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I was stuck back on “you can’t have two maids of honor” and therefore fighting back hyperventilation at the same time flashing pictures filled my head of a commando-style wedding; Hawk in black cargos, me in a white flak jacket festooned with lace. The picture of me carrying a bouquet of flowers and Hawk carrying an automatic weapon. The picture of me admiring Hawk’s huge-ass hunting knife. The picture of Hawk carrying me out of the reception in a fireman’s hold while bullets flew and flames caused by Molotov cocktails danced on the dance floor.

Tracy was stuck on it too, her flashing pictures way, way different than mine, and therefore she clapped and shrieked, “There it is! Elvira’s the insider and she says this is going somewhere!”

“Oh God, I don’t even have my ass on a stool and I already seriously need a cosmo,” Cam muttered.

“Well get yo’ ass back here and man the shaker, girl,” Elvira said to Cam and then looked at Tracy. “As for goin’ somewhere, I don’t know if Hawk’s the marryin’ kind and, you asked me a week ago, I would have said, ‘hell no’ but a week ago he also wasn’t the shoe-buyin’ kind so right now, my guess is, anything goes.”

“Cam, hurry, cosmo,” I whispered.

“I gotcha covered, babe,” Cam muttered.

“Well, I see good things but I always saw good things,” Tracy declared, hitching her ass up on a stool and leaning forward to grab an olive off Elvira’s board.

The breadknife Elvira was using clattered to the counter and Tracy bought her hand a quick, sharp slap.

“I’m not done,” Elvira declared when Tracy snatched her hand back and held it with her other one, staring at Elvira in shock. “It’s about presentation. Don’t mess with my presentation.”

“Okay,” Tracy whispered, her eyes sliding to me, I pressed my lips together and Elvira went back to work and, scarily, she also went back to talking.

“Boys at the base, not big on gossip, it’s frowned on, doin’ anything too girlie or sissy, and I say frowned on in the sense that, you do that shit, you court bein’ water boarded.”

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Holy crap!

Elvira went on. “They might share whose ass they’ve tagged but that’s pretty much it. Worst part of the job. Who ever heard of a job where there’s no gossip? But I can tell you this,” she turned to me and jabbed the breadknife in my direction, “you been an object of fascination for a good long while.”

Oh shit.

Elvira went back to her bread. “No talk. No whispers. Hawk would freakin’ go psycho badass on their ass and Hawk’s badass enough, goin’ psycho, no one wants to go there. But that don’t mean looks weren’t exchanged and a look sometimes says it all.”

In order to steady my breathing, I looked to Cam who was the steadiest person I knew. Cam was coming back to the counter with a shaker full of ice and she was biting her lip.

Oh shit.

“Cam?” I called.

She stopped biting her lip but kept her eyes to the martini shaker when she replied, “Yeah, babe?”

“Do you have something to say?” I asked.

“Sho’ she does,” Elvira put in. “I heard the reports. I know the names of your girls. Camille. She works dispatch. Dispatch is at the Station. Cops, they don’t mind gossipin’ so she knows the shit went down today.”

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I was leaning against the back counter but at this, I moved to the horseshoe, positioning myself beside Elvira to get a closer look at Cam.

“What shit went down today?” I asked.

“You didn’t tell me about any shit in the car,” Tracy put in, her eyes on Cam.

Camille poured vodka but Camille did not speak.

“Cam,” I prompted.

Cam put down the bottle of vodka and looked at me.

Then she declared, “I don’t want to like him.”

I felt a flutter in my belly.

Elvira reared back, her eyebrows shooting up. “Why not?”

“He’s…” she trailed off and reached for the cranberry juice.

“Cam,” I repeated.

She put down the cranberry juice and looked at me. “Okay, well, Leo called, told me what happened. He told me what happened right after it happened because he was there. In fact, he couldn’t wait to call.”

“What happened?” Tracy asked.

“Hawk Delgado went psycho badass, that’s what happened,” Elvira answered.

“He what?” I whispered.

Cam nodded. “On Jerry Travers.”

“Who’s Jerry Travers?” Tracy asked.

Cam looked at her. “As far as Cabe Delgado could trace it, he’s the guy who started the shit about Gwen being filler.”

Oh boy, I said in my head but in my belly there was another flutter.

“Oh boy,” Tracy whispered out loud.

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“Oh boy is right,” Elvira confirmed.

“What happened?” I asked Camille.

“Well, Leo says Delgado isn’t stupid enough to walk into a police station and assault a police officer. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t make his displeasure clear and he did, crystal, and he did this public.”

“I love this,” Tracy breathed. “How did it go down?”

“Leo says he got in his space, got in his face and tore him a new one right in front of everyone,” Cam answered and my belly graduated from flutter and started getting squishy. “And that new one he tore him is wide and gaping. Everyone’s talking about it.”

“Really?” Tracy whispered.

Cam nodded then looked at me and her expression was embattled. She didn’t know what to make of this. “Leo was overjoyed. He even used that word, overjoyed. That man has never used the word overjoyed. Firstly, he’s not a big fan of Jerry Travers because Jerry Travers talks trash about you and because he’s an ass. I know Jerry. This is true. He is an ass and he didn’t say that shit to me because he knows we’re tight. I just know he’s an ass. Secondly, Leo thinks you’re the shit, you know that, girl, and Delgado walkin’ in there to lay down the law about trash-talkin’ you, well, he thought that was a little bit of all right.”

I thought it was a little bit of all right too.

I looked down at the boards.

“Hurry, Elvira, if you don’t, I’m breaking out the cookie dough,” I told her.

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