THE BRASS RING
By Mavis Applewater
For disclaimers, see Part One.
Thanks to my beta reader Joanne.
As always, this is for Heather.
CC was covered in nervous sweat and her hands were trembling. Jamie was still glaring at her awaiting some sort of answer. And she did deserve one. Just what could CC tell her without compromising the investigation or frightening Jamie even more than she already was? “I’m waiting,” the blonde barked indignantly.
“Do you know Ellen Murdock?” CC began slowly.
“No,” Jamie snipped.
“She works at the hospital, or rather she did,” CC continued, reaching deep inside herself to gather the professional demeanor that usually came to her naturally. “She’s dead.” She watched in horror as her lover’s lip began to quiver. “Jamie, I can’t tell you everything. And I’m praying that my suspicions are wrong, but right now I feel that you’re in danger. Please - you need to trust me. I can’t lose you.”
“Okay,” Jamie responded with a slight tremble. “I trust you.” The heartfelt sincerity in her words almost broke CC’s heart.
She was at a loss as to what she could say in an effort to offer her lover some comfort in the frightening situation. Her cell phone chirped to life and she snatched it up quickly. “Callaway,” she barked into the receiver. She listened fearfully to the caller. “Come get Max where you met us,” she responded coldly. “Get out, Max.”
CC and Max stepped out of the car and walked over to the corner to ensure that Jamie couldn’t hear what they were saying. “They found his car around the corner from our complex. They’re coming back for you. I’m taking Jamie somewhere safe. Call my cell and let me know what’s going on.”
“Where will you be?” Max inquired casually as he began to organize himself.
“I’m not telling anyone,” CC responded flatly as Max looked up at her in surprise. “From what the detective in San Diego said, his family has some very deep pockets. I can’t risk anyone knowing. I won’t lose her.”
“You won’t,” Max confirmed adamantly. “This guy is going to pay even if we have to . . .”
“Don’t,” CC snapped fearfully. Her stomach clenched as she wondered if she was capable of doing what she feared Max was suggesting.
“Get her out of here,” Max reassured her. “We’ll get him and send that bastard away. I’ll call you when I get back to the station. Go,” Max added firmly. CC could only nod in response before walking back to the car and climbing in.
Jamie was staring blankly out the window. “Are you okay to drive?” CC asked her lover gently.
“No,” Jamie answered flatly. Neither woman spoke as they got out of the small vehicle and switched positions.
As they entered the lobby of the posh hotel CC accepted the ticket from the valet. They hadn’t spoken a word during the drive into the city. CC guided her lover to the front desk. Jamie seemed to be in a daze as she followed behind the tall brunette.
“Well, I’ll be damned,” a friendly voice greeted CC.
“Probably,” CC taunted her old friend.
“Oh, you still say the sweetest things,” Kendra teased her. “So what brings you here? Miss me, did you?”
“I need a favor,” CC responded with a sorrowful look.
“Of course.” Kendra snorted. “What happened? Did Stevie kick you out on your sorry . . .” The dark woman’s words trailed off as Jamie stepped out from behind CC.
“Kendra?” Jamie spoke brightly and CC relaxed at finally hearing the sound of her lover’s voice.
Kendra was about to hop over the desk when CC pushed her back. “Show some self control for once,” she scolded her old friend. “I need a room.”
“Of course. ” Kendra nodded with a toothy grin. “Flowers, champagne, anything for the two of you.”
“None of that,” CC groaned as Jamie chuckled. “What I need is discretion and no names.”
“Oh?” Kendra’s face dropped as a scowl formed. “This is business.”
“Not entirely,” CC teased her friend as she took Jamie’s hand.
“Now you’re just messing with me,“ Kendra spat out with an evil growl.
“I’ll explain everything,” CC promised. “But for now I need a Bette Davis.”
“Which means you need to get out of sight as soon as possible,” Kendra replied thoughtfully as she nudged the desk clerk away from the computer. “Done,” she said triumphantly as she snatch up a card key. “Follow me,” she said confidently as she made her way around the long desk and waved off the bellhop.
“Bette Davis?” Jamie asked in confusion.
“I’ll explain,” CC once again promised as the three of them made their way to the stairwell.
“Second floor,” Kendra explained.
“Sometimes when I’ve had problems getting a woman in need into a shelter, Kendra has helped out,” CC explained as they climbed the stairs.
“I run the place and the hotel can right it off as a charitable expense,” Kendra offered with a shrug. “I use names like Bette Davis or Rosalind Russell and the staff knows that it’s a code for complete privacy. No one will bother you or mention your stay.”
“That’s very kind of you, Kendra,” Jamie said with respect.
“I do what I can,” Kendra said graciously as they exited the stairwell and she led them down the hallway. “The room isn’t all that great,” Kendra explained as she ushered them into a quaint room with a queen size bed, dresser, and television.”
“This is very nice,” Jamie said honestly.
“Not compared to our other rooms,” Kendra pointed out. “It’s very basic. No hot tub, wet bar, or anything but a bed and a television. But it’s close to the ground floor and the windows face a brick wall so no one can see in.”
“Perfect if you’re in hiding,” CC explained.
“All we really need is a bed,” Jamie teased the tall brunette as she wrapped her arms around her waist.
“That’s it,” Kendra fumed as she grabbed Jamie and pulled her in for hug. “God, it’s good to see you, blondie.” Once she released the giggling blonde, she glared at both of them. CC couldn’t help but smile at her friend’s antics. “Now fess up and tell me what’s going on. Besides the fact that you’re in some kind of trouble which you can’t tell me about.”
“Oh, you mean her?” CC taunted the tall ebony beauty as Jamie firmly swatted her on her backside. “Ouch. Again with the hitting?”
“You’re such a baby,” Jamie scoffed.
“Isn’t she?” Kendra agreed. “So what happened? Did you finally swallow your pride and decide to listen to your old friend? I’ve been telling her for years that gorgeous women don’t fall into your lap every day.”
“You have?” Jamie gushed; CC blushed at the memory of Jamie literally falling into her lap the second time they’d met.
CC smiled at the blush Jamie was also sporting. “It’s true,” CC confirmed softly. “Almost every time we got together, Kendra would find someway to let me know just how big of an idiot I was to let you go,” CC explained truthfully.
“She was right,” Jamie responded in a husky tone. “But I was an even bigger fool.”
CC was overwhelmed by Jamie’s words and the misty gleam in her brilliant green eyes. She leaned over and brushed her lips against Jamie’s soft trembling ones. As she felt her lover’s tongue brush against her lips, she parted her own and allowed Jamie to explore the warmth of her mouth. “Oh,” Kendra gushed as the innocent kiss flamed into fiery desire. “Okay, enough,” Kendra scolded them. “You‘re turning me on.” CC’s body was quivering slightly as she stepped away from her lover. “So tell me how the two of you got back together,” Kendra persisted as CC maintained her distance from Jamie, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to control herself if she was near her.
“Well, it was at the hospital,” Jamie started.
“Right, the dead guy,” CC added.
“I told you off,” Jamie filled in.
“No, first you acted like you didn’t know me,” CC clarified.
“Right, then I told you off,” Jamie agreed as Kendra stared at both of them with a baffled look.
“Then there was the other dead guy,” CC continued.
“He wasn’t dead,” Jamie corrected her.
“Are you sure?” CC questioned her.
“Yes, and you were banging your head at the nurses’ station. I still don’t understand that one,” Jamie expanded. “I told you off again.”
“Then you checked out my ass,” CC teased her with a smirk.
“I so didn’t,” Jamie protested.
“You did,” CC bragged. “Then we got drunk.”
“And slept together.” They laughed in unison.
“That’s when you got back together,” Kendra supplied gleefully.
“No,” they moaned in unison.
“Jamie completely freaked out,” CC continued with a grimace.
“Twice,” Jamie added. “First for sleeping with you and then when I realized I lived next door to you.”
“Oh right,” CC agreed with an understanding nod. “Then Stevie told us both off.”
“We played miniature golf,” Jamie proceeded thoughtfully.
“Slept together,” CC added with a blush. “Then there was the fire.”
“Right,” Jamie filled in. “Then I thought you were sleeping with the contractor and you thought I was sleeping with my sister.”
“Eww!” Kendra blanched.
“Then the murder. And your stalker,” CC supplied.
“Ringing telephones, doorbells, pagers, broken windows, you kissing the pathologist, ice cream, handcuffs, and somewhere along the line we realized that we’re still in love with one another,” Jamie concluded with a flurry. “Did I leave anything out?” she asked the giggling detective.
“No, honey; that’s just about everything,” CC managed to choke out.
“Sounds very romantic,” Kendra responded sarcastically. “Now I need to get back to work and try to figure out what you just told me. Are you sure you don’t want any champagne?”
“Sorry, I’m still on duty,” CC apologized. “And I have an early day tomorrow. Thank you for everything.”
“My pleasure,” Kendra responded with a smile. “I’ll just leave the two of you alone,” she said as she handed CC the card key. “I’d tell you to behave but apparently you don’t understand the meaning of the word. Handcuffs and ice cream? I don’t even want to know about that.” She laughed as she departed.
“Should we call room service and order some ice cream just to mess with her?” Jamie suggested playfully. CC didn’t respond to her lover’s joke. Instead she wrapped Jamie up in her arms and clung tightly to the small blonde. “I need to be close to you,” she said with a whimper. “I can’t lose you,” CC sobbed as the fear finally took complete control.
Jamie stepped back from CC’s embrace, her emerald eyes burning into the brunette’s soul. “You’re not going to lose me,” the small doctor vowed.
“I can’t.” CC trembled.
“You won’t,” Jamie promised her once again as she reached up and claimed the taller woman’s lips.
CC knew that she was trembling; she couldn’t stop her body from shaking. For the first time in a very long time she was afraid. Her mind started to shut down as the fear gripped her rapidly beating heart. She was unaware that the kiss had ended or that Jamie was removing her clothing, until she felt herself being lowered onto the bed. She looked up in confusion at her lover who was leaning over her.
Jamie’s eyes bore into her soul. The look of reassurance and love cast down upon her was the only answer Caitlin Calloway needed. She lay naked on the bed as Jamie slowly removed her clothing, only breaking her gaze or contact with CC’s body when she needed to discard an article of clothing. CC felt her fears melt away as her lover’s naked body lay down beside her own.
Jamie cupped her face with both of her hands; CC sighed as she melted into her lover’s touch. This wasn’t about their overactive libidos. This moment was about the love they shared for each other. “I belong to you,” Jamie promised before she tenderly brushed CC’s lips. “And you belong to me,” she added before reclaiming the brunette’s lips. “No one is going to take us away from each other. There isn’t a force strong enough to break us apart again,” Jamie promised as CC wrapped her arms around the smaller woman’s slender waist.
CC gasped sharply as their breasts lightly brushed. “I love your body,” Jamie confessed in a breathy tone as her small hands began to caress CC’s broad shoulders. Jamie guided the tall policewoman onto her back and CC allowed her lover to take control, needing Jamie’s touch to remind her of their deep unbreakable connection.
Jamie’s body rested halfway on hers and halfway on the mattress as her nimble fingers began to trace every curve of CC’s long smooth body. CC could feel her fears ebbing as Jamie watched her fingers elicit a trail of goose bumps along CC’s body. As Jamie’s fingers ran along the swell of her breasts, the blonde leaned in and placed a tender promising kiss on the brunette’s lips.
Missing from Jamie’s kiss was the urgent probing that would drive CC to the brink of insanity. In its place was the love they shared. This was what CC needed, not the overwhelming need to be sated. Tonight she needed to feel and be shown the love that Jamie felt for her. “Still with me?” Jamie inquired softly.
“Yes,” CC responded firmly as her hand came to rest on the curve of Jamie’s hip. Her fingers danced along Jamie’s quivering flesh. Jamie flashed her an endearing smile as her fingers continued their gentle exploration.
Jamie’s fingers trailed along her full breast, circling and caressing but never quite touching her nipple. CC’s fingers began caressing Jamie’s flesh, drifting from the curve of her hip to the blonde’s firm backside. CC allowed the tips of her fingers to simply glide along Jamie’s flesh. Absent was the panting and groping until they both collapsed in exhaustion. Jamie sighed contentedly, mirroring CC’s own inner feelings as she gently brushed her fingers across CC’s nipple.
CC lifted her other arm and began to run her fingers through Jamie’s short blonde locks. She gently massaged the blonde’s scalp as Jamie’s tongue peeked out and began to circle her nipple. She could feel Jamie relax into her touch, purring like a kitten as the blonde’s tongue began to flicker slowly across her nipple.
Both of CC’s nipples became erect and still she felt no desire to rush the moment they were sharing. Jamie’s slow tender suckling reflected her own desire to take things slowly. Jamie’s curls brushed against her thigh as she pressed it slightly into Jamie’s center. CC moaned as Jamie’s teeth grazed her now aching nipple. Jamie’s body shifted slightly, nestling herself firmly against CC’s thigh while pressing her own firm thigh against CC’s center.
Their hips began to sway in a gentle sensual rhythm as CC continued to caress Jamie’s back while still running her fingers through her hair. The soft scent of the blonde’s shampoo filled her senses as she felt her lover’s desire painting her thigh. “I love you.” The honest words escaped from CC’s lips as Jamie lifted her head and stared deeply into her eyes.
They continued to stare deeply into one another’s eyes as their hips continued to dance slowly against each other. Their clits met, beating steadily with a soft loving desire as they melted into one another’s touch. “I love you, Caitlin,” Jamie whispered sincerely as they continued to thrust slowly against one another. Jamie supported herself on her arms, leaning above CC’s body as her breasts swayed against the brunette’s skin. CC clasped her lover’s hips, gently guiding her to meet her growing desire.
CC lost herself in the feel of their wetness painting each other’s bodies. The look of love in Jamie’s eyes melted her heart and inflamed her passion as they began to thrust wildly. CC could feel the need for release growing between them. “I love you,” CC choked out as she felt the climax steadily building. She fought against the tears that threatened to escape as they lost themselves in the beauty of the moment.
They climaxed together as soft cries escaped tight throats. Jamie curled up in CC’s arms as their hearts beat in unison. CC clung to her lover, knowing that this was where she belonged. Holding Jamie in her arms was the only thing in the world that really mattered at that moment in time.
CC’s azure eyes blinked opened as she heard the chirping sound of her cell phone. She untangled her body from Jamie’s that was resting comfortably on top of her. The doctor grumbled sleepily in protest. CC kissed her lover’s brow and tucked Jamie back under the covers. CC already missed feeling her lover next to her. The policewoman’s body was slightly sore from the evening’s activities.
After the sweet gentle affirmation of their lovemaking, the couple had climbed under the covers to cuddle. A simple touch and tender kiss and soon their bodies had complete control. “That girl is going to be the death of me.” She yawned as she searched the darkened room for her cell phone.
“Are you complaining?” came the muffled query from her lover who still snuggled deeply into her pillow.
“Never,” CC responded boldly as she tripped over her pants. Looking down she could see the glint of her cell phone. She picked it up and punched in her code to retrieve the message from the call she’d just missed. Not surprisingly it was from Max.
Her partner had called to fill her in on what was happening with the investigation. They had found the car, and before they could have it impounded for being parked illegally, the doctor had shown up. Max remained in the cruiser just out of the doctor’s sight, listening to his explanation. He would have believed that the young doctor was just going to surprise his girlfriend if he didn’t already know the truth. Max further explained that when he emerged from the cruiser, Dr. Fisher had paled. Max added that he had spoken with her neighbors and someone matching Dr. Fisher’s description had been seen lurking around Jamie’s townhouse. Max concluded that he put a rush on the forensics from the Murdock crime scene and he felt that they had enough to bring the good doctor in for another interview.
CC quickly dialed Max’s cell phone. “Hey, buddy,” she greeted him, hoping that the roughness of her voice wouldn’t reveal her earlier activities. Max’s chuckle quickly dashed that hope. “Did you make it home yet?”
“Yeah, I’m home and the wife is steamed,” Max grunted.
“So you think we can bring him in for another round?” she pressed, eager to climb back into bed and hold her lover in her arms.
“He was in the area,” Max explained. “I bet your neighbors can ID him. He’s still lying about his relationship with Jamie,” he pointed out. “And she’s already filed a complaint with us.”
“And her supervisor at the hospital,” CC informed him.
“Good,” Max responded eagerly. “It’s not enough for a restraining order but it’s getting us closer to where we need to be.”
“He’s on the day shift now,” CC continued. “Why don’t we have him come in right after his shift? I know I can’t be present but I really want to watch. Besides, if he’s at the station I know Jamie will be safe at work. We need to do a follow-up with Terrell and the Romeo who was on duty the night Sandra disappeared.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Max confirmed. “Get in as soon as you can; we need to speak to the boss about all of this.”
“I will,” she promised before ending her conversation with Max.
Wearily she climbed back into bed with her lover. Jamie instantly nestled her body against CC’s. “Now will you tell me what’s going on?” Jamie inquired softly as she rested her head on CC’s chest.
“Yes,” CC agreed, feeling that her control had returned and her fears had been properly reigned in. “Ellen Murdock was a pediatric nurse and her car was parked next to Sandra Bernstein’s the night she disappeared. She was on vacation so no one knew that she was dead in her own apartment. She was murdered in the same fashion that Sandra was as well as two other girls in San Diego. The only difference is that Ellen’s body wasn’t dumped. Two killings in one night - the killer probably didn’t have the time to dump the body.” CC looked down at Jamie who was still nestled against her chest and twirling a strand of CC’s hair between her fingers.
CC didn’t miss the pensive look on the doctor’s face. She began to rub reassuring circles down her lover’s back as she waited for some sign from Jamie that it was all right to continue with her story. “What does this have to do with me?” Jamie inquired in a disturbingly flat voice.
“All of these women had two things in common,” CC continued slowly. “They were all blondes with green eyes, similar builds and features, and they all had some kind of contact with Simon Fisher. His car was parked near Ellen Murdock’s and he left the garage immediately after she did.”
“Wait, that still doesn’t mean that I’m in some kind of danger,” Jamie reasoned.
“Sandra Bernstein’s blood was found on the glass shards from your front window,” CC concluded as her hands stilled their soothing motion. A sharp gasp was the only response the blonde offered and CC understood that the discussion was over. She wrapped her arms tightly around Jamie’s body and held her close to her. Their hearts beat in unison as sleep evaded them.
The following day was a flurry of activity. They returned home to find workmen awaiting Jamie’s arrival so they could replace her front window. Jamie handled the situation while CC showered although Jamie didn’t want to let her lover out of her sight. Once the workmen had finished and Stevie returned home, CC rushed to the bank to pick up the cashier’s check she needed to deliver to the car dealership. When she returned home nothing looked amiss. Jamie and Stevie were playing with Emma, but a shadow hovered over them.
As they drove to the dealership CC found that she and Jamie were snapping at one another. She knew it was her fault but she couldn’t stop herself from harping on what Jamie should do each time she entered her own home. She kept reminding her to check the alarm system and exit through the back door and enter CC’s home in the same way. “I get it,” Jamie finally screamed at her.
Jamie pulled her car off to the side of the highway; they sat there in silence as Jamie’s knuckles turned white from gripping the steering wheel far too tightly. “I’m sorry, James,” CC grumbled as she rubbed her aching brow.
“I can’t live like this,” Jamie uttered in a soft determined tone. “I love you, Caitlin, but you need to stop treating me like I’m a child.”
“I know,” CC groaned. “I know,” she repeated in the same heavy tone, knowing that she was incapable of promising Jamie that she wouldn’t fall into the same trap again. The stakes were far too high. “Jamie . . .”
“Caitlin, promise me that you’ll at least try,” Jamie cut her off in a softer tone as she finally released her grip on the steering wheel.
“Sometimes I feel like you can read my mind,” CC commented wryly as she took Jamie’s small delicate hands in her own.
“That’s because I can and you should be ashamed of yourself,” Jamie teased her.
For the first time that day CC actually smiled. The off color remark crept through the tension and got to her. “Let’s go and pick up my new car,” CC said. Jamie winked at her playfully while she put her car in drive and carefully reentered the insane flow of traffic along Rte. 128.
After they finished all the paperwork at the dealership CC found herself driving her new SUV while muttering to herself. She had asked Jamie to stick around and follow her to the station. The blonde doctor had adamantly refused, claiming that spending her time off hanging around the police station just wasn’t her idea of a good time. CC insisted and Jamie told her to bite her. That’s when CC realized that there was no way she was going to get her lover to comply with her wishes. She understood that Jamie was feeling like she was suddenly imprisoned and removed from living her life. It was a common reaction. And Jamie was right; CC couldn’t be with her twenty-four hours a day. Of course that didn’t stop her from calling in a favor to have a couple of plainclothes men follow the blonde around in her absence.
“Okay, Max; make me a happy woman,” CC demanded as she planted herself on the corner of her partner’s desk.
“Marry me?” her partner quipped. “No? In that case I’ll just need to fill you in on the lab results.”
“That was quick,” CC said in relief. “Do I want to know how you managed to pull off this small miracle?”
“You can kiss your season tickets to the Sox’s goodbye,” Max responded flatly.
CC was about to explode when the thought of Jamie’s safety overrode her anger. “Not a problem,” CC confirmed confidently.
“You must be in love,” Max pried.
“I am,” CC answered the older man honestly. “How badly is that going to screw up this investigation?”
“So far it hasn’t,” Max reassured her. “Okay, first we have Sandra Bernstein’s blood in Ellen Murdock’s apartment, mostly in the bedroom but small traces in the living room and down the back stairwell. Nothing from her car. But the lock on the building’s back door was jimmied as was the back door to her apartment.”
“So he followed them and broke in and . . . How did he know which apartment?” CC threw out as an officer handed her a large FedEx package and a manila folder. She nodded her thanks as Max contemplated her question.
“The mailbox,” Max concluded. “All he had to do was go in the back way.”
“Thanks to the law in the Commonwealth that you must have front and rear exits to all dwellings, all he had to do was count,” CC filled in as she tore open the package from San Diego.
“Her apartment number was marked on the trash barrels and recycling bin; she left them just outside her back door,” Max supplied. “All he had to do was check the mailboxes and go in the back way. The locks on the front are really good but the ones in back look like someone was trying to save a couple of bucks.”
CC set the case files aside for a moment and began to peruse the folder that the hospital had sent over. “No semen at the scene,” Max continued.
“Our boy suffers from equipment failure,” CC supplied.
“But vaginal secretions,” Max continued.
“Ellen’s?” CC inquired.
“And someone else,” Max added. “The lab is working on that. Two wine glasses were found in the bedroom - one with Ellen’s prints and one with Sandra’s.”
CC’s head jerked up in surprise. “Damn, I’m an idiot,” she snapped. “Remember how the landlady went on and on about Sandra not having a boyfriend or dating at all?”
“She just hung around with a few girlfriends from the hospital,” Max finished as CC reached for the telephone on his desk. She quickly dialed her home number. “Stevie, let me talk to Jamie,” she demanded before her sister could say anything.
‘Yes?’ Jamie greeted her gruffly.
“I’m not checking up on you,” CC blurted out guiltily.
“It’s okay if you are,” Jamie responded softly.
“I’m not,” CC reasserted adamantly. “I need to ask you a question.”
“Was Sandra Bernstein gay?” the policewoman inquired carefully.
“Why?” Jamie inquired curiously. “Sorry,” the doctor quickly apologized as CC groaned. “I never asked but I did get the baby dyke vibe from her.”
“Thank you,” CC said.
“What are you wearing?” Jamie taunted her in a sultry tone.
“Don’t,” CC blurted out as she felt her face flush. She said her goodbyes as Jamie cackled into the receiver.
“That’s an interesting shade you’re sporting, partner,” Max teased her as she buried her face in the file she’d been studying. “So was Sandra playing for your team?”
“Jamie thinks so,” CC confirmed as something on the page she’d been scanning caught her attention.
“How does that work - that whole gaydar thing?” Max threw out quizzically.
“Just a gut instinct,” CC responded with a shrug. “Guess where Simon Fisher did his last rotation before the ER?”
“Pediatrics?” Max said hopefully. “We’re getting so close.”
“But we still don’t have anything,” CC grumbled. “Okay, we need to get the interviews set up for today and talk to the Captain.”
“You have a theory; I can hear those wheels spinning,” Max gloated.
“I need to talk to Carter,” CC responded thoughtfully as she mentioned the department psychologist. “I’m just wondering about the two victims from California. All blondes with green eyes - what if they were gay too? I can’t help but wonder if somewhere in Simon’s life he lost a blonde girlfriend to another girl.”
“Could be,” Max agreed. “Then if the next woman he falls for or takes an interest in also turns out to be gay, it could be what set him off.”
“Makes you wonder,” CC said thoughtfully.
“What’s that?” Max asked.
“Just how many bodies are we looking for?” CC concluded with dread.
CC and Max were sitting in the Captain’s office; their supervisor’s bushy white eyebrows were raised to his almost nonexistent hairline. “Could you repeat that?” the gruff older man sternly requested.
“We believe that Dr. Jameson is the killer’s primary focus,” CC repeated the information in a slow concise manner.
“Not that part,” the Captain barked.
“She’s my lover,” CC reiterated boldly as she watched the vein in her supervisor’s forehead begin to throb in an unnatural manner. ‘Oh, that can’t be good,’ she thought.
“And?” he urged her on as beads of sweat began to form on his brow.
“I had a physical altercation with the prime suspect,” CC admitted.
“That’s the part I needed to hear again.” The robust man blew out a breath angrily. “So tell me something - was he the prime suspect before or after he hit on your girlfriend?”
“After,” CC answered him, somehow managing to keep her cool façade intact.
“Captain, it’s not like that,” Max jumped in quickly to defend her.
“I know that,” the Captain grunted. “I know that,” he repeated confidently, diverting his gaze towards CC. “But I doubt that a jury will see it that way.”
“You’re right,” CC agreed.
“Thank you,” he responded with a heavy sigh.
“I don’t agree,” Max argued. “Calloway has never been alone with any evidence or at any of the crime scenes. We have documentation to support that,” Max supplied eagerly.
“Yeah?” The Captain grunted with more enthusiasm.
“I went out of my way to ensure it and everyone and their brother has signed statements to that effect,” CC explained. “We can show a clear line from the bodies to Dr. Fisher. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he’s a creepy slime ball who’s been sniffing after my girlfriend.”
“No, you don’t,” the Captain corrected her. “From what I’ve heard, you haven’t connected him to the bodies. Now when you bring me something that will make a judge sign a search warrant, then you’ll have a clear line to the victims. In the meantime you don’t have squat. But since you’re no longer working this investigation, it doesn’t matter.”
“Captain?” CC began to protest. She’d known it might happen but she had to do anything she could to ensure that she was kept in the loop.
“No arguments,” he cut her off.
“Captain, this is Calloway’s case,” Max defended his partner.
“No, it isn’t,” the Captain stated bluntly.
“Captain, hear me out,” CC calmly interjected. “Fisher hasn’t been charged. Max is following that angle and I’m simply pursuing the investigation to wherever it leads me. That includes any and all other possible suspects, including a list of known sex offenders who might fit the profile,” CC explained in a cool confident tone.
“Bullshit,” the Captain grumbled.
CC simply stared back at him with her stoic façade rooted firmly in place. She could tell by the way his bloodshot eyes were avoiding her gaze that he was beginning to waver. “No contact with Fisher,” he warned her as he conceded to her wishes. Remaining on the investigation was more than she’d hoped for.
“There’s more,” CC continued, pleased by the turn of events.
“You’re giving me a headache,” the Captain groused bitterly.
“I know,” CC responded with a cocky smirk. “I just wanted to give you a complete rundown on what we have.”
“Tell me everything,” he insisted in a warning tone. “Starting with the queer . . .” He halted his words as CC glared at him and then cleared his throat before continuing. “. . . I meant to say the gay angle.”
“Of course you did,” CC responded coldly. She understood it was more a generational thing with the captain yet it still didn’t excuse the comment. She knew by the way his eyes avoided her own that her point had been made. “After speaking to Ellen Murdock’s friends and family and doing a thorough search of her residence, we confirmed that Ms. Murdock was bisexual,” CC explained, turning her focus towards the hard work she and Max had put in that day. “And she had on occasion socialized with Sandra Bernstein.”
“They dated,” the Captain added thoughtfully.
“Yes,” Max confirmed. “DNA found at the scene confirms that the vaginal secretions belong to both victims.”
“Blood and tissue samples collected at the scene lead to the obvious conclusion that both women were murdered in Ellen Murdock’s apartment,” CC picked up for him. “Ellen Murdock’s blood is also present on the shards of glass from Dr. Jameson’s front window.”
“Do I want to know how the two of you managed to get all these lab results so quickly?” the Captain inquired with a curiously edgy tone of voice.
“No,” the two detectives responded in unison.
The older man simply began to rub his throbbing temples once again. “Why dump one body and not the other?” he pondered aloud. CC and Max had been asking the same question since they discovered that both women were murdered at the same location.
“Not a clue,” Max admitted. “We’re hoping that Doc Carter might have some ideas.”
“What else?” the Captain prodded them.
“Terrell, the attendant who’s normally on duty in the back parking garage, has been eliminated as a suspect,” CC continued. “He was logged on but further investigation showed that he was at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital at the time Sandra and Ellen departed the garage. His daughter and grandchildren had been involved in a minor car accident. He found out just after clocking in. His supervisor left him on the clock thinking he was helping the guy out by letting him collect a day’s pay.”
“Nothing that hasn’t been done here.” The Captain shrugged. “The supervisor confirmed this?”
“Yes, as did the staff at Saint E’s,” CC said. “Terrell didn’t even know about it until we went over the dates and times with him. The sad part is that if Terrell hadn’t been in Brighton looking after his family, those two women would probably still be alive. And that brings us to Saul Rumford.”
“Romeo.” Max snorted in amusement. “The kid who filled in for Terrell.”
“Right, the one who shut the video down so he could have his knob waxed,” CC supplied. “We have an interview set up with him in a half an hour. He isn’t being very cooperative since the hospital canned him after finding out what he did.”
“What about the girl?” the Captain pressed.
“We’re going to try to get her name from him although it’s possible she’s a working girl,” CC said. “Hard to say by the way she was dressed; she could have just been young. I don’t know how useful she’ll be since, based on her position in the booth, I doubt that she could see anything of interest.”
“What about the two girls from San Diego?” the Captain inquired. CC handed him the file that she’d received. The Captain grimaced when he looked at the crime scene photos. “If I didn’t know any better I’d swear I was looking at the Bernstein crime scene.”
“I know,” CC agreed. “Which brings us to another problem. This could be a serial killer.” She’d been biding her time in bringing this up, knowing what the reaction would be.
“No Feds,” the Captain shouted. CC gave him a wary look in response. “You want to bring them in? Why would you of all people want to do that?”
“Because they owe me,” CC spat out. “And the stakes are too high for me to let this bastard get away.”
Max and her Captain sat there in a stunned in silence. “They can get information that we can’t,” CC explained. “Like if the victims in California were gay. Right now we can’t find anything to support that theory. Or if Simon has anything in his past that might show a prior history and he isn’t just some poor schmuck who has bad luck with women. And they can probably tie it up neatly so it looks like no one crossed any legal lines to get this information.”
A chilly silence filled the room as her partner stared at her with a slack-jawed expression. CC had never thought she would be asking the same people who had covered up her shooting for help. But keeping Jamie safe outweighed everything else. “Anything else on the case?” the Captain stammered.
“No sir,” CC responded casually.
“Well, keep me updated,” he said in a faraway tone.
After they stepped out of the Captain’s office Max was still staring at her in disbelief. “Don’t fight me on this, Max,” she cautioned him. “I won’t lose her.”
Jamie had a slight spring in her step when she entered the hospital. Despite the tension of the last twenty-four hours, she was elated by the time she’d spent with CC. And knowing that she wouldn’t have to face Simon Fisher was an added bonus. “Good evening, ladies,” she greeted the nurses who were busy pouring over their paperwork.
“You had sex,” Evaline gasped.
“Jealous?” Jamie quipped with a bright smile.
“Yes,” Evaline whined.
“Poor baby,” Jamie offered with false comfort. “Well, time to get to work,” she added brightly as she snatched a chocolate chip cookie from the tray sitting on the counter.
She entered the lounge area and went straight to her locker. She opened it, and with the cookie clenched between her teeth, began to change into her scrubs. As she pulled her lab coat out of the locker, a slip of paper fell to the floor. She stared at it curiously as she shrugged on the coat. With the cookie still firmly locked in her mouth, she bent over and picked up the piece of paper.
Jamie took the cookie in one hand and began to munch on it as she turned the paper over to see what it was. Her heart stopped when she saw the bold nondescript writing. The cookie fell to the floor as she stared blankly at the words - ‘You’re Mine’.
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