Authors: E. H. Reinhard
Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Police Procedurals, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Murder, #Serial Killers, #Thrillers
I went to my desk and dialed Callie.
“Carl?” she asked.
“Yeah, are you still there? Any update?”
“Can you pick me up?”
“Sure. What’s going on? Did they cut you loose?”
“No, I walked out. I’m sitting in the lobby of their building.”
“Sit tight. I’ll be over in a few minutes.”
I hung up.
In my office closet I found a fresh shirt and pants. I took a ball cap from the top shelf and made for my office door.
Bostok blocked my way. “You needed a change and hat to go to the hospital?”
“I need to go see what’s going on with Callie. She’s sitting outside the Federal building. I guess she walked out or something.”
“Walked out of the Federal building?” The captain looked confused. “Tell me about it later. Just go. If you need anything from me, call.”
“I will, Cap.”
“And go to the damn hospital when you’re done,” Bostok said. He turned and walked back to his office.
I snugged the hat down over the gashes on my head and went to the station’s parking structure. I scooped up the keys for an unmarked cruiser from the board.
The Marshal’s office was located inside the Federal Courthouse on North Florida Ave. The building was a few blocks up from the station. I found a parking spot on the street out front. I walked past the flying American flag and up the front steps of the gray concrete high rise. The words United States of America were etched into the front of the building overhead. I pulled the handle of the green glass door and stepped inside. I spotted Callie on a bench near the elevators. A man in a Marshal’s jacket sat next to her talking.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
She stood and wrapped her arms around me. “They want to take me away.”
“Take you away?”
“I take it you’re Lieutenant Kane?” the marshal asked. He reached out for a handshake. “I’m Deputy Morgan.”
I shook his hand. “Deputy, what’s going on here?”
“Can we go upstairs and talk?” he asked.
I looked down at him. He was under five eight and thin. The crown of his head was balding. He donned a dark blue U.S. Marshal’s jacket over a dress shirt and tie.
I looked to Callie. “Come on, Cal. Let’s see what they have to say. Who knows, we might be able to figure out something that will work.”
“I don’t want to leave.”
We followed the marshal into the elevator and stepped off onto the fourth floor. Across from the elevator exit doors was a three foot metal badge logo bolted to the wall. We turned right and continued through a security door. The marshal herded us into a small conference room toward the back of the hallway. Callie and I had a seat.
Deputy Morgan stood at the back of the chair at the head of the conference table. “Chief Deputy Harris will be right with us.”
“What is it that you want to talk about?” I asked.
“Let’s wait for the chief deputy.”
I nodded. Callie reached out for my hands that sat on the table top. “Did they find his body?”
“Not that I know of, Babe.”
“You’re sure he’s dead?”
The door opened. A middle aged man in a gray suit walked in. A star hung from his neck over his dark blue tie. He was clean shaved with a gray buzz cut. A folder was tucked under his arm. He slid out a chair, sat and looked to us. He rested his hands on the folder that sat before him.
“I’m Chief Deputy Harris. Lieutenant, I understand that you apprehended Viktor Azarov?”
I nodded. “He was transferred to the FBI’s custody.”
“And his brother, Andrei?”
He looked to Callie. “Miss Albero, Deputy Morgan has explained to me that you wish to not be relocated.”
She nodded. “That’s correct.”
“The reason you don’t wish to be relocated is because you are pregnant, correct?”
“Even if I wasn’t, I don’t want to be relocated.”
“Well, with your location being compromised, to remain in the program, you’d need to be relocated.”
“Then it looks like I’m done with the program.”
“Well, wait a minute.” He held up a finger. “I believe I have a solution.” He looked to me. “Lieutenant, due to the pregnancy of our witness, we’d be able to accommodate you into WITSEC as well.”
I looked at Callie. The guy just put me on the spot to choose my life, career, home and family or her. She shook her head
before I could even begin to process everything that would be involved.
“You’re not doing it,” she said.
“Cal, do you want to take a minute and talk about this,” I asked.
“There isn’t anything to talk about.” She looked back to the deputy. “We appreciate the offer, but we’ll pass.”
“It’s the only way we can insure your safety. I’d think that would be something you’d be interested in now that you’re pregnant.”
She became annoyed. “Yeah, you guys did a great job of protecting me.”
He rubbed his eyes. “Miss Albero, we plan to conduct an extensive investigation into how you were located.”
“So unless Carl comes with, he’ll never see me or his child again? Why would I ever agree to that? I’m done. I want out.” Callie clammed up. Her face said she had enough of talking about it.
The deputy remained quiet.
“What does she have to do to leave the WITSEC program? What is the process?” I asked.
“I encourage her not to do so.”
“She wants to leave. What’s the process?”
Chief Deputy Harris shook his head. “There isn’t a process. Everything we provided her goes away. She’ll be on her own.”
“What happens with her identity, financials, etcetera?” I asked.
“She’d regain her identity. The false one would be wiped. Her financials and credit history weren’t touched. If someone within their organization had realized they were wiped, they would have known she was in WITSEC.”
“So I can just go back to normal?” Callie asked.
“Before we get into more of this, let me just reiterate that people don’t leave the program for a reason. These criminals that we provide protection from have a long reach. It doesn’t matter if they are in custody or deceased. There could still be friends, family members or people from the organization that may try to retaliate—even years from now.”
“I’ll take my chances,” Callie said.
He was quiet.
“So she has to testify whenever the court date comes up? And with these new charges that is going to be when?” I asked.
“I’m afraid I can’t give you any kind of date on that, Lieutenant. The new charges will have to be sorted, and then we’ll have to see where we’re at with the previous ones.”
“What exactly was the holdup with the previous ones? If the FBI had a witness and there was a counterfeiting machine on their property, why wasn’t an arrest made months ago?”
“I can’t answer that for you. It’s an FBI matter. They must have needed time to build their case.”
Callie tugged at my sleeve. “Carl, let’s go.”
“Yeah, I’m sure. I don’t want to do this anymore.”
I looked to the deputy sitting on the end of the table. “We’ll have her stuff out of your WITSEC house by Monday.”
I pushed out my chair. Callie followed my lead. We walked from the conference room. The deputy and chief deputy watched us in disbelief. Callie and I found our way down the hall. I hit the button for the elevator to take us down.
Chief Deputy Harris came from the hallway. “We don’t recommend this, Miss Albero.”
“I heard you. I’ll be fine,” she said.
“You’ll need to sign off on these papers and bring them back.” He walked over and handed Callie the folder he’d brought with him into the conference room.
“Can’t I just sign these here?” she asked.
“Just think it over and bring them back in a few days.”
The elevator doors opened and took us inside. The chief deputy stared in at us as the doors closed.
We took the five minute ride over to the hospital so I could get stitched up. I insisted that Callie get checked out, even though she assured me that she was fine. She was right. As the doctor put it, both she and the baby were in perfect health. They kicked me loose with fourteen new stitches running up the side of my head and another ten across my forehead.
We climbed in the unmarked cruiser for the mile ride back to my condo.
“Are we just going back to your place?” Callie asked.
“Yeah, if you don’t care. I wouldn’t mind getting cleaned up and some sleep before we start clearing out the WITSEC house.”
“Where are we going to put all my stuff for the time being? I mean, I don’t have much personal stuff at the Marshal’s house, but I should get a place to live lined up first. All my stuff from my Miami apartment will have to come out of storage and be brought up.”
I glanced over at Callie sitting in the passenger seat.
She stared out the windshield. “I have enough money that I could just buy something if I wanted to. That might be an option. My grandparents left me a sizable inheritance.”
It was the first time she really spoke about any kind of family or money. Due to being in WITSEC, it now made sense why she never did. It would be a conversation for another time.
“Oh, um, I guess I didn’t know that you were going to look for a place. I kind of just figured you’d move in with me.”
Her attention came from the road in front of us and landed on me. “Is that an option?”
I flashed her a confused look. “Of course it’s an option. I mean we’re doing this right? Me, you, having a baby? It seems right that we should live together.”
I hung a left on Bayshore Boulevard.
“Are you asking me to move in with you?”
“Didn’t I kind of just do that?”
She smiled. “I haven’t heard the words yet.”
“Cal, you want to move in with me?”
“Yes.” She reached over and yanked me toward her. She kissed the side of my face.
I turned right into my condo’s driveway and pulled the car up to the gate. The code was punched in and the garage door of my underground parking opened. I drove toward my parking spot. The remains of my Corvette were gone. The fire department must have towed it away. All that was left where it sat was charred cement and a few puddles. We pulled into the spot and parked. I sat there quiet thinking about how much I’d miss that car. I wondered if my insurance was going to cover it.
“What are you thinking about, Babe?” Callie asked.
I looked over at her. She smiled. She was gorgeous. I’d do whatever I could to protect her, to protect our child, to protect us. The Corvette faded from my thoughts. I really did love her.
I smiled back. “Nothing.”
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