Leo Hudson was scrawny and a Dungeons and Dragons nerd. He had long hair and acne, and while it’s true he gave up a lot of his free time after he graduated to come back and tutor (me being his most trying student since Geometry and I hated each other with a fiery burning passion), there is no way I can believe the guy standing in front of me right now is the same person.
“I believe the words you’re looking for are Hot Guy and muscly,” Leo says with a satisfied smile, “but you can call me Sheriff Hudson.”
Emma Jo shifts me out of the doorway and pushes the door open wider, inviting Leo to come inside. I remain mute as he gives her a nod and moves into the house, going right into the kitchen opposite the living room. I watch as he walks to the fridge and pulls it open, grabbing a bottle of water like he owns the place.
“Why don’t you go take a shower and relax and I’ll talk to Leo?” Emma Jo suggests.
I move my angry glare away from Leo, who casually leans against the kitchen counter drinking his water, and glance down at myself.
Shit. Of COURSE I’m still wearing the same clothes I’ve been in for a day and a half and God only knows what I smell like right now. That’s twice Leo has seen me looking like ass and dammit, why do I care? So what if he’s no longer the scraggly nerd from high school and looks like he just stepped off a calendar for hot men in uniform? He called me old and he’s an arrogant jerk.
Emma Jo gives me a pat on the back and walks over to the kitchen, stopping when she gets close to Leo. I watch quietly as he sets his water on the counter and brings his hand up to her chin, gently turning her face from one side to the other as he examines the damage. He leans in to her and they start talking quietly and easily, with a familiarity that absolutely does NOT make me jealous.
Instead of heading upstairs to take a shower, I walk right out through the still-open front door and down the steps of the porch to get some fresh air. Standing in the middle of the yard, I close my eyes and tilt my head back, taking a few deep breaths.
Right when I finally start to feel calm and like I don’t want to march back inside and smack the smirk off of Leo Hudson’s face, I feel something warm and wet splash against my bare foot. My eyes fly open and I look down, screaming and cursing at the tiny little dog that just pissed on me as I shake my foot in disgust. All of a sudden, he starts barking his fool head off, his whole body trembling in rage with each yap that comes out of his mouth. I’m not afraid of dogs; in fact, I love dogs and if I didn’t live in the city and I had a yard for one to run in, I would have bought one a long time ago. But this thing, it’s not a dog. It’s an overgrown rat with a Donald Trump comb-over and crazy eyes that are popping out of its head with the exertion of his barks. I’m afraid to move in case he decides to lift his leg and pee on me again or use his tiny, razor sharp teeth to eat my toes.
“Bo Jangles! That’s enough now. You go on home to Starla,” Leo scolds from behind me.
The dog immediately stops barking, tucks his tail between his legs and takes off running.
“THAT’S RIGHT, YOU UGLY LITTLE RAT DOG! RUN AWAY BEFORE I PUNT YOUR SCRAWNY, FOOT-PISSING ASS INTO A TREE!” I shout, throwing my middle finger up at the scurrying dog just for good measure.
Turning around, I stomp back toward the house and ignore Leo standing on the porch, leaning against the railing with a smile on his face. I pound my urine-soaked bare feet up the steps and don’t bother looking in his direction as I walk past him.
“You’re not even going to say thank you?”
“Screw you,” I mutter, walking back into the house.
“Don’t you mean, ‘Screw you, Hot Guy?’” Leo shouts with amusement in his voice.
I make a detour into the living room when I hear his booted feet clomp inside behind me, snatch the bottle of wine from the coffee table, and point the same finger at him that I did Bo Jangles before heading up the stairs, stomping my feet extra loudly as I go.
June 2, 2016
Bald Knob, KY Police Department
Deputy Lloyd: Sorry to bring you back in here. I just needed to ask you a few more questions.
Bettie Lake: Wow, Payton was right. Sheriff Hudson is pretty hot. Why isn’t he interviewing me?
Deputy Lloyd: He’s lived here all of his life and it was decided that it’s best if someone impartial did these interviews. I just moved here a few months ago. So, let’s get started, okay?
Bettie Lake: Okay fine, shoot! Sorry, I didn’t mean to say shoot. Is that a bad thing to say when we’re talking about a man that was murdered? Shit. Was he shot? Am I in trouble?
Deputy Lloyd: No, he wasn’t shot. Just try to relax, okay? I’m only trying to put some pieces together so you have nothing to be nervous about. On the night of the murder, the phone records we received show that you and Miss. Lambert spoke to each other a few hours earlier. Did the two of you speak about the victim?
Bettie Lake: We mostly talked about how hot Sheriff Hudson is. She compared him to Thor.
Deputy Lloyd: *Muffled coughing and laughing*
Bettie Lake: Seriously, it’s uncanny. Same color hair, same color eyes, same uber-muscles. No wonder she never shuts up about him. I mean, you’re no slouch yourself, Deputy, you’re just not my type.
Deputy Lloyd: Ma’am, please answer the question.
Bettie Lake: What was the question again? Sorry, I was distracted by Thor…I mean Sheriff Hudson’s muscles. I asked him if I could touch them. Is that the real reason why he didn’t want to interview me?