A bus drives down the street. It makes a stop, allowing some riders to board before moving out again. A young Eric sits in the back of the bus with his headphones in his ears, carrying a bouquet.
Suddenly, the front tire blows, and the bus veers around the corner. The passengers on the bus begin to panic and scream. The look on Eric’s face makes it seem like he realizes he’s about to die for some reason.
The bus driver has to turn hard to the right to overcompensate and then again to the left as the bus moves too far to the right. The passengers are thrown left and right inside as they hang on for dear life.
The driver taps on the breaks but doesn’t get a response as the bus continues to move forward. The driver hammers on the horn as pedestrians move out of the way of the bus. Suddenly, the bus is heading straight for a mother with her small child holding several balloons.
There’s nothing the driver can do as the mother hunches down to put her own body in the path between the bus and her daughter as the driver leans on the horn and continues to slam on the brake.
Suddenly, everyone inside is thrown forward as the bus almost suddenly comes to a halt, just inches before colliding with the mother and her child.
The driver has his eyes shut as he braces for an impact that never comes. He slowly opens his eyes, seeing the safe mom and daughter in front of the bus. Everyone begins picking themselves off the floor of the bus.
In the back, Eric gets up and sees someone wearing a pink hoodie and a blue backpack right outside the back window. She turns around and walks away from the bus as Eric watches her. The girl walks and then suddenly stops. She slowly turns around, but not enough where he can see her face, but just enough that some black curls of her hair escape the hood of her jacket.
Then the wind comes and blows her hoodie back but not before…
A phone rings.
Eric tosses and turns on his bed, eyes still shut as the music from his phone continues to play.
“How annoying,” he mutters under his breath as he kicks his legs, throwing a little tantrum. He finally reaches over and picks up his phone, “This better be good,” he says to whoever is on the other end of the line.
A distorted voice comes across the line, “I warned you to stop production of “A Cross To Bear” or I would kill you.”
“You punk. Do you have any idea what time it is?” Eric asks. “I don’t care if you want to threaten me, but at least do it during the daytime. I need my beauty sleep.” He says, kicking at his covers.
“I warned you. Don’t be too surprised at what comes next. I will destroy Aamesoft. I will…”
The voice is cut off as Eric hangs up the phone and tosses it to the side. “Bastard. Really? At 3 am?”
Tish sits at her dining room table, looking out the window. She is eating cereal for breakfast as she slurps a spoonful into her mouth. In front of her is her laptop. She seems to be job hunting. An alert comes over her phone for an email she just received from a company. It begins with “I’m sorry, but…”
“I already know I didn’t make it, all right? Wanna rub it in a little more?” she says as she sets her phone back down. She continues to look over her very slim looking resume. She gets to a section that says, “Self Introduction.”
“Oh, I hate this part.” She begins to type:
My name is Tish Weathersphere. I’m kind of special. I have a secret that is different than most secrets. I’m strong. Very strong, indeed. The first person to hand down this power was my great-great-great-great-great grandmother, Bessie Weathersphere, who was rumored to have taken down the crime syndicate with her own two hands. The power is handed down through the women in my family. If the powers are not used for good, then a curse will fall on them. My mother inherited the curse when she took up powerlifting and won a gold medal in the Olympics. Then she would shake down people in the street, taking their money. One day, her strength was gone. The curse had struck. Then I was born. The first thing I did coming out of my mother’s womb was accidentally knocked out the doctor who delivered me. That’s how I entered this world.
She hits the delete button, erasing the entire paragraph.
Tish has been trying to hide her powers for twenty-seven years. Even now, she rides the bus into the city to look for work, and she sees a thug bothering a lady, grabbing her ass, and all Tish wants to do is go over and pound that guy. She longs to do the right thing but then doesn’t want the attention. She knows it’s cowardly, but it’s how she’s learned to live with her power.
The bus comes to a stop and everyone, including Tish, gets off the bus.
Her dream job has always been to develop a game based on her powers. She wants to create herself as the main character.
So, as Tish sits in a class about video game designing, she seems bored as the teacher drones on.
“Aamesoft has become the most successful video game company in the world thanks to the ‘Cross to Bear’ video game that was developed a few years ago. The CEO of that company only has to go to work once a week. The rest of his time is for his own enjoyment. Are you jealous? You should be. If you work hard as he did, perhaps you will one day be the CEO of your own game company.”
We see Eric rolling down the pier on a segway. He doesn’t notice an inquisitive man is following him. Or perhaps he does, as he looks over the top of his sunglasses at the man. He rolls around the corner, and the man follows, and then Eric comes to a stop.
He spins the segway around to face the man. The man immediately whips out his cell phone like he’s not following.
“Why you,” mutters Eric as he dismounts the segway and runs toward the man.
The man takes off. The man runs fast but nearly eats it as he comes to the end of the sidewalk and has to turn to the left. Eric is hot on his heels.
They end up on a dirt path. Eric starts to gain on him and yells, “You’re a dead man!”
The man leaps over a railing and runs into the women’s restroom.
Eric runs around the corner and assumes he went into the men’s restroom. He begins kicking open stall doors, ready to fight.
Meanwhile, the man exits the women’s restroom and takes off running.
Eric comes out of the restroom and looks around, then realizes he lost the man. “Damn it!” he says.
A few moments later, a very sweaty Eric is driving. “Look, I need a bodyguard,” he says into the phone. “Find someone immediately.”
After class, Tish is riding her bike on her way home. She seems cheerful as she rings the bike’s bell at everyone she passes and waves to them. Then the one thing she has always dreaded occurs.
A school bus full of children turns onto a street, but blocking the street is a large transport truck just sitting crossways on the road.
The bus driver pulls up and stops the bus, and honks the horn a couple of times. He gets out of the bus and yells to the driver’s door of the truck, “Hey!”
He walks over and opens the door, but the driver isn’t there. “What kind of asshole parked his truck like this?”
A nicely dressed man walks up behind him as he turns around, “Is this your truck?”
The other man shakes his head, “The driver is eating lunch right now. He’ll move it when he’s done.”
The bus driver asks, “How can he just block the road like this?”
The other man raises his hand, “Why you…” he brings the hand down slowly. “You can’t pass through here. Find another way.”
“You can’t do that! You don’t own this road.”
“I suggest you leave now while I’m still nice about it. You want to bark like a dog; you may get beaten like one.”
The man walks away as the bus driver turns and walks towards the bus. He pulls out his cell phone, and as he ducks to the side of the bus, he begins taking pictures of the illegally parked truck.
The man notices and walks back and peeks around the corner, snatching the phone. “What are you doing?” he asks. He throws the phone across the street.
The bus driver runs after it to pick it up. “That was my phone!”
“I gave you a chance to leave, and you wasted it,” the man says as he kicks the driver in the head, knocking him over while the children watch the scuffle from inside the bus.
Tish just happens to ride into the area and sees what’s going on. She also sees the children on the bus. She slowly gets off her bike, sets up the kickstand. She watches the bus driver be drug off, and she pulls out her phone and calls 9-1-1.
“I’d like to make a report. I’m at…”
Suddenly, another man walks over and takes her phone from her. He hangs up the phone.
“Hey. That’s my phone. Give it back.”
He holds out his arm as he begins swiping through her photos, “Do girls only ever take pictures of food?”
He finds a picture of a police officer, “Is this your boyfriend?”
“Why are you looking through someone else’s phone? Give it back.” Tish tries to jump up to grab it, but the man is taller than she is.
“First of all, my name is Edgar. Not mister. And I run this operation here, and you, frankly, are trespassing. Secondly, how dare you try to report us to the police. If you knew who we were, you’d be shaking in your little boots there. Are you some sort of hero, or do you just have a deathwish?”
“So, that’s your thug over there beating up an old man?” Tish asks.
Edgar leans towards here, “You want to take his place? Why are you causing trouble, anyway?” He tosses her phone, and it lands on the ground and breaks apart.
Tish’s eyes go wide, and she runs over to her phone and begins to pick it up, “Damn it!” She picks it up and screams, “you broke the screen!” She spins around to face him, an angry expression on her face. She stalks over to him. “Pay me for the damage now,” she demands.
Edgar looks down at her and sighs. “Motherfu–” he starts to say as he walks towards her.
“I have a three-year contract on this phone that’s only three months old. I’ll ask you one more time. Compensate me for my broken phone.”
Edger just can’t believe this young woman is talking to him this way. “You have no clue who I am or what I’m capable of, do you, little girl? I will tear the skin from your body and hang it out on your clothesline to dry, do you understand me?”
Around the corner drives Eric, who has to stop because of everything blocking the road. He sees the man on one side of the bus, beating up the older man. He sees the other man on the other side of the bus talking with Tish. He slowly comes to a stop and gets out of his vehicle.
As he walks closer, he sees Edgar take a glove and smack it across Tish’s cheek. “Where are the cops?” Eric asks and starts to walk back to his car to call 9-1-1.
Edgar smacks his hand on Tish’s forehead. “You think you can take me on, girl?”
Tish just stares at him with a death glare.
“Don’t you look at me like that,” Edgar says and then slaps her right across the face.
Tish lets her head fall back, and she sighs.
Eric is calling 9-1-1 now.
Tish thinks to herself, “Even if I can never use my superpower again, and I am cursed for life, I just can’t let this asshole go.” She slaps him hard right across the cheek as three molars fly from his mouth, and a handprint, red as can be, appears instantly on his cheek. She hits him in the chest, and he goes flying through the air.
Eric doesn’t see any of this as he’s turned away from it all, talking to the dispatcher. The kids on the bus have seen it all as they all look in shock.
Two other men walk over and check on Edgar, who points to the girl. They turn and head in her direction. She’s trying to clean off her phone as they reach her. She steps her feet down on one of their feet, crushing their toes as they begin to scream out in pain. The screaming gets Eric’s attention as he turns to see what’s going on.
Tish hits one of the men directly in the chest, and he flies into a nearby pile of dirt, disappearing inside. Eric’s eyes go wide as he watches.
She does the same to the second guy, sending him into the same pile of dirt as well. The first man finishes assaulting the older man and sees what’s happening. He starts to walk by her, not seeing any of this when Tish grabs him by the arm. “You guys need to compensate me for my phone.”
Edgar is trying to warn the man not to mess with her, but it’s too late. As the man raises his hand to strike her, she catches it and snaps the bone at the wrist, not even on purpose. The man screams and falls to his knees as Tish realizes what she’s done. “Oh my gosh, I didn’t mean to break that.”
She tries to bend it back, but more bones keep breaking as she does as the man just screams and screams in pain.
Another man comes after her with a two-by-four, but she grabs him by the belt and just lifts, and the man shoots straight up into the air like a rocket as he screams now too.
She helps the man with the broken wrist up, but he had grabbed the two-by-four the previous man had dropped, and as he goes to swing it, she nails him in the stomach, and he goes flying… straight into Edgar, the back of his head hitting Edgar in the mouth and more teeth fall out.
Another man grabs her by the hair, but she holds his hand and twists, breaking bones. Yet another man comes after her with a brick, but she sets one into the other.
The kids in the bus are cheering her on now while Eric is flabbergasted, “Who is she?”
The rocket man finally falls into a vat of water behind her as she scratches her head, knowing it has gotten out of hand now.
The gangsters all gather up and are looking to flee as Eric rubs his eyes to be sure he’s seen what he has seen.
The kids are still cheering as Tish looks at them and makes a shhh sign to them.
The police station is filled with all of the children on the bus. All the thugs from the site are there, some bandaged up. Jake is trying to herd everyone around.
Outside in the hallway, Tish walks up to a door. The sign above it reads Violent Crimes Division. She seems to be stalling about going inside, “What am I going to do? He’s going to think I’m weird. What am I supposed to say?” She’s a little whiny at the moment. Someone walks out of the room, and she steps back out of his way. As he closes the door and walks on, she finally takes in a deep breath and opens the door, stepping inside.
It’s loud in the room with all the children and gangsters. Tish steps in and sees Jake right away and turns around and leaves the room, closing the door behind her. She pulls out her phone and checks her hair as Eric walks up behind her.
He watches as she puts her phone away and then sprays some breath freshener in her mouth. She cups her hand up to her face and breathes out to check the smell of her breath.
Eric continues to watch, now curious as to what she’s doing.
“Hi Jake,” she practices, staring at the door. “It sure has been a long time, Jake. You sure have a lot on your plate, Jake.”
“What is she doing?” Eric asks himself as he moves towards her.
She finally gets up the courage and steps inside, closing the door on Eric’s face.
Tish walks into the office, and there’s so much commotion going on. Jake spots her first and yells, “Tish!”
Everything gets quiet. The gangsters start to point at her, “She’s the one.” “That’s her.”
She ducks her head and walks over to Jake’s desk, and takes a seat in front of him. As Jake sits at his desk and begins to take her statement, Tish’s eyes become filled with hearts as she stares at her long time crush.
She’s snapped out of her daydream by someone yelling, “I swear to God, that’s her right there!”
She ignores it as Jake starts to fill in the date. “Name?”
Before she can answer, he answers for her, “Tish Weathersphere. Address?”
He also already knows her address. He reads the statement, “These people were blocking the road, getting in the way of incoming traffic. The bus driver asked for the vehicle to be moved. They refused and then resorted to physical violence. Tish Weathersphere took out her phone to report….”
As he continues, she falls back into her daydream as stares dreamily at him.
“And then an altercation occurs, and Tish Weathershere hits Edgar across the face.” He pauses in his reading and looks up at her as if not believing the statement. He then reads more slowly, “The strike caused a moderate injury, including a fracture and several missing teeth. Furthermore,” he continues to read the written account of what happened.
As he continues to narrate the incident, Tish’s head moves from its upright position and slowly begins to lower at how this all makes her look. “… fractured the wrist….”
“… was sent flying into a pile of dirt…”
“… was sent flying into Edgar…”
“… was sent flying straight up into the air…”
By the time he’s finished reading, she is looking directly into her lap. He leans over the monitor, “How does any of this make sense?” he finally asks her.
She looks up, “Well, you see…”
He motions her closer, “Look. Those children are just in kindergarten. They can’t legally testify. And to be frank, their story is ridiculous. The issue will be the bus driver’s testimony. If any of this is remotely true, you can be charged with excessive use of force. You’ll probably go to jail. If you don’t have a witness to back you…”
“You call this a police report? It’s more like a fiction novel,” says Eric as he walks up to the desk.
Jake rises from his chair, “And you are?”
“I’m a witness. I am the one who called 9-1-1.
Eric turns to the children, “You shouldn’t lie to the police. You want us to believe that this lady beat up all these thugs all by herself?”
The kids all yell, “Yes!”
Eric walks over and leans down, “You all watched the Avengers, didn’t you?” Eric turns back to Jake, “All of these children look suspicious to me. You should conduct a search and seizure right here.”
Jake interrupts, “You called this in?”
“I did,” says Eric. “I was a witness, as well. My version is unlike any of these other versions. The bus driver was too busy getting his ass beat to be a witness. What I witnessed… “ he begins, and then as if trying to find the right phrase, he finally says, “It was a ridiculous spectacle from out of this world.”
Tish knows she’s dead now.
Jake points to the gangsters, “How did all these men get hurt?”
“These men?” Eric asks. All the gangsters are looking at him now. Eric turns back to Jake, “They were fighting each other; that’s how.”
All the gangsters get on their feet and start calling Eric a lair. Police officers intervene to get them settled down.
One of the little kids speaks up, “That’s not true. That lady defeated all those guys by herself.”
Tish is starting to wilt over the accusation.
Eric grabs a random book off Jake’s desk and brings it over to the kid, “Do you know what this says right here?” he asks, pointing to the title of the book.
The kid looks at it but doesn’t answer.
Eric sighs, “See. These kids haven’t even learned to read yet. Why? Because their teachers only let them watch movies. The foundation of education begins at kindergarten, and what do teachers do? Let them watch The Avengers.”
The police chief walks over, “Look. It doesn’t make any sense that one woman can beat up all of these men without some sort of weapon.”
The gangsters protest.
Eric shakes his head, “Hollywood is ruining our children.”
The police chief starts asking the gangsters questions as Tish looks up at Eric, then over to Jake. He gives up and walks over to Jake, “Wrap this up. If we try and publish this report, we’re all fired. There’s no way a woman beat up seven men and gave them all these fractures. It’s impossible.”
The gangsters stand up again and begin to point at Tish, yelling how she did it.
The kids all look at Tish and start yelling, “You’re the best! You’re the best!”
Tish grins and turns to face them, giving them a little wave. The gangsters are causing a commotion, and she turns to look at them. They immediately stop and sit down.
Jake leans over his computer monitor, “Are you happy?” Tish turns around and puts on her scolded face again. He continues, “If you don’t want to get mixed up with these dangerous types, you should just stay home. Or get a job.”
Tish sighs as Eric watches her from the sideline.
Another man walks in, “Mr. Aames!” Assistant Rob is dressed in a suit, looking very sharp as he walks into the office.
Tish sighs again and places her head in her hands.
A few moments later, Rob and Eric leave, “What in the world happened that you ended up at the police station?” asks Rob.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Eric says. Tish is also leaving and starts to walk by the two when Eric points at her, “Excuse me!”
Tish stops walking.
The two stare at each other awkwardly for a moment before Eric finally says, “Aren’t you going to say thank you or something to me?”
“Why did you lie to a police officer?” she asks.
He was not expecting that. “What’s going on here? I just prevented you from being charged with assault and battery. And you don’t say thank you, or sorry?”
Tish asks, “Why did you do that for me?” She starts to walk towards him, “If you are a man, act like a man. Don’t just sit there and watch a woman take all the action. You should be ashamed of yourself,” she says. With that, she turns on her heel and stalks off.
“What was that?” asks Rob.
Eric watches her leave, “I don’t know, but I’m extremely turned on right now.”
“What?” asks Rob.
Eric and Rob are walking through the lobby of Aamesoft Studios when Eric turns to him, “She was stronger than any character in any video game I’ve ever seen.”
“That woman!” he says, “you should see what she can do. It was better than any scene in a video game.”
Rob looks at him, “Are you okay, sir?”
“Officer Buckingham!” yells the Chief. “How do you know Ms. Avenger?”
Jake glances up from his work, “We have known each other since elementary school.”
Another cop chimes in, “I think that witness was the CEO of Aamesoft.”
The chief asks, “What’s Aamesoft?”
“It’s only the leading video game company in the country right now. They created that trendy game, ‘Cross to Bear’.”
The chief shakes his head, “Video games are the scourge of this nation. Hey! Where are those gangsters at?”
Jake glances up, “They were sent to the hospital.”
At the hospital, the gangsters are indeed checked in. They are all bunking in the same bay. Edgar, in particular, has a bandage around his head, and his cheeks are swollen. The others are in an assortment of casts and bandages.
One speaks up, “Did any of you guys recognize that lady?”
Edgar rises in his seat but can’t speak with his mouth all swollen, so he just makes many screaming sounds that no one can comprehend. Another tries to get him to lay back down.
The conversations from the others continue.
“Who was she?”
“She was the strongest person I’ve ever fought!”
“What’s that girl’s name?!?”
Finally, one speaks up, “Tish Weathersphere.”
Edgar begins to scream his head off at the mention of her name, his face turns red, and he tries to get out of his bed, but the others try and hold him down.
Meanwhile, doctors are examining the x-rays from one of the gangsters.
“I’ve been an orthopedic surgeon for 15 years. I’ve never seen a fracture like this. Somebody dislocated the bone completely and then shoved it back into place. A freakishly strong person could only do it!”
Everyone is looking on in awe, except for Parish standing in the back of the crowd. He only knows one person capable of doing such a thing.
“Look at this one! The bone is completely flipped around. I am getting calls from universities who want to study this x-ray to re-analyze the relationship between bone and muscle! It could lead to a breakthrough!”
“Sir, the patient kept crying and complaining that a woman did this one to him.” It’s Edgar’s x-ray, showing all his missing teeth. “I believe we may need to send him up to the eighteenth floor.”
“The psych ward? We’ll have someone come down and evaluate.”
Parish remembers something that happened a long, long time ago.
Many, Many Years Ago
A car is speeding down the road. A boy and a girl are in the back of this car. They appear to be about five or six years old. The boy is crying and pees himself as the car races down the road.
“My brother is peeing because he’s so scared!” the girl yells, though she appears to be the younger of the two.”
The man in the front yells, “You peed on my seat? You dirtied my car?”
“Stop the car,” the girl cries out now.
“Shut up!” yells the man.
The girl reaches over and grabs the boy’s hand.
“You two want to return to your father and mother, right?” the man asks. “Then be quiet, or I’ll get mad and…”
The boy cries louder.
“Mister, stop the car! My brother won’t stop crying until you stop the car!” the girl cries out.
“If you cry or pee one more time, I’ll kill you with my bare hands!” the man yells as he continues barrelling down the road.
Suddenly, the girl lifts her foot and kicks at the back door, and it flies off the car! This freaks out the man who unexpectedly turns the steering wheel as the car careens across the road and comes to a stop on the side of the road.
The two children leap from the opened doorway and begin to run away.
The man leaps from the car and gives chase. He’s faster, so he catches up quickly and latches onto the boy, but the girl gives him a hard push, and he flies down the road, skidding over the pavement.
The kids continue to run as the man looks up and yells, “Damn it!” He scrambles to his feet and gives chase to the two in the car. It looks like he’s just going to run them down when the girl gently pushes the boy to the ground behind her and turns to face down the car as it comes towards her picking up speed.
As the car reaches her, she holds out her hand, and the vehicle suddenly stops as debris flies past her. The back of the car lifts up almost ninety degrees and then comes crashing back down to the pavement.
We see the front of the car is completely caved in as the girl holds her hand there.
Back in the present, Tish is cracking a walnut between her fingers as she sits on the floor in the living room. Behind her on the couch, Parish is reading a book. “Why are you cracking all those walnuts?”
“It’s my part-time job,” she says as we see she has a giant bowl of walnuts sitting next to her and a smaller boy where she puts the nuts and a pile of shell on the tabletop.
“You know you completely wrecked those guys, right?” he says.
Tish scoffs, “They started it. I don’t want to talk about it.” She goes back to cracking walnuts.
“What about the curse? What if you wake up tomorrow and your power is gone? I mean, it’s not like what happened when we were little. That man was evil. But this time…”
Tish crushes another walnut in her fist, this time grounding it into a fine powder, “Shut it! These guys were evil too.” She brushes the dust from her hands and stands up. She heads up the stairs, goes into her room, and closes the door, obviously still upset over what happened earlier.
She walks over and sits on the edge of her bed.
The next morning, the sun shines brightly on her face. Her eyes flutter open, and she suddenly remembers what happened the previous day.
Then she leaps out of bed and rushes to the mirror, and sees something on her face. “Nonononono,” she whimpers as she reaches up and brushes the loose eyelash from her cheek and lets out a big sigh of relief. “Thank goodness!”
She gives a double-check of her face in the mirror.
A little later, she’s eating cereal in the kitchen. She suddenly eyes her spoon and holds it up, and with little effort, she bends it with just her thumb. This also pleases her, “The curse hasn’t struck me yet!” she says to herself as she straightens the spoon and continues to eat.
At a gym, Eric is pounding on a heavy bag. He stops and recalls the suspicious man who was following him the day before.
A little later, he gets off the elevator and walks towards his office. He walks by Rob on the way, and the two exchange a morning high-five and then enter his office.
After Eric gets settled in, he begins looking over resumes for a bodyguard.
“Fourth-degree judo, fifth-degree hapkido? Ninth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Winner of the 2014 Pan-Korean Jujitsu Championship. Former Secret Service.” Suddenly, Tish comes to mind as he remembers what happened the day before. He leaps from his chair, “That woman! Find that woman! The one from the police station!”
Rob tries to remember the woman he’s talking about.
Eric points at him, “That one. The one you’re thinking about right now.”
A little later, Rob is sitting in front of Jake’s desk at the police station.
Jake looks up at him, “The privacy act prohibits me from giving out that information. I can’t give you anyone’s personal information, so you may leave.”
“The officer here at the police station won’t give me her information. He’s got a big stick stuck up his —”
“Which cop was it?”
A woman walks down the hallway at a hotel. She uses a key card to swipe herself into a room.
“You’re here already?” comes a male voice inside.
As he comes around the corner to meet her, suddenly she grabs his arm and twists it behind his back, and pushes him face down onto a dresser, “You have the right to remain silent,” she tells him. She continues the Miranda rights as she snaps handcuffs on him.
“Do you know who I am?!” the man screams out.
“I couldn’t give a shit who you are,” Detective Gibson says as she drags him out of the room.
A few moments later, she’s standing in front of the police chief. “Everything I did was by the book. I followed the procedure precisely. How was I to know he was a congressman?”
The police chief rubs his temples, “Look, Gibson. I like you, but god damned. You and Buckingham are going to be the death of me. You’re going to get us all demoted, is that what you want?”
She doesn’t say anything.
“The mayor is livid.”
“I’m not here to follow the orders of the may—” she begins.
“But I am,” says the police chief. “So, you and Buckingham don’t make any arrests unless they go through me from now on, do you understand me?”
Gibson sits there silently.
“I said, do you understand me, Detective Gibson?”
“Yes, sir,” the words are barely audible as they come from her.
Gibson stands up and is about to say something when the chief looks at her with a ‘you better not’ look. She turns and walks out. She heads into the main office area where the other cops are all seated at the table, eating their lunch and watching “Law and Order.”
She just shakes her head, and she walks over and sits at her desk. The lunchtime ‘Law and Order’ is a daily routine at the precinct, unless something is going down. Everyone sits around, eating lunch, and gets captivated by the show.
She never got it. However, as she passed Jake to sit at her desk, the two exchange a look.
Eric is sitting across from the police chief, “I’ve tried to reason with him, but the guy’s got a thing about rules.”
The chief is well aware, but the question begs to be asked, “Just what exactly do you want her phone number for?” he asks.
“She’s my type,” Eric says in response.
The chief chuckles, nodding. “So you want her for one of your youthful conquests?”
“Something like that.” Of course, Eric can’t tell him the real reason he’s looking for her.
Tish is poking at a piece of cake at home while Parish is reading another medical book.
“Maybe I should get a job that lets me use my superpower,” she says aloud, then glances over at him. “Manual labor does pay more, and it’s not like I’d be using them for evil purposes.”
Parish is about to answer when Tish’s cell phone rings. She glances curiously at the number before answering, “Hello?”
“This is Tish, but who’s this?”
The next morning, Rob is staring as Tish drinks a very pink frozen drink through a straw. He doesn’t understand why she is here. She stares back at him, and he finally looks away.
“So, you’re unemployed?” he asks.
Tish stops slurping her straw to answer, “I prefer the term ‘job-seeker.’”
Rob starts to laugh, but Tish doesn’t laugh, so he shuts that down. He clears his throat, “So, it seems you made some sort of impression on my CEO the other day.”
Tish sets her drink on the table, “And he’s still pathetic, I see.”
Rob isn’t sure what that means, “What?”
“If he had something to say to me, he should’ve come to say it himself. Why did he send you instead? He seems capable enough.”
Rob is struggling with this conversation as it takes turns he hadn’t anticipated. “Consider this just a first round of the interview process.”
“Interview?” she asks.
“So, let me get this straight. Your CEO, or whatever you call him, wants to hire me to be his bodyguard.”
Rob nods, “That’s correct. You’d be protecting the most valuable person at our company.”
Tish leans forward, “Listen, mister. There isn’t a job I haven’t taken since I graduated from high school. I feel like this might be some sort of shady deal you’re trying to offer me, or at least you’re not upfront with me about what this is about. Besides, I prefer work that requires brainpower instead of manpower. I have no idea why you’re offering me a position like this.” All of this is said without her taking a single breath, so she takes one when she finishes.
Rob just stares at her for a moment; he’s about to say something when she continues.
“I already have an amazing company that I want to work for.”
Rob nods his head, “Can I ask what company that is?”
“No. You may not.”
Rob’s face falls.
“I’m sorry to turn you down even though you drove all the way here to see me. So, goodbye.” Tish stands up to leave when Rob leaps to his feet, “It pays $100,000 a year.”
You can almost hear the skid marks as Tish comes to a complete stop. Dollar signs light up around her head as she takes in this piece of information.
She grits her teeth and slowly turns back around.
She walks towards him and asks, “This isn’t some sort of scam, is it?” Suddenly, she begins to ramble again. “Why would you pay me so much when you don’t know anything about me? Is that man trying to date me? How, in fact, did you even get my phone number? Are you stalking me?” she brings her hands to her mouth. “And another thing! Why is he insisting on having a female bodyguard instead of a male bodyguard? That is probably the strangest thing of all!”
Rob is trying to get a word in edgewise, and as she finishes, he finally does. “May I please say something?”
She ignores him. “What is the name of this company again?”
“It’s called Aamessoft.”
She turns to look at him, speechless all of a sudden. She leans towards him, “What did you say?”
He sits back down in his chair, “Have you heard of Aamessoft?”
All of a sudden, Tish puts on the sweetest of smiles and sits back down. “When can I meet this CEO?” she asks.
Tish arrives home and leaps through the door, “I got a job!” she sings out loud as she runs into the living room. Parish has just walked into the room, and before he can sit down, Tish leaps up and grabs him in a headlock as he yells, “Ow!”
She releases him quickly, “Sorry!” she tries to rub his neck. “I’m so happy. I’ll fix you dinner.”
She sets a pot of ‘something’ onto the table. Parish looks into the pot as it bubbles. “What is it?”
Parish looks again, “It doesn’t look like stew.”
She reaches for a bowl and dishes him a serving, “Try it.” She sets it in front of him.
He winces a little as it takes a spoon and dips it into the stew, and slowly brings it to his mouth, and tries it. Hesitation turns into surprise, and then he takes another bite, “It’s good. I’m surprised.”
She glares at him, then smiles, “Even you can’t ruin my mood tonight!” Her phone rings and she sees who it is and rushes out of the room to answer, “Hello?” she sings.
“It’s me.” Jake says.
“I know,” she grins.
“I looked into those guys who were assaulted at the construction site. They’re pretty bad dudes, so don’t be going out alone at night. Do you own a taser? I have a couple of spare ones, so I can bring one over on my way home from work.”
Tish sways back and forth, “Sure. That’d be okay.”
She starts to say something else when he suddenly says, “Bye,” and hangs up.
She plops down on her bed, “He’s terrible. Such an asshole.” She slowly smiles, “But I like him so much.” She rolls back and forth on her bed and accidentally rolls off the bed and onto the floor with a loud thud.
There’s a knock on the office door, and Eric yells, “Come in,” as he reads through some paperwork.
The door opens, and Tish walks in, “Hello.”
He sets the paperwork down, “Welcome!”
She walks in and looks around his office as he rises from his chair and moves out to greet her. “Have a seat,” he motions towards a chair, and she walks over and sits.
“Why do you want to work for our company?” he asks.
She looks at him and, in all seriousness, answers, “Because it’s a good company.”
He considers that answer for a moment, then reaches out his hand, “Welcome aboard. I know you want to work in the gaming department…”
She raises her hand, “I have a question. You seem to be in perfect health, so why do you need a bodyguard?”
“You don’t get to my position without making some enemies,” he says. She gives him a look, and he quickly responds, “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a bad person.”
Tish slowly nods. “Of course, you aren’t. Mr. Rob mentioned benefits? Does that include a retirement plan?” she asks.
“It all depends on how skilled you are. I’m going to need a demonstration.”
“Company cafeteria?” she asks.
“Yes, of course.”
“How about a company gym with yoga classes?”
He pauses, then shakes his head, “No.”
She tsks, “I thought this was a high-end company.”
“How about ‘stop-motions’?” she asks.
He looks at her.
She looks at him.
He looks back at her.
She leans in closer to look back at him.
Eric finally asks, “What exactly is that?”
Tish looks surprised, “You don’t know what that is?”
Eric takes a deep breath, and then suddenly, it dawns on him. “Do you happen to mean stock options?”
Tish’s eyes light up, “That stuff! Do you have that?”
Eric chuckles, “I’m not sure if a bodyguard position comes with stock options if I’m frank with you. But I will consider it.”
Tish leans back against her chair, “Your offer is kind of weak.”
Eric just stares at her like he can’t believe this conversation is happening.
“May I look at the contract?” Tish asks.
He ignores the request and slides down onto the floor in front of a coffee table. “Let’s arm wrestle.”
“I need to see if you’re worth the salary I’ll be paying you. It’s your first test. Let’s go.” He puts his arm in position to arm wrestle.
Tish watches him for a moment and then, with a sigh, lowers herself onto the floor, “Fine. We will arm wrestle.”
She locks hands with him, and he stares at her. “Try and pin my arm.”
She shakes her head, “No, you try.”
He laughs. Then he suddenly tries to force her hand down, and she doesn’t budge. She looks at him as if she isn’t straining in the least. He struggles, so she smiles, “Feel free to use both hands if you like.”
He laughs at that suggestion, “I would never…” and then he whips his other hand up there and tries to force her hand down with both of his, using all the strength he has.
She tilts her head, looking at his face. “You’re starting to sweat,” she notices. Finally, she slams his hands down on the table as he yells out in pain. He gets to his feet, doubled over as he walks away from her holding his hands.
She gets up and follows, “You don’t need to be embarrassed that you lost to a woman. I’m kind of a special case. I’d appreciate it if you’d keep it a secret.”
He turns around like everything’s fine. He reaches for his phone, “Rob? Bring the contract.”
She grins to herself, knowing she got the job, as he motions for her to retake a seat, which she does as he sits across from her again.
A few moments later, Rob is sitting next to her on the couch as she’s looking over the contract. She sees the dollar amount on the contract, and her eyes are filled with dollar signs. Her mouth drops open as she looks from Eric to Rob and then back to the contract.
Rob points to a spot, “You can sign here.”
Tish scribbles her signature on the form. “When do I start?”
“How strong are your legs?” Eric asks her.
Eric looks up at Rob, “Chicken fight with her.”
Rob laughs, then realizes he’s serious. “With her? Sir, as a former marine, I’m not allowed to fight with a lady.”
“Just do it.” Tish is looking between the two.
“You know I can’t.” Rob starts to leave when Eric says, “If you win, you can have my car.”
Rob stops in his tracks.
Moments later, Rob is holding up one of his legs as he bounces around on the other. Tish walks up to him. She slowly reaches down and pulls her leg up.
Eric starts, “Ready? Set?”
“Wait,” says Tish. “Perhaps we should wear helmets.”
“What?” asks Rob.
She looks at Eric, “He might get hurt, so wearing a helmet would probably be a good idea.”
Rob laughs at that.
Eric nods. “Let’s order pizza.”
Moments later, pizza is delivered by a man wearing a helmet. As he sets the pizza on the coffee table, Eric asks, “Can I have your helmet?”
Eric reaches for his wallet and pulls out $100, and hands it to him. The driver eagerly sells him the helmet. “You can get yourself a better one,” says Eric.
As the delivery driver leaves, Eric hands the helmet to Rob. “Put it on.”
Rob still has no clue what is going on and thinks it’s laughable that he needs a helmet to chicken fight a woman.
“We should hurry before the food gets cold,” says Tish.
“This is ridiculous,” says Rob. “You’re really going to give me your car?” he asks Eric.
“If you win, you can have my car.” Eric looks from one to the other, “On the count of three, chicken fight.”
Both Rob and Tish pull up one of their legs as Eric counts, “One. Two. Three!”
Rob lets out a primal scream as he begins to bounce towards her. She has this sad look on her face as if she already knows how this will turn out.
As he reaches her, she barely taps him with her knee. We see Rob’s eyes go open wide as everything starts to go in slow motion. He starts to fly backward. Tish’s eyes go wide as well as if she didn’t mean to hit him so hard. Eric’s mouth drops open as his head moves from one side to the other, watching Rob go. Rob turns his head to look at Eric as if wondering what the hell is going on right now. Rob hits the wall behind him hard, leaving two dents in it. One from his helmet and the other from his ass as he drops to the floor, knocked out.
Tish and Eric rush over to him to check.
“He’s not dead, is he?” asks Eric.
“No.” Tish turns to Rob, “I’m so sorry!” She taps his helmet, and his eyes pop open, and he begins to scream.
“Oh, thank goodness he’s not dead,” says Tish as Eric puts his hand over his heart.
We next see Rob being rushed out of the building on a gurney and being loaded into the back of an ambulance. He has on a neck brace, and he’s face down on the gurney.
Back in the office, both Tish and Eric are looking at the two holes in the wall. Eric looks at her, “Are you okay?”
“Huh?” responds Tish.
“What were you going to ask me before all this went down?”
Tish continues to look at the wall, “Tell me what exactly this position will entail.”
“The position?” he asks. “Your entire job is keeping me protected.”
She nods. “Then, I have a request.”
“If I do a good job as your bodyguard, I would like a chance to be in the gaming department.”
He leans back against the couch, “I didn’t hire you for that position.” He points at the two holes in the wall, “You’re more qualified to be my bodyguard. But, perhaps if you do a good job, I’ll consider it.”
He stands up, “Clean up this mess if you would. I should go to visit Rob in the hospital.”
As he walks out, she plops herself down on the couch and mimics him, “If you do a good job, I’ll consider it.” She shakes her head, “I can’t believe he’s the CEO of this company. He’s lucky I’m holding back only because of that sweet, sweet salary. I’ve never seen so many zeros before in my life.”
She opens one of the pizza boxes, pulls out a pizza slice, and takes a bite. She doesn’t seem happy about it as she chews and swallows, “Now it’s cold.”
It’s late at night, and Tish is walking down a darkened alley. As she moves on down, we see that someone is following her.
She turns the corner and then stops. She starts to turn around as if sensing someone is there, but the person ducks behind a corner.
Tish hesitates and then continues towards her house. As she walks on, we see the head of the person following her peek around the corner.
Tish is in her bedroom when she gets a text.
“Come outside. I’m waiting,” it says.
She smiles brightly at the message and gets all giggly. She steps out of the house and walks down to meet Jake.
“Jake!” she says excitedly.
“Here,” he simply says as he hands her a taser.
She beams at the gift, “I’ll put it to good use.”
He pulls it back, “What do you mean you’ll put it to good use. It’s only for emergencies. The point is not to put yourself into a situation where you’ll have to use it.”
He finally gives it to her, “You should go back inside.” His phone begins to ring.
“You’re leaving already?” she asks.
“I have to get going.”
She tries to get him to stay longer by asking, “How are things with your girlfriend?”
But he walks off, “I’m on my way. I had to make a stop.” He turns back to her and waves as he walks to his car.
“Bye!” Tish says. “Get home safely..” she barely gets the words out of her mouth before Jake drives off. She pouts a little as she walks back up the stairs and disappears into her house.
A little while later, we see a woman walking down the street. It’s still dark. As she walks past a small market, the street light goes out, causing her to stop and look.
By the expression on her face, she’s a little creeped out by it all. Suddenly, a cat leaps into the road and howls out, scaring her. “God…” the woman mutters under her breath. She starts to walk on when a man steps out of the shadows and begins to follow.
She cuts down an alley, and he follows. She looks behind and sees him, and she begins to walk faster.
He also walks faster.
She begins to run.
He begins to run after her.
She starts to scream as she runs up the road.
He runs up behind her and clamps a hand over her mouth, and drags her down.
A little while later, Tish is awoken by the sounds of sirens.
The police are at the scene now, taking photos and looking for evidence. The victim is placed into a body bag and loaded into the back of a van.
The next morning, Tish walks into the office, and she sees something flashing on Eric’s screen. The word “kill” flashes on the screen, with a sinister voice echoing the word repeatedly.
Eric walks in after, “I told you I have enemies.”
“What is this?” she asks.
“This is new. But, I’ve been followed for a while now.”
Tish looks at him, “Followed? Why haven’t you gone to the police?”
Eric shakes his head, “I don’t trust the police. I have to catch whoever is behind this. And you’re gonna help me.”
“You said you like video games, right?” Eric says, “It’ll be like that. A thrilling video game, and we will catch the bad guy.”
She doesn’t look too sure about this.
Finally, he says, “If you help me catch this guy, I’ll transfer you to the Gaming Department, and you can develop any game you want. You in?”
She nods quickly. “I’m in.”
The news is heard very faintly in the background, talking about a murder in Tish’s neighborhood. Eric reaches down for the remote and turns up the volume.
“… The woman who was murdered was an unmarried 31-year-old and was planning to have her wedding in two months. It was quite tragic. Unfortunately for the police, there were no video cameras in the area. The victim worked for a bookstore in the area. She was heading home after working overtime…”
Eric shuts off the television. He walks over to his desk when he hears his cell phone. The caller ID is restricted. He answers it on speakerphone.
“Don’t take my words lightly. Just see what happens from here on out.”
Tish rises from her seat as she hears the words.
“It’s like a superstition for him,” explains Jake to Gibson. “Whenever there’s a big case, he sits down and watches an episode of Law and Order and always solves the case.”
Gibson looks at him, “But this isn’t our case, is it?”
Jake nods, “But we’re to assist. Orders from the Commissioner.”
Gibson’s eyes are drawn to the television, “But, there are so many better cop shows out there.”
The police chief looks up from his food, “Don’t you realize that criminals watch this show and get their crazy ideas?”
Jake nudges her to be quiet, but it’s too late as the chief pauses the show, “Don’t you realize that cases that have no evidence are rising? We rely on technology to solve cases, but they don’t work as well when there’s no evidence. That’s why we have to brush up on our analog skills,” he says, pointing at his head. “Do you know what book has sold the most copies in the world?”
“Damn right, the Bible because it’s a classic. It always goes back to the classics.” As if he made his point, he goes back and takes a seat.
Eric leads Tish into the empty corporate cafeteria, “Let’s eat,” he says. “You didn’t have breakfast, right?”
“I had breakfast.”
“You did?” he asks. “Well, join me. Eat again.” He takes a seat.
She remains standing, “I’m not hungry.”
“I only come to work on Mondays and Thursdays,” he explains, then notices she’s staring out the window. “Are you listening?”
She snaps her head back to him, “Of course.”
“That schedule was leaked. So, from now on, only you and I will know my schedule.”
Tish just nods her head.
“You can sit down,” he says, pointing to the chair across from him, and she slides into it.
“Why do you not like the police?” she asks.
He looks at her, “Do you like the police?”
A dreamy smile crosses her face as she thinks about Jake, “Yes.”
He looks up at her.
“They are very cool.”
Eric isn’t fond of that answer, so he changes the subject. “You’re not going to eat? If I tell you to eat, you should eat. So that you know, I don’t eat lunch.”
Her eyes go wide, and she reaches for her fork, “You should have said so earlier!”
Eric’s phone rings from a restricted number. He puts it on speaker.
“Stop ignoring my call. You’ll soon realize how serious I am.” The caller hangs up.
“When did you start getting these calls?” asks Tish.
He picks up the phone and shoves it into his jacket pocket, “About two months ago. Just protect me. That’s your job.”
“I’m in too bad of a mood to work; I’m going out,” he says as he rises from his seat.
Tish just looks at him.
“Why are you looking at me that way? I don’t want to work!”
Tish gets up as well, “I heard you the first time.”
He stops and looks at her, “Let’s go!”
“I have to follow you everywhere?”
Eric shakes his head, “That’s your job. How can you even ask that?”
She purses his lips as he turns to leave.
“Let’s stop by the river, a department store, and a book shop,” he says as he walks up to an automatic door and dramatically waves his hands as the door opens as Tish scrambles behind him.
In the parking garage, he hands her the keys to his expensive car, “Start it up.”
She looks surprised, “Me?”
He seems surprised that she is surprised, “There might be explosives in the car.” He starts to walk away from the car.
“Are you saying I need to die for you?”
“Aren’t you my bodyguard?” he asks. “Just start the car.” He walks and stands behind a support pillar.
She stares at him angrily for a moment before slowly turning around and opening the car door. She gets into the driver’s seat and starts up the car. “Happy now?”
“Extremely.” He walks over and opens her door, and she climbs out, and he climbs in. She opens the door behind his and starts to get in when he looks at her, “Is this a taxi? Sit next to me.”
She makes an angry, annoyed face and slams the door, and walks around the car to get into the passenger side, muttering under her breath, which he seems to find amusing.
“Sure, you don’t want me to drive too?” she asks.
“My well being comes before yours,” he explains. “If a car drives at me, you jump in my way to save me.
She isn’t impressed, turning to look out the window as he drives.
Eric and Tish are walking around an outdoor mall. Eric has on sunglasses as if that will suppress his identity. He reaches for Tish’s hand, and she goes to pull it away. He says, “Act natural. We need to blend in here, or I’ll get recognized.”
She pulls her hand away, shoving into her jacket pocket, “This will be more awkward,” she says.
We see a musical collage of Eric trying on suits. He grabs one and has her hold it, then another and another, until we can barely see her behind all of the clothing. He tries on watches, and Tish’s mouth drops when she sees the price.
They are back out walking, and she’s carrying all of his bags. He turns to look at her, “I bought a lot of stuff for me. Let’s get something for you.”
Tish shakes her head, “It’s fine,” she says, lugging around the bags.
We next see him offer her an ice cream cone, and her face tells the story that it wasn’t at all what she expected.
“You don’t want it?” he asks.
She has to rearrange the bags on her arm to reach the ice cream with her hand. She looks extremely annoyed.
“Let’s go!” he says as he walks on. The look on her face says it all as she makes a face behind his back.
Eric has purchased a drone and is flying it around. Tish is very excited as she asks him to do a loop-de-loop, and he does, to which she claps her hands.
He suddenly gets close, “Without being obvious, look at your 12 o’clock.”
She sees the hooded figure watching them. “He’s watching us,” she says.
“Let’s get him,” he says.
She looks up at him, “Right now?”
“Just be casual, so he doesn’t know we see him.”
Obviously, they weren’t natural enough as the man begins to run.
“Look! Look! He’s running away,” she says.
Eric sends the drone after him, but the dude jumps on a motorcycle and takes off. Eric sends the drone after him and gets close enough so he can snap a picture of the motorcycle’s license plate.
“You can do that?” Tish asks.
“I can, and I did,” he says.
Happy with that result, Eric is driving them again. “I think that’s enough for today. How about lunch?”
“Well,” she starts to say.
“I’ll drop you off at home so you can eat.”
That wasn’t what she had in mind. “Make sure you keep your strength up,” he says. “Eat as much as you want.”
“So, that’s it? We’re done for today?” she asks.
Eric nods. “We got his license plate, so I’ll have someone check it out.”
She turns to look at him, “How is Mr. Rob’s tailbone?”
“He’ll be healing for a while.”
She nods, “Maybe I should go visit him at the hospital?”
As they drive through her neighborhood, they spot the police still investigating the murder scene. “I didn’t know you lived close to this. Did you know there was a murder here last night?”
She nods casually, “Yes.”
He looks at her then continues to drive his car slowly by the crime scene.
Jackson looks out the window of his used record shop, seemingly very interested in what is going on over at the crime scene.
“I’m home,” Tish says to no one in particular as she steps into the home. She hears footsteps and a squeal as someone runs around the corner and leaps into the air at her.
As Tish holds Jessie in her arms, she also begins to squeal, “Jessie!”
Tish sets her down, and the two hug and jump around together.
“I haven’t seen you in a long time!” yells Tish!
“I’ve missed you,” yells Jessie. They hug again.
“So, let me get this straight,” asks Jessie as she reaches over and dabs some moisturizer on Tish’s face. “You got a job with the CEO is Aamessoft as a bodyguard?”
Tish reaches up and gently touches the stuff on her face, “That’s right.”
“The same company that made ‘Cross to Bear’, your favorite video game?”
Jessie gets up from the bed and sets an assortment of bottles on the desk. “You decided to let our superpower work for you then, hm?”
Tish is lying back on her bed as the two are having a girl’s night. “If I do a good job, I’ll able to develop my own game, ‘Super Strong Super Girl Tish’.”
“That’s what you’re going with for the title?”
Jessie shakes her head as she pulls up the Aamessoft website and checks out the information posted about the CEO, “It’s just about right,” she says. “What’s your boss like?”
“He likes clothes and games.”
“I heard he’s really good looking,” Jessie says,
Tish sits up, “Don’t you start. He’s so damn full of himself. How can a guy like shopping? Why do you think he hired a female bodyguard? He figures he can get a rumor started on social media.”
Jessie nods, “So true! If a guy is good looking, dresses well, and has a female bodyguard, rumors will certainly get started.”
Parish sticks his head in the doorway, “Jessie! Glad to see you back in town.”
“Did you get it?” he asks.
She smirks as if he even needed to ask, “Of course I did.”
“Awesome!” he disappears.
Tish lies back and stretches her arm out, “Hey!” she pats her arm, and Jessie lies her head down on it.
Jessie tilts her head to look at Tish, “So, I know this guy…”
“I talked you up to him.”
“There’s nothing about me to brag about.”
Jessie nudges her, “You’re beautiful. Have a little confidence.”
Tish scoffs, “What’s the point? I can’t even get Jake to notice me. He treats me like his sister.”
Jessie grins, “You still like him? It’s been so long. I can’t believe it.”
“Trust me. I wish I could stop. It’s annoying,” says Tish. “Tell me how.”
“Just stop. But you won’t because you don’t want to.”
Tish sighs. “What did you bring that my brother was so excited about?”
“My father’s special beef jerky.”
Tish groans, “That’s right. I better get some, or I’ll murder him.”
Darkness has fallen, and Jake is at the crime scene with a flashlight, checking things out. He has been there for quite some time but hasn’t found a clue.
He snaps off his flashlight and ducks under the police tape, and walks off.
The camera pans up, and we see a hooded figure looking down at him, watching the cop walk away.
A little later, a bus pulls up, and someone gets on the bus as someone exits from the rear. The woman starts walking down the sidewalk. She brings her hands up and breathes on them, rubbing them together as the chill hits her. She starts down a dark street when she hears footsteps behind her. She glances back and then starts to walk a little faster.
She cuts down another street, but the man following stays on the same road and disappears. She sighs in relief.
She walks down some steps, and as she disappears, someone follows her down.
She hears him after a bit and walks faster. He walks faster, as well.
She starts to run. So does he.
She turns a corner, and he catches up and grabs her from behind.
Everyone is running by as Jake returns to the precinct, “What’s going on?” he asks.
Gibson stops and says, “We have another one. She’s on her way to the hospital. We’re on our way to the crime scene.”
Jessie and Tish are playing a video game. Something must have gone wrong as Tish turns to look at her, “What were you doing?”
“I told you I wasn’t ready!”
“You’re so bad at this,” Tish says.
Tish hears the sirens.
Gibson walks by an officer, “Aren’t you supposed to be keeping this crowd out of here?”
Residents have gathered at the scene. Gibson ducks under the police tape, “Please, everyone. Go home. We’re trying to investigate. I don’t want to have to charge anyone with obstruction tonight.”
Out of the way, we see Jessie and Tish, arm in arm, as they watch the police at work. Tish notices Jake is having a hard time with this and a concerned look crosses her face.
She doesn’t realize that Jake was in this same sport investigating just a little while earlier, which is why he’s upset.
Eric is in his gym, punching on a bag when the TV news gets his attention.
“There’s another incident just 23 hours after the previous in the southside district. It happened in the same spot as the previous incident. The victim is a high school teacher. Fortunately, someone showed up and scared the perpetrator off, and that probably saved her life.”
A few hours later, Gibson and Jake are at the hospital in the victim’s room. The victim is sedated and wears an oxygen mask as the doctor explains the injuries. “If that person hadn’t come along, she wouldn’t have made it. She at least has a chance now, though it’s still touch and go. Her ribs are broken, so it may be a while before you can get a statement.”
As the cops step out of the room, Jake shakes his head, “I was just at the crime scene a few hours ago. If I had stayed there,” he says.
“You went there alone?” asks Gibson. “Are you crazy? Why didn’t you take someone with you? Why didn’t you take me with you?”
“I live in the neighborhood, as you well know.”
She shakes her head, “If you ever do that again, I’ll kill you myself.”
Jake and Sarah return to the police station just as the witness is being questioned.
“So, tell us what happened.”
The witness seems reluctant to get involved further but decides he’s already come this far. “I was walking home and was just about home when I heard cries for help. As I turned the corner, I saw a man hitting this woman in the face with his fists. She cried out for help, so I put down my bag, and as he began to kick her repeatedly, I ran in, and he ran off before I could stop him. I thought it best to stay with the woman and call 9-1-1.”
“What did he look like?”
He has to think about it for a moment, “I think it was a black hoodie, but it could have just been a very dark color. Dark pants. “
“Could you see how tall?”
The man shakes his head, “Not really, though I don’t think he was over 6 feet tall.”
The witness shakes his head again, “He never looked at me.”
The man takes a moment to think and then recalls something. “He seemed to have huge feet.”
Jake is watching from behind the one-way mirror.
Tish and Jessie are walking home with a bag full of snacks after being at the crime scene. Tish turns to Jessie, “I hate people who harass the weak. They’re the worst.”
Jessie nods, “Me too.”
Tish can’t get over it, “What a jerk! How can he do that? People like him should be punished!”
“Hey Tish,” Jessie says. “Can’t you teach someone like him a lesson? That would be awesome!”
Tish grumbles, “I can barely take care of myself.”
There is some commotion coming from down an alley. As they pass, they see a gang of hoodlums picking on a high school student. A couple of them hold him back while someone else is going through his backpack and finds the boy’s wallet.
Tish looks at them, “Those punks. There’s like five of them ganging up on one.” Tish lets out an exhausted sigh as she slowly walks into the alley. “Little boys?”
They all stop and look at her.
“There’s been some trouble in the area, and there are police everywhere, so how about if you take your asses home where they belong?”
One of them looks at her, “You don’t tell us what to do. How about you move along and mind your own business.”
Tish sighs, then smiles, “At least let the boy go, then, okay?”
“Are you drunk? Just go home, bitch,” another boy says. Tish’s smile fades. She has tried to reason with them. She hands her snack to Jessie and walks in with Jessie following behind her.
As she gets to them, she asks, “Who’s the leader?”
They all begin to laugh, “Leader?”
She asks again, “Who’s the leader?”
“Are you crazy?” one asks as he steps forward and presses his foot against her pants, leaving a footprint.
She leans down and brushes at it. Jessie thinks she might need to step in, “Little boys. I promise you. You should apologize and go home. Now.”
The kids begin to mock them both now, and Tish is starting to get irritated. She slowly walks up and kneels in front of one of the boys who has an untied shoelace. She grabs the laces and begins to tie them, “You forgot to tie your shoes, and yet you go around harassing others?” When she gets to the end, she pulls the strings hard, and the boy begins to scream!
The others fall back as the boy falls over and clutches at his foot, screaming his head off. Tish grabs the shoe by the tongue and, with one pull, tears the shoe right off his foot.
“Oooooh!” yells all the boys as they take a few more steps back and begin to huddle up.
Tish throws the shoe down and shrugs, “It’d look awkward if you walked around with just one shoe.” She reaches down and rips the other one right off as well.
The boys react the same way as she waves the top half of the shoe in their face, “You all want to go home with bare feet?” she asks. They take a few more steps back.
She motions towards the kid being bullied, “Give me your phone.”
He rushes forward and hands it to her. She begins to punch in her number, “If they give you a hard time again, you just give me a call.”
“And go to college or something, okay?”
She turns to the bullies, “And you guys.”
“What?” they all say.
“If I catch you doing this again, it’ll be your toes. Then your feet. Then your knees and then…” she points a little higher, “Well, you know what comes next,” she says with a grin.
The boys all immediately cover their crotches.
“Give me his bag.”
The bag is tossed to her as the boys slowly walk backward. She puts her arm around the bullied kid and walks him off.
As soon as she’s out of sight, the other boys run over and help their fallen comrade.
“…. due to a second incident in the neighborhood, local police will put more men out on patrol. They are also installing cameras throughout the neighborhood. According to a police spokesperson, they have no leads yet on who may be the one terrorizing the neighborhood and asks that everyone stay inside at night unless absolutely necessary, and then with extreme caution…”
In his office, Eric is looking at the photo he took of the motorcycle rider’s license plate. He picks up his phone and dials, “Can you look into a motorcycle license plate?” he asks.
Gibson walks into the precinct, “Autopsy, hot off the press,” she says as she hands it to the chief, and everyone gathers around. The chief flips through the pages, “Her stomach was injured. She struggled, fighting back, which is how she got her hands injured. When she fought back, he began to punch her in the face. It looks like the killer twisted the knife as it was in her stomach.”
One of the cops remarks, “It doesn’t feel like the same killer. The other killer didn’t use a knife.”
Jake shakes his head, “Killers often look for new ways to kill.”
Gibson speaks up, “I feel like this culprit isn’t familiar with how to use a knife. That’s why he chose to beat her with his fists first, and when she fought back, he then decided to go ahead and finish her off with the knife.”
The chief holds his hands up, “Okay. We’ve been at this for almost 48 hours. Let’s all get some rest and come back tomorrow and get back on this. We need to find this guy.” He points to Jake, “Swing by the hospital and check on the most recent victim.”
“Okay,” he says.
A little while later, we see him walking down the hall of a hospital. He nods to the guard watching her on the outside, and steps into the room.
She’s wearing an oxygen mask and still asleep. She does look in bad shape. Jake pulls out some photos to try and compare the injuries. Comparing the two, he concludes that the culprit wasn’t trying to kill her. He just wanted her to pass out.
Down the hall, Tish is walking in with flowers. As she turns the corner, she stumbles right into a doctor wearing a face mask. They apologize to each other and go their separate ways.
Tish finds the room she was looking for and peeks in before opening the door and stepping inside. There we see Rob, face down on the bed with his butt lifted by some pillows. “Who’s there?” he asks, hearing someone come in.
She steps closer, “It’s Tish. Weatherspere.”
This already puts Rob on alert as he makes a few noises and cries out, “Why are you here?”
“I need to get Mr. Aames’s schedule.”
“Go get it from Mr. Kim at HR!” he yells!
“I brought you flowers.” She looks around and finds a table, “I’ll just put them here.”
Rob continues to whimper.
“You look very uncomfortable,” Tish says. “It must be tough with a tailbone injury. You can’t sit or stand or even lie on your back. Ribs are tough too.”
“Why are you telling me this?” he shrieks, then ows as he squirms around too much.
“Don’t move like that,” Tish says, trying to be helpful.
“Just get out!” he yells, which causes him more pain.
“Okay,” she says apologetically. “I’ll be going now. I’m so sorry.”
She slips out the door. “That tyrant,” she mutters. “Why did he want me to chicken fight Mr. Rob?”
As she rounds the corner, she sees Jake sitting in the hallway. She pauses and rubs at her eyes. She smiles big as she realizes it’s true. In her mind, his face shines like a savior as hearts pop up around her head as she gets a dreamy look on her face. Of course, he’s oblivious as he looks at his phone.
She pulls out her phone and dials, which causes his phone to ring.
“Hello?” he answers.
“Hi Jake, it’s me.”
“I am looking right at you.”
“What?” he asks.
She continues to smile, “I came to visit someone at the hospital and happened to see you.”
He starts to look around and spots her standing there. “Oh, I see you too,” he says into the phone.
“I’m coming over there,” she says.
She hangs up her phone and walks over. He asks, “Why are you here?”
“Why?” she asks as a doctor moves past them and walks into the room.
“I’m here to guard a victim,” he says.
“Ahhh,” she answers as she stares up at him.
Inside the room, the doctor pulls out a syringe and sticks it into the IV.
“Why are you here?” asks Jake.
“I just came to visit someone who was injured.”
“Who?” Jake asks.
“How should I put this?” she says as the doctor comes out of the room and walks past them, but this time Jake takes notice of him.
Tish continues to explain, “It’s a person who fell while playing the chicken game.”
Jake looks at her like she’s crazy, “What? How does that make sense? Was he playing with you?”
She waves him off, “Oh, no.”
“Can you do me a favor?” he asks. “I need to use the restroom. Can you watch this door and don’t let anyone in?”
She nods her head. “Okay.”
“If you see anyone go in other than a nurse or a doctor, call me right away, and I’ll come. Don’t try to stop anyone.”
He runs off, and as she peeks into the room, the alarm on the machine begins to go crazy, and she begins to convulse. Tish is about to call a doctor when one happens by with a gurney. “Out of the way, please.”
Tish opens the door, and the doctor pushes the gurney through the door.
He lifts her and places her on the gurney, “She needs emergency surgery,” and wheels her out, right past Jake. Her face is partially covered, so he doesn’t think anything of it until he gets to the room and steps inside, where Tish looks at him.
“The doctor said she needed emergency surgery,” she explains.
Another doctor walks in with a nurse, “Where’s the patient?”
Tish looks at him, “You took her as soon as the machine started making all the beeping noises!”
The doctor shakes his head, “I just got out of the operating room.”
Tish looks at him, then remembers the other doctor had a face mask on, “I think it was a different doctor.”
Jake then recalls seeing someone being carted away just a few moments before. He runs out of the room and down the hall.
We see the fake doctor pushing the gurney into an elevator. The door closes just before Jake gets there.
He bursts through the stairway door and runs down the stairs as fast as he can. He pulls out his phone as he runs, “He took the patient. We need to seal the hospital!”
We see the fake doctor wheel her into a room where he has a bag. He removes the doctor’s jacket and pulls on some pants over his fake hospital gear. He’s humming as he does, moving very calmly for someone being chased by a cop.
Jake runs down to an intersection in the hallway and looks down each way, trying to decide which way to go.
The humming man picks the woman off the gurney and places her in a wheelchair.
Jake finally decides which way to run.
The humming man places a blanket over her, then puts a face mask on her face. He wheels her out of the room. He’s dressed in black now as he steps into the hallway and pushes her.
Jake appears behind him and runs right past him, looking for a doctor and a gurney. He runs up some stairs and then stops and looks around. He turns around in time to see the man in black, pushing the wheelchair out of this hospital. Then it clicks as he runs down the stairs and towards the entrance.
He runs out under the awning and looks around. His eyes fall on an empty wheelchair sitting at the entrance of the underground parking lot. He runs across the street and then down the stairs into the parking lot.
The humming man is carrying the woman, placing her into a car.
Jake runs down the stairs and into the garage, just in time to see the man drive off in a white car. He leans over, panting and screams in frustration.
Jake and Tish are in the security booth, and Jake is looking at video footage, trying to trace the man’s path. He watches as the man takes the woman out of the room on that gurney, and he slams his hand on the desk, “Damn it!”
Tish looks down, feeling like perhaps this is her fault.
Meanwhile, somewhere underground, we see the man carrying the woman down into some sort of holding cell. There seem to be several ‘jail cells’ that curve around into a half-circle. He places the unconscious woman on a bed in the center.
The man is wearing a mask covering his head, with cutouts for his eyes, nose, and mouth.
He notices the woman’s blouse’s top button has come undone, so he reaches down and buttons it back up.
Jake and Tish are walking out of the hospital. Jake is still pissed, and Tish looks very somber.
“I’m sorry, Jake,” she says.
He waves her off, “It’s not your fault. I left it unguarded. What do we do?”
Jake shakes his head, “We don’t do anything. I’ll find her. If he were going to kill her, he would have done it already.”
She thinks back and grabs Jake’s arm, “I heard his voice!”
Jake looks down at her, grasping at this chance. “Could you remember it?”
Tish nods her head.
Jake places his arms on her shoulders, “Go home. I have to go back to the police station.” He starts to walk away and turns around, “Take a taxi. I’ll pay for it.”
She nods her head but doesn’t reply otherwise.
Jake finally notices she’s upset, “It’s not your fault. None of it.”
She nods her head, “You should go.”
The humming man sits on a chair, looking at his prey.
He leans over to brush the hair of his victim to the side of her face very tenderly. He stands up and walks over, and finds a syringe with the same yellow liquid as before. He steps back to his victim, leans over, and injects the substance into her arm.
Jake is currently busy getting yelled at by the chief, but he interrupts the yelling.
“I have a witness,” he says. “She needs to be under our protection. She can ID the culprit.”
This is the first good news the chief has heard all day.
“Who is it?”
The chief pauses, “Weathershere? Where have I heard that name before?”
Gibson has been sitting back watching all this unfold, “She’s the girl who was here with the bus driver.”
“She’s in danger,” says Jake. “He saw her face.”
Gibson shakes her head, “She fought off seven gangsters.”
Jake shakes her head, “That never happened.” He looks at the chief, “She’s a weak woman. He saw her face.”
Tish is sitting on her front porch. The door opens, and Parish walks out, “Why are you out here?”
He takes a seat next to her.
“She won’t die, right?”
Parish knows what she’s talking about, having already heard the story from her earlier. “She needs to be in a hospital.”
Tish sighs, “I know I’m super strong, but I feel very useless right now. Do you think there’s a way I can use my strength to help her?”
Parish doesn’t have an answer for that. He puts his arm around her, “Don’t beat yourself up.”
The next morning, Tish is walking into work. She’s scrolling through her boss’s schedule on her tablet. “What’s this ‘P’ and why are there so many?” she asks herself when he zooms up next to her on his segway.
“What are you looking at?” Eric asks.
She follows him into his office, and he removes his jacket and places it on a hook, “No new messages today. Seems like we beefed up our security enough now to keep him out. Amateur,” he says. He steps off the segway and walks over to his desk, taking a seat. “I heard something was going on in your neighborhood again.”
Tish doesn’t want to talk about it, “The victim was abducted from the hospital while I was there.”
“Abducted?” he asks. He reaches for the remote and turns on the news.
“… Ms. Kim, a high school teacher, was abducted by a man posing as a doctor. This has been a bizarre and unprecedented case. He escaped in a stolen vehicle.” Tish is watching, and she isn’t happy at all about any of it. Eric doesn’t seem to notice as he turns it off.
“This has been an interesting development,” he says.
Tish looks at him like he’s crazy, “Nothing is interesting about a woman being abducted.”
Eric points to the television, “The kidnapper is clever. Of course, I want him to be caught, but I don’t think the police are smart enough to catch him.”
Tish frowns at him. “You sound like a culprit.”
He looks at her. “When I was younger, I wanted to be a nefarious criminal.”
She looks at him for a long moment but is distracted when her phone rings. She sees who’s on the Caller ID and gets that coy smile on her face again. “Hi, Jake.”
“From now on, a police officer will be guarding you. Where are you now?”
“I’m fine. You don’t need to worry about me.”
Jake isn’t taking no for an answer, “That kidnapper saw your face. Just do what I say. Where are you?”
“I’m currently at my place of employment. I’m at the CEO’s office of Aamessoft.”
Jake seems surprised, “Really? Are you inside all day long then?”
“No. I have to go around a lot of places.” She turns and looks at Eric, “My boss likes to go all over the place.”
Eric blinks, “Is she talking shit about me right now?”
Jake continues, “Let me know when the officer arrives.”
“Yes, Jake,” Tish says, then adds, “Oh, Jake! Eat well.”
“Bye,” he says.
“Who was that,” Eric asks as she moves back to sit down.
“My friend, a police officer.”
Tish looks surprised, “How did you know?”
Eric smirks, “You just said his name about 500 times.”
“I did not!”
“You remember where we first met, right? I saw him there. At the police station. But you know,” he says, “You have a whole new personality when you speak to him.”
Tish nods her head, “Of course. You are my boss. He is my friend.”
Eric asks, “You like him, though, right?”
Tish seems surprised by the questions, “How did you know?”
Eric waves his hand around his face, “You show it all over your face. Every time. It’s so obvious. Of course, you like him. He’s handsome.”
“Yes. He’s so…” she starts to say when he interrupts.
“He’s so my type.”
When he says these words, it’s hard to tell if he’s joking or being serious by the expression on his face.
Tish cannot believe those words came out of his mouth. She frowns, “You hate the police. You just keep hating the police.”
Eric nods, “I do hate the police. But not the good looking ones.” He lifts his eyebrows a couple of times as he grins at her.
Wanting to change the subject, “Speaking of police officers, Jake is sending a police officer to guard me.”
Eric’s grin disappears as she says this. “What?”
A few moments later, Eric is at his desk as Tish stands in front of it. The camera zooms back a little to see the police officer standing behind her.
Eric groans, shaking his head. “So, let me get this straight. You have to go wherever she goes?”
Eric is quick to ask, “Why?”
When no answer comes, Eric asks, “So, she’s following me. You’re following her.” Eric stands up and walks to the window, “Mr. Police Officer, come here.”
Eric waits, but the officer doesn’t move, so he walks over and steers the officer off to the side, “Look, she doesn’t need to be guarded. She is much stronger than you.”
The officer doesn’t seem to believe him.
“If you need proof, just arm wrestle her or chicken fight her,” he says as Tish whips her head towards them.
The officer looks him in the eye, “If there’s nothing further, I’m on duty.” He turns and walks back to stand behind Tish.
For a moment, Eric stands there, then turns and walks over to take his jacket and puts it on. As he walks back, he stops in front of the two and sighs annoyingly, “What is going on right now?” he asks as he walks towards the door.
Tish follows him.
The officer follows her.
They are driving down the road. Tish is in the passenger seat, and the officer is in the back. Eric glances at the cop in his rearview and then turns to ask Tish, “How is Rob? Has he healed yet?”
Tish gets an annoyed look on her face and turns to him, “You know he’s not.”
Eric nods, “That’s right. His tailbone is broken in three places, not two.”
The officer stays stoic in the back seat.
“So, how long will you be following her?” Eric asks him.
The cop responds with, “Until I receive orders not to.”
Eric nods, “There are three reasons I don’t like cops. One, they are slow. Two, they fuss around after the fact, and three, they do mostly things that aren’t necessary. Fourth, they don’t listen to the advice of others.”
Tish interrupts, “I thought you said three.”
In the dungeon, the masked man is pouring water into a basin.
He has the woman now tied to the bed, her arms over her head, and he has placed her in a wedding dress.
He places a rag in the water, rinses it out, and begins to clean her wounds.
She’s awake but doesn’t fight it when he begins this process. As the camera pans back, we see her legs are also secured to the foot of the bed with some straps. However, when he leans towards her with his creepy mask on, she screams and pulls away.
“Good girl,” he whispers to her. “I’m glad to see you awake.”
She tries to hide behind her arms, but he jerks one to the side so he can see her face, “Do you know what trouble I went through to get you here alive?”
She begins to cry.
“You are the first bride,” he says.
“Don’t kill me!” she cries out.
He yells at her, “What are you talking about!?! I saved you! I’m the one who saved you!” he screams at her. He rises from his chair and grabs it and holds it over his head like he might smash her with it as she screams and tries to protect herself.
“Be quiet,” he warns her. He sets the chair back down and sits on it as she begs him, “Don’t do this.”
He reaches over and pets her hair, “Shh. Have you ever seen a groom hurt his bride?” When she doesn’t quiet down, he gets up and kicks his chair, “I said, be quiet!”
He reaches for a camera, “Now smile,” he says as he begins to take her picture as she tries to shy away from him, still struggling in her bindings.
After he prints out the photo, he walks over and places it into a frame on a wall. There are seven frames, and she is the first.
Eric starts to walk into a restroom and pauses, turning around to Tish. “You can’t go in here.” He looks up at the cop, “How about you come with me?”
So, the cop follows Eric inside. As they both stand at the urinal, Eric says, “You should try and arm wrestle her. Or chicken fight.”
“I’m on official duty.”
“Peeing is an official duty now? Shouldn’t you be out there trying to catch the guy kidnapping women?” Eric hits the plunger, and the urinal flushes. He walks over and washes his hands.
A man with a black ball cap and dark sunglasses stands next to him and uses the other sink.
Eric walks out of the restroom.
“Don’t worry, there are no suspicious men,” says Tish.
“How can you tell they’re suspicious? Just because they wear a mask or…”, Eric stops for a moment. “Where’s Officer Roy?” As he goes back into the restroom, the man with the ballcap rushes past him and takes off.
Eric finds Officer Roy down next to the urinal, blood staining his white dress shirt. “Call an ambulance,” he yells.
Tish is already dialing as he yells it.
At the hospital, Tish says, “I should have stopped that guy. I didn’t do my job very well.”
Eric shakes his head, “I had no idea he had a knife. I wanted to feel at ease with the fact that you’re guarding me, but this is getting very dangerous.” He looks down at her, “You should quit.”
Tish shakes her head, “I won’t quit. I will start prioritizing my client’s safety over my own. Don’t fire me. I will protect you.”
Eric doesn’t seem convinced, “This is too dangerous. You could have been stabbed.”
“I won’t let anyone stab me like that.” Tish sighs, “Do you have any idea who it could be?”
“I have a list a mile long from my half-brothers, to competitors, stalkers. There are just too many. My father wanted me to stay and run the family business. When I left, my two brothers were furious at me. Once Aamesoft became successful, my father got on board with it. But they never did. I became the enemy. The only one I trust besides my father is my sister.”
Tish nods, “Whoever it is, I promise you I’ll catch them.”
Gibson pulls into a parking lot, and as soon as she parks, Jake opens the passenger door and climbs in.
“Why are we hiding this again?” Gibson asks.
Jake shakes his head, “It’ll be trouble with the others if they find out.”
Then lean towards each other and kiss.
After finding out that the officer’s wound wasn’t too serious, Eric is driving with Tish sitting next to him. He turns and looks at her, “Stay at my house tonight.”
She looks over at him.
“We can look after each other. What do you think?”
She continues to look at him.
He clears his throat, “Now, don’t get your hopes up. It’s not like anything will happen between us, so if that’s what you’re thinking, just put it out of your mind right now.”
“What hopes?” she asks.
“You know what I’m talking about. When a guy and a girl are alone together,” he says.
Tish scoffs, “Why would I sleep at your place? I pass on the invitation.”
“You just don’t understand.”
“What don’t I understand?”
“That staying at my place is an amazing opportunity.”
She shakes her head, “I don’t have the slightest intention of ever sleeping with you.”
Eric turns to look at her, “Just stay at my house for a while. It’s in the contract that you will honor my requests for security.”
Tish is getting pissed, “Not once in my contract does it say I have to stay at your house. It says I have to protect you from danger…”
“Exactly!” He says, “I’m in danger right now! What if an assassin breaks into my house while I’m asleep?”
“Assassins? Really? Just take me home!”
Jake and Gibson are making out when Jake’s cell phone rings. They pull apart so he can pull his phone out and answer.
“Officer Roy was stabbed while guarding Tish Weathersphere.”
“What?” asks Jake.
Eric looks over at Tish and asks, “He doesn’t like you like that, does he? It’s all one-sided, right?”
Tish almost looks offended, “What makes you ask something like that?”
“I can tell by the way you act. It’ll always be a one-sided love affair.” Then as if he has a grand idea, he suggests, “You know you can use me to make him jealous if you want. It’ll work. When a guy finds out you’re attracted to someone else, it automatically makes you more attractive to him.”
Tish stares at him, “Is that so?”
“What I’m trying to say is, just stay at my place tonight. I don’t feel safe being alone.”
Exasperated, Tish waves her hands back and forth, “Fine. Fine. Fine. I’ll stay. For double overtime pay.”
He looks at her.
A little later, he leads her into his house. It looks costly.
He sits down on his couch and asks, “Are you hungry? Do you want to eat?”
Her stomach growls, “I’m not used to eating one meal a day.” Her phone rings. She smiles when she sees who is calling.
Eric rolls his eyes and scoffs.
“Hm?” she asks. She turns to Eric, “What’s the address here?”
A while later, Eric lifts the lid off a pot, and there’s food cooking inside. He dishes up two bowls full of noodles, and they dig in.
“Are they good?” asks Eric.
“They are a little overdone. Not how I like them, but I’ll eat them.”
The doorbell rings.
“Who’s that?” asks Eric as he gets to his feet and walks to the door.
As he opens the door, Jake walks through.
“Jake,” says Tish, and he just glares at her before turning back to Eric, “Who lives here?”
“I live here. I’ll keep an eye on her. She’s completely safe,” says Eric.
“Who is this guy?” Jake asks Tish.
“He’s my boss.”
“You’re in danger. You’re not staying here,” says Jake as he grabs her wrist and starts to pull her towards the door.
Eric grabs the other wrist, “She’ll be fine here.”
“She’s leaving with me,” says Jake.
“I need her here tonight,” says Eric.
“I will take her,” says Jake.
“You won’t,” says Eric as the two men get face to face.
Tish looks from one to the other with a look of concern on her face.