“Ms. Hsu! Ms. Hsu!” Someone was calling to me from a great distance away. I wanted whoever it was to leave me alone so I could sleep. I was so fucking tired. Soon, I was being shaken awake, and I opened one eye to see who was disturbing me. It was Detective Martinez, and he looked concerned about me.
“Hey,” I said drowsily. “Has anyone told you that you’re cute?” I closed my eye again and dropped my head to the table. Unfortunately, Detective Martinez wouldn’t let me sleep, and I was forced to awaken. When I opened both eyes this time, he was looking at me with amusement. I couldn’t fathom why, but I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of asking. When he saw that I was awake, he erased the expression on his face so that it was blandly neutral again.
“Well? What can you tell me?”
“I need paper and a pen,” I said, shaking my head to de-fog it. He handed me both with alacrity, and I wrote down the words I heard Danny say, trying to remember the order and the questions I’d asked him. “There,” I said, handing the paper to Detective Martinez. I was prepared to fall asleep again, but he pinched my arm to keep me awake. As I opened my mouth to protest, he winked—completely flustering me. I shut my mouth so I wouldn’t look like a fish again. I watched him covertly as he read the words I’d written. I wondered if he was married and glanced discreetly at his left hand. No ring on his finger, but that didn’t mean anything. Many married men didn’t wear their wedding bands. I also wondered if he would date a suspect, but I rationalized that I was only a suspect in Daily’s mind, which didn’t count.
“What does this mean?” Detective Martinez asked, looking up and catching me staring. I blushed and dropped my eyes before answering. When I felt I had control over my emotions, I looked up again. Detective Martinez had that look of amusement in his eyes again, but I didn’t mind.
“I’m not sure,” I said carefully. “I tried to contact Danny in my mind, and this is what I got.”
“You’re saying you talked to him?” Detective Martinez raised an eyebrow, but didn’t react otherwise.
“Not exactly,” I said, struggling to explain what I’d done. “I was just trying to connect with him, and it surprised me when he answered. It’s like mind-melding, but not. Telepathy, maybe.” I knew it sounded lame, but it was the best I could do. “I think he might be near water.” Detective Martinez shot me a look, and I held up my hands in apology in return. We were nicknamed the land of ten thousand lakes, though it was more like the land of nearly fifteen thousand lakes. Being near water was practically a Minnesotan’s God-given right.
“Did you see the captor?” Detective Martinez asked, tucking the sheet of paper in his pocket.
“Yes,” I said promptly, shutting my eyes again. “He was slender but not fragile with delicate hands.” I restrained a shudder as I thought of what he’d been doing with those hands. “He has sandy blond hair and green eyes. The hair was really strange, though I couldn’t tell you why. He has very pale skin.” I opened my eyes again and stared at Detective Martinez who was staring back at me. This time, a frisson of electricity passed between us—I was sure of it. I was the first to look away.
“Is there anything else you can tell me about him?” Detective Martinez asked, his face all business again. He didn’t add, but he might as well have, ‘Anything less fucking generic?’ as it was implied by his tone.
“No, I’m sorry,” I said meekly. “You did say anything would be better than nothing.”
“I want you to get with my sketch artist to do a composite,” Detective Martinez said, pulling out his cell phone. Just as he was about to dial, Daily burst into the kitchen without glancing my way.
“Martinez, we have to go,” Daily barked. “Ms. Richardson just confessed to the hit-and-run last week. The one with the girl in a coma. The father is at HCMC, and we have to talk to him.”
“Ok. Call me tomorrow morning to schedule a time with the sketch artist,” Detective Martinez said to me as he followed Daily out of the kitchen. I sat, stunned that Kayla had actually followed through. A minute later, Matt came into the kitchen.
“Come on,” he said, not looking at me. “Let’s get the fuck out of here.”
“But we still have things to ask Kayla,” I protested, though I didn’t want to stay there any more than he did.
“Not tonight,” Matt said brusquely, tugging at my arm. “She’s going downtown with the good detectives.” I allowed Matt to haul me to my feet and to escort me out of the kitchen. We were just in time to see Martinez trying to explain to a hysterical Kayla why she had to go to the station with them.
“Matt! Help me! I’ll never survive in jail!” The stupid bitch wouldn’t stop bleating as Martinez tried to calm her down.
“Shut up, Kayla,” Matt said through gritted teeth. “You need a lawyer. Do you have one?”
“Yes, I do,” Kayla wailed. She was about to say more when Daily cut her off.
“That’s enough, Ms. Richardson.”
“Call him!” Matt said over Daily’s voice. “Don’t say anything else until he shows up.” That earned him a dirty look from Daily, but Matt just ignored her. He and I left Kayla’s place as she was still shrieking loud enough to raise the dead.
In the car ride home, I told Matt what I’d seen and done. He was impressed that I’d had a telepathic conversation with Danny, but more so that I’d glimpsed one of the captors. He wanted to try to sketch the captor’s face when we got home. I was a bit leery as I didn’t want my image diluted for the sketch artist tomorrow, but it would be better to do it while the image was still fresh in my mind. I agreed, then told Matt about the tension between Detective Martinez and me. That was a mistake as he teased me mercilessly all the way home.
“Stop!” I said as we reached the apartment. “I didn’t tell you just so you could ride me about it.”
“But I like riding you,” Matt said, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. Good thing he’d parked before he looked at me otherwise we might have ended up in an accident. “Remember what we’d been doing before we got so rudely interrupted.”
“How can you even think about that?” I asked, a wicked smile on my face. If I knew Matt, he would be thinking about sex on his death bed. He once told me that he would be happiest dying in the saddle. I promised him if we were both not taken at that point of our lives, I would give him one hell of a send-off. “I mean, in the midst of all this grief…”
“That’s exactly why I’m thinking of it.” Matt took me by the hand and practically dragged me into our apartment.
“Slow down, cowboy,” I murmured, hurrying to keep up with him. He had a good six inches on me, and he was using it to his advantage. He ignored me, pulling insistently on my hand. He fumbled with his key while I muffled a snicker; he was finally able to open the front door.
“Come here,” Matt growled, pushing me against the door. I was glad he had shown enough restraint to allow me to enter the apartment before attacking me. He had his lips on mine before I could protest, if I was so inclined. I wasn’t, so I settled happily into the kiss. “I’ve been wanting to do this all night,” Matt said as we broke apart. He reached for me again, but I coyly pushed him away. I knew from experience that we both got the most pleasure if we drew things out.