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Jocasta walked into the clamor of the squad room. All around her , people were on the phone, or making conversation. One suspect was in the process of dismissing the accounts of what had happened. Over the din, she heard her name called.
“Pow ers! In my office. Now! ” Captain Scruton called out from the door of his office.
Jo strode across the crowded space and entered his office feeling a bit apprehensive. He motioned for her to sit down in the chair in front of his desk, while he took a seat behind the cluttered piece of furniture. On one corner of the desk stood several photos of his wife and two daughters, the rest was covered in files, reports, and miscellaneous memos. He was the type that insisted he knew where everything was on there and damn the person who moved anything.
“So, I understand you took a pretty bad hit today, Officer Powers.”
“No sir. Just a bit of a shake up.”
Scruton pulled a folder off a pile and read it. “ It says here you took a hit to the head with a bat. Seems to me, like that was more than just a little love tap. I'm going to need you to file a report. So if anything doesn't match up I want to know about it now. Is there anything I won't find in this report?"
“No sir, not that I can recall. But I wasn't there for portions of it. I'll check with Reilly and his report.”
He threw the file onto the stack on his desk. “What did the doctor say ? And, don't try to lie to me or I'll send you down to the hospital again.”
Jo cringed at the idea of having to go face Dr. Gilman again. For some reason , the sense of loss she had over the rebuff was still confusing her. “Well, sir they said some bed rest was in order. But, since I really feel fine, other than this headache, I figured, I could just sit here for the rest of the day and get caught up on paperwork.”
The captain eyed her with interest, “I don't think so Powers. As much as I could use you around here, I'm sending you home.”
“But, sir, honest I feel fine. I promise not to do anything other than sit, and maybe think once or twice. Please don't make me go home. You have no idea what will happen. Being here is much safer, I swear . ” Jo begged unashamedly, the thought of going home was too much to bear at the moment.
“Look Powers, I can't afford to have you out sick,” Captain Scruton said .
Jo smiled and sat on the edge of her seat at the statement, hoping this meant good news for her.
“But, I also can't afford to have you get worse just because you didn't take care of yourself.”
Jo sat back, her shoulders slumped. “Yes Captain. So can I ask what happened after I left? I wasn't even sure who hit me. Reilly said it was the wife.”
“Well according to the report Reilly filed, it was the wife who hit you,” Captain Scruton said as he let out a sigh. Jo could tell he didn't like what he was telling her. “Her and her husband were both brought in and are being processed . Your partner should have more details by now, if you're interested.”
“Thank you, sir . I'll go over the report with him and do my own.”
“Make it fast, Officer . I want you out that door and on your way home. You can go now.”
“Thank you, sir , ” Jo said as she stood and retreated out the door to the open space of the squad room.
Looking around, she relaxed into the hustle and bustle of the room. She let out a sigh, absorbing the noise and activity around her. Jo found comfort in her surroundings. This was home to her. Jo spied her partner over at his desk talking to the woman they had gone to help. Instead of being at her home where she belonged, she was now handcuffed to a desk in the police station. Jo sat at her desk across from Duncan 's.
The woman before her was covered in bruises both old and new. Her left eye was nearly swollen shut from the latest attack. On her right arm she sported a sling. Jo assumed they must have stopped by the hospital on the way in to get her treated. That would be standard operating procedure.
She turned and looked at Jo. Instead of seeing shame in her eyes over what she had done, Jo saw anger being directed towards herself. Jo had received many such looks during her career and was used to it, though it still hurt on some level. She ignored the woman.
Jeanie Butler, refused to let it pass. “Stupid ass cop, if you had just minded your own damn business instead of barging in, I'd still be home watching TV.”
“Mrs. Butler, if I had ‘minded my own damn business' you'd most likely be at the hospital right now. Or e ven worse, lying dead on your living room floor, based on the way your husband was beating on you.”
“He was just drunk, and I didn't have more beer in the house like I was supposed to. It was my fault for not stopping at the store. He was just blowing off steam. That's all. It would have been fine. There was no need to arrest him. You had no righ t , ” Mrs. Butler said, virtually spiting venom in Jo's direction.
“We had every right to arrest him when we found him about to take a swing at you with a baseball bat.” Jo didn't know why she was even arguing with the woman trying to justify her actions. She knew all too well there was going to be no reasoning with the woman. Though Jo understood the futility of asking she needed to anyway. “What I don't get is why you would defend a man who nearly beat you to death?”
“He was just blowing off steam. If I hadn't of gotten him angry none of this would have happened. I wasn't about to let you pigs arrest him for something he didn't have no control over. He only does it when he's been drinking. Once he sobered up, things would've been fine. Besides I can take care of myself. I've been married for five years now, and I know how to handle him. I didn't need no help from you people.”
Jo sat and stared at the woman. She hadn't expected any other answer but the one she got. It was always the same story when the people they were sworn to protect turned on them. Jo found it nothing but sad and confusing. She didn't think she would ever truly understand what made some people defend the very individuals bent on destroying them. Duncan finished his typing and signaled for one of the other officers to come collect the woman.
Once she was out of earshot , Jo looked over to her partner, “So what happened? The last thing I remember was handcuffing the distinguished Mr. Butler.”
Duncan cringed, furrowing his eyebrows. “Well, as you were handcuffing him, I was patting him down from the front. Fisher and Rodriguez were dealing with Mrs. Butler. The guys are new to the Family Violence Unit . I guess they didn't see her as much of a threat. When they turned to let the EMTs by, Mrs. Butler jumped past them and grabbed the bat. Before anyone knew what was happening, she took a swing at your head. Lucky for us all , she is a righty and her shoulder had been dislocated by her husband. She used her left hand to swing and didn't have too much power behind it. I hate to think what could've happened if she'd been able to get any force behind it.”
“Me too,” Jo said. It was hard to think of events she had no recollection of. It was a little disconcerting to have a bit of your life relayed back to you.
“I'm sorry about the whole thing Jo. I should have seen it coming, but I was so focused on the pat down, I didn't think to look behind you."
“It's ok ay, Duncan . If anything, it was Fisher and Rodriguez . T hey should have known better than to turn their backs on the victim. But, I can't really fault them. They've only been with the unit for a few weeks. It takes experience to know how these people react in these situations.”
“Okay, but so you know, the Captain's had a talk with them. I doubt they'll fall for it again.”
“I hate to be someone's learning experience, but I guess some good came out of it,” she said as she thought over the whole event.
“Yeah.” Reilly seemed at a loss as to what to say. “So what did the Captain say to you?”
“Oh,” Jo said, “I have to write up my report. Then I'm out of here until Monday. I'd better get to it. He was pretty adamant about me being gone as soon as possible.”
“You're right. You better get started.”
Jo turned to her computer and started to write up her recollections of the events as best she could. Within twenty minutes, she was finished, leaving the remainder for Duncan and the others to fill in. With a final tap on the keyboard, she saved the report and printed out a copy for the file. Turning off the machine, she looked over at her partner, who was still busy with his version. She let out a deep sigh .
“I guess that's it,” she said looking around the room hoping something would come up to keep her there, but nothing happened. “I suppose I'd better get going.”
“Al l right,” Duncan commented sadly, “I'll see you on Monday. Take care of yourself and if you need anything over the weekend just give me a call.”
“I will.” She stood up collecting her stuff, but she knew there was nothing she would have to call him about. Not with mom and Elly around. “Take care.”
“Yeah, see you, Jo.”
Jo walked away from her home away from home. She would miss the excitement and commotion of the unit. She assured herself that it was only for a short time and she would be back in a few days. Jo shivered when she realized it could have all ended very differently had circumstances been right.
Jo unlocked the deadbolt for her front door. As she walked in, she threw her keys on the small table by the door and hung her coat in the closet. “Anybody home?”
Getting no answer, she breathed a sigh of relief. She went into the kitchen putting the papers from the hospital on the counter. She felt queasy at the thought of eating anything. So instead, she grabbed a can of ginger ale and headed into the living room.
Jo grabbed the remote and put on CNN. She laid out her long form on the couch, her feet hanging over the side as they always did. Opening the can of soda, she took a long swallow, letting out a slight belch when she was done. Smiling to herself at her action, she put down the soda and closed her eyes. The commotion of the day's events caught up to her, along with a headache. It made her exhausted. She closed her eyes and listened to the newscaster drone on about some politician being caught with a lobbyist on tape exchanging favors. Soon Jo was fast asleep and dreaming of a certain doctor.
“Jocasta Powers, wake up this second!”
Jo bolted upright. She felt the room swirl for a moment as she grabbed onto the table with one hand to keep from falling off the couch. Jo looked up to see her baby sister standing in the doorway to the kitchen. Clutched in her hands were the papers from the hospital.
“Uh oh,” she mumbled under her breath.
Elly saw her sister try and steady herself and came running over. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I just sat up too fast. And what the hell are you doing, yelling like that? You could've given me a heart attack.”
“I'll give you worse than that. How long have you been asleep?”
“I don't know. I got home around two o'clock this afternoon. I laid down to watch the news, must have fallen asleep. Why?”
“Well, if you had bothered reading the doctor's discharge instructions, which I know you didn't, you would know not to sleep for more than an hour at a time. You've been asleep for three.” Reaching out to feel Jo's forehead, “So what happened."
“I took a beaner to the head.”
“Where?” She asked looking into her sister's eyes.
“Here . ” Jo pointed to the tender spot on the side of her head.
Elly looked at it and whistled. “That is some bump you've got there. I'm surprised they didn't keep you at the hospital.”
“They tried, but you know me and hospitals don't mix.”
“True . ” Elly said, nodding in agreement. “I know you cop types. You get a sucking chest wound and claim it's just a flesh wound. So how did they manage to get you there this time?"
“I was unconscious when they started on m e, " Jo said. She knew otherwise they never would have made it that far.
“Ah,” her sister replied knowing what her sister meant. Elly went over and sat on the edge of the couch. Putting her nursing skills to use, she gently cupped her sister's chin moving her head to the side so she could get a better look at the injured spot and look into Jo's eyes.
“So what do you think, will I live?”
“You will, at least until mom gets home and kills you for getting hurt. You know how she worries about you on the job.” Elly let go of Jo's chin.
“Yeah I know. I'll have to put up with a lot of TLC over the weekend won't I?” Jo gave a deep sigh of resignation at the thought of her mother taking care of her every need for the next two days. If she was lucky, she would be allowed out of bed to go to the bathroom by herself.
“Have you had anything to eat since you got hit?”
“Nah, I was going to, but felt a little unsettled when I got home.”
“How about I make you some soup now and see if you can get it down?"
“Sounds good, thanks Electra.”
“No worries, sis, and don't call me that, Jocasta."
Jo smiled at the old play between them. Each of them hated their names so they often teased each other about them. Jo smiled, she loved her family. Outside her job, they were all she cared about.
To Be Continued
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