Chapter no 14 – Owen


look at my father, standing guiltily in the doorway to the holding room. I’m seated at a table very similar to the one I was seated at a few weeks ago when I was arrested. Only now I’m paying the price for that arrest.

I look down at my wrists and push the cus down half an inch to relieve some of the pressure. “What good is your law degree if you can’t even get me out of this?”

I know that was a low blow, but I’m pissed. Frustrated. In a state of shock over the fact that I was just sentenced to ninety days in jail, despite this being my rst oense. I know it had everything to do with the fact that Judge Corley presided over the case. Seems to be my luck, lately. My fate would be in the hand of one of my father’s surface friends.

My father closes the door to the holding room, locking us both in. It’s

our last visit before I’m taken to my cell, and honestly, I’d rather he not even be here right now.

He takes three slow steps into the room and then comes to a stop as he hovers over me. “Why the hell did you refuse rehab?” he growls.

I close my eyes, disappointed in his focus. “I don’t need rehab.”

“All you had to do was a short stint in rehab, and this whole thing would have been removed from your record.”

He’s angry. He’s yelling. His plan was for me to accept rehab, but I know for a fact that this was his way of making himself feel better about the fact that I’ve been arrested. If I were to spend my time in rehab rather than jail, it would be easier for him to swallow. Maybe I chose jail time just to spite him.

“I can talk with Judge Corley. I’ll tell him you made the wrong decision and see if he’ll reconsider it.”

I shake my head. “Just go, Dad.”

His expression is unwavering. He doesn’t retreat from the room.

“Go!” I say, louder this time. “Leave! I don’t want you to visit. I don’t want you to call me. I don’t want to speak to you while I’m in there, because I hope to God you’re going to take your own advice.”

He still doesn’t move, so I take a step toward him, then around him. I beat on the door. “Let me out!” I say to the baili.

My father puts his hand on my shoulder, and I shrug it o. “Don’t, Dad.

Just . . . I can’t right now.”

e door opens, and I’m escorted down a hallway, away from my father. Once my cus are removed and the bars clank closed behind me, I take a seat on the cot. I rest my head in my hands and think back to the weekend I ended up here. e weekend I should have done everything dierently.

If I had just found it in me to see that what I’m doing isn’t protecting anyone. It’s not helping anyone.

I’m enabling, and I’ve been doing it for years. And now I’m paying the ultimate price, because it’s costing me you, Auburn.


I glance down at my phone and cringe when I see my father’s number. If he’s calling me this late, it can only mean one thing.

“I should go,” I say as I silence the phone and slide it back into my pocket. I push the cup toward her and I see her expression fall with her nod, but she quickly turns around to hide it.

“Well, thanks for the job,” she says. “And for walking me home.”

I lean forward on the bar and drop my head into the palms of my hands. I rub them over my face, when really I want to punch myself. ings were going so well between us just now and the second I get a phone call from my father, I shut down and make it look like the exact opposite of what it is. She thinks I’m leaving because whoever just called me was a girl. at’s the furthest thing from the truth, and even though I hate that I just

disappointed her, I love that she’s jealous right now. People don’t get jealous unless there are underlying feelings at play.

She pretends to busy herself by washing my coee cup and she fails to notice I’m walking up behind her.

“It wasn’t a girl,” I say to her. e close proximity of my voice startles her and she spins around, looking up at me wide-eyed. She fails to respond, so I take a step closer and say it again to make sure she understands and that she believes me. “I don’t want you to think I’m leaving because another girl just called me.”

I can see the relief in her eyes and a small smile attempt to form on her mouth, but she faces the sink again in hopes that I don’t notice. “It’s not my business who calls you, Owen.”

I grin, even though she can’t see me. Of course it isn’t her business, but she wants it to be her business as much as I do. I close the gap between us by placing both of my palms on the counter on either side of her. I rest my chin on her shoulder, and I want to bury myself against her neck and inhale her, but I grip the counter and remain where I am. It becomes even harder to control my impulses when I feel her lean into me.

ere are so many things I want right now. I want to wrap my arms around her. I want to kiss her. I want to pick her up and carry her to my bed. I want her to spend the night with me. I want to confess to her all the things I’ve been keeping bottled up since she showed up on my doorstep.

I want them all so badly that I’m willing to do the last thing I want to do, which is slow down so that I don’t scare her o.

“I want to see you again.”

When she says “Okay,” it takes everything I have not to pick her up and spin her around. I somehow remain calm and collected, even as she walks me to her door and we tell each other good-bye.

And when she nally closes the door for the last time, I want to knock on it again. I want to make her open it for a fourth time so that I can press my lips to hers and get a feel for what our future is hopefully about to consist of.

Before I can decide whether to leave and wait until tomorrow or go ahead and make her open the door so I can kiss her tonight, my phone makes the decision for me. I pull it out of my pocket after it begins ringing and answer my father’s phone call.

“Are you okay?” I ask him. “Owen . . . shit . . . this . . .”

I can tell by his voice that he’s been drinking. He mutters something unintelligible and then . . . nothing.


Silence. When I make it outside of the apartment building, I press my hand against my ear to try to hear him better.

“Dad!” I yell.

I hear rustling and then more muttering. “I know I shouldn’t have done it . . . I’m sorry, Owen, I just couldn’t . . .”

I close my eyes and try to remain calm, but he isn’t making any sense. “Tell me where you are. I’m on my way.”

He mutters a street name that isn’t far from his house. I tell him to stay put, and I run the entire way back to my apartment in order to get my car.

I have no idea what I’ll nd once I reach him. I just hope he hasn’t done something stupid that could get him arrested. He’s been lucky up to this point, but no one can have as much luck as he’s had and continue to get away with it.



When I pull onto the street, I don’t see anything. ere are a few scattered houses, but it’s mostly a barren area close to the subdivision he lives in. When I near the end of the road, I nally see his car. It looks like he’s run the car off the road.

I pull over onto the side of the road and get out to check on him. I walk to the front of the car to assess any damage he might have done, but there isn’t any. His taillights are on, and it looks like he just couldn’t gure out how to get back on the road.

He’s passed out in the front seat and the doors are locked.

“Dad!” I beat on the window until he nally wakes up. He fumbles with the buttons on the door and rolls the window halfway down in an attempt to unlock the car.

“Wrong button,” I tell him. I reach through the window and unlock the door, pulling it open.

“Scoot over,” I say to him. He leans his head against the headrest and looks at me with a face full of disappointment.

“I’m okay,” he mumbles. “I just needed to take a nap.”

I shove my shoulder into him to scoot him out of the driver’s seat. He groans and climbs across the seat, slumping against the passenger door. Sadly, this is becoming routine. In the past year alone, this is the third time I’ve had to come to his rescue. It used to not be so bad when it was just the pain pills, but now that he’s mixing them with alcohol, it’s harder for him to hide it from everyone else.

I try to start the car, but it’s still in drive. I put it in park and crank it with ease. I put the car in reverse and it pulls onto the road without a problem.

“How’d you get it to do that?” he says. “It wouldn’t work when I tried.” “It was in drive, Dad. You can’t start cars when they’re in drive.”

When I pass by my car still pulled over in the ditch, I hold my key fob up and lock it. I’ll have to get Harrison to pick me up and follow me back out to the car after I drop my father off at home.

We’ve driven about a mile when the crying starts. He’s huddled up against the passenger window and his whole body begins to shake from his tears. It used to bother me, but I’ve become immune to it. And I probably hate that I’ve become immune to his depression more than I even hate his depression.

“I’m so sorry, Owen,” he chokes out. “I tried. I tried, I tried, I tried.” He’s crying so hard that his words are becoming harder to understand, but he keeps going. “Just two more months, that’s all I need. I’ll get help after that, I promise.”

He continues to cry tears of shame, and this is the hardest part for me. I can take the mood swings, the withdrawls, the late-night phone calls. I’ve been dealing with them for years.

It’s watching his tears that eats at me. It’s seeing him still heartbroken over that night that makes me accept his excuses. It’s hearing the depression in his voice that brings back the horror of that night, and as much as I want to hate him for being so weak, I also praise him for still being alive. I’m not sure I would have even had the will to live if I were him.

His crying comes to an instant halt the second the lights ll the inside of the car. I’ve been pulled over plenty of times to know that these things are

usually routine when a car is out this late at night. But the condition my father is in right now makes me nervous.

“Dad, let me handle this,” I say as I pull over to the side of the road. “He’ll know you’re drunk if you open your mouth to speak.”

He nods and watches the cop nervously as he approaches the car. “Where’s your insurance?” I ask my father, just as the cop reaches the window. My father fumbles with the glove box as I roll the window down.

e cop immediately looks familiar to me, but I don’t place him right away. It isn’t until he bends down and looks me straight in the eye that I remember him. Trey, I think is his name. I can’t believe I even remember that.

Great. I would get pulled over by the one and only guy I’ve ever punched.

He doesn’t appear to remember me, so that’s a good thing. “License and insurance,” he says stiy.

I pull my license from my wallet and my father hands me his insurance card. When I hand both of them to Trey, he eyes my ID rst. He smirks almost immediately. “Owen Gentry?” He taps my driver’s license against my car and laughs. “Wow. Never thought I’d hear that name again.”

I run my thumbs around the steering wheel and shake my head. He de nitely remembers, all right. Not good.

Trey lifts his ashlight and shines it inside the car, running it over the backseat and then landing it on my father. My father shields his eyes with his elbow.

 at you, Callahan?”

My father nods but doesn’t respond.

Trey laughs again. “Well this is just a real treat.”

I assume Trey knows my father because he’s a defense attorney, and I’m not so sure that’s a good thing for us right now. It’s not uncommon for the lawyers who defend criminals to be loathed by the ocers who arrest those criminals.

Trey lowers the ashlight and takes a step back. “Step out of the car, sir.” His words are directed at me, so I do what he says. I open the door and step out. Almost immediately, he grabs me by the arm and pulls until I willingly turn and lay my arms on the hood. He begins frisking me. “You got anything in your possession I should be aware of?”

What the hell? I shake my head. “No. I’m just driving my father home.”

“Have you had anything to drink tonight?”

I think back on the drinks I had at the bar earlier, but that was a couple of hours ago. I’m not even sure if I should bring that up. e hesitation in my answer doesn’t please him. He turns me around and shines the light directly into my eyes. “How much have you had to drink?”

I shake my head and try to look away from the blinding light. “Just a couple. It was earlier.”

He steps back and tells my father to get out of the car. Luckily, my father gets the door open. At least he’s sober enough to do that.

“Come around the car,” Trey says to my father. He watches as my father stumbles from the passenger side, all the way to where I’m standing, holding the edge of the car for support during his journey. He’s obviously drunk and I’m honestly not sure if it’s illegal for a passenger to be intoxicated. As far as Trey knows, my father wasn’t driving.

“Do I have permission to search the vehicle?”

I look at my father for guidance, but he’s leaning against the car with his eyes closed. He looks ready to fall asleep. I debate whether or not to refuse the search, but gure that would just give Trey more reason to become suspicious. Besides, my father knows the repercussions of traveling with anything that could get him into trouble, so even though he was dumb enough to drive after drinking tonight, I seriously doubt he would actually have anything in his possession that could jeopardize his career. I casually shrug and then say, “Go ahead.” I just want Trey to get revenge out of his system so he can be done with it and leave.

Trey orders us to stand near the rear of the vehicle while he leans across the front seat. My father is alert now, watching him closely. He’s wringing his hands together and his eyes are wide with fear. e look on his face is enough for me to know that Trey is more than likely going to nd something inside this car.

“Dad,” I whisper, disappointed. His eyes meet mine and they’re full of apologies.

I can’t count the number of times my father has promised me he was going to get help. I think he waited a little too long.

My father closes his eyes when Trey begins making his way to the rear of the vehicle. He sets one, two, three bottles of pills on the car. He proceeds to open each one to inspect the contents.

“Looks like Oxy,” Trey says, rolling a pill between his thumb and fore nger. He looks at me and then at my father. “Either of you have a prescription for these?”

I look at my father, hoping beyond all hope that he does, in fact, have a prescription. I know it’s wishful thinking, though.

Trey smiles. e bastard smiles like he just hit gold. He leans his elbows on the car and begins putting the pills back into their bottles, one by one. “You know,” he says, looking at neither of us, but speaking to us both, “Oxy is considered a penalty group one drug when obtained illegally.” He looks up at me. “Now, I know you aren’t a lawyer like your father here, so let me explain it to you in laymen’s terms.” He stands up straight and puts the caps back on the bottles. “In the state of Texas, being arrested for a penalty group one is an automatic state-jail felony.”

I close my eyes and exhale. is is the last thing my father needs. If he loses his career on top of everything else he’s lost, there’s no way he would survive.

“I suggest, before either of you speak again, that you take into consideration what would happen if a defense attorney were to be charged with a felony. I’m almost certain that would result in the loss of his license to practice law.”

Trey walks around the vehicle and steps between my father and me. He eyes my father up and down. “ ink about that for a second. A lawyer, whose entire career consists of defending criminals, loses his career and becomes the criminal. Irony at its best.” Trey then turns and faces me full on. “Did you work tonight, Gentry?”

I tilt my head, confused by his line of questioning.

“You own that studio, right? Wasn’t tonight one of the nights you were open?”

I hate that he knows about my studio. I hate it even more that he’s asking about it.

I nod. “Yeah. First ursday of every month.”

He takes a step closer. “I thought so,” he says. He rolls the three bottles of pills between his hands. “I saw you leaving the studio with someone earlier tonight. A girl?”

Was he following me? Why would he be following me? And why would he be asking about Auburn?

My throat runs dry.

I can’t believe I haven’t put two and two together until this moment. Of course Auburn would have a connection to Trey. His family is probably the reason she’s back in Texas.

“Yeah,” I say, nding a way to downplay it. “She worked for me tonight, so I walked her home.”

His eyes narrow at my response and he nods. “Yeah,” he says dryly. “I don’t particularly like her working for someone like you.”

I know he’s a cop, but right now all I see is an asshole. e muscles in my arms clench and his eyes immediately fall to the sts at my sides. “What do you mean someone like me?”

His eyes meet mine again with a laugh. “Well, you and I don’t really have the best history, do we? You attacked me the rst time we met. As soon as I pulled you over tonight, you admitted to driving under the in uence. And now . . .” He looks down at the pills in his hands. “Now I nd these in the vehicle you’re driving.”

My father steps forward. “ ose are—”

“Stop!” I yell at my father, cutting him o. I know he’s about to claim them, but he isn’t sober enough to realize what that could do to his career.

Trey laughs again, and I’m honestly sick of hearing that noise. “Anyway,” he says, “if she needs an escort home, she has me for that.”

He slams the pills down on the hood. “So, which one of you belongs to these?”

My father looks at me. I can see the struggle in his eyes because he doesn’t know what to say. I don’t give him the chance.

 ey’re mine.”

I close my eyes and I think about Auburn, because this moment and Trey’s indirect threat to stay away from her is about to take away whatever chance we might have had.

Fuck me.

My cheek meets the cold metal of the hood. “You have the right to remain silent . . .”

My hands are pulled behind me, and the cus are snapped into place.

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