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“Good evening,” he greets me, arms folded over his chest. “Care to explain what’s going on?”
“It was, uhmmm, nothing,” I stammer, trying to rack my brain for a good explanation. I could tell him the truth, but do I really want to paint a picture of myself as a raging psycho? Probably not the best course of action when dealing with the police.
“Nothing?” He insists, looking over my shoulder to the destruction that has taken over my apartment. “That doesn’t look like nothing.” His gaze returns to me, and I can tell he’s absorbing every little detail of my smeared mascara.
“It was a raccoon.” I don’t even know what the hell I’m saying. I just want this police officer gone—no matter how cute he might be—and lock myself inside the apartment so that I can cry the night away in peace. “A rabid one,” I continue, shifting my weight from one foot to the other. My parents always told me I was the worst at lying, and every word that leaves my mouth seems to confirm that. “He jumped into the apartment through the bedroom window.”
“We’re on the 10th floor, ma’am,” the police officer adds patiently. I can tell he doesn’t believe a word of what I’m saying. I glance at the nameplate stitched to his breast pocket, hoping that a name and a casual tone will help me out of this mess.
“Henderson, right?” I ask him, running my tongue over my parched lips. “I think it must have climbed through the fire escape. I mean, he definitely climbed through there. And I know you’re thinking I might have overreacted, but you should have seen him. His eyes were bloodshot, and he screeched so loud…I was scared for my life, you know? I threw everything I had at him, and he still kept coming.”
“Is that why clothes were flying out of your bedroom window?”
“Absolutely,” I nod, trying to keep a serious expression on my face.
“And where’s that, huh, rabid raccoon right now?”
“He must’ve been caught in the clothes I threw out.” Jesus, my heart is beating so fast I’m starting to feel nauseous. I know Mr. Handsome-Police-Man isn’t buying my sorry excuse of a story, so he might slap a pair of handcuffs on me anytime now. “I mean…I hope so.”
He eyes me for a long moment, almost as if he was reading my thoughts, and then just sighs. “Well, give us a call if something like this happens again. No use in thrashing your whole apartment again.”
“Thank you, I will,” I sigh with relief, one hand shooting up to my heart as I do it.
“Is the apartment in your name?”
“No, it’s in my boyfriend’s name,” I tell him, the word boyfriend making my heart tighten up. “Peter Caldwell.”
“Very well,” he nods after scribbling Peter’s name on a small notebook. “Be safe, Ms…”
“Ashley,” I quickly reply. “Ashley’s fine.”
With a dashing smile—one that almost makes me forget he’s a police officer—he nods and turns to leave. I watch him walk away and then close the apartment door softly. Leaning back against it, I slide down to the floor and bury my face into my hands.
The best day of my life just turned into the worst.
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