“Seriously, Sarah, I parked it right here!”
Sarah stared at her younger sister, Melissa.
“Ok, yes. They did offer to valet park. But they wanted too much money! There was no way I was paying that much when I could just park the car myself. And it was right here! I specifically remember this parking meter because it still had a bunch of time left on it! And I put more money in it, I swear.”
Sarah stepped towards the parking meter. When she was close, she noticed the corner of a piece of paper sticking up in the back. She craned her head around to read the sign, “OUT OF ORDER”. Sarah sighed and sat the cooler and folding chairs she’d been carrying on the ground.
“Oh, no. OK, that was not there before. Er, or I just didn’t see it. Oh, my gosh, Sarah, I’m so sorry. Not to worry, I’ll take care of it. I’m going to call the police right now. Maybe it was stolen.” Melissa scurried off with her cell phone, her curly red mane bouncing in the breeze.
Sarah watched her for a moment, then grabbed one of the folding chairs, opened it, and sat down next to the parking meter. Great. Just, great, she thought. My brand new car, less than two months old, has been stolen or towed the second day of my first real vacation in five years. Oh, well. What can you do?
She reached for her purse and pulled out her sunglasses, sliding them on and getting comfortable in the chair. She propped her feet up on the cooler, and leaned her head on the back, closing her eyes letting the sun shine on her face. A few moments later, Melissa was back.
“I called the police and told them I wasn’t sure if the car was stolen or towed. Apparently, there’s an officer working with the hotel who should be here in a few minutes.”
Sarah didn’t move.
“Um, are you okay? ‘Cause you haven’t said anything. You would normally be totally freaked out.”
Sarah didn’t reply.
“Um, ok. Well, I’m going to go up and take a shower. I still smell like smoke from that stupid bar. It’s a good thing you didn’t come. You would’ve hated it. I’ll be back in a little while. I might grab a bite to eat. And I might take a quick power nap. But I’ll be back soon. The officer might take a while anyway. Ok, see you later!”
Sarah sighed. She was not going to let anything upset her. She’d decided a week ago that she would do something about the amount of stress in her life. She’d been so focused and overwhelmed with her work for the last few years, trying to get her business on its feet, that she’d neglected the people closest to her. This trip in fact, was an attempt to bridge the divide that had developed between her and her sister. A trip to Mardis Gras with the baby sister? Why not? She needed some fun and excitement in her life.
And forget dating. Who had the time? Besides, she hadn’t met a guy that could keep her attention in a very long time.
Suddenly, something blocked the sun in front of her. She opened her eyes and her breath caught in her throat. In front of her was a…greek god…in a police uniform. She took off her sunglasses to get a better look. His dark hair shined in the halo of sunlight around his face. The muscles in his statuesque jaw line moved and quivered as he spoke to her. His strong, full lips, moved sensuously, forming words that drifted to her ears, tickling her very womanhood with its manly baritone. His broad shoulders and muscled chest were-wait. Why are my thoughts sounding like a stupid romance novel? Get a grip, Sarah. Oh crap! He’s talking to me! What did he say? Quick! Say something!
She noticed one of his perfect eyebrows rise at her words.
“Let me try this again. Are you Melissa Hamilton? The woman that called about a possibly stolen car?”
“Yes! I mean, no. Well, no, I’m not Melissa, she’s my sister, but yes about the car. I’m Sarah. Hamilton.” I sound like an idiot, she thought.
“Could you tell me where Melissa is, ma’am? I need to get the details about the car.”
“Oh, she went upstairs to take nap.”
“After her car was stolen?” the officer asked skeptically.
“No. She had to eat because she smelled like smoke.” That made sense, Sarah, good job.
The officer, squinted his eyes at her. “Ma’am, have you been drinking?”
Great, he thinks I’m drunk. Best first impression ever!
“No. I’m Sarah. Melissa called for me. It’s my car that’s missing.”
“Ok. I noticed the parking meter situation. It may have been towed. Give me your tag number and we’ll find out. “
“Um. It’s…Mae Bell.”
The officer cleared his throat to cover his snicker. “The tag number is Mae Bell? Ok. Give me a moment and I’ll call it in.”
He walked over to his nearby squad car, talking into his shoulder radio. Sarah took down her pony tail and fluffed up her hair. She reached into her pocket for her lip gloss, quickly smearing some across her lips. The officer returned a few moments later.
“Yes, ma’am. Mae Bell was towed. If you want I can give you a lift to the location it was towed to.”
“Oh, why thank you! You would do that for little old me?” What I’m channeling Gone With the Wind now? Oy.
He gave her a strange look and walked her over to the squad car. “Oh. The only thing is, you’ll have to ride in the back.”
“As in where the criminals sit?”
She giggled nervously. “No biggie. As long as no handcuffs are involved. Not yet at least! Haha!” She felt her face flush with embarrassment. I did not just say that.
She saw the laughter in his eyes as he opened the back of the squad car for her. He asked, “Would you like to go with me to a masquerade ball tonight?”
Melissa headed over to the place she’d left her sister. She made it just in time to see her sister being driven away in the back of the squad car. Oh, crap. Mom’s going to kill me.