Lieutenant Linda Shannon studied the report in her hands. She knew there would be nothing there she had not read and thought about four times already but it gave her an opportunity to collect her thoughts and decide on the best tack to take. She realized that investigating accusations of officer misbehavior was an extremely important job. That still didn't mean she had to like it. And this particular investigation promised to be explosive, both on a personal and a professional level.
She looked over the report that accused Officer Pat Gibson of rape. She had already pulled Gibson's service record and checked it. Excellent ratings and a commendation for achievement. Certainly nothing that would indicate anything like this. She shook her head and decided rather than summoning Gibson she would go and find her. The fewer people that knew of this the better.
Shannon walked through the station to the detective division squad room. She made a quick survey and at once picked out the officer in question. Gibson was joking with a couple of other detectives. Lieutenant Shannon quickly glanced over her, noting she was shorter than her own 5'7" and had dirty blonde hair. She also noted her soft curves and the swell of her jeans and shook her head suddenly to get her mind back on business.
"Officer Gibson?" she called. "Could I have a moment of your time please?"
"Yes Lieutenant" Pat Gibson answered. She followed Lieutenant Shannon down to her office and at a gesture closed the door behind her and took a seat. She looked the senior officer over as Shannon settled herself. Pat searched her memory, recalling what she knew of her from her husband Lieutenant Mike Gibson. She had been a highly successful undercover narcotics officer until her cover was blown in a spectacular arrest that saw her decorated with the department's highest award, the Medal of Valor. She also admired the Lieutenant's long trim legs in the rather short skirt she was wearing.
Pat was suddenly jerked back to reality by Linda's voice. "Officer Gibson, I have to inform you that a complaint has been filed against you charging you with rape." Linda slid a copy of the statement to Pat.
Pat gasped and clutched the report, staring at it as if she hoped somehow her vision alone could change what it said. How could this be happening? Why would Liz have made such a accusation? This could ruin her career. More than that, it could ruin her entire life. She and Mike had finally agreed to have a least one child of their own to go with her two stepdaughters. She had thought her past was all behind her and now it was rearing up again.
"But this is all a lie," Pat burst out.
"I don't like this any more than you do Officer Gibson," replied Linda. "But as of right now you are suspended from duty. I will have to take possession of your sidearm, handcuffs and badge."
For a moment the balance could have tipped either way. Linda touched the wood grips of her Browning automatic in the concealed holster at the back of her skirt. She prayed the wild look in Pat's eyes would not take control and force her to draw her weapon on a fellow female officer. She sighed almost audibly when Pat slowly placed her cuffs and sidearm on the desk. Linda scooped up Pat's weapon and unloaded it. She held her hand out to Pat, who placed her shield in Linda's hand while her soft green eyes, filled with tears, remained fixed on it. Linda took it and carefully locked all three items in her lower desk drawer.
"Okay then Pat," Linda told her. "I want you to tell me exactly what took place the night you took Miss Clarke back to her hotel room after the robbery attempt."
Pat hesitated. Was she about to bury herself? Should she demand a lawyer? Then she recalled talking with Mike about Linda when they had both been on the same promotion list to Lieutenant. He had commented on Linda's transfer from Narcotics to Internal Affairs.
"As long as we have to have people to keep an eye out for crooked cops," He had told her, "And we always will, Linda is one of the best for the job. She's smart, honest and you can trust her with your life." He had paused for a moment, "I know that."
Taking a deep breath Pat launched into a full description of that night. She held nothing back. Completely embarrassed by revealing her night long affair with another woman she actually began to relax a bit as she saw both understanding and compassion in the other woman's eyes. Somehow telling the story both made her feel better and also helped her hold back tears as she realized the position she had put herself in.
Linda nodded at the appropriate places, encouraging Pat to trust her with the full details of what had happened. When she had first been given this case she had contacted a friend in the State Attorney General's office and asked him to run a quiet check on Pat's background beyond what her transfer application had said. She thought she was probably the only person on the department who knew about Pat's previous relationship with another woman. She wondered if Pat had told Mike and decided she probably had not. Pat's words showed she was more frightened about her marriage than her job.
Linda's years of undercover and investigative experience had given her a sixth sense that warned her when someone was lying. She was sure Pat was telling the truth. Now they would have to prove it. She did not want this officer's career or her life ruined. Linda thought of Mike. She had been recently divorced when his first wife Lori had died. Mike had been a SWAT sniper, often assigned to cover her at drug buys. They had helped each other through some rough times and had a brief affair that ended when Pat joined the department and Mike began to fall in love with her. For a moment Linda almost let her smile show as she remembered betting Mike 20 dollars he would propose to Pat. She won her bet within 60 days of making it. She also knew that Mike loved Pat and would not be threatened by her interest in other women. He had not been bothered about Linda's own interest in attractive females. They simply had not been right for each other, but he and Pat were.
Bringing her thoughts back to the present Linda stood up and announced "I believe you Pat. Now all we have to do is prove it and I have an idea about that."
A short time latter a knock came on the door of the hotel room belonging to the complainant. When the strikingly beautiful blonde woman opened the door Linda presented her identification and announced, "Miss Clarke I am Lieutenant Shannon of the Internal Affairs Division of the Sheriff's Department. I need you to positively identify this Officer as the one who raped you." With that Linda lead a handcuffed Pat in.
With one almost furtive look at Pat's downcast face the other woman announced, "Yes, that is the woman Lieutenant."
"All right Ms. Clarke, if you will just sign here," Linda turned her back on Pat and spread some papers on the table by the window. No sooner has she done that when suddenly Pat slipped one slender hand from the cuffs and swung them violently at Linda's head. The lieutenant crumpled bonelessly to the floor. Liz gasped and turned completely white as the enraged younger officer swung to face her.
Pat began to scream at the suddenly terrified blonde. "Do you have any idea what you have done to my career and my life? You accuse me a crime that could put me behind bars for the rest of my life! Why... HOW could you do this?"
Liz stammered desperately, trying to back away from Pat. She stopped when her back touched the wall. "I needed the money from the civil settlement I asked for."
"You needed the MONEY," raged Pat. "This will destroy me. Worst of all this will destroy my family."
Liz snapped back, " Who cares. You're a fool. You had to hit her. You're a cop. It doesn't matter that you didn't do anything. I would have got the money and your department would have covered it up."
Pat advanced towards Clarke with a cold rage on her face when suddenly Linda's voice cut in. "Don't Pat! She's not worth it." Liz swung around with a complete look of shock as she saw Linda standing up, a tape recorder in her hand... Linda smiled grimly. "Looked good didn't it? Pat swung the cuffs past my head and I slammed my hand on the table to sound like she hit me." She unlocked the other cuff. "Officer Gibson, perhaps you would like to read Ms. Clarke her rights after you put these on her? A little more securely this time Pat."
"My pleasure Lieutenant," Pat's wordless expression of thanks to Linda brought a broad smile to the senior officer's face. As Pat directed Clarke ahead of her down the stairs Linda could her the voice reciting, "You have the right to an attorney. If you give up the right to an attorney, anything you say..." Pat's voice trailed off as the two other women disappeared down the stairs. Linda sat abruptly in the chair and heaved a deep sigh of relief before following the two of them.
On the way back to the station Pat wondered why Linda was whispering into her cell phone instead of using the radio. When they arrived at the station Linda told her to book Clarke and then join her in Captain Saddler's office. When she entered Linda was sitting on the edge of the captain's desk and Pat once more found her eyes drawn to Linda's long lovely legs. She scolded herself "Pat, don't you EVER learn?" Still, she knew that Linda, that is LIEUTENANT Shannon she corrected herself, was nothing like Clarke.
Captain Saddler was on his feet the moment Pat came in. "Job well done, both of you." He paused. "Although Ms. Clarke deserves more after what she put you through, I expect we'll simply deport her when all is said and done." He looked at Pat and added, "That will allow us to seal the file on this whole investigation. No one but Lieutenant Shannon, the Sheriff himself and I will ever see it."
"In the meantime," Linda beamed, "We have some things for you." Taking a box from the desk she returned Pat's sidearm and handcuffs. She took the Detective's badge from the box and shook her head. "I'm afraid I can't return this, though."
Before Pat could do more than open her mouth to protest, Linda winked at her and asked, "Captain, would you do the honors?"
Captain Saddler's smile grew broader. He stepped up to Pat, and as though by sleight of hand produced a different badge. "Congratulations, SERGEANT Gibson," as he presented her with a Gold Sergeant's Badge.
Pat threw her arms around Saddler and Shannon in turn. "Thank you both," she exclaimed.
"You're the one that passed the exam Pat, not us," Linda grinned. "Now stop staring at that badge and put it on. Oh, and you'll be coming with me."
As Pat looked questioningly at them both, Captain Saddler added, "Beginning Monday morning you have a new assignment as a member of Lieutenant Shannon's brand new Narcotics Strike Force. Now get out of here and start your weekend early."
Pat walked out of the office on air. She followed Linda out the station door and towards Linda's unmarked car. Linda, noticing Pat daydreaming, started walking a bit faster, getting ahead of the other woman. She looked over her shoulder and grinned exuberantly. "Race you to the car," she called out and took off running.
Pat was caught completely by surprise for a moment. Whooping happily she chased the other woman to the supervisor's car. Despite running in heels and a skirt Linda beat Pat by two steps. She pulled open the driver's side door and grinned at the other officer. "You're buying dinner," she announced. "We're celebrating."
Pat's face fell just a little. "Mike is in Atlanta at the SWAT supervisor's course he's attending. The girls are at their grandparents this week too."
Linda triumphantly held out her cell phone. "Call Atlanta," she ordered. "The number's already programmed in. They'll put you right through to him. He's expecting your call but doesn't know what its about."
As Pat talked to her husband the events of the past few hours really seemed to sink in. As she babbled away to Mike her arm went around Linda's waist without even really realizing what she was doing. Happy for her new friend Linda hugged Pat back and smiled as she listened to the bubbling conversation.
Pat finally hung up and squeezed Linda again, still not letting go in her excitement. "Mike says thanks and to take you to dinner on us and if you want to get drunk to buy you drinks all night." She impulsively stood on her toes and kissed Linda on the cheek.
"Wow," Laughed Linda, "Was that from Mike too?"
"Nope, that was from me. Thanks again."
"You're welcome," Linda replied, kissing Pat back on her soft warm cheek.
For a moment both women looked in each others eyes, each still with an arm around the other. They both knew something was stirring. Neither was sure what it was, but both knew it called out to them.
Linda shook herself and broke the spell. "You drive," She told Pat as she walked around to the passenger door. "Let's go to Regonetti's for that dinner. The food is great and I want to talk to you about our first assignment."
On the way over the chatter remained light. Twice though Linda looked out of the corner of her eyes to see Pat's eyes on her legs. Unable to resist a bit of teasing, Linda found the opportunity to stretch and let her already short skirt ride far up her legs. When they reached the restaurant Linda's directed Pat to park the car in a corner of the lot under a shady tree that hid it from the entrance. "When you're working undercover you never want to let anything advertise you're a law enforcement officer, " She advised. "And a car like this screams 'Unmarked Police Car.'"