Time for another installment of Garren’s story. We’re into the second half of it now. If you’ve missed any, I have all the previous scenes on one page here. 2 scenes today.
Garren rubbed his eyes as he walked across the room. He’d been on the night shift before without any problems. Of course he hadn’t had a night of drinking before that. And he’d gotten some sleep before going to work. Not so much this time. Even when he’d gone back to his apartment after lunch, he hadn’t been able to relax. His father’s words were haunting him. Was he really going to end up like his grandfather?
He shook away those thoughts. He wasn’t an alcoholic. He liked to go out with friends. He liked to drink. That was it. It’s not like he got wasted every night. It didn’t affect his work. He wasn’t an alcoholic.
He ran a hand over his face. What was wrong with him? He let out a breath and moved toward a window. He was here to do a job. He needed to do that instead of obsessing over his father’s words. He glanced outside then turned from the window. He knew standing in front of it with the light at his back could make him a target. That was something he couldn’t seem to convince Jonah about. He continued to do just that several times a night. Not to mention walking outside and standing on the sidewalk in broad daylight. Sometimes he wondered if the man was trying to get them to mow him down in front of his family.
He drilled fingers into his eyes. Enough with these morbid thoughts. He’d do a check around the perimeter of the house then settle in until it was time to do another check.
He stepped outside, keeping his hand on his gun. He let his eyes adjust to the darkness before scanning the surrounding neighborhood. He didn’t see anything. Nothing out of place, no one moving along the street. It was quiet and calm. He moved toward where he knew the marshal on duty was parked and gave a quick knock on the window. When it rolled down, he asked, “Seen anything out here?”
The marshal shook his head. “It’s a quiet neighborhood. Honestly, I’m starting to think we’re not even needed here. No one’s coming after this family. If he really did get those threats, that’s probably all they were.”
Garren wanted to agree with the man, and he was probably right. He just couldn’t quite bring himself to though. “Hopefully they’ll find the ones responsible soon. I want to get back to my real job.” He glanced back toward the house, saw Jonah standing at the window again. He had to fight back the growl that rose in his throat. “And away from the idiot who makes himself a target.”
The marshal glanced in the rearview and shook his head. “He certainly is something. All the protection we can give him won’t help if he puts himself out there like that.”
“I’d better get back in there. So, he can tell me how I’m not a real cop. See you on my next check.”
He turned and started away but the marshal called out to him. “Hey, Alexander.” He stopped and turned back. “Don’t let him get to you. You’re young, but I’ve been on the force nearly two decades. I know a good cop when I see one.”
Something bloomed in him at the praise. He wasn’t sure what to say though so only nodded before moving back to the house. As soon as he stepped inside, Jonah stepped out of the living room to confront him.
“What good are you going to do my family by standing outside chatting.”
With the marshal’s words echoing in his head, Garren stepped right up to Jonah. “You’re the one not doing them any good offering whoever’s after you an easy target. I was speaking with the marshal as I’m supposed to on my rounds. So, back off.”
“Look, you little-”
“Jonah.” Mary stepped into the room, interrupting him. “He’s just doing his job. Let him be.”
The older man was still bristling, but he did step away. “Just do your job. If anything happens to me or my family, it will be on your head.”
Mary stood where she was while Jonah left the room. She offered Garren a slight smile. “Don’t listen to him. He gets gruff when he’s stressed.”
Garren lifted his shoulders in a shrug. His personality didn’t make a difference. He was only here to do a job. Mary stepped back. “Well, I’ll see you in the morning, Officer.”
He nodded at her then settled on the couch once she was gone. He’d rest until time for his next rounds. He couldn’t wait until this assignment was over though.
Garren stepped out of the shower and reached for his towel. He felt like he’d just come off the longest shift ever. He’d gotten a reprieve from Jonah during the night, but he’d started right back in first thing this morning. Too bad first thing was before four a.m. Three hours of his berating talk had been more than enough. He’d been so glad to see Officer Mackel come to relieve him.
Now, all he wanted was to get as he headed to his bedroom to change, was to get something to eat and drop off for at least eight hours. Maybe even ten or twelve. He slipped on some athletic shorts and a tank top and headed for the kitchen. He had just poured a bowl of cereal and was reaching for a banana when the phone on his counter rang. Fuck. Even thinking the swear word had his face heating. His mother had pounded it into him not to swear. Even with other influences in his life now, he found it difficult to forget the early learning.
He set the banana on the counter and grabbed the phone. “Hello.”
“Officer Alexander.” Fuck, again. Not his mother at least. As if she could hear his unspoken thoughts.
“Marshal. I just got off duty. What do you want?”
He heard a smothered chuckle. “I knew you’d be a straight shooter, Officer. And I understand you just got home and are probably ready to get some sleep. Which is why I didn’t want to call you.”
Garren felt something twist in his stomach. “Did something happen? Is everyone all right?”
“Nothing happened, exactly. The Wilkers are all fine.”
“Then, what are you calling me for?”
The marshal was silent for just a moment, then he said, “We need you to come in again tonight.”
“What? What don’t you understand about I just got off duty? I’m supposed to have twenty-four hours off.”
“I know, Officer. And trust me, I’d like to give it to you. But, Hersch just called in sick. It was his shift, but he can’t do it now. Mackel is on right now, and we won’t ask him to stay on for twenty-four hours. You’ll at least have a chance to sleep and recharge.”
Garren sighed and ran a hand over his face. He was right. And he couldn’t be pissed at a man for getting sick. Even if it was just sick of their charge. “All right. I’ll be there for the shift change. I guess I don’t really have much choice in the matter.”
The marshal chuckled again. “There’s the positive attitude.”
He couldn’t quite fight the smile either. “Can I please eat now so I can get that rest?”
“Of course, Officer. Again, I’m sorry to have to do this.”
“Right,” he said and hung up the phone. He barely restrained himself from swearing again, out loud this time.
So much for that ten or twelve hours he’d hoped for.