Chapter 30

When Lysandra hadn’t shown up for their date, Eric had imagined a number of gruesome scenarios – like that she’d been hit by a bus and sent to the hospital – in order to assuage his precious ego. He was crestfallen to find she’d been out partying in the company of friends, with nary a scratch on her. On the contrary, she looked fantastic, dressed in a snug red dress, cut short to show off her magnificent legs, with large, gold hoop earrings adorning her ears.

Lysandra must have felt his eyes burning a hole in her back for she immediately turned around. She flinched, ever so slightly, meeting his fiery gaze, but recovered quickly, excused herself and sauntered over.

“Jesse James.”

“Shiver me timbers,” squeaked S’miller, drinking her in.

Eric forced down the knot in his throat and said coolly, “I thought we had a date.”

“Rehearsal ran late, and then I got dragged over here,” she said, sounding annoyed as opposed to apologetic. “Anyway, this isn’t really my scene. You got a car, cowboy?”


“Let’s go for a drive.”

“I don’t know …” Eric said aloofly, gazing out over the crowd. He wasn’t about to let her slide off the hook that easily.

“Please?” Lysandra stepped in and placed a hand on his chest.

Her warm touch succeeded in melting his steely reserve. “Well …“

“Rescue me,” she whispered in his ear. Her hot breath smelled of rum and cinnamon.

Intoxicated, Eric announced, “S’miller, we’re outta here.”

“You’re abandoning ship?”

Lysandra removed one of her gold hoop earrings and tossed it to him. “Chin up, sailor.” Then she slipped on a denim jacket.

Eric issued S’miller a salute, and off they went, arm-in-arm.

“Polly want a crack-at-her,” S’miller whined like a parrot-in-distress after them.

They walked in relative silence for the several minutes it took to reach the parking lot. When they came to the spot, Lysandra spouted in surprise, “This is your car?“

Eric ran his hand proudly over the hood of the 1978 Ford Camaro. A white Le Mans stripe ran front to back over the dark blue vintage vehicle. “My dad and I restored it ourselves the summer before college.” Eric walked around to the passenger side and opened the door for her. “Hop in.”

Instead of plunking down in the seat, Lysandra threw herself against Eric, pinning him to the side of the car. Her hands were suddenly everywhere – clawing at his back, tearing at his hair, squeezing the muscles of his backside – while she kissed him, rough and hard. Eric fought to remain standing, to breath. She bit down on his lower lip, and he experienced a mixture of pleasure and pain, exhilaration and fear. Feeling her fingers dance along the front of his pants, he quivered with anticipation. Then in one, swift movement, a hand plunged into his right pocket …

… And emerged holding a set of keys. “Ha! I’m driving,” Lysandra proclaimed, dangling them in front of Eric’s face victoriously.

“Uh, wait a minute …” Eric sputtered, still stunned by the ambush.

“Shut up, cowboy, and get in. It’s your lucky night. Lysandra’s gonna take you for a ride.”

Eric slid into the passenger seat with severe trepidation. How much had she had to drink?

Lysandra turned the key in the ignition, and the engine roared to life.

Eric recited a quiet prayer as he buckled his seatbelt. Aloud, he cautioned, “Careful, the accelerator’s kind of touchy—“

“You sit back and relax. I know what I’m doing,” Lysandra assured him, flicking on the stereo.

She peeled out of the parking lot, swinging left onto College Boulevard. Well beyond the 35-miles-per-hour speed limit within seconds, she blew through the first red light they reached.

“Woo-hoo! Isn’t this fun, baby?” Lysandra shouted above the pounding rap music, blaring from the speakers.

Legs braced against the floorboard, Eric couldn’t reply, as he’d stopped breathing minutes earlier.

She hung a hard left, turning onto the road that led from the bluff down to the beach, and the car’s fourteen-inch, alloy wheels screeched across the pavement.

“You better slow down,” Eric warned as they passed a neon yellow sign, announcing S-curves ahead.

“What are you talking about?” Lysandra replied calmly. “I’m just getting warmed up.”

Eric hung on for dear life as he was pitched to-and-fro on the winding road. Lysandra drove with determination, both hands on the wheel, taking the corners wide then accelerating into the curves, like a seasoned racecar driver. Once or twice, Eric noticed her confidence falter and shut his eyes, envisioning them sailing off into the ravine to a certain death. But five minutes later, which felt more like five years to Eric, the car screeched to a stop in the beach parking lot at the base of the bluff, deserted at that late hour.

Lysandra let out a whooping victory cry and pounded the steering wheel wildly like it was a set of bongos. Then she planted a kiss on Eric’s lips and jumped out of the car, leaving the door ajar.

Dazed and confused, his brain slow to catch-up with the lightning-fast action, Eric hoisted himself up out of the pretzel position in the passenger seat to see where she’d gone. Thankfully, they were on a flat stretch of beach instead of atop a cliff. Given her apparent appetite for danger, he wouldn’t put it past her to jump off. Looking out through the windshield into the black blanket of night, he saw a figure dash past in the dark. What was she doing? He ducked reflexively when something flew toward him and smacked the windshield. As the object slid down and landed on the hood, he realized it was a denim jacket.

Suddenly, Lysandra appeared front and center, illuminated by the bright glow of the headlights. She hiked up her red dress to the top of her thighs and began to sway and writhe with her eyes closed, in time to the piercing music coming from the car speakers. The bump-and-grind dance moves were a far cry from the classical ballet exercises Eric had seen her do in class. The erotic performance was no doubt intended for his benefit, but from the smile plastered across her face, Eric got the impression Lysandra was getting pleasure out of it, too. She was an outright exhibitionist; she enjoyed being watched. He obliged her, sitting back in his seat to take in the private show.

When the song came to an end, she wagged her finger, beckoning him to join her for the next one. Eric hesitated. Unlike her, he’d always felt extremely self-conscious dancing.

“C’mon!” she shouted and banged the hood of the Camaro with her hand.

He got out, if only to spare his car possible injury. In truth, for Eric, the moment had passed. It was late, he was tired, and if they weren’t careful, from all the commotion they’d been making with the reckless driving and loud music, they were liable to be paid a visit by the police soon. He could question her another time. “Lysandra, get back in the car.”

When he approached, she grabbed him by the collar and pulled him close.

“Listen, it’s been fun—“

Turning him around, she threw him onto his back across the hood of the Camaro and leapt on top of him, straddling his hips.

“What are you—?”

Lysandra muffled his protests with a hungry kiss.

He pushed her away. “Wait.” He knew this was wrong. A cop wasn’t supposed to get involved with a suspect! It clouded one’s judgment, put the potentially guilty party at an advantage, tainted the—

Lysandra took hold of Eric’s shirt and tore it open. Displaced buttons tinkered over the top of the Camaro like tiny pebbles. She bent over and began kissing his bare chest.

Eric surrendered. Technically, he wasn’t a cop. Yet.

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