Shield of Justice

by Radclyffe

Please see part 1 for all disclaimers and copyright information


Chapter Seventeen

Rebecca’s beeper went off before the hospital elevator touched the ground floor. Threading her way through the log jam of wheelchairs, elderly patients shuffling behind steel-framed walkers, and clumps of disoriented visitors, she reached a public phone and called the station.

"Frye, here," she announced into the phone.

She edged her way out of the path of a speeding adolescent and waited impatiently for her call to be put through.

"This is Watts," the heavy male voice intoned in a bored voice.

"What do you want, Watts?" Rebecca snapped, unable to hide her dislike for her new partner.

"A call came in on the night shift -- a desk clerk down on Delroy found a dead hooker in one of the upstairs rooms."

Rebecca waited for more and was rewarded with the faint background buzz of the phone line.

"Watts," she said in exasperation, "we don’t have time to track down some faceless john who got too rough with a hooker. Turn it over to Homicide."

"Yeah," Watts said. "You’re probably right. The whore was just a kid --thirteen, they said."

Rebecca expelled a ragged breath. "Fuck! I was hoping we had quieted that action down."

"Funny thing about it. The M.E. called in a preliminary report -- seems the kid was beaten to death first, then sodomized. The semen analysis showed up type O."

"Jesus!" Rebecca exclaimed. "Why didn’t you say it might be our guy straight out! Give me the address -- I’ll meet you there."

She knew the place. The Viceroy Hotel. It had once been a respectable hotel, housing long-term tenants and the occasional tourist. With the decline of the neighborhood and the gravitation of junkies, prostitutes, and drug dealers to this area, anyone who could afford to had moved out. Now the hotel was a stop over for hookers and their clients, junkies waiting for their next fix, and the lonely wino who had scrounged the price of a thin mattress for the night.

Rebecca made the cross-town trip easily, despite the rush of lunch hour traffic. Watts was waiting in front of the four-story building, looking apathetic and bored. His crumpled suit, too tight across his bulging middle, had once been expensive but now reflected the neglect and disinterest which was evident in the man himself. Rebecca knew that he had once been considered a sharp detective, but apparently, something had changed. He looked every inch the burnt out veteran, just putting in time until his pension came up. Rebecca did not want to be saddled with him; he was clearly a loser.

She joined him wordlessly, and they pushed through the hotel’s double entry doors into a dank, dimly lit foyer. Thread-bare chairs sat haphazardly on a rug of indeterminate color. Piles of old magazines lay strewn randomly over the surface of a scarred coffee table. Beyond this waiting area was a small counter where the desk clerk leaned on his elbow, watching them impassively. The room was empty except for an old woman who reclined on a sofa against one wall, snoring softly.

The clerk clearly read them as cops and continued to stare at them without speaking. As they approached, Watts flipped his badge open and leaned against the cigarette-scarred desk top.

"You Bailey?" he said without preamble.

"That’s right," the man said. His breath smelled of liquor, and he didn’t look as if face had seen a razor in days.

"You find the body?" Watts continued, making no effort to introduce Rebecca. She was irritated but saw no benefit in making a show out of it. She let Watts carry the ball.

"Yeah, I found it."

Watts nodded slightly. "Says in the report that you called in at 3:42 A.M."

"Probably. I didn’t look at no clock."

"How come you’re on the desk now? Where’s the day shift?"

The man looked at Watts blankly. "I work the day shift."

Watts paused for a moment, a befuddled frown on his face. "That so? Then how come you were here in the middle of the night? You work the night shift too?"

The desk clerk’s face registered dismay, and he looked quickly around the room. Rebecca had the sense that he was looking for an exit, and she stepped slightly to the left, blocking the hinged section of counter that led out from the narrow space between the mailboxes and the registration desk. She slowly moved her hand to unbutton her jacket, allowing her access to her automatic. She wasn’t sure what Watts had in mind, but he was certainly after something. It would have helped if he had briefed her first.

Watts studied the clerk, his face still creased with confusion.

"You got other work here, maybe?"

"Like what?" the thin greying man asked uneasily.

"Like maybe you run a few of the girls yourself?"

At Watt’s suggestion the man gave a frightened snort and backed away from the counter.

"No way, no way at all. I never pimped -- I swear. I just --" he stammered into silence.

"You just what?" Watts asked.


Watts turned to Rebecca and raised a questioning eyebrow. "What do you think, Detective Frye? Isn’t soliciting clients for prostitutes a felony in this state? Maybe we should take Mr. Bailey here for a ride downtown?"

Rebecca followed his lead. She nodded agreement, and responded, "You’re right, Detective Watts. Mr. Bailey does seem in clear violation of the law."

Bailey squeaked in protest, words tumbling out of his mouth in a rush.

"Wait a minute! I didn’t solicit for nobody. The girl was up there a long time, and I just went to see. There she was -- spread out on the bed, naked except for those shorts around her ankles. She was cold already. I could tell that from the door. So’s I called the cops -- that’s what a citizen is supposed to do, isn’t it?"

He glanced from one to the other, hoping for a sign of approval. They returned his gaze impassively.

Rebecca stepped a little closer to the counter and said softly, "Why were you watching her, Mr. Bailey?"

He looked uncomfortable and shifted from one foot to the other. He seemed to come to some decision, speaking slowly. "They pay me a little to keep an eye on the girls. You know -- to see how many tricks they turn -- if they’re holding back on their pimps. I don’t do nothing but keep an eye on traffic, so to speak."

"Who pays you, Mr. Bailey?" Rebecca asked, keeping her body between Bailey and Watts. They were playing good cop/bad cop all right. She only wished that Watts had given her some notice.

"You can’t arrest me for watching hookers -- that ain’t no crime!"

Watts moved closer to Rebecca. "It is if you’re an accomplice to the act --which you are, Bailey."

Bailey blanched but remained silent.

"Who went up there with her, Mr. Bailey?" Rebecca asked suddenly.

"Didn’t see him," he answered quickly.

Rebecca turned to Watts. "Maybe Mr. Bailey would remember if we took him downtown. What do you say, Watts?"

Watts appeared to be thinking, his brow knit in consternation. "Yeah -- you might be right, Frye. But then we’d have to fill out all those reports and probably run Bailey through the computer. You know how long those computer checks take." He sighed as if the idea didn’t appeal to him much.

Bailey watched them, scarcely taking a breath. Finally, their silence drove him to speak.

"Look. I don’t pay much attention to the johns -- they’re in and out of here all the time. Dozens of ’em. This girl Patty -- she was popular, you know? Young stuff like that attracts a lot of action. She’d be up and down those stairs ten times a night."

Rebecca suppressed a shudder, pushing the image of a young girl laboring under the bodies of countless men from her mind. She kept her gaze noncommittally on Bailey’s pale face.

"The last guy -- I just glanced up when they went by. He was young, I remember that. Made me wonder for a second why such a young dude would have to pay for it." He shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe he was a virgin."

"You never saw him before?" Rebecca asked, hoping to encourage Bailey to continue his musings.

"Nah. I probably would have remembered if he was a regular."

"Is there anything that struck you as unusual about the guy?" Watts asked.

Bailey appeared to be considering the question, but his face remained blank. Chances were he had become too immersed in the decadence around him to notice specifics.

"Don’t think so," he said slowly. Suddenly, his face brightened, as if he had had a revelation. "I do remember he had a bag with him -- one of those gym bags." He chuckled absently to himself. "Maybe he kept those shorts in there."

"What shorts?" Rebecca prompted, looking at Watts. Watts shook his head slightly, signally he had no idea what Bailey was referring to.

"You know," Bailey said, "those little shorts she had on. She wasn’t wearing them when she went upstairs."

Rebecca felt a surge of excitement. "What was she wearing?"

"One of those little leather skirts and a -- what do they call them? Tank tops?"

"Were her clothes in the room when you found her?" Watts asked.

Bailey shook his head. "Didn’t see them, but I didn’t look too close."

Rebecca knew they could check that out in the report the uniform who responded to the call would file. She thought they had enough from Bailey for now, and she explained to him that they would need him to meet with the police artist to sketch a composite of the man who had accompanied Patty Harris on her last trick. Despite his protest that he didn’t really see the guy, he agreed to meet them at the station later that day. He seemed more willing to cooperate now that they had "forgotten" about his role in the prostitution business.

Rebecca and Watts went over the crime scene, but they didn’t expect to find much. An iron bed stand stood in the center of a grey-walled room that had once been white. The mattress was thin and stained. There were no rugs on the worn wood floor, and only a curtain remnant to block the view of a deserted building across the street. A single bulb hung from a central ceiling fixture, its globe long broken. It was an empty, abandoned place, much like the people who used it for their hasty couplings. The oppressiveness of the room permeated their consciousness quickly, and they left after a rapid survey, neither of them speaking.

Once outside, Rebecca turned to Watts where he was attempting to light a cigarette. His match kept blowing out.

"That was a nice piece of work with Bailey, Watts," she said. His questioning had been sharp, and they had worked well together.

His cigarette finally caught, and he took a deep drag. He didn’t acknowledge her remark as he started toward the car.

"Guess we’ll have to start questioning all the hookers down here," he remarked, pulling open the door to his battered green Dodge sedan. "See if there’s a john around who likes girls in gym shorts."

Rebecca nodded, her thoughts in tune with his. It could just be a coincidence, but it was the only lead they had. It was certainly better than cooling their heels waiting for their rapist to strike again.

"I’ve got some contacts here --let me chase this a while," she replied.

Watts shrugged. "Suits me. I’m going to grab some lunch."

He didn’t invite her along, and Rebecca didn’t suggest they go together. She agreed to meet him at the station later to see what Bailey and the police artist would put together. Maybe, finally, they had a break.

Chapter Eighteen

It was after eight, and Catherine was exhausted. She had spent the afternoon at her office, seeing private patients. She loved her work, but there were times when it took all of her effort to stay connected and focused during a session. She was a good therapist, and she was almost always present for her clients. On days like today, she was glad to see the last client leave.

As she pushed the stack of patient files into her brief case, the phone rang. She stared at it, wishing she could ignore it. Her receptionist had left. The switchboard would pick it up in a few more rings. Then it occurred to Catherine that it might be Rebecca, and she snatched the phone up.

"Hello," she said, a hopeful anticipation in her voice.

"Dr. Rawlings?" a soft male voice inquired.

"Yes," Catherine replied, trying to keep the disappointment from her voice.

"Is she feeling better now?" the voice continued.

Catherine frowned, annoyed and confused. "I’m sorry -- who is this? I don’t know to whom you’re referring."

"You know her, Dr. Rawlings," he said in a husky tone. "The girl who saw me in the park. The one who watched me fucking that other one."

Catherine took a slow deep breath and kept her voice steady, despite the sudden racing of her heart.

"I’m glad you called," Catherine said. "What shall I call you?"

There was a soft chuckle through the line. "You know I can’t tell you that. They’re looking for me, you know. But they’re too stupid to find me."

"Why is that?"

"They have no imagination." Another soft laugh. "Do you, Dr. Rawlings?"

"I think so," she answered.

"Can you imagine lying on the ground, your face in the grass, with a big hard cock up your ass?"

He might have been asking her if she would like to take a stroll in the park. His tone was casual, almost distant.

"Is that what you’re imagining right now?" she asked him.

"I won’t tell you that, Doctor," he responded, an edge in his voice for the first time. "I can’t tell anybody -- but you’ll see, won’t you? The next time I do it, you’ll see."

"What are you going to do?" Catherine questioned.

The click of the line being disconnected was the only response.

"Damn," Catherine muttered as she sagged against her desk. She started to tremble slightly and realized how shaken she was by the call. Part of her professional mind was fascinated, but, personally, she was repulsed by the soft, cool voice which reached out to her like an unwanted caress. There was only one voice she wanted to hear right now.

Chapter Nineteen

"Hey, Frye," the night sergeant called across the squad room. "There’s a call for you."

Rebecca frowned and gestured "no" with her hand. She and Watts were expecting Bailey to finish with the police artist any second, and she was eager to get a look at her suspect’s face.

The desk sergeant shrugged. "The lady says it’s an emergency."

Rebecca, annoyed, crossed the nearly deserted room and reached for the receiver.

"Frye," she announced tersely.

"This is Catherine, Rebecca. I wouldn’t have called, but --"

"Nonsense," Rebecca interrupted immediately, detecting a difference in Catherine’s usually calm voice. "What is it?"

"Your suspect -- the rapist -- just called me. At least, I think it was him," Catherine replied, her voice curiously flat. She felt somewhat detached from everything at the moment.

Rebecca caught her breath, filled with a sudden anger. This nameless, faceless man had gone too far. He had touched someone who meant a great deal to Rebecca.

"Where are you?"

"At my office."

"I want you to lock your office door, move away from the window, and wait for me. Do not open the door for anyone. I’ll be there in ten minutes."

"I’m fine, Rebecca," Catherine said, some of her usual control evident in her tone.

"I know that. Just do as I say."

"Of course I will."

Rebecca hurried across the room for her jacket and was intercepted by Watts as she headed toward the door.

"Where are you going?" he asked, stepping nonchalantly between her and the exit.

Rebecca stared at him while trying to make a decision. She knew she should tell him about a possible contact from the suspect, but she wanted to see Catherine alone, to be sure she was all right. She remained wordless, and he watched her, no expression on his face.

Taking a deep breath, she replied, "We may have a phone contact from our boy. He may have just called Catherine Rawlings. I’m going there now."

Watts raised both eyebrows and whistled softly. "Things are heating up, aren’t they? Guess I’d better tag along."

Rebecca knew she couldn’t prevent him from accompanying her, as much as she wanted to go alone. Damn the job sometimes!

"Let’s go then," she said resolutely, consumed with the need to reach Catherine.

When she knocked on the office door, calling to Catherine, she unconsciously held her breath until she heard the lock being turned. The door swung open and Catherine stepped forward, looking pale but composed. She stopped short when she saw Watts behind Rebecca, her eyes meeting Rebecca’s.

"Thank you for coming, Detective," she said quietly.

Rebecca wanted to enfold her in her arms, aching to touch her just for a moment. Instead, she nodded slightly and followed Catherine into the waiting room. She introduced Watts and suggested they sit so Catherine could tell her story.

Catherine relayed in detail the brief conversation. Her memory was excellent, honed from years of retaining an entire hour’s session with clients. Rebecca and Watts each took notes.

Rebecca stiffened when Catherine clinically stated the caller’s sexual intimations. She felt a rage she rarely experienced despite all her encounters with brutality and perversions. This time it was Catherine who was threatened. When Catherine finished, Rebecca was wordless, struggling with her emotions.

She started slightly as Watts asked, "Did you recognize the voice, Doctor?" Rebecca had forgotten he was there.

Catherine shook her head, a look of faint surprise on her face. "No," she said, "of course not."

Watts gave a non-committal shrug. "Never know. Could be someone you know—or maybe someone you treated?"

Catherine regarded the blank face of the man seated beside Rebecca contemplatively. She sensed a clever mind behind the facade of apparent disinterest. Her curiosity was piqued, and she wondered where his train of thought was leading. Without consciously realizing it, she slipped into her professional mind set and began to view the events objectively, as if they had happened to someone else.

"I would recognize the voice, I’m sure of that. He was casual, and yet, so intimate." She didn’t notice Rebecca’s slight flinch at her choice of words. Watts gave no sign of noticing it either.

"He’s trying to make contact. He wants someone to share his experience with," she mused aloud.

"What do you mean?" Rebecca asked, trying to keep her voice even. Goddamn him to hell for involving Catherine in this.

She didn’t want to interrupt Catherine’s assessment of what had occurred by allowing her own reactions to interfere. She forced down the rage that threatened her objectivity, and she tried to view Catherine as the critical component she had become in this case. Nevertheless, she was aware of a faint nausea that made it difficult for her to swallow. Watts glanced at her nonchalantly, giving no sign he had noticed the strain in her voice or the rigid way she held her body.

"He’s pleased with himself," Catherine said, her eyes turning toward Rebecca. Her gaze was slightly unfocused as her thoughts continued to form. "He’s performed an important act, you see, and he’s established himself, done something powerful -- won a little victory. And he wants to be sure someone appreciates this."

"So why call you?" Watts said.

Catherine shrugged. "I don’t know—"

"Catherine," Rebecca began urgently, "this is very important. Are you sure he isn’t a patient -- someone you know?"

Catherine shook her head. "I don’t treat many men. I’m certain I would know."

"How about pulling your files on all the men you’ve seen -- say in the last five years," Watts said. "Maybe we can find something there that jogs your memory."

Catherine straightened in her chair with a start.

"Absolutely not, Detective. It’s out of the question."

"Look, Doc," Watts suddenly interrupted. "This guy picks you -- you of all the people in the city -- to have a little talk with. He calls you to share a few `intimate’ details of his latest fuck. Now I gotta think that’s not a coincidence. Like maybe he’s got a little thing for you or something?"

"Back off, Watts," Rebecca ordered, fighting to control her temper. Watts’s crude interrogation of Catherine incensed her, and had Catherine not been present, she would have told him to shut his fat fucking mouth. As it was, it was all she could do to keep her hands off him. "If Dr. Rawlings says he’s not a patient, then he isn’t."

Watts settled back in his chair apparently unperturbed. "Yeah, if you say so."

"I’ll review all my files, Detective," Catherine offered. "If there’s anything there at all I think may be relevant, I’ll look into it."

"Absolutely not!" Rebecca exploded. "You are not to pursue any contact with anyone you think may be involved with this case! For god’s sake, Catherine, this man is a psych -- he’s already killed two women, and a third may die!"

"Oh, I don’t know, Frye," Watts mused softly. "Might not be a bad idea. Maybe the doc can come up with something for us. We ain’t got shit now."

"Leave it alone, Watts," Rebecca said, cold fury in her voice. She looked at Catherine, her blue eyes dark with a mixture of anger and a fear she couldn’t quite hide.

"Promise me, Catherine," she said urgently, not caring that Watts was sitting beside her.

Catherine despaired at the anguish in Rebecca’s eyes, and she hated the conflict her involvement had created for Rebecca. The last thing she wanted was to make Rebecca’s already overwhelmingly difficult job any harder. "Yes, of course," she answered quickly. She was rewarded by the slight easing of Rebecca’s stiff shoulders.

"We’ll need to put a tap on your phone," Rebecca said, her mind beginning to function again. "I’ll put a man in your office, too."

Catherine sighed deeply, hating the words she had to say. "I can’t let you do that, Rebecca."

Rebecca looked up from her notebook, astonishment flooding her face. Watts looked almost amused.

"What?" Rebecca exploded.

"I can’t have my line monitored. It’s an invasion of my patients’ privacy. And a man lurking about in my waiting room would be too unsettling for some of my clients. I just can’t allow it," Catherine said as gently as possible.

"Catherine," Rebecca began, her tone dark with exasperation. This was too much. She couldn’t deal with this professional bullshit any longer -- not when it put Catherine at risk. Confidentiality was one thing, but this was carrying it too damn far. Not only did she need to protect Catherine, but she had to have access to this guy if he called again. Before she could continue, Watts interrupted.

"How ‘bout this, Doc," he suggested. "We put a tape recorder on your phone, and if our boy calls, you record it. And we’ll have somebody watching your office from a car on the street?"

Catherine considered carefully for a moment. "The tape recorder sounds fine, but I can’t have someone watch my clients come and go."

"God damn it to hell!" Rebecca barked.

"OK for now," Watts said, slapping his thigh briskly. He turned to Rebecca, his face carefully revealing nothing. "Talk to you outside for a moment, Frye?" He rose and strode deliberately to the office door, leaving Rebecca to follow angrily behind.

"What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Watts?" she roared as soon as the door closed behind her. "It’s not up to you how we run this case. I’m in charge here, and I’ll say how we handle this surveillance." Her face was two inches from his, and it took all of her control not to punch his already misshapen face in.

Watts reached unperturbedly into his jacket pocket and fumbled for a cigarette. He lit it, took a long drag and exhaled slowly.

"Looks to me like the shrink is one stubborn lady. If we’re gonna get anything out of her, we’re gonna have to go real slow and gentle, like a virgin on her first date."

"Jesus Christ," Rebecca murmured. "You are the worst piece of crap I’ve come upon in years. If you think I’m going to leave her here like some piece of bait, you’re stupider than you look." She was having trouble thinking straight, but she couldn’t seem to clear her head. She had been up for nearly three days running with only a few hours of sleep. Jeff was dead, for god’s sake, and now some piece of slime had slithered into her world and touched the woman she…she what, for christ’s sake? The woman she let hold her when her heart was breaking? The woman who gave her her body for comfort and a few hours’ peace? Oh god, what was she doing? How could she have let this happen now, in the middle of a case like this? She sagged slightly against the wall and stared numbly at Watts, who continued to puff contentedly on his cigarette.

"Sorry, Watts," she said at length. "You’re right. We can’t force her to do anything, and even a tape is better than nothing. Probably can’t use it as evidence though."

"Doesn’t matter if we catch the guy. We’ll have a DNA match from the semen."

Rebecca stared at him wordlessly. He was right again.

"Let’s see if Cath—…if Dr. Rawlings has anything else to add," she said tiredly, feeling ineffectual and unaccountably defeated.

Watts turned away, saying, "You do it. Not much more there, and I’m ready to call it a day." He strolled away, leaving Rebecca staring at his retreating back.

Chapter Twenty

Catherine, already tiredly slumped in her chair, listened to the angry murmur of voices outside her door. The excitement of the last few hours had dissipated, leaving her drained. She knew Rebecca was angry, and she understood, or thought she did as much as anyone could, the frustration and powerlessness the detective must feel right now. To have this man, whose identity had eluded the police so thoroughly, suddenly reveal his presence in such an arrogant and taunting manner was an insult too bitter to contemplate. And, Catherine also knew that her unwilling involvement with him placed a great strain on Rebecca, who now must feel torn between her professional obligation to maintain contact with the perpetrator and her personal desire to shield Catherine from him. Catherine’s inability to cooperate in the way that Rebecca required certainly did not help ease the situation. She stared uneasily at her office door, wondering what future difficulties the return of the two detectives would bring. Clearly, Rebecca and her associate did not see eye to eye on the best way to proceed. Catherine imagined it must be very hard for Rebecca to deal with a new partner so soon after the Jeff’s death, especially since Rebecca had no real opportunity to mourn the loss of her friend.

"Of course, she’ll never have time to deal with his death as long as she can drive her feelings into some hidden corner by working twenty hours a day," Catherine mused to herself. "I suppose she’s placing me in the same category --someone who creates feelings she’d rather avoid."

She sighed softly and leaned her head against the back of her tall leather chair. Sometimes it was hard being a psychiatrist -- it was too hard facing what many others never really saw. Now and then she longed to live just from moment to moment like most of the world, not really knowing, or caring, why she did or felt something. She longed to abandon just for a few hours her awareness of the struggle it was merely to survive.

When Rebecca returned to the office, she found Catherine asleep. They had kept the lights low deliberately in case anyone was watching from the street. Now the stillness was complete except for the soft steady breathing of the woman before her. Rebecca sank into the chair across from Catherine and studied her silently. Catherine’s face was soft in sleep, with only a hint of lines about her full lips to suggest that she was not a young woman. Her hair fell in soft curls to her shoulders, peppered with the grey that gave her the distinguished look that suited her so well. She looked very beautiful to Rebecca, who rose finally and touched her shoulder.

"Catherine," Rebecca called gently.

A faint smile touched her lips as Catherine’s eyes fluttered open. Her gaze widened with pleasure when she found Rebecca bending over her, even as she noted the tightness around Rebecca’s fine mouth and deep eyes. And Catherine also saw a weariness that she had never seen before in Rebecca’s eyes, not even when Rebecca had come to her in the first hours after Jeff’s death. Instinctively she reached out to stroke the strong face before her.

"What is it, love?" she asked quietly.

Rebecca’s heart lurched at the words. She longed to tell Catherine her fears. That Catherine might be in danger, that she couldn’t bear the thought of this evil touching Catherine in any way, even with words, and that she wasn’t sure she could function if she thought Catherine might be harmed. But she forced herself to keep her demons to herself. It was time she began acting like a cop instead of allowing Catherine to take care of her again and again.

"I need to take you home," Rebecca replied quietly. She turned her head slightly and kissed the fingers that still rested against her face.

Catherine recognized the barrier that Rebecca had erected between them, and, despite her understanding, she was hurt by it. She needed to know this woman, all of her, not just the parts Rebecca allowed the world to see. Catherine knew her strengths -- she could see them in her body, feel them in her touch, hear them in her words. But what of Rebecca’s fears and her needs? Would they always be closed to her?

Catherine nodded, knowing that now was not the time to search for answers. Rebecca had sustained a tremendous emotional blow from Jeff’s death, and the investigation was taking a heavy toll on her physical and emotional reserves.

"I have my car here," Catherine answered.

Rebecca shook her head. "I don’t want you driving alone. I’ll drive you and pick you up in the morning. You can come back for your car."

Catherine started to protest but then thought better of it. An argument now would not help either of them, and she suddenly realized she was exhausted. It was nearly ten o’clock, and, once again, she had missed a meal.

"Burger break on the way?" she asked, rising stiffly from her chair.

Rebecca at last grinned. "I’ll do better than that. I’ll treat you to pizza."

"You’re on," Catherine replied, slipping an arm around Rebecca’s slim waist. Rebecca pulled Catherine to her quickly and held her fiercely.

"I have to go out again," Rebecca whispered into Catherine’s hair. "Things are beginning to move in this case, and I’ve got to stay on top of it. I wish I could stay with you, but I’ll have one of the black-and-whites cruise by your place every half hour or so."

Catherine leaned back in Rebecca’s arms, her clear green eyes meeting the deep blue ones now filled with worry.

"I’ll be fine, but I appreciate your looking out for me. I know you have to do what you’re doing now, but I’m concerned. You haven’t slept enough in three days to account for one good night’s sleep, and you won’t be very effective if you can’t think straight."

Rebecca kissed her then, a slow deep kiss that kindled desire in both of them. When she broke away at last, they were gasping. Rebecca’s hands traveled unbidden to the round fullness of Catherine’s breasts, feeling the softness of silk beneath her fingers. She pressed against Catherine, fusing her taller, lean frame to the gentle curves and planes of Catherine’s body. Catherine backed up slightly until her back touched the edge of her desk, and slipped her hands under Rebecca’s jacket. She traced the muscle of Rebecca’s back down to the firmness of her thighs. She moaned as Rebecca’s fingers closed over her nipples, and warm liquid shimmered in her core. Rebecca’s hands were insistent now, one raising her skirt, pressing against the restraints of her undergarment, the other fumbling with the buttons of Catherine’s blouse.

"Let me lock the door," Catherine murmured, fumbling with the buckle on Rebecca’s belt.

"To hell with that -- I’ve got a gun," Rebecca said. She raised her head from Catherine’s breast and looked wildly about her. Wordlessly, she slipped her arm behind Catherine’s knees and picked her up, carrying her the few feet to the couch across the room. Laying her down, she quickly pulled Catherine’s garments aside and knelt before her. Pressing her face against the warm flesh of Catherine’s thighs, she breathed in her heady aroma . Her lips sought the source, consumed with the need to touch her, taste her, absorb her into every cell. Rebecca groaned as the wetness welcomed her. She immersed herself in it, seeking and probing for Catherine’s very soul. She slid both hands under Catherine’s buttocks, raising Catherine’s hips, pulling her closer.

"Oh god, Rebecca," Catherine cried, her hands twisted in Rebecca’s thick hair. "You feel so good, so good. Oh yes – right there! Oh!"

Rebecca moaned, feeling Catherine grow even harder under her tongue. She brought a hand between Catherine’s thighs, finding entrance with two fingers. She pushed inward as she sucked harder on the rapidly quivering shaft between her lips.

"Yes, Rebecca—make me come--," Catherine breathed, her voice an urgent whisper. "Oh please -- make me come."

Even as she heard the words, Rebecca felt the internal spasms, and she knew it had begun. She increased the pressure with her tongue, gripping Catherine as Catherine’s hips heaved upward. Rebecca continued to stroke the pulsing flesh with her lips and tongue long after Catherine’s cries had ceased and her limbs quieted. Finally, Rebecca pulled herself upright and stretched out beside Catherine on the couch, pulling the sated woman into her arms. Catherine’s arms came around her; she felt soft lips on her neck.

"You’re wonderful," Catherine sighed contentedly. "I’m completely demolished."

Rebecca laughed quietly, her arms tightening about Catherine’s supple frame. "I needed to touch you so much I couldn’t stop myself." She looked down into Catherine’s face. "I had to be that close to you."

"I know, Rebecca," Catherine said softly. "And I’m right here."

All other realities vanished as they slipped into sleep.

Continue to Part 6

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