Authors: A.J. Carella
They met at a coffee shop just around the corner from the precinct.
Kyle had arrived early, anxious, and was already seated in a booth by the window, nursing an Americano when Sandy walked in. Sliding into the seat opposite him she ordered the same and sat back.
Have you got him?” he asked immediately.
“Good morning to you
, too!” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. He waved her off, impatiently. With a sigh, she replied, “No. I’m sorry, Kyle, but we’ve looked everywhere, got feelers out, but no one has seen him.”
Kyle felt himself deflate.
He had hoped that she would have good news. “So how much effort are the LAPD actually putting into this? I don’t suppose it’s really that important to them.” He felt bad for saying it as soon as he saw the stung look on Sandy’s face. “I’m sorry, that was uncalled for.”
“Yes. It was.” She looked at him in the eyes. “You were one of us Kyle, and so was Lori. It’s important.”
Kyle dropped his eyes to the coffee in front of him.
“So what now?”
“We keep looking.
Keep talking to our CI’s. Something will give. It just may take some time.”
That’s exactly what he was worried about.
It was starting to eat him up inside and the longer it went on the worse it was going to get. “Give me five minutes with Luccio, alone. I’ll get you the information you need.”
“You know better than anyone that it doesn’t work like that. And you want him to pay don’t you?”
“Then you have to let us do this by the book.
The last thing any of us wants is to get this guy and then find out he gets off on a technicality.”
“I know. I’m sorry.
I guess it’s just that we’ve never been so close before.”
Sandy looked him in the eye.
“I know it’s hard, but you have to believe that we will get him in the end.” She smiled. “Look, as soon as I have any news, anything, I’ll let you know. Okay?”
Kyle tried to
return her smile, but it looked more like a grimace. “Okay. Thanks, Sandy.”
Drinking the last of his coffee
, he left 10 bucks on the table, said his goodbyes and left Sandy to her coffee.
Something was wrong.
Tara had been woken by the sound of the front door closing. Checking her watch, she saw that it was not yet 9 a.m. That was twice in two days now he had left without letting her know where he was going. Their lovemaking last night had been as intense, as passionate, as it always was but she couldn’t help but feel that he was holding something back.
Throwing back the covers
, she slipped on her robe and went to make coffee. Pacing round the kitchen, she felt like a caged animal. She couldn’t spend another day all alone with just her thoughts for company. She had started venturing out more and more as time had passed, but she was still nervous about going out alone so, usually, they went out together.
ut today, she needed to get out. If she didn’t, she felt like she was going to scream.
She was not going to spend another day cooped up here while Kyle was off god knows where
! Deciding to treat herself to breakfast out she quickly showered, pinned her hair up in a bun and got dressed.
paused as she stepped out of the apartment and filled her lungs with fresh air. God, that felt good. She stood there a while, feeling the hot sun on her face. Feeling her mood lift, she decided to head to the mall. It was only a few blocks away and she would enjoy the walk.
She thought she might treat herself to some sexy new underwear.
She didn’t think the bedroom was the problem, but it never hurt to make sure that things stayed interesting in that department! She’d been walking for about 20 minutes, enjoying the bustle and noises of life in L.A. when she happened to glance in the window of a coffee shop as she walked passed.
What she saw
stopped her in her tracks, as if she’d been slapped. Kyle was sitting in a booth with another woman. A very attractive woman at that. Looking away in case they saw her, she turned and quickly headed back the way she had come, all thoughts of going to the mall forgotten. She didn’t feel the tears falling from her eyes as she hurried back to the apartment.
What had she honestly expected? She of all people should know what men were capable of. Why had she allowed herself to think that this one was any different? But she had. After everything they had been through to be together it had never occurred to her to doubt him. But now she was.
Running up the stairs of their building and into their apartment
, she slammed the door closed behind her. Leaning back against it she took several deep, steadying, breaths.
She should have trusted her instincts. She’d known something was wrong, that he was holding something back. But what had she actually seen? All he’d been doing was talking to a woman. An attractive one, yes, but that didn’t mean anything.
Thoughts were fighting for space in her head now.
What should she do? She couldn’t ignore what she had seen, it would eat away at her but she couldn’t let herself jump to conclusions either. She knew she had no choice. She would just have to ask him about it and take it from there.
It was a couple of hours after she got home that he returned to the apartment.
“I saw you this morning
.” She tried to keep her voice calm, not to let the fear she was feeling seep through.
“You went out?
Why didn’t you tell me?” He seemed angry. “We agreed, remember? If you leave the apartment you’re to tell me where you’re going. What if something happened to you?”
Tara had assumed it was concern for her welfare th
at had made him tell her to let him know where she was, but now she wasn’t so sure. “How was I supposed to tell you? You disappeared before I woke up and didn’t even leave a note!” She couldn’t avoid the catch in her voice this time.
I’m sorry. There was something I needed to take care of.” He was definitely hiding something this time.
In a coffee shop?”
“That’s where you saw me?”
Tara tried to stay calm.
“Who is she?” The fear Tara felt was now rising in her throat.
“Just a friend.
From before I met you.”
“So what was so important that you had to meet this friend in secret?”
She couldn’t stop herself. She had to know.
“It wasn’t in secret, I just never told you.”
“You haven’t answered my question, Kyle. What was so important?”
“Look, it’s nothing to do with you
, okay? Some things are my own business and you’ll just have to learn to trust me!” Turning away from her, he stormed off towards the bedroom.
Kyle felt bad for keeping secrets from her, but it was for her own good. How could he possibly expect her to understand this obsession with catching his wife’s killer? He loved her but that didn’t mean that he didn’t need to see justice for his family. Would she understand that? He thought she would but it wasn’t a chance he was prepared to take.
There was no need for her to know what was going on and when it was finished he would make it up to her.
But it needed to finish. He knew the LAPD were doing all they could but they had to work within the law. He didn’t. He had a lot of contacts from his time working for Luccio and it was about time he paid some of them a visit.
The person he was going to see lived in
Compton, one of the most dangerous areas of L.A. Kyle decided not to take any chances and slipped on his shoulder holster, carefully checking that his gun was loaded and that the safety was on. The gun was a throw away that he’d kept from his time on the force. Unregistered and with no serial number, it could never be traced back to him.
Compton was not a place you went asking questions unprepared to defend yourself.
Unfortunately, a lot of the people Luccio dealt with lived or hung out down there. The person he was going to see was Jimmy (JJ) Jonson. Jimmy headed up Luccio’s local distribution network. Somehow, and Kyle hadn’t wanted to ask and invite questions, he had avoided the round up when Luccio was arrested. If anyone knew anything, it was going to be him. He was just slipping on his jacket when the bedroom door opened.
One look at her face told him that she’d seen the holster.
She knew he had a gun. They’d talked about it and she had agreed that it was a good idea to keep it at the moment, for safety reasons, but she’d never seen him wear it.
“What’s that for?”
she asked, her eyes glued to the gun.
need to go out again, see some people. It’s nothing to worry about,” he told her as he zipped up his jacket.
And what do you need a gun for?”
Turning to her
, he took her face in his hands. “It’s just a couple of things that need sorting out. I promise you, it’s nothing for you to worry about.”
She shook her face free angrily. “How can I not worry when you won’t tell me what’s going on?”
“There’s nothing going on!” He watched as she angrily turned and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her. He was only trying to protect her, he told himself as he opened the door and followed her out.
She was standing in the living room with her back turned.
“I don’t know what you’re getting so upset about!”
She turned to look at him and gestured round the apartment.
“You don’t know?” Her tone was one of disbelief. “I’m in a strange country with a man I hardly know. One I love, no doubt, but let’s face it. I hardly know you. And you suddenly start disappearing without telling me where you’re going. You don’t think that’s enough to get upset about?”
He could see that she was really upset.
She was trying to be angry but she appeared close to tears. “Why can’t you just trust me? I promise you, it’ll be over soon.”
Tara turned her face away as he came to kiss her goodbye and, with a shrug, he left.
What will be over soon? Tara had no idea but she knew that whatever it was, it was threatening to tear them apart.
After he had gone
, Tara sat staring aimlessly at the apartment walls.
Had she made a huge mistake?
After all, what did she really know about this man? She knew what her feelings told her, but she knew nothing about
. That he was hiding something was obvious. She just didn’t know what.
Of course she was glad to be rid of Sergei and far away from the men who had used her in so many different ways, it just wasn’t turning out the way she had expected.
In fact, she wasn’t sure what she had expected, she hadn’t given it much thought. She’d just been happy that she was with Kyle and away from Sergei.
A knock on the door made her jump.
No one ever knocked on their door. Remembering what Kyle had taught her, she didn’t get too close to the door before shouting, “Who’s there?”
,” came the answer.
Keeping the chain on
, Tara cautiously opened the door a crack. What she saw left her rooted to the spot and momentarily speechless.
It was the woman she’d seen with Kyle!
“Hi, is Kyle in?”
The woman was looking at her strangely and Tara realised that she hadn’t moved or said anything since opening the door.
,” she managed to force out, “he’s not here right now.”
And, sorry, you are?” the woman asked.
Great, Kyle hasn’t even told her about me!
“Tara” she said, looking for some reaction in the woman’s eyes. Nothing.
ay. Well, could you ask Kyle to call me when he gets back? He’s got my number.”
“Tell him yourself!”
Tara regretted the words as soon as they were out of her mouth when she saw the other woman’s eyes narrow. “Okay, we appear to have gotten off on the wrong foot here.”
I’m supposed to be happy that Kyle’s other woman turns up on my doorstep?” Tara jutted out her chin, trying to display a confidence she didn’t feel.
What on earth are you talking about?” The woman’s face was a picture of disbelief and Tara started to feel a bit less sure of herself. “Look, can I come in?” Tara hesitated so the woman continued. “I really think we need to clear this up, don’t you?”
, Tara opened the door to allow the other woman in. Taking a deep breath, she followed her into the living room.
“Nice place you’ve got here.” She said as she looked around.
like it.” It appeared that the point was not lost on the woman as she raised an eyebrow.
“Ok if I sit?” She gestured towards the couch.
sitting in the chair opposite the couch, taking longer than necessary to give herself time to settle herself, Tara looked at Sandy properly for the first time. She could see what he saw in her. She was attractive.
Ok, here goes!
she thought to herself.
“I saw you with Kyle yesterday.
At the coffee shop.”
The woman nodded. “Yes.
Kyle asked me to meet him there.”
Tara’s jaw clenched.
“To discuss the case.”
Now Tara was confused.
“I’m sorry but I don’t understand. What case?”
“His wife’s murder.
Surely he told you?” Not wanting to appear stupid, Tara nodded.
Yes, of course he told me about the murder but I don’t see what that’s got to do with you.”
It was Sandy’s turn to look confused now.
“I’m a detective on the case. I used to be Kyle’s partner before he left the job.”
Suddenly all the pieces were clicking together in her brain.
She needed a bit of time to regroup. “Look, I’ll go and make us some coffee, okay?” Not waiting for an answer Tara jumped to her feet and went to the kitchen. She needed a bit of time to process.
Why didn’t Kyle tell her?
It was not as if she didn’t know about the investigation so why was he being so secretive, unless there was something else going on that he wasn’t telling her about.
Feeling suddenly like she was living with a man she didn’t know, Tara couldn’t help but wonder what this would do to their relationship and whether it would survive it. Taking the coffee back through to the living room she listened as Sandy brought her up to date and told her that basically there had been no developments. She explained that she would have called Kyle to let him know but she was nearby dealing with another matter so had decided to pop in.
After chatting for another few minutes about nothing in particular
, Sandy stood up to leave and Tara saw her out. Closing the door to the apartment behind her as she left, Tara leaned her head against the cool wood. The relief she felt was intense. She admitted to herself that she had been convinced he was having an affair and finding out that he wasn’t left her feeling emotionally drained. He was still holding something back but, as long as it wasn’t that, there was hope.