“What do you mean it got stolen?” I asked skeptically.
I was really hoping this was one of Theo’s stupid jokes, but by the look on his completely somber face he was being completely truthful.
“What I mean is I went in the gas station, my car was there, then when I exited the gas station it had vanished. I already called the police. They know the license plate number, make, and model, and they told me they’d be on the look out for it. They said they’ll be coming here soon to check the surveillance cameras and then we can ride back with them to the station. Let’s just hope it’ll be soon.” He said sounding hopeful.
I leaned back against the bench and let out a defeated sigh. This was all my fault. If Theo hadn’t got stuck driving me down here he wouldn’t be stuck in this situation. I felt terrible and I didn’t know where to begin with my apologies.
“I’m sorry, Theo.”
He went from hunched over to sitting poker straight within seconds. I was honestly surprised he hadn’t broke his spine from such quick movements. “What are you talking about?” He questioned with raised eyebrows.
“Well your car’s gone and-”
“No. No. No, Amaya,” his whole body was now turned towards me and his hands were on my upper arms holding me in one spot as he shook his head profusely. “None of this is your fault. I don’t want you blaming yourself. It was the total punk who stole my car’s fault.”
“But if I wasn’t sleeping here and I was watching your car I probably could’ve saw and stopped whoever stole it.” I explained to him.
I glanced down to Gracie and she currently sat on her tooshie with her tail wagging and her bright pink tongue hanging out. She was practically begging for me to pick her up.
The grin that took over my lips was immediate and honestly couldn’t be avoided. I reached down and picked Gracie up before setting her on my lap and pet her soothingly.
I could feel Theo’s gaze on me and I couldn’t help but turn towards him. Gracie pawed at my hand to keep petting her, but I ignored her since all of my attention was on Theo now.
For some reason he was watching me intently with a small but genuine smile on his face. Why he was doing so, I had no clue.
“What is it, Theo?” I asked beginning to become curious.
“It’s you.” He continued to grin with his perfectly straight and white teeth. How did this guy manage to stay this perfect??
“Okay...what about me?” I wondered aloud.
“The fact that no matter what happens to me, or you, or pretty much anyone, you always seem to find a way to take blame for it. A bank in Spain could get robbed and you’d probably find a way to fit yourself into the equation. While it’s appreciated, your self-sacrifice is not needed, princess.” He tucked a loose strand of my hair back behind my ear.
His fingers lingered behind my ear for a second longer before they traced their way up my jawline before his thumb landed on my chin holding me in place. Good thing too because I felt like I was going to faint.
His beautiful brown eyes searched mine and twinkled with amazement.
“You truly are beautiful, Amaya. Inside and out.” He whispered almost so quiet I barely heard him.
Theo’s face leaned in closer and our mouths were a mere two centimeters apart. I could feel his hot breath on my lips.
Gracie must’ve fell asleep because she was no longer squirming in my lap, but she was the last thing on my mind with this beautiful boy right in front of my face about to kiss me.
My eyelids automatically fluttered shut and Theo leaned in closing the rest of the gap between us. Our noses were touching, but unfortunately our lips were not.
As quickly as this moment started it ended with Theo’s phone ringing a melody.
“Bad boys, bad boys.
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
I opened my eyes to see that Theo hadn’t moved a muscle, but looked somehow more disappointed than I felt.
“I better get that. It’s the cops.”
“You literally set a ringtone for the cops?” I asked with one corner of my mouth turned upwards trying to fight off a laugh.
“I set a ringtone for everyone.” He said simply.
“Do I have a special one too?” I asked standing up and setting Gracie back on the ground.
He winked before he clicked the green button before answering his phone.
He listened intently to whoever was on the other side of the phone and nodded his head as if agreeing with them.
“Yeah this is him.”
“Okay see you then.”
He hung up the phone and then turned to me as he was tucking it into his back pocket.
“Well what’s the verdict, judge?” I asked while crossing my arms.
“Well the cops are almost here to pick us up, so it shouldn’t be much longer.”
“Okay. Well we better get going.” I said starting to walk towards the front of the store so they’d be able to see us immediately.
I got halted when Theo gently grabbed my elbow and pulled me back to him. I looked down to his hand and up to his eyes wondering what was going on.
“That kiss?” His eyes twinkled and his lips pulled into a smirk.
“Haha in your dreams, Theodore.” I winked before I started walking back around front again.
“Ugh. This is why your ringtone is what it is.” He shouted mischievously making me half in my tracks.
“What is it?” I asked before turning around to him.
“For me to know and you to find out.” He grinned as he walked towards me and eventually past me.
That’s it. I’ll just call him and find out what it is.
I dialed his number into my phone and started treading after him.
"Well you can take me down with just one single blow
But you don’t know, what you don’t know...”
As I got closer to him the sound became louder and more clear to my ears.
Are you serious, Theo?
"Someday I’ll be living in a big ole city
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever gonna be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?”
I clicked the end button on the call and have Theo a quick glare.
“Really, Theo? Mean by Taylor Swift, huh?” I narrowed my eyes at him since I was now standing in front of him.
“It works out. Denying my kisses and all makes you a mean person.” He said with his chin raised as high as a skyscraper.
“I am not mean.” I pouted with my arms crossed.
Wow I really was a little kid at heart.
“You are now, but people can change. We’ll just have to see if you do.”
“So you’re only going to change the ringtone if I kiss you?” I asked skeptically.
“Yup. Pretty much.” He shrugged before we heard a car approaching.
At the same time all three of our heads shot in the direction of the noise and saw one police car rolling into the parking lot.
After he parked and turned off the engine, the policeman exited his vehicle and strode over to us.
He was a redhead and looked to be in his 50′s or around that age range. He automatically gave off a friendly and helpful vibe the second he stepped in front of us.
“Either of you the one who had a car stolen here?” He asked as he pulled out a mini notepad and started to take notes on everything Theo said.
When he was done with us he told us we could wait in the back of the cop car while he interviewed the cashier and retrieved the surveillance tapes.
All three of us climbed into the back of the car and waited on the officer to take us to the station.
“Ya know, you could handcuff me anytime you’d like, princess.” He whispered in an alluring voice into my ear.
My head immediately shot in his direction and my cheeks instantly burned at a million degrees.
“Theo!!” I smacked his arm.
“What?” He acted like he was completely innocent.
“You can’t go a whole day without spouting out at least 60 sexual innuendos. I swear.” I rolled my eyes and turned away from him.
I really hope there isn’t a recording device in here.
“Well I’m not sorry, Officer Dawson.”
I looked back over to him before he sent me a mock salute. I stared at him for awhile noticing how freaking hot he looked right now.
His medium brown hair was all tousled from his long day and his face was starting to get scruffy from lack of shaving it. But he pulled it off.
Then again Theo Thompson had the ability to pull anything off.
I looked over to the gas station and saw the officer and the cashier blabbing away. Good it looked like I had time.
Time to give ole Theodore a taste of his own medicine.
I set Gracie on the seat next to me and looked over to Theo.
“Officer Dawson reporting for duty.” I winked at him before I crawled over to him and straddled him.
The smirk slipped off his face making me grin triumphantly. Theo’s eyes were wide and rounded with shock, exactly what I wanted.
I leaned forward and with my lips barely pressing against his ear I whispered as seductively as I could. “Just kidding.”
I got off his lap and plopped back into the seat next to him.
“Amaya!” He whined.
“What?” I asked with fake innocence and as straight a face I could make.
“You know what. This is why your ringtone is what it is.” I pouted as he looked out the window away from me.
What an over dramatic baby.
I opened my mouth to tell him that he was overreacting, but I was stopped before I even started when the cop climbed into the front seat. He said the police station was about fifteen minutes away and as soon as we got there they’d get to work trying to find Theo’s car.
No way we were getting to Louisiana anytime soon...
After forty-five minutes of staring into my now cold coffee I had had enough of the waiting room. My patience had completely evaporated and there was no getting it back.
Theo with little words had left me there as he went to talk with the police officer and to review the surveillance video and to catch the thief.
But when I got in the office where there were a few cubicles sitting unattended. I glanced over and saw multiple men in police uniforms all hovering around one desk. As I stepped closer I could hear them all shouting while listening to someone tell a story, and there was only one person’s voice who sounded like that.
I elbowed people and pushed my way through the crowd until I was standing right next to Theo. He had his legs crossed and propped up on the desk in front of him. His hands folded and tucked behind him as he leaned back and told a story about one of his many times on the football field.
He still hadn’t noticed me standing next to him just yet and when he told a joke all the officers husky laughs mixed in with my loud, obnoxious, and mostly just sarcastic one.
Theo’s eyes shot open and he immediately turned towards me.
“Amaya. I thought I told you to wait in the waiting room.” He sat up straighter and all the officers started to disperse back to their own desks.
“Well I see now that I’m being as much help out there as you are in here.” I accused him. “I told you I needed to be in Louisiana as soon as possible.”
“I’m sure you’ll be okay. If we don’t the car back today then we’ll rent one.” He turned to look at the cop sitting across from him. “You guys have a car rental place here right?”
“Yeah we actually do. I can drive you guys over there if you need me to.” He offered.
“Thank you, officer, but if you don’t mind I’d like to have a quick word with Theo right now.” I have him a weak smile.
“Yeah of course. I’m going to take a quick peek into the break room and check for doughnuts.” He said before springing up from his seat and pacing over to what I assumed was the break room.
I sat down in the spot next to Theo’s and rested my elbow on the chair before setting my head in hand while sighing trying to gather my patience.
“What’s going on, Mya?” He asked softly before reaching out and brushing a thumb over my cheek.
I looked everywhere but at him. I didn’t really want to discuss with him what happened all those years ago, so I just kept it short.
“There’s something I have to take care of before I go see my mom. That’s why I wanted to get there earlier.”
He watched me speak and I knew by the way his eyes watched me he knew I didn’t want to say more.
“Alright, Amaya. I’m sorry. Let me just wrap things up and we’ll get going.”
I nodded simply and turned to go back towards the waiting room. I glanced over at the secretary who was currently playing with Gracie. When I came in with an adorable pup on a leash she could hardly resist.
On my way back to the seat that had become like a home to me something very unexpected.
A boy, who I’m guessing was in his very early teens, strode through the door. He looked extremely tired and somewhat...off-balance. His eyes were more red than I knew was actually healthy or natural.
I took a quick sniff and immediately smelled the drug that had once captured my own brain into hallucinations not so long ago.
As much as I would love to forget all the stupid and extremely embarrassing things I did while I was high I couldn’t. I know what I did and I wouldn’t wish it on my own enemies.
I rushed over to him and moved him out the doors quickly as I could. He fought the whole way, but eventually broke free from my grip.
“What do you think you’re doing? I have something I need to do in there!” He started pacing back and forth up and down the sidewalk in front of the police station.
“Calm down. Come here. Sit with me.” I said patting the bench seat beside me.
He ran a nervous and quick hand through his hair before swiftly sitting beside me.
“Okay just take deep breaths.”
He did as I told him to and I looked over to him. His uneven breathing had calmed a little.
“Alright. My name is Amaya. What’s your name?” I asked him.
“It’s uh...Michael, but everyone calls me Mike.”
“Well Mike, wanna tell me what’s going on?” I ask.
He gets back up and starts pacing.
“You see...my mom and I are extremely poor. Always have been. Ever since my dad up and left us when I was three. Anyways it hasn’t been easy these last few years. My mom has had to work multiple jobs just to support the both of us. But now I’m older and a gang from close to here has offered me a spot in their lineup. But to get in I had to do a.) drugs and then b.) steal a car.” He admitted his whole life story before pointing over to a very familiar black car.
Just my luck it was Theo’s car.
“Wait...that...that car?” I stuttered not believing my eyes.
“Yeah. I stole it from a gas station, but I just want to return it. I’ll take punishment for it and everything. I don’t care. I just want out.” He told me truthfully with tears gleaming in his eyes.
“You’re high right now. You don’t know what you’re doing.” I told him trying to convince him out of turning himself into the police.
Believe me. I’m extremely pissed off at this kid for stealing Theo’s car, but that’s the thing. He’s a kid and he hasn’t really had an easy go at life. If I could convince him into not turning himself in then I’d feel accomplished.
“You’ll end up in juvie, Mike. Is that what you want?” I ask him.
“No of course not, but it’s better than having to face the gang. Knowing them they’ll probably bother my mom in some way or even kill me. Who knows? Juvie sounds a lot better, and my mom will only have to take care of one person compared to two. Let me do this. I want to go to juvie.”
Before I could stop him he ran away from the bench and in through the front door. I couldn’t catch up to him. By the time I was beside him again the cop who drove us here was already clicking the handcuffs around his wrists.
“No. No don’t arrest him!” I shouted while sprinting over to them.
The officer surrounding him stopped me and looked worriedly at me.
“Theo!” I yelled over to him as I tried to get out of the police officer’s hold on me. “Let me go. They can’t arrest him.” I shouted.
“Amaya, just let me go.” Mike sent a sad smile my way.
“I’m sorry, Mike. I really am.” I told him as they dragged him away and into what I’m assuming was an interrogation room. The cop that was keeping me restrained let me go and I sighed in defeat as they closed the door behind them.
“Mya?” My head swiveled in the direction of the voice of the one and only Theo. He finally made his way over to me and looked concerned for me.
“Did he do something to you? Did he threaten you? Did he hurt you? Because if he did I swear to God they might as well just arrest me too.” I watched as his jaw clenched in anger.
“Mike did nothing to me. Let’s just go, Theo. You got your car back. Let’s just get out of here.” I said as I leaned my head against Theo’a chest and hugged him tight.
“Cops said they want to check the car real fast make sure nothing is wrong with it and then we can go.” He squeezed me back before kissing my temple. “Give me few minutes, okay?”
I watched as him and a few cops went to check the car while I waited in the waiting room for the millionth time tonight. Getting away from this police station was exactly what I needed.
I needed to go home. I needed to see my family. I needed to do things to get past so much that has happened to me this year and Louisiana was my key.