“I didn’t do anything. I never even knew that bitch was back in town!”
“You okay?” Vanessa asked Aiden, as they went back to the car. “Funny, I don’t remember saying what my questions concerned.” She shoved Troy forward, making him stumble.
“Yeah. You got an evidence bag?”
“I do. Why?”
Aiden held up his sleeve. It was spattered with blood. “I’m not bleeding.”
He carefully pulled off the jacket while Vanessa deposited Troy in the caged back seat. That accomplished, she brought out an evidence bag, wrote the information on it and sealed Aiden’s jacket inside.
“How did you know he’d run?” Vanessa backed up the car.
“You cock sucker,” Troy yelled at Aiden. “What’d you bring the boy toy by for?” he directed at Vanessa. “You banging her now, asshole?”
“You wanna watch your language, Mr. Intirago. Cursing in front of a woman is bad manners. And the insults are considered verbal assault,” Vanessa said gently, but she was grimly tight lipped.
“Yeah, right, you mulatto whore.”
“Excuse me?” Vanessa slammed on her brakes, earning angry honks and middle fingers. “Did he just say what I think?” she appealed to Aiden.
“Yes, ma’am. But Troy never was all that bright. I always wondered what Wendy saw in you. Must have been pity.” He shook his head. “Because, dude, it’s not because of what’s in your pants.” Clicking his tongue, he shook his head.
Troy tried to hit the cage with his head, but couldn’t reach. Instead, he kicked the back of the seat.
“That’s it. We’re going to visit the Port Orange police station. I can’t take this guy all the way back to my house.”
Running the siren, Vanessa made best speed to the Port Orange police. With help, she got Troy out of the back seat and inside, where he was summarily processed.
“Lieutenant Scott told me you were coming,” the desk sergeant said. “Didn’t say you’d have company.” She smiled up at Aiden. “Or a prisoner.” Her dark eyes glared at Troy. “What’s he done?”
“Ran away when I went to talk to him, called my friend names, insulted me, and kicked my cage. He’s also suspected of rape and murder—at the very least, an accomplice.”
“Hm…. Getting quite the list, honey,” the sergeant said. “You’ve got a long line of infractions,” she said when she got him up on the screen. “Well, you ain’t in New Smyrna today. Get comfy, sugar, cause your unhappy ass is now property of the Port Orange PD. Vanessa, you and your friend go get comfy in Conference One. Boss wants a chat.”
“You got it.” She led Aiden down the hall. “I worked here a short time after I first moved from Miami. The captain and I are old friends. She’s a little crusty, though. Best manners.”
They took their seats, waiting in silence. A few minutes later, a tall, hard edged woman walked in the room. Her brown hair was severely curled under, barely touching her shoulders. Her makeup was minimal, all cool colors. She wasn’t smiling. Even in flats, she was taller than Vanessa.
“You let a civilian take down your perp?”
Aiden opened his mouth, but Vanessa put her hand over his on the table.
“She’s pregnant,” Aiden said, disregarding the directive her hand implied. “I can’t let a lady in her condition take down a man half again her size. And he would have been gone by the time backup arrived.”
Captain Lisa Stavros frowned. Vanessa looked shocked.
“How did you know that?” Vanessa asked.
“Jasper. He was so careful of you, telling you to move when I hurled. And I saw the expression on your face when you were at the door. You deal with dead bodies, but the dog shit made you sick? I could smell it from where I was in the car. My mother is a La Leche League leader,” he explained to the captain. “I’ve seen as many pregnant women as an OB/GYN.”
“Was not expecting that,” Lisa said, inspecting Aiden with care. “How old are you?”
She nodded. “And your name?”
He stood, holding out his hand, “Aiden Partridge.”
“You identified Wendy.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He took his seat again, suddenly subdued. “She meant a lot to me.”
“You out for revenge, Mr. Partridge?” Stavros sat across from him.
“No, ma’am. I want justice for her—and my daughter.”
“What?—What?” Her surprised eyes found Vanessa’s.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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