The only thing that Eli hated in this world was his parole, and that was because he was still required to check-in at the half-way house and live by their rules until he checked out of there and moved out to somewhere. Actually, no he hated parole because it also meant that Sam’s dad had leverage on him. What was he going to do?He and Sam spent most of the evening after screwing around like rabbits discussing how they were going to confront her father. That was the only thing stopping them from getting hitched. They agreed: no more lying to him, or to each other. If they were going to do this, they were going to be honest.
Eli could have spent the entire night in Sam’s arms the night before. He wanted to. But, just like before their break-up, and before everything went to shit, Eli went home an hour before curfew and found himself back in his crappy bed.
He woke up, and texted Sam like it was the most natural thing in the world. It had been over a year, and yet he found himself back into his morning routine.
He grinned when she actually replied. At last.
Eli laughed, and imagine that scenario. She was a little troublemaker. He snorted and shook his head at the phone.
He left soon after and headed straight for work with a wide smile on his face. Eli couldn’t be more happier than he was at that moment. His life was finally coming together.
His gut clenched though at seeing a couple of police cruisers and the other unmarked cars outside of Marv’s. On a whole, Eli hated cops, and hated seeing cops where there shouldn’t be cops. He had given up a lot over the last couple of years—answering questions, letting his place get ransacked, and being taken in for questioning when there wasn’t anything pointing that he committed a crime. Parole sucked. Cops sucked.
He spotted Marv through the windows of the shop along with what was probably upper-brass detectives or some shit. They were not uniformed cops.
As he made his way to Marv’s, Eli was stopped by a uniformed police officer. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah, I work here. What’s going on?” Eli tried hard to look past the officer’s shoulder. What the hell was going on?
“The placed was broken into last night, and a car was stolen out of the shop.”
Holy shit. Marv glanced over and another of the non-uniform officers came over to where Eli stood, just outside the building. Eli’s stomach clenched. He recognized him as one of the guys that didn’t try to save his ass when Captain Williams assaulted him.
“Elijah Ryder,” the guy smirked. “Should have known this would be a easy case.”
What the fuck was that supposed to mean? Did he seriously think Eli would do this to Marv?
“Do I know you?” Eli knew of the guy from the restaurant, but he didn’t know the guy well enough to be insulted.
“Detective Hobbs, I think you know my Captain.”
Eli was so not going there with this guy. “What’s going on?”
The asshole cop crossed his arms over his chest. “Why don’t you tell me? Where were you last night?”
“Depends, what time? I closed here about five, From about six to around nine I was visiting my girlfriend, and after, I went home. And you can even check my alibi. I live at the Reed Project House.” Eli pulled out his wallet and handed a card to the officer with a smug grin. “And that’s my Parole Officer’s card, if you need to verify my whereabouts.”
“What’s the girlfriend’s name?”
Eli’s gut clenched. Shit. “Why’d you need to know?”
With a sly smile, “So I can verify your whereabouts, Mr. Ryder.”
Eli swallowed. Fucking hell. “Sam Williams,” he croaked out.
The officer arched a brow. “Interesting. You have an address, phone number?” Eli rattled off not only her address and phone, he also offered to mention the hospital she worked at. He wasn’t going to hide his relationship with her anymore. Yeah, he feared her father, but he didn’t fear this guy.
The detective stopped scribbling into his pad and pocketed it. “Now, I can make these calls, get your alibi, write up my full report, Mr. Ryder, or you can save yourself a whole lot of hurt by turning yourself in. I mean, do you honestly think my Captain—”
“I’m not hiding my relationship with her, Detective. Write your report. If your Captain has a problem with me marrying his daughter, well, he can take it up with the two of us. You have my alibi. Now, can I go check on my boss?”
Eli’s heart pounded after the Detective moved away. He knew they had nothing on him. He headed inside the shop and found Marv. Another of Captain William’s detectives arched a brow at him, but didn’t say a word.
“Eli’s the best mechanic on this side of San Myshuno, Detective,” Marv praised. “And if you think he’s done this because of his record, think again. Both Eli and I are ex-cons; it doesn’t mean anything.”
“Thanks, Boss.” Eli was thrilled the way Marv stood up for him. He spoke to the detective in front of him. “I gave the other detective my alibi, and I’ll tell you the same thing. I was with my girlfriend Sam Williams until I went home at the Reed Project House.”
Marv gasped. “Sam? You’re seeing Sam again? When did this happened? How…And why do I not know this?”
Eli laughed and patted Marv on the back. “Yesterday, man. She came in here with Derek yesterday.” Eli pulled out his phone and showed off a photo he took of his son the night before. “I’m a dad, Marv. Got me a son.”
Marv smirked. “And he looks just like you too.”
Sam’s cell went off just as she sat down at the nurses station. Today was just one of those days, and she hated it. She answered the phone with as much false cheer she had in her. “Sam Williams.”
“Sam, hi, this is Detective Hobbs, I work for your dad.”
“Listen, sorry to bother you, but I am wondering if you know Elijah Ryder?”
She smiled, “Yup, I know him. Why?”
“Was he with you last night?”
She grinned remembering the night before. “Yup, up until he left around nine. Why?”
“Just dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s. Thanks, Sam.” The line went dead and Sam stared at her phone for a bit. Dread coursed through her, and her stomach rolled. She had a bad feeling about this.
She texted Eli.
Well, that explained the questioning about Eli. She still couldn’t get the bad feeling out of her stomach and when the phone went off she jumped more than she should have. Wearily she checked her phone, and was relieved to see that it was Eli that was calling her and not her father.
“So, Marv’s got broken into?” she asked.
“Yup. Had to give up my alibi. That stupid dumb fuck detective tried to get me to confess because he thinks it’ll save my hide rather than risking the good ol’ Captain’s wrath. Fuck that. Like I said last night, I’m not hiding us, Sam.”
“I know, babe. Hey, why don’t you come with me to pick up Derek? We might as well get this over with now. I assume you’re not working today?”
“Nah, Marv’s going to talk to the insurance guys, and the client that had his car stolen. Thankfully the dude had Sim-Jack, so it won’t be hard to find. Where and when do you want to meet?”
“Around five, at the station. That’s where I pick up Derek.”
Eli was silent for a while, then he sighed. “You want me to go to a police station? Are you insane?”
“Well, it is a public setting. Lots of cops around. Dad wouldn’t put his career on the line again because of you. Might be the safest place.”
“Until he arrests me for some chump charge so I have to go back.”
“He won’t,” she said, but she wasn’t too sure if that was true. However… “If he tries, he’ll lose Derek and I for good. And he loves his grandson too much. Trust me, Eli. He wouldn’t risk another falling out with me.”
“Okay, baby. I trust you. I’ll meet you there.”