Archive by Author | dellanioakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 34

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Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

Driving to Eoin’s is taking forever. Aiden decides to drop the girls at the police station to talk to Vanessa. He thinks what they have to say will be helpful. They agree.

The others put their hands on hers as they pulled up in front of the station. “For Wendy,” they chorused.

Aiden parked in a visitor’s spot and opened the doors for the girls. They each took an arm and walked confidently to the front door.

Vanessa was at her desk, getting ready to go talk to some of the former golf team members, when she heard a familiar voice in the lobby.

“We’d like to see Detective Weinstein, please.”

“Aiden?” She turned with a gasp.

He stood in the lobby, grinning. Two young women, whose faces she recognized, smiled at her, too. Making her way out front, she walked up to the young people, smiling, her hand out.

“This is Detective Weinstein,” Aiden said. “Detective, my friends Inez Westerman and Fonda Hart. They were seniors on golf team with Wendy and me. They have a lot to tell you.” He bowed slightly, turning to go.

“You aren’t staying?” Vanessa said, sounding hurt.

“I have another errand. Besides, I think the ladies would talk more freely without a man around.” He gave the girls each a kiss on the cheek. “She’s good people. Trust,” he murmured to them. “I’ll go see….” He pointed over his shoulder. “I’ll be back. I promise.”

He rushed to exit, trying to act casual. He couldn’t listen to them talk about their pain. It would make him too angry, and he was already hovering on the edge.

He found Eoin’s home, in a cul de sac trailer park, not far from Beville Road in South Daytona. Making the loop, he stopped at his friend’s trailer and pulled into the short, narrow driveway. It was a nice, clean place, not junky like some. Eoin had been able to buy his mobile home for $1500 cash, because the owner wanted to sell quickly. He’d been asking $3,000, Eoin talked him down by half. It was a muted, rosy pink with dusky, dark rose colored shutters. A trellis, concealing the front window, was covered with Don Juan roses. Eoin had named it Rose Cottage and loved fixing it up.

Trotting up the steps, Aiden knocked. He knew his friend had probably been up late the night before, working, but this was special circumstances. Eoin yanked open the door so abruptly, Aiden nearly fell on his face. Strong arms wrapped around his neck, hugging him for dear life. Sobbing, Eoin pulled him inside. Shocked by the emotional greeting, Aiden stood there stupidly, watching his friend. Eoin’s eyes were red, bloodshot, full of pain. He wore a tee shirt, boxers and a silk robe, swirling with color.

“I can’t believe she’s dead,” he said, his Irish accent flavoring his words.

“I didn’t know you’d be so torn up about Wendy,” Aiden said. “Here I’ve been feeling sorry for myself….”

“Of course you are. Come in. Sit. Whiskey?”

“Mom would kill me.”

“Tea, then. I’ve been drinking both. Mostly together. Why wouldn’t I be upset? We were—friends.” His lips trembled and fresh tears fell.

“Oh, f**k! You were lovers—too! How long?”

“I fell for her shortly after I arrived. How could I not? She was a ray of sunshine. Grant you, tarnished and broken, I came to find. But sunshine in spite of all that. She loved me, she loved you—she had us both….” He puttered around the kitchen, setting up tea.

“So, that summer when you were consoling me, you were grieving? I’m a selfish dick, I didn’t even see!”

“How could you? Your pain was greater than mine. At least she wasn’t my first love. But the best one.” He poured hot water in the mugs and dipped the tea bags until it was the right color. Adding milk and sugar, he set one in front of Aiden.

They sat at the small table in the kitchen. Aiden blew over his tea. Eoin let his sit and steam on the table.

“You knew she was back,” Aiden said.

“I did. She stayed here a few weeks, before she got a place closer to you. She was going to tell you something….”

“About Rowan. She left a note. Why didn’t she send it?”

“Because, she knew that was cold and cowardly. It took a lot of courage to write it, but she couldn’t tell you that way.”

“How long have you been in touch?”

“She called me a little over a year ago, drunk. Lonely. We talked.”

“Why didn’t she ever call me? I’d have talked.”

“I know, Aiden. And I don’t mean to belittle, but you’re so young.”

“I’m almost nineteen!”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 33

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Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

Scott and Vanessa talk to Bullock, but he gets so abusive of Vanessa, Scott makes her leave. His anger barely controlled, he reads a passage from Wendy’s diary, which reveals Bullock’s abuse.

“That’s a lie! The little bitch lied about it all! You have no other witnesses! Nothing!”

“You can go on saying that all you want, but you’d be lying. There are other witnesses. You see, Wendy was very thorough. She kept a list of everyone who was around when you came on to her, threatened her, or sold her favors. There are some very prominent names on this list—men who bought what you sold. There aren’t names bad enough for people like you. You’re disgusting, not even a man.”

Face writhing with revulsion and anger, Scott continued. “I’m going to contact each of these men, as well as all the witnesses. I’m going to find out exactly what you did, how you did it and who you did it to. I’m going to send your pedophile ass to prison for so long, you won’t be able to count the days. If you last. Word of something like this gets out, I imagine you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a gang bang.”

Scott got up, taking the folder with him.

“You can’t do this!” Bullock yelled. “I got connections. I’m a pillar of the community!”

“When your connections find out what a reprehensible piece of shit you are, you won’t have them anymore.” He opened the door and went out.

Bullock yelled loudly, screaming and swearing. Scott closed the door and Vanessa turned off the camera. She had the feeling that she knew the next words out of Bullock’s mouth, and wasn’t surprised to hear him screaming for a lawyer. However, since no one was in the room, and the camera was off, no one had proof that he’d asked. He hadn’t, for some reason, demanded one when he was arrested and processed. Eventually, he would make his request in front of a witness, but at the moment, they could play deaf.

Scott joined her in the booth, watching Bullock yank at his cuffs, rail and scream.

“There’s really a diary?” Vanessa asked.

“In the boxes at Troy’s. I think she went looking for that stuff, maybe got in a fight with him, dropped the letter for Aiden. The lab report came back. Troy definitely assaulted her, but there were other sperm samples. They were stupid, careless. I’m willing to bet that Bullock is another contributor.”

“I’ve had some awful cases,” Vanessa said. “This one disgusts me more than the rest of them combined. How deep does this carbuncle go?”

“I don’t know, but I intend to help you find out. I know you don’t like working with a partner, Ness, but I’m worried. You can’t go after these guys alone, especially not in your condition. I either want a uniform with you, or I go. Which is it to be?”

“Can you give me Jasper?”

“I don’t think I could stop him.”

“Then I’ll take him, please.”

“You got it. Anything you need, Nessa. You just ask.” He touched her cheek, giving her a soft kiss on her brow. “You look absolutely fantastic,” he whispered. “You truly do glow. Dario is very lucky.”

“Thank you. So is Cadence.”

“You take Jasper, and this list. I’ll send extra uniforms with you. We’re rounding these f**kers up and making a sweep.”

She took the list. “This is the city elite—the county! That’s the former mayor of Daytona Beach!” She pointed to one name. “He’s a judge. He was District Attorney ten years ago. Scott, this is—massive! Are you sure? A sting of this size takes timing, finesse. We can’t go arresting these people, or even bring them in for questioning, without proof. If we go in, balls to the wall, they’ll close ranks and we’ll get nothing. We need a cue ball.”

“Sorry?”

“A cue ball—something to break this open. And I think I know who that is.”

“The kid.”

She nodded. “Aiden Partridge. Excuse me, I need to make a call.”

The drive to South Daytona seemed to take forever. It was more direct going up US-1, but the traffic was heavy with people heading to work. Aiden managed to hit every red light. Anxious, he tapped his fingers on the steering wheel until Inez touched his hand.

“No rush, it’s okay. I know you want this all wrapped up in a nice, neat bundle, but it’s going to take time.”

“You don’t have to go with me to see him,” Aiden said, not for the first time. “I can do it myself. I think it’s more important for you to go see Vanessa.”

“Oh, it’s Vanessa, now?” Inez teased, batting her eyelashes.

Aiden rolled his eyes. “Saying Detective Weinstein gets tiresome. Look.” He pointed to the left. The sign for the police station stood out like a beacon. Making the left across US-1, he didn’t wait for them to agree or protest.

“You’re sure this is cool?” Inez said.

“Yes. She needs to hear from you both, as soon as possible. She wants to break this open as much as we do. She wants to help put Wendy to rest.”

“For Wendy,” Fonda said, reaching into the front seat.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Christina, Dellani & Friends

 

Monday, January 14, marks the first Dellani’s Tea Time of 2019. Listen in from 4-6 PM Eastern!

As we to every year, Christina and Dellani save the first show to chat together, and bring in some special guests – the other show hosts on the Red River Radio Network! We’re never entirely sure who will show up, so we’ll just introduce them as they arrive.

Christina Giguere

 

Expect ridiculous behavior, sarcastic comments, jocularity, hilarity, and great excerpts from everyone! You never know where the conversation will go, with this bunch. We’re unpredictable, unavoidable, uninhibited and completely unexpected.

dellani photo dark red

Join us live, or at your leisure!

 

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 32

sidetracked 2Aiden talks to Inez and Fonda about their experiences with Bullock. They decide to go on a road trip to see Eoin, a former exchange student, who now works in Daytona. While this is going on, Vanessa and Scott decide to interrogate Bullock.

“What’s this? Good Cop, Bitchy Cop?” Bullock chuckled. It was an ugly sound.

“I’ll remind you that you’re addressing a female detective of this department,” Scott said calmly. “You’re under arrest for assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, verbal assault, obstruction of justice, and suspicion of murder. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Bullock started cursing. Scott held his hand up to his ear.

“Sorry, can’t hear you, I’m deaf to the sound of profanity. If you’d like to say something else, I’d be happy to listen.”

Bullock snorted and said something so filthy, even Scott was offended. Pinched nostrils turned white, but his neck and ears turned red.

“Detective Weinstein, I’d like you to go now,” he said, giving her a very emphatic look.

Without arguing, she left. Scott didn’t lose his temper often, but he had just passed the line. Turning off the camera, she watched to make sure he didn’t do anything dangerous. He took her welfare seriously, and always had. They had dated years ago, but they had remained friends. Now that she was pregnant, like his wife, he took an even greater interest in her well being.

“You’re going to tell me everything, you sorry sack of shit. You’ll tell me about molesting the girls under your care, of your involvement in the sex pandering and the sleazy drug and f**k parties. You’re going to tell me of your involvement in the death of Wendy Hamilton.”

“Or what?” the coach snarled, his mouth a hard line. “You gonna let her slap me?”

Scott stood, leaning over the seated coach. He was a tall, solidly built man, whose biceps bulged, threatening to rip his jacket. “Or I will tell every male member of this patrol what you said to Detective Weinstein, then I’ll leave the door open and the security camera off.” He let that sink in. “Then, I’m going to round up the fathers of the girls you exploited and molested, and I’ll tell them what a lowlife piece of human excrement you are. You sold those girls off, after you had your way with them. Some of them were virgins.”

“You can’t prove this shit. Lies. All of it.”

“Here’s what I know,” Scott said, sitting down. He signaled her to turn the camera back on, and scooted the folder in front on him. Opening it, he pulled out a picture, turning it to face Bullock. It was a close up of Wendy’s face, battered, bruised, bloody and pale with death. “You knew Wendy was back in town. I believe she came to see you, threatened to expose your little sex market, and probably had enough on you to send you away for a long time. We found a diary in her belongings.”

That was the first Vanessa had heard of it. Scott could be bluffing, or he could be telling the truth.

“You’re lying.”

“Am I? Believe what you will. She threatened you, maybe she asked for money. I imagine you had quite a good racket going. She wanted a cut to keep quiet. Or, maybe she wanted a cut, and threatened to shut you down. Either way, you raped and killed her.” He put a picture of Wendy’s body, torn clothing, pecked at by vultures, in front of Bullock.

The other man gagged, turning his head. Scott slammed his hand on the table, on top of the picture. “You look at this! This is your doing! She was young, innocent, trying hard to get her life on track. She suffered untold horrors at the hands of her father and grandfather—and you! Slobbering old men who took advantage of a pretty, young girl!”

“She wasn’t so innocent!” Bullock yelled, trying to stand. “She took what she wanted. She seduced me! Filmed it, threatened to show it to my wife! The school board! That cheap little c—”

“Not how I heard it. From her diary.” He pulled out a page, holding it where Bullock couldn’t see it.

Vanessa squinted at it. It was covered in handwriting, but she couldn’t tell if it was Scott’s, or really was a copy of a dairy.

“According to Wendy, you came on to her, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She said, and I quote, He kept touching me, fondling my bottom and rubbing himself against me. He pinched my breast so badly it bruised. He wouldn’t stop! Constantly on me. No one would help. I asked the guys on the team, the other girls. Only Aiden tried to help me, but Coach Bullock knocked him around. I was so scared that he was going to kill Aiden, I agreed. I’m so scared. I felt filthy. Dirtier than I ever thought possible. Even worse than when my father touched me for the first time.” Scott stared at the paper a long time.

Vanessa knew it was genuine, because his hands shook and his neck went red with anger.

“She was barely seventeen when you did that. But that was okay, right? She wasn’t a child, she was a teenager. What you aren’t thinking of is two fold: she was under eighteen,” he held up his left thumb, touching it with his right index finger. “She said no.” He touched his left index finger with his right. “That, under the law, falls into two categories: Statutory Rape and Child Abuse.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 31

sidetracked 2Rather than staying at school, Aiden leaves, going over the the satellite college campus down the road. He intends to see some of the girls from the golf team, who were contemporaries of Wendy’s. He tells the girls about his baby girl.

“Oh, honey!” Fonda and Inez chorused, hugging him.

“You must feel even worse, finding her poor, battered….” Inez gulped, putting her hand over her mouth to stifle a sob.

Fonda’s tears were silent, making them the more moving. She was the one who had aborted Bullock’s baby. She hadn’t wanted to abort it, but her parents had refused to take action. She’d been seventeen at the time. The child’s death had haunted her ever since. Aiden put his arm around her shoulders, taking Inez with the other. They sat in quiet misery for a long time.

“She came back to take on Bullock,” Inez said. “She wanted us to come forward. She had a couple other girls she was talking to.”

“Why didn’t she come see me?”

“I don’t know,” Inez said. “But she spoke about you often. She was still fond….” She gripped his fingers. “But then, you’ve always been a sweetie.” She kissed his cheek. “How do we contact this Weinstein?”

Aiden hugged them both and gave them Vanessa’s number.

“Do you know how to find Jimbo?” he asked as he was standing to leave.

“Why do you want him?” Fonda’s scathing tone wasn’t lost on Aiden.

“I wanna know where he is.” His voice was hard, demanding.

“He went in the Marines,” Inez said. “I remember them saying at the awards ceremony. He got a scholarship. He was good friends with Otto Wren. That weird Austrian dude with the greasy hair?”

Otto was another exchange student, sent by a different company from Eoin. The two had not gotten along, nor had Aiden liked him in the least. Otto was as weird and twisted as Jim Butcher, and not in a fun way like Eoin.

“I remember Otto,” Aiden sneered. “Is he in town?”

“Daytona,” Inez said. “Last I heard, he was working as a bouncer at some club. That biker bar near the cemetery.”

“Yeah? Shit. I can’t get in there, they check IDs at the door.”

“You can’t, we can. And I bet Eoin would too,” Fonda said. “We’re cutting class,” she announced. “Do you know where tall, dark and dreamy lives?”

Puzzled, Aiden frowned. “Who?”

“Eoin,” she heaved an exasperated sigh. “He might be gay, but he’s gorgeous.”

“He’s not gay, he’s does a cross-dresser who does a fantastic drag show. Might be bi, but as far as I know, he likes women only.”

“A straight cross-dresser?” Inez was confused.

“He said there is a lot of money in it. He’s good, he’s snuck me in a few times. And yes, I know where he lives. Why?”

“Because we need backup at the bar, and he can provide it. Road trip.”

“I have to be back to pick up my brothers.”

“No problem. It’s barely eight. Off we go!” Fonda led the way to his car.

“How did you know this was my ride?”

“Your dad has driven this heap for the last seventeen years,” Fonda said. “He and my dad play golf, remember? I’ve seen it more times in the last three years, than I have you. Inez, you take shotgun. She gets carsick in the back.”

They hopped in the car and took off to Daytona.

“I can’t explain the gas use. Dad will notice and I’m tapped.”

“I’ve got it,” Fonda said. “Just put in a good word for me with Eoin.”

Aiden laughed. “You got it!”

She and Inez gave him cash, which he stuffed in the cup holder.

“And what about you, Aiden?” Inez asked. “You on the market?”

He glanced at her, puzzled, nearly running a red light. “Um…not—not taken. Why?”

“Because you’re all kinds of hot,” she said, patting his hand. “Even if you are a kid.”

“Almost nineteen,” he admitted, his ears turning a fiery red. “Next month.”

“Oh, not such a baby as I thought. I’ve never dated a younger man.”

“O—okay….”

Heading up US-1, they drove to Eoin’s home in South Daytona.

Bullock gave every indication of pacing, though Vanessa had left him chained to the table. He hadn’t appreciated that in the least, and had complained, cursed and fussed for the last forty-five minutes. Once he finally ran out of steam, she walked in the room with Scott. They took seats opposite the prisoner, and neither said a word, their expressions impassive.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 30

sidetracked 2Vanessa tries to talk to Coach Bullock, but ends up arresting him, after he gets aggressive. On the way to the station, he won’t stop talking, so she has a lot to enter into evidence against him. Jasper updates her on what he discovered about Wendy’s background.

“When are you going to talk to Bullock?”

“I want to read this file on Wendy first, then I’ll go in. You better back me up. I’m gonna be Bad Cop today, no matter what I do.”

“Bad night?”

Vanessa handed him the picture of Bullock grabbing Wendy.

“I can handle this, Ness, if it’s kicking up…. What’s that?” He pointed to the sticky note. It had come off the picture and stuck inside the folder.

“Dario’s handwriting.” She picked it up. “Oh, my darling man! Look!”

“I think we found a way to nail Bullock’s coffin shut. Thank you, Mr. Escobar!”

Aiden dutifully dropped his brothers at the school, but didn’t plan to stay. He went in with them, bought the car decal as he’d promised, and excused himself for the day. At eighteen, he could do that without his parents’ permission. That accomplished, he fed into the early morning traffic and drove out. The teacher at the gate didn’t even look at him. His father’s vehicle was well known, and they were enough of a size and shape, to look alike at a distance. Driving more cautiously, like his dad, he turned left onto Tenth Street and drove down to the satellite campus of Daytona State College. Taking a spot in the visitor’s section, he wandered over to sit on a bench under a tree.

Other students wandered in and out, milling about smoking cigarettes before class. He knew some of them from school. When they spotted him, they walked over, sitting beside him, or standing. Several were from the golf team, and still followed the matches. They chatted a little while until Fonda, who was team captain just before Wendy, noticed his preoccupation.

“This is about Wendy.”

“Yeah.”

“Inez, you stay. The rest of you, scoot, please. Private talk.”

No one argued. They suspected what the talk was, and didn’t want to be interfere.

“You know,” Fonda said.

“I always suspected,” Aiden said. “But now…. I know it’s horrible, and embarrassing, but you girls have to come forward. He can’t keep getting away with this.”

“We were going to,” Inez said. “Wendy contacted us a few weeks ago, begging us. Fonda was all for it, I took convincing.”

“What he did to us, it wasn’t right,” Fonda said sternly. “My folks convinced me not to pursue it. Dad plays golf with him, he didn’t want to lose his best partner for the club tournament! Can you believe? And Mother?” she rolled her eyes. “Don’t cause a scandal,” she quoted in an airy voice.

“I was too afraid,” Inez said quietly. “I didn’t even tell my parents. My dad would kill him.”

“I know someone who will listen. Her name is Detective Weinstein, and she’s investigating Wendy’s death. Troy’s in jail.” He dropped that bomb in their laps.

“For real? Like—stay there?”

“He assaulted a police officer, Detective Weinstein. And ran away when we tried to talk to him. But he’s in Port Orange, not here. His buddy can twist things here, but not up there.”

“What buddy?” Fonda asked, puzzled.

“He’s got a cop in his pocket, well placed, from what I can tell.”

“How do you know?” Inez asked.

“Because I listen and keep my mouth shut. In fact,” he leaned forward to share a secret. “From what I can find out, Troy is gay and it’s his f**k buddy.”

“What!?” both girls screeched.

Heads turned, but they ignored it.

“You’re serious? How did you find out?”

“Remember Eoin?”

“Yeah, the exchange student from the U.K., the year we graduated,” Fonda explained to Inez.

“He hung around after graduation. He liked the climate—and I don’t mean the balmy summer breezes. He enjoyed a certain, peculiar lifestyle.” The girls frowned, not getting his subtle remarks. “He’s a cross-dresser and liked to visit the drag clubs in Daytona and Orlando. He managed to get a work Visa and he’s been performing at Pocket Pool.” Contrary to the name, the classiest, best drag club in the area.

“How do you know that?” Fonda shuddered.

“Despite his oddity, he’s a good guy. He was really there for me when Wendy took off. As a friend,” he emphasized, lest they get the wrong idea. “And I found out why she left like she did.” He could tell these girls, they would understand. No one else in the world would get it, except maybe his mother. “She had my baby,” he whispered. “A little girl. She named her Rowan.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 29

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Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

“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.

“No.”

“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.”

“I won’t.”

“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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