Murder By Association

Part 5

by Tonya S. Coley


For Disclaimers: See Part 1

Chapter 11

Pizo drove slowly up the street, and parked directly across from the alley that Johnnie had been shot in a couple of months earlier.

"J, you stay here. I'll be back as soon as I can." Pizo told her.

"Fuck that, Pizo." Johnnie shouted. "I'm wearing my vest. You think I just came along for the ride?" She demanded as she got out of the car, slamming the door behind her.

"Hard ass." He mumbled as he got out of the car. "Alma is gonna kill me if anything happens to you." Pizo told her.

"Look around you." She told him as her hand swept from where they were to the alley. "Do you think that the killer is still here with all these cops wandering around? Stop being a mother hen and come and let's do this."

The quickly walked toward the alley. Johnnie made it as far as the entrance before she stopped. A memory flashed before her eyes.

Johnnie made her way closer to the dumpster with her gun drawn. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest. She heard a noise and then saw the flash of gunfire. Her body was thrust backwards by three bullets. She looked at her chest, then to the back of the fleeing woman. As she fell to the ground, she could feel heartbeat slow down and could feel the blood pouring from her chest. Alma was her last thought before she was shrouded by blackness.

Her hand, which was shaking, instantaneously went between her breasts. She was sweating profusely and her heart thundered in her chest. Pizo's yelling pulled her back to the present.

"Come on, J." He shouted, waving her to the back of the alley.

She shook off the memory, and walked quickly to where he and the uniformed officers were.

Pizo looked at his partner. In all their years together, he had never seen a hint of fear on her face. That is, until at that moment. He walked over to her. "You ok, J?" He asked as he put his hand on her shoulder. "You don't look so good."

"Yeah, I'm fine." She lied, giving him a half-hearted smile. "Just out of shape I guess." I hope he bought it.

Bullshit J, and you fucking know it. You can pull that shit with Alma, but not me. He thought. Not wanting to antagonize her, he acted like he accepted her explanation.

The body they discovered had been recently killed. No rigor had set in yet. She was a Hispanic female in her early twenties, and had been beaten and raped in the same manner as the other three victims.

Johnnie asked for, and was given a flashlight by one of the uniformed officers. She looked around the body. "Pizo, do you see what I see?"

"Yeah, the lack of blood around the vic." He told her. "She wasn't murdered here."

"Yep." She sighed. "A calling card. For me."

Before Pizo could respond, he heard his name being yelled from the entrance of the alley. He and Johnnie recognized the voice. They heard his footsteps stalking into the alley.

"Green," the captain yelled, "What in the fuck are you doing here? You have not been cleared to return to duty." Before she could respond, Captain Hill turned toward Pizo. "Petrillo, have you lost your fucking mind? What in the hell were you thinking?"

"It's not his fault, sir." Johnnie told him. "I made him bring me."

He stepped directly in her space and glared down at her. "You put a gun to his head, Green?"

Looking apologetically at Pizo, she turned her gaze to the captain. "No sir, I didn't."

"Then it is his fault." He yelled. "Get out of my sight, Green. I don't want to see your face until you are cleared to return to duty. Are we clear?"

"Crystal, sir." She dejectedly told him.

"Take her home, Petrillo. I want you in my office tomorrow as soon as you sign in." He yelled and then winked at him.

"Come on, J." Pizo said.

They were at the alley's entrance before Johnnie spoke.

"Sorry, Pizo. I didn't mean to get you into trouble with the Cap." She softly said.

"He's not pissed, J." He told her. "That was for the benefit of the uniforms. Gotta keep up appearances. He was the one who called me. He knew I couldn't keep you away."

"Well, he is full of surprises." She chuckled.

When they returned to Johnnie's house, they noticed that Annie's car was still there.

"Guess they wanted to know what happened." Pizo said as they walked past the car.

"Probably didn't want to leave Alma alone. They knew she'd be on edge until I got back." Johnnie told him.

Alma was waiting at the door. When they came in, she fiercely hugged Johnnie.

"Baby, are you ok?" She asked, as she looked Johnnie over.

Johnnie cupped Alma's face and kissed her. "I'm fine, baby. I told you I would be."

Diana whispered her concern and relief to Pizo as she held him. He actually blushed.

"Johnnie," Annie interrupted, "You had a couple of calls while you were out. Some woman, she didn't leave a name."

"A woman called here?" Johnnie asked, quickly looking at Pizo.

The phone rang, causing Johnnie to jump. She walked over and picked it up. "Hello?"

"Johnnie?" A light, soft woman's voice asked.

"Yeah, this is Johnnie." She said.

"How did you like the gift I left for you?" She asked.

Johnnie looked at Pizo, gesturing that it was the killer on the phone. He went into the kitchen and picked up the extension.

"Not a very nice gift." She told her, her voice full of tension. "Why are you doing this?"

"I hate you lesbians. I hate how you are all creeping into society, infecting decent people with your beliefs and lifestyles. It's disgusting." She spat. "You've even crept onto the police force.

"Well if you have a problem with me, then you should take it up with me. Stop killing innocents." Johnnie angrily yelled.

"Innocents?" The woman spat. "Dyke whores roaming the streets in front of our children, setting bad examples."

Johnnie was furious. "What kind of example are you setting, huh?" She angrily demanded. "Murder is a crime, in case you've forgotten."

The woman laughed menacingly. "But it's not a crime against nature, like you lesbians are committing. I will settle this with you, dyke. But before I do, I have more souls to purge. You are going to be very busy."

"Fuck you, you crazy bitch. We'll find you and put an end to all this." Johnnie screamed. The line went dead. Johnnie was livid. "Damn it." She yelled as she slammed the phone back into its cradle. "Did you hear that shit, Pizo? Fuck!"

Pizo walked back into the living room. "Yeah J, I heard. She's got a woody for just lesbians, not all homosexuals." He paused. "It's weird."

Alma walked over to Johnnie. Seeing the state she was in, she placed a calming hand on her arm. "What did she say, honey?"

Johnnie rubbed her hands over her face, trying to settle down. "She's making it personal." She paused as she realized what could happen. "If she has my number, then she knows where I live. Shit, shit, shit!" She yelled. In a panic she ran toward the kitchen, then down into the basement.

"Where is she going?" Myra asked.

"She's getting the sisters." Pizo told her.

"What? What sisters? What are you talking about, Pizo?" Alma nervously asked.

All eyes were on Johnnie when she came back into the living room. She was carrying a large black case. She sat it on the stereo speaker and fingered the combination locks. She opened the case and whispered, "Hello girls, long time."

Alma looked into Johnnie's eyes and it frightened her. She had never seen the fury that those once gentle dark brown eyes held. It was if she had been pushed over the edge, almost as if she was crazed. I have to get her back. If I don't I'll lose her. She walked over to Johnnie, and then looked into the case. She gasped at what she saw.

"Johnnie?" Alma whispered as she placed her hand tentatively on Johnnie's back, "What are you going to do with those?"

Johnnie silently ran her fingers across them. Five highly polished .357 Magnums in the velvet lined case. A smaller case held the gold tipped bullets. "The sisters are going to be staying up here for a while, baby." She finally answered.

"One gun in the house is enough, querida. You don't need these." She told her. "I don't want all these guns lying around the house."

Johnnie turned to her. "Alma, I can't be here all the time. If she's not caught before I return to duty, you'll be here all alone. I can't take the chance of you being here unprotected."

Alma began her protest. "Johnnie I don't want..."

Johnnie placed her finger on Alma's lips. "Honey, I need for you to do this. I won't be able to do my job, knowing that crazy woman is still out there. She knows where we live." She told her, her voice pleading. "Your safety is paramount to me. I love you, Alma." She embraced her. "I can't take a chance on losing you."

"She's right, Alma." Pizo added. "The killer knows where you guys live. I'm sure she knows about you, too."

The realization that Alma could become a target enraged Johnnie. Alma could feel it, so she tightened her embrace. "Alright, Johnnie." Alma relented.

"Thank you." Johnnie whispered into Alma's ear. Pulling back, she looked at her. "Tomorrow, we go to the shooting range. You need to learn how to handle them."

After lying down with Alma until she fell asleep, Johnnie paced the house all night. She roamed from room to room, from window to window. She was on full alert mode, knowing that Alma could be in danger. She had suggested that Alma go and stay with her mother and brothers until this was over. Alma refused.

When daylight approached, Johnnie slid into bed, spooning herself behind Alma. She reveled in the joy of holding her soon to be wife.

"My hot blooded, high tempered little Mexican." Johnnie whispered. "What am I going to do with you, huh?" She asked as she stroked Alma's hair.

"You're going to love me until your dying day." Alma groggily replied. She turned over, snuggling into Johnnie embrace. "You haven't been to sleep, my love?"

"I'm in bed with you, aren't I?" Johnnie sarcastically asked.

"Don't answer my question with a question." She paused. "I know you were up all night. You were pacing through the house."

Johnnie sighed. "I couldn't sleep. I felt the need to keep watch, to protect my bride to be."

Alma looked into Johnnie's tired eyes. "It's early yet. Why don't you get a little sleep before we go to that place?"

"It's called a shooting range, baby." Johnnie told her. "I know you don't want to, but I need for you to do this. I want you to be able to defend yourself if I'm not here to do it."

"But, hon..." Alma began her protest.

Johnnie kissed her soundly on the lips, cutting her off. Feeling the need to breathe, she finally broke the kiss. "No buts. If you aren't going to go stay with your family, you're going to have to know how to handle a gun." She breathlessly told her.

"I want you to sleep for a while, ok?" Alma asked.

"Alright. Wake me in a little while." She told her, snuggling her body against Alma's.

When they arrived at the police department shooting range, Johnnie got both of them some protective gear; ear protection and safety goggles. She led them to a booth and took one of the guns that she brought with them. Johnnie gave the gun that she affectionately called 'Maxine' to Alma, allowing her to get used to the weight of it. Alma was reluctant, but did the best she could to get comfortable with it.

Johnnie could feel the tension in her lover. From behind Alma, she wrapped her arms around her waist. "I know this is hard for you. Thank you for doing this." She whispered into Alma's ear.

Alma leaned into the embrace. "I realize how important this is to you. I know that you won't be able to do your job if you're worried about me."

Johnnie kissed her on her neck, and began the lesson. She explained how to take the safety off, load and properly hold the gun. She told Alma to squeeze and not pull the trigger.

"Now," Johnnie said, standing very close to Alma's back, "Hold the gun like this." She placed the gun in Alma's hand, then closed her hand around it. Alma's hand was trembling. Johnnie lifted Alma's ear protection slightly. "Relax, baby. Maxine is your friend. Now squeeze."

Alma closed her eyes and turned her head.

Johnnie chuckled. "Honey, you have to keep your eyes open. You won't be able to see the target if you don't."

Alma looked back at the target. Keeping her eyes open, she was able to squeeze the trigger. The shot, which sounded like an explosion to Alma, made her jump into Johnnie's arms. Johnnie held her as she cried. She removed their ear protection.

She can't do this. Alma hates guns and you're forcing her to learn how to use one. Maybe you should lighten up, get her a bat, or better yet some mace. Johnnie's inner voice told her.

Alma's inner voice was speaking to her as well. If you can't protect yourself, Johnnie will be worried about you. She won't be able to keep her mind on her job, and that will put her in danger. You have to do this.


"Alma?" Johnnie responded, but sensing Alma's hesitation, said calmly: "Go ahead honey. What is it?"

"Can we start again?" She told her. Johnnie beamed.

Alma finally got used to the weight of the gun. She learned how to fire it, and was able hit the target in areas that would incapacitate an assailant. Johnnie was satisfied.

While they were riding home, Alma asked Johnnie why she named the guns.

"I named the guns after the women on my mother's side of the family. Maxine, after my mother. The others are named after her sisters; Beatrice, Bertha, Mary and Flora. They always stuck together, and when one got into trouble the others backed her up." Johnnie paused. "They were really close."

Alma listened and hoped that she would continue. A pained expression fell into place over Johnnie's face. Alma didn't press the issue.

"That's so sweet." Alma softly said. "Are we going back to the shooting range?"

Johnnie relaxed a little. "Uh, yeah, I thought we could go back after you get off work Monday." She paused. "If that's okay with you?"

Alma smiled. "That will be fine, baby." She took Johnnie's large hand into her own and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Johnnie?"

"Yeah, baby."

"Can you drive a little faster? I'm ready to get home." Alma told her as she kissed Johnnie's knuckles.

Johnnie looked at her and saw the desire that Alma's eyes held. She smiled, and retrieved her blue light from the glove box. They made it home in record time.

"J, we just got a call. They've found another body." Pizo yelled from across the squad room.

Johnnie shook her head in despair. Will we ever catch this bitch? She asked herself as grabbed her jacket from the back of her chair.

"Pizo, speed the fuck up. We have evidence to gather." Johnnie growled. "I could get out and walk faster than you're driving."

"I have the goddamned pedal to the floor, J." He told her. "Calm down. We're almost there."

They pulled up to the beach. Pizo got out first, and ran toward the other officers. Johnnie was a little slower; she was still a little out of shape. Pizo pulled back the tarp that the body was covered with, and immediately put it back into place.

Johnnie finally reached the crime scene. "What do we have, Pizo?" Johnnie asked, nearly out of breath. She looked at him curiously when he didn't answer. "Did you hear me, detective?"

Pizo was white as a sheet. "Uh, Johnnie, I don't think you should see this." He told her, pushing her back from the body.

"Get the fuck outta here, Pizo. I'm a cop. I've seen a corpse before." She angrily told him as she pushed past him.

Pizo reached out for her but missed. "Don't...."

Johnnie lifted the tarp. Her world came to an abrupt end when she saw the bruised and battered face of...


"Alma! Oh God No!" Johnnie screamed, as she sat up and clutched her chest.

Alma instantaneously sat up beside her. "Honey what is it?" She asked as she placed her hand on Johnnie's arm.

Johnnie sat there as if she were in shock. Her body trembled as sweat poured from her in rivulets. Her heart was pounding and tears were flowing freely from her eyes.

Alma shifted so that she was kneeling in front of Johnnie. She cupped her hands around Johnnie's face. "Querida? Look at me." She softly whispered.

Johnnie's eyes were glazed and unfocused. She couldn't respond.

"Johnnie!" Alma shouted. "You're scaring me. Come back to me, love."

Johnnie zeroed in on Alma's voice. She's frightened. Johnnie focused on the figure sitting in front of her. She shook off the disoriented feeling and realized that it was Alma. She pulled Alma into her, holding on to her for dear life.

"Johnnie, what's going on?" Alma asked frantically.

Johnnie didn't respond. She just held on to her and cried. Alma tried to calm her lover as best she could. She stroked her hair and back, and whispered soothing words into her ear. She finally convinced Johnnie to lie back down. Alma cuddled beside her and began to sing a Spanish love song. Johnnie calmed down considerably.

"You want to talk about it?" Alma sympathetically asked.

Johnnie sighed. Her worst fears had been realized in her dream. The murderer had gotten to Alma. What if that bitch comes after Alma? She asked herself. What will I do? How can I protect her?

Alma traced lazy circles on Johnnie's stomach. "Honey, did you hear me?"

"Uh, yeah. I heard you. Sorry." Johnnie paused. "Can we talk about it later, please?"

Oh God, she's going to shut me out. Pizo warned me about this. He called it posttraumatic something. Alma thought to herself. "Ok, love."

Sunlight peaked through the blinds, causing Johnnie to stir. She reached over for Alma, but was greeted by cold sheets. She sat up and listened for the shower. She heard nothing. She got out of bed and went to the bathroom.

"Alma?" Johnnie called out. No response. She walked out of the bedroom toward the kitchen. She called Alma once again, getting no response. Johnnie began to panic. She ran into the kitchen, finding it empty. She picked up the phone and started dialing Pizo's number, when she heard the front door open. Johnnie strode purposefully into the living room and saw Alma with shopping bags.

"Good morning, honey." Alma told her.

Johnnie's panic turned to relief then anger. "Where in the hell have you been?" She yelled.

That dream obviously frightened her more than she's letting on. Tread lightly, girl. "I did a little grocery shopping, beloved. It's Sunday morning, the best time to go." She said.

Johnnie snapped. "There's a fucking killer out there Alma. She's targeting lesbians, or have you forgotten?"

She's pissed. Don't add to it, girl. Keep calm. She told herself. Fuck that! She's not going to talk to me like I'm a child. "Don't yell at me, Johnnie." She hissed as she walked to the kitchen to put away the groceries.

I know she did not just walk away from me. "Alma? Don't you dare walk away from me." She yelled as she followed Alma into the kitchen.

Alma was putting away the groceries. She could feel her anger rising. Slamming the cabinet door, she turned to face Johnnie. "Just who do you think you are talking to? I'm not one of your cop buddies and I'm not a child. I'm your lover and soon to be wife." She paused, trying desperately to regain her composure. "You know I always do the shopping on Sunday mornings. Why are you so angry?"

Johnnie glared at her. Why am I so angry? Because there's a psychopath out there that's a threat to me and mine. She thought. You shouldn't take it out on her, idiot. She just doesn't realize the danger she could be in. Talk to her. She took as deep cleansing breath. "Sweetheart, I'm sorry I yelled at you. I... I was just scared when I woke up and you were gone. I thought that..."

Realizing that her lover was not just bitching at her but actually afraid, Alma rushed to her side. "I'm sorry. I didn't think." She whispered as she embraced her. "Te amo, mi amor, mi vida."

"I know." Johnnie softly told her. Pulling back from the embrace, She whispered in a childlike voice, "I'd like to tell you about my nightmare, now."

"Of course, sweetie. Come with me into the living room." She said as she took her hand.

You can be so thoughtless. No wonder she was so upset. Alma thought to herself as she held Johnnie's shaking body. "Johnnie? Baby have you considered talking to someone about this?"

After a few moments, Johnnie sat up. "I have to go to my evaluation with the department psychologist. That starts tomorrow." She told her. Allowing a heavy sigh escape her lips, she leaned her head back on the sofa. "I'll talk to her about the nightmare."

"Good." Alma said as she caressed Johnnie hand. She looked at her lover. Johnnie didn't sleep at all the night the body was discovered, and only slept for a couple of hours the night before. "I'm going to get breakfast started. I want you to take a shower, put on your favorite boxers and t-shirt. After we eat, I want us to cuddle up on our bed and watch movies." She said as she pulled Johnnie to her feet.

"Can I pick the flick?" Johnnie asked, looking down at her lover.

"No shoot 'em ups." Alma told her as she kissed the tip of Johnnie's nose. "Why don't we watch the movie that you love to watch when I'm not here?"

Arching an eyebrow, Johnnie asked, "What movie is that?"

Alma chuckled. "Shrek."

"I do not watch that kiddie movie. You bought that for your nieces and nephews." Johnnie argued.

"Then why is it in our bedroom and not in the den where it belongs?" Alma asked, trying to control her laughter.

"I... well… I...." Johnnie stammered. "Aw, fuck it. I'm gonna take that shower." She walked toward their bedroom.

Alma giggled. "You do that."

"Fink." Johnnie called over her shoulder.

"Brat." Alma shouted back.

Chapter 12

Johnnie was getting dressed while Alma was taking her shower. She decided to wear a pair of faded Levi's, a white t-shirt and her Homestead Grays baseball jersey. When Alma finally came out of the bathroom, Johnnie was sitting on the side of the bed lacing up her Nike's.

She's layering her clothes. Alma noticed. "I'll be ready in a minute." She paused. "What are you going to do today?"

"I have a nine thirty appointment with the department shrink. Then I'm going to get a security system installed." Johnnie told her. She stood up and walked over to the closet. "Alma I want you to carry some protection."

Alma protested. "I don't want to carry one of your hand cannons with me to work, Johnnie."

Johnnie lifted her hand for Alma to be quiet. "I know that." She told her as she moved closer. "This is pepper spray. Not that watered down stuff, but the real deal."

Alma took it warily. "Alright. I'll keep it in my purse."

"Good." Johnnie purred, wrapping her arms around Alma's waist. "I want to protect my investment." She told her as she cupped her buttocks, pulling her closer.

"That's so sweet." Alma told her as she looked into the older woman's eyes.

"Yep. That ring cost a small fortune." Johnnie jokingly said.

Alma's loving gaze quickly turned into a soul-damning glare. She removed Johnnie's hands from her behind and said, "You're cut off."

Johnnie's jaw dropped. "Honey, I was only..."

Alma's hand went up. "Ack!" She shouted. "You get nothing. Zip. Nada." Then she started mumbling in Spanish. She wasn't really upset with Johnnie, but she wasn't going to let her off the hook, either.

Alma resumed getting dressed. She intentionally put on some of her more sexy lingerie, driving Johnnie to distraction. She smiled as she put on the gray blouse that slightly revealed her ample bosom.

Johnnie sat back and admired her shapely hips as Alma slid into a black skirt. The hem stopped just above the knee. She watched as Alma walked over to her dresser. Oh no, she's gonna wear perfume instead of cologne. Johnnie thought. Alma's body chemistry turned her signature scent of Opium into something even more exotic. It was an aphrodisiac to Johnnie.

Toy with my feelings, will you? Let's see how together you are when you get a good whiff of this perfume. Alma thought to herself. "Oh honey?" She asked sweetly, "Can you help me with my necklace?" She turned to Johnnie with a look of complete innocence on her face, as she held the herringbone chain between her fingers.

Johnnie swallowed hard and walked over to Alma, taking the chain from her. She caught the scent of Alma's perfume and it made her hands tremble. Johnnie allowed the necklace to dip between Alma's breasts. What I'd give to be this fucking necklace. She thought to herself.

Alma lifted her hair from her collar, in hopes of fanning more of her scent into Johnnie's already flaring nostrils. That will teach you. She thought smugly to herself.

Johnnie groaned and her hands trembled as she tried to fasten the clasp.

"Is something wrong?" Alma asked innocently.

"Uh, no. Just having a little trouble with the clasp." Johnnie told her. Woman, what you do to me should be considered a felony. "There you go, love. All set." She rasped, as she desperately wanted to kiss Alma's neck.

Alma casually walked away from her, adding a little more sway in her hips. Picking up her jacket, she asked a noticeably aroused Johnnie, "Are you still driving me to work?"

In an attempt to restrain her libido, Johnnie tried to clear the lecherous thoughts from her mind. Clouds, cotton candy, rainbows. "Yeah, c'mon or you'll be late." She told her. Motorcycles, racecars, half naked women lying on the hood of racecars. "Shit!" Johnnie cursed.

"Did you say something, beloved?" Alma taunted.

"No, I was just noticing the time. Let's go." Johnnie grumpily replied. Alma smirked.

Johnnie arrived at Dr. Kohli's office a few minutes early. While she waited, she noticed the receptionist staring at her. When the receptionist noticed that she had been caught, she smiled seductively at Johnnie and winked.

Well, it's nice to know that I still have it. Johnnie thought to herself. She smiled back at the young woman. The young brunette woman nearly slid from her chair. Johnnie smirked. She knew the effect her 'million dollar smile', a term Pizo coined, had on women.

Dr. Kohli buzzed the receptionist, telling her that she could send Johnnie in.

"Detective Green," The brunette called, "The doctor will see you now." She was smiling for all she was worth.

"Thanks." Johnnie told her, causing the woman to blush.

Dr. Kohli was a small Pakistani woman. If she was lucky, she was five feet tall. Her appearance belied her age; she looked as if she was in her mid- thirties but she was actually in her early fifties. Her dark hair was worn loosely around her shoulder.

"Good morning Detective Green. Please have a seat." She smiled; her melodious voice was thick with an accent.

Johnnie was a little reluctant to talk to the doctor. She was afraid if she said something wrong, it would keep her from returning to duty.

"Is there a problem, detective?" The doctor asked.

"No, no problem." Johnnie told her. "Just a little nervous."

Dr. Kohli sat behind her desk, and motioned for Johnnie to take the seat across from her. "No need to be nervous. Relax, and tell me a little about yourself.

"What do you want to know?" Johnnie curiously asked.

"Just start talking, Johnnie. Whatever is on your mind, talk about it. You set the pace." She assured her.

        Johnnie was very careful with what she revealed to Dr. Kohli about the shooting, and the stress and frustration that she was under concerning the case.

"How does it make you feel, the murderer calling your home the way she did?" The doctor asked.

Johnnie could feel her temper rising. I can't lose it in front of this shrink. She'll say that I'm unfit. She thought to herself. She sighed. "Frustrated. It's bad enough that she shot me, but she's making it personal. I don't want Alma to be at risk."

"Johnnie, you feel more than that." Dr. Kohli said. "I can't be of any help to you if you keep your feelings hidden from me." She paused. "If I were in your position, I would be very angry. This woman is making it personal. She invaded your space by calling your home. Plus there is a possibility that your lover could be in danger."

Johnnie stared at the doctor in disbelief. "You mean if I cut loose in here, you won't think I'm crazy and deem me unfit to return to duty?"

The doctor laughed. "That's not how I operate. I'm not the enemy here, Johnnie. I want to help you so that you can return to duty." She paused. "What you tell me will not be included in your evaluation. Only my recommendations will be in the report."

Johnnie looked at her warily. Can I trust her? Can I trust myself? Johnnie stood and walked over to the window. You have to do this. You have to do this for yourself, and Alma. "Doc, it pisses me off that this woman knows my home phone number and possibly where I live." She told her. "I'm not afraid for myself; it's Alma that I'm concerned about."

"Hence the nightmares." The doctor stated as she leaned back in her chair. "Johnnie, your shooting has placed fear into your subconscious. The murderer is a smart one. If you concentrate on making sure that Alma is safe, then you'll be distracted and won't be able to do your job."

Johnnie turned to the doctor. "But I'm not the only detective on this case." She retorted. "I have a partner working with me on this case."

"Your partner," The doctor added, "Is not in the spotlight. He didn't get shot, you did. He hasn't had the notoriety that you have. Most importantly, he's not gay." She paused. "The killer is a homophobe and seems to have set her sights on you, detective."

Johnnie's anger flared. "What in the hell am I supposed to do? My fucking hands are tied. Alma refuses to leave; I can't get back to work so I can catch the bitch." She shouted. "I'm not Xena for Pete's sake."

The doctor leaned forward. "Keep going."

"What in the hell do you mean, keep going?" Johnnie angrily demanded. "I fucked up and the bitch shot me. Now she's making it personal, like all of this is my fault." Tears began to flow from her eyes as she paced back and forth. "My lover could be dragged into this. She could even become a target and there won't be a goddamned thing I can do about it." Johnnie sat down in her chair and sobbed. "I see my baby's dead body on the dunes, just like the others. Beaten, raped, tortured." She slid from her chair and sat on the floor.

The doctor stood and walked around her desk. She kneeled on the floor beside Johnnie and placed a comforting arm around her shoulders. "You've been carrying this inside you. It's been released now. We can work to get through this." She paused. "Johnnie, you will be able to work this out, and then you'll be able to do what you do best. You and your partner are going to catch her and bring her to justice."

Johnnie left the doctor's office feeling a little better. It was good for her to open up and release some of the pressure that she had been under. She even looked forward to her next appointment with Dr. Kohli.

She went to a home security company and purchased a system. It would be installed later in the afternoon.

After stopping by the GNC for some protein mix, she went home and changed into her workout clothes. She figured she should get started on an exercise program to get back into shape and regain her muscle mass.

Johnnie and Alma's basement was not the usual dank and grungy basement. This basement was one that time and money had transformed into something nice. At one end was Johnnie's weight training equipment, enough equipment to make any health club proud. In the center were a completely stocked wet bar, two leather sofas and two leather wingback chairs. A 200-watt stereo system was built into the wall behind the bar. Cordoned off at the other end were the laundry room and half bath.

After loading one of Alma's Gypsy Kings CD's into the player, Johnnie began with stretching exercises and a warm up of a five mile run on the treadmill. She then began lifting weights. Think I'll start out with 150 pounds. She thought to herself. Damn, I feel like a fucking beginner with this little amount. After working up a good sweat, she moved over to the speed bag. Donning her boxing gloves, she attacked it like she was in training for a shot at the heavyweight championship.

She decided to wind up her workout on the heavy bag. Sweat flew from her body with every powerful punch. She imagined the killer was the bag, and began punching it furiously. Think you can call my home and scare me, huh bitch? Well guess what, it's not going to work and I'll catch your sorry ass and make you pay. She thought to herself as she stopped punching the bag. That voice, something familiar about it. Have we had a run in before? Are you someone I busted? "I'll get Pizo to do a rundown of my cases involving women." She said aloud to no one.

Johnnie went upstairs to shower and change. Without realizing it, she had a four-hour workout. She was a little winded, but felt invigorated because she could feel her strength returning. The shower re-energized her. She dressed quickly because it was nearly time to pick up Alma from work.

While waiting for Alma, Johnnie sat in the parking lot making phone calls on her cell phone; first to the Chinese restaurant to place an order for dinner, and then a call to Pizo.

"Hey partner, what's up?" Pizo asked. He missed Johnnie terribly. Although he received assistance when needed from Gilliam and Westlake, it wasn't the same. They were homicide detectives that were between cases. Most importantly, they were not Johnnie.

"Nothing much. I'm ready to get back to work." She told him.

"I know, J. I miss you, too." Pizo chuckled.

Rolling her eyes back in her head she laughed, too. She knew he was right, because she did miss him. "I didn't say I missed you, asshole. I'm just ready to get back in the saddle."

"Sure, sure, you'll tell me anything. So what do you want, J?" He asked.

"Ah, you know me too well, partner." She said as she shifted in her seat. "I want to run something by you."

Pizo could tell that it was important or she wouldn't have called. It would have kept bothering her until they all got together on the weekend. "Okay, shoot."

"Pizo, there's something about that woman's voice." She told him. "I can't put my finger on it, and it's driving me crazy."

He could hear the tension in Johnnie's voice. "You want to go back into our files. Former busts, right?" He asked.

Johnnie smiled. "Like I said before, you know me too well. Do you think the captain will be pissed if I show up tomorrow?" She hesitantly asked.

Pizo chuckled. "You know what? He was expecting you to come nosing around here this morning." He told her, bringing a smile to her face. "Guess what else?"

"What?" Johnnie asked.

"I think he was disappointed that you didn't show up." He added.

"We wouldn't want the captain to be upset. I'll stop by tomorrow after I drop Alma off at work." She happily said, with the biggest grin on her face.

"See you tomorrow, partner." He told her, and then ended the call.

Johnnie was still smiling as Alma got into the car. "Hey, baby. How was your day?" She asked as she leaned over for a kiss.

Alma gave her a chaste kiss, then closed her door and buckled her seatbelt. She sighed heavily. "Long and tiring. Some figures came in for the Johnston County project that didn't quite add up. I spent the entire day in a paper chase with those idiots, and found out that they had combined two separate accounts." She paused. "I just want to go home."

Johnnie kissed Alma again. "Sorry about your day, babe." She sympathetically said, brushing her hand against Alma's cheek. Johnnie could see the frustration on her face, and decided to forgo their trip to the shooting range. Alma was very appreciative. "Gotta make a stop at Fong's and pick up dinner before we go home."

"That's fine. I'm not choosey." Alma said, eyes closed. A familiar scent wafted in Alma's nostrils. No she isn't wearing Obsession. The sneaky devil; she knows what that does to me. Alma opened her eyes a little and peeked over at Johnnie. God she is so gorgeous. How am I going to be able to keep my hands off her?

Johnnie noticed Alma checking her out. Cut me off, will you? Get ready baby, cause I'm going to be tapping that ass tonight. She thought while a lopsided grin formed on her face.

Johnnie decided to set the table while Alma showered. Okay, red or white? Fuck I don't know how to pick this shit out. White mellows Alma and red makes her horny. Red it is then. She thought to herself and a lecherous grin grew across her face.

The table was prepared and Johnnie began to smile when she heard Alma walk up behind her.

"Smells good, honey. I'm starved." Alma told her.

Johnnie turned around and her smile faded. What the fuck? She questioned herself. Alma was dressed in a terrycloth bathrobe and a pair of old fuzzy slippers.

"What?" Alma innocently asked.

"Uh, nothing." Johnnie told her as her heart sank. Guess I won't be getting any tonight. Johnnie pulled out Alma's chair, and then seated herself.

Johnnie and Alma chatted about Johnnie's day during dinner. After dinner Alma suggested that Johnnie shower while she cleaned up the kitchen.

When she emerged from the shower, Johnnie's breath was halted by the vision of loveliness that stood before her. Alma was dressed in the red teddy that Johnnie had given her for Valentine's Day; including fishnet stockings, red lace gloves, garters and stiletto heels.

"I believe this was promised to you, was it not?" Alma seductively asked.

Johnnie stood there in her t-shirt and boxers unable to speak. She just nodded her head.

I'll bet you weren't expecting this, were you, lover? Alma smirked. "Close your mouth, baby, you'll catch flies."

Johnnie was still unable to speak. Say something, stupid. She mentally chastised herself. Alma looked so hot and inviting. Johnnie couldn't get her mouth and brain to function properly.

Alma walked over to Johnnie and took her hand, leading her to their bed. Johnnie sat down on the side of it, as Alma reached into her garter and pulled out the remote for the stereo. Strains of Jill Scott's voice echoed throughout the bedroom:

"Honey Molasses

Ebony Majesty

Chocolate Brown Sugar

Sweet Epiphany"

Alma began to seductively gyrate her hips in time with the music. Johnnie, still dumbfounded, could only sit there and lick her lips. Alma used the toe of her left shoe to graze across Johnnie's pulsating clit.

"Jesus." Johnnie hissed as she slid away from Alma's foot, causing Alma to smile.

Alma held her foot up so Johnnie could remove the offending shoe. She did the same for the other. As Johnnie reached out for her, Alma immediately pulled away, continuing her dance of seduction. She skillfully removed the garters and stockings, throwing them at Johnnie who could not resist sniffing them. The intoxicating scent made her swoon.

She finally moved close enough for Johnnie to grasp her waist and dip her tongue into her navel. Johnnie's tongue traced the fine hairs that led to Alma's moist fountain, and obliged herself with a taste. Alma groaned and thrust her hips forward. Johnnie reached up to slide the straps of the teddy off her shoulders. Once that was accomplished, it slid down to Alma's hips and stopped. Her curves would not allow it to flow freely off her body. Alma shifted her hips and the teddy pooled to the floor.

"Two people, just meeting

Barely touching each other

Two spirits greeting

Trying to carry it further

You are one and I am another

We should be one, inside each other"

Alma was astride Johnnie and 'Little J' was buried deep inside her. Their eyes were locked on each other, as staggered breaths were all that could be heard in the room. Johnnie cupped Alma's breasts, toying with the painfully erect nipples.

Johnnie whispered, "I will love you, Alma, until my last breath."

"En Espanol, por favor." Alma begged, as she writhed above her.

"Te amo, Alma, y te amare hasta mi ultimo suspiro." Johnnie husked in her deep contralto voice, thrusting her hips faster.

"You can see inside me

Will you come inside me?

Do you wanna ride inside my love?

You can see inside me

Will you come inside me?

Do you wanna ride inside my love?"

Johnnie was driving fast and furiously into Alma's soaked and throbbing sex. She was propped on her elbows and forearms as she grasped Alma by her shoulders. Alma held her legs opened wide, knees near Johnnie's elbows, granting full access to her lover.

"Two strangers, not strangers

Only lacking the knowing

So willing, feeling, infinitely growing

        While we're here the whole world is turning

We should be one

Fulfilling our yearning

You can see inside me

Will you come inside me?

Do you wanna ride inside my love?

You can see inside me

Will you come inside me?

Do you wanna ride inside my love?"

As Minnie Ripperton hit her final high note, it was nearly matched by Alma's emergence into ecstasy. Johnnie could only shudder and moan. Her cries were constricted by the lump in her throat caused by unshed tears. After a moment, she was finally able to whisper, "I love you, Alma."

Alma pulled Johnnie's hair back over her shoulders. She looked at her and could see the love etched on Johnnie's face, and the tears in her eyes. She knew that Johnnie loved her, but had no idea how deep the love flowed. "And I, you. Forever, dear heart."

Lyrics from Honey Molasses, by Jill Scott and Inside my Love, by Minnie Ripperton were used without permission. I love these two women of song and could not find any better way to express that love. This is not a story for profit, so I hope I won't be sued.

Part 6

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