“Hey! You done that on purpose! You bitch! That’s brutality!”
“Yelling at me, cursing less than three feet away, is verbal assault. On a police officer. Which one of us is in more trouble? Hm? One of your rights is to remain silent. Might wanna give that a try.”
He didn’t, though. He yelled and fussed the entire way to the police station. When they arrived, she sent a couple of uniforms out to get him, afraid she’d do too much. They took him to booking, then parked his ass in an interrogation room.
“Who’s the loud mouth?” her friend, Jasper, asked, sidling up to her desk.
Vanessa gave him a rundown.
“He hasn’t stopped talking since he got here.”
“Didn’t stop in the car, either. I need to enter this into evidence,” she said, accessing the app from her phone. She sent it to her official e-mail and logged it while Jasper waited. Smiling, she turned to him when she was done.
“Motherhood is a good look on you, Mrs. Escobar,” he said, grinning down at her.
“Thank you. Did you need something specific?”
He pulled up a nearby chair. “Yeah. I’ve done some digging on our girl. Poor kid.” He shook his head. “She wasn’t an orphan, but might as well be. Her mother had a psychotic break when she was ten. She was molested by her father and his father, before Daddykins went to prison on drug charges, and Grampy died unexpectedly. No one is sure, but they think she might have dosed his morning coffee with anti-freeze.”
“No one helped her?”
“The system fell to pieces for her. I swear, the judges who handle child abuse cases should all be women with children. The cocksucker of a judge said there was no evidence of abuse, although there was quite a laundry list. It’s repulsive and I won’t turn your stomach with details, but there was evidence out the ass. He said it was hearsay and threw it out. She was sent back repeatedly.”
“The system didn’t fail her, the judge did. Why?”
“Pappy, and Grandpappy were both lawyers. Pappy went to school with Judge Asshole. Who was, you’ll be happy to know, finally brought up on pandering charges.”
“He was pimping?”
“He tried to plead Pandering by Compulsion, like he was being forced to do it. The only compulsion, that the judge and jury found, was his own need to make money and get off on watching.”
“That’s beyond disgusting!” she shuddered. “Under age?”
“Do you really want to know?”
He was ready to shut down, if she pushed. Vanessa knew when to stop asking for details.
“Good decision. I’ve written a short summary, leaving out the worst details. If you must know, let your imagination run free to the deepest, darkest corners, and you won’t even be close. Please.” He held the folder when she tried to take it. “Don’t. Do not look at the details.”
“Promise, Vanessa. It turned my stomach.”
Vanessa stood, giving him a hug. If it upset Jasper that much, she knew she couldn’t handle it. She’d seen a lot in her life as a police officer, but crimes against children were things she’d never been able to handle with any sort of detachment. “I promise. With all my heart.”
“Good.” He gave her a final squeeze and pat on the back. “Love ya like a sister,” he whispered.
“Love ya like a big goombah,” she replied just as quietly.
“No fondling the detective,” Scott said with a laugh. “What brought on this tender moment? And do I get one?” He held out his arms.
Jasper hugged him, pulling him so tightly, Scott gasped.
“Not you, f**kwit!” Scott laughed.
“I needed Scotty Snuggles,” Jasper teased.
“Get to work,” Scott replied.
“That’s the problem working with your best friend,” Vanessa said, giving Scott a hug.
“Yeah, well he’s one of the best cops I know. You’re another. New outfit? I approve.”
“First thing I grabbed when my skirts didn’t fit.”
“You’re not that big yet.”
“Tell my pencil skirts. How’s Cadence?”
“Doing well. Starting month four and still having trouble with nausea.”
“I told you about the wrist bands. You didn’t tell her?”
“Forgot.” He hopped back when she took a swing at him.
“I’ll send her a text. I should never have trusted you. My sisters swear by them. I’ve been lucky with that, just—smells.” She put her hand over her nose. Just thinking about foul odors made her ill.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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