Chapter 27: Beyond the Surface

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Lela began picking at her chrome polished nails as the cop who had the build of an ex-marine snapped handcuffs around Alyssa's scant wrist. First, Lela started on her right thumb—scrapping at the gel polish lit as if it was seventies era wallpaper. It was halfway removed once Trevor wildly swung his pick-up in a vacant parking spot in front of the Travis County Police Station.

After regular business hours, the police state with its ivory tiled floors and mundanely painted beige walls was as quiet as a library—only the hum of the air condition could be heard as one sleepy officer sat behind a bullet-proof window. Officer Patterson with hair like a Border Terrier and bags from probably years of night shifts ushered Trevor away was a quick flap of his wrinkly hand.

"What'd he say?" Lela stopped scrapping at the jagged strip of polish on her thumb. Her frantic eyes searched Trevor.

Trevor threw up is arms in frustrated disgust. "Not a damn thing." He looked over his shoulder at the man that was suppose to be keeping his eyes on the closed circuit TV but was instead watching ESPN on is iPad. He rolled his eyes before facing Lela. "That we had to wait until she's processed."

"Processed." Lela balled hands hoping that'd stop them from shaking. "He was in our house."

"Maybe it's a formality." Trevor stroked Lela's arms, cold from the A/C and trembling from the uncertainty of her friend.

"You sound really dumb, Trey." Daniel chirped as he rose off the bench by the America's Most Wanted poster on the wall. "It's called assault. She assaulted him and now she's being charged."

Trevor's hands stopped as he glared passed Lela and with rueful disdain, "Don't call me Trey and I'm not dumb, asshole."

"Assault." Lela blurted out the word as if it were spoiled cheese. She twisted on her heels—the rubber of her sneakers squealed from the abrupt movement. "He raped her! Then had the gall to come to a party at her house. What did he expect...milk and damn cookies?"

Daniel's almond eyes narrowed as he closed the space between him and Lela, "That doesn't give her the right to pop off."

"She didn't pop off." Trevor jumped in just as Lela was about to speak. He stepped from behind her. "She was scared."

"It still doesn't give her the right." Daniel shook his head peering at the double doors waiting for them to swing open. "Now, this mess is worse."

Lela chest rose and fell quickly with annoyance, "You weren't here." She jabbed her finger at him. "You didn't see her...witness how he destroyed her. She'd jump at the slightest  touch, was afraid to go to class...to sleep. Hiding from the world. So, don't you come back here and tell us...me..." She pointed to herself with tears swelling in the wells of her eyes. "...What's right or wrong because she may have given him a concussion but he broke her spirit and..." She pulled in a ragged breath as he sniffed back his emotions. "Damn near killed her soul."

Trevor's phone rang with a rambunctious hip-hop beat. He yanked the cell out of his pocket taking a few steps away from them but not close to the drunk man sleeping on the floor. "Where are you?" He asked as soon as he placed the phone to his ear.

"I regret leaving," Daniel muttered taking a small step away from Lela. "None of this would've happened if I was here." His eyes blinked to her engagement ring-clad hand resting on her collarbone.

Lela's thick eyebrows knitted as she followed his line of sight. "Well, you're here now." She dropped her hand and toyed with her ring. "Do something for.... for Lyssa."

"Trust me." Daniel nodded. "I'm going to fix all my wrongs."

Trevor rejoined them with a look of calm washing over his face, a faint smile pulled up his lips. "Harmony's here and Laurent's with her."

"That's good." Lela looped her arm around Trevor's waist and dropped her head on his chest. "Hopefully he can help."

Daniel tsked as he moved away from the couple, "Hopefully."


Is Daniel just talking about Alyssa?  


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