Mirabelle stretched out her legs and crossed them at her ankles. Her mother would kill her for this, she thought to herself. Not only was she sitting on the ground, leaning up against a downtown building, but she was doing so at night and in a dress.
But she had grown tired from standing and pacing as she watched Harrison talk to the group of officers who were investigating the scene in the parking lot, and the cool concrete was welcome relief on this humid summer evening.
Pour some sugar on me in the name of love. Pour some sugar on me …
Mirabelle dug her hand into the purse sitting next to her and pulled out her cellphone.
"Hello dear," a familiar voice said. "What are you doing?"
"I am sitting on the sidewalk," Mirabelle replied. "What are you doing?"
"Well, I've been waiting by the phone as any girl should on a Wednesday night," April said in fake exasperation. "I've been dying to hear how things went with Harrison.
"Wait. Why are you on the sidewalk?"
"Long story, … I think," Mirabelle replied. "Dinner was good. Definitely think it was a date."
"Really! I want the details."
"Hmm, … do you want the one where he was about to kiss me …"
"Yes!" April screamed, interrupting Mirabelle.
"Or the one where I'm pretty sure the vandal struck again," Mirabelle said, looking down at her dress and smoothing it out as she talked.
"Oh. I don't like that one," April said. She paused for a moment and then said, "Why don't I meet you down at JK's? Let's get a drink. I'll even get Finn to come."
"Well … "
"You know you want to," Mirabelle heard April say. "So you know what? You're going. See you in 10."
"Yeah," Mirabelle said, looking up to discover Harrison standing over. "April, can you give me just …"
Harrison bent over and stretched out his hand. "Let me help you up," he said softly as he grabbed her and pulled her up in one gentle, swift motion.
"Thanks," Mirabelle said as she fussed with her dress, pulling down the skirt and brushing off the sand-like debris of the sidewalk.
"No problem," he said. "So who was that?"
"Oh, just April," she said, waving her hand. "My friend. What's going on over there? Was it the vandal?"
"And what did April want?" he asked coyly.
"She wants to go have a drink.
"Wait … you didn't answer my question," Mirabelle pushed.
"I didn't?" he said. "Hmmm. It's probably best I tell you over a drink."
April and Finn were sitting at the bar with a half-empty pint in front of each of them by the time Harrison and Mirabelle made their way through the doors.
"It's about time you got here," April said to Mirabelle, turning around on her stool.
Mirabelle gave her friend a short embrace before throwing her bag down on the bar in front of the stool next to April.
"Don't you think you two should slow down," she asked, nodding to the pints as she sat down.
"Don't you think you should introduce me to that tall man standing behind you?" April said with a wide smile, watching as the color of Mirabelle's cheeks went from Covergirl's Snow Plum to fire engine red.
Harrison stepped out from behind Mirabelle and extended his hand toward April.
"I'm Harrison. And you, I assume, are April," he said, shaking her hand before introducing himself to Finn. "I hope you don't mind my crashing the party."
"Oh, no," Finn said. "The more the merrier in this group. Plus, I hear you have some news that we all want to hear."
Harrison sat down next to Mirabelle and flagged the bartender, ordering a bottle of IPA before responding.
"I'm not sure I have news," Harrison said looking down the bar at the three friends who were staring intently at him. "Especially news you want to hear.
"I just went across the street, to the scene, because I know a few guys on the force and I didn't know if one of them would be there. I had met one of the guys at a party and he was kind enough to clue me in to the latest vandal strike."
"So it was the vandal," Finn said, leaning across the dark stretch of wood in front of April.
"I mean, that's what Hank said," Harrison said, pausing to take a drink of his beer. "A bunch of cars had their bumpers hanging off. Some of them were the front and others were the back. It was like someone went with a crowbar down the aisle, picking off one car and then another."
Mirabelle shook her head and grabbed April's beer, taking a not-so-dainty swig from the glass. She leaned into her friend, and April wrapped her arm around her bare shoulder.
"This is just ridiculous," Finn said. "Three strikes in less than a week, and it doesn't seem like anyone has a clue what to do."
"I thought I did, and we all know how that turned out," Mirabelle said, clutching her stomach.
"Well, maybe you just need to go about it a bit differently," Finn said. "I think we need to get some of the downtown business owners together and start a patrol.
"Does that sound off the wall, Harrison?"
"I don't think so," the lawyer said. "There might be some legal issues to contend with, but there's no harm in protecting your business."
April grabbed her drink back from the clutch of Mirabelle and took a drink. Slamming the glass on the bar, she said, "You want to know what I want to know? I want to know who the hell was parked down there so late at night. I mean, who's hanging out on Main Street on a Wednesday night?"
Together, Harrison, Mirabelle, April and Finn looked up to see a man at the other end of the bar. They hadn't even noticed him, in his dark T-shirt and baseball cap. Had he been there the whole time?
"Huh?" April said.
The man stood up, grabbing his drink, and walked toward them.
"The Wildcats," he said, sitting a bit closer to the group. "You know the baseball league. The parents and players were celebrating the season down at Coney Island."
"So how do you know that?" April asked, with a not so subtle snarkiness in her tone.
"Heard it on the scanner. I'm on the FWPD. An officer. Officer Shane Griffith."