The Bad Boy Next Door(9)By: Jody Holford
Wyatt looked at his watch and swore under his breath. He pulled out his phone to text Jimmy. “Hurry up. I’ll wait.”
Brady’s eyes lit with laughter. “Scared someone is going to come in and get us?”
Wyatt kept his voice even and low. “You’re the acting manager, right?” Brady nodded. “Which puts responsibility for every one of these units on you. Negligence is a bitch. Hurry up and get your tools. I don’t have all day.”
Brady frowned and brushed past him, and Wyatt sighed in frustration. People didn’t get it. They lived in their safe little made-up worlds and didn’t see the dangers that were literally right outside their doors.
Look at Jake, the last dickhead apartment manager they’d had. That guy had broken into all the tenants’ storage units, looking for something he wouldn’t share with them. Wyatt had cornered him one night a couple of weeks ago, knowing in his gut that what Jake had “misplaced” were drugs, and had not so subtly suggested he find new employment. Jake had left shortly thereafter, but that didn’t mean people should drop their guards completely.
Brady came back with a small red toolbox. Wyatt almost commented on the size but thought better of it. He was being neighborly. Or trying. And it wasn’t doing him a damn bit of good.
Brady gestured to the door with his chin. “Thanks.”
Brady opened the toolbox, darting glances at Wyatt. Finally, he asked, “What do you do for work, anyway?” Brady pulled out a pair of needle-nose pliers.
Wyatt didn’t have to hide anymore. His days of hiding were over, and he needed to get used to that. Still, unease over sharing information about himself settled in his stomach. “I’m a detective with the Boston PD.”
Brady’s eyes widened right before he gave a loud bark of laughter and slapped his own thigh. “Son of a bitch. You’re a cop? You’re not with the mob?”
Wyatt wasn’t a talker. He found that the less he talked, the more others did. In his line of work, information was power. But he rarely found himself speechless. At Brady’s question, no words left his mouth. That only made Brady laugh harder.
“This is why I keep to myself,” Wyatt mumbled. He let the door close behind him but could still hear Brady’s laugh as he walked the concrete path toward the underground parking lot.
The fountain splashed against the ice that had formed in the shallow bowl. Brady needs to turn that fountain off for the winter. Wyatt shook his head and pulled his collar tighter. Not his problem. There really was a reason he kept to himself—it made life easier.
Originally, Kendrick Place was a shipping warehouse. In the mid-1900s, a man had immigrated from overseas, bought the building, and turned it into one-and two-bedroom apartments. The same family, though the next generation and their children, owned it still. Wyatt liked the history, the location, and, until recently, the feeling of security.
He unlocked the side door that led to the garage and walked to his car, sliding behind the wheel and turning on his heated seats. Wonder what Shay drives. Besides a U-Haul. His phone buzzed, and he pressed the speaker on the steering wheel as he backed out.
“Hey, boss. The brother lawyered up already,” Jimmy said.
Wyatt smacked the steering wheel. That’s what entertaining neighbors does. “Shit. I’m on my way.”
He pulled out of the lot, clearing his mind of neighbors and apartment managers, and focused on the only thing he was good at—his job.
Shay could organize a space in her sleep, so her neighbor’s apartment wasn’t that scary. Not that Wyatt will appreciate it. She didn’t have to know him well, or at all, to know he wouldn’t want someone digging through his stuff. Private was an understatement. Closed off, guarded, and wary were better adjectives to sum up his demeanor. She couldn’t help but wonder why. Then she reminded herself it didn’t matter because she was done going after men who held their truths like a closed fist.
She could probably get the key out of the door herself. Her own multi-tool was in her apartment, but surely Wyatt had one. She slid open a drawer thinking of where she kept her own for easy access.