Alex thought she was dreaming of drums. They weren't the sharp kind found in a low-lit jazz club or the throaty kind keeping the heartbeat in rock. This was the wild kind found in the deep woods, loud and capable of permeating her entire body. It shook her closer to consciousness one concussion at a time until, when she was close enough, the veil shattered into billions of bright pieces.
"Alex!" a voice thundered, warbled and disjointed in her ears. "Alex-fucking-Bailey, I swear to God, if you're not here I'm going to—"
The sound of something slamming, likely a door being thrown open...again, detonated like a bomb, propelling Alex into the bright delirium of consciousness and right off the end of her bed. Up and down became irrelevant. The earth was a carnival ride, her brain suspended in an anti-gravity tailspin.
Where was she?
When was she?
Everything blurred together as white-hot agony pumped into her head through her eyes and ears. Sunlight was acid against the cave of her skull, stabbing needles into her eyes.
"God, at least I don't have to call the morgue, but what the fuck?" Georgia gaped from the doorway. Alex whimpered against the rug under her, attempting and failing to fight against her frazzled equilibrium. "I've been calling you for two hours, and here you are hungover like a frat boy and —"
Georgia's rant was cut short when her electric stare caught sight of the second body peeking out from behind the comforter, anger flickering to unamusement in a literal New York minute. "Jessica Beckel," she spat the name like it physically rubbed her the wrong way, nose crinkling.
The other woman slid out from under the shield of her raised comforter, covering her upper body with the sheets. "Officer Battle, hey," Jessie said, her greeting meant to sound pleasantly surprised but hitting closer to a wince. Her recovery was lightning quick, however, southern charm ramping up by sticky degrees. "Girl, look at you! Never in my life have I seen such a better —"
"No," Georgia cut in like a razor through a sail.
"Oh," Jessie drew back. "I see it's all business then. Well then, what brings you here on this fine Saturday morning, Officer Battle?" Something must have struck the younger woman because some of the color left her cheeks, her head snapping to the side of the bed distinctly missing a body. "Alex didn't tell me she was seeing anyone."
From the floor, Alex made a strange series of noises that sounded like an attempt at verbal communication, but it was Georgia who responded. "This is a business call."
"Oh-ho, well okay then. Far be it from me to keep an officer of the law from her due course."
"Cut the crap. You know I'm not a cop anymore, and half of that's thanks to you."
"Now Offi—Miss Battle, I thought that was far enough in the past we didn't have to dredge up —"
"The fact your boyfriend led to me taking a bullet to the hip?" Georgia scowled. "Funny how something like that doesn't tend to just magically go away."
"You of all people know I've not had contact with Derek since he went to Sing Sing."
On cue, Alex groaned, too mortified to care about her predicament or the fact she was sprawled naked on her bedroom floor. Fuck the world and everyone in it. She just wanted her head to stop pounding.
"Alex, dear, are you alright?" Jessie teased, sliding languidly across the bed to peer down at her impromptu bed-partner. Georgia rolled her eyes to the ceiling, thoroughly not wanting a glimpse at Jessie's round white ass.
YOU ARE READING
Journalist Alexandra Bailey never believed she'd become another tragic statistic ripe for the front pages. Abducted off the street. Beaten bloody. Left for dead in the unforgiving winter. The article wrote itself. And her crime? Not even she knew, b...