Refrigeration Required

RefrigerationRequiredCoverArtWebChapter One

Hawke Rubens Pierce was about an inch from hanging up on his mother. After an hour of talking to her about his brother and the impending wedding, he felt like he was going crazy. How many times did he have to hear about color schemes, flowers, centerpieces, and venues? Then, even worse than hearing about every detail of the wedding, was hearing how amazing his older brother was on the ice. They were competitors; he didn’t want to hear this.

“Ma, no I don’t want to discuss my brother’s usual score total, nor do I want to discuss what’s going to be happening on his honeymoon. It’s bad enough imagining him married to someone as good as Jax.” Hawke shook his head, locking his doors and climbing the stairs to the station doors. “Such a waste of a good woman.”

“Hawke! Would it be too much to ask for you to be nice?” His mother chastised him more often than not on his manners; he was a boy and he was always going to rag on his brother whether she liked it or not. “Just this once? Your brother’s getting married in less than six months and it wouldn’t kill you to take some notes. I want grandchildren, believe it or not, and I’m not getting any younger.”

“That was being nice, and I’m fully aware of how to get a good woman. I don’t need to take notes from Jay, just like I don’t need reminders on how badly you want to be a grandmother. You make it sound like you’re ancient; you’re not even fifty.”

Hawke sighed and slid his fingers over the crown of his head and through his raven-colored faux Mohawk. He didn’t want to think about this right now. It was bad enough Jay’s upcoming wedding would nag at his mother’s maternal side yet again, but he also had to focus on the bachelor party and avoid conversations about babies and marriage all at the same time. He was pretty good with kids, but he liked the freedom of not being in a relationship, let alone a serious one. He had been there before and it hadn’t ended pretty. This was going to come down to meeting the right woman, and he doubted there was anyone ready to handle him at the moment.

He took a moment to compose himself, settling his supposed winning smile in place as he pulled the police station doors open and moved his sunglasses from his face to the top of his head.

“Well I’m not getting any younger. I want my boys married.” He stifled a groan and shook his head again. This was endless. He set his phone down on the table along with his keys and wallet before walking through the metal detector. When he picked up his phone, his mother was still ranting at him about marriage and children.

“I know, Ma. I know. I gotta go though, we can discuss this later.” He smiled at a young female officer and winked, causing her to blush before she scurried away. How could his best friend focus with such beautiful women surrounding him on a daily basis?

“Alright, well make sure you meet me at the shop at four, and Zack should be there too. This isn’t something you can casually forget about; you need your tux to be ready on time,” his mom said.

“I got it, I’ll call you later. Love you.” Hawke muttered as he walked further into the station and looked around.

Buzzing with activity, the station was nothing like he expected as he searched for Diez’s unit on the wall directory and headed to the corresponding level.

“I love you, too. See you soon.” She clicked off and he shoved his phone into his pocket.

He knew his mother was going to be all over his case until he settled down. This wedding was only going to make life more difficult for him, but he could hope his brother would get his soon-to-be wife pregnant quickly. It would appease his mother for a little while.

The bell for the elevator chimed, letting him know he was on the second floor as the doors opened. He paused for a moment outside the elevator to get his bearings and gear himself up for what he was about to ask his best friend. He was taking a risk with his business by asking someone who didn’t have any real experience with Fortune 500 companies, but after the last guy, he needed someone he could trust. Taking a deep breath, he grinned at a bookworm-looking clerk who giggled before he headed to find Diez.

He strutted down the hallway, taking the last turn, and searched for the desk belonging to his best friend. It was pitiful he had never bothered to visit his best friend at work, but he wasn’t usually in Los Angeles for an extended amount of time. For vacations, he usually spent time on various small islands in the Atlantic or hiding away in other countries trying to avoid press. Instead, he was now stepping into their all-to-willing grasp. He could only imagine how they would react when they got pictures of him entering a police station without being cuffed; there would be so many comments. He was under no illusions of not being followed, he was one of the many playboys of professional hockey and he knew it. How he had gotten the title, he had no idea; he had only been with one woman in the last few years and it was the biggest mistake he had ever made twice.

The first two desks were cluttered with case files. A man in his thirties was talking on the phone at the first desk, but the second was a different story. A medium height blonde with spiral curls spilling over her leather jacket bent over the desk talking to the officer. Her tight dress hugged her in all the right places and her high heels tapped on the linoleum floor. Such a nice body should not be wasted in a police station; it simply wasn’t fair on the rest of the world. He looked her over one more time before focusing on where he was walking, narrowly missing walking into his best friend’s chair. He stopped short and patted the shoulder of the officer in front of him.

“Officer Zackary Diez. Well, don’t you sound official?”

“Hey! You made it!” Zack smiled and motioned for him to sit in the chair next to the desk.

“I did indeed.” He leaned into his friend, lowering his voice to avoid anyone from overhearing. “Who’s the hot blonde behind you?”

Zack checked over his shoulder and smiled. “My partner.”

“Ah, the beautiful one you were crushing on a year or two ago?” Hawke looked past his best friend and over the curve of her waist down to her hips, a perfect hourglass.

“Yeah, but alas it was not meant to be. She’s more like a sister now and I am good with that.”

“One fine sister, Zack. I knew she was beautiful, but why didn’t you tell me you worked with a model?”

“You know I don’t like talking about work.” His best friend shrugged.

Zack wasn’t a fan of discussing how many criminals he had gotten or even bragging about the number of people he had saved by getting a guy who could go on a killing spree. It was just who Zack was, humble, but his confidence and sarcasm overshadowed it sometimes. He had been around when Zack was dating drop dead gorgeous women, ones who were actual award-winning beauty queens. Watching women behave around his friend was like watching a sitcom; Zack was oblivious to the way women looked at him. He and Zack had been polar opposites at one point, but over the years his best friend had rubbed off on him, for the better in a lot of ways.

“She isn’t work, she’s paradise.” His eyes hadn’t left the blonde. “She got a name?”

He pointed to the desk directly across from his and Hawke turned the name placard so he could read it: Detective Jordan Montgomery. Where had he heard that name before?

As he sat staring at the name placard, the blonde walked past him and sat at the desk. He watched, mesmerized by her, as she pulled her insanely curly hair into a bun and forced a pencil through it. She held a cell phone between her shoulder and ear as she sat in her chair. He had known a beauty with curly hair like hers in high school, the only woman who had been able to handle him at his best and worst and he had let her slip through his fingers.

“Ryann, I’m so sorry, but it looks like I have to stay late and finish this paperwork. Can you hold down the fort until I get home?” She paused as if waiting for the person on the other end to stop talking. “I’ll work as fast as possible, just make sure you get your homework done and study.”

Hawke watched her as she smiled, her black eyes lighting up and recognition hit him immediately. He knew why his best friend hadn’t told him about his partner in much detail, and it had nothing to do with him not wanting to talk about work. She was beautiful and unique, and he hadn’t seen her since high school. It made sense now, why her hair was so similar to the love of his life and why her name was the same. All of the similarities were actually exact replicas because this was Jordan Goto, the spitfire who had him chasing a woman for the first and only time in his life.

“Well, if you really need to focus on studying, then call Ashleigh. I’m sure she would be fine with watching Talya for you.” There was a pause as Jordan listened and rolled her eyes. “Ryann, she’s a baby, not a nuclear bomb.”

She hung up and dropped her phone on the desk in front of her.

“How’s Ryann doing in her classes?” Zack smiled at her and she returned it.

“She said she’s doing fine, but it sounds like it’s more difficult than she thought it would be. She’s been working with Evan on everything, so I guess she’s finally starting to understand some of it.”

“Well thank goodness for Evan then.” Zack smiled and winked at her while she blushed.

“Bet you never thought you would say those words.”

“I thought they tasted a little bitter.” Zack screwed up his face as the Jordan laughed.

Hawke knew that laugh and it brought him back to high school, the times when he had the ability to make her laugh. A time before he had made her cry on multiple occasions and had no way of taking it back.

“Detective Montgomery.” A voice sounded behind them and she froze. Hawke watched her, but saw Zack nod out of the corner of his eye. She stood up and walked to the closest office on the right, closing the door behind her.

“Sorry it’s kinda crazy around here; we just got this serial rapist convicted and Jordan just got back from court. As you can tell, everyone’s pretty excited.” Zack’s easy smile disappeared as he scratched his head, noticing the confused look that was undoubtedly on Hawke’s face, “What’s wrong?”

Hawke held up a finger, then stood up and walked to the dark break room he had passed on the way in, waiting for Zack to follow before he closed the thick wire gate behind them.

“Detective Jordan Montgomery? Really, Zack?” His voice sounded a little tight, even to his ears. He didn’t want to seem panicked, but he couldn’t help it. He hadn’t expected to see her ever again and yet there she was. How could Zack have kept this a secret for so long?

“What are you talking about?” Zack’s eyes were innocent, a trick he had taught him after months of sneaking out in high school.

“Don’t use those eyes one me, I taught you that look. You know what I’m talking about: when were you going to tell me Jordan Goto is your partner?”

“I didn’t see why it would matter. You always swore you never really went out or anything.” Zack filled a cup of coffee, his eyes meeting Hawke’s. “You really were sweet on her weren’t you?”

“You knew it was a lie. So who were you trying to protect, me or her?”

“Her,” he stated without blinking. “What are you going to do about it now?”

“Good,” he whispered and turned back to look at her through the gate. “She’s beautiful.”

“She was always beautiful, Hawke.”

“You know what I mean,” Hawke murmured and Zack scoffed.

“Oh yeah, she grew up real nice after high school. She’s still got that rough exterior, but it’s been dialed down a bit after everything that happened. Graduated top of the police academy, first woman to be promoted so young as a detective, and best detective we have on the force.” Zack set his coffee down and crossed his arms over his chest, his eyes on Jordan through the wires as she sat back in her chair.

“She grew up better than I thought she would — considering everything she went through. Wasn’t her father on the force? I just remember every guy at school using that as the excuse why they wouldn’t ask her out.” He laughed, but it wasn’t genuine, it was his nervous laugh. There had always been something different about Jordy; she could make him melt with the simplest look and he never knew why. It seemed she hadn’t lost that particular talent, not even after so many years.

“You avoided the question, my friend, and yes her dad was on the force.” Zack smirked as Hawke tried to figure out how to answer the question Zack obviously wasn’t going to let go of. “Are you going to answer my question?”

“I’m not sure yet, but I don’t want to let her go again.” He had to get off the topic of Jordy. He didn’t want to think about the juvenile pranks he hadn’t stopped and even been a part of during high school involving her. “Did you want to go out to lunch? We have until three-thirty since we’ve got a final fitting for the tux at four.”

“Nice change of subject, and I can’t go to lunch, but you’re more than welcome to go and get something and bring it to me. I have paperwork to finish.” Zack’s voice stopped for a moment. “You wanna go talk to Jordy?”

“Uh yeah, I don’t really think that’s a good idea. We didn’t get along after everything.”

“Yeah,” Zack snorted. “The only reason you didn’t get along is because you le–”

“I remember.” Hawke winced and looked at Jordan’s back again as she leant over her desk pointing to the papers in front of her and talking on the phone. Her clothing style had gone up significantly since he had last seen her. He hadn’t complained about her baggy clothes and he wasn’t about to complain about the tight dress she wore under her caramel leather jacket now. He couldn’t imagine how Zack focused on his work with such a beautiful partner; he knew he wouldn’t be able to work if she were an opponent on the ice.

Though maybe Zack was so used to her being a friend he didn’t even thought of her in a romantic sense now. She was rough when you got her one on one and in high school she put on a pretty good show in public. He had worked for months on getting her to open up in private, but he had thrown it away with a few poor choices.

She had always been so nice to him — even when he was mean to her — and the girls he had been surrounded by had viewed her as a threat. They thought she was their own personal punching bag.

“Go talk to her, I’m tired of you drooling all over the floor.” Zack motioned for him to get out and Hawke did so as slow as possible. She wasn’t going to remember him and it was going to be awkward.

Hawke stood next to Zack’s desk and tried to look as if he knew what he was doing, but he didn’t. He could feel his best friend’s evil grin boring into his back and he didn’t have the guts to turn around and walk back in with him gloating like that.

Jordy stood next to the first desk, sorting through papers and stacking them as she spoke to the officer. She smiled at the man and turned around, her smile disappearing instantly when she saw him alone. Hawke’s stomach dropped and he gave her a weak smile. She obviously didn’t want to see him. He couldn’t say he blamed her; they hadn’t ended on the best of terms after graduation.

“Hey, what’s up?” If he hadn’t felt as bad as he did already, his opening line would have made him want to bash his head in.

This wasn’t going to end well.

“You’re blocking the walkway to my desk, so is there something I can help you with?” She gave him a grim smile and he narrowed his eyes at her. The sarcasm was evident, but he was going to try and get her back to her old self — if it was even possible. She couldn’t be this cold in real life, but maybe it was just him.

“I’m Hawke Pierce.” He restrained his smirk. “You can call me Hawke.”

“I’m fully aware of who you are, Mr. Pierce.” She gave him a smile, but it didn’t reach her eyes like it had all those years ago. He couldn’t believe this was the same untouchable girl from his high school years. He had been new to her school and he hadn’t given her the best first impression. “What can I help you with?”

“Um, nothing.” His smile faded — could she still hate him?

“Well Mr. Pierce, if there’s nothing I can help you with, I have work to do. If you’ll excuse me.” Her smile tightened as she waited for him to step aside and walked to her desk without giving him a second glance.

She hadn’t gotten the chance to sit down when he reached out to touch her shoulder. As his hand closed around her leather-covered shoulder she flinched away, her long fingers curling in on one another when she stopped in her tracks.

“Come on Jordy, give an old friend a chance.”

Her head fell forward and her shoulders moved up and down slowly like she took a deep breath before turning around. The smile she had before was gone and replaced instead with piercing cold black eyes and a stern face.

“You did enough damage in high school, Hawke. Just go away,” she said with a fierce whisper, her eyes darting around the room before landing on his eyes. “We’re different and we’re both grown-ups now. We can handle this like adults. So I’ll be civil and you can leave me alone. Deal?”

He hadn’t even opened his mouth to argue when she nodded and turned on her heel, sitting at her desk and picking up the phone he hadn’t even realized was ringing.

Hawke stood next to her desk like the idiot he was. He couldn’t decide what he was going to do. He couldn’t leave like this — not with her angry with him. The way he saw it, he only had one other option. He grabbed the phone out of her hand, pressed the hold button, and set it down. Her head snapped up, the anger obvious in her black eyes while he held up his hands. If she told him to leave her alone after this then fine, he would do his best, but he wasn’t going to make promises.

“What do you want me to apologize for Jordan? Falling in love with you in high school and then not knowing what to do? I was an idiot then and I probably still am. I just want to make it up to you, at least as a friend.”

Jordy stared back at him; her cheeks darkening as the anxiety tore him apart inside, making his mind spin with panic. He had just admitted he loved her in high school — he hadn’t treated her like it, but it was true. He looked around and realized everyone in the precinct was staring at him; if he had any doubts they had just confirmed it. He was an idiot.

“Mr. Pierce, I really don’t have time for this.” She stood up, grabbed some files off her desk, and shouldered past him, leaving him in a silent precinct with a bunch of people he didn’t know and a very quiet Zack.

He turned around slowly, watching her go and looking down at his friend when he could no longer see her. Zack’s eyes were huge for a moment, but then they closed and he shook his head, patting Hawke on the shoulder on his way to follow Jordan.

2 Replies to “Refrigeration Required”

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