Victoria

Info silverhawk
01 Jan. '20

Even though she was pretty shook up and her tight black velvet dress was a mess of wrinkles, she was still too beautiful to be real.  A few strands of long, shining, dark brown hair were out of place, but other than that and her smeared lipstick, it was hard to tell anything had happened.  If I hadn’t been standing face to face with her, I wouldn’t have believed what I was seeing.  She was like…well, like those pictures of models in glossy magazines, you know, where every little line and blemish is erased by an airbrush, and computer programs make legs longer, waists slimmer, and cleavages deeper.

I’d gotten assigned the 911 call fifteen minutes earlier, and pulled up just as the EMT’s were packing up.  Their gurney was empty, so I figured they’d either found nothing much wrong or they’d left a body for the coroner.  I knew them from a couple of other cases and walked over to see what they’d done.

“Jimmy, what’m I gonna find up there?”

“One dead old guy and a hooker you ain’t gonna believe.  Looks to us like the guy just keeled over from a heart attack, but the coroner’ll have to tell you for sure.  I’d have damned sure been havin’ one with her in the room with me.”

Julie, his partner, jabbed him in the ribs.

“You idiot, that old guy is Walter Hobson.  Didn’t you recognize him from his pictures in the paper?  And she’s not a hooker.  She was doin’ CPR on ‘im when we got there, remember?  Any hooker would have just grabbed ‘is money and ran off.”

Jimmy grinned as he rubbed his ribs.

“Well, that may be, but the only way a guy that old could get a honey like her is to pay for it.”

The caller had said Suite 906, and there were two uniforms standing guard at a door halfway down the hall.  A couple of CI techs with big aluminum cases were just going through the door.  

She was sitting on the couch when I walked in the room.  The CI techs were headed back to what I figured was the bedroom and I went with them.

Walter Hobson was probably the biggest real estate developer in Nashville, and right now he was sprawled out on his back on the bed, his shirt open and his slacks pulled down to his knees.  His color jived with what Jimmy had said, and I figured this was going to be another report I had to write without having the satisfaction of cuffing anybody.  I left the CI techs to their job and went to interview the girl.  

She was trying hard to hold both her lighter and cigarette in the same place long enough to get it lit.  I took the lighter and held it for her.  She inhaled deeply, then let the smoke trickle out through her perfect lips.  

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome , Miss…uh…”

“Vicky.”

She took another long drag on the cigarette.

“Victoria actually.”
 
I held out my hand.

“Hi Vicky.  You have a last name too?”

Vicky smiled.

“Danforth, Vicky Danforth.  I take it you’re the detective assigned to this mess?”

I pulled my badge from my jacket.

“I’m Detective Jack Taylor, and yes, I am.  You wanna tell me what happened here tonight?”

“Walt and I had dinner at Valentino’s and then came back here to watch some television and have a couple of drinks.  I went to use the bathroom, and when I came out, Walt was lying on the bed and holding his chest.  He didn’t look at all good, so I called 911.  I’d just given them the address when Walt stopped breathing, so I started doing CPR on him.  When the EMT’s got here, they tried that shocking machine on him, but he was already gone I guess.”

“I see.  That’s about what I figured out myself, but there’s one thing that puzzles me.  How come Walt’s pants were down around his knees?  I don’t remember that being part of CPR, at least not in any class I ever took.”

Vicky’s eyes turned cold.

“This is starting to sound as if you think I had something to do with it and you’re going to arrest me.”

“I don’t have any reason to arrest you, but if you’re lying to me, I might find one.  I just need to know what really happened tonight.  Now, about Walt’s pants…”

‘OK, but I’ll deny telling you this if you arrest me.”

“Fair enough.”

Vicky took a deep drag on her cigarette.  The smoke came out in puffs as she spoke.

“Walt is…was seventy-six, but he still liked having a pretty girl on his arm when he went out to eat and he seemed to like me.  We went out a couple of nights a month.  He always took me to the best places in town and afterwards, we’d come back here.  Walt liked me to…”

Vicky sighed.

“He said his doctor told him he couldn’t have sex anymore.  He never told me why, but after this, I guess it was his heart.  Anyway, he liked me to undress and then…”

Vicky looked up at me.

“Do I have to go into details?  I wouldn’t want this to get to the papers.  Walt was a really nice old man.  I don’t want him to be remembered for something like this.”

I shrugged.

“Depends on what the details are.  I’m in the business of solving crimes, not embarrassing people.”

“He liked me to undress and lay down beside him.  He’d touch me until he got it up, and then I’d use my hands to get him off.  That’s all that ever happened, except this time, he stopped breathing before I got my dress off.  I did do CPR on him until the EMT’s got here.  That’s the God’s truth of what happened tonight.”

“Did Walt pay you to go out with him?”

Vicky’s face was smiling but her eyes were still icy.

“I’m not a prostitute.  Clients pay me to go out with them because I’m pretty and I make them feel good.  They do have to pay for my company.  If a client asks and I agree, I might be more, and yes, the client pays for that privilege too.  Walt paid very well.”

I finished making my notes, and then smiled at Vicky.

“Doesn’t sound to me like anything happened here except Walt had a heart attack while entertaining a very pretty woman.”

“So, I’m not under arrest?”

I knew the CI techs would tell me if anything different had happened, so I wasn’t going to arrest her that night.  I also knew Walter Hobson had lots of friends downtown who wouldn’t like it if the real story got out, so my notes were in my own little code.

“Nope, and I don’t think there’s any reason for anyone to know more than what I just said.  You uh…you do know those extra services are illegal, don’t you?  It’s also likely you’ll run into somebody not quite as nice as Walt someday.  I’m not judging you, Vicky, just trying to give you some advice.  I’d hate like hell to get to a crime scene and find you laying on a bed like Walt in there.”

This time Vicky’s smile seemed genuine.

“I don’t think you’re going to get any thing about me to investigate.  My clients are, as you can imagine, very discrete, and besides, they’re always very satisfied.  I’m just as picky about my clients as they are about their escorts, so I’m not too worried.”

 I handed Vicky my card.

“The top number is my office phone, the bottom is my cell number, just in case you think of anything else, something about his condition Walt might have said or anything like that… so I can add it to my report.”

That night, I wrote my report just as I’d told Vicky I would.  As I put it in the folder for the Captain to sign, I smiled and hoped when I was seventy-six, I was still alive enough to want a hand job from a girl like Vicky.  

I was forty-three then, and my sex life had pretty much dried up.  The women I met were either on the wrong side of the cell bars or couldn’t take the thought of being with a man who might not come home some night.  Yeah, there’d been one or two when I was fresh out of the academy.  They liked the uniform and the thrill of dating a police officer.  Once they got a little older, they started thinking about a home in the suburbs and kids and all the other things women think about.  I didn’t fit in those thoughts very well so they sort of drifted away.

The next few days were pretty bland as my days usually go.  Nobody killed anybody else unless you count the bush the eighty-two year old woman shot in her front yard.  The white-haired grandmother claimed she thought the bush was a man trying to sneak up on her front door.  I confiscated the weapon, an ancient shotgun that was probably older than the woman, and turned the case over to civil services.

By Friday afternoon, I was looking forward to a weekend off, though I didn’t have anything to do except sit in my apartment and watch TV.  At about eleven that night, my cell phone chimed.  I flipped it open and said “Detective Taylor”.  The woman was sobbing.

“Detective Jack Taylor?”

“Yes, that’s me.”

“This is Vicky…from Tuesday…”

“Yes, I remember you.  You sound like you’re crying.  What’s wrong?”

“I need some help and I didn’t know who else to call.”

“What’s the problem?”

“A man hit me.”

Fifteen minutes later I pulled up at the entrance to the marina at Edwin Warner Park.  Vicky said she’d be waiting there, and when I got out to look for her she slipped out of the shadow of some big pine trees.  Her heels were in one hand, and Vicky walked gingerly over the blacktop up to my car.  She gave me the address of her apartment and asked me to hurry.

I hadn’t been able to see her very well in the single light at the marina entrance, and she’d looked out the side window all the way to her apartment. Once she was in good light, I saw she’d been hit more than once. Her lip was cut and bleeding, there was a little blood on her nose and the skin around both eyes was starting to turn an ugly brownish-purple.  She’d evidently put up a fight, though, because her dress was torn at the shoulder and ripped up the side almost to her waist.

“Vicky, what the hell happened?”

“One of those guys you said I’d meet someday?  Well, I met him tonight.  I’ve never, ever, ever done anything without a condom, even oral sex.  Before he ever paid me, I told him he’d have to use one if we did anything.  I even gave him a couple when he started taking off my dress.  He just threw them back at me and then tried to get me on the bed.  I pushed him away.  That’s when he called me a whore and slapped me.  I said I was going to leave, but he grabbed me again so I slapped him back.  He hit me with his fist when I did that…twice I think.”

The look in her eyes was apologetic.

“I always go out with older men.  I guess he wasn’t older enough.”

“Vicky, come on.  Let’s get you to a hospital.  After that, tell me who he was and I’ll haul his ass in.”

“I don’t want to go to any hospital.  They’ll just ask a bunch of questions I can’t answer.  I won’t tell you his name, either.  He’s too high up in the city.  You couldn’t even get in to talk to him, much less arrest him, and if you did manage to, you’d probably lose your job.”

“If you don’t tell me, he’ll get away with it…and probably do it again.  They usually do.”

Vicky started to grin and then winced at the pain.

“He won’t be doing anything for a while.  I kicked him in the crotch pretty hard after he hit me the second time.  He was still rolling around on the floor of his boat when I ran out.”

Vicky touched her lip and then looked at the blood on her finger.

“I have some stuff in the bathroom, and I know you guys are trained in first aid.  Couldn’t you just sorta fix me up here…please?”

I cleaned up her lip.  The cut was on the inside, so there wasn’t any way to put a bandage on it, but it had about stopped bleeding by then anyway.  I checked her face over and found nothing except her black eyes.  What I’d thought might be a nose bleed was just a scratch, probably from a fingernail.  Vicky said he’d only hit her in the face and that she hadn’t hit anything except the side of the boat when he knocked her down.

“You’re sure you won’t go to a hospital?  I think I got everything, but I don’t know how hard he hit you.  You might have a concussion…or worse”

“I feel fine except for my lip and a big headache…really.  Thanks for coming to help.  I…I don’t have anybody else I trust this much.”

 “You trust a cop you thought was going to arrest you?”

“You didn’t, though, and you did what you said, too.  Nobody has any idea about Walt and me.  Some cops would have gotten their name in the news by letting that out.  You didn’t, so I trust you.”

“I’d still rather you’d have a doctor check you out.”

Vicky sighed.

“And what would I tell them… that I’m a high priced escort whose date knocked her on her ass because she told him he had to use a condom? No, I’m starting to feel better.  Now, I’m gonna go change out of this ripped dress.  Can you stick around for a while…just ‘til I get calmed down a little?”

Her living room was decidedly feminine, but not flamboyant like I would have expected.  I didn’t see any pictures of family, so I figured she was telling the truth about not having anybody.  I was about to have a peek in the kitchen when she came out of her bedroom.  She’d changed into tight jeans and a tight knit top that hugged her curves like a second skin.

How do I look?”

“Kinda like a really sexy raccoon with a fat lip.”

“Oh, God.  It’ll be a while before I go out again then.”

“A couple of weeks, I’d guess, judging from the last black eye I had.”

“Well, I always said I needed a vacation.  I guess this is it.”

We made small talk over coffee for another hour or so.  She didn’t seem confused and she didn’t pass out, so I was pretty satisfied she didn’t have a concussion.  After telling her to call me if her headache got worse or if she started feeling dizzy, I drove back home.  Her phone number was in my notebook, and when I called her on Sunday she seemed fine.

The next few weeks were pretty slow for me, so I had time to look back on some old cases.  I got lucky one afternoon when I had coffee with a few guys from the drug enforcement team.  They gave me a lead on one of my homicides from four years back.

Billy Joe Verndun had just been paroled after serving three years for making and selling meth.   His cellmate, a guy Billy Joe seemed to trust enough to confide in, had let it slip to another detective that Billy Joe had a thing for women’s panties.  That made Billy Joe look very interesting in my murder case.  The victim was a woman suspected of dealing meth, and Billy Joe’s lab had been just a few blocks from her house.  Whoever killed her had also taken off her panties, and it was possible he or she still had them.

I took a search warrant and two uniforms with me.  At seven that morning, we put on our Kevlar vests and drove to the address.  We should have taken the SWAT team along too.

One of the officers went to the back of the house to watch the back door and side windows.  Sergeant Millard was with me at the front.

Billy Joe was there, or at least when I knocked on the door and asked for him, a man’s voice inside the dilapidated house said, “Yeah, I’m here.  What the fuck d’you want.”

I knocked again and stated that I was Detective Taylor and had a warrant to search the property. The voice told me to go fuck myself.  Then all hell broke loose.

One second I was standing there beside the door and the next, there was a loud blast and a hole opened in the center.  Splinters slowly drifted away from the hole, and hadn’t hit the ground when I heard a second blast and a burst of splinters sprayed the side of my face.  There was another hole about an inch from my hip.  

My training made me turn and run for some cover, so I didn’t see the hole the next shot made.  I felt it though.  It was like someone had hit me in the left thigh with a sledgehammer.  That leg stopped working and I fell to the ground writhing in pain.  There were a few more shots from inside the house, but they stopped just as quickly as they had started.  I later learned Scotty, the uniform in the back, had just walked in through the unlocked back door and tackled Billy Joe from behind as he stood there firing at the door. Sergeant Millard had called for a bus and was holding gauze pads from the first aid kit against my leg when they dragged Billy Joe out of the house.

I don’t remember much after that, just bits and pieces, the EMT telling me I’d be OK, Sergeant Millard saying they’d got the bastard, and some faces looking down at me.

It was dark when I woke up, except I knew I couldn’t really be awake.  The woman beside my bed was just part of a dream.  She had to be a dream, I reasoned, because there was no way a woman would be standing beside the bed in my bedroom.  Then I remembered being shot and felt for my leg.  I touched bandages just before the woman gently pulled my hand back to my side. I knew then I was awake, the bed wasn’t in my bedroom, and the woman had to be a nurse.

“You’re in the hospital, Jack, but you’re going to be OK.  Now go back to sleep.”

For some reason, the drugs I was on I suppose, I needed to know her name.  I was going to ask, but I drifted back into blackness before I could.

The sunlight hurt my eyes.  I remember that very well, as well as I remember that pulling my arm in front of my face to block it caused a sharp pain.  

“Hold still, Jack, or you’ll pull out the needle.  I’ll close the blinds.”

The voice was familiar.  It was the same voice from last night, and now I recognized it.

“Vicky?”

The room got darker and a few seconds later, Vicky was looking down at me and smiling.

“Yes, it’s me.  How you feeling?”

“I feel like shit.  Where am I anyway.”

“Memorial.  You’ve been in intensive care for the last two days, but you’re going to be OK.”

“Doesn’t sound much like you mean that.”

“Jack, you were shot…in the thigh.  The bullet hit your artery and you almost bled to death before the EMT’s got there.  They didn’t think you’d live through the surgery.”

“Surgery?”

“Your leg…the bullet shattered your thigh bone.  It took Dr. Chong six hours.”

“Six hours to what…not cut it off?  Don’t tell me he did that.”

“No.  You still have your leg.  He put in some metal plates, I think.  I don’t know all the details.  They wouldn’t tell me much because I’m not family.”

Vicky put her hand on mine.

“Dr. Chong always comes around about one. He can explain everything to you.  Right now, you need to rest some more, so go to sleep.  I’ll be right here if you need anything.”

A nurse woke me up to take my blood pressure, and Dr. Chong walked in about the time she finished.  He looked very Chinese; he talked very Chicago.

“Detective Taylor, I heard you woke up. They treating you OK?”

“I guess so.  I think I’ve been asleep most of the time.”

“How much do you remember?”

“I remember getting shot, if that’s what you mean.  After that, not much until I woke up…I think it was last night, but I really have no idea.  Vicky was there and told me I was in the hospital and would be OK.  Then she told me to go back to sleep, so I did.  The next thing I remember is this morning.  Vicky told me a little about my leg, but said you’d tell me the rest.”

Dr. Chong took a breath, and his smile turned somber.

“We almost lost you.  The bullet went through your femur and nicked your femoral artery. If Officer Millard hadn’t acted as fast as he did, you wouldn’t be talking to me now. You’d lost a lot of blood by the time the EMT’s got you here, and it took almost three hours to get you stable enough for surgery.

“Your femur is held together by a metal rod and screws.  You’ll have to take it easy for a while, but If things go OK, you’ll have physical therapy for several weeks.  You’ll probably be able to walk with a cane in six months or so.”

Dr. Chong looked at me with that face doctors put on when they have to tell a patient bad news.

“It’s doubtful I’ll be able to release you back to duty…ever.  Your leg was just torn up too badly.  I might be able to let you go back to a desk, but not back on the street.”

“You sure?”

“Detective Taylor, your leg will probably be a little shorter, and running might cause it to break again.  I don’t want to discourage you from trying, but you need to know the facts so you can do some planning.  Consider yourself lucky your girlfriend isn’t going to your funeral instead of downstairs getting you a couple of magazines.”

He grinned.

“You’ve got a real keeper there, by the way.”

He told me a little more about what to expect, and then left.  A few minutes later, Vicky came in with a bag from the gift shop.

“What’d he say?”

“I think you already know, don’t you?”

“No, not for sure.  All he’d say is that you probably wouldn’t be going back to being a detective again.  That’s what he told you, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.  Oh, he said I could ride a desk, but I’d go crazy doing that.”

“Well, right now, you just need to think about getting well again.  You can think about another job later.  I’ll sit here in case you need any - “

“Vicky, why are you here…and how did you manage it?  They only let family into intensive care.”

She grinned sheepishly.

“Getting here was easy.  I, uh…I know a couple men pretty high up in the police department.  I heard on the news a detective had been shot, so I called one of them to see if it was you.  He told me it was and which hospital you were in.  I know one of the men who run the hospital too, so I called him and asked if I could get in to see you.  He told them to let me stay as long as I wanted.”

“But why?”

“That night…when I got hurt…when you came over that night, I didn’t have anybody, but you took care of me and stayed until you thought I’d be OK.  You called me the next day, too, just to be sure.  

“When we were talking that night, you said you didn’t have any family either.  I just wanted to do the same thing you did for me.  You’re not mad, are you?”

“No, I’m not mad.  Dr. Chong seems to think you’re my girlfriend.  How’d he get that idea?”

Vicky shrugged.

“I had to tell them some reason I wanted to be here, and being your girlfriend seemed a pretty good one at the time.”

I chuckled.

“A cop and a hook…I mean, an escort.  Now that’s a pair and a half.”

“I’m a former escort.  You were right about it being dangerous, and besides, I’m twenty-eight.   Most men like their dates younger, so it was only a matter of time anyway.    I haven’t been out since that night.”

Vicky went home that afternoon, but she came to see me every day, and when I got in a regular room, she’d sneak in a burger and fries for me.  A week after the surgery, they had me using crutches, and a few days after that, Vicky wheeled me out to her car and took me to my apartment.  She was frowning as she fussed with the blanket she insisted on putting over my legs.

“I have to go out for a while. You don’t have much here to eat, so I’m going out to get some food, some sodas and a couple of magazines for you.  You’ll be OK until I get back, won’t you?”

“Vicky, I’m a grown man.  I can take care of myself.”

“I know, but I want to be sure.”

“Yes, I’ll be fine.”

She put her hand on my shoulder and rubbed it gently.

“OK.  I put my cell number on the pad on your desk, just in case.  Now, you rest and I’ll be back about five.  Oh, can I have your key?  I don’t want you trying to get to the call button to let me in.”

The woman who walked through my door a little after five wasn’t Vicky.  Well, she was, but she wasn’t.  She wore a white blouse buttoned almost to her slender neck, a conservative grey skirt and matching jacket, and her heels were low and plain black.  Perched on her nose were a pair of wire-framed glasses, and her hair was pulled back in a bun.  Other than some pale lipstick, she didn’t appear to be wearing any makeup.  Vicky grinned as she went past with a couple of sacks from the local carryout.

“I’m not much of a cook, so I stopped at the Italian place down the block.  Hope you like spaghetti, ‘cause that’s what we’re having tonight.”

“Vicky?  What the hell…You don’t look like you.”

She just laughed.

“I’ll explain after dinner.  Now, our food’s getting cold.  Where’s your plates and silverware?”

Vicky waited until I pushed back my plate.

“Full enough?”

“Stuffed.  That was great.”

“OK, you’re wondering why I look like I do tonight, right?”

“Among other things, yes.”

“This is how I dress at my office, that’s all.  My clients want someone who looks smart and honest.”

“But I thought your clients wanted…I mean, the other times I saw you, you looked like a fashion model, but now…”

“Now I look like any other woman?”

“Well, not like any other woman, no, but you’re a helluva long way from an escort.”

Vicky smiled.

“The escort thing started my second year of college.  It was a way to make money for my tuition and books, and it was fun being wined and dined.  Some of the sex was pretty good too.

“Three years later, I had a degree, my CPA and ten-thousand in the bank.  I got a job with an auditing firm.  The job was OK, but I’d gotten hooked on the excitement of going out as an escort.  That meant I had to schedule my dates around work and that got complicated.  I quit and started my own accounting business.  That was six years ago, about, and now I have all the clients I can handle.”

Vicky chuckled.

“Not in the literal sense, though.”

She took a sip from her soda, then wiped her lips.

“Anyway, I can probably increase your tax refund by about five percent unless you’re very good at doing your taxes, and if you aren’t happy with your 401K, let me take a look at it sometime.  Mine’s doing very well, if I may say so.”

“I don’t have one, but I might take you up on the tax thing.  What’s your fee?”

“Oh, you really should have a 401K.  I can help you get started, and you don’t have to worry about any fees.  I don’t charge my friends.  I guess I can call you that, can’t I?”

I laughed.

“So, you’ve gone from being my girlfriend to just my friend?  I kind of liked it the other way.  Dr. Chong said you were a keeper.”

“I didn’t think you’d be interested in…in anything serious like that, you know, because I was…well, what I used to do.”

“There’s nothing wrong with you, Vicky.  It’s just me.  Women run the other way once they know what I do, and now…well, most women would want a whole man, not some guy with a busted leg.  I guess we’re in the same boat.”

“Well, it’s time for me to get you into bed.  Dr. Chong said you need lots of rest.”

“I can take care of my self, thank you.”

Vicky giggled.

“Oh.  And I suppose you’ll just take off your pants all by yourself?  That’ll be some trick since you can’t stand up by yourself. Come on.  Up on your crutches and into the bedroom.  You’ll have to show me where you keep your jammies.”

I did take off my own shirt, and started on my pants, but Vicky was right.  I couldn’t stand up without the crutches, and I couldn’t lift my leg to get the pants down.  I laid back on the bed and she slipped them down and off my feet.  

I forgotten how it felt to have a woman touch me, but my body hadn’t forgotten what it was supposed to do.  When Vicky turned around after draping my slacks over the chair at the foot of the bed, my cock was making a tent in my shorts.  

She chuckled.

“I guess you are interested after all.”

“Sorry.  It’s been quite a while since I…well, you know.”

“No, it’s OK.  I’m flattered, really.  Now, where are your pj’s?”

“I uh…I always sleep in my shorts”

 “Hey, if that’s your thing, I’m OK with it too.  Under the covers you go, then.”

Vicky tucked me in, said “nitey-nite”, and started to leave.  Then she turned back.

“You know, I think I should spend the night here…just in case you need anything.  You have an extra pillow and blanket for your couch?”

I told her that couch was pretty lumpy, but she insisted.  She spent that night, and just sort of kept on staying over.  She’d get me up for breakfast every morning, and then go back to her apartment to change for her office.  I’d get a call about every two hours until she came back at five.  When I was well enough for physical therapy, she helped me dress and took me to the hospital.

At first, I didn’t like all the help.  I had this idea in my head that I was going to get over this and get back to work, and I wanted to do it all myself.  I did try.  That first week, after Vicky left I did some exercises to loosen up that leg.  All I accomplished was causing myself a lot of pain and wearing myself out.  I’m pretty stubborn, but by the end of the first week, I had to admit it was nice having Vicky around.

As the weeks went by, the other thing I finally realized was that Dr. Chong had been telling me the truth. The therapy was quickly putting some use back into my leg, but even if I got strong enough to walk without a cane, I knew I’d never be able to move very fast. I’d only be a liability to any officer or detective I worked with.

I’d have disability from the city, but I needed some way to make a living, if only to keep myself from going nuts sitting at home.  Who would hire a former cop with a bum leg I didn’t know, but I started looking at my options.

Those options came down to one as I was looking at the paper one morning.  There, just under the story I’d been reading was an ad for a private investigator school.  When I thought about the P.I.’s I’d come across, they did a lot of the same things I’d done as a detective, except they usually didn’t run or get shot at.  That afternoon, I made a phone call to the state licensing agency.

Vicky seemed happy I’d decided where my life was going, or would be as soon as I could get around better.

“That sounds great, Jack.  It’s like what you used to do, and I’m sure you’ll be great at it.”

I watched a tear slide down Vicky’s cheek.

“Vicky, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing.  I just liked how things are, and now they’re going to change.”

I didn’t know if she felt like I hoped she felt, but I decided it was time to find out.

“Yes, they’ll change, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  It’s hard for me to explain this, but…well, do you think you could go back to being my girlfriend again.”

Vicky wiped her eyes.

“What does that mean, be your girlfriend again?”

I shrugged.

“Well, I guess it means you’d do what other girlfriends do…we’d go out to a movie or dinner sometimes.  We’d do stuff together on the weekends sometimes.  Maybe you’d stay over sometimes.”

Vicky frowned.

“That sounds like what I used to do with my dates”

“No, not like that.  Oh, dammit, I’m screwing this all up.  I don’t want you to leave, Vicky.  I want you to stay…all the time.  I can’t imagine not having you here at night, not because you’re taking care of me.  I’ve been able to do that for weeks and you know it.  I just want you to stay because I…well…I like having you here.”

“I don’t know.  I’ll have to think about it.  Right now, it’s time to put you to bed so you can rest.”

“I don’t need you to do that.”

“Yes you do.  You still can’t stand up without a cane.  Now hobble in the bedroom so we can get you under the covers.”

Vicky tucked me in, just as she had every night since she brought me home from the hospital.  She said her usual “nitey nite” and walked to the door.  She turned out the light and I heard the door close in the darkness.  I was hoping she’d decide to stay with me and kicking myself for the way I’d messed up when I tried to tell her why.  

Maybe I should have said I loved her.  I thought I did, but I didn’t know how to be sure.  If I said that now, she’d just think I was trying to convince her by saying it.  No, saying it now would probably make things worse.  Still, it was about the only thing I had left to convince her.

I was rehearsing what I’d say if she said no when I heard the rustle of clothing.

It wasn’t much, just the click of a snap, and the soft plop of clothing hitting the floor.  

“Vicky, are you still here?”

My answer was the rocking of the bed as Vicky climbed over me and slipped under the covers. Vicky wiggled a little and then sighed.

“Umm, this is a lot nicer than your couch.  I could get used to this, I think.”

“Vicky, do you know what you’re doing?”

“Yes.  I’m trying to decide what I’m going to decide.”

“You needed to try out my bed to do that?”

“No, I needed to see how your bed would feel with us in it together and having sex.”

“We aren’t having sex.”

Vicky rolled toward me and rested her thigh over mine.  I felt her soft, bare  breasts against my chest.

“If you’re well enough to do your part, we will be.  Now, shut up and kiss me.”

Her lips were soft and warm and sent a tingle all the way down my spine.  I hadn’t felt that in a long, long time and hoped I remembered how I was supposed to kiss her back.  When Vicky giggled, I knew I’d screwed up again.

“Gee, Jack, it has been a long time hasn’t it?”

“I told you it had.  I wasn’t being a very good kisser, was I?”

“The kiss was just fine.  It’s this thing poking me in the tummy that made me laugh.  It always took longer with my…with my…”

“It won’t matter how long it takes unless you have a condom.  I don’t have any.”

Vicky kissed me again, then breathed in my ear.

“I don’t want to use one with you Jack.  I’ve been safe for the last two months hoping you’d want to do this, and I want you to be the first without one.”

I wrapped my arms around Vicky and kissed her again, and this time I didn’t worry about if I was doing it right or wrong.  

She felt so small in my arms, small and delicate…and soft.  Her breasts pressed into me as she moved to straddle my thighs, and I felt her nipples swellling into my chest.  She moaned quietly when I let my hand slide from her back to the side of her breast, and when I let the other slip down to her bottom, I felt her push her tummy into mine.

Vicky whispered, “I need to take off your shorts.”  Without waiting for a reply, she moved to my side, waited until I lifted my hips, and then slid them down my legs.  She snuggled up to my side, and I felt her hand stroking my belly, then circling my shaft.  

I kissed her again and found her breasts with my fingertips.  Her nipples were taut and surrounded by little soft bumps.  When I rubbed one with my fingertip, Vicky slipped her tongue between my teeth and moaned when I found it with my own.

It still surprises me that we didn’t talk, but I guess we didn’t have to.  I somehow figured out what Vicky needed, and when she was ready, she straddled my hips and guided me to her entrance.  I felt wet warmth, and then the exquisite sensation of Vicky’s body slowly engulfing me as she impaled herself.  When her soft lips were pressed firmly against me, Vicky moaned again, then began riding me.  

I can’t tell you any details like how long it took, or how many times she moaned or if she even said anything.  My mind was too absorbed in all the sensations I was feeling to remember anything but the feeling of her body loving mine.  I just know we became one that night, just one body striving to reach the pinnacle we each sought, and one body falling from that peak into the abyss of release, Vicky first and I, a split second later.

Afterwards, as Vicky lay on my chest, her breath coming in quick gasps and her heart pounding against me, I whispered in her ear.

“Vicky, I didn’t know how to say it before…I love you.  Please stay with me.”

She whispered, “I think I’ve decided to decide to stay.  I love you too.”

Well, Dr. Chong was a little pessimistic in his time estimate.  Five months to the day after I was shot, I used my cane to walk to the front of the formation and stood at attention as the Captain read my commendation and then announced my retirement.  The party afterwards was great and I took a lot of ribbing about Vicky.  She was dressed in her office clothes, but she was still beautiful.  I was proud to have her standing beside me.

Taylor Investigations opened for business a month later.  My first case was a freebie.  Vicky finally told me who beat her up that night.  She told me because he’d done the same to another girl a few months later.  It was a pretty simple matter to find out when his next “date” was; Vicky just called every escort she knew and asked them if they’d help us give the guy what he deserved.

Vicky and I sat in the minivan I’d bought for surveillance and took pictures while he screwed Sherry, the girl he’d called, on the bow of his boat one night.  The little mike and transmitter I’d put in her headband did a wonderful job of sending their conversation to my recorder, including his answer when Sherry asked if he wasn’t afraid of being caught with an escort.

“I’m not the Director of Budget Planning for nothing, Honey.  Every police officer knows directors don’t get caught doing anything wrong.”

Those pictures, the ones that showed his face and him screwing Sherry, but not  Sherry’s face, and the recording from the mike found their way to the editor’s desk of the newspaper as well as to a TV station.   He resigned the day after the story broke.

Somehow, those pictures and recording found their way to his wife too.  It’s funny how a couple of pictures and one recording can piss off a woman so much.  The last we heard, her divorce lawyer was in the process of separating him from most of his money and property.

We make a good team, Vicky and I.  She still has her CPA business, but more and more, she’s working with me.  She found out she loves investigating, and her logical thinking and accounting skills have made several cases for us.  She also has the ability to convince any man to tell her about anything she asks, and has some connections I could never make.

Well, I guess I’ve bent your ear about long enough.  Vicky and I have a date anyway.  We’re going out to eat and then come back home to watch a little TV.  You know, that couch isn’t as bad as I thought…if she’s there with me.

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