Convicted

Chapter Two
Presley walked back inside feeling quite sure she might trip in her boots. She was truthfully weak in the knees. Being weak in the knees was something she kidded a lot of the boys about. She flirted with them all because it kept them coming back, and everyone who came back paid a cover charge. Without happy patrons, Presley had no paycheck. 

“What’s up, Tony? I’m sorry I took so long. I got distracted.”

“By Justin Mansfield. I noticed.”

“Turns out I’ve known him since he was 11 years old. You believe that?”

“I don’t give a dang. He’s still T-R-O-U-B-L-E just like the song, but hey, check this out, me and my girl here wanna dance, so I got the Electric Slide on cue and then some Usher after that for the next slow song. It should be the half hour by that time.”

“Thanks, Tony, for relieving me. Hey, I’m working on the after party. I need to see if Bobby will let us all chill at his place tonight.”

“That works. Bobby’s cool.”

Emily put out her lip. “I wish I could go.”

“I know you do, Em. But at least you know I’m making sure your boy ain’t slingin’ it to no one else, right?”

“True, true.”

Tony wrapped his long arms around Emily’s waist. “You know I ain’t dippin’ out on you, baby. That ain’t me.”

Emily rolled her eyes. “They all say that.”

“They sure do!” Presley hit the play button and Pink began to play. She flicked the light switches until all the colored swirly lights were bouncing on the dance floor. She then dimmed the overhead white lights and turned up the volume some. She spoke in the microphone, “Electric Slide everybody! Line up… and… five, six, seven, eight!”

At midnight, Presley began to put her CDs in their slots and raised the lights. She took the mic. “That’s all for tonight, y’all. See y’all tomorrow night. Be safe. Much love.”

Bobby came inside and began stacking the chairs. He nodded to her. “My house tonight?”

“Yeah! I was gonna ask you if you cared. I got a few peeps who want to come with. Is that okay?”

“Heck yeah. The more the merrier. You gonna get somethin’ to eat first?”

“Yeah, I’m gonna run through Mickie D’s. You want me to grab something for you?”

“Yeah, sweetie. How ‘bout a Big Mac and some fries? I’ll pay ya when you get to my place. I’m gonna close up here and meet y’all there.”

Presley turned out the lamp above her equipment and made her way out of the DJ booth. Her mom met her at the door. “You going out tonight?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Coming home at all?”

“I doubt it. Hangin’ out at Bobby’s. Don’t wait up.”

“Okay, well be careful.”

“I will.”

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Lynn, you know I wouldn’t let nothing happen to Presley.” Bobby winked at Presley. 

“Okay. Well, this mama still worries.”

“Love you, Mama.”

“Love you too. Y’all locking up?”

“Yes, ma’am. Bobby said he had it, and Troy is here too, so it’ll get done.”

Presley watched her mom leave and looked outside. Troy, the head security officer was talking to Justin… Andrew. What should I call you?

Bobby came up behind Presley and spanked her on the butt. “You’re lookin’ hot as hell tonight. I hope you ain’t bringin any dudes. I was kinda hopin’ we could be alone.”

“Look, Bobby. I’m not in the mood for anything like that. I just wanna chill and have a good time. I’m not lookin’ for anything more than that.”

“Well, that’s okay, Darlin’. I just wanted you to know that I’m here if you need to hook up. I’m all for being a buddy, if you know what I mean. I know you don’t get a lot of opportunity to meet guys your age. At least I’m legal.”

“You’ve got a point there. But you’re an employee, and I don’t think it’s a good idea. Besides, I don’t believe in buddies. Someone catches feelings, even when they think they won’t. And knowing me and how much of a catch I am, it will be you. If I break your heart, I doubt you’ll want to keep working here. And we need you.”

Bobby laughed. “Vain much?”

“No, just honest. You ready?”

“Yeah, everything’s done. We just gotta lock up.”

“Okay, I’ll let you do that. I’m gonna say goodnight to Troy and get him to quit giving Justin, or Andrew over there, the third degree.”

Presley walked out and caught Justin’s eyes first, then Troy’s. Troy winked at her while shifting his toothpick around in his mouth. Something he did when he was flirting. “Presley, you are gorgeous. If I wasn’t married, I’d take you home.”

“Bull. You’d take me to a motel right now if I said the word.”

Justin burst out in laughter and walked a few feet away. He lit a cigarette and looked over his shoulder at Presley. She felt weak again. 

Troy took his toothpick out of his mouth and tossed it in the bucket. “Is that so?”

“It’s oh so.”

“Well, go ahead and try me.”

“Troy, it’s time to go home. I’ll see ya tomorrow night.”

“The parking lot ain’t clear yet. Your dope boy over here is hanging around. And your little side kick, Tony, is over there leaning against your car. I’m just waiting on everyone to leave.”

Presley noticed Justin’s jaw twitch. “Troy, Mr. Dope Boy Magic over here is with me. I’m his ride. And Tony is obviously with me as well. You can leave now. Good night.”

“Can I speak with you privately, boss?”

“I’m not the boss yet.”

“You sign my paycheck.”

“Fair enough. But no, I don’t have time to talk right now. I’ve got a growling belly that wants a caramel sundae and an after party to take these boys to.”

“Presley!” Presley recognized when Troy meant business. In the few months she’d known him, he’d saved her from some stalkers a few times. He was a redneck and a little racist, but seemed to have Presley’s best interests at heart. He obviously wasn’t letting her leave without talking.

“All right! Justin, will you do me a solid and take my keys to the car? You and Tony go ahead and get in. I’ll be there in a sec.”

“Sure.” Justin held out his hands to catch Presley’s keys. A few seconds later she heard him tell Tony he had shot gun. 

Tony smirked, “Oh you think you can sit in the front because you white? I see how it is.”

Presley shouted. “Cut that crap out, Tony!”

“I’m just playin with ya boy. It’s all good. I’ll sit in the back. Y’all gonna smoke anyways. Messin’ up my cologne and everything.”

“You got that right,” Justin said.

Presley opened her purse and grabbed a piece of mint chewing gum. “Go ahead and lay it on me, Troy.”

“I wish I could.”

“Come on. Seriously.”

“All right. Look, I know you’re lonely. I know you don’t wanna go home and hang out with your parents. You’re young and hot as hell. But I worry about you. You’re hangin’ out with thugs. You know Justin is a dope boy, right?”

“I’ve heard. But I don’t know that for a fact, and so what if he is?”

“If I find that mess on him while I’m on duty, I’ll make sure he’s never allowed back.”
“And who signs the paychecks again?”

“I’m head of security. Your dad—a police officer—let me remind you, gave me full permission to have zero tolerance for drugs. I know you look the other way as long as they don’t cause trouble, but I won’t. If I see it on this property, they’re gone. End of story.”

“Okay, Troy, I get it.”

“Tell your boy then. I don’t like his attitude to begin with. He’s way too full of himself.”

Presley looked toward the car. She could hear her new Ludacris CD playing as Justin had the window down with his arm hanging out. He stared at her. She breathed in deeply. 

Troy cleared his throat. “Presley, you’ve got it bad already. Damn it, there are good guys out there!”

“Good ole country boys like you, you mean?”

“Yes!”

“Yeah, you’re no different, Troy. You might not sling dope, but you sling something else to women who aren’t your wife. Please quit throwing stones at glass houses and let me go. I appreciate your concern, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s really concern or jealousy.”

“You think I’m jealous of a 17-year-old thug?”

“You bet.”

“Whatever, sweetie. You just be careful. You’ve got my cell number if you need me. Any time, day or night, I’ll come help you. Regardless of what you think of me, I care about you. And I don’t cheat on my wife like you think. It’s complicated.”

“Good night, Troy. I’m sorry. I just get defensive sometimes.”

“Night, beautiful.”

Presley couldn’t make it to her car fast enough. It was party time. Justin’s eyes were on her every second until she got in the car, and then some. “I see you changed my CD.” She gave him the look she gave her kids when they’d been caught doing something questionable.

“Yeah, you had some lame ass music playin.”

Tony leaned up to the front. “Ay, man, that was Prince.”

“Prince? This is 2003!”

Presley started the car and laughed. “I love rap, Justin, but I love me some Prince, and so does Tony. It’s kind of our thing.”

“Well, we ain’t havin’ that tonight. Luda’s music is fire. I have this CD at home.”

Presley pulled onto the highway when her cell phone rang. “It’s Emily, Tony. I’m sure she’s calling for you.”

Tony reached for Presley’s phone. “Yeah, baby, sup?”

Presley turned the music down so Tony could hear and stopped at the red light. She felt Justin’s eyes on her. Am I sweating? It’s hot. She turned the AC dial up and adjusted the vents so she could feel the cool air on her face. 

Justin smiled like he was trying to hold in laughter. “Don’t be nervous, Presley. I won’t bite.”

“Oh, I’m just hot. It’s a hot night. I’ve been craving ice cream. I’m about to go through the 24-hour McDonalds.”

Tony closed the phone. “Presley, my girl, I can’t go to the after party. Emily needs me. Can you take me to her house?”
“Tony, that’s twenty minutes away. Seriously?”

“I’m sorry, girl. She’s trippin’. Her mama trippin’. I need to go over there.”

Presley looked at Justin. “You mind ridin’?”

“Let’s do it.”

“Okay, Tony, I’ll take you, but you owe me.” Presley shifted into the turn lane.

Tony kissed Presley’s cheek. “I’ll buy you lunch tomorrow. We’re still going to the mall, right?”

“Yep, shopping day. I need you to help me pick out a new swim suit. And I appreciate the kiss and all, but if you’d been wearing your seatbelt, you wouldn’t be able to reach me, so get your seatbelt on. We’re about to get on the interstate. Do me a favor and call Bobby and tell him I’ll be late. He needs to get his own food.”

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