Beth throws her phone down into her lap and places both hands on the steering wheel, watching the red and blue lights of the police cruiser behind her flash before her eyes even without looking in her rear view mirror.
It's dark but her head lights are on and there's nothing wrong with her car, her seat belt is on, which means the officer in the car saw her texting.
Oh, God, this is going to be so humiliating. Beth pulls over and the cruiser pulls up behind her, both cars rolling to a stop neatly, one after the other.
The office climbs out and her heart races, not just in terror of being pulled over, but because damn, he's hot and that feels even worse.
Maybe if it was a fat, sloppy guy with doughnut powder on his shirt, Beth would be able to keep a straight face but now, as the officer indicates for her to roll down her window, her cheeks are on fire.
As Beth rolls the window down, she gets a good eyeful of him. Shaggy, dark hair that is only slightly pulled back, revealing bright blue eyes despite the dark night.
A crisp black uniform with the police department badge on the pocket and bare, muscled forearms due to his sleeveless shirt.
There's a holster around his waist and she sees the gun there; swallows a little irrationally.
Beth looks back up into his eyes, tearing her own away from the weapon at his waist. "Good evenin' officer," she greets.
The officer dips his chin. "Ma'am, license an' registration, please. Can I ask why I just saw you textin' an' drivin'?"
Lie. Oh my God, lie, Beth thinks as she retrieves what he asked for, her stomach tight and a sweat forming on her brow.
"It was kind of urgent…" Beth stalls, trying to think of a good enough excuse as he reviews her documents.
"Girl… Ms Greene, what could possibly be so urgent you're endangerin' yourself an' others on my roads?" He says as he hands her things back to her.
"My friend… she's real ill officer an' I'm real sorry, it won't happen again I just ha-"
"Lemme see your phone," he cuts in.
Beth cuts off, her heart plummeting straight to her gut. "I'm sorry?"
"If it's true, if it's a honest to God reason that you was bein' so damn reckless, I'll let you off a ticket."
Beth numbly collects her phone and presses her thumb to the button, loading it onto her texts and the conversation she was having with Jessie.
The officer glances down and raises his eyebrow as he surveys the texts, her phone vibrating in his hand as he reads, texts from Jessie demanding to know where she's gone and updating her on her boyfriends -Matt's- replies.
The officer looks up at her and she bites her lip and hopes to God she can keep the blush off her face. "All I see is you sendin' your friend sextin' advise, Ms Greene. Don't seem sick to me."
"Well, see," Beth laughs nervously, wiping her hands down on her jeans. "Jessie's datin' this new guy-"
"Matt," the officer supplies for her.
She nods enthusiastically. "Yeah, Matt. I mean, I told Jessie that he's been with all the girls in town bu-"
"Ms Greene," he interrupts. "Do you want to get to the point? You've gotten this far 'cause it's a quiet, Wednesday night. I wouldn't push it."
Beth flushes to the roots of her hair and nods again. "No, yeah, so she wanted to sext him, but didn't know how, an' so I was lookin' at this story I read last night that I liked, tryin' to lift quotes and help her out."
Please, let the Earth swallow her up, car and all. The officer raises his eyebrow and leans down into her open car window, forearms resting so that his hands practically hang over her left arm, offering her phone back.
From her vantage point so close, she can see his name tag, reading: Officer Daryl Dixon.
"Ms Greene, do you realise you could'a been in a serious accident?"
Beth swallows as he nails her with clear blue eyes. "Yes, sir."
Officer Dixon nods. "Then you take responsibility for the ticket I'mma 'bout to issue to you."
She sighs but nods. "My daddy's gonna kill me."
Beth doesn't even live with her parents anymore, but her daddy likes to help her with the bills, so he knows quite well the ins and outs of her household.
No way she can get away with not telling him she got a ticket. Officer Dixon hums under his breath and then he motions for her phone again.
Beth frowns but gives it over after unlocking it and then he taps away at her screen, sending her anxiety levels sky high.
What's he doing? Texting her daddy? But no, when she takes the phone back, she can see he's text Jessie.
This is officer Dixon on Ms Greene's phone. She was pulled over for texting, so I'm going to politely ask you not to text her while she’s driving. Thank you.
She keeps herself in check, refusing to snort at his impeccable grammar and sentences compared to his half cut spoken words.
Placing her phone on the passenger seat, Beth looks up at the officer again with a small smile.
"That mean no ticket?" She asks hopefully.
He dips his chin. "This once. I ever pull you over 'gain Ms Greene, I'll be givin' you three tickets. One for tonight, one for that future event an' one for not listenin' when I let you off, you understand?"
"Yes, sir," she answers quickly.
For the first time, his mouth tips towards a little smile. "S'Daryl. I know your daddy, Greene. Saved my dog two years back. You can thank him for savin' your ass. Get home safe."
She smiles and he dips his chin at her, smacking the flat of his palm against her door to indicate she can leave.
Beth glances at him in the review mirror once before he's out of sight and then she continues on the long, narrow road home.