Scarred Love - Part II

Chapter 8

"Dear Anita, Did you enjoy my last gift? I thought you might. I killed him just for you. This was my second gift to you. Isn't it beautiful?"

It wasn't signed. Damnit it wasn't signed. Obviously this guy knew me. Did I know him? Had I met him somewhere before? I looked down at the body. His heart had been dug out and his head looks like it had been actually smashed off his body. But the heart was dug out. Not the normal crack-open-the-chest-and-cut-it-out way but there was a small hole, big enough for a fist, just under his ribcage. I knew that his heart was missing. Being a vampire executioner does that. You learn how to take out a heart the fastest, safest way possible. His head was smashed in at the side like something large had hit it. And again like the previous murder, his arms, legs, and his genitals were torn off. Why tear off the dick? How does that make it beautiful? Shit how is any of this beautiful? The only thing making this different from the other one was that his head and heart were taken off...
I looked around the graveyard for the heart. It was a graveyard I was familiar with. I'd done quite a few raisings here. I handed the note back to Zebrowski who then put it in one of those nifty evidence baggies.

"Zebrowski, where's the heart? There's no toilets around so it won't be.... what? splashing water at me?" That would just be sick sick sick. Zebrowski laughed. Jokes helped at bad scenes like this. It helped people cope with the grotesqueness. Yes grotesqueness is a word, I've looked it up.
"Can't find it but I've got some officers looking for it. I'll let you know the minute they find it." He smiled mischievously. I knew why too. Some green officers out looking around headstones for a missing heart. I started laughing. It was too funny. I could picture them jumping at sounds and wondering what was out there. OOOh I wish I'd be there to see their faces when they find it and I said as much to Zebrowski. He started laughing and soon we were leaning on each other with tears streaming down our faces. And it was at that perfect moment that Dolph walked up.

"Well, I'm glad both of you are having such a good time laughing at the dead man. But do you think you could wrap it up? You look like a couple of poster children for 'Psychos-R-Us'." He looked right at me as he said the last. For some reason I don't think Dolph was happy with me. But then again, lately he wasn't. Once someone sees you being carried by a vampire who is covered in your blood, it kind of ruins things for them. 
"Anita, when you're done with Mr. Laugh-happy, I'd like to talk to you." He didn't ask, or even say please. He just said that and walked off. Sometimes it was a compliment and sometimes it wasn't. Those times it was a compliment means he was treating me like one of his own officers. When it wasn't? That meant I was in trouble. When wasn't I? 
"I guess I better find out what he wants." I looked at Zebrowski, he didn't look happy. "You know, don't you? What is it?"

"That's for Dolph to tell you. I don't want you mad at me. I had nothing to do with it." He looked down at the ground, when he realized that it wasn't a nice sight, he looked up at the sky.

"Alright, fine. I guess I'll just have to find out for myself. I don't see anything else that I didn't see at the first one, except that the head was taken and the heart's still missing." I was starting to get pissed. Just how I wanted to deal with Dolph. I wandered over to my jeep, which he just happened to be standing next to, took off my gloves and tossed them in a garbage bag that I had in my back seat. I turned and looked at Dolph. He just stood there staring at me. Neither one of us looked away. Finally to break the silence I said, "Dolph, why do you want to talk to me. And away from Zebrowski too."

"Anita, what is your opinion on the way the heart was taken?" That surprised me. I thought it was going to be about my love life. Dolph never could accept it and I didn't expect him to.

"Well, they knew what they were doing. Like they'd done it before. Lots of times from the look of it." I glanced back at the body and shivered. "Most people, meaning people that have never taken a heart before, would do it like they see on tv or in movies. They'd crack the chest open and cut it out that way. It's just faster going under the rib cage."

"Ok and the head?" He kept staring at me the whole time. It was beginning to creep me out. I knew it wasn't sexual. Dolph didn't see me that way, as a matter of fact, he thought he was my dad in most things.

"The head wasn't taken professionally. Most people, who know what they're doing, would use a blade or a saw. A blade, normally would take more than one stroke unless they were strong enough to get it done in one. A saw would be messy, just like this, but it looks like they used a really big club or something like it. I just can't be certain. You'll have to ask the ME what it was done with." I didn't like the look on his face when I finished. He was looking at me like I was something under a microscope in his biology lab and he had to take a test on what he saw. It was very unnerving.
"Do you know who wrote that letter? Any clue at all?" 
"No Dolph, not a clue to save my ass or anyone elses." I wasn't pissed anymore. No, now I was just getting tired.

"Do you know why I'm asking you these questions, Anita?"

"No Dolph, another thing I don't know. I can only guess that you're curious and I would know." I looked at him suspiciously.

"Anita, who do you know that can cut out a heart like that and would know about taking someone's head?" Put it that way I could only think of one person, me.

Chapter 9

"Whoa, wait a minute. Are you saying I did this?" Now I was back to being pissed. I knew Dolph wasn't happy with me. I knew our friendship was on rocky ground. But to believe me capable of something like this?

"Anita, think about it. The first one was done at the strip club your boyfriend owns and this one was done in a graveyard. Are you telling me that you've never worked in this particular graveyard?" He said boyfriend like it was poison on his tongue. 
"Well, no. I've done lots of raisings her, but Dolph, what about the note? I have no clue who wrote it and you'll send it to the lab. Once you get back the results you won't find my prints on it. And what about the murder weapon? Something hard and not a fist knocked that guy's head clean off his shoulders. Feel free to search my rig, my house, hell search my office you won't find anything. I'll even call ahead and make sure Nathaniel will be expecting you. How could you think I'd do something like this?"

"You're smart, Anita. For the note you could've used gloves. It's that easy, no prints and you know it. As for the weapon. Is your house the only place you sleep nowadays?" His hands were balled into fists. Why was he so pissed? His anger only fueled mine. He thought I'd done this. He didn't need a jury. He'd already made his judgement. He'd made it personal. Rage made my vision swim. I was still shaken by what happened earlier. So shaken that the rage made my knees weak and I fell to the ground. Dolph didn't try to help me. I had the feeling he didn't want to touch me. Fine by me. I didn't even want to be near him and if I could walk, I'd have left. When the world stopped moving I looked up at him. Stared at me with surprise showing on his face. The surprise quickly changed to disgust. He bent down low and whispered. I had to strain to hear what was said but I think it was, "As to your last questions? I don't know what you are but it isn't human. You are a monster Anita, just like your boyfriends. If they could do this, so could you." And with that he straightened and walked away. I was left kneeling on the ground. I was still kneeling there when Zebrowski walked up.

"Here, give me your hand." I looked at his hand and then his face. His eyes widened and his hand wavered but he kept it there.

"What? What is it? Do I have a booger having out my nose?" I started wiping my face.

"Uh....... no...... not exactly. Your eyes.... are um..... they look like they're on fire. Anita, I've seen vampires with eyes like that." I heard real fear in his voice.

"No!" I scrambled to my feet and threw open the Jeep's door. I looked in the mirror and saw my face with light brown fiery eyes looking back at me. No pupil just swirling honey brown flame.

Chapter 9 - Continued

Zebrowski had held me while I cried. It was true, what Dolph said. I was now one of them. At last I was the one thing I never wanted to be. I was a monster.

My eyes had stopped glowing and were back to normal. But I remembered what they looked like and they would haunt my dreams.

"Anita, what's happened to you?" He said with a tenderness that made me want to start crying again. First I'd scared him and now it was like he was grieving my death.

"I don't know. I've never been human. Well, at least, not all the way human. But now I don't know what I am. Dolph was right." I started crying again.

"Anita, I don't know what Dolph told you and I have no idea what's going on in your life but I do know this. I've driving you home right now and you're going to tell me everything." There was a strength to his voice that I'd never heard before. Right now he wasn't the fun loving jokiest and I could do nothing but let him do what he wanted.

"What about Dolph?" Dolph would have a shit-fit. Especially if Zebrowski didn't tell him and just left. I'd already resigned to telling him everything. I was getting tired of hiding it from everyone and I felt that he was the only human friend I had left. He'd never judged me before, here I was hoping he wouldn't do it now.

"Fuck Dolph." And he left it at that.

Chapter 10

When Zebrowski pulled my Jeep into the driveway, the front door opened and Nathaniel came out. Without saying a word he opened the passenger side door and helped me walk to the house.
When I was seated in the kitchen with a cup of coffee, I asked Nathaniel, "How did you know? Did someone call?" 
He stopped washing dishes and turned to look at me then Zebrowski.

"It's ok Nathaniel. I'm going to tell him everything. I have to." He still looked between the two of us as if he still wasn't sure. Finally, he shrugged.

"Micah told me what happened when he got home. He also told me that you got called in to police stuff. I just assumed when he was driving," He pointed at Zebrowski. "that you still weren't feeling too good." He looked down then back up. "I'd ask if it's true but it must be. You smell different. I think I'll go call the doc." I didn't argue with him. Frankly, I didn't want to go to the hospital. The human hospital that is. Lillian was the doctor on call at the local shape shifter hospital. She's stitched me up more times than I care to remember.

"You're not going to argue with me? That's a first. You must really be hurt." Concern covered his face and he really looked at me.

"I'm not hurt Nathaniel. I just don't know what's wrong with me. I'd rather have Lillian poke and prod me than some other doctor. At least she's used to weird and this is definitely constitutes as weird." I looked at Zebrowski, normally that would have gotten me a crude comment or at least something sarcastic, but he said nothing. I think he was waiting for me. Partly because I didn't know where to begin and partly because I just didn't want to, I turned back to Nathaniel and asked, "Where is everyone?" I hadn't see Micah or the others. I knew Damian was asleep in the basement in his coffin but other than him, Nathaniel had been alone.

"Micah had a coalition emergency, he's filling in for you until you're better. Cheri's at work; Zane, Caleb, and Merle went shopping. Don't ask because I don't know. I think Merle went along to.... supervise." I swear he almost said 'babysit' but decided better of it.

"Why didn't Merle go with Micah? He follows him everywhere."

"Because I guess it's not really an emergency. Someone just wanted to meet with Micah and talk about policy or something."

"Oh." Was all I said. Nathaniel took that as his cue to leave the room. That left me alone with Zebrowski. I was suddenly very uncomfortable, something I'd never been with him. "I guess I'd better start talking huh?"

"That'd be nice. Do you know what's going on?" His eyes searched my face.

"No, so how about this. You tell me what you know about my life, outside of police business, and I'll fill in the blanks. I'm hoping the doc will be able to help me out with the rest."

We started discussing my life. Another thing I wasn't used to. Actually telling someone the whole truth about my life. Some of it surprised him and some of it he'd already guessed. At some point Nathaniel had come back and refilled our mugs. he'd also put a plate of chocolate chip cookies between us but we didn't touch any. If I drank alcohol I would've added some to my coffee. That's how uncomfortable I was. So much for the little joys in life.

When the conversation was coming to a close I told him what Dolph had said and he flinched.
"Jesus, I'm so sorry Anita. I had no idea." He meant it too.

"It's not your fault. Any of it. You've got nothing to be sorry for." The doorbell rang.

"I'll get it." Nathaniel said as he headed for the door. He'd stayed in the kitchen the entire time Zebrowski and I talked. he was doing little tasks and pretended not to be listening but I knew better.
He came back in carrying Dr. Lillian's black medical bag and the doc herself followed.

"I hear we've had quite a day Anita. Nathaniel told me some of what happened. How do you feel? She asked as she opened the case and started digging inside.

"I feel fine now. Well, still a little shaky but fine." And it was the truth too. Things were looking up.
I looked out the window as Lillian drew my blood, for tests she'd said, not enjoyment. The sun was going down. I could feel it like a big weight inside my head. The minute the sun hit the horizon I felt JeanClaude wake like a physical punch to my gut. He felt it too. I felt his confusion like it was my own and it was. Then I, we, felt Asher awaken.

I must have moved because Lillian was saying, "Anita hold still, I don't want to hurt you."

"Ma petite, what has happened?" "Yes, ma cherie, what has happened?" Both JeanClaude and I were shocked. Never had we been able to 'talk' to Asher this way.

"Earth to Anita...... are you ok? You look pale. If I'd known you didn't like needless I'd have had you lie down."

"What? Oh, no it's not that." I turned to Nathaniel. "Can you bring me the phone? It's about to ring." He left the room and as he was coming back it rang in his hand making him jump. He handed it to me. I answered, "JeanClaude, it's a long story. Is Asher there in the room with you?" Zebrowski looked at me. He was more than a little weirded out by it.

"Yes ma petite. he is here."

"Good, have Jason drive you over here. I think the three, or four, of us need to talk, Jason can fill you in on the way."

"I think that would be wise. We will be over as soon as we are able ma petite. Until then." I heard caution in his voice. We hung up and I handed the phone back to Nathaniel.

"Can you take Zebrowski back to his car?" I tossed him my keys, "Take the Jeep, I won't be driving it any time soon."

"Actually, if it's ok with you, I'd like to stick around. You did tell me that you wanted me to know all of it right?"

"Point. Ok, I'll have someone drive you back after we figure things out."

"Ok, I'll just go call Katie and let her know where I'm at. Wouldn't want her to get jealous." He smiled as he said the last. It was a bit more like the old Zebrowski I was used to. That made me feel a little bit better but with the boys on the way to chat, I was still nervous.

Chapter Eleven

Here I was, sitting at the table in my kitchen. I had Zebrowski in the living room talking to his wife. Dr. Lillian sitting across from me. Nathaniel doing a little cleaning here and there. Damian was standing behind me, rubbing the tension out of my shoulders and I still had three more people on their way over. A full house to say the least. I guess I didn't just buy a house only so my neighbors wouldn't get shot at but because I really needed the room.

With all the problems in my life what was one more? but this problem was different than all the rest. I could handle a gruesome crime scene. If someone harmed me or mine I could shoot them between the eyes and not lose sleep over it. i cold sleep with more than one man and not have a clash of conscience, well I still had problems with the last but I was dealing. But the one thing I was sure I couldn't handle had happened. I was a monster. Maybe I'd been one all along? In some peoples' minds they'd agree. Edward would agree. he'd say I'm just like him. He'd be proud. But what would he say now? He agreed with Dolph about my love life. To Edward they're just monsters. What would he think if he knew that his apt student was now what he hunted? I did not want to think of his reaction. I'm not sure I could handle it.

And what exactly was it that I had become? I closed my eyes and went to that part of me that killed easily, that allowed people to see cold dead eyes. That part of me was always calm, like the silence before the storm where you always wonder if it's over or if the boogeyman was waiting just around the bend. I went there and opened up that part inside that allows me to raise the dead. Power that was mine, only mine, came so easily, like opening your hand or turning on a light. It poured out my skin, surrounded my body until I was nothing but my power. I lived it, breathed it. A cold wind came from my body to fill the room. I heard a gasp and Damian's hands tightened on my shoulders. The minute I thought of him, the power jumped to his hands, shooting up his arms, hitting his body and bowing his spine. His hands spasmed and then were still. The power found that spark within him that made him mine and flared to life.

"Master?" His voice shook with uncertainty. I ignored him and opened my eyes. I t was like looking through an odd type of fog, seeing every minute detail. I focused on the counter across the room and saw a single coffee ground. Everything else became fuzzy, foggy, but that one coffee ground and the small area around it. I looked at the cabinet above and could see every grain of the wood in exquisite detail. I looked at the sink and saw a drop of water fall. When it hit, it was like a small explosion to my ears.

I turned my attention to Nathaniel and the power focused on him. I could hear his heart race, see the pulse hammer against the skin of his neck, smell his fear. I rolled it around on my tongue savoring the taste.

A small part of my brain was saddened that he feared me and another part was saying that I was being a good little monster.

I looked at Lillian. She had backed herself against the cabinets. Her eyes wide.

I stood slowly. Damian still had his hands on my shoulders but he was no longer gripping them. I turned to him. His eyes had bled to that bright emerald fire that could make a cat jealous, but he wasn't scared. He wasn't excited. He just stood calmly looking at me.

I started to ask why but the words wouldn't form right. I ran my tongue around my mouth to loosen it and felt and immediate sharp pain. I tasted blood.

My hand went to my mouth. I felt something wrong. Something out of place. I had fangs. Jesus H. Christ, I had fangs. I looked at my hands and they glowed faintly with some inner light.

I looked back up at Damian. I spoke slowly to form the words around the newly elongated teeth.

"Damian, tell me, what do you see?"

"I see dark gold fire in your eyes. Your skin glows soft gold. You have fangs. If I did not know better, I would say another vampire stands before me." he dropped his hands to his side and looked at the floor as if he didn't want to or couldn't look at me.

I turned to face the others. "Is that what you see?"

They both nodded. I turned from them all, slowly nodding my head. I walked through the living room with Zebrowski still on the phone. He watched me walk out the front door, saying nothing.

Jason was just pulling in. I looked at him. he slammed the breaks and I read his lips. He said, "God help us." He just sat there but JeanClaude and Asher jumped out and started towards me.

Suddenly, I didn't want to see them. I should've wanted to run to them but they were of HER line and she did this to me. She did this to me.

A low growl trickled from my throat as rage built inside me. That stopped them and they went still. As still as only the dead can be.

JeanClaude took a step forward, extending his hand. I snarled and snapped my teeth. He dropped his hand and looked at Asher. Something passed between them and Asher nodded.

"What's going on here? Anita?" I whirled around and growled at Zebrowski. He threw his hands in the air, showing he meant no harm. That was my mistake. It was all the distraction the vampires needed.

JeanClaude and Asher were on me, struggling to get me to the ground. Asher had my arms and JeanClaude took me at the middle. I fought like a feral animal backed into a corner. All I wanted was to survive. I kicked, clawed, used teeth, growled. The only thought I had was to survive and get away. It did me no good. With only one of them I might've had a chance but with two vampires holding me down with supernatural strength, I was a goner. I fought with all I had and still it wasn't enough. I screamed with all the energy I had left. In the part of my mind that was still mine, I heard that scream. It sounded like a great cat caught in a hunter's trap. A deep guttural feline cry of frustration and fear. It sounded anything but human.

I bit into the nearest flesh. I pushed, no with hands, but with power and Asher screamed. I had a second to think, what have I done?, then darkness swallowed my vision and I was no more.

Chapter Twelve

"Do you know what's happening to her?" A woman's voice, Lillian's.
"Good doctor, I do not. I only know what my pet has told me." Jean Claude's voice.
I knew where I was. The shape shifter hospital. It didn't smell like my house. It smelt of disinfectant and underneath that, blood. I know a lot happens at my house but it usually doesn't smell like that.
I couldn't open my eyes. I tried to say "Jason's not a pet." but Lillian shushed me.
"Rest Anita. Your body was going into shock. You've barely gotten over it but you're not out of the woods yet. Just rest."
I felt JeanClaude's hand, warm and soft on my forehead. I thought, he's fed tonight, then I was asleep again.

I felt someone sit on the left side of the bed by my legs. I kept my eyes closed. I was so tired. I felt drained.
"I know you're awake." I t was Richard, my ex-fiance and sometimes boyfriend. Right now we aren't dating and somehow I don't think we ever will again. Sometimes that was a good thing, sometimes it wasn't. When it wasn't, I missed him and regretted choosing JeanClaude over him or maybe he'd decided he couldn't be with someone more at home with the monsters than he is. I still loved him and it hurt. I hurt because I couldn't have him. Not just sex but the little stuff. The intimate stuff that makes your insides warm and fuzzy. The weekends we'd spend hiking or just cuddling on the couch watching old black and whites. But what hurt the most was that I knew he still loved me. For all that I'd done and what I was, he still loved me. He may not be able to accept it but there it is. He wants normal. The big house, white picket fence, 2.5 children and a dog. There's no room for normal in my life. My dream of normal died with my mother. So sometimes it's a good thing we don't date anymore but it didn't make it any less painful.
"I miss you too." I opened my eyes and looked at him. He was crying and holding my hand. He'd seen and felt it all.
I drew my hand from his and turned my head away. I didn't want to cry but if I did I didn't want him to see it. Petty but true. He'd gotten enough of my tears.
"Why are you here?" I couldn't keep the hurt out of my voice.
"Do I need a reason? Can't I be concerned?"
"Damnit, yes you can be concerned but why are you here? You've been avoiding me for so long. Why now?"
"Because Anita, I felt it when you turned, felt your rage. I called JeanClaude but someone at the circus told me he'd left with Jason and Asher but they didn't know where. I called your house and got no answer. I sat and waited hours, calling here and there and nobody told me a damn thing. Finally, a few hours ago, JeanClaude called me from here, explained what happened and asked me to sit with you until he could come back. He was furious. You could see the anger swim in his eyes, the tension in his body. Then something he said clicked.
"What do you mean 'until he could come back'?" I said. "What time is it?"
"It's about 11:30 in the morning. You've been out for long time Anita. From what people have told me, which isn't much, you've been in and out of it."
"I've been asleep for hours?" I asked, shocked.
"Yes and I wasn't told until a few hours ago."
"No offense to your feelings, Richard, I'll yell at JeanClaude later, but why didn't anyone wake me?" Lillian talked from the doorway.
"Anita, you couldn't be woken up. You were too deeply asleep. It was like the coma a new shifter goes into after shifting for the first time only it lasted a bit longer." Lillian stepped into the room. "Richard,, why didn't you inform me that our patient was awake? Never mind, I can see that you two have been talking. And look, no stitches needed this time. Maybe you two are growing up after all." She smiled.
Richard and I looked at each other. He said exactly what I'd been thinking. "Not up, just old."
“Shit.” I said.
“What?” “What is it?” They said simultaneously, then looked at each other.
“ I just remembered I was supposed to meet with a client yesterday. I think it was yesterday.”
“Nathaniel called your boss. He wasn’t happy. He kept mentioning how you always end up costing him money.” Lillian said, confused.
“Sounds like Bert. I didn’t want to go anyway. He likes taking clients’ money before I’ve agreed to anything.”
“Greedy bastard.”
“That’s what I said.” She smiled.
“I bed he didn’t like that.” I laughed.
“Actually, he agreed with me.” She just shook her head. “So doc, what’s wrong with me and when can I leave?”
She looked at Richard and said, “I’d ask if she’s always this practical but I already know that she is.” She looked back to me. “Well, you didn’t go into shock again, or do you remember me telling you of the first time?” I nodded. “Good, the bad part is that I have no idea what made you go into shock in the first place. I ran those blood samples and they came back normal. Your core temperature is a little higher than normal but I think, not sure, but I think that’s just a side effect of the vampire marks. Other than that, the shock, and the coma-like sleep, you appear normal.” She checked my pupils, blood pressure, and listened to my breathing with a stethoscope. She was a wererat, why use a stethoscope? I asked her. Cherry answered.
“It helps us to hear it better. Without it we can still hear you breathing but not exactly what your lungs are doing.” Cherry walked through the door carrying something. Cherry used to be a nurse until she was outed as a lycanthrope. People don’t like the lunarly challenged working on their loved ones. Technically she couldn’t lose her job over it. You can’t infect someone with being furry but people start to worry and poof, you’ve suddenly been the victim of budget cuts or downsizing. It happened all the time.
“That for me?” I pointed to the package in her hand. It was a small square shaped thing wrapped in brown paper. She tossed it to me. I caught it. If I can catch this, maybe I can walk. It had “URGENT” written in bold red letters on each side.
“It came in the mail today. I know how you hate it when people open your mail so I thought I’d bring it hoping you’d be awake.” She smiled at me. “It’s good to see you with your eyes open.” She reached for my hand and I let her take it. “I helped Lillian with the tests, I wish we could tell you what’s wrong.”
“It’s ok Cherry. Whatever it is, I’ll deal with it.” I squeezed her hand then picked up the package again. She took Lillian aside and started talking to her. Medical stuff probably. That left Richard and me alone for the moment.
“Who’s it from?” I wasn’t sure if he really cared or if he was just saying something to break the silence.
“I don’t know. I can’t find the...... oh, here it is.... “ I dropped the box. Where the return address was supposed to be it said, O. Jeffries.

Chapter Thirteen
“Anita? What does it say?” When I didn’t answer, he reached for it.
“Don’t touch it. Cherry?” She looked over at us, saw the look on my face and came rushing over.
“Are you ok? Do you feel ok?” She began to poke and prod me. I grabbed her hands. “Anita, let me help you.”
“No, I’m fine. Is any of my stuff here?” She looked a little confused but answered like a good submissive wereleopard.
“Yeah. Nathaniel packed you a bag. I brought it with me.”
“My cell phone?” I asked.
“Still in your car, but I can bring a phone in here for you.” She began to leave the room.
“Cherry is my car here?”
“Yes, it was the only thing big enough inside for you to lie down, so we used it. Is there something you wanted out of it?”
“Yeah, can you bring me a pair of gloves?” She gave me a funny look but nodded and left the room. I go to enough crime scenes that I’ve started carrying my own gloves. One size fits all really doesn’t. Some fit ok and some were just too big. So I carry my own.
“why do you want gloves? I’ve got some here that might fit you.” Lillian had come back to the bed.
“No thanks. I know mine will fit. And the gloves are because I’m not sure but I think I have evidence sitting in my lap and I don’t want to put more prints on it than I can help.”
“What makes you think it’s evidence?” This coming from Richard. “Who’s it from?”
“You remember when I was in New Mexico?” He nodded. “It’s from a very bad guy that I met while I was there. I think it is anyway. If it’s not, it’s one sick joke.”
“Why would he want to contact you?”
“Because he said he would. Enough with the questions, I’ll tell you more later.” Cherry walked in with a duffel bag in one hand and gloves and cell phone in the other.
I turned to Lillian, “Do you have a sack I can put this in?” I pointed to the package. She nodded and left. I put the gloves on smoothly. Practice, practice. I started dialing Dolph out of habit, stopped and called Zebrowski’s desk phone. He picked up on the fourth ring breathing hard.
“Geeze, Zebrowski, what were you doing?”
“Oh you know, having sex with one of my many admirers. I was just about finished when you interrupted.” I laughed.
“Uh huh, I bet Katie would kill you for that. Try again.” He chuckled.
“I know, happily married and all that mushy stuff. I was just going out for lunch. Glad to hear from you by the way. Feeling better?”
“Much. Sorry to put you through that. Doc says she doesn’t know what’s going on but that I’m normal. Ha, I’ve never been normal. But that’s not why I called.” I said.
“ok, what’s up?” He sounded a bit suspicious but there was still a hint of laughter in his voice.
“I’ve got something for you. A package I got in the mail. Might be from our killer. I’m going to bring it in if the doc clears it.” Lillian held out the bag and nodded. I put the package in the bag then stripped off the gloves holding the phone with my shoulder.
“What about lunch? If I have to stay, you better bring food.” I laughed. Good ol’ Zebrowski.
“Not like you need it but I’m feeling generous and hungry. I’ll pick something up.”
“Ouch. I’ll see you soon then?”
“Sure. Give me 45 minutes and I’ll be there.” He hung up laughing. At what I’m not sure. I was just happy he didn’t treat me differently after the scene at my house. I was hoping he wouldn’t. I was also hoping that I wouldn’t run into Dolph when I got there. Hope springs eternal or something like that.
I started to get out of bed but remembered that I was wearing a hospital gown and nothing else. I know Richard had seen me in less on several occasions but things were different now.
“Um, Richard could you step out so I can get dressed? Please?” He started to say something but stopped himself. He walked out without a word. Tension singing in his shoulders. Great, I’d pissed him off without meaning to. Usually, when I piss him off I intend to do it and I enjoy it. I couldn’t enjoy it now. He didn’t understand and I’m not sure I could explain it to him. Isn’t that the way it always is?
Lillian and Cherry followed, closing the door for privacy. I had to call Lillian back in to take out the I.V. I had yelped and she had called me a ‘silly girl’ but at least I was free. Did I mention I hate hospitals? I got dressed and was soon riding shotgun with Richard driving. Why was Richard driving? I don’t know, you’d have to ask him. Lillian just handed him the keys and told me not to argue, then winked. I could’ve accused her of trying to play matchmaker but I left it alone. I was still tired. Doctor’s orders, for now anyway.


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