Copyright © 2000 Talaran
Disclaimers: This is my first attempt at fan fiction. It is Uber fiction and it is set in the current time in the fictional city of Larson (think similar to Boston, but a little smaller scale.)
The two main characters, and I think you know who they remind us of, meet under difficult circumstances. Eventually they succumb to the strong bond that they share. There will be sexual interactions in this story as it unfolds. If this type of material disturbs you, you may wish to read something other than this story.
The phone rang, awakening the room's silent occupant. A weary, blue eye blinked open and scanned the dim room for the source of the sound. Locating it, a hand clamped down on it and yanked it from its resting-place. "Yeah."
"Good morning Ms. Stone. This is your requested wake up call," the cheerful voice announced. "Would you like anything from room service this morning?"
Nic grumbled a response then slammed the phone back into its cradle. The clock on the nightstand told her it was exactly six A.M. She dragged her pillow over her head and sighed. She struggled to summon up the dream she had been reveling in prior to the phone call, but each attempt failed. She could only seem to retrieve fragments of the dream, in which Carly was a prominent participant. Why was it so hard to get dreams back after you've woken up, she wondered? Abandoning any further attempts to rekindle it, the dark haired woman reluctantly pulled the covers off and stretched her long frame before dropping her feat to the floor and setting upright. Padding over to the window she parted the drape and peered out into the darkness, pleased by the absence of the rain that had drenched the area the previous day.
After rummaging through her bag and retrieving her toiletries she padded into the bathroom. Switching on the light she reflexively squinted at the fluorescence that illuminated the small room. She grimaced at her reflection. Her hair was a tousled mess and she noticed a faint darkness under her eyes, evidence of the lack of sleep she had in the past few days. "A hot shower will perk us back up," she commented to her reflection. Reaching into the shower stall she started the water running. Within seconds steam engulfed the room, obscuring her image in the mirror. Satisfied the water was to her liking, she stripped out of her sleeping shirt and stepped inside.
Hot water cascaded down her lithe form, reviving her as she stood face first in the pulsating jets. For several seconds she remained there allowing the steam to seep into her pores. She was actually looking forward to the day and could hardly wait to tell Jimmy it was Marcone who was behind everything.
After washing her hair in a fragrant floral concoction, she scrubbed her body from head to toe, then emerged completely refreshed and ready for some hot coffee to ignite her insides now that her outside had been taken care of.
She wrapped a thick, pastel colored towel around herself, and grabbed a second one to dry her hair with. Using her palm she wiped off a circular area on the mirror and gave herself the once over. "See, I told you we'd feel better." She toweled off her hair, then ran a comb through the long dark strands giving them order once again. She winked at her reflection then opened the bathroom door. The coolness of the outer room scattered goose bumps all over her exposed flesh.
A knock at the door indicated that room service had arrived. "Just a second," she called. Quickly she pulled on a pair of black jeans and teal crew neck sweater, then opened the door. A young man wearing a neatly pressed pair of slacks and a white jacket smiled as he entered the room balancing a large circular tray on his right hand. He took a deep breath at the site of the woman. She was tall and very beautiful, with hair as black as the night and the most incredible blue eyes he'd ever seen.
"Good morningÖma'am. Shall I pu..ttt this on the table?"
"Yes, please." Nic followed him into the room, leaving the door open. The familiar and welcome aroma of freshly brewed coffee hit her senses and a lazy smile eased onto her face. The young man turned and handed her the bill, which she signed, adding a healthy tip, as well.
"Thank you." He blinked several times before he continued, "When you're finished you can leave the tray in the hall. Have a good day." As he turned he nearly walked right into the edge of the open door, but managed to side step it at the last second. Nic stifled a chuckle and closed the door behind him. Returning to the table she clicked the television on and began nibbling a crispy slice of bacon while she poured herself some of the rich, dark brew she'd been waiting for.
By seven o'clock Nic was on her way to the precinct. The sun was just beginning to peak through a cluster of clouds that dotted the horizon. The air was refreshingly crisp and still. Traffic, though initially mild, started to increase as she proceeded further downtown, but it was still more tolerable than the mid-day traffic. While she was eating breakfast she had decided to go talk to the lieutenant in person, instead of calling him on the phone.
Her keen sense of smell detected the faintest whiff of Carly's perfume. Brilliant blue eyes darted to the unoccupied seat next to her, causing an involuntary sigh, as the memory of last night's encounter skipped through her mind.
Parking the Xterra on the street, she activated the car alarm and strode into the station.
Several people, some of them civilians, were milling about the first floor. Three uniformed officers were busy escorting two hookers and one drunken man to the holding area. Both women were mouthing off at the officers, who simply ignored them. The desk sergeant looked up and waved at Nic, who waved back and pointed up the stairs. He knew what she was asking and shook his head, then pointed at his watch. Glancing at her own timepiece, she realized she'd gotten here sooner than she thought. Lieutenant Raimes arrived each day promptly at seven thirty and it was only seven fifteen. Giving the desk sergeant the thumbs up sign she continued up to the second floor.
At precisely seven thirty Lieutenant Raimes entered the station, retrieved his messages and proceeded to his office. When he walked into the bullpen he was surprised to find Stone at her desk having a conversation with one of the other detectives. He ambled over and interrupted, as was his prerogative. "Stone, what are you doing here? I approved your week off."
The dark haired woman looked up. "YeahÖI know, but something came up last night that I really need to talk to you about."
He furrowed his bushy brows. "All right, let's go."
Nic excused herself and followed the lieutenant into his office. He dropped his briefcase on one of the empty chairs while Nic sat down in the other. "Am I gonna need a cup of coffee for this?" he asked.
"No, I've got good news. You really shouldn't worry so much, boss."
"Who says I'm worried?" he grunted.
"I think that scowl on your face is an indication." Nic remarked, smiling sweetly.
"Hmph." Sitting down behind his desk he laced his hands together and placed them on the cluttered surface. "Well spill it."
The dark haired detective cleared her throat. "Last night I arrested the other man who was involved in the attempted murder of me and my partner."
The lieutenant's eyes widened, then narrowed. "You weren't on duty last night, just like you're not on duty right now! So tell me how in the hell you found this person when the two detectives that ARE working this case couldn't?" He ran his palm over his face in frustration, then added, "And what the hell is his name, anyway!"
"His name is Leo Tolstrom and I managed to get a lead the other night, which helped me locate him."
"Dammit Stone!" He slammed his fist down hard on his desk. "You're doing it again! Where the hell did you get a lead from?" As quickly as he asked it he held up his hand to stop her. "No! Never mind. I don't want to know. But dammit Stone, you should have let Sanders and Mahoney in on it."
"Lou, I wanted to follow up on this myself. After all they did try to kill me!" She wasn't in a sharing mood that night, anyway. And she was determined to get to the bottom of this herself. The last thing she needed was those two getting under foot. She began playing with her thumb ring, sliding it on, then off her finger. She knew she wasn't a team player, at least not when it came to some people. That was a realization that came to her many years before when she alone hunted down the people responsible for taking her parents away from herÖand her sister. An image of Jimmy slipped into her mind. They were a good team.
"So, what's this guy's story? Who hired him?"
"You're not gonna believe this, Lou," Nic stated, shaking her head slowly, then looking him straight in the eye. "Victor Marcone."
The lieutenant leaned back in his chair, a slow smile seeping onto his wrinkled face. "That's very funny Stone."
"I'm dead serious lieutenant."
He digested her statement, still not quite able to believe that one of the most prominent figures in Larson was behind this ugly mess. Nic filled the lieutenant in on the entire story. At times his eyes went wide with surprise, especially the parts where she explained Marcone's connection to Louis Gato and that he was a major player in the waterfront drug trade. The lieutenant agreed that they needed to get a warrant to obtain the evidence against Marcone and then he added something she knew was inevitable.
"We have to bring Sanders and Mahoney in on this."
"I know," she acknowledged.
Raimes walked to his door and peered out spotting Paul Mahoney at his desk, but no Sanders. "Mahoney, get in here."
Paul Mahoney entered the office. A look of surprise flashed onto his face at the sight of Stone sitting in front of the lieutenant's desk. "What is it, Lou?"
"Where's your partner?"
"He called in. He's going to be a little late."
"Well, sit down. Stone has uncovered something big. When Sanders gets here we'll fill him in." They brought Mahoney up to speed and decided that he and Sanders would get the search warrant this morning, then the three of them would work together in gathering the evidence. Mahoney wasn't pleased with the fact that Nic hadn't let them in on anything that she'd found, but he wasn't as upset as he knew his partner would be. In order to avoid any unpleasantness at the station when Sanders arrived, Nic excused herself, explaining the appointment she had with the alarm system people. After agreeing to report back to the station in an hour she headed to her house, pleased that in a few short hours they would have Marcone behind bars.
Carly solemnly munched on a cream cheese covered bagel across the table from Liz, who was doing the same. Sue, who had all ready left for work, had hastily slugged down a cup of coffee and had taken her bagel with her since she had an early court appearance.
"You seem a little quiet this morning, Carly. Is everything okay?" Liz asked.
"Yeah, everything is fine." She took a sip of her coffee. "I didn't sleep too well last night. I guess I'm just tired."
"Were you worried about Jimmy? He looked pretty good to me, considering."
Carly hesitated with her answer. She hadn't told Liz and Sue about what happened at the restaurant and she didn't really want to, at least not yet. "I was a little concerned about Nic."
Liz finished her coffee and started to pour herself another. Peeking into Carly's cup she added some of the hot liquid to hers, as well, before she sat back down. "Why?"
"She mentioned she'd gotten a lead on the guy that got away the other night and she was going to check it out."
"Nic's a big girl, Carly. Believe me, she can take care of herself."
"Oh, I know that, hell I've seen proof of that, but that doesn't stop me from worrying."
Liz suspected there was more, but Carly left it at that. The redhead had an impulsive desire to pursue the matter, but the haggard look on Carly's face told her that wasn't a good idea. Maybe she would find out more later. The pair finished their coffee, tidied up the kitchen and returned to their rooms to get ready for the day.
Nic was listening to some soft jazz as she pulled into the Fairfield Hills development. Bundles of raked leaves rested along the curb on both sides of the street waiting for the sanitation workers to retrieve them. The street was empty except for the occasional dog walker or jogger. Several homes were in the process of being decorated for Christmas. She liked this neighborhood. Her father had been one of the first people to purchase a home here, nearly eighteen years ago. She could still hear him telling her mother 'This will be a great place for the girls." A deep sigh. That seemed like a lifetime ago. Jessie was only seven then, and Nic was just heading into her tumultuous teen years. In some ways she wished she could go back to that time. A time of blissful ignorance. Her most significant concern in those days was basketball and it all went by too quickly, she reflected.
Turning onto Kingston Drive she noticed a white van was all ready parked in front of her house. As she approached she saw the red letters, QHS, emblazoned on the side of the van. Suddenly she realized that she more than likely didn't need an alarm system if they were successful in arresting Marcone later today. But, if Carly would be staying with her she'd feel better leaving her alone if there was an alarm system. Having settled that she stopped the car at the bottom of the long driveway and greeted the two men exited the van. Both men wore white jumpsuits with QHS across the back. The driver was the shorter of the two men and had dark hair with a tinge of gray dusting his neatly groomed beard. The other man was younger, with long blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail.
"Miss Stone?" the dark haired man questioned.
"Yes, pleased to meet you," she answered extending her hand, which he grabbed and shook firmly.
"We're here to do your alarm system installation." He glanced at the clipboard he was holding. "Looks like you're getting the full package. It's probably going to take all day to get this done. Will that be a problem?"
Nic shook her head. "No, not at all. Just lock up everything when you're done."
"You're not going to be here all day?"
"No. I'm afraid I've got a pretty full schedule today. I just came to let you in and answer any questions you might have."
"Oh, I see. Well, we will need to go over the placement of some of the system components and we'll need to demonstrate how to activate and deactivate the system." He paused. "We also need you to pick out the code you want to use."
"Can we do that now?"
"Sure." He instructed his partner to pull the van in the back, then start unpacking it, while he and Nic did a walkthrough, starting with the front door.
Fifteen minutes later Nic was backing the Xterra out of the driveway when she saw the familiar 'Carpets R Us' van drive past. Joey Santalone got out and began walking toward her waving his hand. The man was one of the friendliest people she had ever met. "Nicole, glad I caught you."
Nic leaned hung her left arm out of the window. "What are you doing here? I thought you couldn't get to this until later today at the earliest?"
"Two people postponed their installations until next week, so suddenly I was free. And as luck would have it I had your carpet in stock." The stout man gave her a toothy grin.
"Great! I've got two other guys all ready inside installing my alarm system."
"Not a problem. My assistant will be meeting me here in few minutes. I called the station looking for you and they told me you were here, so I jumped in the van and came right over."
"Thanks a lot Joey. The sooner I get the room back to normal the better."
"Glad to do it. You have a good day, Nic."
"You, too, Joey," Nic said as she backed into the street. Picking up her cell phone she punched in the number for the hospital and requested Jimmy's room when the receptionist answered. A familiar, cheerful voice said, "Hello?"
"Hi Carly, it's Nic."
A sigh on the other end. "It's good to hear your voice. Are you on your way here?"
"I'm afraid not. Last night turned about to be pretty successful so I have a few things I need to take care of this morning."
The tone changed to one of disappointment. "Oh. Well, I'm glad everything worked out last night." Carly couldn't wait to see Nic. She wanted to talk some more about what they had revealed to each other last night, still fearful it was all a dream.
"Me, too. How's Jimmy feeling today?"
Carly glanced at her brother who was chowing down his breakfast like he hadn't eaten in days. "He's doing pretty good."
"Listen, I should be over there around noon. I'd like to fill Jimmy in on what's been going on. Would you be interested in grabbing a bite?"
This put a widening smile on the blonde's face. Lowering her voice she replied, "If it's a bite of you, you're on!" She peered over her left shoulder and found a pair of brown eyes, brows lifted, staring back at her. A warm sensation began to creep up her neck.
Nic swerved the car, "Carly!"
"Sorry. Just wishful thinking. Yes, I'd love to grab some lunch with you."
"Great, but you can't be saying stuff like that when I'm driving."
"Well, it sort of distracted me and I almost ran down a sanitation worker." A burst of giggles resounded on the other end.
"I'll be more careful in the future. See you at noon, Nic."
"Yeah, see you then."
The three of them sat in the car not saying a word to one another as Sanders drove them to McClellan Avenue in the northwestern part of the city. When Nic had returned to the station she'd received only an ugly glare from Sanders and not much more from Mahoney. She had expected as much. After all she did step into their case and made more progress than either one of them had done. Now Nic was in the backseat and she was idly glancing out of the window at the passing apartment houses, some new, some old, separated by a few laundromats and the occasional pharmacy. This morning the sky was clear, the clouds that had been out a few short hours ago had since disappeared. She marveled at the gradient blue that deepened, as she looked further up into the sky. It was an inviting color. She'd always wanted to soar up there. For a brief time she had considered the air force, but her father had always wanted her to pursue a career in law. That memory put a frown on her face. She wondered if he'd be proud of the choices she had made.
"Stone." Sanders barked in a gruff tone.
"I'm surprised that you didn't kill that Tolstrom guy last night when you arrested him. He is the man responsible for putting your partner in the hospital." Nic didn't respond. She just continued starting out of the side window. "You must be getting softer, now that you're approachingÖwhat is gonna beÖthirty."
Nic knew where Sanders was going with this, but she wasn't going to play this game with him today. "You know, as well as I do that he was just a means to an end. I want the guy who ordered the hit. The one who thinks he's above the law. Killing Tolstrom wouldn't have helped me in that pursuit."
Sanders looked at his partner and scowled. He wanted to go at it with her in the worst way because he hated how smug and self-assured she was. Deep down he knew it was envy that fueled his hatred, but he seldom allowed that realization into his conscious thoughts.
When they reached McClellan Sanders parked the unmarked vehicle at the top of the block. The apartment building they were interested in was a few doors down. After they all checked their weapons they emerged from the car and proceeded to the building.
A black sedan was parked across the street and the two occupants immediately noticed the three people walking toward the apartment building. By the time the trip was inside the building the sedan had pulled away.
The apartment where Hector Nunez lived was on the second floor. The building itself was a fairly new, three-story structure that contained approximately eighteen apartments. The three detectives entered the building and donned their royal blue Larson Police Department windbreakers before ascending the stairs. After strategically positioning themselves around the door Sanders announced their arrival with a series of loud knocks.
"Que?" a man shouted inside.
"This is the police. Open the door now!"
The sound of shuffling feet, closing of drawers, and the flushing of a toilet.
"I said open this door, NOW!"
The clank of the bolts being released, then a squeak as the door slowly opened. A portly Hispanic man peeked out from behind the crack. "What can I do for you officers?"
Sanders thrust his badge and the warrant up directly into the shorter man's line of sight. "We have a warrant to search these premises." The man's widening eyes ran down the paper. After several seconds he stepped aside allowing them to enter. Sanders went first followed by his partner. Sanders proceeded directly to one of the rear rooms, while Mahoney went straight for the kitchen. Stone triple checked the hallway then stood in the doorway with her back against the doorjamb, which gave her a view of the hallway, as well as the inside of the apartment.
"What is it you are looking for?" the Hispanic man asked, tentatively. The sound of silverware being emptied onto the table in the kitchen caught the man's attention.
"Let's not play games, Mr. Nunez. I think you know exactly what we are looking for." Nic responded, eyes narrowing on the man.
"No, no, I do not!" He shuffled his slippered feet as he thrust his hands into the pockets of his red sweatpants. His white t-shirt held yolk stains, probably from his morning breakfast, Nic noted.
"Mr. NunezÖmay I call you Hector?"
"Hector, we know that you used to work for Victor Marcone." The man's dark eyes shot to the worn carpeting below them. "And a reliable source has told us that you, Hector, have been a bad boy." A delicious smile slid onto her exquisitely chiseled face.
Cupboard doors were slammed in succession before Mahoney stepped out of the kitchen, "Nothing in there. I'm moving to the bathroom."
Hector raised his eyes and was caught by the dark haired detective's piercing blue ones. "Surely you must realize what considerable danger you have put yourself in."
A door opened at the other end of the hallway and Nic watched a frail old woman ease her way from the apartment to the stairwell, then disappear. Nic returned her attention to the man standing a few feet from her. "Yes, danger. Extortion is a serious endeavor with high risks attached to it."
"Tu estes loco! I did notÖhow did you sayÖextortion anyone."
Calmly the dark haired detective opened a fresh pack of gum and slid a piece out. She proceeded to unwrap the piece, then popped it into her mouth. Rolling up the tiny foil liner she rifled it at Hector, catching him in the cheek. The man flinched. "I said I didn't want to play games, didn't I Hector?"
"You are not going to find anything here because there is nothing to find." He looked at her with determined eyes.
Nic pondered her next move. For a fleeting second she considered the possibility that Tolstrom had lied about the whole thing to save his skin, but two many of the pieces fit. This man, though he didn't look it, was smart enough to stay alive this long and against a man like Marcone. He's obviously got the stuff well hidden and he's probably got a trump card, as well, but what is it?
Sanders emerged from the back hallway, shaking his head. "Nothing."
Nic looked at Sanders and smiled. She stepped into the room completely and closed the door behind her. Hector backed up a few steps until his knees were against the front of the sofa. He watched the dark haired woman approach like a stalking cat. A long arm reached out and a finger jabbed him in the chest causing his to lose his balance and fall backward onto the soft cushions of the sofa.
"Now you listen to me, Hector. I don't want anymore mierda! Now you're going to tell us what room we need to look in, comprende?" The man looked up at her, his hands now out of his pockets and visibly shaking. He looked at the other detective, who just leaned against the door where the dark haired detective had previously been standing. The third detective entered the living room and looked at his partners in turn.
"What's going on?" Mahoney asked.
Nic never lifted her gaze from Hector. "Hector here is goin to tell us what room we should concentrate on."
Mahoney flopped into a ragged armchair, then plopped his feet on the coffee table that separated the chair and the sofa. "Sounds good to me. I'm tired of looking through all his crap."
"You see, Hector. You will make all of us happy if you just tell us what we want to know."
"What do you think you're going beat it out of me?"
Nic continued her gum chewing, enjoying the spicy tang of the cinnamon. "Accidents happen everyday. The home is a particularly dangerous place." She stated, emphasizing certain words. "People get cut with kitchen utensils, slip in showers, electrocute themselves with faulty wiringÖ"
The man's hands started to shake so badly he had to place them under his weighty legs to keep them still. Nic wondered why Marcone hadn't simply had some muscle come and put pressure on him. He certainly didn't look capable of withstanding any, yet he was ballsy enough to blackmail Marcone.
Glancing over her right shoulder at Mahoney Nic said, "Paul, go grab a knife from the kitchen." Mahoney dropped his size 12 feet to the floor with a thud.
"Okay, okay," Hector began babbling, "look in the bedroom!"
Sanders sneered at the man. "I've all ready done that mi amigo! There was nothing there."
"I'm telling you that's the room to look in." He waved a pointed finger in the direction of the room.
"Keep an eye on him, I'll take a look." Nic said.
"What's the matter Stone, don't think I'm capable?"
"Listen, Sanders, what I think about you is not something we're going to discuss right now." Nic continued walking toward the bedroom, leaving a grumbling Sanders in her wake.
The bedroom was smaller than she imagined it would be and it was an utter mess, thanks in no small part to Sanders searching techniques. Pictures were hanging in a haphazard pattern on two of the walls. Upturned dresser drawers were lying with their scattered contents on the unmade bed. The room desperately needed a coat of paint. Hell, the whole apartment did. Obviously Hector didn't like a tidy place. He might not even clean this up after we leave, she thought.
Nic donned her rubber gloves then began sifting through the pile on the bed.
Socks, underwear, t-shirtsÖa half-empty carton of Marlboro's but nothing more.
She turned to the dresser with the cracked mirror. "Seven years bad luck, Hector. Not good, not good at all." Carefully she searched the dresser from front to back and top to bottom, but found nothing.
The small nightstand was next. The single drawer was open and contained nothing more than a lighter, some playing cards, a Snickers candy bar that looked like it had been there a while, some loose change, a few rubbers and open pocket knife. Some brown fragments on the knife caught the detective's attention. Picking it up she examined it more closely. Tiny wood fibers were stuck to the smooth edge of the knife near the tip like it had been used to pry something open. Nic scanned the room looking for a possible match.
The floor was covered with a wall-to-wall deep brown carpet that was worn through in a couple of spots. Squatting down, she stuck her finger through a small hole and pulled at the carpeting to get a look at the floor below. Solid hard wood. Scanning the perimeter for any noticeable track marks she spied a faint indentation by the corner of the bed, like it had been moved before, which was not necessarily odd.
Lifting the back of her jacket she slid out the seven-inch tactical knife she wore in a belt harness at the small of her back. The double-edged blade was razor sharp and had saved her life on more than one occasion. With a grunt she slid the bed over a few inches and took a careful look at the floor. Taking the tip of the knife she parted the fibers and was pleased at what she found. The carpet had been cut and pieced back into place. Using the knife she pulled up a round piece approximately one foot in diameter, exposing the hard wood floor beneath it. After retrieving Hector's knife with her still gloved hand she pried up a section of the floorboard. After all, why should she damage her blade? Working the knife around the edges she pried it free, the board squeaking in complaint and revealing a manila envelope that had been stuffed into the small space.
Nic opened the envelope and perused the documents inside. The evidence was certainly incriminating. Photographs of Marcone dining with known drug dealers, delivery schedules at warehouses owned by Marcone, more photos of wooden crates with false bottoms for drug transport and the Marcone Imports logo prominently stamped on the side. A mile wide grin slid across her face as she walked into the outer room and thanked Hector Nunez for his diligent efforts.
It was eleven thirty by the time the three detectives returned to the precinct with Hector Nunez in tow. They were going to need him as a witness and it had been fairly easy to convince him that he wouldn't be safe in his apartment. Once they had conducted a formal interview with Nunez and placed him in protective custody they filled Lieutenant Raimes in on the morning's events. He practically drooled when they showed him what they had found at the apartment. Nabbing someone this big would didn't happen that often in the lives of many cops, so when it did, you tried to relish every second. Sanders was miffed that Nic had actually found the evidence, especially when he had searched the room first. As far as he was concerned it was just one more reason to not like her. Sanders and Mahoney went to get the warrant for Marcone's arrest, while Stone checked everything into the evidence room.
Nic stopped by her desk to check her messages before heading over to the hospital. Nothing. This was a good sign. It must mean both the carpeting and alarm system installations were going well. After informing the desk sergeant of her destination she retrieved her car from the parking lot and pulled onto Maple Avenue. She was looking forward to telling Jimmy all about what they had discovered this morning and what they were about to do this afternoon. He probably would be bummed that he couldn't participate, but at least he'd be happy they were closing down a major drug operation in the city. She was also looking forward to seeing Carly and having some lunch with her. She thought about the blonde on and off all morning and she wanted to continue to explore this new territory that they had stepped into last night. Nic hadn't felt this way about anyone before. She came close a couple of times, once in high school and another time in college, but neither time did it feel as strong as it did now.
Nic rode the elevator with two doctors, both dressed in green scrubs and chatting about a new surgical technique and one middle-aged nurse who held in her hand a glass jar containing some sort of bodily fluid Nic was sure she didn't want to know about. Finally the doors opened on Jimmy's floor and she escaped. She hated hospitals and she'd spent more time in them in the last three days than she cared to think about.
The officer on duty in front of Jimmy's room was leafing through the morning paper and he stood up the minute he saw her approach. "Good afternoon, Detective Stone."
"Hi, Stevens. How's everything been?" The cop was a rookie. He wasn't quite as tall as she was, and she figured he'd probably have brown hair if he didn't have a buzz cut.
"Quiet," he replied.
"Good," Nic said as she pushed the door open. Jimmy's eyes were closed and oddly enough Carly wasn't in the room. The bathroom door was open so she wasn't in there. Nic walked further inside and she felt the strangest sensation. Like something was wrong. Then she spotted it. An envelope with 'STONE' scrawled on it in bold red letters. She gulped. She looked more closely at her partner. Without hesitation she rushed to his bedside!
"Fuck!" Reaching over she pulled the IV from his arm, blood spurting all over the white blanket that covered his bed. "STEVENS!" Instantly she cleared Jimmy's throat, plugged his nose and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The young officer heard the scream and caught himself as he nearly fell off his chair. He burst into the room. "What's wrong?" he asked in a frantic voice. Then he realized he didn't have to ask. The dark haired detective was leaning over her prone partner puffing mouthfuls of air into his lungs.
In between breaths she yelled, "GET HELP!"
The officer turned on his heels and ran down the hall toward the nurse's station. Within seconds a team of nurses and doctors descended on the room, pushing Nic aside in an effort to get to the patient. Dazed, Nic backed away and watched helplessly as they attended to Jimmy.
The words reverberated inside her head. She felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned. It was Stevens. Then it happened. Nic snapped. Before Stevens knew what hit him she had him pinned up against the wall, his feet dangling a few inches from the floor. His eyes were wide with fear. "What the fuck happened! WHO DID YOU LET IN HERE!"
Her voice was so loud the crash team working on her partner turned around to see what was going on. One of the two attending physicians yelled, "Get her out of here!" The nurses looked at each other, no one clearly willing to get between the two police officers.
Even in her fury, Nic realized she was distracting the team from their work. Without another word she dropped Stevens to the floor and dragged him by the collar out of the room. Out in the hallway she checked the adjoining room and finding it empty dragged Stevens inside. The young officer was speechless as he stumbled along behind her. She released his collar. Hesitantly he looked up into her anger filled cobalt eyes.
"I asked you a question?"
"The only people that have been in his room this morning were his sister, two nurses and a doctor. I swear!"
Carly! Suddenly it dawned on her. Where was she? "Where is his sister now?"
"I'm not sure. She walked out with the doctor about ten minutes before you arrived."
Somehow Nic controlled the urge to pulverize the man who stood before her. "Go back in there. In front of one of the flower arrangements there is an envelope with my name on it. Bring it here!"
"Yes ma'am!" The officer ran to the door.
Nic sat on the bed and tried to calm her breathing. This wasn't happening. A second later she was tearing open the envelope and reading the letter that was inside.
'We have the girl! If you want to see her alive again bring the Nunez documents and any and all copies to Pier 22 at 9:00PM. You will receive further instructions when you get there. COME ALONE. If we see any signs that you are not alone we'll mail you her parts. Oh, and condolences about your partner, Detective Stone.'
"SON OF A BITCH!" Nic yelled. The officer flinched when she looked at him. He expected the detective to pound him into oblivion. At least he was all ready at the hospital, he thought. "When Carly left with the doctor in what direction did they go?"
"They walked toward the elevators."
She was afraid to ask the next question. "How did it look when you were in there?" she pointed to Jimmy's room.
"I don't know. I ran in, grabbed the letter and ran back out."
Nic listened to his words. It had looked like such a promising day and now this. A thought flashed into her mind. What about Gato? Maybe they could use him. "Stay outside Jimmy's room. I'll be back in a few minutes." She couldn't deal with the possibility that Jimmy might be gone, so she stalked out of the room and headed for Gato's floor.
Concluded in Part 9
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