Page 6 of Hush Now Love

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Both detectives don’t say anything, Harvey is looking up at the ceiling and Callan is watching me carefully and I feel panic bubble up in my gut and my teeth chatter. It slowly feels like I’m about to break and I do what feels right. Fleeing. I lunge toward the door when Callan blocks me but I struggle against his chest, bursting out in tears.

“Let me go!” I cry. “Let me go!” But for him to let me go, I need to stop clinging to him like I’ll fall if I don’t.

“Out,” Callan snarls at Harvey who takes a step toward us.


“Out now!”

He leaves without a word until Callan and I are alone in the room and my knees slash and I would have stooped, if Callan didn’t pick me up, putting me to sit on the windowsill. The cold marble brushes against my thighs and I shiver, drying tears off my face because I can tell that Callan is bothered by them.

“Pretty girls shouldn’t cry, love,” he says, “did nobody tell you that?” He doesn’t try a smile but he hands me a tissue and I don’t care. I blow my nose in front of him but he doesn’t seem appalled by this vey unladylike behavior which would have no doubt sent my snotty mother to an early grave.

“You’re the first,” I reply, wishing he would stand just a little bit closer because there is some space between us. And I don’t like the space. It makes me feel numb. “And I’m not pretty,” I add, “not the way I look now.”

I gaze down at my body, feeling sick when I remember the quotes Romeo wrote on me with that sharpie. It was one of the most terrifying things I have experienced. Harmless on its own, the kind of thing a teenage boy might do to a girl he has a crush on but when it is done by someone like Romeo...

Callan must have been the one to wipe them off, he must have done it while I was blacked out, his hands gentle enough to not wake me up. And now I wish he hadn’t been quite so gentle. Any time with him seems valuable to me.

“Why did you change your name, Melody,” he says and I pretend not to hear but to my annoyance he presses. “You can tell me.”

I shake my head but he makes sure to bore his eyes into mine.

“I know everything about you,” he says in a slightly sharper tone, “you might as well tell me the one thing I don’t know.”

I’m not telling him the truth. I don’t want him to know about my father’s threat and I realize why when I feel a trickle up my spine. If I tell detective Callan Byrne what my father did to me, I just know that he very quickly will do something that will lead to him losing his badge.

“I wanted a fresh starts, that’s all,” I say in a low voice, “I didn’t want to be Melody Michaels anymore. So I took the name Juliet because it was the name of a friend I had in kindergarten but I didn’t think...”

I don’t say it but I didn’t think something so innocent would lead to so much tragedy.

“You couldn’t have known. This is not your fault. If you want to blame someone, blame me. I’m the reason why he isn’t behind bars.”

He makes it sound as if the whole police department is a one man operation and I can tell by the way he holds his shoulders that he feels guilty. I don’t want him to feel guilty. I don’t want him to associate something as negative as guilt with me.

If only he had met me before I was Juliet. Maybe he would have been transfixed by me, like most men were. Maybe he would have liked the glittering and sparkling version of me a lot more... Or maybe he wouldn’t have looked twice at the girl I used to be.

Perhaps Callan enjoys helpless, bruised up young women, just like Romeo... And I feel a wave of remorse at the thought, scolding myself for even thinking it. The detective is strong and brave. A hero. I should be ashamed of myself and I lick my lips,

“I’m sorry,” I murmur and he frowns.

“For what?”

I lick my lips again, mostly out of nervousness. “For asking you to hug me even if I know it’s inappropriate.”

His eyes deepen but he doesn’t waste any time, securely holding me to him. We’re so close. There’s no air in between us anymore. This feels nice. We fit with each other, we melt, we thaw and dissolve...

“Hey Byrne, we got another...”

We both tense when the female officer bursts through the door, a busy look on her face that quickly turns disproving and she rolls her eyes, showing her whites and curses,

“Oh, for fucks sake.”



I don’t let go of the girl, not even when my colleague Leta throws daggersat me with her eyes but the feel of Melody is too enjoyable, too right with only a little bit of wrong. I don’t let go until Melody does and she looks up at me, the look on her face calmer and that’s all I need to see.

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