I welcome any feedback. Animism1@gmail.com
The next two days passed quickly, and much progress was made. Ryan was getting much better at the meditation and relaxation techniques that Stephanie had taught her. The hypnosis session had not revealed much, other than Ryan had suspected the Costanos family of involvement in the drug cartel the morning of the shooting but anything else was still sitting outside the edges of her memory.
“It has been a good 3 days Ryan and I expect to see you in my office tomorrow morning, but for now I think it is time you went and talked to Sam.”
Ryan walked up to Stephanie and embraced her in a big bear hug. I love you, you know and not just for your superior mind descrambling capabilities.” The twinkle was back in Ryan's eyes and Steph knew they were finally on the right track.
Soon both vehicles were headed down the mountain and back into the city.
Ryan found Samantha in her office with her head resting on her hand and her reading glasses perched on her nose as she half heartedly read the report before her.
“Hey gorgeous forgive me, it has been a long couple of days honey?” Ryan held her arms open and Sam jumped from her desk and fell into them exhausted and at the same time elated to see her lover.
“Where is Sierra?”
“My Fathers are puppy sitting as they call it. In preparation for the numerous grand children they expect to be coming into their lives in the near future. I can honestly say that sounds pretty good right now. I have had some time to think these past couple of days and I am sorry.” Before Sam can interrupt her Ryan places a finger to her lips and looking deeply into Sam's tired but oh so beautiful eyes says, “Wait I need to say this, I overreacted to the situation at the hospital, Stephanie says I have PTSD. She and I worked a lot of stuff out at the cabin and I am going to continue with my sessions until I have more control over things and will probably even continue them as long into the future. I love you more than I ever thought I could possibly love someone and as important as my job is to me, you are my life now. I still want the persons responsible for Bruce's death to pay for what they did, but I don't want to hurt you anymore. I promise Sam to be careful, always come home to you, and put our love first and always respect the professional you are.”
Tears welled up in Samantha's eyes. “I love you Ryan De Lucas, but hear this now don't you ever walk away from me again. Now take me home and make love to me, I have missed you and I need to feel you inside me and around me. I want to lay on your chest and fall asleep listening to the beat of your heart.”
“I can that do my love.” Ryan took Sam's hand and led her to the black Charger that was Ryan's work vehicle. “Got to love this Canine assignment, best vehicle the department has ever given me to drive.”
The weekend went well for Ryan, she got to introduce Sam to Shayne and her children and share another part of her life with Sam. The kids were really excited to see their God Mother and be embraced by the love she always seemed to have in abundance for them. It was hard at times not having Bruce there but all in all Ryan knew that the pain was worth the love they all shared and that only time would lessen the hurt over losing her partner and friend.
It was Ryan's first day back at the station and Sierra was by her side. The whole station house knew of the new arrival and Ryan's desk area was constantly a flow with visitors and well wishers. Sierra seemed to love all of the attention it was almost as if she knew she was different from the other patrol canines in the department. Those dogs were kept on a more strict diet and constantly on the ready. They traveled in the back of patrol cars designed just for canines and they went on callouts from home invasions, barricaded subjects, to almost any other type of crime in progress. Sierra came with her own vehicle and even was allowed to share Ryan's lunch, but when it was time to scent she was all business.
Ryan's phone rang. “Detective De Lucas.”
“Would Detective De Lucas and her partner want to come to my place for dinner tonight?”
“We would be happy to accept that invitation. Is 7:30 ok?”
“Sounds good see you then beautiful,” said a saucy Sam.
Ryan lowered her voice as to not be heard by her coworkers, “you too sexy, I am looking forward to it.”
Ryan then said good bye and disconnected the call unbeknownst to her Harry was standing behind her. “I heard that De Lucas.”
Ryan jumped and then frowned at Harry. “You could give someone a heart attack doing that.”
“You'll live. I haven't seen so many people in our department since last year's Christmas party. How are things going?”
“Fine Harry, I have a meeting at 4:00 with the investigators that have been working on the shooting and I promised Sam I would keep you apprised as to what I was doing. It was the only way to get her to relax, that and promise that I would control my temper and not go off half cocked.”
“See that you do that De Lucas.” With that Harry headed back to his office after giving Sierra a pat on the head.
On the way to Sam's, Ryan stopped to buy a bottle of Chardonnay and a box of biscuits for Sierra. “Can't have you going hungry you big Labrador can we now?”
Shortly Ryan pulled up in front of Sam's. Dinner consisted of a home cooked meal of pork chops, apple sauce, garlic roasted potatoes and green beans.
“Wow I am impressed, we seem to eat so much takeout or over at De Lucas, this is a nice change and it tastes delicious.” Ryan reached over and gave Sam's cheek a quick kiss.
“It was fun. I like to cook. I wish I had more time to do stuff like this. It is funny work has been my sole focus for so long and now I find myself wanting to be a little more domestic. I think that might be your fault, you know,” stated Sam.
“Well I can't say that I don't like it, but I understand how important your career is also. Maybe we can both manage some more domestic time. I kind of like it too.”
“I think the living room would be a better place to continue this conversation,” replied Sam.
“You read my mind.” Ryan reached over and took Sam's hand and led her to the large couch in the living room, and pulled Sam down to snuggle against her chest. “I can't think of a better way to spend my evening.”
Sam was comfortable in Ryan's embrace and they spent the next two hours just touching and rejoicing in being close to one another. The young couple had spent almost 4 months becoming close and getting to know one another. They had learned to read each other's emotions whether they were anxiety, happiness, lust, or contentment. Sam and Ryan both knew that they had found their other halves in each other.
After about an hour on the couch both women slowly sauntered into the bedroom. Ryan was the first to reach for Sam's blouse and started the slow process of making sweet love to her woman. She started with Sam's lips and slowly worked her way down her neck to that special spot that made Sam's toes curl. Then Ryan slowly descended to Sam's left breast, where she began to suckle the rose colored tip of her nipple. Sam's moans could be heard as Ryan reached for her other breast, Sam's body reposed on the bed enjoying the soft and sweet ministrations. Pooling between Sam's legs was the obvious signs of her arousal, and when Ryan reached down between the apex of Sam's thighs she felt the wetness that was meant only for her. Ryan deftly gathered the wetness onto her finger and brought it to her mouth for a taste. No matter how many times Sam and Ryan made love, it always felt intoxicating and wondrous.
Sam was totally enthralled with the sensations that only Ryan could make her feel, her body was quivering and begging for release. Soon Ryan was taking her over the crest and Sam was immersed in pleasure.
Two weeks had passed and Ryan and Sam had fallen into a routine that included work and remodeling their future home. Ryan's lease on her apartment had ended and the couple was living at Sam's while the new house was being painted and carpeted. The plan was for them to start moving in the next weekend.
Friday night arrived and Sam, Ryan and Sierra met up at the new house to inspect the completed work, in anticipation of their move the next day.
“Wow Ryan the place looks great. I am so excited about tomorrow and it is great that the whole family was able to get the time off to help.”
“Yes it is and some of the crew from work and their spouses are going to help too. They have offered their trucks and even a few cargo trailers so we should be able to get the stuff from your place and storage and have most of it in the house before the weekend is over. Also Nathan said Wayne and a few of his buddies will help too.”
“With all of that help we could stay here tomorrow night if you want. Some of the nurses volunteered to organize the kitchen. We are going to have a real home.” Quickly Sam reached up and brought Ryan in for a kiss. “Have I told you today how much I love you?”
“Hmmm maybe not today but I was thinking that we could let Sierra check out the back yard while you and I check out the carpet in the Master Bedroom,” said Ryan while quirking her eyebrow.
“By all means, after you officer.” Sam bowed reaching out with her right arm directing Ryan towards their bedroom.
Quickly Ryan grabbed up Sam throwing her over her shoulder and raced up the stairs.
The weekend arrived and between the De Lucas and O'Brien families, the police and firefighters, and finally some of the hospital staff, Sam and Ryan had all of their belongings in the new house. The kitchen was set up as well as any surgical room and Ryan figured it would take her at least a week to remember where everything was, but since the kitchen was more Sam's domain and she was ecstatic that was all that mattered to Ryan. Nathan and Wayne had just finished setting up the bed and moving in the last of the bedroom furniture. Sierra had her pillow and food and water bowls. It was truly a home, filled with lots of boxes.
Ryan went out to the backyard and fired up the grill and began to call the crew out for refreshments and food. Ed and Rafe stood to the side watching Nathan with Becca who was showing more each day, and Sam leaned back against Ryan's chest, both of them smiling and relaxed. Ed was the first to speak, “I am so proud of our children and their choices in mates. I don't think I have ever seen them both so happy.”
Rafe reached for the love of his life and wrapped his arm around Ed. “Yes, I see what you mean. This house is going to be a great place for Sam and Ryan I just know it. Our children are lucky to have such good friends too, it would have taken you and I a week to accomplish what they have done in a day. I always wondered if Ryan would find the right person to give her heart to and now I feel so lucky that we have gained two more daughters.” Rafe was almost misty eyed he was so proud and happy for his children and he knew his twin would be happy too if he had lived to see this day.
Everyone had left and Ryan was calling Sierra in from the backyard as Sam stepped into the shower. “When you are done, I could really use some help in here washing my hair.”
“One second I am just getting out of these clothes, who knew moving and barbequing would get me this dirty,” said Ryan.
“Oh I think you can blame that on the rib eating contest you and Nathan had. Now I understand why you had me buy so many ribs.”
“Nathan and I have always been competitive, I think that is why we picked the jobs we did. We both get to help people but in our own way.”
“I know, this family has two wonderful heroes.”
“There are a lot of heroes in this family. I feel the same way about you, Becca and my parents, in one way or another we are like this big team that is constantly making this a better world one step at a time.
Ryan stepped into the warm, steamy shower and enveloped Sam in tight hug.
It was Monday morning and Sam's day had already been hellish to say the least. A train hit a small boy in the middle of downtown and it had taken several hours to stabilize him before the on call plastic surgeon had been able to reattach his arm. Apparently the boy had seen his older brother putting nickels on the train track the day before and then the brother and his friends would search for the flattened coins. Unfortunately for little Tommy his hand had fallen victim to the side of the train and it was by the grace of God that he hadn't been sucked under the train and killed. Kids were amazing thought Sam, they had an innocence about them and when they were hurt all they really wanted was someone to hold them and sooth their fears.
The weekend in their new home had been a dream come true for Sam, she never had allowed herself to believe that she would one day have a family that not only loved her but accepted her for all that she was. Ed and Rafe had become the parents she had always longed for and she felt truly blessed to have them. Becca had always been Sam's best friend, and confident and now Nathan and even Wayne were becoming the brothers she had envied her childhood friends having.
Soon Sam's pager was beeping and she was headed to the next emergency of the day.
One month led to three months and there had not been a word or sighting of the Costanos family or anyone else that might have had a reason to shoot Bruce and Ryan. The Costanos appeared to have returned from Europe and were now in South America and Ryan was starting to wonder if they were staying down there for good. Sierra and Ryan were the perfect team. To date they had fifty busts under their belt and Sierra had even proved her value more when she took down a drug dealer just a few weeks prior. She was no longer just a drug dog, but also a dog that could be called on for suspect apprehension.
‘Now this is the life thought Ryan, a warm cup of coffee, her case loads were finally caught up which was the first time in two months, and it was just her and Sierra parked at the neighborhood park.' True to a cops way of thinking though Ryan knew she had just jinxed herself and sure enough the radio in her car began to emit a call for all units.
“All units, station 21 standby to copy a 207 just occurred.” All units Station 21 be on the lookout for a white two door sedan occupied by a male white possible 20's, black hair, wearing a blue long sleeve shirt and jeans, last seen east bound Santa Monica Boulevard. Victim is a six year old female, Sara Conlin, medium length blonde hair, blue eyes, three foot 6 inches, wearing a pink jumper with tennis shoes, occurred ten ago.”
In a professional manner six area units called out their responses to both the scene and the area in which the suspect vehicle was seen fleeing. Due to the nature of the call several additional investigative and special operations units in the area called out their responses as well. Time was of the essence and all of the officers knew this. For over two hours Ryan and the other units had been searching, outside agencies had been notified and an Amber Alert activated. The men and women searching for the abducted child and the suspect were frustrated and their collective fear for what the child might be going through was getting worse. A command post had been set up in a parking lot near the scene of the kidnapping and photo copied pictures of the child and sketches of the suspect were being passed around. Officers were canvassing the neighborhood for any witness information and the media was also on the story trying to find the missing girl. Phone lines were in place and every available member of the police department was on duty.
Ryan had been up for over 18 hours and they were no closer to finding this missing child than when the call had originally been called out. On a hunch Ryan put a call in to her Captain. “Harry, this is Ryan and I think we need to expand this search out to the canyon on Highway 2. That's a pretty desolate area and we would be hard pressed to find him up there.”
“Ok Ryan, it works for me so far we have been chasing leads as far south as the Mexico border and as far north as San Francisco, I will call for an airship with IR and see if the Sheriff's department canyon unit is available too, who knows maybe we will find a hot spot. You know it might take me a while to pull and airship to that area so be patient. I don't like this Ryan, it has been too long. I want this bastard.”
“You, me and everyone else Harry.” Kids were the hardest for a police officer. Law enforcement individuals lived on the adrenaline and the chase, but when a kid was involved it put a whole different twist on the feelings they felt. The officers immediately thought of their own children, and the children of friends and family. A call like this brought home to all involved the fear and revulsion at what some individuals were capable of.
“Hi darling,” Ryan said into her cell phone.
“Oh Ryan if you are calling this late, this is bad isn't it?”
“My gut says it is. How can this guy just disappear off the grid, someone had to see him. The phones at the command center have been ringing off the hook, luckily they got a few dispatchers to work over and help that end of things. They have over twenty civilian personnel answering the phones and yet not a solid lead.” Ryan sounded as frustrated as she felt and to make it worse even in the middle of this crisis the everyday alarm calls, burglaries, abandoned vehicle, and every other type of call you could think of kept coming into dispatch. The calls that could be put off were but both sworn and non sworn personnel were being pushed to their limits.
“Just try to get something to eat honey. I know you are doing all you can do. The news keeps replaying the story and it looks as if the whole world is looking for this little girl.”
“It is times like this when I wonder about humanity. We have nothing Sam, it's as if they just disappeared. We are chasing our tails out here, dispatch has gotten calls as far East as Palm Springs and from the Mexico border, with people thinking they saw the vehicle, but so far they are all dead ends.” Ryan took a deep breath.
“Promise me you will get some rest when you can and if I can do anything for you let me know please.” Sam knew her lover wouldn't sleep for a long time, and adrenaline alone would keep her going for another ten hours at least.
“Call me when you wake up baby.”
“Hang in there Ryan. I need to be at the hospital at seven tomorrow morning so you know where to find me.”
“Ok, sleep honey we'll talk tomorrow.”
It was two in the morning when what appeared to be a credible witness called in. The citizen advised that he had been on Highway 2 eastbound going towards Wrightwood and thought he had seen a vehicle that matched the suspect's turn off near Big Pines not too far from the County line. He had not yet heard about the missing girl until he had gotten home in Wrightwood and his girlfriend had told him about the awful story.
Several units headed that way and additional back up was called for from San Bernardino Sheriff's Department. The L.A. Sheriff's department would also have units enroute as soon as possible but at the moment they were working short staffed due to budget cuts and were trying to pull units from nearby areas to respond.
The area into the mountains was dark, there were no street lights on the old highway and radio reception was at times nonexistent. Ryan's unmarked Dodge navigated the two lane highway with ease. The sergeant had a sense of foreboding come over her and anxiety surrounded her as all of her cop instincts told her this was the place. As secluded as the area was the crime rate in the area was not as high as one might expect. Primarily the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department with outside agency assistance more often than not would find large sites of marijuana cultivation and would spend days removing the plants by both trucks and helicopters. For the most part the area was frequented by campers and day groups and local park rangers kept an eye on things during the day time.
As the cruiser went farther into what was now the National Forest trees began to appear with the increase in elevation. The darkness seemed to shroud the area even more if that was possible. It would be another 15 minutes at least until Ryan would be close to the area that the witness had called in and ahead of her were two patrol units exclusively assigned to search for the kidnapping victim.
The police radio crackled and Ryan's fears were answered with an officer's transmission to dispatch.
“Station 21, 21-305.”
“Unit 21-305,” responded dispatch.
“Station 21, 21-305 we are on scene requesting Sam K-03, no medical assistance needed, notify Lima 1, request I.D., Hotel units, and the coroner. No suspect but we have located the victim.”
“Copy 21-305, Sam K-03 is enroute. Sam K-03 your eta.”
“Sam K-03 I am 8 out,” replied a somber Ryan as she accelerated even more.
“10-4 Sam K-03, per the Watch Commander secure the scene I.D. is enroute eta 40 minutes and Eagle is being notified and San Bernardino Sheriff is also enroute with 2 units unknown eta.”
“10-4 dispatch,” said Ryan.
Radio traffic ceased with nothing further needing to be discussed. It was now going to be a grisly time cordoning off the scene and waiting for the handling units to arrive.
Ryan arrived and knew it was bad when she saw the look on the officers faces. Since she was the most senior unit on scene she would have to take the lead until homicide arrived. “What have we got Steve,” asked Ryan?
“Sarge, it is bad thank goodness we are out in the sticks, no one should see this. I have cordoned off the area and Chad and Briggs are blocking off the highway at both entrances. The Deputy that works the Canyon is tied up on a domestic violence case and down at the hospital. We should have Sheriff's units and the Coroner here in thirty minutes, the WC just called in to my satellite phone he wants an update from you as soon possible. I would say from the look of things time of death was early this morning but the coroner will know better. Two rangers are out looking for campers or anyone else that might have seen something but this is a secluded area so I don't think we'll get much,” said Steve the first unit on scene as he handed his phone over to Ryan.
“Good job Steve. I'll call it in to the ‘Brass', Eagle one just had to go back to refuel and the blood hound team should arrive soon. No one that doesn't need to is to come into a 100 foot radius of the scene understood?”
Steve's complexion was pale and the officer immediately understood. “On it Sarge and…. I thought I had seen some bad things but this has got to be the worse. The guys are going need to speak to someone. Chad and Briggs have twice as many years on as me and they are really affected by this.”
“Already working on it Steve just hang tough and do the best you can. I am going to go on up and document what I can until I.D. arrives.”
Ryan grabbed her digital after rolling down the car windows for Sierra and headed up the path that would lead her to the crime scene. As Ryan rounded the corner she felt the air leave her lungs and a blast of cold hit her body. Words couldn't describe what she was looking at, something so innocent lost to such brutality was too awful to absorb. ‘I will kill the bastard myself thought Ryan. I would gladly give up my badge and everything I have worked for.' On auto pilot Ryan began to document the scene and preserve the integrity until investigative units could arrive. There was one set of car tracks into the clearing and they appeared to have backed out and went an unknown direction onto the highway.
Within two hours the handling units were on scene and had taken over for the first responders. Ryan had ordered her officers to head into the station and everyone including the civilians and dispatchers both on the phones and radio were ordered to see one of the psychologists on staff or the other three that had been brought in due to the severity of the incident before they were allowed to go home.
What Ryan and the other units had discovered was something awful and each would take the memories of it to their graves. The child had been brutalized before she had been killed and still they were no closer to finding who or why. By the time Ryan left the scene 4 blood hounds and dozens of reserve and full time officers, along with two airships were on scene. Investigators and ID units were scouring the area. The sun was cresting the horizon and would help officers to better document the crime scene.
The command post in the city was still up and running and the phone calls kept pouring in. Some were from distraught victims that had also lost loved ones to similar crimes and thought this case might somehow be related to their own tragedies.
It was noon when Ryan walked into the hospital intent on searching for Sam. Ryan found her talking to a nurse outside of her office. “Got a minute for your exhausted fiancé?”
Turning from the nurse Sam took in her lover. Ryan didn't just look tired she looked almost broken. “Absolutely, nothing I would like more, but honey don't take this the wrong way but you look less than ok.”
“It was brutal, the worst thing I have ever seen. I hope for the sake of the department some other agency finds this bastard. I am afraid of what the officer who finds him might due. I think I would be able to kill him on sight and that goes against the oath I promised to uphold when I took this badge,” said Ryan pointing to the shiny symbol representing her position in the department.
“Let's go home, the day has been slow and I am pretty sure I can get the rest of my shift covered by John the new attending, he is always looking for more hours. I want to be with you and I think you need to sleep, so call Harry please.”
“Actually I am off duty for the next 12 hours, ordered by Harry. Home with you sounds like just the place I want to be. I left Sierra in pediatrics let me get her while you call John.”
They left Sam's car at the hospital and headed home in Ryan's police vehicle. Even Sierra appeared depressed and Ryan was dead on her feet. After a quick shower together where Sam washed Ryan's hair and afterward helped her into a t-shirt and shorts the couple crawled into bed. Ryan was ensconced in Sam's arms and soon fell into an exhausted sleep.
Six hours had passed and Sam was awake holding her sleeping lover. “You still look so tired and so young, too young to be fighting this war of good against bad. I know you are strong and you have these ideals and basically I think a hero complex, but what you encounter in your job is awful and I don't like it. I can't change that anymore than you can change who you are. I'll be here darling always and I promise to continue working on my fears and to do my best to never give up no matter what,” whispered Sam.
It was thirty minutes later when Ryan began to stir in Sam's arms. “I am so glad to be home and even happier to be in your arms. I won't go into all the details, but it was so bad Sam,” and with that admission Ryan began to cry. She was crying for the child, her parents, the officers in her department and all the parents and loved ones that had lost someone to brutality. “I'm sorry.” Ryan began to wipe her eyes and tried to bury her feelings where Sam and no one else would be able to see them. Ryan attempted to sit up when Sam grabbed her.
“Don't you dare Ryan if I can work on my fears then you can be honest and lean on me when you need support. We both know for a fact if you keep all of this inside of you it will eat a whole in you that no one, not even I can heal. You promise me you are going to see Stephanie until you have a better handle on this and I don't want to know the details but I do want to know how you are. Do you understand me Sergeant Detective?”
“Yes Sam, I understand.” With that statement Ryan leaned on Sam's shoulder and let the tears and pain slowly seep from her body cocooned in her lover's warmth.
“Do you feel like you could eat something? I know you will be going back out soon, and I want do everything I can to help you be ready to go out and find this guy.”
“Something bland might be good, I have had way too much coffee and in all honesty I feel a little queasy.”
“No problem, why don't you get dressed and I will fix you some soup and get some crackers out, how does that sound?”
“That sounds good I'll be out in a second.” With those parting words Ryan headed into the bathroom.
‘Thank God I found you Sam you are the only thing grounding me right now. I will stay strong for my officers and we will find this bastard so he can never hurt anyone again. I promise this,' thought Ryan.
It took 3 days of investigative leg work and numerous warrants before the suspect was located. Fortunately for LAPD, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department had made the arrest of one Francisco Debar in their area and had taken him into custody. The suspect had a rap sheet an arm long everything from aggravated assault to indecent exposure. He also had a connection to a rape 5 years back but no charges had ever been filed the victim had refused. DNA would bury this guy and he would face at a minimum life and possibly the death penalty, another thing in the favor of justice was that even prisoners found pedophiles and convicted felons that hurt children to be despicable, with any luck the man would die in prison before the case even went to trial.It took Ryan several sessions with Stephanie and some peer counseling with the other officers before she could put the tragedy that had befallen little Sara Conlin behind her. It had been difficult for the entire department and community to let go of their grief but in the weeks that followed one day led to the next, lost children were found, drug dealers busted and time seemed to lessen the pain. The child's mother had turned her own grief into a campaign to help other lost and abused children
Return to the Academy