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“I wasn’t aiming for his leg, I was aiming for his balls!” I shouted, crossing my arms over my chest and leaning back against the bars. I blew out a breath of frustration.

“You can’t just go around shooting people,” Buck said, like I was a child that needed to be scolded and taught a lesson.

That’s not necessarily true I thought, my mind wandering to the pond in the middle of the grove that now held more than algae and old fishing lures.

I hated being talked down to. It had been a long time since Buck and I were real friends and a lifetime ago since he knew what I was going through or anything about my life that gave him any sort of authority to judge me or talk down to me like I was a kid. I flashed Buck my best fake southern smile. “You know as well as I do that county law states I can shoot anyone on my property for whatever damn reason I want. That law is the one and only good things about living in this backwards town. So LET. ME. OUT.”

“I’m pretty sure the law doesn’t say that,” Buck said, putting his hat back on his head and standing up.

“I know it’s not those exact words, but you know what I mean, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Everyone around here knows that one. In the eyes of whatever hillbillies wrote that law, and whatever other hillbillies kept it on the books, I didn’t do anything wrong.” Instead of unlocking the cell, Buck turned and headed for the door.

“Where are you going?” I asked in a panic. “You can’t keep me in here!”

Buck shook his head. “I may not be taking you to see the judge in the morning, because as much as I hate to admit it, the law is law and you’re right, I can’t arrest you.”

“Okay so unlock this cell,” I said, reaching for Buck through the bars, putting on my very best pouty-save-me-face.

“But I am going to hold you until your appointment to see the sheriff, make sure you don’t go anywhere until we can get what happened up at your parents’ house squared away.” Buck sighed. “Why didn’t you call me? I could have helped. I could have done something, but instead you ran. Where did you go?”

“I just went away. I went to…” As I tried to come up with something I absent-mindedly ran my hand over Bear’s ring.

“You went to HIM didn’t you?” he asked and I looked down to where he was staring and took my hand off the ring like he’d caught me doing something seedy.

“Buck,” I started to explain and then I realized why Buck was really holding me in that cell.

“You know Thia it hurts that you didn’t come to me, but it hurts even more that you turned to a complete stranger. Spend some time in there to sit and think, might do you some good.” With a tip of his hat, and the same sideways smile he used to flash me right before he sent a dodgeball sailing into my ribs, Buck was gone.

“This is bullshit!” I shouted at the closed door. “We’re not in kindergarten anymore, Buck. You can’t just put me in time out,” I said, pounding my hands against the bars. My hands vibrated, stinging from the impact of sensitive flesh and bone against hard metal. I bent over and rubbed them together to ease the sting. When I stood up to shake them out, it sank in that Buck really wasn’t coming back.

“Shit!” I said, and without thinking I hit the bar again, my right hand turning into one gigantic funny bone.

The entire situation was far from fucking funny.

What really wasn’t funny was the biker who was probably tearing the town apart looking for me and what he would do to Buck if he stood in his way. “Buck!” I called again, this time not because he needed to release me but because I needed to warn him.

But it was too late.

There was a commotion on the other side of the door, followed by a bang. “Where is she, asshole?” barked a familiar deep voice.

Oh shit.

The door opened and a frightened looking Buck appeared in the doorway. His eyes wide and his palms up in surrender. Behind him, with a gun firmly pressed between his shoulder blades, was Bear. “You okay, Ti?” Bear asked through his teeth with his nose scrunched up in a snarl.

“I’m fine. Bear, This is Buck. The deputy sheriff. He’s the friend I told you about. Well, I thought he was a friend until he tossed me in here,” I said, wrapping my hands around the cold metal bars.

“How many times do I have to keep reminding you that you SHOT someone?” Buck yelled back. Bear nudged him with his gun and he tripped forward, grabbing onto the cell bars to keep from falling. Buck turned to look at Bear. “You got a concealed weapons permit for that thing?”

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