Emily shoved her hand in her purse, pulling out her court documents. “I have an order of protection—”
“Nothing,” Dillon said. “She’s wasting your time.” He shot Emily a glare, and yanked his wallet from his back pocket. “Here’s my PBA card.” He passed the card through the fence. “My uncle’s been a detective at the Brooklyn North narcotics in Bed-Stuy for the last twenty years.”
The officer looked it over. He nodded, a smile lifting his mouth. “Look at that.” He slid the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association card back through the fence. “I bet he knows Anthony Armenio.”
“I grew up with Anthony Jr. and Anna.” Dillon looked into Emily’s eyes, his stare cold as he slipped the card back into his wallet. “My uncle used to bring me down to the—”
“Excuse me,” Emily interrupted, shoving the documents into the officer’s hand. “I hate to interfere with this friendly conversation, but he’s violated an order of protection from the court.”
“I haven’t violated anything,” Dillon argued, a smirk pulling at his lips.
Patience depleted, Emily snapped her head in Dillon’s direction. “Yes, you have! You’re not supposed to fucking be here!”
“Hey, hey,” the cop warned as he glared at Emily. “Calm down.”
“I will not calm down,” Emily rebuked, flicking her eyes to his badge. “It’s your job to keep him away from me, Officer McManus.” She stepped back and crossed her arms. “Please do the job my tax dollars pay for, and take a look at the order.”
With a lift of his brow, the cop rubbed his chin. Aggravation danced over his features, but nonetheless he tore his stare from Emily’s. Looking at the papers in his hand, and appearing to be in no hurry, he flipped through them. “He hasn’t violated this order, Miss Cooper.” He handed the papers back to her. “As far as I can tell, you may have violated the order, though.”
“What?” Emily questioned, her eyes wide. “How did I violate the order? He showed up at my place of employment.”
“No, he didn’t,” the cop corrected, pulling out a small pad. As he scribbled on it, Emily looked at Dillon. He sent her a smug smile. “It says Mr. Parker can’t step foot on Brody Elementary School’s property,” the cop continued, his white hair blowing in the frigid air. He ripped the small piece of paper from the pad and handed it to her. “As far as I can tell, he hasn’t. He’s right outside of the property on a sidewalk owned by the city. But what I’m wondering is why you’re so close to the fence. Now, unless Mr. Parker has some kind of magical powers that made you float across the parking lot, you willingly approached him.” Emily opened her mouth, but the cop cut her off. “That paper you’re holding’s a warning. You get another one of those, and your order of protection will be rescinded.” The cop didn’t say any more. He turned on his heel, heading for his patrol car. Once settled into his seat, he lowered the window and smiled. “Mr. Parker, I’m going to sit here until you leave, but I’m starving, so make it quick.”
Smirking, Dillon nodded and turned toward Emily. Keeping his voice low, he dug his hands into his pockets and slowly backed away. “I never make idle threats, Emily. Remember that.”
As Dillon did an about-face, crossing the street and slipping into his Mercedes, the fear Emily was trying to remove prickled across her skin. It anchored her, seeding deeper than before. Clenching the paper she so easily assumed signified her protection, Emily watched Dillon and the officer drive away. The cocoon of her past unraveled right before her eyes. However, a beautiful butterfly didn’t spring free. Instead, an emotionally unhealthy woman was left standing in the parking lot alone, her delusional thought that she would be all right a distant blur. There would never be reprieve from Dillon’s mayhem. A machine had replaced his heart somewhere along the way, and she knew in that very second, she would never be truly safe from him.
“Hey, you can’t just walk in here like that.” Olivia rose from the couch. She placed her hands on her hips, a playful smile breaking out across her face. “You’re no longer a resident, and besides, I was just having sex in the middle of the living room.”
“I moved out three days ago.” Emily looked at her with a raised brow. “And you’re having sex by yourself, fully clothed?”
Olivia shrugged. “I have my ways.”
Emily dumped her belongings on the foyer table. She slid off her coat, walked into the kitchen, and grabbed a can of soda from the refrigerator. “You have no idea what happened,” she said, taking a seat at the table.
Olivia squinted and studied her a moment. “Okay, I’ve seen this expression before. Please don’t tell me you and Gavin are already having problems.” She plopped down on a chair across from Emily. “If so, I swear, I’m writing you both off. Besides, you two already have plans to spend Christmas at your sister’s house. Surely you’re not going to fuck up the holidays.”
“Gavin and I are fine.” Shaking her head, Emily’s nerves caught again. “Dillon came to the school today.”
“You called the police, right?” Olivia asked, impatient. “He’s back in jail?”
“No. He’s not. I did call the police, and the asshole who showed up said I was in the wrong, not Dillon.”
For once, Olivia seemed almost speechless. Almost. “What? I don’t understand. How could you be in the wrong? That makes no fucking sense. The order’s supposed to protect you, not him.”
Emily sighed. “I walked over to where he was standing behind the fence.”
Olivia’s eyes went wide. “Why would you even attempt getting that close to him? You know what he’s capable of. If Dick-wad’s showing up at the school, who knows what he planned on doing?”
“Maybe that’s the point, Olivia. Maybe for a second, I didn’t want him having the power to make me afraid of what he would do to me.”
Olivia blew out a puff of air and crossed her arms. Leaning back, she peered out of the kitchen window and tucked a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear. “You need to tell Gavin.”
“I know.” Emily’s stomach lurched, but withholding the truth from Gavin was no longer an option. “We had plans to go out to dinner tonight, but I sent him a text and told him I didn’t feel well. I’ll tell him when I get home.”
With a weary smile, Olivia reached for Emily’s hand. “I’m thinking you’d better stop off and pick up a few bottles of wine on your way. It might ease the reaction when you tell him.”
Snorting, Emily stood. “Right. Gavin drunk when I tell him won’t make the situation any better.”
“I didn’t mean him. I meant you.” Olivia rose and shrugged. “You’re the one who’s going to need a few glasses. He’s going to bug the fuck out, but I’m sure you know this.”
She did. Anxiety settled over Emily, but before she could dwell on what she was about to face, a flutter of movement in the hallway caught her gaze. “Is Tina here?”
Olivia bit her lip and shook her head.