Unexpected Arrivals by Stephie Walls.
Find out how in this #NEW coming of age romance.
“You care to tell me how you got arrested for driving while intoxicated?” I couldn’t tell if Neil was truly pissed, or if he thought the situation was absurd.
“Does it matter, jackass? Just come get me.”
“Yeah, see I’m not sure how you think I’m going to do that in the middle of a workday when my partner didn’t show up this morning.”
“Neil, this shit isn’t funny. I used my call to get in touch with your stupid ass because I was afraid Cora wouldn’t hear her phone. I don’t care if you have to close the place down, come bail me out.”
“Where am I going to get bail money, Carp?”
“Try the fucking bank. There’s plenty in the business account. I’ll replace whatever you have to use tomorrow.”
“They haven’t told you what they set bail at?”
“Dude, no one’s told me shit other than I was under arrest. Don’t make me call a fucking lawyer.”
“Calm down. I’ll send Hannah after you. She should be out of class at this point. We’ll figure it out.”
“Don’t be surprised when Hannah tries to get you into rehab. She flipped out on Cora last night. Funniest shit I’ve seen in a long time. Nothing like a sober chick talking to a girl who’s still blitzed about falling off a wagon she’d never been on.”
“I hate you.” I didn’t hate him, but he and Hannah would have a field day with this shit. Neither Cora nor I had ever been in any kind of trouble—figured we’d go for the gusto.
Thankfully, the cop had been lenient with Cora, probably because she was cute as fuck and flirted just a little. There’d been no point in trying to deny I was messed up when the guy had me get out of the car. All he had to do was look at my pupils and notice there was no color surrounding them because they were enormous. And taking into account where I’d just pulled out from, the picture was easy to paint. I’d asked him to take me and let Cora call Hannah to come pick her up. He’d agreed yet didn’t wait around for her ride to show. We’d left with me in the back of the cruiser before she got there. Luckily, I’d seen Hannah and Neil pulling up just as we left, so she hadn’t spent any time alone. She also wasn’t now facing criminal charges.
I didn’t have a clue what time it was—they’d taken my phone and watch when they checked me into this luxury resort equipped with three walls, twenty-seven bars, and my very own semi-private bathroom. The crowd in this place was restless, and if I closed my eyes and hummed, I could pretend it was a party, and the temporary tattoos on my fingertips were my stamp to get back in the door.
“Carpenter,” a deep voice bellowed from down the corridor of cells.
I stood and walked to the door, holding the bars like every cliché action flick I’d ever seen. I almost stuck my head in to get a better look, and then thought better of it. Instead, I waited for the guy to find me. “Yeah.”
He flicked his head at me and stood in front of the door. “C74.” The latch clicked, and he pulled the door to the side. “You’re out.”
I didn’t ask any questions, and it wasn’t like I needed to gather my things from my suite. My feet moved as fast as the cop let me go without running the guy over in an unnecessary jailbreak or an attempted assault on an officer.
The guy never introduced himself or spoke to me after informing me I was being set free, so when we got to a desk and he just pointed, I took that as instruction and sat my happy ass down. An hour or so later—I’d counted to sixty, sixty times using the Mississippi method—the latest member of the clan of mutes handed me a plastic bag with my crap in it and let me out the door. They’d released me on my own recognizance; however, I had a court date in thirty days—assuming Hannah didn’t have me in rehab before then.
I’d expected to find Neil’s girlfriend waiting on me outside, but to my relief, Neil was there in slacks and a dress shirt.
With his hands in his pockets and a shit-eating grin on his face, he said, “It’s amazing what you can find out about someone in jail under the Freedom of Information Act, yet you can’t even get so much as a confirmation someone is in a hospital who’s protected by HIPAA.” He shook his head as if this was fascinating information I should look into further.
“I’m not the least bit surprised criminals have no rights while the ill are sheltered. So what’d it cost you?”
“Nothing. They said they were letting you out on your signature and told me you’d be ready in about an hour. That part was a lie—it was more like an hour and a half. And I figured since I busted you out for free, I could spare thirty minutes.”
I clapped him on the shoulder, grateful he was here in place of his girl—I loved her, but no one needed to be lectured about their time in the pokey while hung over. “Thanks. How’s Cora?”
“She was a little rattled last night, so I sent her a message on my way here to tell her you’d be home, and she seemed okay.”
“Thank God she didn’t get caught up in this shit. You taking me home?”
“Nope. I’ve got work to do, and now I’m almost two hours behind. So you’re coming in. Close your door and no one will see just how bad you look…or smell. Jesus. Better yet, take a whore bath in the sink before you step foot in the office. You reek of sex, sweat, and stale alcohol. Please tell me the first was not acquired during your stay at Casa de Custody.”
It had to be a joke.
Any minute now, a van would drive up and Ashton Kutcher would slide the door open, laughing hysterically at my melodramatic performance on the front porch.
But nothing happened.
The words on the page jumbled into a toxic mess my brain refused to comprehend, much less accept.
Please consider this letter as a formal request to arrange a paternity test (DNA).
I barely remembered Chelsea Airy.
That wasn’t true—we’d gone out once, and we’d been friends for a while after. But I hadn’t heard so much as a peep from her since I’d gotten married. I’d reached out a handful of times, but she’d quit responding and fell off the face of the earth. There hadn’t been a text, an email, a phone call, not even a Facebook message, much less a stork in the last five years.
My wife could forgive a lot, but she’d never wanted children—much less another woman’s.
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