They drove home in silence.
The streetlights whizzed overhead, lighting up the car for an instant. Each time, Jordan could see his darkened eyes and the hard set of his jaw.
"So...are you ever going to talk to me again?"
He didn't answer but stared straight ahead out onto the road. There was a long silence. She reached down and turned on the radio, something to break the tension. His right hand darted from the steering wheel and clicked it off with a sharp snap.
She sank down in her seat and muttered just loud enough so he could hear, "Now that's what I call the silent treatment."
Suddenly, the words erupted out of him. "You led me on back there, Jordan. Plain and simple. I think I have a right to be angry."
"Come on, Woody! It was a salsa club! You know!" she said playfully. "The mambo, the lambada...the forbidden dance." She tried to tease him out of his bad humor by poking him in the ribs.
He flinched. "Don't."
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Okay? I guess I got a little carried away."
"Carried away? Yeah, I'll say. You show up wearing an outfit a little bigger than a postage stamp. Then you spend the next hour with your arms and legs wrapped all over me, grinding against me. You had to know what that was doing to me, Jordan." His voice dropped to an embarrassed murmur, "You had to have felt it."
She looked away. She had felt it, and she had secretly taken pleasure in the effect she was having on him.
"And then you kissed me first, Jordan." He pointed at her accusingly.
"That wasn't a kiss, Woody. I just...nibbled at your ear. A little bit. The song was just getting to me, I guess. I didn't know you were going to take it that way."
He shot an angry glance at her then. The truth was, she knew he might take it that way, and he had. After the song ended and the band took a break, he had led her out onto the patio. Before she could speak, he had pulled her to him with a hand on the small of her bare back and kissed her.
She looked up at him with stunned eyes when the kiss finally broke. "Woody..." she had managed with a casual laugh. "We're just friends."
He had turned without a word then and stalked off angrily to the car, leaving her to stagger along after him as fast as she could on a pair of stilettos.
He still hadn't spoken to her on the long ride back, until now, and the words continued to spill out of him.
"You've done nothing but yank me around. And don't play innocent, because you knew exactly what you were doing this whole time, didn't you?"
She shrugged helplessly. "I don't know what you want me to say, Woody."
"Enough is enough. I'm through, Jordan," he said with cool finality. "Through being teased and strung along. I'm through."
She opened her mouth to speak but stopped herself. She turned her face to the window. She knew he was right. It was all a part of the pattern. She had kept him at arm's length for years. Not too close, but close enough so she could reel him back in if his interest began to flag.
He had spoken admiringly the week before of Santana, the new homicide detective. "She reminds me a lot of you, Jordan," he had said, and the words chilled her. The next day, she had suggested they go to a new salsa club that had opened just outside the city.
She glanced over at him again. His face was stony and resolute. He was really and truly angry with her this time. She turned to the window again so that he couldn't see the small quiver of her lip.
A convenience store loomed ahead on the corner. "Pull over," she said suddenly.
"What? What for?"
"I'm jonesin' for a Slushie," she spat sarcastically. "Just pull over."
He sighed and pulled into the empty Gas 'n' Guzzle parking lot with a hard jerk of the steering wheel. She jumped out and dashed inside the store before Woody could throw the car into park.
The skinny, pimply teenage cashier nodded his head in acknowledgment of her presence. She nodded in return and headed to the ladies' room at the back corner of the store.
Her eyes were already red and puffy. No, he wouldn't see her like this, and she splashed cold water on her face.
Where had she gone so wrong? She had always been able to read things perfectly, to offer him a tantalizing promise of something more whenever she needed to keep him interested.
She felt herself begin to cry again, this time in shame. Had it all been nothing more than a calculated game to her? He was her friend, perhaps her closest friend, and she had chosen to let him live in false hope for her own amusement.
She stood at the sink for a long while, trying to think her way out of this. She'd go out and buy him a cheap gas station rose as a peace offering and try and cajole him into forgiveness.
No, it would take more than that. He deserved more than that. He was hurt and angry, deservedly so. She would walk back out to the car and offer a simple and sincere apology and try to at least salvage some semblance of a friendship. If it weren't already too late.
She took a deep breath and walked back out into the store. The clerk was there, leaning against the counter, sipping lazily at a blue raspberry Slushie. She offered him a weak smile as she headed past the counter.
It was then that the door opened. She turned, half expecting it to be Woody, but it was not.
It was a stranger. He was wearing a camouflage jacket, and she was aware that he was holding something in each hand. Later, she would not be able to describe his face. She could only focus with dawning horror on his right hand, which the man now lifted to point a gun in the skinny clerk's face.
"Empty the register! Do it now!" The man tossed a bag onto the counter. The clerk stared back at him in slack-jawed horror. The man waved the gun. "DO IT! NOW!"
"Okay, okay, okay, okay..." the clerk began to repeat over and over. He pressed futilely at the cash register's buttons.
Jordan stood at the other end of the counter taking long, deep breaths. Stay calm, Jordan. Stay calm...
She wasn't sure he had noticed her there. Suddenly, the man swung his arm to the right and pointed the gun at her. "Don't you move!" he barked shrilly.
She gasped and held her hands up at shoulder's height. Her heart pounded, and she nodded rapidly in submission. He watched her for a moment before turning the gun back on the clerk.
She watched as the man bounced nervously from foot to foot. His hand was shaking, too. This wasn't a good sign. He was not a calm, seasoned criminal, he was probably new at this. He was likely to panic and make a stupid mistake, she knew from talking to Woody.
She looked out the window at him sitting in the car across the parking lot. She could make him out there, with his arms folded across his chest. He glowered unseeingly into the darkness.
Come on, Woody. Come on. Look up.
The clerk continued to randomly press the cash register buttons with a rising panic.
"Come on! Open it! What are you doing?" The man waved his gun menacingly.
"It's not opening! I accidentally locked it or something! I can't open it!" the teenage clerk shrieked.
There was a torrent of words, then. The clerk continued to screech unintelligibly while the gunman threatened him.
This would not end well, she suddenly knew. She looked out again at Woody and willed him to notice with some detective's sixth sense that there was something wrong. Did he even have his gun?
"I'll shoot you! I'll shoot you!" the man began to scream while the clerk wailed in terror. She closed her eyes. No, this would not end well.
The bell over the door let out a soft tinkle, and her eyes snapped open.
"Jordan, could you move it along..."
It was Woody. He was standing impatiently inside the doorway.
Then, there was an instant: a brief, infinitesimal flicker, where time seemed to slow to a halt. Woody's eyes widened as he took in the scene, and his hand instinctively flew up to his where his gun would be. The gunman swiveled on his heel and turned toward the door.
"Woody, no!" It was all she could make out before the gunman fired once.
Woody didn't move at first. There was only a small flinch and his hand fell limply to his side. He took a step backward into a stack of six-packs behind him.
The gunman was gone, then. He brushed past Woody in the doorway and ran into the night.
Woody stood there still, his face set in kind of mild, detached shock. Jordan ran to him.
"Woody! Where are you hit? Woody?"
"I'm...fine. Are you okay, Jordan?" he managed to mutter before his legs gave way, and he crumpled to the floor. She knelt beside him and opened up his jacket then. A large, crimson stain was quickly spreading across the front of his white shirt. "Oh, Jesus..." he exhaled.
The sweat beads had already begun to pop to his forehead, and Jordan knew with a sickening foreboding that his blood pressure was dropping rapidly.
She took his head in her hands and looked up to where the clerk gazed on in wide-eyed horror.
"Call 911 now," she said, her calm voice barely concealing her fear. "And tell them there's an officer down."