Sleepless Night

Leeward Police Department

Mike McKenzie struggled to keep his eyes open. Too many sleepless nights were starting to take their toll. He sighed and saved the file he’d been working on. Standing he stretched. His jaw cracking as he gave into another yawn.

“You’re not going to get another cup of coffee,” Tar said barring his path to the break room. “Go home.”

“I need to finish the reports.”

“I’ll work on them, anything I don’t know you can finish tomorrow. Go. You’re about to fall out and all of that coffee can’t be good for your heart.”

“Yes mother.” Mike sighed and shoved a hand through his hair. Was it starting to thin? “How do you manage to deal with it?”

Tar lifted his chin and met Mike’s eyes. The two men were of a similar size and build. Tar had a little more bulk to his muscles, but neither was tall. Tar was just barely six foot and Mike fell just shy at 5’, 10”.  He was average. Average height and size, average income.

There was nothing remarkable about him so why did he push himself to be super-cop? Mike felt the overwhelming pressure to protect the town of Leeward and its citizens.

“How do I deal with the loss?” Tar asked his voice gruff with emotion.

Shit, he didn’t want to deal with the other man’s emotions, he didn’t want to deal with his own. He shrugged. “Yeah.” His mouth felt dry and his hands clammy. “How do you sleep at night?”

Tar took a deep breath and turned away. “Jenna,” he said and his dark skin reddened.

Mike wanted to laugh at the man’s blush but since they were talking about his sister, he kept his comments to himself.

Tar moved into the office and began toying with the pens and stuff on the desk. “Your sister is a pain in the ass when she wants something.” He sighed. “She won’t let me brood. She forces me to talk about things even when I don’t want to.” He laughed. “She’s the best but don’t you tell her I said that. She’ll just think it’s a license to nag more.” Tar grinned. “You need to talk about it.”

Mike nodded. He knew his brother-in-law was right, he did need to talk about what happened. So much had happened between the sex trafficking ring to the explosion, losing Jake but there wasn’t anyone he could talk to. A vision of Janie Harrell flitted through his thoughts, but he shoved that away. He’d blown that relationship before it ever had time to grow.

“You know, you could come over for dinner, let Jenna grill you for a while.”

Mike shrugged. “I’d hate to add to her list of chores. She already has you and Toby to look out for and soon this new baby. Do you know what we’re having yet?”

Tar grinned. “Jenna wants to have one of those gender-reveal parties. She and Dana have been making big plans.”

Mike’s smile froze. Dana. Jake’s fiancé. The new mayor. “How’s Dana doing?”

Tar shrugged. “You’ve seen her. She’s thrown herself into fixing this town…”

The guilt threatened to overwhelm him. “Losing Jake was hard.”

Tar agreed. “Unfortunately, it comes with the job.”

“Not in a small town like Leeward. Things like sex trafficking and explosions shouldn’t happen here.”

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