Something didn’t feel right. I knew it as soon as I saw the two men walking over to our table with the suit and ties. I knew it when the short one asked the manager a question and pointed over at us while the tall one walked over with long, strides. I looked back at Mitchell and grabbed his hand. He leaned over to kiss me just as they arrived at where we were sitting.
Mitch looked up at the same time I reached for my cell phone. The text messages and calls I had been ignoring all day from my mom had finally gotten my attention. The last one had popped up just before I went to the bathroom a few minutes ago. Now, I wished I had read it then. I could see it still waiting to be read. Stay away from Mitchell tonight. I told you. He’s trouble. Love, Mom
Mitch’s strong ‘yes’ brought me back to the moment. They were now standing on either side of him. They both had pulled back one side of their jacket so he could see their shields and guns, making it obvious their identification without them having to tell him. But Mitch didn’t budge. And this is one of the reasons I love him. He’s never been afraid of anyone, including my father.
“Come with us,” the short one said. “We need to ask you some questions.”
The tall one started to move closer, looking at his partner who also inched in more. He put his hand on Mitch’s shoulder. Mitch picked up his fork and continued to eat. “Babe, finish your food before it gets cold,” was all he said before the scene went from a friendly observation of two police officers watching two teenagers in love eat to a scene straight out of Mission Impossible. They grabbed him and threw him on the table, making me push my chair back and grab Mitch’s arm just before the short officer could grab both his hands and cuff him.
“What did he do?” I asked, through gritted teeth. “Where’s your warrant?”
“We only want to question him. He’s the one who tried to get up.”
“Only when your partner assaulted him,” I spit back.
“I only rested my hand on his shoulders –”, the short one started.
“Who are you?” I fired back.
“We’re Detectives Rollins and Jacobs, Homicide unit,” the tall one said. “I’m Rollins.”
“Funny.” I cleared my throat and moved my hair out of my face. “This is the first time we heard you guys announce that. Right, babe? I didn’t hear anything about their identification before this.”
Rollins blinked three times before Jacobs looked down and loosened his grip on Mitch’s arm. I had them. They had never identified themselves before this. But that didn’t mean they cared. They’d word it right in their paper work.
“He’s not getting arrested if he just cooperates. He knows Quinton Wallace. Right, Mitch?” Rollins responded. He must be the one who calls all the shots. Jacobs is a wuss.
My shoulders dropped. I closed my eyes and loosened my grip on Mitch’s arm. Mitch gave me a faint smile and winked. Quinton was Mitch’s cousin and I knew that he’d been with him for the past three days. But what did Mitch have to do with Quinton’s shenanigans? He’d only been helping him find work and a place to stay since he’d gotten out of prison a few months ago.
“You can come down to the station and wait if you’d like Ms. Thomas,” Rollins said, turning Mitch away from me. I watched him and his partner walk away with the love of my life. If I knew Mitch, he’d play their game and give them a headache until they’d eventually give up. I stood in the middle of the restaurant looking around, looking too damn good to be embarrassed. One thing I got from my supermodel mother was how to always rock fierce, especially in a fiery situation. ‘You never know when the paparazzi watching,’ she’d say. I turned to grab my purse off the table. Then, I snatched my head up like I was on a puppet string.
How’d he know my last name? I squinted, trying to recall when he’d asked me for my name or if he’d said it before then. Shaking my head, I walked over to the host table.
“Did you give him my name?” I asked, not giving him room to move if he wanted to. From the way he blinked a million times in one second, I knew he’d done or said something he shouldn’t have.
“Did you give him my name?” This time, I said it making sure a three-year-old could comprehend. I was nose to nose with him now.
“I-I just said that you were dining with a guest,” he struggled.
“What did he ask you?”
“He asked where Xea Thomas was dining and if you were with someone.”
“He specifically asked for me.”
He shook his head. I looked at his knuckles that were tightly holding the edge of the table. He was beyond scared. Funny how he could answer the detectives questions with ease but flinch with me.
“Did they say who they were?”
He nodded. “They showed me their badges. They said they were just following orders.”
Orders? I opened my mouth to ask him what he meant, but the feel of my phone vibrating stopped me. I flipped open my purse and answered it without looking.
“Xea, when will you learn that daddy knows best. Leave Mitchell alone.”
I dropped the phone and stared at the host like he had three heads. I’d just gotten my answer. His voice had never creeped me out before. Irritated me, yes. Annoyed me, yes. But Malcolm Thomas had never creeped me out. Until now. What the hell was I going to do? If my dad could get Mitch arrested for nothing from inside prison, how could I stay with him without getting either of us hurt in the process? As much as this moment made me realize how far my father would go, it also made me realize that I was more determined to stay with Mitch more than ever. And I’d keep our love brewing at all cost. At all cost.
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