This is the opening story in my ongoing "To Serve and Protect" series. I will be posting the others in reasonably short order. And I'm still writing them. Hope you enjoy this one and all the others.
Detective Pat Gibson signed the case report she was writing and closed up her clipboard. Stretching, she turned off the interior light, put on her seatbelt and started her unmarked patrol car. She shifted into drive and pulled out of the parking lot and back on the road. Glancing at the clock, she saw it was right at 10 PM and decided she could deliver the report in the morning when she went in for court. She would go straight home now. Almost absently she picked up her radio mike and called she was back in service.
She had no sooner started home when the radio announced an armed robbery had been committed at a convenience store in the precinct she was covering. Pat activated the concealed blue lights and pressed hard on the accelerator. Before she had traveled even halfway the dispatcher announced two units were on scene and had apprehended the suspects. Pat continued on. As the detective on call she needed to arrive as soon after the crime as possible.
Her cell phone buzzed. Smiling, she slowed down and answered. "Yes Honey?" she asked.
Her husband chuckled. "Just wanted to let you know I heard that call on the scanner. I have the morning shift so I'm going to bed."
"Kiss the girls for me," answered Pat, referring to her 12 and 14 year old stepdaughters. "If this takes all night I'll try to meet you for breakfast at Jason's Restaurant."
"Okay Pat, love you."
"Me too Mike." Pat pushed the end button on her cell only to hear it buzz again.
"Gibson" she said.
"Pat, it's Jamie Saddler."
"Yes, Captain?" Pat answered to her boss, the head of the detective division at the Central Precinct.
"Pat I was at the station when this happened. I have the suspects here and have started the paperwork. Normally I'd just you tell to scoot for home but one of the witnesses is an English woman, a tourist visiting here. She's somewhat shook up and I would like you to talk to her. Take her statement, reassure her and get her back to her hotel. I realize its not really part of your duties but would you?"
"Of course I will Captain." Pat reflected, how nice of him, he could have simply ordered her to do this. Instead he made it seem like she was doing him a favor. "Be there is five minutes."
The minute she entered the station Pat realized why she had been reluctant to come by earlier. In her haste to get out of the house and on the previous call she had ended up with a mismatched outfit. Her badge, normally in a holder for her belt, had been put on a uniform shirt for court appearance, so she had grabbed that shirt and put in on. She had pulled on her jeans and then laced up her ankle length work boots. Only then had she discovered the jeans she had put on were not the loose comfortable ones she normally wore but the one size too small ones she wore when they went out dancing. Refusing to take her boots back off she had managed to zip them up while holding her breath. She had then thrown on her shoulder holster with her 9mm Glock sidearm covered by a black leather jacket. The whistles she received from two drunks sitting in the reception room of the station confirmed her opinion that she probably looked liked a butch streetwalker.
The officer on radio watch buzzed the door open for her and waved. She swung down the hall and approached Captain Saddler.
"Hi Pat" the captain said as he handed her a statement sheet. "The lady has filled out her statement. Just need to get it signed and then you can get her back to her hotel. I appreciate you doing this. Oh, and she won't have to stay and testify. She's in room 3," He indicated with a motion of his hand.
Pat took the form and walked into the room. She smiled automatically at the blonde woman in the chair. As the woman turned around Pat suddenly caught her breath and leaned against the door jamb to steady herself. "Joyce!" she thought wildly.
Everyone in the department, everyone she knew here as a matter of fact, knew that she had moved to this side of the state after the collapse of her last relationship. What nobody was aware of was that relationship had been with another woman.
(Four Years Ago)
Pat stood staring in complete disbelief. She had managed to get off duty early from the police department she was working for. Stopping on the way home to buy flowers, she had hoped to surprise her girlfriend Joyce at the small house they rented outside the city limits. And she had surprised Joyce indeed. She knew things had been not going well but the sight of the voluptuous red head in bed with Joyce; in THEIR bed; had confirmed her worst fears.
Joyce had shrugged unapologetically. Taller than Pat's 5'5" by four inches she was a cool slender blonde, completely the opposite of the darker complexioned and dirty blonde haired Pat.
"What did you expect? You're working all the time. You come home and go to sleep. I got bored. Besides, Jo in there is a lot more feminine than you are anyway."
That was obviously the end of that. Before forty eight hours had passed Pat had resigned her job, settled her bills and packed to leave. As she did, Joyce delivered the final shot.
"You think you'll ever find someone to replace me? But that will never really happen. You're a sexual has-been. No man, let alone any woman, will ever want you. One day you'll come crawling back, begging me to take you"
Pat had moved to the other side of the state and took a job with the local sheriff's department. Since she was already certified her training period, under then Sergeant Mike Gibson had been brief. She had enjoyed working with him both as her training officer and as her supervisor. She had learned he was a widower and had two daughters, 8 and 10. Meeting them at a department picnic she had fallen in love with them both and become their big sister, spending time at their house on an almost daily basis. Slowly she had found herself falling in love with Mike too. Two years ago when she was promoted to detective and he to Lieutenant they had married.
Pat had been happy. She had a wonderful husband and two step-daughters, who still considered her a loving but firm big sister. But Pat was never able to get over the feeling that this was all temporary, that Mike only felt sorry for her or wanted her for his daughters' sake. She knew better but simply could not shake the idea that Joyce was right, that somehow she was inadequate. That someday she would find herself alone again and begging her ex-lover to take her back. The only way Pat let it show was in their discussion of children. She had always wanted to be a mother and Mike was more than willing also. But Pat could not make herself take that final hurdle that would acknowledge the past was gone forever.
Pat shook herself and stepped in the office. The woman inside looked up and smiled. Pat realized that apart from the blonde hair this woman looked nothing like Joyce. she was in her early 30's, about 5' 6" and slender. Even in slacks and a simple blouse she looked almost elegant. But the major difference was the smile. This woman's was warm and friendly, a contrast to Joyce, who Pat suddenly realized had always looked like she was smiling from a sense of superiority.
"Hello Ms... ," Pat looked at the report "Clarke. I'm Detective Pat Gibson. If you would be kind enough to look over your statement and sign it, if it is correct, I can get you out of here. And I will be happy to take you back to your hotel and stay with you until you feel comfortable being alone."
"Thank you Detective Gibson. Please call me Liz." said the woman in a charming English accent. "I'm quite alright now no need for you to trouble yourself." Liz took the statement, read it and signed it.
"And I'm Pat," the other woman answered. Noticing that the fingers holding the pen still shook very slightly Pat added, "And it is no trouble at all. Captain Saddler tells me that due to the other evidence available you will not need to stay here and testify. So I can't have you leaving this part of the South thinking that this is what its all like. Give me the chance to demonstrate a little courtesy."
"Thank you Pat, " Liz smiled. She handed back the statement and stood. "I certainly am ready for that."
Pat escorted Liz out of the station, pausing only to drop the statement off. She opened the passenger door to her car and closed it after Liz was seated. Jumping in the driver's door she called Dispatch with her destination and headed for Liz's hotel. On the way she had a sudden idea.
"Liz, would you like a glass of wine when we get to your hotel? I know you've had quite a day and I have too. There's a store up ahead that has a nice selection. Its just a thought but one glass would help you relax and maybe sleep easier."
"That would be lovely Pat," her new friend answered. "How about a dry white? I'm sure they have something at the hotel mini-bar, but those prices!"
Pat stopped at the upscale grocery store and purchased a bottle of a nice wine. Only a few more minutes passed and they arrived at Liz' hotel. After carefully locking the car Pat escorted Liz up to her room.
"Pat I feel all travel worn and dirty. If you don't mind, I desperately need to take a shower. Please make yourself comfortable and pour us the wine. There should be glasses and a corkscrew somewhere around the bar." Liz laughed. "I don't think they charge for their use."
.... There is more of this story ...