Chapter 7 - Part 1

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"Oh, hell yeah! We know who Sanchez is," Grayson's partner said, reaching out to shake Felix's hand. "I'm Chase; this is my partner Grayson."

Grayson reached out to shake Felix's hand, though his reaction wasn't quite as enthusiastic as his partner's.

"That's a hell of a ride," Chase said, walking around the Bentley to get a closer look.

"It gets me to and from the gym."

Chase laughed. "I bet it does. Look at this shit. This is awesome!" He glanced away from the car to look at Felix. "So what brings you around these parts?"

Felix glanced at Grayson, who still didn't look quite as enthused as Chase. It had hit Felix like a jolt when he was still filling Ella's tires with air when he realized who it was that was talking to her. Maybe Felix's interest in her wasn't purely business after all. He'd heard the implication in Grayson's voice when he asked if Felix was a friend or a Good Samaritan helping her out. It had Felix suddenly hoping she wouldn't clarify just what Felix was to her.

He knew Chase was likely more interested in knowing what he was doing in town, not so much what he was doing at the gas station, but he decided he'd rather explain that part.

"We went out to dinner, and when I went to drop her off, I noticed how low her tires were, so I wanted to get them fixed ASAP."

Now Grayson's eyes were on Ella, and Felix could see that he'd hit nerve.

"Oh yeah," Chase said, nodding. "You don't wanna mess with that. You might get pulled over." He winked at Ella, who smiled a bit timidly, then looked back at Felix. "You know what? My girlfriend isn't gonna believe this. Do you mind if I take a picture with you?"

"Not at all. Go for it," Felix said.

Chase hurried back to the squad car and reached in for his phone. Grayson said something to Ella Felix didn't catch from where he was standing. Felix took advantage of the fact that Grayson continued saying something else to her in a lowered voice and wasn't looking at him to give the guy a once over. He had a good sized build, but Felix could tell a lot of it was the bulletproof shit under his clothes. It was obvious the guy was nowhere near as enthused about meeting Felix as Chase was; he actually looked a little pissed now.

Chase walked over to Grayson and asked him to take the picture. They posed in front of the Bentley. When Grayson was done snapping a couple of photos, Chase asked him to get in with them.

"Nah, I'm good." Grayson said, holding out the phone to Chase.

"You sure?" Chase asked again just as a voice came over the two-way radios each had attached to their shoulders.

That's when Grayson's unimpressed eyes locked on Felix's as he shook his head again. "I don't really do pictures." He pressed the button on his shoulder and spoke into it in that code Felix had often heard cops talk in, giving off his location and rattling off some numbers. "That's us, Whitley," he said to Chase. "We gotta go."

Chase thanked Felix again for the photos and shook his hand again. "It was awesome to meet you, man."

Grayson started toward the squad car. No more handshakes from that guy. He barely nodded in Felix's direction but didn't say another word to him. Instead, he turned to Ella as he reached the squad car. "I'll call you tonight. Answer your phone."

He turned back to Felix with a no-longer-friendly vacant stare. Felix tried not to let it bother him, but it felt like a slap in the face. Unless Ella was able to clarify in the short lowered voiced exchange she'd had with Grayson that they'd actually gone out as a group to eat, this guy was still under the impression they'd gone out to dinner alone. That meant he'd just told Felix's date he'd be calling her tonight, and he'd done so right in front of him. From what Felix had seen, Grayson had done most of the talking, so he didn't think there'd been any clarification on Ella's part. If that was the case, then one thing was for sure. This guy didn't give a fuck if Felix was seeing Ella now, and he was making that crystal clear. He knew it shouldn't matter. Felix wasn't seeing her. Still, Grayson had sent his message loud and clear. Maybe Ella thought things were over, but obviously, they weren't for him.

They skidded out of the parking lot with their lights on. Even though they had gotten called out, Felix still got the feeling skidding out of there had been all for his sake.

Felix stared at Ella for a moment without saying anything until she took a quick deep breath. "So are both tires good now?"

"Yeah." He nodded. "But I'd keep an eye on the one on the left. I think that one may have a slow leak. It was the lower of the two."

"Thank you so much," she said, checking out the tires. "I will. I'll have my dad look at it tomorrow before I leave for school."

"I thought you said you'd be at 5th Street all day tomorrow."

She looked at him a bit strangely; then it seemed she understood. "Oh, I will. I just have to pick up some notes from a friend, but then I'll go straight to the gym."

He wanted to ask her about Grayson, but he knew it was too damn personal. Even when Drew had asked her about him today, she seemed a little uncomfortable. The last thing he wanted to do was end the evening on an awkward note. Already tonight there'd been a few moments when she hadn't seemed completely at ease, and he didn't like it.

"I've taken up enough of your time, Felix. I'll let you go now."

"No worries at all," he said, getting caught up in eyes that after tonight he thought anything but plain. She was anything but plain. "I was happy to do it."

She held his gaze for a moment before smiling and nodding then saying goodbye as she got in her car.

Felix drove away, unable to fight the feeling that maybe he was in trouble. Trouble because he'd known this girl for all of one day and already all he could think about was getting back to 5th Street tomorrow and seeing her again. He tried to shake it, but what made the feeling worse was that feelings like this brought back memories. The only other time he could remember anything remotely close to what he was suddenly feeling for a girl he hardly knew was years ago when he'd run into Bianca where she was working in Big Bear. She made such a striking first impression on him that he'd gone back to her job to ask her if she wanted to have coffee. Like when he'd seen Ella that first day across the gym, he'd done a double take with Bianca as well. Only with Bianca, he remembered having been instantly struck by her beauty. This time it was completely different. There was far more to his intrigue with Ella.

More to come!

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