© March 2007
_________________ Chapter 23______________________
“Quit pushing and shoving would ya?” Boney asked as she was led down the brick corridor by a policewoman on her right and a policeman on the left. They stared straight ahead unaffected by Boney’s lumbering stride.
“Do I get a cell to myself?” Boney asked and cringed internally at the thought of whom or what would be there behind locked bars with her. I can’t believe I am even asking this. I shouldn’t be here at all. I should be at General Hospital with Jo.
“This ain’t the Ritz ma’am,” the policeman said with a smirk.
“Sarcastic but at least you are polite.” Even if I were at the hospital I probably would still do something stupid. God I gotta stop doing that shit. Look at where it has gotten me. I will be in the dog shit house for months when Jo finds out.
“Here we are. You’re room ma’am.” The woman tugged lightly at her elbow to bring her to a stop in front of the large cell. Boney lowered her head and closed her eyes. She wanted to savor the last images of freedom behind her eyes before she had to enter the realm of jail life. It was a world she had never known before. From what she had seen of the police station and some of its captives on her journey to the spot where she now stood, she wanted to wait until the last moment before being forced to look face the horrors she was certain awaited her.
The female officer stepped behind Boney and started to remove the handcuffs that still pinned Boney’s wrists behind her back while her male counterpart spoke into the microphone clipped to his shoulder epaulette. Seconds later the heavy steel door electronically slid back along the embedded track.
Boney mumbled inaudible, but the guards knew something was said. She was gently nudged over the threshold and the grayish-black gate slid back into place. She shuddered involuntarily as the latch clanged shut trapping her within the new reality.
I really would like to leave to get to the hospital right now. Just let me apologize to Mr. Dickface for hurting him with my tits. I’ll tell him how sorry I am he is such a prick! I admit it was a dim witted thing to do. All is forgiven. Right guys?
The guards silently turned and walked back towards the door at the end of the long corridor. Boney kept her eyes locked on the figures as they retreated and was thankful that she was able to keep her temper under control this time. Oh I am doing a bang up job of keeping things under wraps tonight.
She swallowed hard and took short panting breaths. She was afraid to inhale too deeply for fear that she would surely ingest the scent of bile, vomit, and urine that permeated the air in sickening heaviness. Somewhere in the room was a person who had not bathed in the new millennium. The combined scent mingled with musk, sweat, and the stench of garbage started to make Boney’s eyes water.
Boney straightened her posture to its full height and turned to face her fellow cell mates. Oh shit Toto we are so not in Kansas anymore.
Teela paced the small area of the emergency waiting room at General Hospital. She hated the feeling of déjà vu that played within her consciousness. How many times with Bess’s condition going from bad to better to worse and back gain had she been in this very room over the past years? The same countless times she had paced a different path awaiting news of Bess than she was now awaiting word of her best friend. Teela closed her eyes and nibbled again upon her thumb nail as she made the turn towards Pax at the end of the otherwise empty row.
They had arrived behind the ambulance but lost track of Jo after they had entered through the double swinging doors. That was over three hours ago. No one had come through the metal grey doors and called for her.
Pax’s cerulean eyes never left Teela. She counted precisely eighteen steps one way before she turned and came back with the same amount of steps. Teela only stopped when the doors opened and someone came through. What the hell is happening with my friends? she thought. Boney’s in jail, Jo’s fighting for her life, Cloe’s… dead. God I am suspended. I haven’t had a chance to tell Teela that yet. She fought the tears as the situation overwhelmed her suddenly. The enormity of so many events in so little of time in between hit her. No time to get used to the first drama before the next crisis happens. It’s a build up to a breakdown.
“Teela honey, come sit down.” She cleared her throat and patted the seat next to her.
“I can’t sit Pax. I’m too wound up. Why aren’t you?”
“I am. I am just not showing it like you are. You are doing enough for the both of us.”
“What is taking them so long in there?”
“They are being thorough.” She released several of the straps on her brace and sighed with relief.
“We have been here for three hours now. They must know something.” She stared at the doors and willed them to open and Jo’s doctors to exit with miraculous news.
“Come on Teela sit here and rest your feet at least. You have been on them for some time. You need to conserve your energy for when Boney gets out.”
“Oh God Boney, do you think she is alright?” Teela sank into the chair next to Pax. “What did Harley say when she called?”
Pax sighed lightly and prepared to repeat her short conversation with Harley for the third time to Teela. “Harley said that she didn’t see them bring her in. She said one of the officers confirmed that she was there.” She watched as relief ensconced her lover’s face briefly and then resumed the hardened worried appearance. “I called Amanda and asked her to help Boney.”
“Amanda,” Teela sourly repeated. Pax’s lips barely formed a smile as she heard the jealousy.
“Yes Amanda. She is an attorney and is familiar with this sort of thing.”
Note to self, Teela took out the notepad in her mind; continue this discussion at a later time. “How much longer do you think Boney has to stay there?”
“I don’t know.” Pax rubbed her forehead. “I am worried about her though.”
“You and me both.”
“She seemed…” Pax struggled to find the descriptive word. “She was…”
“All over the place,” Teela supplied.
“Yeah but who wouldn’t be Teela?” Pax trailed off. “Who would do something like this to Jo? Why?”
“I am not sure, a burglar maybe? Jo could have come down stairs and caught him by surprise.”
“Nothing looked out of place or missing though, The TV, the stereo, her rings were still on her finger.”
“You’re right.” Teela thought pensively.
Teela noticed the only other two people in the emergency room lobby were a man and a woman. She had not noticed them before. The woman suffered from the flu or at worst pneumonia. Her frequent cough filled with a congested rattle. Her hair was limp and plastered to her skull, her coloring alternated from flushed to stark white as she shivered beneath her blanket. Husband or boyfriend held a box of tissues in the one hand and a paper bag of used ones in the other.
“Pax, have you seen Emily? I thought she followed behind us?”
“No. She stayed behind to talk to the investigators when they arrived. She wanted to know what was going on.”
“I had hoped if she was not here that she was trying to free Boney.”
“I told you Amanda is on it,” Pax said.
“Yeah Amanda.” Teela turned on her heel and resumed her pacing.
Pax opened her mouth to speak and then thought better. She would wait for another time to discuss Amanda with her lover. Emotions were already near breakpoint and she did not want to be the one to push them over the edge.
“I think I’ll hunt us up some coffee,” Pax said and left on her search.
Twenty minutes later Pax returned with coffee for both of them. She sat in her chair and held up a cup to the still pacing Teela. She took a sip just as the double doors that led to the triage area opened. Teela watched the doctor carefully and hoped that he was the one attending to Jo. Teela saw his lips contort in effort to say the name on the chart. Teela was on her way across the room to him before his mispronunciation obliterated her last name.
“Yes I am Teela Pheamster.”
“Hello I’m Dr. Edward Keating.” Teela grasped the large offered hand. “I am the physician that is treating Ms. Forrester.”
“How is she doctor?”
“You came in with her is that correct?” Teela nodded. “Are you,” he looked through the papers in the chart and then up to Pax. “Augusta Jean Bonniker then?”
“No I’m not.” Pax stood behind Teela.
“Where is Mrs. Bonniker so that I can give her a report on Ms. Forrester?”
“She is uhm, unavailable at the moment.”
“I’m sorry, I cannot give you any further information on Ms. Forrester’s condition according HIPAA…”
“Dr. Keating,” Teela cut his rehearsed statement short. “I am well aware of HIPAA, however if you read further down the page you will see that I am listed as secondary Power of Attorney should Augusta be unavailable.”
He scanned the paper further and Teela saw the light flush of color cross his cheeks and fade. “An oversight my apologies.” He graciously smiled at her.
“And you may speak freely in front of my companion as well.”
Boney had lost track of time as she sat upon the empty bench by the cell gate. Her back rested against the concrete wall next to the steel bars. She was in perfect position to see down the hall when the guards would return to set her free. Her location also gave her a direct view into the rest of the cell as her right leg was drawn under her and the heel of her left foot firmly pressed onto the bench. She looked at the white shadow on her left wrist where her watch would have been had it not been confiscated when she was booked. Then her eyes tracked to the empty white circle around her ring finger. The wedding band that Jo loving placed there twenty years ago had been touched by someone else. The symbol of Jo’s love had been inventoried then unceremoniously dumped in the manila enveloped with her wallet and change.
Ooh Baby you just got to be alright, she prayed and touched the white band of her finger and sighed heavily. Her eyes followed the officer coming down the hall to complete his next round of surveying the cells. Her heart sank when she heard the close of the door at the top of the corridor shut once again.
Her hopes of a quick “I’m sorry” to the officer she aggravated or a judge and then being on her way to Jo grew dimmer and dimmer as the minutes ticked by. Her chest tightened and panic settled in. Calm down Boney. Teela and Pax are with her. They will protect her because, she sighed heavily with despair. Tonight I couldn’t. Oh Johanna, will you ever forgive me for not being there when you needed me? She pursed her lips together and pinched her eyes shut to barricade the tears from falling.
Instantly a barrage of images assaulted to screen behind her lids. Not now, she screamed. Not here. Control yourself. Boney shook her head from side to side to shake the scream that threatened to erupt from her lips as it had in her living room hours ago.
Boney walked into the room and discovered Jo lying on the carpet unconscious. Her body twisted and covered in the dried contents of her stomach and blood. She had never moved as quickly across any distance before that moment. She reached where Jo lie in the middle of their living room and fell to her knees beside her wife and crying her name came in a horrified whisper as her own blood ran cold. It was not meant to wake Johanna. It was the trauma of living a grisly nightmare that her wife, her soul the very thing the her breath depended on, lay bloodied and bruised in her arms.
“Johanna speak to me love,” Boney pleaded as tears bathed her face dripped off the edge of her chin onto the two blackened eyes of her spouse. Boney lifted her hands and knew that they quaked with fear as she reached to touch Jo’s swollen right cheek. “Oh God,” Boney wailed mournfully as she bent to place her head upon her lover’s forehead. She rocked the lifeless body to and fro whispering her love.
“Jo,” Boney whispered before her eyes flew open. She inhaled sharply and shuddered as the pain was relieved momentarily with the exhale from her lungs.
Her vision slowly focused so did too the anguish that had consumed her earlier and churned into unfamiliar rage. She felt it flow from the very soles of her feet up through her shins and into the pit of her stomach where it simmered and grew. Someone hurt my Jo. Someone tried to take her from me. Her foot began to tap against the hard bench. They invaded our home and violated my wife. Her fingers tingled and she clenched her fists to relieve the stress building. SOMEONE GOD DAMMN IT WILL PAY, she screamed silently and her eyes grew wide. I’m losing it. I need to calm down. God Jo you just gotta be alright. I can’t live without you baby.
Boney let her swollen and reddened brown eyes travel over her cell mates but not linger on anyone for too long. Of the eight women in the holding cell, at least three she could identify as prostitutes. Oh and we know who those are, Boney chuckled inwardly. That includes you darlin’ with the Barbie doll textured black hair and mini skirt up to your ass. She spotted the other two who were dressed in a similar fashion.
Three other women wore oversized blue flannel shirts with white t-shirts underneath. They each had a bandana tied around their head at an odd angle and too big and baggie jeans. Ok Boney girl, do your time and stay away from the gang bangers. Alright homey? Somewhere in the corner a bundle of rags moved. When it stirred, Boney knew her nostrils had unfortunately found the source of the sickening smell that filled the entire cell arena.
One of the flannel shirts stared boldly at Boney. Not wanting any miscommunication, Boney lowered her eyes and studied her fingernails. She sat with her back against the wall watching both the flannels and prostitutes, while hoping her savior would arrive soon.
The hair on the back of her neck crawled and when she did risk a quick glance to the flannel shirts. She was being closely examined. The one who stared wore the same colored flannel shirt as the other two, but a darker colored bandana around her head. Just as Boney was about to turn her attention back to the hallway, she saw Dark Bandana blow her a kiss and smile revealing yellowed and uneven teeth.
Boney visibly shivered and shook her head in disgust. She turned her full attention toward the hall but soon found herself dangling on her tiptoes and her shirt lapels twisted in Dark Bandana’s tattooed fists.
“You got a problem with me bitch?”
Boney was off balance with her shirt fisted tightly beneath her chin. She could feel the strength of the woman and the anger seething from her every pore. Boney’s head bobbled side to side as she looked around the room. Dark’s friends had their heads together across the room and snickered to one another like magpies on a branch at their apparent leader’s dominance. The hookers huddled together silently and watched.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. The guards will see you on the cameras in the corner.” Boney smiled thankful for the city’s purchase of the technology.
“The guards don’t see nothing. Those broke.”
“That’s why they’s be commin’ by s’much,” one of the other flannels said.
“Now I ask you again,” Dark grinned. “You gots a problem with me bitch?”
Boney gave the woman a broad grin and said, “Actually I do.” She slapped her hard along the side of her head and was dropped to the floor. Instantly Boney drove her knee straight between Dark Bandana’s legs with all the force she could muster. Boney whined at the pain in her knee when it met her pelvic bone.
A collective “Ooh” came from her cronies and the hookers in the room. They all seemed to pinch their knees together or place their hand over their own groin as the woman grunted through her pain but did not yell.
Slowly Dark Bandana started to sink to her knees but somehow found the strength to resist letting one or both knees touch the floor. She gave Boney a murderous look but did not find her voice. Ha, Boney cheered. My friend Pax taught me that. Biach! Boney’s lip curled in a sneer. And this, Boney balled her fist tightly and unleashed a wicked upper cut to the underside of Dark Bandana’s chin. Boney’s hand immediately stung clear to the elbow and she began to dance around in a circle shaking her hand at the shooting pain in her knuckles.
Dark’s body straightened on impact and her head snapped backward. Her eyes rolled up toward the ceiling and like a pillar of timber she began to fall backwards. Respect won out for although her cronies did not join in their leader’s battle, they did not let her head or back hit the filthy pavement. In unison they stepped forward and caught their leader. They dragged their leader to an empty bench and laid her unconscious self on it. The cronies then looked at one another and simultaneously turned upon Boney.
Oh fuck me. Now what? She flexed her sore hand as it throbbed painfully.
The two stepped around their leader and started to cross the cell towards Boney.
Oh God. Where the fuck is the cavalry?
“So you see Ms. Pheamster we are still uncertain if there is any brain damage at this point. She has not awakened for us to determine anything yet. We will get her scheduled for several tests including an MRI and various CAT scans to re-check for internal injuries.”
“Will she be alright doctor?”
“We hope that all of our patients are alright and can go on to live wonderful lives, Ms. Pheamster. However,” he sighed heavily, “I cannot give you that answer.”
“We understand Dr. Keating,” Teela said.
“We are awaiting another set of her labs to return and then we will be moving her to a room upstairs.”
“Who will be treating her once she is up there?” Pax asked.
“I will. I normally don’t do emergency medicine but I am covering for a colleague tonight. I generally follow the patients from the E.R.”
“Dr. Keating, Jo has a life partner. You will have to go over everything that you just told us with her.”
“Is that so?” His eyebrows raised and he looked around the empty waiting room. “Where is…”
“Like I told you before she is…” She looked at Pax who shrugged. “She is unavailable. If you have a problem with my friend being a lesbian,” Teela snapped at the doctor and surprised Pax with the sudden emotional change, “I suggest that you sign the case over someone else this instant Dr. Keating. She has already been hurt by someone tonight. She doesn’t need her life threatened a second time with your homophobia.” Teela stood in challenge to the unnerved physician.
Pax had sensed that Teela was volatile. It had been building the moment she received the hysterical call from the usually chipper Boney last night. Pax’s memory hurled her back several months to another time when Teela was overwhelmed and distress over the death of her lover. She remembered all too well the destructiveness of the social worker’s anger. Pax was relieved that she was not the object of Teela’s temper and razor sharp tongue.
Dr Keating pursed his lips and nodded his head. He held the fiery green eyes and replied, “Then she should be able to feel safe under my care.” The corners of his lips turned upward slightly. “I will have the nurse let you know when we are moving her upstairs.” He turned and left through the double doors.
Boney’s head snapped to the left and a loud gush of air left her lungs and spewed blood out into the cell. She felt her knees wobble and what was left of the chicken wings she had at the bowling alley threatened to surface. She fell face first against the empty bench then quickly rolled over in time to launch a front kick into the charging woman’s thigh. Flannel shirt number two yowled and stumbled backward clutching her limb.
Boney got to her feet and teetered forward fist curled and cocked back ready to unleash. Her knuckles were scraped and raw from landing against flesh and bone. The split under her right eye had coagulated shut. The bruise across her left cheek gave her a battle weary appearance along with her ripped and torn shirt.
“Touch me again you pieces of shit!” Boney yelled. “Come on.” Her mouth filled with the metallic taste of blood and sneered. “You bitches picked the wrong white girl to fuck with tonight.” She wiped her mouth with the torn sleeve and winced at the sharp pain in her lip.
“Ease up.” One of the hookers encouraged from across the room in her corner. “Can’t you see that they have had enough?”
Boney stood and wavered in place. I can’t believe I am still upright. The cut under her eye opened and dripped down her cheek to land on the remnants of her shirt. “Fuck you.” She hissed. “Those bitches have been on me since I walked in here. Why?” Her voice cracked with a mixture of pain and tears.
“Gonna be on you again when I get up.” Dark Bandana struggled to right herself.
Boney turned her head too fast and paid for it as the jackhammer inside her skull drilled and pounded incessantly. It was a little present from the pummeling the other two flannel wearers gave her face and body. “I have had just about enough of this shit. I didn’t start any of this.”
“Tough.” Dark Bandana huffed.
“I am. Want some more?” Boney took a step towards the wobbly leader just as the heavy steel doors slid open. “Good. I’m in the mood to explode and it might as well be all over your ass.”
“Augusta Jean Bonniker,” the policeman called from the door.
“WHAT!” She stopped several feet away from Dark Bandana with her fists clenched and her chest heaved.
“You’re up,” he called.
Boney turned to the officer and gave him a glare of evil incarnate. He took a step back as she came toward him. “What the fuck does that mean?”
“Come with me.” He looked further into the cell and at the woman that wavered before him. He keyed the mike on his shoulder. “Medical assistance needed in the cells,” he spoke without emotion and took Boney by the arm.
Boney turned back to the women in the cell huffed and strode out between the bars. Once the door was slid back into place, the officer pulled her arms behind her back and snapped the handcuffs in place. The door at the head of the hall opened and two officers with a woman in a white lab coat came quickly towards them. The woman glanced at Boney and then into the cell. She turned back to Boney and began to exam her face and lip.
A short time later she was handed over to a policewoman who led her into the nearest bathroom to clean up. Her hands were unshackled and she was given a dark blue t-shirt with police written in bold white letters across the chest. She was handcuffed once again and led through a part of the station that seemed like a maze to her.
Once outside of the hold cell, the adrenaline waned and her energy ebbed away. Every inch of her hillbilly hide ached and creaked with each jarring step down the dingy corridor. Her body burned like the fire pits of hell within her skin and even that hurt. The pains in her hands were too great and drew her attention from the many greetings her escort has received from fellow officers. She really did not care to listen to whether the officers getting together for poker night or what snacks she was bringing. Boney’s only thought was of getting to Jo.
…and swallowing a strong pain killer.
Almost daylight, she sighed as she passed a window where she glimpsed streaks of light entering the sky. All too quickly she found herself facing a frost covered glass with the word “Room 1” in block letters. The policewoman rapped firmly before turning the old brass knob to open the door.
Boney was led into the stark gray room and made to sit in the flimsy metal chair. The coldness of the steel chilled her buttocks instantly and she shivered. My buns, she chuckled internally. Lord I pray that Jo will be well and be able to squeeze them again. At any rate, come on people. I gotta get out of here and to my wife. LET’s GO!! Great I can’t even pound on the table to emphasize my point because of these damn cuffs.
As the officer turned to leave Boney heard another woman’s voice behind her and saw a man walk from behind her to stand in the far corner. He ignored her stare until his shoulder found the comfortable niche to lean into and then he turned eyes colder than the chair upon her.
“How are you feeling?” the woman asked with concern. She weakly pointed at the bruises on Boney’s face.
“How should a punching bag for goons feel?”
“Augusta Jean Bonniker. Is that right?” the woman said as she rounded the tale to take the seat directly across from Boney. Boney glared at the woman and breathe deeply. “Do you know why you are here Augusta Jean?”
“Nice name.” The man in the corner chuckled.
“Fuck you prick. I am not in the mood for games. What do you want?”
“Hot temper too. Was your girlfriend not in the mood and that’s why you beat her senseless?” he asked.
“Rod hold your tongue or leave,” the woman commanded.
“Rod?” Boney chuckled and mumbled. “More like pencil or toothpick.”
The woman smirked and threw her hand out in Rod’s direction to stop him. She gave him a stern look. After a moment she turned back to Boney. “Now where were we…”
The door swung open and the detective trailed off her statement. With her back to the door Boney could not see who had entered and gave the detectives pause. “You were about to tell me Detective why you are interrogating my client without counsel?” Boney recognized the voice.
The detective narrowed her eyes briefly before a large smile spread across her lips. “I have done no such thing Counselor…”
“Amanda Rippington and you are?”
“Detective Mollier and this is Detective Odesser.” Hmm, a new attorney. The Detective took in the flaming mane of red hair and deep blue eyes. Her heart nearly leapt out of her silken blouse and her lower region twitched painfully.
“And what exactly are you doing with my client without representation Detective Mollier?” Amanda gave her the tight smile that clearly stated she knew exactly what the Detective was doing with Boney and that she also knew that she was checking her out.
“We are investigating an attempted murder Counselor…”
“WHAT?” Boney shrieked. She tried to stand before a hand settled upon her shoulder.
“I would like a few moments alone with my client if you don’t mind,” Amanda said pleasantly.
“I can’t do that counselor,” Mollier flatly replied. Let’s see how much you will let me get away with Counselor.
“Detective…Mollier is it?” Amanda asked and received a nod. “Detective Mollier, I have been requesting to see my client for the past two and half hours and have gotten not one iota of cooperation in locating her from your department and fellow officers. I happen to stumble upon this room and find you interrogating my client without counsel. If that is not bad enough, she has obviously been beaten and it begs the question why I was not allowed to see her immediately upon request?” She paused for her implication to register. When Detective Odesser shifted his stance she was confident that she had their attention.
“When news of what happened to this woman’s partner comes to the attention of the media, they will have a field day with the story of her lover’s treatment in the city jail while she fights for her life at General Hospital. I can guarantee it will hit the wire service and go national. The potential feeding frenzy just makes your heart go pitter pat doesn’t it?” Amanda smiled broadly. “Gives me goose pimples just to think about it.” She rubbed her arms to ward off the chill.
After several moments Detective Mollier stood and locked eyes with the beautiful redhead with the freckles across her nose. She stepped around the table and headed for the door. Rod Odesser was slow to follow.
“Detective?” Amanda called out sweetly. “Would you remove the handcuffs please?” Silently, Mollier rolled her eyes as she quickly and expertly removed the handcuffs. “Thank you Detective.”
Mollier stopped and turned to face the redhead. She opened her mouth to say something then thought better. She shoved her partner through the door and closed it behind her.
Amanda waited a beat before rounding the table in front of Boney. “What the hell happened to you Boney?” She asked and laid her briefcase upon the table. Amanda looked off to the left and noticed the large one way mirror. She smiled and brushed her fingers through her hair.
“This?” She touched her cheek tenderly and winced. “I got it compliments of the homies in the cell.” She touched her cheek tenderly. “How did you know that I was here?”
“Pax?” Boney’s heart leapt thinking of Jo. “Did she say anything about Jo?” she asked full of hope.
“Only that they have moved her to a room during the night.” Amanda averted her eyes and focused on opening her briefcase.
“Then she is going to be okay?”
“I don’t know Boney,” she replied quietly. I am not going to be the one to tell you that she is still unconscious. I need you to focus right now as much as possible on this scenario.
Amanda sighed heavily and hoped that Boney would understand. She had to be the one to make the tough decisions. It was her job to keep her clients focused on their defense. Too often clients’ decisions were made when their emotions were running high. She had to be the one to remind them of what was at stake. It was her duty. That often involved leading them to make the appropriate decisions in order to keep their freedom. What is a little information withheld at a pivotal moment when one’s liberty was under the threat of revocation? She swallowed the guilty lump that lodged within her throat as it had so many times before. After all, she was the most promising Defense Attorney in Seattle, Washington. At least I was before Toni left.
“Did she wake up and ask for me?”
Amanda looked into expectant eyes with one showing a darkened bruise beneath it. God now what? “I am not sure Boney.” She turned her head and barely shook it in disgust of herself but not before she saw the sorrow come to her friend as her shoulders slumped. Amanda steeled herself. Remember who you were in Seattle Amanda, she coaxed herself. No emotion. That’s how you were and you were killer. Suck it up.
“Look, I know that you are hurting physically and emotionally right now. I know you are worried about your wife.” Boney nodded slowly. “But if I am going to get you out of here I need for you to concentrate and tell me what happened. Quickly.”
Boney inhaled and sighed heavily. She wiped her saddened eyes with the palm of her hands taking care around the soreness. “I came home from bowling tonight…last night I guess it is now, and found Jo on the floor in our living room. She had been beaten.” Boney’s voice hitched and she stopped. “Pax did not say how she was? Anything?” She waited and searched the attorney’s face for the truth. “What do you know Amanda? Please tell me about Jo?” Boney pleaded and let the tears she’d held fall freely.
“I don’t know anything. Pax telephoned me and asked me to come here and get you out. She and Teela are still at the hospital as far as I know. Someone named Harley Goldberg is also here to post bail if needed.”
“She is my friend.” Boney smiled and winced at the reopened of the split on her lip. “You need to get me outta here Amanda.” Boney felt her anger return. “They think I tried to kill my Jo. They are fucking nuts.”
“Anything else Boney?” Amanda listened intently.
“No. I came home and found her. I called the police and then Teela.”
Amanda looked sternly at Boney. She watched every nuance that she made. “Boney, did you assault Jo?”
“No! Never!” She yelled. “How the fuck could you ask me something like that? I take that back. You don’t know a damn thing about me or Jo. If you did, you would not have asked such a stupid assed question of me.”
She does have an explosive temper. Pax trusts her and believes her that she did not do this. “I had to ask.” Amanda’s flat reply hung between them. “Ok here is how we are going to play it. I want you to give them short answers. Only tell them what they ask for and nothing more.”
“I’ve seen plenty of crime shows Amanda, but I never thought I would be acting in one.”
“Yeah no one does. Listen, any bruises before you got here?”
Amanda paused and made several notations on the yellow notepad atop her brief case. “We need to find out why they are thinking attempted murder.”
“That cop that I hit with my tits accused me of that because I had Jo’s blood on my shirt and hands.”
“You hit a cop with your tits?” Amanda couldn’t help the smile that crept along her face.
“He pissed me off so I bumped chests with him and he arrested me for assault.” Her voice rose.
“Oh my, you do seem to have a temper don’t you?”
“It was controlled until tonight.”
“Well control it again.” Amanda frowned. “It’s important Boney.” Her looked warned her hot headed client.
The door opened and in walked the detectives. Rod Odesser resumed his stance in the corner of the room and his partner returned to the table. “Did you have a nice chat Counselor?” Detective Mollier asked with an easy smile.
“Marvelous,” Amanda replied with her own brilliant smile.
“Good I am glad. Heaven knows we don’t want to be misunderstood…”
“Let’s cut to the chase Detective my client needs to be at the hospital with her wife.”
“It’s funny how fate throws people together in a situation. Here we are talking about Johanna Forrester, who happened to be the next person on our list to talk to.”
“List? What list? Why do you want to talk to her?” Boney asked.
“We’re following a lead from another case that we are working on.”
“What does that have to do with us now Detective?” Amanda steered them.
“Maybe nothing maybe something,” Mollier hinted and waited for a moment to let her vagueness goad her suspect. “Tell me Augusta…”
“Do…not…call…me…that!” Boney sneered her warning. “I don’t like it. My friends call me Boney but you can call me Ms. Bonniker.”
“Tell me Boney what happened last night?” Detective Mollier asked. When no response came from her suspect, she turned to Amanda and immediately was consumed by the deep blue eyes and red lips that begged to be kissed if it did not hold a smirk. She sighed heavily knowing that the woman seated across from her was not going to be very cooperative. “Ms. Bonniker, care to tell us what happened between you and Johanna Forrester this evening?”
“Nothing happened between us this evening. I came home and found her beaten and lying on the floor.”
“Where were you?”
“Eastwood on Crayton Highway.”
“She was at home sick with a cold.”
“Does Johanna bowl?”
“Yes but not tonight. Too sick she stayed home.” Boney hissed.
The detective waited for more information to be provided freely by Boney. When none was forthcoming she sighed heavily again. Why are you making me ask these questions? You know you can fill everything in. This is only going to draw out and take longer.
“Ok Ms. Bonniker why don’t you start from the beginning?”
“I am not sure what you want to know.”
Sighing heavily the detective searched for a level of patience that she never possessed. “What time did you last see your partner conscious?”
“Around five yesterday afternoon when I left home headed for the bowling alley,” Boney replied and fell silent.
Mollier looked at her expectantly. You want out of here so badly yet you are making me pull teeth to get information. Fine we can play it your way no skin off me. “What time did you arrive at the bowling alley?”
The detectives interrogated her for the next forty-five minutes as to her whereabouts. They were relentless and near accusatory in their badgering.
By the light pressure of Amanda’s hand upon her knee Boney was reminded to rein in her temper several times throughout the interrogation. She was not doing well with the pressure from the detectives in their quest to find out what happened. Given her disbelief that she was a suspect in the beating of her wife, Boney’s frustration escalated.
“Ok Ms. Bonniker you say that when you arrived home the door off the kitchen was open.”
“Yes and I thought Jo had left it open for me.”
Detective Mollier paused and looked at her partner. From his spot in the corner he asked, “Do you and Johanna Forrester have spats? Disagreements?”
“On occasion just like every other couple in the world.”
“Was this evening such an occasion?”
Boney stood so swiftly her chair toppled over and clanged on the floor. She started a slow deliberate stalk around the table towards the detective. Her words punctuated in the air by a lone finger directed at him. “I told you that I did not do this to my wife! I love her.” She felt the hand wrap around her arm and halt her progress.
“Boney,” Amanda warned. “Take your seat.”
“If your pea brain,” she continued, “is too small to comprehend that fact then THAT is YOUR problem. DON’T make it mine!”
“Boney calm down,” Amanda commanded. She pulled on Boney’s arm and the woman did not budge. She tightened her grasp around the solid bicep and prayed Boney did not yank her arm free. Her fingers could not find good purchase on the muscle. Damn woman do you work out? She tightened her grip around the rock hard bicep and hoped she could hold her.
“Do not give them any more to hold you on. As of right now,” she turned to Detective Mollier, “they have nothing but bigoted supposition. This farce has gone on long enough. Detective, either charge my client or cut her loose,” Amanda challenged.
The detective stood and leaned upon the table toward Amanda, “Tougher bullies than you, counselor, have tried to push me and have failed.”
“I don’t need to intimidate you, Detective. At the arraignment I will simply inform the judge that you and your partner,” she spat with contempt, “interrogated my client before and after counsel’s arrival without mirandizing her.” Amanda smirked at the detective’s realization of her mistake. “I allowed this little scene to play out to discover the strength of evidence against my client.” Amanda stood confident and tall next to Boney. “Care to push your luck in court?”
At that moment the door of the room opened. All eyes turned to see a grumpy six foot six Captain Jenkins, Emily’s former boss consuming the doorway.
“Who’s lead?” His voice boomed inside the small room.
“I am,” Mollier replied flatly.
“Then we need to talk.” He opened the door further and stood aside. Mollier’s face was expressionless as she got to her feet and walked out the door.
Boney looked at the contents of the large envelope that had her name on it. She grinned at the cop when she opened it and emptied the contents onto the counter. Her face reddened as the emotions rushed back to her. She sniffed and withheld their falling as she slipped her wedding band upon her finger.
“Are you ready to go home?” the voice called from behind her.
Boney turned and smiled at the attractive redhead in the power suit. On any other night at any other place and time Boney would have noticed the business suit. Boney loved women in business suits. Boney loved a particular woman in a business suit that made her libido fly. On Jo the suit was a guaranteed aphrodisiac. Ha she could make that suit sing. For the first time that morning Boney smiled.
“Not home. I have to go to the hospital and see Jo. She needs me.” She shoved the rest of her belongings into her pockets. “Have you seen Harley around?”
“Not since I arrived to find you.”
“It’s,” she checked her watch, “six in the morning. She may have gone home already.”
“Come on then. I’ll give you a lift.”
As they made their way to the front of the station, Boney looked among the tired and gloomy faces of those waiting in chairs to be seen or heard as well as the officers that passed.
“Boney!” She heard the shout. “Boney wait.”
She turned behind her and found Harley walking quickly towards her. Boney opened her arms and hugged her friend. Their bodies pressed together and rocked back and forth. Harley whispered softly in Boney’s ear and Boney squeezed her friend tightly.
“How is Jo Harley? Tell me what they know?” Boney asked and looked deep within the dark eyes.
“They moved her to a room. Teela and Pax are still with her.”
“And?” she asked anxiously.
“We need to get you home and cleaned up before you go see her. Come on.” Harley turned and pulled her friend and was stopped abruptly.
“Wait. Tell me Harley.”
Harley’s heart fell as she gazed upon the terror and panic that lined her friend’s face. She did not want to be the one to tell her about Jo. After all, she did not know her as well as Teela and Pax, not yet anyway.
“All I know is that she is unconscious.”
“Asleep? Is she is in a coma?” Boney whispered and felt the tears flow once again.
“Not sure Boney.” She hugged her friend tightly and kissed her temple. “Come on. We have to get you cleaned up right away. She is waiting for you.”
“That can wait. I need to be with Jo.” She turned to Amanda,
“Thank you for getting me released Amanda. I won’t forget what you’ve done for us.”
“Don’t thank me Boney. I was happy to do it. We may not be done with this mess.” She lifted her hands indicating the police station and its inhabitants. “I will be in touch soon. For now, go to Jo.”
Boney went to Amanda and wrapped her arms tightly around her and squeezed. Uncertain as to what to do, Amanda used her free hand to softly pat the woman’s back. “Thank you anyway.”
With that Boney followed Harley out of the station and out into the gray morning. The overcast sky made everything look dirty and gray.
Boney looked at the clouds and asked them to hold off their snow until she made it to her Jo.
________________ Chapter 24____________________
Pax rubbed her hands across jean covered legs and considered what to say to Boney. When Harley telephoned to say they were on the way to the hospital, Teela suggested that one of them should be in the lobby to meet Boney. So here she was anxiously pacing the hospital entrance from the parking garage.
Boney’s loss of control the night before, a split second of poor judgment caused her to be taken away from Jo when she was needed the most. Would I have reacted differently if it had been Teela? Pax shook her head. To come into your home expecting to be greeted by your partner only to find them beaten and left for dead in the middle of your living room….
Boney’s panicked response and barely control anger was understandable. Pax felt that same way once. She remembered when rage saturated her every pore and the sense of euphoria when it was loosed upon the first person that came into sight. She’d been there with Jen’s death, only her behavior didn’t make her a suspect as Boney’s made her.
“Pax,” Boney called as she walked down the ramp towards her.
Pax turned and gasped. “What the hell happened to you?”
The swollen cut under her eye was reddened against the colorful bruises on her cheek. The determined gaze made Pax shudder. She had never seen Boney so focused. Pax saw the stiff movements as she ran fingers through her hair and gently wet sore lips. Bold white letters across the front of her t-shirt announcing POLICE shown beneath Boney’s open leather jacket. What the hell did they do to you? More importantly, what did you do to them? Pax saw Boney’s raw knuckles.
“I’ll explain later. Let’s go.” She kept her stride and walked past Pax into the hospital. She looked around the lobby in search of signs for the elevators.
“What happened to her Harley?”
“Come on we’d better keep up.”
“What floor is she on Pax?” Boney asked after they had caught up to her at the bank of elevators.
Grateful that they were the only occupants Pax pushed the button for the fifth floor. Boney turned to Pax and waited with hands on her hips. “She’s still unconscious Boney.”
Boney sighed deeply then replied through gritted teeth, “What else?”
Pax fidgeted. “Dr Keating, the physician in charge of Jo’s care, knows that you’re here and as soon as he can he’ll come to her room to speak with you.”
Boney narrowed her eyes and studied the zoologist. Doctors do not come right away when they’re called. What aren’t you telling me? “How bad is she Pax?”
“The doctor’s better at explaining things Boney honestly.” Pax crinkled her nose as the scent of damp musk and something else that she couldn’t name assaulted her nostrils. An involuntary deep inhale caused her to take a half step backward from the aroma emanating from her friend. The odor permeated their enclosed space.
Boney started to speak when the doors opened to the fifth floor. The two new riders stood to the side to let the three women exit. Boney looked expectantly at her friend. Pax led her down the hall and stepped into the room marked “Waiting Lounge”.
Boney spread her arms in questioning and asked, “What is this? I don’t think Jo is in this room Pax.” Her voice rose impatiently.
“Boney, I didn’t want you to walk in there and… be unprepared.”
“What are you talking about?”
“She has bruises all over, and monitors and stuff.”
Boney tensed and took measured steps toward the zoologist and evenly said, “I appreciate you warning me, Pax, I truly do. Right now, I want to know her room number or I swear to you I will tear this floor apart until I find her.”
Pax looked deep into the reddened eyes and knew her friend would do just that. Something’s changed about her, she thought. “Room five twelve bed two.”
Boney opened the door and looked left then right as she raced down the hall chanting five twelve, five twelve, five twelve. The blood rushed to her ears and she heard herself breathing outside the room number she had been repeating. For a moment she stood frozen in the open door.
Boney’s hand drew through her unruly hair once more in attempt to control her erratic breathing. On stiff legs she stepped into the room and stood at the edge of the empty first bed. In the distance the sound of Teela’s voice was unintelligible against the rumbling in her ears.
Teela turned away from the magazine she’d been reading to Jo towards the sound of steps. “Boney,” she gasped. “Oh my God Boney what happened to you?” Teela placed her hands over her mouth.
Wordlessly Boney faced the still figure lying on the bed.
Tears ran freely down her face. The strong woman she knew lay small and vulnerable beneath the white sheets. The sound of the room was filled with chirps and beeps of the blood pressure monitor and other machinery connected to her wife.
Thin shoulders shook as Boney’s sobs were held between her quivering lips. If she were to open them, she would have released a cry akin to that of a wounded animal.
Boney crossed the remaining distance to the bedside of her lover and opened her hands to touch her swollen face. Her hands shook violently and hovered above Jo wanting desperately to touch but too afraid. Tears blurred her vision as she dropped to her knees.
Through her watery vision Boney saw the dark patches that discolored the beautiful skin she’d seen only twenty four hours before. A sobbed escaped her lips as she took in how the darkness traveled down Jo’s jaw, to the front of her chin on the one side and a spreading black eye on the other. The lips she loved to taste were bruised and cut on both sides.
Boney gently lifted Jo’s bandaged right hand and brought it to her wet lips. She held it for some time before returning it back to rest at her side.
Boney lay her head on the bed next to Jo’s and wept.
Boney struggled to push through the fog of sleep. Her shoulders were being shaken and someone was calling her name.
“Boney, Dr. Keating is here to speak with you about Jo.”
Boney sat bolt upright unaware she’d fallen asleep. She let out a painful groan as her back protested the awkward sleeping position she had been in and the fighting from the night before. Standing painfully she stretched and several vertebrae popped making Teela cringe. A man waited at the foot of the bed dressed in hospital doctor garb – scrubs, lab coat, stethoscope around the neck and pens clipped to pockets.
“What’s wrong with her? Why isn’t Jo awake by now?” Boney asked.
Dr. Keating blatantly looked Boney from her head down to her toes and back again. His apprehension was palpable and his eyes darted around Boney to his unconscious patient. Although he did not utter a sound, Boney heard his conclusion loud and clear.
“I assure you Dr. Keating, I didn’t do it,” Boney said evenly and returned his stare. Out of Boney’s view Teela also held the doctors gaze and gave a confirming nod.
“If we could go to the meeting room down the hall where it’s private,” Dr. Keating referenced the others in the room. “I would be more than happy to discuss her condition with you.”
Boney shook her head violently and the instant headache and persistent throbbing behind her eyes reminded her of her time in the jail. “Argh!” She sighed heavily and held her head. I hope you bitches feel worse than I do, Boney sent her curse to the Flannel shirt girls. “I don’t want to leave Jo alone.”
“We’ll step out Boney,” Teela volunteered.
“No. You’re family. All of you.” She waved at her three friends. She squinted against the incessant throb. “You can speak freely doctor.”
Dr. Keating nodded. “Ms. Forrester took a blow to the back of the head and has a concussion because of it.”
“How long will she be unconscious?” Boney asked.
“I’m not sure. That depends on Ms. Forrester.”
Boney inhaled deeply and slowly let the air out of her lungs. “What else?” She turned to face her lover. Don’t you dare leave me Jo, you come back to me. You hear me? You come back! To her friends she appeared focused and strong. On the inside, she had fallen to her knees once again beside her love.
“We’ll need to wait for the swelling to recede before we know about her vision.”
“What do you mean?” Jo’s hazel eyes were hidden deep beneath the blackened patches
“The swelling, we can’t determine if there are any fractures to the orbits, or the bones around the eyes.”
“What caused it?” Boney forced herself to ask both wanting to know and not wanting to at the same time. She felt her stoic façade waver.
“Direct trauma such as… a punch.” He explained that two of Jo’s lower ribs were bruised and so were her kidneys. “The left wrist isn’t broken but is severely sprained. The most worrisome of her injuries are the concussion and possible brain damage.”
Boney sat down in the chair next to Jo and thought about what she’d heard. Her mind was reeling at the same pulsing throb around her headache. “Her weddings rings, where are they?” Boney said as she stroked the swollen left hand.”
“We had to cut them off. I’m sorry.”
“I have them Boney,” Teela replied softly.
All eyes were riveted to Boney as she gently stroked Jo’s hair. She was silent for several moments and Dr. Keating looked from her to the other women in the room and back again. He had expected more of an emotional showing from the one they called Boney. Her unusual calm was unnerving.
“We’ll run more tests, mostly blood work. We’ll need to watch for blood in her urine, changes in blood pressure and things of the sort that would signal trouble.” He paused and watched the woman stare at her unconscious partner.
The room was uncomfortably quiet for too long. “Boney,” Teela called softly. “Say something. You’re scaring us.”
Harley, Pax, and Teela heard Boney inhale deeply and exhale just as loudly. They waited for her to say something, anything. Teela watched her friend remain silent and tried to understand the extreme reactions she witnessed in Boney.
“What’s there to say? We have to wait until she wakes up to find out what damage the bastard did if any. Am I right Dr. Keating?”
“Something like that yes.”
“We have to wait,” she hissed through clenched teeth, “until the police catch the bastard and they’re not going to because the assholes are focusing on me.”
“We know you’d never harm Jo in any way Boney,” Pax said.
“We all know how much the two of you love each other,” Harley added.
“Obviously they don’t.” She sighed and locked her hazel eyes upon the doctor. “What can I do to help her doctor?”
“Be here for her.”
“That’s a given. What else?”
“Talk to her and let her know that you are. Help her find her way back.”
Two more people entered Johanna’s hospital room immediately gaining the other five’s attention. Teela looked questioningly at the woman in front and then to Boney clenching and unclenching her jaw.
“Excuse me doctor, I’m Detective Mollier and this is Detective Odesser we’d like to question Ms. Forrester.”
“Like hell you will.” Anger seized her, it was all Boney could do to stay rooted at the spot.
“Ms. Bonniker,” Detective Mollier said and noticed the other three women in her peripheral vision. She recognized the social worker and zoologist but not their companion. What the hell is going on here? How are they involved with the arson at the karate school, vandalism of the zoologist’s home, and now the beating and assault of this woman? Friendship connects to all of that?
“You are not getting anywhere near her,” Boney told her.
“Ms. Bonniker as I had stated before...” Detective Mollier started calmly. She needed to diffuse the woman’s anger. It was understandable. Her lover had been; she’d landed in jail and had a fight with gang members. The warehouse worker was not expected to be a happy camper.
“I’m sorry Detectives,” Dr. Keating stepped forward. “Ms. Forrester isn’t in any condition to be interrogated at this time. As you can see she remains unconscious.”
“And you are?” Mollier asked.
“Dr. Marcus Keating.”
The detective nodded and reached into her jacket pocket to extract a contact card. “Dr. Keating we would like to speak to her when she awakens. Please contact us at any of those numbers when she does.”
“I’ll do that Detective.” He took the card and placed it in the overstuffed lab coat pocket.
Emily recognized Detective Mollier and her partner Odesser even if they were not facing her. She and Randy had often remarked how Odesser’s mentality reminded them of a Neanderthal. Many officers in the squad room had been subjected to his backwards views on women and the Christian Right. No one could understand how he made Detective grade or how he managed to keep his shield. Emily couldn’t fathom how Sierra Mollier could stand to be his partner knowing that he held gays and lesbians in contempt.
“Detectives.” Emily smiled. “We meet again.”
“Emily,” Mollier said tightly.
Boney turned from one to the other. The tension between the two women projected throughout the room and everyone felt it. “Am I missing something here?”
“Um, if you’ll excuse me…” the doctor interjected and turned slightly toward Boney. “I’ll be by again later today.”
“Thank you Dr. Keating.” He shook her hand and stepped through the aisle created by the parted bodies in front of the door.
Emily fully entered the room and stood next to Harley. She registered the fatigue in Harley’s eyes and the way she held her shoulders. Emily gave her a warm smile and a wink.
“Emily, tell me you found something?” Boney said.
“Yes Emily,” Odesser prompted and Mollier shifted her stance and crossed her arms over her chest. “What evidence did you discover at the crime scene?”
“Why don’t you tell them Sierra? You were there when I found it.” She stressed and narrowed her eyes at Odesser. She really couldn’t tolerate much longer being in the same room with the man.
“What evidence? What are you talking about Emily?” Boney asked after a quick glance at Jo.
“Maybe we shouldn’t be talking about this in front of Jo?” Teela suggested.
“This is about Jo. She should hear this,” Boney said with force ensuring there wouldn’t be further arguments.
“What I found were oily footprints in your garage.”
“Where are the oily footprints from?” Boney’s face contorted.
“There’s a small puddle in the first parking spot,” Mollier added.
“My car has an oil leak somewhere?” First fix Jo then the car.
“I'm afraid so.”
“My footprints are in the garage. It is my house.” Her defiance returned.
“I don’t think they’re yours Boney and I told Mollier and Odesser that.”
“How do you know they’re not hers Emily?” Mollier asked.
Emily glared at the woman. “Could it be because they led out of the garage and around the side of the house?” Emily couldn’t hide her sarcasm. “If they were Boney’s wouldn’t the tracks lead further into the garage?” Don’t tell me you couldn’t figure that out? She thought. “There wasn’t any oil residue inside the home. Sierra, we both stood in the kitchen and living room. Those floors were clean. Here is another point, if Boney’s car is parked in that area of the garage how could she step in the oil?”
Emily enjoyed watching the detective bristle at the use of her first name again. She squared her shoulders as her forceful gaze never left her former squad mate. Emily’s dislike of the woman was getting stronger.
“Wait a minute,” Boney said gathering everyone’s attention. “When I left for the bowling alley the garage door was stuck open and wouldn’t move. When I came home it was closed.”
Detective Mollier ground her teeth tightly making the outline of her jawbone visible to the room. “You didn’t tell us that earlier.”
“I didn’t remember it until now.”
“That’s convenient,” Odesser mumbled loudly.
“Fuck you, that’s it damn it!” Boney yelled and turned to Emily.
“Boney.” Teela went to her and touched her shoulder. She gasped as Boney’s muscles were tight and her body slightly trembled. Frightened she looked to Pax.
“Emily you’re hired,” Boney snapped.
“I want you to find the son of a bitch that tried to kill my wife.”
Emily jaw slacked and she stared at her friend. “Boney, I …”
“I don’t care the cost Emily. Just do it!” At least I think we can afford you and Amanda.
“Ms. Bonniker she…” Mollier started.
“I’m not listening to you. While you’re focusing on me the person that did this,” she pointed at the still body beneath the white sheet, “is laughing because they’ve gotten away. I don’t trust you or your partner.” Her chest heaved and she pointed an angry finger at Emily. “I don’t care what you have to do to find this sick son-of-a-bitch just do it and bring his ass to me.”
“God Boney,” Teela said. “You sound like the Godfather.”
Boney stare pierced the social worker and Teela swallowed at the fire in Boney’s eyes. Boney’s voice was low and dangerous. “Does it look like I’m joking? Does this look like fun and games to you?”
“Boney, come on now,” Pax soothed.
She turned back to Emily and pointed a shaking finger. “Either you do it Emily or I’ll find someone else who will.”
“Ms. Bonniker, that’s not how it works,” Detective Mollier said in a calm voice. Her suspect was on the edge.
“I don’t give two hairs on a hog’s ass how it works,” Boney replied.
“Ms. Bonniker, Emily can’t interfere with an ongoing investigation. She would be charged with obstruction,” Mollier said.
“Is it yes or no Emily?” Boney asked.
Emily looked at the detectives and spoke to them with her eyes. She was willing to put aside their differences on behalf of her friend. She would work with them on the case. Sierra gave an imperceptible shake of her head warning Emily to decline. Emily sighed heavily.
“I’ll do my best Boney. No promises,” she conceded.
Mollier shook her head. “Don’t get in our way Emily. You know the rules.”
Emily rolled her eyes. “Now that I’m working for Ms. Bonniker, why don’t we pool resources and information?” She offered the first step knowing it would be rejected.
Sierra exchanged glances with Emily and continued to shake her head. She glanced towards the distraught woman standing by her battered wife. “We’ll be in touch Ms. Bonniker.”
“You’ll be in contact with our attorney,” Boney corrected.
Mollier stiffened at being chastised. She and Odesser left the women in the silence of the room.
Boney sighed and sat down heavily in the chair. Shoulders slumped unable to fight the fatigue. Every muscle in her body screamed in protest and she was tired of being stalwart and resolute. She inhaled once more to calm racing nerves and then crinkled her nose from the aroma of her body. I reek!
Emily quietly got the others attention and nodded towards the doorway. Boney held her eyes shut tightly as her lips pressed upon the limp hand in her grasps. She heard the rustle of movement and knew her friends were leaving the room.
“You can talk about me in here to my face,” Boney stated dryly, “just as well as behind my back out there. I don’t care. I’m not changing my decision and I haven’t lost my mind.”
Her friends stopped and turned to one another.
________________ Chapter 25______________________
“Boney, hey come on wake up.”
“Mm, ten more minutes, Mom,” Boney mumbled in her sleep.
“Boney come on.” Teela shook her once more and caused the woman folded in the recliner chair to snort awake. “Hey.”
“Oh Teela,” Boney blinked awake and turned immediately to Jo. She was still breathing and her condition had not changed for the better or worse. Boney smiled at the small victory. “Good morning honey,” she greeted her and turned back to her friend. “What time is it?”
“Seven and it wasn’t easy getting past those nurses.
Boney lowered the legs of the recliner and stood emitting groans. “Oh God does that hurt.”
“How is she?”
“The nurses last night said she hasn’t changed.” Boney cringed as she stretched her sore limbs and wiggled her fingers. She looked at the back of her hands and the knuckles were red and swollen.
“Has Dr. Keating been in?”
“No. Watch her for me a sec will ya?”
“What’s all this?” Boney asked pointing at the bags on the first bed’s table and the duffle bag on the floor.
“Tell ya when ya get back.” Boney made her way into the bathroom.
“Good morning Jo.” Teela said as she leaned over the still woman to place a light kiss upon her forehead. “We miss you my friend. When are you coming home?”
“I keep asking her that too,” Boney said. “Do I smell coffee?”
“I stopped at that diner you two like and picked ya up some breakfast.”
“Thank you but I’m not hungry. Just coffee will be fine.”
“Not just coffee but a white chocolate latte.”
“Oh yummy.” Boney smiled. She wrapped both hands around the large cup Teela handed her.
“I stopped by your place I thought you might need some things.”
“Thank you Teela. You’re a godsend.”
“Yeah well remember that the next time you’re trying to drive me bonkers.”
“Aw but that’s the best part.” She smiled over the rim of her latte. “How bad did the police destroy the house?”
“They took a piece of the carpet.”
“They took a piece?”
“Yes. I don’t know if the blo…” Teela trailed off. “I don’t know how clean we’ll be able to get the carpet.”
“Don’t worry about it. I decided last night to replace the carpet and do a few other things before Jo comes home. Will you help me?”
“Of course Boney you know I will. What do you want me to do?”
“Pick out carpet that you know Jo will love.”
“I know exactly what she wants. Odd, we were talking about that at Christmas.”
“I’ll call a security company.”
“Getting an alarm installed?”
“Albeit a little late but yes.” She stepped closer to her wife and spoke to her. “I should’ve gotten one sooner. I’m so sorry baby. We talked about it didn’t we? Months ago but we never went forward with anything.” She stroked the black hair and bent to kiss the cool forehead.
“I know what you’re thinking Boney and this isn’t your fault. You’re not responsible for what happened to Jo,” she pleaded with her friend.
“Aren’t I? I mean, we talked about the alarm system and I didn’t want to spend the money for it two months ago when they were having that sale.” Boney sighed. “I talked her into putting the money in the vacation fund.”
“You know you can’t talk Jo into anything that she doesn’t want to be talked into.” Teela grinned slightly. “She just let’s you think that you do.”
Boney chuckled in spite of herself. “Yeah she can be a smart ass can’t she?”
“She can outsmart the best of them,” Teela agreed. “But Boney you’re not responsible. Whoever broke into your home is responsible.”
“I’m so angry Teela I could just…just…” She closed her sore hand into a fist and trembled. The rage of nearly losing the woman who was her everything was a constant companion during the night. In the dreams she lived just hours before she had satisfied the need for revenge on the guilty and exacted her justice.
“I understand how you feel. I really do,” Teela said. “We just have to wait for the police to catch them.”
“The police? Those baphoons aren’t going to catch anyone but me. Let’s not go there.”
“I won’t but,” she pointed at the colorful bruises across Boney’s cheek, “Jo wouldn’t approve Boney.”
“I didn’t start it. They did.”
“Who did? What exactly happened while you were in jail?”
“A gang leader wanted a piece of me. I told her I wasn’t interested.”
“I’m sure she and her cronies look about the same as I do.”
Boney closed her eyes and the images instantly floated back to her. She recounted for Teela the short version of her stay in jail. What she didn’t tell her was how fear gripped her core, not the panic of being enclosed in a small area with criminals, but the dread of not knowing if her Jo was still alive.
Teela’s mouth fell open as she looked at her friend, stunned that Boney could exact such violence and tell her story proudly. To look at her no one would have thought her capable of defending herself, much less posing a credible threat to anyone. Her aloof and often whimsical friend hid a lot more than Teela could imagine.
“When needed, I can hold my own.” She winced after touching the tender cheek.
“And you can hold an odor too. You stink.” Teela waved her hand in front of her nose.
Boney lifted her arm and sniffed. “Not too malodorous, we could bottle it.”
“You’re sick,” she laughed. “In that duffle is a change of clothes and your toiletries. I’m sure the nurses will point you to a place to shower.”
A lab tech walked into the room with hand cart filled with glass vials. Surprised to see visitors so early in the morning gave her pause. “Good morning I’m here to draw blood on,” she looked at the slip of paper “Johanna K. Forrester?”
“That’s her.” Boney pointed.
“Oh one more thing Bone,” Teela said.
“Yeah,” Boney replied not taking her eyes off the technician.
“Jo’s daughter called while I was at your place. I heard her leave a message on the machine. She was asking Jo about her cold and what the doctor had said about the Pap smear.”
“Her Pap smear? Jo’s physical isn’t for two months. I should know she makes mine for the same day.” Boney turned to her wife just as the technician put her instruments away and left the room.
“That’s what she said Bone. Wait you two have your Pap smears on the same day.”
Boney smirked. “Jo does it so that I can’t back out or make excuses not to go.”
“You mean she drags you to the doctor’s office.” Teela chuckled.
“Kicking and screaming.” Boney’s grin faded. What Pap smear Jo? Why didn’t you tell me you were having one done? You would tell Deanna and not me?
Later that evening the Baldwin siblings gathered at the zoologist’s home. Pax entered her living room and gave Damian a beer then handed one to Zander. She took a long pull from her own and silenced the belch that followed.
“Okay Zander you got to the ladies house then what?” Damian coaxed.
“Then we talked. That year Dad lived in Texas is when he met Brenda Devereaux, his executive secretary. The affair lasted until he returned home.”
“And out came Angelica Devereaux months later,” Damian added.
“It was something like that. Brenda changed her name to Babbette Devereaux. A few years after Angelica was born she met Fredricko Oliverez got married and so she became Babbette Oliverez.”
“How many names does this woman have?” Pax asked. “Why would she change her name?”
“She didn’t say.”
“Didn’t you find that odd?”
“Yeah I do.”
“What’s her secret?” Pax wondered.
“Who says she has a secret?” Damian questioned.
“Why else would someone change their name?”
“I asked and she clammed up,” Zander said. “What she did say was that Fredricko offered to adopt Angelica as his daughter, but only under one condition.”
“And that was?” Damian asked.
“That he chose a new name for her so that she could begin life as an Oliverez. He said it was a sign or something. He’s very superstitious apparently.”
“I can understand that. She would seem like his own child that way,” Pax added.
“So what is her name then?” Damian asked.
“Emily.” He took a pull from his beer as his sister’s paused inches from her lips.
“So when do we meet her?” Damian asked.
“Babbette wanted time to get here and tell Emily in person who her real father is. She doesn’t even know that we exist. I told her we’d wait for her to tell Emily before we made contact.
“Yes. Emily has lived and worked for the city ten years.”
“Ten years?” Damian repeated. “Did Dad know she was here?”
“I’m not sure Dami,” Zander said.
“Here?” Pax repeated then her eyes grew wide as the thoughts cleared and slammed to the forefront of her mind.
“Pax are you alright?”
“Oh my God,” she said.
“What is it?”
Pax turned to her brother mouth ajar and asked, “What is her mother’s last name again?”
“Oliverez,” Zander said.
“And her name is Emily Oliverez.” She began to chuckle. So that’s why we look so much alike. Could be my sister…ha she is my sister.
Pax threw her head back and laughed uproariously. Her two brothers looked at one another and wondered if their sister had one too many beers.
“Pax maybe we should talk about this later,” Damian suggested. “I know you’ve been under a lot of stress the past few weeks with everything…”
“No, no Damian. I know our sister.” She smiled at them. “I’ve met her. I know her.”
“What the hell?” Zander said. “How you just found out her name?”
“Emily’s a friend of Jo and Boney’s. I first met her at their Christmas dinner.”
“I saw her couple of days ago when Jo was attacked.”
“How is your friend Pax?” Zander asked.
“She hasn’t changed really. At least the swelling in her face has gone down they were able to check for fractures and didn’t find any.”
“Did she wake up?”
“She opened her eyes for a few seconds a couple of days ago but then closed them again.”
“Sorry to hear that. How is her partner holding up?” Zander said.
Shocked by his sincerity Pax took a short drink of her beer before she answered. “Fair. She’s a lot stronger than I’d given her credit for actually.”
“So tell us about our sister. What’s she like?” Damian’s eager voice made Pax smile as she looked into the sparkling mirror pair of blues.
“She’s nice. I like her. Seems straight forward and has a decent sense of humor. Physically she has our eyes and dark hair.”
“Handsome devil is she?” Damian grinned.
“Dad’s genes were very strong.”
“She’s shorter in height than we are.”
“We could call her shrimp.” Damian laughed.
“I would reconsider doing that little brother. She was an undercover cop, now a private eye.”
“Wow,” he said then looked at his brother. “Zander, why is it our sisters have exciting careers and we don’t?” Pax laughed at his truth.
Zander shrugged. “Go figure.”
Go figure is right Zander, Pax thought to herself. Wait until she tells you she’s a lesbian too.
Boney spent another day of uncertainty in the recliner beside her wife’s bed. Jo had received her bath an hour before and was now tucked comfortably between clean sheets. Upon her return to the room Boney resumed telling Jo the adventures of a lesbian swashbuckler. She read aloud from the pages of the novel held strategically in one hand. As she spun the tale for Jo, Boney changed her voice to represent the different characters. Her other hand jabbed and thrashed as she mimicked the fighting scene in flamboyant fashion.
The death scenes were fabulously recreated as her hand choked her throat and she gurgled in character. Boney jabbed the jeweled sword into her own gut as the villain took his own life in the name of honor.
She held her eyes closed and gasped the lasts breaths of existence for the evil doer and then stilled in death. One handed she closed the book and inhaled savoring the heroine’s victory. “That was a good part huh Jo? I would’ve run that wench through a few more times.”
Boney laughed to herself and opened her eyes to see bloodshot hazel ones staring back at her.
Frantically she pushed the recliner to the upright position and scrambled to get out of it and closer to Jo. Tears streamed down her face as Jo’s gaze remained focused. “Jo you’re back.” Boney placed her hand on Jo careful of the tubes and needles that were there. “I have missed you so much.” She leaned to place a soft kiss on the warm forehead.
Jo blinked the sting of tears from her eyes.
Just as Teela and Pax sat down to their dinner the telephone rang in the other room. Teela jumped up to catch the noise maker while Pax took a bite of her steak. Pax had made it to Teela’s and prepared a dinner of grilled steaks and baked potatoes. They’d planned to have a quick dinner then visit Jo.
Movement in the corner of her eyes caused her to turn to find Thumper lying just inside the door of the kitchen. Determined to look her most pitiful with big puppy eyes and innocent demeanor, Thumper was attempting to illicit food. Pax gawked at the begging dog and smirked.
“I told you I’d get even about my work boots,” she taunted and speared the cut piece of the steak with her fork. “You dragged my boots to the basement and made me hunt all over this house for them,” she shook the fork at the dog as she spoke. “I was late for an appointment because of you. Now it’s payback. No steak for you.” She shoved the piece in her mouth and exaggerated her chewing enjoyment. “This is really good. You should try some.” She chuckled at the dog.
A chilling shriek came from the living room and Pax was on her feet in an instant. She managed a step when Teela burst into the room tears in her eyes jumping up and down. The telephone was pressed firmly to her ear as she hugged Pax.
“Ok Boney, we’ll be there…”
“No Teela,” Boney stopped her. “I know that you want to see her, but they want to start running tests now that she seems to be staying awake, so she’ll be in and out of the room. It’ll probably tire her out. What about tomorrow?”
“Are you sure Boney?”
“Yes. She’s staying awake until the pain medication hits. She’s awake nonetheless and that’s part of the battle.”
“That’s such great news Boney.”
“Yes it is. Thank you for being here and helping us. You have no idea how I appreciate all that you’ve done for Jo… and me. Not just thank you for the past few days I mean for everything over the years. You’re a good friend.”
“You don’t have to thank me Boney. I love you and Jo. You’re family you big goofball.”
“I love you too. We both do and thank Pax for me too will ya?”
“I will she’s right here.”
“I truly appreciate your help guys.”
Teela hugged Pax tightly. “Jo is awake.”
“That’s wonderful.” Pax felt her happiness bring tears to her eyes.
“Boney told us not to come tonight because they’re gong to start some of those tests Dr. Keating mentioned.”
“Will you be able to hold off seeing her until tomorrow?”
“I’ll have to.” She released her lover and returned to the dining room table. “I’m just so happy for them both.”
“I know what you mean.”
Pax loved seeing the glow of happiness upon Teela’s face, how her green eyes sparkled with laughter and mirth. It warmed her heart and the swell of emotion overwhelmed her. The silence of the room fueled her thoughts as whether to tell Teela the news she hadn’t yet shared.
“Teela,” Pax hesitated as bright green eyes stared back at her, “I ah…”
Teela lowered her fork and took a sip of her wine waiting for Pax to complete her statement. “Pax, what’s bothering you?”
“I ah… I’m suspended from the zoo pending the outcome of the investigation into Cloe’s death,” she blurted and then inhaled deeply.
“Suspended? Why would they suspend you Pax?”
“The apples on my desk were laced with cyanide poisoning…”
“And they think you had something to do with it?”
“That’s ridiculous!” Teela shouted and threw her napkin upon the table. To consider that Pax could’ve harmed Cloe or any animal was preposterous.
“I know sweetheart but it’s their protocol.”
Pax chuckled. “Pooh?”
The frown slowly turned into a half grin against her will. Teela crossed her arms in front of her chest in challenge. “Got a problem with my vocabulary?”
“Not at all.” Pax threw her hands into the air in surrender.
“Yes dear.” Pax laughed.
“I just thought…” Pax started but fade as Teela raised one eyebrow and waited. “I just thought that you would be angry with me regarding the suspension.”
“Why would I be angry with you? Cloe’s death wasn’t your fault. You had nothing to do with it. The suspension isn’t your fault.”
“I was just afraid that…” She moved her steak around the plate with her fork.
“You have no reason to be afraid.”
“I couldn’t help but feel hesitant to tell you.”
“Oh honey, you can tell me anything. I’d hoped you knew that by now.”
“I do on some level.”
“You’ve done nothing for me to be angry with you about.” She reached across the table and grabbed the larger hand in her own. “We’ll get through this you and me.”
“Thank you.” She raised the hand to her lips and kissed it tenderly. “You’re amazing.”
“I am aren’t I?” She chuckled. “Now eat your food before it gets colder.”
Continued in Part 8
Extended Intentions comments to the bard at Jynaki@aol.com
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