THE BRASS RING
By Mavis Applewater
Disclaimers: Havent done one in awhile for this story, so just in case someone forgot, here it is. Despite any similarities to someone living or dead, the characters and story are a work of fiction. They were born from an overactive imagination and a shady past. Since the overactive imagination and shady past are mine, this material cannot be posted or reproduced without my permission. So there! If you do not enjoy a story that contains a loving sexual relationship between two consenting adult women, I really admire your will power in enduring the first twenty installments. No need to torture yourself any further since I intend to keep those scenes coming and coming. If for any reason it is illegal for you to view such material, Im glad you havent been caught but do me a huge favor. Stop now and come back when its not a crime for you to read my work.
Thank you to my beta reader Joanne.
As always, this is for Heather.
CC stirred slightly in her sleep as she felt another persons warmth covering her body. The tall brunette moaned as she became aware of the sensual feeling of her nipple being teased while a firm thigh pressed against her aching center. CC kept her eyes shut firmly, not wanting the dream to end. It felt so real. A gentle breath caressed her breast making her body tremble in pleasure; her eyes flew open. The sensations grew stronger as she felt her left nipple being teased.
Looking down she saw Jamie lying across her body. CCs top had been pushed up and a sleeping Jamie was rolling and pinching her nipple. The blondes firm thigh pressed against CCs heated center. "Im in hell," CC grumbled as she tried to move away from the blondes pleasurable touch.
Jamie whimpered as she pressed herself more tightly against CCs body. CCs breathing was becoming ragged as Jamie squirmed around on top of her. CCs mind and body engaged in an active battle of wills. It felt so very good to hold Jamie, and the blondes gentle touch was driving her insane with desire. Yet making love again before they had a chance to work things out between them would be the wrong thing to do.
CC clenched her thighs as she prayed for the persistent aching to cease. She lifted her body slightly in hopes of making her escape. Unfortunately the movement allowed the slumbering doctor to capture CCs breast in her mouth. Jamie began to suckle eagerly. CC found herself reeling from the sensation as her fingers laced around the back of Jamies head.
CCs body took control as she pressed Jamie closer to her and arched her back, giving more of herself to her former lover. She pulled Jamies body closer as she fell back down onto the mattress. The movement awakened the doctor; green eyes fluttered open in surprise. Jamies face turned red as she lifted herself away from CCs chest. Her movement caused her thigh to press harder against the policewomans center. "Sorry," Jamie blurted out as CC groaned.
Jamie was still straddling CC as the brunette gasped for air. CCs body was a quivering mass of arousal as Jamie moved slightly against her. "CC, Im sorry," Jamie said softly as CC lowered her top to cover her breast. CC couldnt speak; she could only lie there trembling. Jamie started laughing. CC, who was still trying to breath normally, just looked up in despair. Jamie quickly clamped her hand over her mouth.
CC growled as she watched Jamies body shaking from the stifled laughter. "This isnt funny," she managed to utter in a shaky tone. She watched in discomfort as Jamie bit down on her lip, trying to conceal her merriment. Jamie shifted slightly and once again her leg brushed CCs throbbing clit. CCs head rolled to the side as her body burned from the touch.
"Oh God," Jamie moaned from above her. CCs eyes fluttered shut, knowing that Jamie could now feel her wetness.
"Caitlin," Jamie said sweetly as she reached down and ran her fingers along CCs jaw line.
CCs lips quivered in anticipation as she found herself lost in the pool of jade staring down at her. "I know that look," CC said in a breathy tone. "Jamie, we cant."
"Why?" Jamie whimpered in dismay as her chest heaved and her eyes twinkled. "We can," Jamie asserted as her fingers continued their torturous trail along CCs chiseled features.
"I know we can," CC responded weakly as she leaned into Jamies touch. "We shouldnt."
"I know that look youre giving me, Caitlin," Jamie continued in a husky tone. "You have the same look in your eyes that you had years ago when you were fighting against what our bodies wanted. You dont have to do the honorable thing. You need this. I can feel how much you want this." Jamie swayed her hips against CCs body, effectively conveying her message.
CCs will power was crumbling as her body arched against Jamies. "What is it about you that drives me to the point of insanity?" Jamie uttered softly. "From the first moment I saw you I lost control."
"I gave you a speeding ticket," CC responded as she relaxed into Jamies touch. Jamie laughed lightly. Both women were lost in the memory of that fateful afternoon.
"And then later that night you still asked me to dance after I made a complete fool out of myself," Jamie said lightly, her hands drifting from CCs face and down her body.
"Barely managed to ask you to dance," CC confessed as her body tingled from Jamies touch.
"I couldnt believe how nervous you were," Jamie said with smile as her fingers continued to lightly caress CCs neck and then drifted to her broad shoulders. "That still amazes me."
"Whats that?" CC sighed as her eyes fluttered shut her body tingling from Jamies delicate touch.
"That underneath your tough cop image, youre shy," Jamie explained softly.
"Am not," CC grunted as she blushed slightly.
"Youre sensitive and kind and gentle," Jamie cooed softly as her fingers drifted down CCs body and began to draw light circles across CCs firm abdomen. "Even when you were gone and I thought that I hated you, I still missed your touch."
"Did you miss me?" CC inquired with uncertainty as she captured Jamies hands as they were about to find their way under her shirt. CC opened her eyes to find herself lost in the look of love Jamie was giving her.
"Yes," Jamie responded with sweet sincerity. "I missed your smile. I missed your laugh. I missed the way you get all shy when someone gives you a compliment. I missed the way you act like an overgrown kid. I missed the way you try to hide your tears when you watch a sad movie. I miss that look of sheer exasperation you get when I ramble on like an idiot. I miss the way you run your fingers through your hair just before you say something."
"I do all that?" CC uttered in surprise.
"And more," Jamie said tenderly. "For twelve years I just could not understand how someone so sweet and wonderful would just walk away from what we had without a word." Jamie paused as she collected her thoughts. CC tightened her hold on Jamies hands, feeling the pain she had put the young doctor through. "And now I want to know why you waited all this time to tell me the truth," Jamie said in a sad voice.
CC brought Jamies hands to her mouth. She turned them over and kissed the palms. "I thought about it so many times over the years," CC began slowly. "I just couldnt seem to get you out of my mind. It would be easy enough to track you down to find an address and send you a letter. I did run a check several times and I could have written to you."
"Why didnt you?" Jamie questioned her as CC began to kiss each one of her digits slowly.
"Every time I would work up the nerve to do it, I kept seeing you kiss that girl," CC finally choked out.
"She didnt mean anything to me." Jamie sighed as her fingers trembled against CCs mouth.
"That doesnt make me feel better," CC responded honestly. "I loved you. You were everything to me. I fought to keep my career and then to get my body back in shape. Then I found myself fighting to get custody of Stevie. I was an emotional wreck having to face my mother in court. Knowing that she didnt care enough to come to me when I was in the hospital." CC could see the tears beginning to pool up in Jamies eyes. "Then I went to you and had to face the reality that I had lost you. And I was angry that you could move on and forget about me so easily. I felt betrayed."
"Moving on with my life was anything but easy," Jamie choked out a bit harshly. "But I had to do it."
CC kissed Jamies hands once again, enjoying the warmth she found there. "I know," CC said softly. "It hurt just the same." CC reluctantly released Jamies hands. She reached up and brushed away the tear running down Jamies cheek with her thumb. "And now by some miracle weve found one another again. And I am terrified that Ill find someway to screw this up."
"You are not alone on that one," Jamie said as she smiled. "Still . . . ," the blonde added playfully as she swayed her hips once again.
CC gasped as their bodies pressed together. CC felt as if she was falling when Jamies eyes darkened with desire. "Are you suggesting that while we get to know one another again, that we refrain from getting to know one another?" Jamie teased as her hands found their way up under CCs top.
"Youre not making this easy." CC panted as Jamies fingers teased her skin.
"Neither are you," Jamie said softly. "I know we shouldnt," Jamie concurred as her hands drifted further up CCs body. "I just cant help myself. Even in my sleep I want to touch you. I dreamt about you last night."
CC could only whimper in response. She knew that she was helpless to stop what was happening. Her body was on fire and there was only one person who could extinguish the flames of desire. Jamie was the only one she wanted and she was straddling her body. CC groaned as Jamie cupped her breasts. She felt Jamie lower her body. Jamie was now lying on top of her as her hands felt the swell of her breasts.
"Would it be so wrong to give in just this once?" Jamie whispered hotly in her ear just before she dipped her tongue inside.
CC groaned loudly as she clung tightly to Jamies body. Since the night of the fire, the policewoman had been strung out. She needed Jamies touch and now she was trying to convince herself that Jamie was right. Would it be wrong to just give in to her desire? her mind debated.
From outside the doorway she heard laughter. Jamies body stiffened at the sound. Both women scowled in disgust. "This is not fair," Jamie growled as she lifted her body slightly. CC smiled in agreement as her mind and body took notice that Jamies hands were still pressed against her breasts; her eyes were still clouded over in a smoky haze. CC smiled as she moved quickly and flipped the small blonde over onto her back. Jamie squealed in surprise.
"This is why we never spent time at my apartment when we were dating," CC teased her as she balanced herself over Jamie.
"I always wondered about that." Jamie giggled lightly.
"It was too tempting being alone with you," CC confessed as she leaned down to steal a quick kiss. "We need to get up and have breakfast with our sisters."
"I hate being an adult," Jamie grumbled.
"Sucks, dont it?" CC laughed lightly as she climbed off Jamie.
Jamie bounced up off the bed. "You are certainly in a good mood this morning," CC noted as she pulled her hair up in a ponytail.
"I am," Jamie said as she tried fixing her rumpled blonde locks. "I havent slept that well in ages. Thanks for letting me crash here."
"Anytime." CC yawned once again.
"Sorry about feeling you up in my sleep," Jamie apologized with a slight shudder.
"Its okay," CC conceded. "I just need to remember that youre a big pervert."
CC inhaled quickly as the doctors hand swatted her hard against her stomach. "Ouch!" CC complained.
"Suck it up, you big baby," Jamie teased as CC yawned once again. "Someone needs her coffee."
CC nodded slightly before flashing a big pout. She fought back the laughter as Jamie rolled her emerald eyes in disgust. "Come on, hot stuff. Lets get you caffeinated."
"Ill be out in a second. I just need to change," CC explained quickly.
CC watched the confused look on Jamies face change into a full-fledged blush. "Sorry." The blonde chuckled.
"No, youre not." CC scowled as the doctor dashed out of her bedroom. "Jamie, what am I going to do about you?" CC muttered as she dug out a clean pair of sweats. The policewoman changed quickly and joined the others in the living room.
"Good Morning, Sis," Stevie greeted her.
"Coffee," CC stated flatly.
"Glad you could join us," Stevie continued.
"Coffee," CC repeated, not understanding why her younger sibling failed to comprehend the urgency of the matter.
"Did you sleep well?" Stevie continued to taunt her.
"Coffee," CC growled.
"Im sorry. Did you want me to make you some coffee?" Stevie inquired with a tone of mock confusion.
Finally! CCs mind screamed triumphantly. "Yes," CC grunted indignantly. Stevie folded her arms across her chest and stared at CC. Oops. CC cringed. "Please," she managed to squeak out meekly.
"Ive already put it on," Jamie announced from behind her.
CC turned to find Jamie and Meagan sitting on the floor playing with Emma. "Baby." She grinned eagerly.
"No," Stevie grumbled. "My daughter will never learn to walk if you keep carrying her around."
"But ," CC began to protest.
"Jamie and Meagan are playing with Emma," Stevie scolded her.
"Shes seems to be very focused first thing in the morning," Meagan commented.
"Yup. Coffee, baby, toss in a shiny thing, and my sisters morning is complete," Stevie grumbled.
"Actually I was talking about Emma," Meagan responded lightly as CC sneered at her.
CC was far from pleased at the way Jamie snorted with laughter. The blonde stood and walked over to her. "Ill get your coffee if you promise to behave," Jamie said softly as she placed a comforting hand on CCs stomach.
"Okay," CC conceded as Jamie began to rub her stomach in an all-to-pleasing manner.
"Funny. You seemed pretty wide awake back in the bedroom," Jamie whispered in her ear before removing her hand and making her way into the kitchen.
CC sighed contentedly, watching the sway of Jamies hips as she left the room. I really like starting my day this way, she thought blissfully. "Are you enjoying your visit, Meagan?" CC inquired as she watched Jamies sister play with her exuberant niece.
"Im having a great time," Meagan responded brightly. "Well, except for what happened yesterday."
"What happened yesterday?" Stevie inquired.
"One of Jamies residents was murdered," Meagan explained in a hushed tone.
"Oh my God," Stevie gasped.
CC chewed on her bottom lip as her mind began to review the case. Jamie handed her a mug of coffee. "Thank you," she said softly. "Speaking of which, I really need to talk to you about Sandra," CC said before enjoying her first sip of coffee.
"I figured as much." Jamie sighed heavily.
"What can you tell me about Dr. Fisher?" CC began slowly, not really liking that she had to disrupt the morning by bringing up business.
"Isnt that the guy who has a crush on you?" Meagan asked.
"Yeah," Jamie responded. CC could hear the discomfort in her voice. "What does he have to do with any of this?"
"Nothing I hope." CC shrugged. "I just need to go over some stuff with you since you were her supervisor," CC lied, not wanting to alarm Jamie with her suspicions. "Why dont we talk about this later? "
CC was happy when the subject changed. The four women relaxed and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. Of course, Jamie occasionally brought up the subject. CC normally admired her overwhelming curiosity, this time it was working her last nerve.
Later after Jamie and Meagan had departed, CC and Stevie cleaned up. CC was feeling anxious since Meagan was leaving for home that afternoon. She didnt like the idea of Jamie being alone. After Emma had been changed, Stevie set her down on the carpet and allowed her to explore. "So what is it about Dr. Fisher you dont want Jamie to know?" Stevie inquired as they both kept a watchful eye on Emma.
CC grimaced at the question. "He has a crush on Jamie," she stated bluntly.
"And?" Stevie prodded.
"He isnt taking no for an answer," CC continued thoughtfully. "He showed up on her doorstep late last night."
"Thats a little creepy," Stevie commented.
"Theres something about him that makes me uncomfortable," CC added. "We gave him the impression that we were a couple just to get rid of him, since take a hike wasnt working."
"Uh huh." Stevie chuckled. "I bet you just hated acting like Jamies girlfriend."
"He didnt react very well," CC said with concern.
"I dont like where this is going," Stevie said as she inhaled quickly.
"I think I scared him," CC said, not really believing what she said.
"You didnt hit him, did you?" Stevie groaned.
"No." CC shushed her. "I choked him." Stevies brown eyes widened as they filled with shock. "Just a little," CC said, defending her actions. "He tried to attack me."
"Youre afraid that you might have pushed this guy a little closer to the edge, arent you?" Stevie stated fearfully.
"Yeah," CC admitted. "Would you mind keeping an eye on things while Im at work tonight? Im going to suggest that Jamie crash here again."
"Not a problem." Stevie instantly volunteered. "How did sharing a bed go?"
"Not bad." CC shrugged, recalling how wonderful it felt to awaken with Jamie in her arms. "We didnt have sex if thats what youre wondering."
"Who me?" Stevie scoffed. "So what does Jamies stalker boy have to do with the murder?"
"Nothing, I hope." CC cringed as she spoke. Her fears were unsettling enough without having to say them out loud. "Its just that the victim looked a lot like Jamie."
"Jesus Christ." Stevies voice trembled as she spoke. "Well, that settles it. After Meagan leaves, Jamie is staying here until this case is over."
"James will never agree to that," CC argued.
"Youll think of something," Stevie reassured her.
CC did think of something. Oddly enough it was the truth; not the complete truth but enough for Jamie to agree to spend a few more nights at CCs place. CC was never one to play games. She had lost more women in her life because she refused to fall into that trap. As CC found herself taking yet another cold shower, she prayed that her willpower could withstand being so close to Jamie night after night.
Once she was dressed and ready to head out to work, she found her sister waiting for her. "Caitlin, Im going out to dinner with Jamie," Stevie explained.
"Oh, is that why the peanut is all bundled up?" CC cooed as she tickled her niece.
"Jamie said you should take her car," Stevie continued, ignoring her sisters silly facial expressions. "The keys are on the counter."
"She offered me her car for the night?" CC questioned.
"James said that she knew that you were worried about leaving me without a car just in case anything happened with Emma," Stevie said with a smile.
"That was very nice of her to do." CC smiled at the thought.
"How did you get her to agree to crash here?" Stevie inquired.
"I told her that I would feel better if she stayed here at night," CC explained slowly.
"You didnt tell her what you suspect, did you?" Stevie asked her.
"No." CC scowled. "I dont want to worry her. What if Im wrong? Id just feel a little better knowing that she isnt alone at night."
"Regardless of what happens with this case, this guy sounds creepy," Stevie noted thoughtfully.
"I shouldnt be late. Have fun tonight," CC offered before kissing Emma and Stevie goodbye.
CC arrived at the station earlier than usual. She made a few telephone calls and then she placed the case files out in front of her and pondered them carefully. Talk to me, she urged silently, hoping to find some small detail that she had previously overlooked.
"Anything?" Max said as he sat down in his squeaky chair.
"Not yet." CC grimaced. "How did it go with her parents this morning?"
"Theyre devastated," he said sadly. "I cant imagine what that must be like."
"I made some calls to the hospital and set things up for tonight," CC explained as she silently agreed with her partner. "Her car is still in one of the garages. CSU is already over there. "
"They just found her car now?" Max fumed.
"They have three different parking garages," CC explained slowly. "People coming and going twenty-four hours a day. It wasnt hard to overlook since no one knew that she was missing until yesterday. Why dont we head out to see what CSU has dug up and then we can take a look at the video tapes from the monitors?"
"What do you want to bet that her tire iron is missing?" Max snorted.
"If it is then whoever took it would be on the video tape," CC said confidently. "After all that, why dont we talk to some of the other employees?"
"The coworker and friends interviews - I hate those," Max snarled as they headed out towards the parking lot.
"Theres one that youll need to conduct without me," CC explained. "Theres this guy who worked with her. He has a thing for Dr. Jameson."
"Do tell." Max chuckled as they climbed into his car.
"He showed up on her doorstep last night," CC continued. "I had a bit of a run in with him."
"Great," Max sighed as he drove them towards the hospital. "How bad?"
"Nothing too serious," CC hedged. "Max, this guy is definitely quirky."
"So this guy just showed up at her place?" Max inquired thoughtfully.
"Yes, and from what I gather he wants to get to know Jamie better," CC continued. "When I showed up, she was telling him to get lost."
"He didnt want to go I take it?" Max responded.
"No," CC confirmed. "He was polite enough with her. But when I stepped in, he snapped."
"Not good," Max grunted. "So we have a victim who looks a lot like Dr. Jameson. Captain Creepy is harassing her and all three of them knew one another. Tell me, Detective Calloway, do you believe in coincidences?"
"No, I dont," CC growled as her fear grew. "What did you get from her parents about her social life?"
"According to them, she didnt have one," Max responded flatly. "You know how it is. They lived there and she lived here."
"The landlady said she was quiet and a bit of a homebody," CC added. "With the schedule that these kids keep, it isnt hard to believe that she didnt have a social life."
"Which garage is it?" Max inquired as they pulled up.
"The southwest one. It should be the one around behind the hospital," CC instructed him. As they pulled up to the gate, CC noticed that there was no ticket dispenser, only a keycard slot. "Why would she park all the way back here if its so far from the hospital?" she questioned absently. Max shrugged as he honked his horn, flashing his badge at the attendant so they could gain entrance.
As they approached the little blue Toyota, CC noted the flat tire on the back. "What do you have for me, Niezwicki?" CC asked the lead CSU investigator.
"Not much," the older man explained, scanning his clipboard. "No signs of a struggle. There are a lot of fingerprints. No blood that we can see. Looks like she ate her meals in the car; theres a ton of old coffee cups and fast food wrappers. Also the rear passenger tire is flat." He grunted. "And yes, well check it out when we get the car back to our garage."
"Was there a tire iron?" CC inquired.
The older man scratched his chin as he scanned his notes. "Yes," he confirmed finally. "The attendant over there was on duty the night your victim disappeared. His name is Terrell."
"Thanks. Let us know what you find once you get her back to the station," CC instructed. The man simply rolled his eyes. She knew that he knew what he was doing, but there was always that sense of urgency that made her feel as if she should remind the techs.
CC and Max introduced themselves to Terrell. The skinny older African American man simply nodded. CC could see the sadness in his eyes. "Did you know Dr. Bernstein?" CC inquired carefully.
"She was nice lady," Terrell responded softly. "Not like some of the other youngsters that come and go. Shed always stop and say hello. Shed ask about my family; she even baked me cookies at Christmas time. Its a damn shame, a nice woman like that dying so young."
"Yes, it is," Max agreed.
"Terrell, did you see her arrive the day of her last shift?" CC inquired in a soft tone.
"Yes, I did." Terrell nodded. "She was working an overnight. I try to keep track of when the young women are coming and going. Its so dark back here."
"Why would she park way back here instead of one of the garages in front?" CC asked; the question had been nagging her.
"Staff parking," Terrell responded flatly.
"Staff parking?" CC said in confusion. "I dont understand."
"The staff isnt allowed to park in the main garages," Terrell explained. "Theyre suppose to park back here so the patients and visitors can use the front garages to get in and out of the hospital easier. They even jack up the rates so the staff wont sneak in there. You need to get your ticket validated if youre a patient or a visitor. The desk even checks it on the computer to make sure that you arent lying."
"I have a friend that works here and she parks in the front lot," CC explained, knowing that she had seen Jamie park in the front.
"She must work the late shift," Terrell said with a smile. "Theres no one here then who will validate a ticket. The rates drop at night. Its kind of understood that since visiting hours are over and no one is coming in for an appointment, the staff can sneak into one of the main garages. Its against policy but everyone ignores it."
"And Sandra was working overnight and couldnt get away with leaving her car in the main garage," CC concluded. "Is that why there isnt a ticket dispenser?"
"Yes," Terrell confirmed. "They pay for a months worth of parking in advance and get a key card which can only be used in the staff parking lot."
"Did you see her the night she disappeared?" Max inquired.
"No, sir," Terrell responded flatly.
"Did you see anyone who looked out of place?" Max continued.
"No, sir." Terrell sighed heavily. "Its pretty dull back here at night."
"This garage, is it just for doctors?" CC asked.
"No, its for staff," Terrell explained.
CC grimaced; the scope of their investigation had just widened enormously. "If she had car trouble, would she contact you?" CC continued as her mind processed everything.
"Oh yes," Terrell responded sadly. "I stay in the office right over there." He pointed to the little room with the glass window that looked out over the garage. "We have mechanics on call if someone breaks down."
"So if they needed a jump start or had a flat tire, they could just tell you and you would call for assistance?" CC concluded. "I see you have video monitors in there. Can you see the entire garage?"
"Yes, Miss." Terrell nodded. "They skip around from floor to floor. I must have stepped out for coffee or something."
CCs heart broke at the forlorn expression on the older mans face. "Terrell, this isnt your fault," she reassured him. "Were going to find out who did this."
They questioned the man for a short while longer and then Terrell gave them instructions on how to find the security office. They wandered the halls of the large hospital until they located it. "This place is huge." Max was huffing; the walk had strained the overweight man. "How does anyone find his or her way around?"
CC smiled at the panting man. "You know, what I find interesting is that no one stopped us as we were wandering around," she commented wryly. When they entered the security office a young man greeted them ands showed them to the directors office. The director was a large man. CC shook her head, instantly knowing the type. He was a big fish in a little pond. She could tell by the way he adjusted his belt that he was also a cop wannabe. He sneered when he saw CC. She stepped back and allowed Max to take the lead.
They showed their badges and introduced themselves. The way he addressed Max confirmed her suspicions. "I reviewed the tapes you requested," Dietrich began as he sucked on a toothpick. Oh goodie, this should be good, CCs mind sneered.
"I didnt see anything that would help you," Dietrich continued as he sucked harder on his toothpick. Theres a problem, CC noted in anger.
"Well take them anyway," Max said firmly with a slight scowl.
"Its just that . . ." The man hesitated.
"Is there a problem?" Max taunted him.
"Well, there must have been a glitch," the large man mumbled.
"What sort of glitch?" Max pressed in an irritated tone.
"The tapes periodically rewind. We dont save all of them," Dietrich explained.
"Thats not uncommon with surveillance equipment," Max noted. "Since her car was there for awhile, there still can be something that will help us. How long of a blackout are we talking about?"
"Ninety-seven minutes," Dietrich grumbled.
"What?" CC blurted out before she could stop herself.
"Now listen hear, Sweetie," Dietrich barked at her.
That did it, CC snapped. "Listen, Sparky. Just tell us something . . ." Max chuckled as she towered over the man. " . . . just how long does the rewind normally take?"
"I dont have to put up with this," Dietrich bellowed in response. "I think you should leave."
"Guess again," Max interrupted. "This is a homicide investigation. Now give us the tapes and answer my partners questions or well go over your head."
"Are you threatening me?" Dietrich fumed.
"Yes," CC and Max responded in unison.
"I run a tight ship here," Dietrich defended himself.
CC groaned, thinking how absurd it was that this man was trying to defend his job. "Really? Then why is it, in this day and age, that my partner and I wandered about without proper id and were never questioned?"
"Its the night shift. You cant get into the hospital without going through reception," Dietrich said, defending himself.
"Let me guess. Youre not here at night." Max snorted in disgust.
"No," Dietrich conceded.
"How long does the blackout usually last?" Max repeated.
"Ten minutes," Dietrich finally confessed.
"Eight-seven minutes unaccounted for," Max grumbled. "Just enough time to flatten her tire and snatch her. Do you know why this happened? Were any of the other monitors affected?"
"No," the burly man grunted.
"How often do your men sweep that garage?" Max continued.
"Every half hour," Dietrich asserted firmly.
"Is that how often theyre supposed to or how often they actually do?" Max pressed.
"My men follow my orders," Dietrich spat out.
"But youre not here at night," Max noted merrily.
"Well take the tapes," CC said as her head throbbed. "And a list of your men who were on duty the night of the twenty-seventh. Also we need a printout of who punched in and out of the garage during the time Sandras car was there."
"Do you have any idea how long a list that will be?" Dietrich groused.
"Does the fact that a young woman is dead escape you?" CC fumed. "She was probably murdered in that garage. Now you can help us find out what happened or you can see your sorry excuse for a career swirling around the bowl."
Dietrich didnt say a word. He simply handed over the tapes and copies of the worklog. He did agree to fax over the key card information. CC and Max took the material and left the man muttering bitterly behind them.
"Youre beautiful when youre angry," Max teased her.
"I wanted to strangle that arrogant jerk," CC growled.
"Do you think she was killed in the garage?" Max questioned.
"No." CC sighed as they made their way to the Emergency Room. "I think she was grabbed there by someone who was smart enough to know that the monitors were down."
"Terrell?" Max questioned in disbelief.
"Doesnt fit," CC surmised. "I guess well know more when we view the tapes. Now lets go talk to her co-workers."
Throughout their interviews CC and Max discovered that Sandra Bernstein was the girl that Jamie and her parents had described. She seemed to be liked by everyone who knew her. Although Max and CC were used to that sentiment being expressed after someone had recently died, this time they seemed to be sincere.
CC and Max stopped by a vending machine and started filling it with an obscene amount of money just to get two cans of soda. "Oh goodie, theres the guy I was telling you about," CC said as she saw Dr. Fisher enter the hospital.
Jamie found herself laughing at Emmas antics in the restaurant. The infant was trying to get her hands on everything while Stevie and Jamie were fighting to clear everything out of her reach. This seemed to infuriate the child who screamed until her mother gave her one of her cookies to suck on. The waitress simply doted on the little girl.
"Shes so beautiful." Jamie chuckled lightly as she peered over her menu at the adorable child.
"Gay men really do make beautiful children," Stevie agreed with a proud smile.
"Ill keep that in mind," Jamie responded quietly.
"Oh, thinking of getting one of these for yourself?" Stevie taunted her.
"I dont know." Jamie sighed. "I guess being around this little cutie got me thinking. Meagan is trying. Maybe I could just be the doting Auntie?"
"I dont know. You have that look in your eyes," Stevie said suspiciously.
"I guess Im starting to think about things like having a family and a long term relationship again," Jamie said thoughtfully. "I havent done that in a long time."
"The breakup left the two of you hurting. You both changed so much afterwards," Stevie noted with concern. "I know Caitlin never really tried to find someone else. Of course, for the first few years she was too busy raising me."
"She did a great job," Jamie asserted with a smile.
"Yes, she did," Stevie responded. "If she hadnt taken me out of there, God only knows what would have happened. The moment my father found out that Caitlin was in a coma he came after me. Thats how I discovered she was in the hospital. Fortunately she had taught me a few moves so I could protect myself until I ran away."
"How did she manage to get custody?" Jamie inquired as she wiped some drool off Emmas face.
"I guess the FBI figured that they owed her and did some digging into my Dads past," Stevie explained in strained tone. "Turns out he has a record for indecent assault on a minor. The courtroom was filled with cops from here and Rhode Island and a slew of FBI agents. What judge wouldnt pay heed to that? CC thinks that the judge wasnt as biased as he should have been. I dont care. It got me out of there. What really hurts is that my mother still refuses to believe any of it."
"Do you here from them?" Jamie inquired carefully.
"They both tried to get me away from CCs evil influence." Stevie laughed bitterly. "Especially after Emma was born. Now I have a restraining order and the cops back home keep a careful eye on my father. Hes in prison right now for trying to snatch a kid from a playground."
Jamie shivered as her stomach turned in disgust. "Lets talk about something else," Stevie suggested. "So roomie, did you pack your jammies?" Stevie teased as Jamie groaned.
"Do you mind my staying over?" Jamie asked.
"No," Stevie responded firmly.
"I was really unnerved when Dr. Fisher showed up at my house," Jamie finally admitted. "You know, last night was the best sleep Ive had in ages."
"Snuggling up to a certain cop wouldnt have anything to do with that, now would it?" Stevie teased as Jamie blushed.
"Despite feeling safer over at your place, I have to confess its a little hard sharing a bed with your sister," Jamie explained as she tried to hide her blush. "I know we need to take things slow, and in the end we may only end up being friends, but she is so damn attractive."
"I swear the two of you are just going to spontaneously combust someday," Stevie teased. "But you do need to get to know one another again."
"I know," Jamie groaned. "My head keeps telling me that, and so does my heart. Now if I could just get my body to listen, everything would be just fine. Speaking of spontaneous combustion, hows Emmas room coming along?"
"Emmas room is finished and so is the contractor," Stevie growled. "I cant believe she told you about that."
"Well, in her defense she had to," Jamie explained quickly. "I went over there one morning and kind of got the wrong impression. CCs car was there and yours wasnt and I jumped to the wrong conclusion."
"Oops," Stevie choked out.
"Either way, it really isnt any of my business," Jamie explained quickly. "It just . . ." Jamie hesitated as she tried to understand her emotions. She placed her menu down and began to rub her eyes. Stevie placed her hand over Jamies.
"Youre falling for her again," Stevie said bluntly.
"A part of me doesnt want to," Jamie responded in a fearful tone. "And another part of me wonders if I ever stopped loving her."
"Lets eat," Stevie said boldly as she gave Jamies hand a light squeeze.
"Excellent idea," Jamie said with relief as she waved the waitress over and Emma cooed happily in agreement.
They placed their orders quickly and settled into a light chatter about the weather and their jobs. Just as their food arrived, Jamies cell phone chirped. She rolled her eyes at the interruption. "Dr. Jameson," she snapped into the telephone.
"Jamie," the voice said in a strangled tone. A chill ran through her body as she realized who the caller was. "I need to talk to you," he continued.
"How did you get this number?" Jamie demanded, fighting against the sudden fear that was welling up inside of her.
"Why are you doing this?" Dr. Fisher demanded.
"Is this call in regards to a professional matter?" Jamie addressed him sternly.
Jamie watched as Stevies normally dark features paled. She could hear Fisher breathing heavily on the other end. "Is she there?" he spat out like a jealous lover. "That woman from the other night. Who does she think she is?" he demanded.
"That is none of your business," Jamie said curtly. "Nothing about my personal life is any of your concern. Do you understand that?"
"Jamie, why?" he pleaded.
"This conversation is over," she said firmly before disconnecting the call. Her hands were shaking as she set the phone down on the table.
"Jamie?" Stevie squeaked out nervously.
"It was him," she responded in an absent tone.
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