Before I continue, I'd like to thank you all for your positive response to Chapter 1. This is actually the first story I've written that people have actually critiqued (the first one I've ever shown anyone), and I'm relieved to know that I can, in fact write!
This next chapter sidetracks a little bit from the story. It's main purpose is to give a little background information on Siegfried, as well as explain what the heck was happening in Chapter 1. Enjoy...
"You okay, Siegfried?" Ben asked, "You spaced out on me there for a minute."
"Uh, yeah, I'm fine," Siegfried replied.
"You sure?" Ben asked again, "You usually don't zone out like that."
"I'm positive," Siegfried assured him, "I was just thinking about this weird dream I had last night."
"You mean the one where you're standing in the locker room buck naked and everyone else on the team is wearing Hello Kitty BDUs?" It took Siegfried a full minute to bring his laughter under control.
"No," he said, wiping the tears from his eyes, "that was your dream, remember?"
"No way, Sig," Ben said, "You told the team about it at the bar that time you got rip-roarin' drunk."
"That was you who was drunk up to your eyeballs," Siegfried replied with a laugh, "No, you're the one who had that dream. You told us about it right before the Captain overheard you describing the one where you were in the forest with the his sister and then he..."
"Uh, well, ah... who's Odette?" Ben asked, desperate to change the subject.
"Who?" Siegfried asked, confused.
"You mentioned her name right at the end of your little vacation from reality," Ben said, "So, who is she?"
"I mentioned her name?" Siegfried asked.
"You did indeed," Ben asked, "She the girl you met in the park last night?"
"Yeah," Siegfried said, "yeah, she is."
"How'd you meet her again?"
"Okay," Siegfried sighed, "for the fifth time. I had just gotten off duty and was driving my car home from headquarters when I saw a swan flying in front of me, headed into Wakefield Park."
"Near that abandoned skyscraper." Ben interrupted.
"Right. Anyway, I thought that it'd make a good photo for my collection, so I pulled over, grabbed my camera out of the glove compartment..."
"I still can't believe you keep a camera in you car." Ben said.
"You want me to tell you this again nor not?" Siegfried exclaimed. At Ben's meek nod, he continued, "So like I was saying, I grabbed my camera, got out of the car, and jogged into the park. I thought the sawn was heading towards the small lake in the center of the park, but I lost it in the trees. When I got to the lake, the bird was nowhere in sight. Instead, the most beautiful woman I've ever seen is standing right at the water's edge. I walk over, say hello, we talk for a little while, I leave, end of story."
"You tell her you're a cop?" Ben asked.
"I was still in full uniform, so it was pretty obvious," Siegfried said.
"I know that, but did you tell her anyway?"
"Yeah, I did," Siegfried admitted with an embarrassed chuckle, "she laughed and said she would never have guessed. Anyway, she said she'd meet me in the park tonight when after my shift ends, around 8:00 or so. "
"Did you invite her to go to the Commissioner's Ball with you tomorrow night?" Ben asked.
"Not yet," Siegfried said with a chuckle, "but I'm planning to tonight." Ben started laughing.
"Good one, partner. You almost convinced me you were serious."
"I am serious," Siegfried insisted. Ben's laughter died abruptly.
"You mean you really did ask her?" Siegfried nodded. "Why? I mean, you just met her yesterday, man. Isn't this a little sudden?"
"Ben, do you believe in love at first sight?" Siegfried asked.
"Yeah, sure," Ben replied, "all the time. The feeling usually ends when I get a drink thrown in my face." At Siegfried's annoyed glare, he quickly continued, "Sorry. Uh, no, hasn't happened to me yet."
"It happened to me last night," Siegfried said, "I saw her and it felt like... I don't know how to describe it. Our eyes met, and it seemed like we'd known each other forever." At Ben's disbelieving look, Siegfried decided to quit while he was ahead. "Well, anyway, I'm still going to ask her tonight."
A sudden, insistent chirping cut off any further conversation. In unison, the pair pulled their pagers from their belts and glanced at the displays. Both saw the same message: S.W.A.T.
"Right behind you, Sig," Ben replied. The two police officers moved briskly towards the coffee shop door, their discussion forgotten.