An Apology and a Pastry.

Detective Nelson found me at a local Coffee Shop, Don’s Delightfuls, at 10AM.

“You look awful.”

I didn’t look up from my pastry.  I was embarrassed and still angry with him.

“Gee thanks.”

“May I join you?” He sat down anyway.

“Please.  Rough night.  Sorry.” I took another sip of coffee.  “Damn fine cuppa Joe.”  I managed a fake smile.

“Should you be out and about after a concussion?”

“Doctors said I could leave the hospital, so. . . “

He could sense my tension.

“Look, I don’t know what set you off and I don’t care.  I understand what you were trying to do.  I agree with you, but we aren’t at liberty to ask those kinds of questions to victims.”

I threw my hand up.

“I know, but, seriously, when are we going to wake up?  Someone has to tell these kids that these things aren’t games.  They have consequences.  People get hurt and sometimes they never heal.”

“I said I agree but, well, our hands are tied most of the time.”  He paused.  “Are you ok?”

“Hmm?  Oh, yeah.  I am fine.  Just stupid.  How is Jessica, did they get the guy?”

“Not yet.  She clammed up and her Mother wants a lawyer.”

“What?!  Hey, now that is NOT my fault.”

“I didn’t say it was, jeez.”  He sat back, sort of bewildered.

“Change of subject.  I have some news about the Theresa Carlton case.”

Now I was paying attention.

“You were right about the lack of evidence from the crime scene.  It seems our boy doesn’t want to be found out.  There wasn’t even a hair or trace DNA on her.”

I knew this was a big breach of jurisdiction on the Detective’s part.

“Yeah, not a big surprise.  Why are you telling me this?”

“Because you seem to have a great deal of ability according to your Supervisor and I am not too proud to accept any insights”

I spit my coffee.

“WHAT!?  Gerry said that?”

“Gerry Hinch?  No, Supervisor Dean at Quantico.”

I recomposed myself.

“When did you talk to Jack? Moreover, why? You checking up on me?”

Det. Nelson sipped his coffee. “Of course I was.  You didn’t give me a lot of choice.  I am glad I did.  But let me preface that with this.”

He paused for effect and looked right at me.

Here it comes.

“I don’t like people interfering with my investigations.  That being said, I don’t believe you meant to.  You are impetuous; it’s in your nature.”

“Thanks DOCTOR Nelson.  I wasn’t aware I needed a shrink.”

“SEE?  That, right there.  What was that for?  I am being perfectly cool with you and all I am getting is back talk. I don’t need to be talking to you at all.  So, I guess I’ll just be moving along.”  He made a poor attempt at leaving slower than he needed to.

I got the drift.

“Hang on Detective.  I am impetuous.  It works for me.”

“Does it really?  How long were you an Agent?  A month?  How do you know what works for you?  Because I gotta tell you, I kinda have doubts.”

I took a deep breath.

“I am fighting an urge Detective.”

Another deep breath.

“Because I know I have a hot temper and I think what you are suggesting is supposed to be constructive.”

I paused for a quick sip of coffee.  Detective Nelson watched me carefully.

“I don’t do ‘constructive’ very well.  But today, I’ll give you a break.  So let’s drop the therapy and get on with the crime solving.”

I smiled sweetly, “Shall we?”

Nelson clapped his hands in mock applause.

“Very good Agent.  Very good.  I think I might like you after all.”

Next – A serial secret.