Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chapter One

Goren was sitting next to her on the train, tapping his foot nervously up and down the way he always did. She could remember, a lifetime ago before they ever became friends, that he always had that tap-tap-tap habit of his and it always drove her nuts. When she fell in love with him, it became a tad bit more tolerable, but only because she had told herself that he was adapting to her crazy habits as well. She was sure he had; God knows she wasn't an easy person to live with. She had to have her studio and would record all hours of the day and night; she liked her coffee each morning to suit the weather; she insisted on trying to dry clean her clothes in their dryer instead of just dropping them off like he did. But the tap-tap-tapping was incessant. It was his energy, and she knew there was no way to contain it.

"Hey," she finally elbowed him. "You nervous or something?"

He glanced at her, giving her a half-smile. He knew that was her polite way of telling him to be still.

His foot became still and he sat silently next to her. Like a child, he was observing the passengers around them--the businessman who got on two stops ago; the kid with the ipod attached to his ears and bouncing up and down; the gangbanger three rows back, lounged out with his legs in the aisle. The hooker who looked half asleep, or drugged, with her head on her chest and way too much eye makeup.

The train stopped and people stood to file out onto the platform. She followed him, hooking a finger into his jacket pocket. For some reason she was always afraid she'd lose him in the subway, even though he was over six feet tall and massive. She knew if she was looking she'd see him. But at a little over five feet, she knew he wouldn't see her. She'd blend into the crowd like somebody's lost kid.

The air outside the station was cool and crisp, and she unhooked her fingers from his pocket to walk beside him. He was still quiet; she knew he was thinking about the case they were going to be working and mentally preparing himself. Sometimes he was too smart for his own good. She knew he challenged himself constantly and expected nothing less than perfection. Two months ago, when a suspect had gotten by them the first time, he had tortured himself for days about his misjudgment until she had finally, loudly, put an end to it. In the office, of all places. Everyone else was kind enough to pretend they didn't see or hear. She'd never done that before, never berated him in public, but enough was enough. Everyone was human.

They were a block away now, and could see the perimeter marked off by crime scene tape and several uniformed officers milling around. He hadn't wanted her to come to the crime scene and had even spoken privately to Deakins about it. But Deakins trusted her, apparently more than Bobby did, because here she was, ready to profile the shit out of whatever there was for them. She knew it was a sex crime that had resulted in a murder. She had done these a million times, so she didn't know why Bobby had gotten into such a snit about it. She was much more able to handle the crimes objectively now than she had been when she first came back to work after her assault. That seemed a lifetime ago, but it didn't stop either of them from thinking about it every time a case like this presented itself. He still peered behind him, into her eyes, asking silently, are you sure? And she looked at him with as much confidence as she had, silently answering, hell yes.

They rounded the corner and he pulled out his badge and introduced himself to the uniform in charge, then introduced her. She had a fancy little lanyard thing with her ID on it. The department had decided it was more appropriate for a profiler to have a lanyard than a badge, because technically, she wasn't an officer. That was true, and she didn't want to be an officer. She liked her job just fine.

The uniform nodded at her, saying, "Ma'am...this is rather grisly...are you sure..."

"Yes. And I'll need photos from CSU."

Goren gave a curt nod to her, then turned back to the uniform. "What time was she found?"

"An hour ago. We called you guys right away when we saw...we ID'd her as a cop's kid. He doesn't need to see her like this."

Bobby had already rounded the body, pulled on his gloves, and was kneeling toward the wound in her head. Vanessa stood silently, taking the whole picture in.

She was nude and had been tortured and executed. She was stabbed multiple times in the abdomen and showed obvious evidence of genital trauma. Whoever attacked her had tortured, raped, and killed her.

Vanessa glanced up at the uniform. "Has the ME been by yet? Given you a time of death?"

"Yeah. Four this morning." He nodded over toward the police cars. "She's over there."

Rayden walked through the crowd of cops to the medical examiner, who smiled in recognition. "Early morning, huh?"

"Yeah...what do you have so far?"

"Caroline Ivers, twenty, looks to have been leaving a club...there's a stamp on her hand....raped sodomized, stabbed and shot. The stabbings weren't fatal...they were all painful but didn't kill her. I'll check her for substances."

"Run a pregnancy test too, will you?" Vanessa shook her head. "Just a feeling."

The ME, Rodgers, nodded. "Sure thing. I'll have it to you by this afternoon." Motioning toward Goren, she asked, "Is he working alone?"

"No, he gets a new partner this morning. Eames is beginning maternity leave."

Rodgers grinned, then said, "They'll never know what hit 'em."

Smiling back, Rayden replied, "Probably not." She made her way back across the parking lot to Goren. "Find anything interesting?"

He shook his head and sighed. "A 22 to the head,maybe? Definite overkill...not a professional job. This was personal." He looked up into the sunlight, trying to catch her face. "You wanna go for breakfast before we go in?"

She shrugged. "Whatever. You're paying."

He grinned, then stood up and pulled his gloves off. Glancing back at the severely maimed body, he murmured, "Makes you want to get all naked, doesn't it?"

"Yeah. Not a chance in hell."

He shivered, then caught her hand, leading her down the street to a local diner.


He had his usual, eggs and bacon and toast, and she had coffee and not much else other than a nibble off of his plate.

"You really should get your own," he told her. "You crack me up...one of the richest women on the planet and you live like you can't afford a thing."

"That's not true," she corrected him as she took a bite of his toast. "I just wasn't hungry. You know I don't like to eat a lot...it has nothing to do with money."

"Yeah...it has to do with you being worried that Eames is hot or something. Ridiculous." He took another bite of bacon.

"Look," she told him, "I trust you when you say you have no interest in Eames. I know her and like her. Plus, the fact that she's seven months pregnant doesn't make her all that enticing right now. Besides, when we got married I believed every word you said. Still do. But I can't change the fact that I'm not hungry. If it makes you feel better I will shove down some sort of breakfast item so that you can feel you did your job as a loving husband."

"Hmm." A smile played at his lips. "Do I get to choose the item?"

"Uh, no." She took a bite of his bacon. "You act like you mind sharing your meal with me. I thought eating together was supposed to be a way to bond."

"Yeah...if we both have a plate..." He offered her a fork. "Here." She took it with a smile and started on his eggs. "So...what did you think of the scene? Any ideas yet?"

"Mmm," she nodded, mouth full of eggs. "Pretty sure it was personal, like you said. Stabs to the abdomen sometimes indicate a pregnancy. I asked Rodgers to test her."

"So you're thinking a boyfriend."

"Not necessarily...but if she's pregnant, then I'm pretty sure that had something to do with it."

He took a bite of eggs. "There was a lot of trauma...you know, genitally..."

She looked up at him. "Yeah, I noticed. I think it will be good to get Rodgers' results back first before we jump to any conclusions."

He nodded and turned his attention back to his breakfast. She lay the fork down next to him and checked her watch. Six-fifteen. Awfully early. She pulled on his jacket sleeve gently. "You okay?"

"Yeah. You?"

She sighed. "I guess. I'd be a lot better if we were still in bed, sleeping."

He smiled slightly at that thought. "You were too snuggled up to Bruce this morning," he commented, referring to their large mastiff. "I think it's time to get him a bed on the floor."

She grinned. "Jealous much?"

"No. Not of Bruce, anyway. He had you first."

"True." She finished her coffee. "Well, I guess you meet your new partner in a couple of hours."

"Eames is my partner...this person is just temporary...you know, twelve weeks to go in the field and cover the time she's off..."

She didn't have the heart to argue with him. She knew Bobby's biggest fear, next to losing her, was losing his partner of five years. "Right," she concurred. "I'm sure you guys will work everything out...it will all be okay. And like you said, Eames will still be working desk duty for a couple more weeks."

They paid the check and headed back toward the subway. Descending the stairs, she hooked her fingers back into his coat pocket.

"Ness...you know I would never lose you."

She smiled. "No...but I do know you'd try to find me, and you'd try really hard."


She was in her office working on the profile from the morning when Eames ducked in.

"Hey," she said, barely above a whisper, then peeking out between the blinds in the office.

"Hey...uh, what are you doing?"

"Watching Goren and Bishop. I'm not sure this is a good fit."

"She's here?" Vanessa was surprised. She hopped up and joined Eames at the window.

"Yeah...she's pretty traditional...Deakins is already chuckling about it. He says it will be good for Goren to stretch working with a more traditional detective."

Vanessa didn't hear what Eames said after that. She was too busy taking in Bishop. Tall, thin, twenty-something Bishop. Red haired, fair-skinned, blue-eyed, attractive Bishop. Damn.


Eames sighed. "I said Bobby's going to be pissed this whole time...you know how he does with people who don't go along with his program."

Vanessa shook her head. "I think you don't give him enough credit. He's a good man and a good detective. He'll listen if he thinks she's on to something." Why the hell would Deakins pick a model to be her husband's partner?

Eames snickered. "Yeah, maybe." She let the blinds go. "I guess I should go back out there and get to work. Maybe I can help her adjust."

Vanessa made a face, but changed it quickly when she saw Eames look at her.

"What, Ness?"

"Nothing. Absolutely nothing at all." She turned back to her desk and sat down. "It would've been thoughtful of Deakins to team him with somebody who didn't look like she'd been on the cover of Cosmo."

"Are you serious?" Eames put her hands on her hips. "You do realize how crazy he is in love with you...that hasn't changed a bit since day one."

"Right." She mindlessly began typing on her computer. "I'll keep that in mind."

Eames shook her head. "Don't do this to yourself," she told Vanessa. "Don't doubt what you have." She opened the door and walked out.

Wishing she had the same confidence as Eames, Rayden turned her attention back to the case at hand.

No comments:

Post a Comment