Hello my friends and readers.
I’m sorry that the second half to AP is a little behind. I am currently cleaning it up now for release next month. To thank you for your patience with me I am post the first chapter unedited. Thank you so much for hanging in there with me as I strive to give you the very best of me. Have a fantastic week! I hope you enjoy it. Just a thought but maybe Anjula’s stalker isn’t someone you know…
Anjula glanced around the club. Bass in the music made the wall thump and the dancefloor was crowded with writhing bodies moving to the beat. Bai Lin was on the outside of a group rolling her hips and swinging her hands above her head. Several men surrounded her but her friend didn’t show any interest in the people circling her.
She and Bai Lin were having a nice dinner when her bestie had an idea and as usual she went along with it. Not for her sake but for Bai’s, she did not want to make an early morning visit to the police station to bail her buddy out. So far she’d declined a few drinks and offers to dance.
Bai dropped into the seat next to her, took one look at Anjula’s drink and waved her hand. “Two more Long Island ice teas please”.
Anjula stared at her friend. “You do realize if we keep this up we won’t make it home”.
“There is a very nice hotel next door.” Bai shrugged. “So we stumble down the sidewalk and get us a room. Sleep it off”. Her bestie wasn’t behaving like she usually did and hadn’t been ever since Jay arrived in town. “See I have a contingency plan for everything.”
The server arrived with fresh drinks and set them down with the slip to sign for the. A quick scribble and Bai was out of her seat again. “I love this song!” She grabbed Anjula by the hand and yanked her up out the seat. They pressed through the mob to the center of the floor. “Shake that ass, show ‘em what you working with.” Bai yelled.
She couldn’t help the smile that lifted her lips. leave it to her friend to find the most outrageous way to cheer her up. She’d been sticking close to home only leaving her house to go to work since the episode with the funeral flowers. Through everything Jin Woo was understanding, he was like a piece of chewing gum stuck to her. Anjula closed her eyes and his image filled her mind. This was the first time in a few weeks that he wasn’t in close proximity. He definitely needed a break from all her drama which was why she’d agreed to go out with Bai Lin. Slowly she gyrated her hips getting a feel for the rhythm created by the song. Someone bump up against her and she shifted easing away from the person invading her space.
It was nice to forget about everything but the right then. She swayed letting the music soothe her battered soul. Anjula shook her head, she wouldn’t think about the person threatening her. They didn’t deserve that kind of power over her. It was bad enough the idiot kept coming at her and the police, they were no help telling her to wait until the criminal made a mistake. Stalking laws were shitty and that was putting it nicely but as the cop pointed out they had no one to focus on to begin with. Bile rose up burning her throat, she stopped moving and cover ed her mouth. Maybe coming out wasn’t the greatest idea.
She was in public and no one would bother her or would they? Anjula’s lids snapped open, self-conscious, panic slithered along her nerves. She ran forward slamming into another person. The dancer looked her up and down before a sly smile spread across his mouth but didn’t quite reach his eyes. She nodded and mouthed an apology, easing to the side to slip past him.
He wrapped cold fingers around her wrist and jerked her back. “Hey beautiful, dance with me.” A mix of alcohol was rich on his breath.
The smell made her gag. “Another time.’ She yanked her arm.
“Now is as good a time as any.” He lurched forward trapping her limb between them. “Right?”
This was not good. She glanced around searching or Bai and spotted her buddy dancing on the other side of the floor. Her belly roiled, saliva pooled in her mouth she was going to be sick. “Not really.”
His hand slid down her back resting on the top of her ass. “If you have a better idea gorgeous I am open to suggestions.”
She leaned in, pressing against his cheek. “I will throw-up all over you in a minute if you don’t let me go.”
He gazed at her through narrowed eyes.
She held his gaze and swallowed back the vomit threatening to erupt from her.
“You heard the woman.” A deep voice came from behind her.
The guy released her arm and shoved her back. “You’re not even cute anyway” He commented with sneer before walking away.
Anjula stumbled back and strong hand curled around her biceps. “Careful.”
She spun around to find detective Moore peering down at her. “Interesting meeting you here Dr. Mathews. I’m surprise you ventured out alone.”
“I’m here with friends.” She discreetly pulled from his embrace “What brings you to a club?”
“Everyone gets time off doctor. What better way than to let off a little steam?” He tightened his arm around her waist and swayed to the music. “Hell of a coincidence meeting you here.”
His presence wasn’t inspiring confidence. All she wanted to do was get off the dance floor and away from people.
Detective Moore maneuvered them. “I’ve been watching you.”
“And that’s supposed to make me feel better?” She patted his chest. His words came across ore like a threat than reassurance. “At least you’re doing your job, maybe you’ll actually catch my stalker.”
“I wonder…” He covered her hand with his. “As a psychologist you would know how o manipulate the people around you to appear as a victim.”
Her anger sparked, “You’ve found me out. Oh my God! Was I so obvious – my cravings for attention? Really I just wanted you to notice me detective…” Anjula sighed deeply. “I just can’t hide my feeling for you anymore. Save me.”
“I guess you’ll cover your tracks anyway you can.” He cleared his throat. “Playing with police is serious. Keep it up and you won’t like what happens.”
“Join the list of assholes threatening me.” She scoffed. “Help me find the perpetrator instead of adding to my issues.”
“I have a pretty good handle on what’s happening.” Detective Moore chuckled. “I only have to wait for you to make a mistake.” He dropped his arms. “After all everyone makes mistakes.”
“I could report you for harassment.”
“Who would believe you? A black woman against a decorated policeman. One of Sugarland’s finest.” He held her gaze. “Stop wasting valuable resources and take care of your problems without involving law enforcement.
Where was his aggression coming from? She lifted her chin. “Fuck you.”
He shook his head, “Is that the best you got because I have heard worse. He spun on his heel and ambled away.
She watched him saunter away, his shoulders straight as if he didn’t have a care in the world. She was tired. Anjula marched in the opposite direction of the detective, stalking the floor for Bai Lin. She found her friend at their table with two men. Bai peered up at her with a goofy smile. “Hey I was looking for you and found these brothers instead. Cute huh”
“I’m tired and ready to go”. Anjula wouldn’t swear to it but she thought she saw relief in her friend’s eyes.
“Let us buy you another round.” The teller of the two men spoke up.
Bai rose and patted the fella’s shoulders “You heard her guys my friend is ready to go.” She locked arms with Anjula. Together they strolled toward the exit. The cool evening air greeted them as they walked outside. “Well this was a very interesting night. Who was the man you were talking too?”
“Here I thought you lost me.” Anjula grinned. She wouldn’t add to her friends worries.
“Are you drunk and crazy?” Bai snorted. “You were only out of my sight for a few minutes at most. If I let anything happen to you Oppa would be one very pissed off person. I can’t stand him when he gets that way, all grouchy and petulant. I already have one nightmare like that. I don’t need two”
Anjula hesitated. “Really who’s the other one?”
“Jay.” Bai stopped in front of the hotels automatic doors and they slid open. A woosh of air flowed over them from the interior.
“Want to talk about it? You and Jay.” Maybe she would finally get to the mystery history that the two shared.
“I’m tipsy not drunk so not really.” Bai waved a hand. “I’ll get us a room. Hey this will be just like our dorm days. Now those were good times”
“Yeah they were.” If only they could go back to those days when adulating wasn’t so damn hard.
In the room she just stripped down to her undies as she walked to the closest bed and crawled in. Anjula sat at the small table and looked out at the skyline through the open curtains. She reached for her purse and dug out her phone to send a quick text to Jin.
Are you enjoying your guy’s night out?
A thrilling evening reminiscing with Soju and beer. How is your night going?
I miss you. Why burden him by telling him about the cop.
Nope – miss me.
“Go to sleep already your notification chimes are annoying.” Bai groused before turning over.
“Night Park Bai Lin,” Anjula sang the words.
“They’re both safely tucked in bed. Do you want to check into the hotel too? Jin Woo twisted in his seat and peered at his old friend
“Not necessary. I’m all for some Soju though?”
“Home it is.” Cai shook his head. “You say I have it bad?”
“I did this for you. You would have lost your damn mind if anything happened to Anjula. I practically had to break your arm to keep you from storming over to her and the cop.”
“She did good though didn’t she? Not once did she back down.” Pride was clear in his tone. “But she didn’t mention it just now.”
“If Anjula couldn’t have handled it I saw Bai watching her. Anything happened and that cop wouldn’t have made it out of the club.”
“Maybe not but I noticed three men shadowing him. Bai couldn’t have taken them all on.”
Damian stared at Jin through cold eyes. “That my friend would have been extenuating circumstances which would have called for our interference”
“Brother you got it way worse than I do. Just put your foot down and tell Park Bai Lin how it’s going to be.” Cai laughed loudly
“You do know realize this is Bai we’re talking about. Ms. I can’t be with you because my family wouldn’t understand.” Frustration colored Jays tone.
Jin had heard it all his life. The pedigree of marriage, she must behave a certain way. Have a specific amount of money and connections to further their business background and bank accounts. There was strength in marital bonds and more times than he cared to admit his family members married for reasons other than love. “You know our filial bonds.”
“You could care less about what people think especially family. Sometimes I think you purposely set out to piss them off.”
“True, but I am on a whole other level than you and I was raised under these expectations, which is why I give less than a damn.” Jin started the truck. “Sometimes I wish they would cut me off. Since my mom wasn’t what my family wanted it put double the pressure on me.”
“I wish Bai would say screw it and save us a lot of heart ache.”
“My cousin is a little off.” He’d tried to warn his friend years earlier when Jay first meant Bai Lin. Jay was lost the moment he saw her and for all the shit Bai Ln took him through, not matter where or what country she fled too Jay was never far behind.
“That’s what makes her fun.”
“I think you have taken one too many hits to the head.” He pulled into traffic.
“Let’s agree to disagree. I do have one question.”
“Have you told your mother? If you haven’t – can I listen in when you do? Because that is a bout I would pay for.”
“Kiss my toned ass.” Anyone who knew him, knew his mother was not a subject he liked to discuss.
“Nothing can compare to my buns of steel.” Jay pressed the button and the window slid down. “It’s not my fault Choi May Ling is the Asian reincarnation of Mommy Dearest.”
“Do you want to walk back to Sugarland”
Jay peered over at him with an emotionless expression. “Just drive, flower boy.”
Truck headlights illuminated the white lines that bisected the high way. Immersed in his thoughts Jin didn’t speak on the trip from Houston to Sugarland and Jay stayed quiet also. His best friend was right, May Ling would force him to deal with her if he didn’t address her on his own and bring Anjula into the mix. She had enough on her plate. He could marry Anjula, his mother wouldn’t be able to dispute that. There was nothing she could do with him at all which was the source of her frustrations but he didn’t doubt she would try to make Anjula’s life hell. He needed a powerful ally and there was only one person in his family that could take on his mother, Chairman Choi. Jin tapped the steering wheel with is fingers. He would have to suck it up and have a conversation with his grandmother.