Joy

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eighteen

Joy’s eyes flutter open as a cell phone trills. She’s so warm. Comfortable. There’s a body behind her, a warm, live, body.

Colin groans and presses a soft kiss to her temple before slithering out from behind her. “Sorry, work.” He digs around in the pile of clothes for his obnoxious phone, and hits the screen before holding it to his ear. “Rooker.”

She watches his profile, standing next to the lounger they’d passed out on, free hand on his hip. He’s not chiseled from marble by any means, but he definitely takes care of himself. She wonders how old he is. How long he’s been a cop. What his childhood was like.

His shoulders stiffen and his jaw clenches. “Okay. Send it to me.” That furrowed brow.

Joy frowns. The warm hazy afterglow of their night suddenly feels—poof—like it’s dissipated. She studies him as he ends the call and stares at his phone. She knows he can see her in his periphery, but he’s not looking at her on purpose.

Cold, she’s freezing now.

His phone gives a happy little meep and he purses his lips as he stares at whatever message has popped up on his screen. He sighs. Looks up at the window. Then back at his phone.

“What is it?” she finally asks. “What happened?” He’s a cop, obviously horrible shit happens to him all the time. Can he even tell me about it? Am I supposed to be supportive here? How do I even do that?

He doesn’t answer. Doesn’t look at her. He walks to the window, the scene of their many couplings the night before.

She sits up gingerly, curling her legs beneath her, still sticky with evidence. She watches him stare through the glass. No. He’s staring at the glass. Studying it.

She watches his reflection, translucent and superimposed over the gorgeous day outside, that broody serious expression looking like it’s warring with itself.

He sighs, finally breaking the silence, and holds up his phone, taking a picture. Of outside?

She chews her lip as he straightens up, staring intently at the screen. She curls her arms around herself, hugging her naked body that somehow feels too exposed now. Too cold.

Colin turns around, his face helpless now. The hand holding the phone falls to his side, and he clenches his jaw. Unclenches it.

“Joy DeVries, you’re under arrest for the murder of Brandon Perkins,” he says.

Who the fuck is Brandon Perkins?

“You have the right to remain silent,” he says.

Of course he’s one of the guys I killed. But which one?

“Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law,” he says.

I’m caught, I’m fucking caught.

“You have a right to an attorney,” he says. He’s holding handcuffs now.

Normally I’d be cool with handcuffs, Detective.

“If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you,” he says.

She can’t move.

“Joy,” he says, and his voice cracks. He takes in a deep, ragged breath. “Joy, I’m going to need you to put some clothes on and come down to the station with me.”

Naked, cold, and alone. Isn’t that always the way?

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