C A I N
“Security?” Dad wrinkles his nose up, his eyes narrowing as he does. “Is that what you want to do with your life?”
I gaze at the tv screen, shrugging my shoulders stubbornly. The truth was, I was over my job. At first it was amazing; the adrenaline when you got the bad guys was fucking exhilarating. Now we were understaffed, overworked, and underpaid. There was more paperwork than anything, and I missed being out on the streets. The hours had always been unsociable, but now I was with Max… shit like that mattered.
“I don’t fucking know Dad,” I exhale, aware he is studying me anxiously. “I just want a normal job.”
“Normal?” Dad scoffs, shaking his head. “Since when have you ever gave a shit about normal?”
“Since Max,” I answer honestly. “She went through some bad shit recently, and the law fucked her and some other people over. I’ve just lost my faith in the justice system.”
“The justice system is flawed, but at least when you’re working within it, you have an element of control. You get to be the change you want to see,” Dad says, his eyes back on the screen. He has some western film on, his guilty pleasure. I’d not seen this one, so I’m idly watching it as we catch up. “I know you’ll do the right thing.”
“No pressure.” I chuckle bitterly, checking my phone.
Ah fuck. There’s only one Jenny I knew, and she’s my old fuck buddy. This wouldn’t go down well.
No one important. Are you alright?
I chew on my lip as I wait for her reply, as my Dad continues talking.
“Ever since you could walk you wanted to be a policeman.”
God. Where was my mother? More importantly, where was my woman?
Almost back at your parents.
Oh, she was pissed. I knew it from the lack of emojis and love yous.
“Dad?” I sigh, pinching the bridge of my nose as my dad glances at me. “Do women ever get easier?”
Dad snorts, then laughs uncontrollably, his face creasing up as he reddens. Soon he is coughing, and waving his hand at me in disbelief.
“Women,” he chokes out, the sound of mums car on the drive distracting me temporarily. “Are the enigma of the universe. You’re a detective; if you can’t figure them out then what hope do the rest of us mere mortals have?”
“Turn that down, Lee! You’d think you were seven years old,” my mum pipes up from the doorway, as my dad grins at me.
Oh I can see alright.
Max George, my girlfriend and light of my fucking life, looks like she’s going to cry. Mum makes a face at me, mouthing the word ‘Jenny’ to me as I cross the lounge to where she stands, her eyes narrowing as I do.
“Hey,” I mumble, my fingers dancing on her bare arms as she lifts her eyes to mine. She doesn’t say anything, but she doesn’t have to. Mum bustles around the kitchen as I steal Max away, taking her outside to where we sat having our coffee this morning.
“You’re pissed,” I swallow, as she shrugs nonchalantly.
“You sure do pick them, Cain,” she says slowly, as my thumb traces circles on her palm.
“Baby, you know I have a past,” I lift her hand to my lips as I let them graze across her fingers, as she bites her lip and nods. I frown, wondering why she is so upset over meeting some old flame. “And she is ancient history.”
“Is she?” Max meets my eyes then, and I’m stunned by the flash of anger in them. “Because according to her, you’re great friends, and you forgot to mention me.”
“Is that what she said?” I ask, dropping my head with a groan. “I swear, I avoid her like the plague. She messages me on facebook and shit but I don’t reply. It’s been a long time since we- well. No, we aren’t friends. And if we were- I’d have told her about you straight away.”
Max nods, her eyes on mine as she studies me. She tilts her head to the side, and I’m fuming that some chick could make her feel this way.
“Okay, I believe you,” Max mumbles, but her eyes are still troubled.
“Maxie, what’s wrong?” I murmur lowly, unable to deal with the look on her face.
“I don’t know, Cain,” she admits, and her lower lip trembles. “I just don’t feel like I’m good enough for you sometimes. God, I sound like a teenage girl.”
“You’re more than good enough, Maxie,” I say softly, stroking her face. “I’m sorry that you feel like that. But you… you’re everything. You’re not just a beauty. You’re my world.”
“Why would you settle for me when you could have someone that looks like Jenny, or one of the models you took home? Is it just because I was a challenge?”
She’s crying now, but she’s not sobbing. She wipes the tears away angrily, shaking her head as she does.
“I could have had any of them, but they weren’t you. You are the only one, Max, that’s made me feel like it’s worth it. That everything I’ve worked for is worth it,” I grip her chin in my hand, and press my lips against hers. “You’re amazing, Maxie, you’re on a whole different level to anyone else.”
“She congratulated me on my pregnancy,” she choked out, telling me the whole sorry tale. “I shouldn’t give a shit, but I do.”
“Max,” I breathe, trying to calm my racing heart. “You have the sexiest body I’ve ever seen, and you don’t look fucking pregnant. She’s just a jealous bitch because I’m in love with you, and she can see why.”
Max grins at me through her tears, and I tug her into my arms, inhaling her scent.
“I don’t ever want to see you cry again, Maxie. Ever.”
Her lips capture mine, the salty mix of her tears making me want to snap Jenny’s neck. What sort of woman did that to another woman?
“Your mum doesn’t like her,” Max mumbles against my mouth, as I lose my hands in her hair.
“I don’t fucking like her,” I grumble, as Max pulls away, her hand resting against my chest as she does.
“I’m sorry, I just…” her voice trails off when I shake my head, a finger silencing her.
“One day, when you’re old and grey, you’ll look back at this shit. How the most beautiful woman in the world had once doubted the words of a man who loved her more than anyone,” I gaze into her eyes, dropping kisses on her fingers as she looks up at me through her lashes. “But you know what made her believe him?”
“What?” Max asks breathlessly.
“He grew old with her, Maxie.”