Laurel Knights

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


Nic meets Kellan after he faux pas - and tries to get down to the bottom of things...

Chapter 6 (v.1) - Possession With Intent

Submitted: February 12, 2019

Reads: 27

Comments: 2

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Submitted: February 12, 2019

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Chapter Six

She looked flustered, Kellan thought as he leaned unobtrusively against one of the pillars at the entrance of the courthouse on Friday morning and watched Dr. Glassman approaching. Her brow was knit together and her lips were set in a tiny pout as she climbed the steps in her sensible brown heels. She was obviously upset about something and, though he doubted it, he hoped it wasn’t about him.

He’d been thinking about their session the previous week and he chastised himself for taking her ‘parolee’ comment like he had. After all, she hadn’t said anything that wasn’t ostensibly true. Regardless, she’d felt bad immediately after she’d said it, he could tell. She hadn’t deserved the cold shoulder, but he’d done it anyway. Only 18 months inside and I’m a caveman. As he watched her walk by him now, lost in her thoughts, he decided to give her a few minutes to get settled in her office before he followed her up. Besides, this way he had an opportunity to observe her coming and going—which wasn’t a bad thing, he thought, as he observed her keenly from behind… 

***

Kellan smiled tentatively as he walked through her open office door ten minutes later. “Liquid courage, huh?”

“Hm?” Nic responded awkwardly after just having sucked in a mouthful of steaming liquid.

“The coffee,” Kellan nodded to the Starbuck’s cup as he sat down across the desk from her. “I hadn’t noticed you drinking it before.” 

“Oh yeah. I, uh, I don’t usually…” She set the cup down, took in a breath, and began again, “About last week, Mr. Rainey—”

“No, please,” Kellan cut her off as he sat down. “I wanted to talk to you about that, actually.”
“Oh?” Nic responded, a note of disbelief tingeing her voice.

“Yes,” Kellan nodded and then sighed deeply, leaning forward in his chair. “I shouldn’t have—” he shifted uncomfortably. “I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did,” he said, looking at her squarely. “It wasn’t fair to you.”

 Nic sat quietly, her mouth hanging open a bit. If she was trying to hide her surprise, she was failing badly.

Kellan continued, “What you said was true. It was a label, yes, but one I’ll have to get used to.” 

“Alright,” she acknowledged, as she peered at him curiously. Then she bit her bottom lip as though something occurred to her, but she was afraid to say it.

“What?” Kellan scowled. He’d just suffered through an apology—something he didn’t do very often—and she was making another face already.

After a pause she said, “So, forgive me for mentioning this…but you were arrested nearly 20 months ago now…and you’re still not quite used to it?” 

Kellan shrugged. “That was all just part of the plan. I know it probably sounds stupid now, but I honestly hadn’t thought about the fact that I’d be labeled for the rest of my life—” 

“Part of the plan?” Nic broke in. She arched an eyebrow at Kellan.

Oh, shit.

Then she rose from her chair, and said, “I’m just gonna get this…”  She walked over to the office door and closed it, then came back and sat behind her desk again.

Kellan raked his hand through his hair and contemplated trying to act as though he hadn't revealed anything. He also considered mentioning how nice she smelled when he caught the draft she created with her movement past his chair. Neither strategy would work, of course, but it might buy him some time…

“Look. If you were just honest with me it would make talking a whole lot easier, don’t you think?” she asked, staring at Kellan until his gaze met hers.

He looked at Nic for what seemed an eternity. He knew he shouldn’t trust her with this—probably couldn’t trust her, in fact. But something about the way she looked at him made him want to finally open up about some of the crazy events of the past two years. The way she’d listened to him talk about Laurel last week had made him feel heard in a way that he hadn’t experienced in a long time, if ever. While he had the Knights, of course, it wasn’t the same without his brother at the helm. Everything felt different and Kellan found himself just as guarded at the MC meetings as he'd been in General Population at the Q. He couldn’t put his finger on why yet, but he hadn’t felt safe enough to tell anyone. Now, here was some lady doctor he barely knew asking him to come out of his shell and for some inexplicable reason, he found himself wanting to do just that. A fly wasn't really a victim if it willingly entered the trap, was it?  He cleared his throat after making his decision. “You sure you want to know?”

Without hesitation she said, “Very much.”

Kellan exhaled nervously, but began, despite the fact that it felt like there were bugs skittering through his guts. “Okay. Well, first off, I’m not a drug addict and I don’t sell drugs. It was all a set-up.”

“Lots of guys claim a set-up,” Nic noted hesitantly. “What do you mean?” 

He began bouncing his knee up and down to expel some energy. He wasn’t at all sure she’d believe him and, oddly, he really wanted her to. He pushed the feeling away and continued, “I was carrying the drugs and speeding down the highway so that I’d get stopped. I was trying to set the cops up to catch me.”

“Wait, what?” she asked. “You set up the cops?” She shook her head and genuinely looked shocked. “Why would you do that?”

“To go to prison,” Kellan uttered simply, as though it was the most logical conclusion in the world. Seeing her puzzled expression, he went on, “I came up with this plan to get there—”

“So you wanted to go to prison. That’s what you’re saying?” Nic interjected incredulously.

“Yes. That’s what I’m saying. San Quentin to be specific.”

“Why would you want to go to San Quentin? Or any other prison for that matter?” she asked, her eyes wide.

Unsure that he wanted to answer that particular question just yet, he stalled. He preferred to keep the topic on the fact that he found himself trying to get through to her instead. “I wanted to go…” He shifted tensely and rubbed the stubble on his chin. “The point is that I want you to know I’m not an addict or a dealer. I did what I had to do in order to get locked up at San Quentin. That’s all, okay?”

“Okay…” She nodded, frowning. “So, how did that come about anyway? If your goal was to get locked up, how did you decide what you would do?”

“Let’s see…” Kellan didn’t see the harm in divulging his scheme. “It was important to me that it be something nonviolent. I needed to know there wouldn’t be anyone out there who was victimized in any way. I also didn’t want any criminals to profit from it.”  He owed his brother’s memory that much.

“That must have been difficult. They say there’s no such thing as a victimless crime, you know.”

He shrugged.

“Did you come up with any other options before you decided on this one?”

Kellan smirked, “Not many. Crimes involving paperwork or fraud get kicked up to federal, and I wanted to go to State Prison.” He shook his head, remembering, “Other, more minor, crimes like attempted bribery or tampering do jail time, not prison. So I needed a victimless, nonviolent felony.”

“Wow,” she muttered before reaching for her cup.

“I know. Before the current case kind of fell into my lap, I was actually considering solicitation…”

Phhhfffft!  Nic almost did a spit take with her coffee in reaction to his comment.

Kellan laughed in spite of himself—her response had been priceless. “Are you saying I wouldn’t make a good prostitute, Doc?”

“I don’t know if I’d make a very good judge of that. Why don’t we ask some of the johns who cruise International Boulevard?” she quipped.

He chuckled, “My fear exactly."

They both laughed at that, and Kellan soon found himself staring at one of the most striking, mirthful faces he'd ever seen. Her gleaming eyes momentarily appeared unguarded by the usual professional veil she wore and a façade seemed to fall away from her entire countenance. For a fleeting moment, Kellan felt as though he could see what Nicole Glassman would be like without the barriers she had to erect around herself while on the job. And, in that instant, his heartbeat pounded in his ears and it felt like the air was stolen from his lungs. She was, quite literally, breathtaking. Of course, a mere second later, Kellan could sense her defenses going up again and she pressed forward.

“So how did the final plan happen?” she asked. “It sounds like you obviously thought about it a lot.”

“It kind of felt like serendipity in a way…” Kellan reflected. “My brother’s neighbor, Mrs. O’Malley’s husband had died of Parkinson’s a few weeks before. She came over to the house with a big grocery bag full of meds…and I’m not talkin’ aspirin either. This was serious stuff that she used to help Frank through the—” Kellan offered. “She took care of him nearly to the end, you know…”

Nic nodded sympathetically.

“She asked me what she should do with ‘em. She’d heard on TV that she wasn’t supposed to flush them because the medicine could get into the ground water. I told her that she was right and that I’d take care of the disposal for her.” He shook his head and rubbed his fingers across his brow. “She tried to give me twenty bucks to thank me for doing it. Poor old woman. I really wish I would’ve told her what I was planning to do…she probably would’ve slapped some sense into me.”

At that, Nic looked down at the arrest report on her desk. She read aloud, “The victim, Mrs. O’ Malley, said she offered Mr. Rainey twenty dollars for the drugs.” She looked up from the page incredulously. “So she wasn’t a drug buyer like the report is insinuating…”

“No,” Kellan scoffed. “She was offering me twenty dollars to take the drugs away from her.”

“So what happened then?” 

“Well, I started researching different crimes on the internet and realized that if I got stopped with the amount of narcotics that she’d just given me, that the charge would automatically be increased from a misdemeanor of ‘possession’ to the felony of ‘intent to distribute.’ Now all I had to do was get caught.”

“So you don’t have to sell any of the drugs to get an ‘intent to distribute’ charge?” Nic asked with a surprised expression on her face.

“Nope. Isn’t California great?”

“That doesn’t make sense!”

“It doesn’t, but it was perfect for me because I never would’ve sold that poison to anyone—no way.” Kellan said with disgust. “Excuse my language, but that shit ruins people. It ruins families.” 

“It does, I agree. But if you believe that, why does the police report mention that you were ‘driving erratically at 90 miles per hour at three in the morning.’ They seem to infer that you weren’t just transporting, but that you were driving under the influence.” She peered at him.

“Does the police report also mention my blood levels?”

“Um…let me see…” Nic flipped through several sheets until she reached the bottom of the report, finding them. “Clean. Everything was at zero.” She glanced up and said, “So, the erratic driving at a high rate of speed…?”
He finished her sentence, “Was done on a deserted stretch of highway at 3am on a Monday morning right at the end of the month when the highway cops are trying to make their quotas. You ever heard the sound of straight pipes cranked-up at three in the morning? Hell, I wasn’t out there five minutes before poppin’ the red and blues.” He shrugged. “I needed to give them a reason to pull me over and look in my saddle bags, and I did it as safely as I could.” 

“So, why? Why did you want to go to San Quentin?”

Kellan just shook his head. He definitely wasn’t ready to divulge that yet.

“So, a man with no prior criminal history decides he wants to go to a specific prison at age twenty-eight for some unknown purpose and wants to do it without hurting a soul?” She shrugged. “I mean, I’ve run into transients who want to go back to prison during the winter months because it’s too cold to live on the streets, for example. But in those cases, the crimes aren’t well organized and at no point do any of them give a damn about who gets hurt…” After a pause she asked, “Tell me why, Mr. Rainey. Why did you want to go to San Quentin?”

“I…I don’t know…” He stalled again.

“How do I get you to remember the truth?”

Suddenly a small smile played across Kellan’s lips and he said, “You’re good, Doc,” in a low, steady and sincerely complimentary tone. “But, I’m not used to talking this much. Maybe it would help if you told me something about you.”

“That’s not how therapy works,” Nic replied in an equally sincere tone. “It’s kind of a one-way street.”

Kellan sighed and said mischievously, “I guess you’ll never know then…”

Nic laughed. “Blackmail? You’re trying to blackmail me into telling you something?”  She laughed again.

He grinned and realized that he was trying to make her laugh. He had no illusions that she would actually fall for his ‘blackmail’ attempt, but making a joke had always been his way to break the tension, and the other benefit was that he got to see her smile again. She had a beautiful one and he noted that he didn’t mind basking in the temporary glow of it one bit.

She rolled her eyes and grabbed her coffee cup again, the ghost of a smile still present on her lips. “So why’d you tell me about the whole set-up attempt to get to San Quentin if you weren’t intending to tell me why you wanted to get locked up?” She took a final sip.

Kellan thought for a moment and responded as truthfully as he knew how. “Because it was important to me for you to know that I wasn’t an addict or a dealer. I needed you to know that I did those things as a means to an end, but that it wasn’t who I was” —Kellan frowned darkly— “or who I am.” 

Nic closed her eyes and a look of understanding came over her face. “So that’s why you were so upset when I called you a parolee last week. You knew I was associating it with the crime you were imprisoned for, and you hadn’t anticipated that when you carried out the plan. You weren’t prepared for other people to think of you that way once you left San Quentin’s gates—because you don’t.”

Kellan felt her words cut through him like a newly sharpened shank. She’d really boiled it down alright, and in just a few sentences, he felt exposed to his core. He began picking at a hangnail, concentrating intently to avoid the miasma of emotions that surrounded his heart.

“Mr. Rainey?”

He continued to pick away.

“Mr.—” She sighed. “Kellan?” 

At the sound of his first name, he peered up somberly at her.

She met his gaze and held it. “Look ,” she began evenly, “I’m not going to tell you that you’re wrong for feeling what you are right now, because you’re not. There are people out there who will judge you for what they think you’ve done. There are people who will try to punish you and treat you like a second-class citizen for as long as this follows you around.” She exhaled very lightly and leaned toward him. “But what I can say for me—what I can tell you with complete conviction—is that I will not.” 

Kellan’s hands began to tremble slightly and what felt like icy pin pricks danced swiftly up his spine.  

“Whether you were an addict and dealer, or none of those things, I wouldn’t judge you. The only thing I’m interested in is who you want to be from now on. You understand?”

He nodded, his bottom teeth beginning to draw blood from his inner lip, he was clenching so hard to stop himself from losing it. He didn’t know how just talking could make him feel so damn vulnerable, but here it was—that sensation again. Their last session had ended with him feeling gutted and again a fucked up mess on another Friday morning. What was she doing to him? He picked viciously at the hangnail.

For five solid minutes the time ebbed away as the heavy air hung between them. Nic sat, turning her pen slowly between her fingers.

If she was waiting for him to talk again, it wasn't gonna happen. He was itching to make his escape, fire up his Harley, and burn a path to anywhere else, but he knew it wasn’t time to leave yet.

The clock stuttered out several more minutes.

 Jesus, he sighed. This was excruciating.

“Pumpkin spice,” she suddenly said, shattering the tense silence.

“Excuse me?”

“I don’t drink coffee often, but when I do, I like the Pumpkin Spice flavor the best,” Nic said. “ It doesn’t matter what time of year it is either. Even if it’s the fourth of July—Pumpkin Spice.” Her mouth tipped up a bit at the corners triumphantly.

That’s random. Kellan stared at her, puzzled. She’d lost her mind…

“I also think that Chopin was the most tragic composer who ever lived. I don’t care that Beethoven went deaf—Chopin’s story gets me right here, every time,” she said, tapping her heart.

He very slowly began to smile once he realized what she was doing.

She topped it off. “So, since you’re Irish, this last one should get you: my favorite color in the world is green. Emerald green, specifically. It’s the best color in the spectrum, hands down.” 

“Why’s that?” he asked, fully smiling now.

“Hmm...” She looked up at the ceiling, as though contemplating deeply.

A brief knock came at the door, and both she and Kellan looked up at the clock. It was time for her next appointment.

“Well, I guess you’ll never know…,” she shot back playfully as Kellan grabbed his helmet from the floor next to the chair and stood to leave.

He smiled at her again as they walked the few steps toward the front of the office together. Revealing details about herself was a therapy taboo, even if they were something as minor as her favorite color, but she’d done it to make him feel better. So just before she swung the door open to let him out, Kellan leaned in and whispered, “I’ll just assume it’s because it matches your eyes then.”

 

Before she had time to process what he’d just said, he was gone. And it was a good thing, too, because by the time her next client crossed the threshold he said, “Are you okay, Dr. Glassman? Your face is all red!” 

***

With her therapy sessions over for the day, Nic resolved to complete one last thing that had been gnawing at her brain. She had to ask Parole Officer Drummond for some information about some suspicions that she had. Unfortunately, her level of access didn’t grant her permission to view the computer records in the system she was searching for, so going to him was her only shot. To avoid being dragged into a late evening conversation with him, she grabbed her purse, locked her office, and headed toward Drummond’s office for what she hoped would be a quick confirmation.

She approached the door to his office and let out a little sigh. Since he’d been drinking more it was always like walking on eggshells. One moment he’d be fine, and a few hours later he’d smell like the inside of a bottle and be ranting like a lunatic.

She knocked on Drummond’s door softly. “David?” she called as she turned the knob slowly, then rapped again. “I have a question for you…” She called as she entered the room.

On the floor lay Officer Drummond with his face mashed into the carpet and an empty flask next to his outstretched arm. He was snoring lightly and drool was dribbling down his chin.

Great. How did she ignore this? She started to back away when she decided something needed to be done despite the potential repercussions. So she reached into her purse, grabbed her camera phone, and snapped a few pictures on her way out. It was time for an ‘anonymous’ tip to the Chief... Let’s see them sweep this under the rug.

The information she wanted, however, would just have to wait until next week.

 


© Copyright 2019 Clarissa Cole. All rights reserved.

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