’t understand me, and they wouldn’t understand why I needed this. It was an outcome I couldn’t afford and a risk I wasn’t willing to take.
“I hate to side with her on this, Din,” Jealousy added. “But she’s right. The little brat.”
“Can it, Jelly!”
I allowed myself to slip deep into thought as they argued. I drowned out their insults toward each other as I stared into the rearview mirror. I watched the doors of the squad cars open, and the officers within them took cover behind those doors while they pointed their weapons in our direction.
I wasn’t able to fill up my tank because of what happened. So I knew speeding away wasn’t a viable option. I didn’t carry a weapon, so there was no way to shoot my way out of it.
Dammit. I had done so well remaining under the radar and out of the reach of my family. Why did I have to give in to the temptation of succumbing to the altercation with the mortal? I knew the answer was Hatred.
While my minions argued, the officers barked orders at me to get out of the car with my hands behind my head. I ignored them and smoked my cigarette comfortably as I contemplated my next move.
I was close to her, which meant I was close to finding out what I needed to know. I was on her heels enough for her to tell lies about who I was to these mortals to create more separation between us. I struggled to figure out how she knew and why she desired to remain away from me.
There was so much I didn’t know about her, and so much I needed to learn. She intrigued me more than anyone I could remember. Another interesting thought gripped me tight. There are similarities between the two of us, and we both crave isolation. What if there is somebody out there that hunted my every move?
A silhouette forced its way through the flashing lights and blocked the headlights that poured through my rear window. The shadow sauntered toward the car, inching its way to the driver’s side door.
I couldn’t make it out through my side mirror. I waited for the figure to come into view.
A woman stood at my window with her arms folded and a golden shield clipped at her waist. She had curly brown hair with light brown skin and freckles across her nose. Her hazel eyes pierced mine, and her lips were pursed from her thoughts.
Her gun was holstered at her side but in plain view. Just in case I decided to make any threatening movements. I found myself smiling at her, and I didn’t know why. It was an involuntary muscle movement that I had no control over. Her presence had conjured the expression from deep within me, rising until it rose to the surface of my face.
She gestured for me to roll the window down, and I obliged.
“Can I ask you to turn your car off, sir?” she asked.
“Sure,” I replied, turning my car off.
“Can I ask you what happened in there?”
“A minor disagreement.”
“You call that minor?” she asked, pointing at the mess I’d left the large clerk in.
“I actually do.”
“A smart ass, I see,” she replied, leaning down to get a better look at me. “If I ask you to step out of the car, are you going to have a similar disagreement with me?”
“No, not unless you push me to that.”
“Step out of the car, please? Let’s have a chat.”
“I don’t like this, Din,” Jealousy remarked.
“I’m with Jelly on this,” Hatred added. “I can’t get a read on her. That makes me nervous.”
“I don’t like her, Din.”
“I don’t either.”
I ignored their advice and climbed out of my car. The last thing I wanted to do was have a conversation with my minions that she couldn’t see. She was already skeptical of me and who I was. I didn’t need to raise any more suspicion.
“I can and will pay for the damages,” I said, flicking my cigarette into the snowbank.
“You think it’s that easy?” she chuckled. “You pay for the damage you’ve caused, and I let you go. Is that it?”
Her attitude caught me off guard. Jealousy and Hatred pounded on the windows, yelling how much they didn’t care for her.
“Not exactly,” I replied. “I just don’t understand what’s going on.”
“Well, what’s going on is that man in there happens to be a good friend of mine. He called me, I picked up, and I listened to the assault on the other end. Believe me, I know how he is and how he can get under people’s skin, but I also know about a report I received earlier today from a scared woman.”
“Okay, that’s it,” I interjected. “This has gone on far enough. Whatever she’s saying about me is a lie. She and I have a—”
“Disagreement?” she interrupted. “Listen, I don’t care what you two are involved in or what went on in your relationship, but what I do care about are calls from frightened women. And wouldn’t you know it, the man she described, fitting your description, is here causing problems for my friends and me.”
“He pulled a gun on me,” I said. “All I wanted to do was get gas and smokes.”
“I don’t buy it,” she said. “For the time being, you’re under arrest for assault, and you and I are going to take a ride to sort all this out.”
She pulled her handcuffs out.
“Din! Din, don’t do it!” Jealousy shouted.
“Dinlas, no!” Hatred yelled.
I ignored them once again, extending my hands toward the officer in compliance. I felt compelled to see where this would take me, and I felt excitement.