I swept Alicia’s braids away from her eyes like a curtain and patted her on the head with my file. “I need your help.”
She lounged back in her chair, raising her eyebrows at me in judgement. “Unless somebody’s dead you better not be bugging me.”
“Someone is dead, so I’m glad you’re on board.”
“I meant recently dead.” She hunched back over her desk. “I don’t have time for more of your cold cases.”
I plopped down on the tabletop, covering her work. “This woman is dead as of today. Risa Mullohan.”
“I know, I heard. And how is that your problem?”
I slipped the file into her lap. “Because of this.”
She flicked through with little interest. “Two missing boys?”
“We were convinced they ran away, end of story.”
“Risa Mullohan is their birth mother, found murdered two years after they go missing, almost to the date.”
She pursed her lips, conceding to the urgency. “Alright, but Jamie’s the one that caught that case. You’ll have to take it up with him.”
“I don’t wanna work with him. I work with you.”
She smirked. “You sweet on me, Cam?”
“Oh, yeah,” I chuckled. “You better tell Tabby she’s got competition.”
“No, she don’t,” Alicia mused. “You of all men are not about to flip me.”
“Am I about to convince you to help me out on this case, though?” I pouted my lip at her.
A growl rumbled deep in her chest. “Fine. What’s your first move?”
“I wanna talk to the father.”
“The man who just lost his wife?” she rebuked.
“They weren’t married, separated for a long time. He had custody of the boys when they went missing. He’s now connected to two separate crimes.”
She bobbed her head in consideration. “It’s promising, but remember that if you’re wrong, you’ll be grilling a guy that’s grieving over the loss of his baby mama and two sons.”
“I’m supposed to layoff on the off chance that he’s innocent?”
She crossed her arms. “Why did you ask for my help if you didn’t want my input?”
I cleared my throat and fiddled with the papers on her desk mindlessly. “I mostly didn’t want to deal with Jamie.”
“And you think I do?” she carped. “One of us will have to talk to him either way. He’s got the details we need.”
I held my closed fist out as a good natured challenge and she reciprocated without hesitation. After counting to three, she blanketed my rock with her paper and grinned at me. “Looks like you don’t need me after all. Good luck with Jamie.”
“I’m getting what I need and coming back to you,” I persisted. “I need Homicide with me on this one and I’m sure as hell not taking Jamie.”
She suppressed a snicker. “I’m not the only homicide detective. Take Stan.”
We both glanced over at the couch potato as he pulled a cold, leftover taquito from a desk drawer and snuck a bite.
I rolled my eyes. “I’m taking you. Be ready.”
As I stalked away, she called after me, “I’ll be holding my breath ‘til you come back.”
My pace slowed the closer I drew to Jamie’s corner desk. I hardly noticed my stalling at first until I almost came to a stop before ever reaching him. A bad taste already stewed on my tongue.
“Are you just gonna stand there, Bridges?” Jamie hollered over to me with his usual, contemptuous tone. With a sigh, I shuffled my feet to the edge of his desk and he laced his fingers behind his head, scanning me up and down. “I see they let you out of the cold case fridge to warm up and get a little fresh air.”
“That joke gets funnier every time you say it,” I strained.
“I was wondering if I could get everything on the Mullohan case.”
“Got a lead from some murder that happened in the 1800s?” he scorned.
I swallowed my indignation. “Nope, nothing like that. But it could be connected to a missing persons and I wanna check into it.”
“And I’m guessing you need an actual detective to hold your hand along the way?”
I gave him a hard smile. “I’ve already recruited Alicia for that job, but thanks for the offer.”
I snorted in annoyance. “Roberts.”
His amusement seemed to be mocking. “You and Roberts. That’ll be quite the duo.”
“I think so, too,” I clapped back, “so can I see the files?”
“I’ll have Jessica bring copies of everything down to your rat hole.”
“Whenever I get around to it.”
“Don’t feel too rushed. There’s only two missing boys that could be involved, waiting for us to find them.”
He leaned onto his elbows. “And you seriously believe this Mullohan woman could be the key to something? We haven’t even confirmed if it’s murder yet.”
“It doesn’t matter how she died. The fact that she’s dead at all is too much of a coincidence.”
“People die. People go missing,” he patronized. “You went into a line of work where you expected some super gratifying payouts, some miraculous solutions to the mysteries after years of nothing. The truth is, that’s not how life works. If we don’t find anything and the case gets sent to you, that’s because there’s not much hope left.”
My teeth ground. “Be that as it may, I’m gonna pursue any possible leads that come my way, so give me the info I need.”
He twirled a pen around in his fingers with a cocky air. “Go back to your hole. The files will be down in a little while.”
With heat rising around my neck, I stormed away before my fists could take over. Jamie deserved so much worse than a punch to the throat, but I couldn’t forfeit my job for the temporary satisfaction.
I stooped behind Alicia’s chair and wheeled her away from her desk. “Come with me.”
She stretched out her arm to finish the sentence she was scribbling, then stumbled from the seat and trotted to keep up with me. “I can tell things went well.”
“He’s trying to mess with me.”
“Did he refuse to give you the files? He can’t do that.”
“No, he’s just gonna take his sweet ass time in order to piss me off.”
“Sounds about right.”
“But I’m not waiting.”
“What does that mean?”
“We’re gonna find these kids.”
She yanked me to a halt. “Obviously I’m with you, but we don’t have much on our side even with all the evidence. If we’re working with missing pieces to the puzzle, there’s no way we’ll get this sorted.”
“I can and I will, just to shove it in that prick’s face.”
“So we’re trying to save some kids in order to show up a fellow officer.”
“And obviously to save the kids.”
To be continued in Bridges 2...
© 2020 by Kelsey Garber