Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Knight in Cheap Kevlar

Officer Dana Russo drove past the group of kids hanging out by their truck as she pulled into the shopping center parking lot. It was almost two in the morning, halfway through her shift, and those kids should have been home in bed even if it was a Friday. Their cans had the familiar red-and-white Coca Cola logo and they didn’t seem overly nervous when they spotted her so she drove on without stopping. She had already called in her lunch break, and she had enough to do without bugging some curfew busters.

She parked under a security light that shone down on her like a theatre spotlight and walked to the dollar store. It was the only business in the strip mall that was still open, crammed between a dark sporting goods store and the large supermarket that served as the center’s anchor. A bell dinged overhead as she stepped inside, and she gave a smile to the tired clerk as she picked up a small yellow shopping basket.

She only needed a few essentials, replacing the things Kimberly took when she left. She’d put it off long enough. Kim wasn’t coming back, and neither were her bath towels. She took a packet off the shelf and dumped it into her basket. She wandered the aisles of the store, picking up things that she knew she needed and thought she might need in the future. She was examining the spinning tower of sunglasses by the register – she was pretty sure her emergency pair was still in Kim’s glove box – when the front door bell sounded again.

The woman who ducked inside was dressed in a baggy T-shirt and jeans, her curly brown hair stuffed under a black trilby hat with a white band. She stepped away from the door and moved to the cash register, ducking down so the products in the window would keep anyone outside from seeing her. She smiled hopefully at the clerk. “Hey. Do you have a back exit?”

“Not for customers,” the clerk said.

“Shit,” the woman said. She scanned the store and let her gaze linger on Dana before moving on. “I need a place to hide out.”

Dana thought she recognized the woman, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. “What’s the problem?”

“I shouldn’t bug you. It’s fine…”

“Do I know you?” Dana said.

The woman’s shoulders sagged. “Yeah. That’s the problem. I’m Avery Sparrow.”

Dana knew the singer well. She wasn’t an international superstar like Lady Gaga or the countless other sound-alikes that dominated the radio, but she had an amazing voice and an ear for lyrics. Dana owned all of her CDs, and had her loaded onto the iPod she used when she worked out.

The clerk’s head lifted slightly at the woman’s name. “I’ve heard of you. Not a fan.”

Avery smiled. “You’re not really the demographic I’m shooting for.”

She turned to Dana and said, “I’m just a little frazzled. There’s a bunch of kids outside, and I think a couple of them spotted me. I saw them pointing, so I ducked in here hoping I could slip out the back to get away.”

The clerk said, “Nothing back there anyway. Just the alley and a field.”

Dana nodded. “Your only way out would be through the neighborhood that backs up against the field. You don’t want to be wandering around an unusual neighborhood in the middle of the night, no matter who you are.”

Avery sagged and rested her elbows on the counter. “Well, I guess that does it. God, I’m going to be here all night signing autographs. They’re probably tweeting as I speak, getting all their friends out of bed…”

Dana could see that Avery was exhausted. She put her basket on the counter and the clerk started ringing them up. “I wish I could help, Ms. Sparrow. But… wait a second. Were you going to pay for that?”

Avery frowned. “What?”

“That candy bar. You just stuck a candy bar in your pocket.”

Avery straightened and held her hands out. “What the hell are you–”

Dana cut her off with a wave of her hand. “If you keep talking back, I’ll have to take you down to the station. Teach you that even celebrities have to obey the law.”

“Oh,” Avery said. She looked at the door and said, “You’d have to walk me to your car and drive me out of here.”

“If you insist on breaking the law,” Dana said. “Yes.”

“Then I guess you got me.”

Dana paid for her purchases and picked up the yellow plastic bag. “Here, carry this. If anyone asks, I’ll claim that it’s evidence.”

Avery took the bag, and Dana put a hand on her shoulder to guide her out of the store. As they stepped outside, Dana saw the teenagers were halfway across the parking lot. As Avery had predicted, half of them had cell phones and PDAs in hand. They stopped when they saw what was happening, and Dana held up a hand. “I’m going to have to ask you folks to stay back. Official business.”

“The fuck?” one kid said. “You know who that is, right?”

“It’s a shoplifter,” Dana said. “That’s all I care about.”

Avery shrugged. “It’s all a big misunderstanding, guys. You can read about it on my blog tomorrow morning. And I’m sure I’ll have a personal apology from this fine officer as a subtitle.”

“We’ll see,” Dana said. She opened the back door of her cruiser and helped Avery inside. She shut the door and turned to watch the kids resume tweeting. She could picture the messages now: “OMG avry sprro ARRESTED! Police insanity!” Dana walked around the front of the cruiser and climbed behind the wheel. Avery was slumped in the backseat, craning her neck to look out the window as they drove past the kids. She flashed the peace sign as a group of them snapped pictures with their camera phones.

“That’s going to be all over the internet tomorrow,” Dana said.

“Tomorrow? It’s all over the internet now.” She relaxed against the seat and said, “I’d rather have that than the headline ‘Avery Sparrow snubs fans.’ I really do love signing CDs, but all I wanted was a quick snack. I didn’t want to be ambushed.”

“You don’t have to explain,” Dana said. “When we get out of sight, I’ll pull over so you can get in the front seat for the rest of the ride back to where you’re staying.”

“No, that’s fine,” Avery said. “Contrary to what the tabloids might have you believe, I’ve never been in the back of a police car before. It’s kind of cool.”

Dana smirked. “Where am I taking you?”

“Just down the street. I’m staying at the Edgewater.”

“Wow. That’s the kind of place I would stay. What are you doing there?”

“Hiding from the paparazzi camping out at the Clarion.”

Dana chuckled. “I’m starting to notice a pattern. You said you were getting a snack. Did you get one?”

Avery said, “No, unfortunately. Maybe I should have taken a candy bar like you said.”

“Don’t worry. It’s a little out of the way, but I know a place a few blocks from here. You mind?”

“Not at all,” Avery said.

Avery slid up to the divider between the front and back, searching the front seat. She knocked on the glass and hooked her fingers through the small holes that allowed them to talk. “Is there anyway to take this down?”

“Sorry,” Dana said. “It’s not in our best interest to make it removable.”

“Right.” She dropped back against the seat and watched the dark buildings flow past them.

Dana watched her and finally broke the silence. “So I guess you’re here for the concert in the city tomorrow. Why are you staying here?”

“I grew up here,” Avery said. “About ten thousand years ago. It feels like something I read in a book. So whenever I’m in the area, I come back to make sure it’s all really real.”

Dana said, “I didn’t know you lived here. I thought you were raised in Seattle.”

“For the most part,” Avery said. “From the ages of eight until eighteen. But I was born right here. I don’t talk about it much because… well. I mean, I don’t have to reveal
everything about myself to the fans.”

“Sure,” Dana said. She pulled into an all-night fast food restaurant and said, “They have ice cream shakes here made with real ice cream.”

“Oh, God, you’re a mind reader. Get me cookies and cream.”

Dana made their order and pulled up to the window. The clerk saw that it was a cop and refused payment. Dana thanked him and took the ice cream. She turned and opened a small panel in the glass that separated the front and back seats to pass the cup through. Avery took it and their fingers brushed together. “Thank you very much.” She gestured over her shoulder. “And that was awesome. That is one perk a celebrity rarely gets. Free food is awesome.”

“It doesn’t happen every time. And come on, celebrities get free stuff all the time.”

“Not meals,” Avery said. “There’s something about a free meal that really feels good.”

Dana spoke without thinking. “Maybe I’ll have to take you out to dinner sometime.” She immediately kicked herself. There were probably charity auctions that raised hundreds of dollars for people have a lunch with Avery Sparrow.

Avery replied before Dana could correct herself. “That would be really nice. I don’t get out nearly enough.” She took a bite of her ice cream and her eyes rolled back in her head. “My God… if that store had been there when I was growing up, I’d be five hundred pounds by now.”

Dana laughed. Just after crossing the train tracks, she pulled off the road into a large gravel parking lot. The moon was just bright enough to see a large soccer field flanked on three sides by thick trees. Dana parked and said, “I thought we could enjoy our ice cream here. If that’s all right.”

“Fine by me,” Avery said. She reached down to open the door and said, “Oh. These really don’t open from the inside, do they?”

“Nope,” Dana said. She turned in her seat and said, “Huh. I wonder how many of those teenagers would kill for this moment. Avery Sparrow, trapped and at their mercy.”

Avery laughed. “God, don’t even joke. Their fantasy, my nightmare.”

Dana got out of the car, her ice cream in her hand, and let Avery out of the backseat. Avery left her trilby in the car, reaching up to run her hand through her curls. They walked together to a set of metal bleachers sitting in front of a chain link fence. Avery stepped up onto the riser. She turned and looked out over the field. “Wow, this brings back memories. I actually played here once.”

“Outdoor concert?”

Avery shook her head. “I was six. Youth league soccer. Me and a dozen other six year olds running around trying to kick a ball. Did you ever play?”

“I was more of a softball kind of girl.” She sat down next to Avery.

“Are you sure you can do this? I mean, are you still on duty?”

Dana shook her head. “It’s my lunch break. I have… forty five more minutes.”

“I don’t think our ice cream will last that long,” Avery said. “We might have to find something else to do.”

“We could play soccer. Except we don’t have a ball.”

Avery laughed. She looked down at Dana’s belt and said, “You do have your handcuffs. There are possibilities there.”

“These are working cuffs,” Dana said. “I keep my fun ones at home.”

“Pity,” Avery said. “How far away do you live?”

Dana chuckled and ate another spoonful of her ice cream. “So. What were you doing out and about at two in the morning?”

“I basically sleep from eight to midnight, and then six to noon. The rest of the time I’m usually pacing my apartment and scribbling down song ideas.”

“Come up with any good ones tonight?”

Avery said, “I got a couple ideas.” She cleared her throat and sang, “So tonight, wherever you went, wherever you are, thank you to my knight in cheap Kevlar.”

Dana laughed. “At least you’re only calling my Kevlar cheap.” She held up her ice cream. “I didn’t even pay for our food on our first date.”

Avery chuckled and crossed her feet on the bench in front of them. “I think I’m going to write it. If you don’t mind.”

“Wow, an Avery Sparrow song about me. I’d be honored.”

Avery ran her spoon around the inside of her cup and took another bite of her ice cream. “So you are a fan. I didn’t want to come out and ask. Kind of egotistical.”

Dana nodded. “Yeah, I’m a fan. I own all your CDs.” Something occurred to her, and she slapped her thigh. “Oh, damn. No, I don’t.”

“Did you skip Days of Past Presents? Because even I–”

“No, I have that one. It’s just my ex… when we broke up, she took Leaving December Harbor. Damn it.”

Avery said, “Tell you what, since you rescued me, I’ll send you an autographed copy. Least I can do.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“You didn’t have to give up your meal break to ferry a musician around town. And buy her ice cream. It’s bad enough you already paid for the album once, to have it stolen? Harsh. I’m happy to do it. Even if I don’t quite understand how scrawling my name over it makes the thing any more special. But people will stand in line for it, so who am I to judge?”

Dana said, “Well, thank you.” She reached into the chest pocket of her blouse and withdrew a card. “That’s the address for the police station. You can just send it there.”

“Cool,” Avery said. She took the card and lifted one hip to put it in the pocket of her jeans. She had finished her ice cream, so she placed the cup next to her on the bench and leaned back.

Dana felt the singer’s eyes on her, and she wished they had met somewhere else, under different circumstances. Her red hair was pulled back in a French braid, and she was wearing a formless blouse over her blocky Kevlar vest. She shifted on the bench and put her ice cream down. She wasn’t finished, but she wasn’t feeling particularly hungry.

“She,” Avery said.


“When your ex left, she took your CD.”

Dana nodded. “Yeah.”


Dana smiled. She drummed her fingers together and said, “So you about ready to go back to the hotel?”

“Yeah,” Avery said. “I’ve wasted enough of your free time. Let’s go.”

They climbed off the bleachers and dumped their ice cream cups in the trash bin. Dana led the way toward the cruiser but halfway across the gravel, Avery stopped walking. Dana slowed and looked over her shoulder.

“Something wrong?”

“Hell yes, something’s wrong.”

Dana stopped and turned to face her. “What is it?”

Avery approached her. “You’re just going to drop me off at the hotel?”

“That was the plan.”

“Then you have a pretty serious problem, Officer…” She looked at her name tag. “Officer Russo. That means you dragged me out of the store for stealing a candy bar you knew fully well I didn’t steal. I could file a complaint.”

Dana tried to keep her face neutral, but a smile threatened to break free. “So you want me to take you downtown?”

“We don’t have to go that far,” Avery said. “You could just determine I didn’t steal anything, apologize, and let me go.”

“I suppose.”

“So you’re going to have to frisk me.”

Dana finally let herself smile. “Oh, will I?”

“I’m just looking out for you, Officer.”

Dana gestured at the cruiser. “Step over here, Ms. Sparrow. Hands on the top of the car.” Avery walked to the cruiser and did as instructed. Dana stepped behind her and placed her hands on Avery’s hips. “So, Avery Sparrow. Is that your real name?”

“It’s the one on my birth certificate,” Avery said.

Dana patted down the outside of Avery’s thighs and then slid her hands back up to the hem of her baggy shirt. She put her hands underneath the shirt, hooked her fingers in the waistband of Avery’s jeans, and ran them around her waist. She ran her hands down over the curve of Avery’s rear end and squeezed before she skimmed her fingers up Avery’s back.

“Where do you think I hid this candy bar?” Avery asked.

“Oh, I’ve seen all kinds, Ms. Sparrow,” Dana said. She squeezed Avery’s shoulder and stepped closer to her. “There’s just one other place I should check.” She dropped her hands and slipped them under Avery’s arms. Avery leaned back, and Dana cupped her breasts from behind. Avery turned her head, and Dana said, “Hm. I guess you really didn’t steal the candy bar.”

“I expect a formal apology from the arresting officer.”

Dana’s lips brushed over Avery’s cheek. “I apologize.”

Avery turned in Dana’s arms. “Good enough,” she said.

Dana kept her hands on Avery’s breasts as they kissed, pressing her against the side of the cruiser. Avery lifted her foot off the ground and hooked her leg against Dana’s side, parting her lips to allow Dana’s tongue entry. Dana ran her palms over the smooth front of Avery’s shirt, feeling the stiff lines of her bra underneath. She felt Avery’s hands on her belt, hooked around the leather to prevent her from pulling away.

The kiss broke, and Dana nodded toward the back door. “Probably should move this somewhere more private.”

“I thought you couldn’t open the door from the inside.”

“I have some tricks up my sleeve,” Dana said. She reluctantly pulled away from Avery and opened the back door. She ushered Avery inside, looked around the park to make sure no one had wandered by, and disabled the lock before she crawled in. Avery had scooted back to the driver’s side of the car, and Dana knelt on the seat and pulled the door shut behind her. Avery had one foot on the floor, the other on the seat, and Dana moved between her spread legs and lowered herself slowly.

Avery put her hands on the back of Dana’s head and said, “I’ll try not to mess up your hair.”

“Appreciate it,” Dana said as she claimed Avery’s lips again. She put her hands on Avery’s hips, and settled against her. Avery moaned and ran her hands down the back of Dana’s blouse, down to her belt. Dana moved her lower body and sat up, breaking the kiss as she looked down at Avery. “Are you just doing this because I’m a cop?”

“A little bit. But you’re also very hot. And you made me laugh.”

“Good enough,” Dana said, and kissed her again. She took two handfuls of Avery’s T-shirt and tugged it up, their kiss breaking just long enough for her to get it off. Dana trailed her fingers over Avery’s chest, running over the curve of her breasts just above the cups of her bra, and smiled when she realized Avery was staring at her.

“Are you just doing this because I’m famous?” Avery asked.

“A little bit,” Dana said. “But you’re the beautiful woman who ate ice cream with me, and made me feel attractive for the first time since Kim left.”

“Good enough,” Avery said.

Avery reached for the collar of Dana’s blouse and made short work of the buttons. She pushed the two halves aside and dropped her hands to the smooth, cool surface of the Kevlar vest. “Ah, shit…”

“It’s okay, hold on,” Dana said. She sat up and shrugged the blouse off, then undid the Velcro straps that held her vest together. She pulled it off and dropped it onto the floor. She was left in a plain white T-shirt, and she took the opportunity to take off her belt as well. When it was gone, Avery tugged the shirt out of her pants and lifted it to expose her belly. Dana covered Avery’s body again, and Avery pushed her hands under Dana’s shirt.

Avery’s hands were cold against her warm skin. Dana reached under Avery, found the clasp of her bra, and managed to get it free without embarrassing herself. They twisted until the bra was off, and Avery pushed Dana’s T-shirt up and off. Dana kissed her way down Avery’s throat to her chest, and Avery pressed her hands against the door over her head, arching her back as Dana licked her breasts and teased her nipples.

“Are your… fun handcuffs really at home?”

“Mm-hmm,” Dana murmured. She kissed Avery’s cleavage and said, “These would hurt you too much.”

“Too bad.”

“Really too bad,” Dana agreed. She kissed Avery’s stomach and then moved back up her body. Avery undid the button of Dana’s trousers and shoved her hand inside, making Dana groan and roll her head back on her shoulders. “God, yeah, yes.” She caressed Avery’s breasts as Avery’s hand slid into her underwear. She shifted on the seat and moved her right leg up, pressing her thigh against Avery’s crotch. Avery ground her hips against her leg, and extended two fingers to stroke her.

“Oh, like that…” Avery said.

The sound of Avery’s voice made Dana tremble; the desperation in it, the quiet gasp, was so similar to how she sounded when she sang. Avery twisted two fingers together, curled them, and pressed them inside. Dana gasped and sucked in a breath through her teeth.

“Keep doing that,” Dana said, her thrusts becoming wild. “I’m close…” She dropped her hand and struggled to open Avery’s jeans. She reached inside, managing a smile when she realized Avery wasn’t wearing panties, and they both sighed as her fingers found the slick, sensitive flesh between her legs. Avery groaned, and Dana exhaled sharply, both of them breathing hard as they thrust against each other.

“Come on, Officer, come on,” Avery said.

Dana reached out with her free hand, pressing it against the door above Avery’s head. Avery cried out, and Dana came hard, squeezing her muscles around Avery’s fingers as she continued to thrust her hand forward. After she came, Dana sagged and continued to move her hand. Avery was trembling, her eyes closed, her teeth pulling on her bottom lip. Dana bowed her head and kissed her, sucking the tip of Avery’s tongue as she came.

Avery wrapped her arms around Dana, her body seeming to melt into the seat. She kissed Dana’s ear. “Wow.”

“Damn right, wow.”

Avery chuckled. “How much longer do we have?”

Dana sat up and checked her watch. “Twenty minutes.”

“I think that’s about how long it’ll take me to move.”

“Oh, I’ve read about you lazy celebrities.” She sat up and started gathering their clothes. She dropped Avery’s shirt on her head and said, “Get dressed.”

Avery chuckled and squirmed until she was out from underneath Dana. They sat next to each other as they got dressed again. All Avery had to do was pull on her T-shirt, button her jeans, and stuff her bra into her pocket. She watched as Dana transformed from the lithe, gorgeous redhead back into a police officer. She touched her hair, craning her neck to make sure it was still presentable, and then looked at Avery.

“You look fine.”

“Thanks,” Dana said. “You too.”

Avery cleared her throat and said, “Listen, I didn’t want to say this before, because I didn’t want to jinx it. But it’s been a very long time for me.”

“Not so much for me,” Dana said. “I just got out of a long relationship… well, two months ago.”

“Two months is the grace period,” Avery said. “Two months, she might still come back.”

“Yeah. Unless she starts dating someone else and moves out of state a month after she dumps you for being commitment-phobic.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

Dana shook her head. “Anyway, it was just nice to be with someone. And just… be with someone. But I don’t want you to think I’ll become this stalker–”

“No, not at all,” Avery said. “I don’t think I could handle a relationship right now.” She took Dana’s hand, brought it to her lips, and kissed the knuckles. “But I’m glad we got to know each other. And whenever I’m in town, I hope you let me look you up.”

“That would be great.” She leaned over and kissed Avery’s lips. Avery brought her hand up and touched Dana’s cheek. Dana pulled back and said, “I should get you back to your hotel.”

“Yeah. But not yet.”

Dana smiled. “Not yet.” She brushed her lips over Avery’s and pressed Avery against the back of the seat.


Dana parked in the alley behind the hotel, as Avery explained she had a deal with the kitchen staff to leave the door unlocked. She let Avery out of the backseat and embraced her, leaning in for a one more lingering kiss. She handed over another card and said, “That’s my personal address, and phone number. So you can get in touch with me.”

“And send you the replacement CD.”

“That too,” Dana said. She kissed the corner of Avery’s mouth and said, “Thank you for tonight. I needed it, after everything with Kim. I needed to move on.”

Avery smiled. “I’m glad I was there for you. I don’t know when I’ll be touring again. Maybe next summer. Hopefully I’ll see you when I get here.”

“I’d like that.”

Avery kissed her one last time and pulled away. “I have to get back inside. I have a song to write.” She let her hand drop from Dana’s and she sang, “Riding into the sunset, sure am glad that I met, my knight in cheap Kevlar.”

Dana chuckled and waved goodbye as Avery slipped through the service entrance. She sighed and got back behind the wheel of her cruiser, resting her hands on the steering wheel as she looked out the windshield. “Avery Sparrow,” she said softly. She clicked her tongue against her teeth, shook her head, and pulled out of the alley.



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