Rare - Briar Prescott

Part I


March, 2009

“Arrested again, I see.”

It was five o’clock in the morning, and Alex Ellison was in the middle of a nap.

On a very uncomfortable wooden bench in the holding cell somewhere in Brooklyn.

Any sleep he might have had evaporated instantly as he heard that voice. Alex imagined that was what sleep paralysis demons sounded like.

Great. His father had sent his right-hand man/professional asshole to do damage control. What a completely unsurprising twist.

Alex glanced at the man standing behind the holding cell’s door. Rigid posture, like the guy had swallowed a yardstick? Check. Disapproval coming off him in waves, like a tsunami of displeasure? Uh-huh. A cold stare that could freeze the balls off a polar bear? Reporting for duty.

Despite the early hour, the man was dressed in an immaculate-looking black suit, not a hair out of place. The guy even had a fucking pocket square in his breast pocket. Yup, it was…

“Jeeves.” The cheerfulness Alex forced into his tone wreaked havoc in his alcohol-addled brain. Bright and cheery did not go together with whiskey, pot, and whatever else he’d managed to drink and smoke during the last twenty or so hours. “How nice of you to show up to my rescue. I especially appreciate the eight hours I had to spend in here, so thank you for that.”

Jeeves, whose actual name was Carson, but who’d earned the moniker from Alex due to the man’s absolute devotion to Alex’s father that had reminded Alex of Jeeves’s fictional counterpart, had the usual stony expression on his face. You would have thought being dragged out of bed at the crack of dawn would have pissed the guy off at least a little bit, but good old Jeeves was stoic as ever. Hell, the level of detachment Jeeves demonstrated on a daily basis would have made him a prime candidate for the position of a mob enforcer.

I’ll drop-kick your grandma into a well without an ounce of mercy. Yeah, Alex could definitely picture those words coming from Jeeves.

“Your father is not happy with you.”

Well, no surprise there. Alex threw his forearm over his eyes in an ineffective attempt to block reality and pretend that he was anywhere else.

That he was somebody else.

It didn’t work. Figures.

“Old news, Jeeves, my boy. Besides, when have you ever known my father to be even remotely content with me? I’m thinking, after nineteen years, we can safely assume not-completely-annoyed-with-Alex is the best we can hope for when it comes to dear old dad.”

Alex yawned and closed his eyes. He was exhausted. A holding cell was not conducive to good sleep. It wasn’t the weirdest place Alex had ever tried to get some shut-eye, and he’d done his best to ignore the lights, the occasional shouts and clanking on the metal bars, but it was to no avail. You’d think all the alcohol he’d inhaled in his bid to replace the blood in his circulation would have helped the cause, but nope, he was still wide awake.

“Comfortable, are we?”

The question could have been sarcastic, but Alex had never detected even a hint of human emotions under Jeeves’s icy exterior, so he was inclined to think it hadn’t been intended to sound as such. Did robots even get sarcasm?

“Not really,” Alex replied honestly. “These wooden seats are hell on my back. Be a good pal and book me a massage, won’t you, Jeeves?”

He heaved himself into a sitting position and looked at the guy. All he got in return was a slightly raised brow. Christ, Jeeves was probably only in his midthirties, but somewhere along the way he’d obviously forgotten that and decided to act like he was in his seventies. Alex could easily picture him yelling at neighborhood kids to get off his damn lawn and to stop screeching like a herd of seagulls. Well, probably not yell. More like stare at the kiddos until they ran home crying. Or incinerated to nothingness in a nanosecond. One or the other. That was what Jeeves did—he sucked the joy out of everything.

Alex sighed before he stood up and walked to the door.

“I assume you’ve paid for my sins and we can get out of here?”

Instead of answering, Jeeves motioned toward the cop who’d been waiting somewhere on the sidelines. The guy, who was probably not much older than Alex, dutifully scurried forward. He unlocked the door while sending nervous glances toward Jeeves, who was now texting on his cell phone. His fingers were flying over the screen—no doubt sending Alex’s father