Status: Active.

Little Hand Grenade

Chapter 10

Since Jenna's court date couldn't be held over the weekend, she would be held in jail until she could be convicted by a judge. Luckily for me, my military status earned the respect of the right people, and no one questioned my reason to be here. With the help of the Phoenix Police Department, I finally had the resources to build a good lead to present to a federal agent I trusted. I knew I was too personally attached to reasonably track down whoever was behind this.

"A body guard, eh?" said the chief of police, a tall man with dark skin and a glint in his eye that said he saw something funny in everything. He exuded leadership though, and I was drawn straight to him while asking for admittance. "That's a strange occupation for a colonel in intelligence."

"The record rep was in the right place at the right time," I said, and sipped my coffee. We stood in the room behind the two-way mirror, the lights dimmed. So far, we were the only ones present. The prisoners had a schedule, and that was one thing that was made clear to me. It was still early, but that was because I needed to get out of the hotel before Alex woke up. I decided not to tell him anything for fear that he would argue with me. Or kiss me or something. A blush rose to my cheeks as the memory replayed itself. Thank the heavens above for dark rooms. "It was my first day back, and some asshole stabbed my taxi driver."

"That's bad luck, right there," he noted, and shook his head and smiled. "You going back?" The police chief was a Marine, and despite our different factions, we had an immediate understanding.

"Maybe," I said noncommittally. "I miss it. They'd make me a general if I went back."

"I can't see a reason why a single woman like you shouldn't take it," he said, and that air of leadership felt much stronger now that he was giving advice. "If a man can't handle you because of your job, he doesn't deserve you. Like my son, that little shit. He won't even pull his pants up, and I love him, but he shouldn't be allowed around women." We shared a quick laugh, but I forced it out. That hit close to home. How would Alex take it if I rejoined the Army and became a general?

Forget about me, probably. At the rate he dates and dumps girls, I'm sure I'd be on a list of some kind. The girl-I-never-actually-dated-but-kissed-and-kind-of-liked list. What he didn't know, however, was that no one has kissed me other than Captain Adams since high school. He could forget about me all he wanted, but I would always, in some way, remember him.

As if he could read my mind, my new phone vibrated in my pocket. He sent me a text asking where I was. Strange. I always thought he had never seen eight o'clock in the morning unless he stayed up all night. Instead of lying completely, I told him I was at the police department taking care of stuff and left out the details. He replied saying that he was going to the hospital to visit Jack, and when I didn't reply, followed up with, "we need to talk". Well, my heart hasn't leapt like that since the first time a bullet hit my Humvee. Thankfully, Jenna was led into the interrogation room shortly and I regained my composure.

"Do you have an angle you want to talk about?" the police chief asked.

"I'm going to see if she'll simply answer my questions first, but if not, I'll see if I can provoke her or make her jealous," I said, downing the rest of my coffee. "All of the girls involved are Alex's ex-girlfriends, and I think I know him well enough to play a game with this one."

"If you need an intimidation factor, just call me."

"Yes, sir."

I was already prepared for this. The combination of make-up skills that Jack taught me, an outfit that Alex said he preferred and straightened hair that Alex also said he preferred these days, I hoped to use to my advantage. It wasn't a ponytail and jeans kind of day like yesterday when Jenna met me. Her surprise at my appearance was evident the moment I walked into the room.

"Someone cleans up nicely," she said snottily, already trying to sit up straighter. With no makeup, no styled hair and boring, dark blue attire, she no longer looked like the model Alex made her out to be.

"Oh, this? I don't know anything about fashion, Alex had to dress me this morning," I said nonchalantly and waved a hand. "He's a nice guy. Why would you want to kill his best friend?"

"It's not going to work," she scoffed. "I know what you're trying to do."

"I'm just asking you a question," I said, holding up my hands and leaning back comfortably in my chair. "If you talk to me, you'll probably get less prison time. If you don't, I'll make sure you're locked up for at least twenty-five years with no bail. Just saying. I have some sway in the government."

"I'm not answering any questions until my lawyer gets here," she said immediately, licking her dry lips.

"Okay, I'll just talk, then," I said, and smiled maliciously. Looks like provocation was my new route. The last thing I wanted was a lawyer here. Considering it was Sunday morning, I was pretty sure he wouldn't show up until ten. "I want to tell you how I met Alex. Then maybe you'll see why this is kind of important to me. I want to know who wants him dead, and I'm sure you aren't the evil mastermind here.

"I just signed papers to leave the Army, which was hard, by the way. Generals were present at my signing, hoping to change my mind and promote me if I dropped the pen. I could be a general right now, but instead I'm talking to you. I flew to Portland, the last place I lived, and took a taxi to some shady hotel near the airport. This asshole decided to rob my cabby, so I took his gun and blew his brains out."

"You're lying," she spat, and I grinned. "You'd be in a cell with me, you stupid bitch."

"Well, if I was some run-of-the-mill citizen, yeah," I agreed. "But I'm not. I went with my driver to the hospital where he was given something for anxiety, and when the police showed up, I went through routine questioning and they let me go." Doubt flashed on her face for a split second. "Anyway, a Hopeless Records rep was there with Alex. Long story short, he hired me on the spot to protect Alex from his pathetic ex-girlfriends. I don't know about you, but I think he has awful taste in women. I mean, he kissed me, and that should say a lot."

"He kisses everyone," Jenna said, licking her lips again. "He sleeps with everyone. He dumps everyone. We dated for a year, and when I wanted him to meet my parents, he never showed up and broke up with me over a text message--"

"Hang on a sec," I interrupted, pulling out my phone and sending a text to Alex asking if Jack was doing okay. "Sorry, he was worried because I left before he woke up. Anyway, continue."

"Okay..." she said slowly, eyeing my phone warily, "after that, he would call when he stopped in Phoenix to hook up."

"I see," I said, and fiddled with the ring I kept on my necklace. So, whoever is asking these girls to hurt the band members knew that Alex hooked up with Jenna whenever he was in Phoenix. There was a clue. "Can I ask you something completely unrelated to this case?"

"I guess," she said, shrugging. This was my chance.

"Did he ever buy you anything?"

"Other than random stuff I wanted? No," she said, laughing a little. "That's not Alex. I was one of his more serious girlfriends, and he never bought me anything special, if that's what you mean."

"Okay, I was just curious," I said, averting my eyes, letting a small smile on my lips and purposely replaying the kiss in my head so my cheeks would turn red.

"Why?" Curiosity killed the cat, they say. I say that curiosity let the cat out of the bag.

"Well, he bought me my phone because I didn't have one," I began slowly, holding it up for her to see. "And...this." I held up my engagement ring. "I'm not sure if it's because he likes me or because he knows I'd go to any measure to save his life, but he gave it to me last night."

"That's an engagement ring," she said bluntly, pointing at it. "He's barely known you for a month and he bought you a fucking ENGAGEMENT RING?!" And now to let her go. That was way too easy.

"I threw hints at him for months! Kailey did, too! The only girl he gave a ring to was Carissa, and then he cheated on her! She ran away to London, you know. Alex has ignored her since he dumped her and told her to keep the ring because he didn't want to see her anymore. He'll do the same thing to you, just watch! And you know what? Fuck Carissa, I'm not going to prison because she has a bone to pick! She had it good! Alex loved her! She called me after Kailey couldn't fucking kill that bastard, but you ruined her plan yet again after her attempt at the signing. You're next, do you hear me?! When she hears that you're engaged, and he--"

"Stop there," I said, and made the hand sign for the chief to stop recording. "I didn't even have to Black Widow you. You're still in love with him, aren't you?" First, it dawned on her that none of it was true. Then, surprisingly, she smiled.

"It happens awfully fast, doesn't it? The man should get an award for making a cold, stony slut like you fall in love with him." It took every ounce of my willpower to smile victoriously and keeps my arms at my side. I wanted to rearrange her face. In love with Alex Gaskarth? Me? Psh. Not a chance.

I checked my phone to see if I had any missed texts, and there was one with a photo of Jack in a hospital bed and Alex, both grinning like idiots. A warm, gooey feeling entered my chest to see him smile like that, quickly followed by stark fear. I would have thrown my phone, but Alex bought it for me, so I clutched it to my chest.

Mother fuck.
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And now, let the awkwardness commence lol