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What He Protects

By´╝ÜHannah Ford


It bothered me that I knew exactly how to get to the police station. In fact, it almost seemed normal now, walking in and seeing the same receptionist who had been there when Noah was questioned.

She was decidedly less friendly today. This time, there were no private looks about how hot Noah was, no professional tone or polite attitude. She gave me a sigh when she saw me, and acted put-out when I told her I was there to speak with someone who’d just been arrested.

“Name?” she asked.

“Mine or the, um, sus—person’s?”


“Noah Cutler.” I’m sure I was just being paranoid, but I felt like she could somehow tell I had a personal interest in the case.

“Are you his lawyer?” she asked, looking me up and down skeptically. Not that I could blame her. I didn’t look like a lawyer.

“No,” I said. “I’m a law student. But I’m part of his legal team.”

She shook her head. “Did he call his lawyer?”

“Of course he called his lawyer.” It wasn’t technically true. I was the one who’d called Professor Worthington, explaining to him what had happened while I stood on a busy street corner. He hadn’t seemed shocked or alarmed at all – he just said ‘I’ll meet you there’ and then he’d hung up.

“Well, then you can wait over there,” the receptionist said. “Until the lawyer gets here.”

She said “lawyer” very pointedly, like since I wasn’t one, I had no business being there. I sighed and sat down in one of the folding chairs in the lobby. I rummaged through my bag and pulled out a notebook. But there was nothing for me to make notes on.

I could have opened my iPad and tried to catch up on my reading for school, but I was too antsy. Noah had been arrested. There was going to be a trial. And evidence. The prosecutor would dig deep into Noah’s life and ask him all kinds of questions.

If anyone found out about our relationship, I’d be subpoenaed. They’d ask me about our sex life, if Noah had ever gotten rough with me, if he’d ever hurt me. And even though he hadn’t ever hurt me, I knew enough about the law to realize they would make it look like he had.

The prosecutor would ply me with specific questions, like if Noah had ever left marks on my wrists, if he’d ever spanked me so hard it made my skin red. And Noah had done those things -- not in the way they’d try to paint it, but it wouldn’t matter. They’d ask me, and they wouldn’t understand about the sexual part of it, about the domination and submission. Hell, I didn’t even understand most of it.

If I lied, I could get arrested for perjury. And if that happened, I could kiss my law career good bye.

What a huge fucking mess, I thought to myself. Why couldn’t I have just fallen in love with some normal law student, the kind of guy who would study hard and get good grades and then take some boring job in corporate law? Why did I have to get involved with an older man, one with a penchant for BDSM and a tortured past?

I pulled out my phone and watched the second hand on the clock icon slowly move around the screen, willing it to move faster. Professor Worthington should have been here by now. I thought about calling him, but I didn’t want to be a pest or seem too eager. Now that Noah had been officially arrested, it was even more important for me to make sure I stayed involved in his case.

I got up and paced the room, because the energy inside of me needed somewhere to go -- I was starting to feel like I was going to scream.

“You know, he was probably taken to Central Booking,” the receptionist piped up helpfully.

I turned around. “Excuse me?”

“Central Booking. It’s where they take people after they’ve been arrested. While they wait to be arraigned.”

I took in a deep breath through my nose and resisted the urge to scream at her for not telling me that sooner. Obviously she knew I was waiting for Noah and Professor Worthington -- I’d told her that when I’d gotten here. So why would she let me sit here like some kind of fool, wasting time when Noah wasn’t even here?

Although it wasn’t entirely her fault. Of course I knew clients didn’t speak with their lawyers at the police station, that once they were arrested and had their information recorded, they were sent to Central Booking. I should have known better -- when Professor Worthington had said ‘I’ll meet you there,’ he’d meant Central Booking -- but I was so frazzled I hadn’t thought of it. My total lack of forethought definitely didn’t bode well for my law career.

Get it together, Holloway, I told myself.

I ran outside and hailed a taxi while looking up the address for Central Booking on my phone. I had a frantic energy about me, and I tried to force myself to calm down, but my hands were shaking as I opened the door to the cab and gave the cabbie the address.