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Brenda was moving about her house throwing all the dirty clothes in the closet, dishes in the sink with no time to do them, and most importantly hiding all the candy wrappers. Sharon was coming over with dinner and even though she had been here many times before, Brenda still felt the need to clean up at least a little bit. She was in the bathroom making sure there was a fresh hand towel on the rack. No need to disappoint her mama by making a guest use a dirty towel. Brenda heard a knock and yelled, "Come on in, it's open!" She did one last look around and decided it was clean enough and headed out to the living room. As she rounded the corner, Brenda was shocked to see her prime suspect in her latest case pointing a gun at her.
Instinctively, she raised her hands and looked around for her purse. It was on the coffee table and too far away for her to get to.
"Martin," she said as calmly as she could, secretly wondering where the hell Sharon was.
"Do you want to live?" Martin said in a cold and calculating voice.
"Of course, I do. What do you want from me?"
"I want my family back."
There hadn't been enough evidence to arrest him in the homicides of his wife and two kids. Brenda was sure it was him, but he had played the grieving husband too well and Pope had made her release him.
"You know that's not possible Martin. They are dead, but I'm workin' really hard to catch their killer though."
Brenda heard the faint sound of a car door closing. The front door was slightly ajar, and she hoped Sharon would find that odd and not just knock and come in. She just needed to keep Martin distracted.
"Do you want to live?" He asked again.
"Martin, how about we sit down and talk for a minute?" Brenda took a step towards the chair closest to the coffee table.
"Don't move!" Martin looked a lot shakier than he had when she first discovered him in her living room.
"Ok, Martin," she said a little louder because she saw movement outside the door. "How 'bout you quit pointin' that gun at me and we can talk."
Brenda saw Sharon looking through the crack in the door and then she disappeared.
"What is it that you want Martin? Why did you come here?"
"I came here…" Martin met her eyes with his and she knew it was coming, "to kill you."
Sharon reappeared with a finger to her lips and her gun drawn.
"Why do you want to kill me?"
Sharon was almost directly behind him now.
"I just want to know why before you kill me." She stepped forward to distract him.
"I said don't move!"
Sharon put her gun to his head. "LAPD, drop your gun. Now!"
Brenda dove out of the way just as Martin fired.
"Drop the gun now!" Sharon yelled and Brenda could hear sirens in the background. Martin was still staring at Brenda from her crouched position behind the kitchen wall.
"Drop the gun, Martin," Brenda said. It seemed to snap him out of his haze. He looked around and saw Sharon for what seemed like the first time. He looked at the gun and back to Sharon.
"Drop the gun," Sharon said, not taking her eyes off him.
He dropped the gun and Brenda sprang into action, moving across the floor and grabbing the gun. She stood and pointed it at him.
"Martin, we are going to put handcuffs on you. For your own protection, ok?"
He just nodded his head and raised his hands. Sharon moved quickly and cuffed him just about the time four uniformed officers came busting in the door. Brenda lowered the weapon and watched it shake in her hands. She saw Sharon's hands come into view and cover hers. The gun was removed, and Brenda looked up and saw Sharon handing the gun to an officer. Her house was swarming with people now.
"Why don't we sit down for a minute?" Sharon said.
"Yeah, ok." Brenda let Sharon lead her to the couch and then the Captain walked away as her phone rang.
"Chief! Chief!" David Gabriel yelled coming into the room.
"I'm ok, David." Brenda said, turning to face him.
"What the hell happened?" He asked.
It all seemed to happen so fast and so slow at the same time. She wasn't even sure, but she wasn't going to show weakness to her team and especially Gabriel.
"I don't know. He kept askin' if I wanted to live. He seemed out of it. Maybe some sort of psychotic break or drugs I'm not really sure." Brenda looked up and saw the bullet hole in her wall. "He never answered my questions and he only fired once."
David ran his hands through his hair. "How did he know where you live?"
That was a good question. "No idea."
"What do you want us to do, Chief?"
"Go home, David. He's in custody. We can pick up in the mornin' but one thing before you go. Make sure they run a tox screen on him before anythin' has time to wear off."
"Sure thing, Chief." He pulled out his phone and started to walk away.
"Oh, and David, call the rest of the team. I don't want them hearin' through the grapevine."
He left and Brenda looked around again. There were crime scene techs and people everywhere. She saw Sharon across the room on the phone. Brenda watched as an officer approached, he looked really young and she wondered how long he had been out of the academy.
"Chief, I'm Officer Reynolds. I—uh—I need to get a statement for my report."
"That's ok Officer," Sharon butted in, "I will take care of that."
"Yes ma'am." He scurried off looking relieved. She wasn't sure which of them he was more scared of, but she was glad he was gone, nonetheless.
"Come on," Sharon said, offering her hand to pull the Chief up.
She took the offered hand. "Where are we goin'?"
She looked around, "Your house is a crime scene at least for tonight. We are going to my house."
Walking through Sharon's door was a relief. Her house was always so quiet, peaceful, and organized. Brenda watched the other woman move about flipping on lights and moving into the kitchen.
"You want some wine?" Sharon called from the kitchen.
Brenda sat her purse down next to Sharon's and then thought better of it. She felt the need to keep her gun close to her. She clutched the bag to her chest with both arms.
She heard Sharon's steps coming close. Brenda straightened up and watched her approach.
"Sorry, I'm comin'." They took a step closer to each other. Brenda chuckled. "Guess I just needed a minute to…well I don't know really."
"Come on, let's heat up our now very cold food."
Sharon turned back toward the kitchen and Brenda noticed the Captain's gun still on her belt. Brenda smiled and put her purse down and followed the other woman to the kitchen.
After dinner, they moved to the couch with their wine. Sharon was trying to find a way to bring up the events from earlier, but Brenda seemed to be especially closed off to conversation tonight. Having a close call usually just made Brenda avoid or change the subject, but tonight, she was almost silent, only responding when prompted.
Sharon sat on one end of the couch with her feet up on the middle cushion facing Brenda. They had opted for music instead of the TV tonight and it played quietly in the background. Sharon was going over different conversation starters in her head when Brenda jumped almost spilling her wine.
"Oh, shoot!" I'm sorry!"
Sharon sat her glass down and sat up. "Brenda, you can talk to me." She reached out her hand covering Brenda's, steadying them.
"I know, I know. But what's there to say?"
Sharon tilted her head, considering her words carefully. It was always a balance with Brenda and their friendship. Push, don't push, space, no space, feelings, hide the feelings…It was work just trying to be inside the circle.
"Do you trust me?" Sharon asked.
Brenda seemed to actually consider the question before answering. It made Sharon smirk. They had promised to be honest and not willingly deceive each other anymore in their personal and professional lives.
Sharon stood up and reached out her hands. Brenda allowed herself to be pulled up from the couch.
"Good. I trust you too, just so you know." They both smiled. "For future reference."
Brenda let out a small laugh. "Good to know."
"Come on, come with me."
She led them out of the condo and to the stairs next to the elevator. She looked back to make sure she was being followed. Brenda had a curious look on her face, but she was being compliant. They climbed the stairs and came to the roof exit. Sharon used her key and opened the door.
"Be careful and just follow me for a minute more."
It was dark, but Sharon knew the way by heart. Brenda stumbled the first few steps and Sharon offered a hand to balance her. A few more steps and they rounded the corner. Sharon reached out to the wall and flipped a switch.
All these little twinkle lights came on above them. Brenda smiled and looked around. There were potted plants, two lounge chairs, and a table all on a big decorative rug. It was beautiful. The lights of the city twinkled in the night sky past the building's edges.
"Wow, it's beautiful up here, Sharon."
"I saved the maintenance guy from a wrongful conviction a while back and in return, he helped me set this up. No one but me and him, and now you I guess, know about it." Sharon cleared her throat and looked around. "I come up here sometimes when all that down there gets to be too much."
"Sharon Raydor with her own secret escape place. Who woulda guessed?" Brenda smirked. "Guess none of us are invincible, huh?"
They shared a look of understanding. Then all of a sudden, Sharon yelled into the sky, "Aaahhhhhhhh!"
Brenda watched in shock and then noticed how Sharon's face changed as she stared at the stars after yelling. Brenda shrugged and then let out a scream of her own. Sharon joined in and they just yelled into the abyss for a little bit. When they were done, they collapsed into the chairs, laughing.
"And sometimes," Sharon said through the laughs, "I just need to scream."
Brenda turned her head and looked at Sharon, "I think I need to scream."
"Sometimes it helps." Sharon said quietly.
"When Martin had that gun pointed at me, I just kept thinkin' that it was going to be ok because you were goin' to be there soon." Brenda let out a sigh.
"I'm glad I was."
"Somehow, Sharon, in the past year we've gone from enemies to…well now you're the only person who I can call my friend. Thank you."
"Oh, Brenda Leigh Johnson, you're a complicated woman, but I'm proud to have you as a friend."
They both turned back to look at the sky.
"Hey," she looked at Sharon.
"Hmm," the Captain responded.
"Do you have any chocolate?"
Sharon laughed. "Yeah, come on I've got a secret stash just for you."
"How many more secrets do you have, Captain Raydor?"