Jamie let her shoulders slouch as she stepped off the elevator on her floor, her bag slapping against her leg as she walked towards her apartment. Another terrific day at work, she thought dismally. At least she still had her job. She couldn't imagine working at any other firm, with any other people.
"Not that I'd be able to find another job if I were fired," she mumbled under her breath.
As she slid her key into the lock, Jamie heard the elevator doors open again and quick footsteps falling on the laminate.
"Hey!" a girl's voice called before Jamie had time to switch the key from the main lock to the deadbolt. She looked up. "You gotta help me." Jamie took in the girl's appearance. Maybe sixteen, she was skinny, with brown eyes and long, messy, blonde hair. Dirty jeans, a faded-pink, hooded sweater.
"Do you live here?" Jamie asked. The girl shook her head.
"Then," Jamie frowned. "How did you get in?" The building had a secure door. You either had keys or were let up over the intercom system.
"Well, yes, my parents live here." She looked nervously towards the elevator. "Look just let me in for like ten minutes, until he's gone."
"Until who's gone?" Jamie asked, as the elevator announced another arrival.
"Just...quick dammit!" Jamie turned the deadbolt and opened the door, the girl brushing past her and into the apartment. Jamie pulled the door closed as footsteps rounded the corner. She turned her head and smiled at the man she was approaching, opening the door as if for the first time and entering as he passed.
As Jamie entered her apartment, she saw the girl standing in the kitchen, looking in the fridge.
"Wanna tell me what's going on?" Jamie asked, arms crossed as she locked the door, put her bag on the kitchen bench and approached her. "How old are you?"
"Fifteen," was the reply. "Can I have that apple?" Jamie shrugged.
"Sure. What's your name?"
"Natalie," the girl replied.
"Is that your real name?" Jamie asked. Natalie looked up, her eyes narrowed as she took a bite of the apple and closed the fridge door.
"Yes," she answered curtly. "Look I didn't mean to intrude you know, but you were right there and there was nowhere else I could think of to go."
"You said your parents lived in here."
"Well I lied," Natalie replied. "Listen, don't sweat it-"
"Where do you live Natalie?"
"How did you get into this building?"
"I have a key. I followed this couple in one day and went down to the super and got a key. We have mutual friends."
"Who was that man?"
"You sure ask a lot of questions."
"You're standing in my apartment," Jamie answered. "And I have no idea who you are. Should I frisk you for a weapon, or for drugs?"
"I don't do that shit." Jamie raised an eyebrow. "What are you, a lawyer?"
"Yes," Jamie answered. "My name's Jamie."
"Oh shit," Natalie whispered, her eyes growing wide. "For real?"
"Ahuh," Jamie nodded. "What do you come to this building if you don't live here?" Natalie shrugged. "Natalie, I can call the police."
"But I haven't done anything wrong!"
"I don't want to call them, but you're fifteen. I don't want you to walk back out there if whoever you were running from is waiting. I'm sure you don't want that either. So we can either sit down and you can tell me the story, the real one, or I can call the police and they can take you home."
"I don't have a home."
"Then social services can find you one." Natalie frowned.
"Try me," Jamie answered. "Sit. I'll get you a drink." Natalie rolled her eyes but obeyed, taking a seat on the couch. Jamie returned with a glass of water, which Natalie drank. There was a silence as Jamie waited for her to proceed.
"Right well, I ran away from home."
"What does that matter?" Jamie raised an eyebrow. "I'm trying to go straight okay? But he won't let me."
"Who won't let you?"
"Do you work for him?"
"Do I look like his skanky ho?" Natalie snapped.
"No," Jamie answered. "That doesn't mean you aren't."
"I don't do it any more okay? I'm trying to go straight."
"So you're living in the basement of this place with the super?"
"Not with him, jeez that's gross. It's a place to stay, it's a nice place to stay. Mitch must've followed me hey, because I didn't tell anyone about this place!" She looked at Jamie seriously. "He wants to kill me, you know."
"The man in the hallway," Jamie replied. "Was in a suit and tie. He had a brown beard-"Natalie shook her head.
"Then it wasn't him then. Mitch is black, and all, and he always wears these jeans and this black shirt with a jacket."
"Why is he looking for you?"
"He thinks I owe him money, he won't let me leave. I haven't turned a trick in a couple months. He thinks I was taking a cut."
"Well, yeah," Natalie smirked. "But I needed it to move on, you know? It wasn't much."
"Where's the money?"
"He found it," Natalie shook her head, looking at her lap, her hair falling across her face. "It was with my stuff downstairs. Two thousand dollars."
"Was that everything?"
"Do you have somewhere to stay tonight?" Jamie asked.
"The shelter's full cos it's raining." Natalie shrugged. "It's no problem." Jamie shook her head.
"Look, I don't have anywhere for you to stay here, but I have a friend... I think he'll let you stay the night."
"Are you serious?" Natalie asked.
"Let me call him."
"Him?" Natalie asked, eyes wide. Jamie smiled.
"He won't hurt you. He might lock you in your room for the night so you don't steal anything, but that's about all."
"I can deal with that," Natalie smiled as Jamie reached for the phone.
The next morning, Alan opened the door for Jamie and let her in.
"How is she?" she asked. Alan folded his arms across his chest, thinking.
"Pregnant," he declared.
"Alan, that's statutory rape." Alan chuckled.
"I should be offended, but I'm not. Come in, your social cause is upstairs throwing up. A little fact she neglected to tell you?" Jamie looked around, dumbfounded. "Admitted it pretty quickly when I asked what was wrong." Jamie and Alan both turned as footsteps sounded on the stairs.
"Feeling better?" Alan asked. Natalie was dressed in her same clothes from last night. She shrugged.
"You're pregnant?" Jamie asked. Natalie sighed.
"Yeah. I'm only like two months. The money I was saving was to get away and then when I found out, it was gonna go towards an abortion."
"Oh my God," Jamie sighed, turning her back for a moment.
"Who's the father?" Alan asked.
"Your pimp?" Natalie looked at him as though he was asking a stupid question.
"Yeah," she replied. "He raped me."
"He raped you?" Jamie asked, turning to face Natalie once again.
"Yeah," Natalie repeated in the same indignant tone. "Look if you're wondering why I didn't press charges, they never believe the girl, even if she's from a good home, you know? No one's gonna believe me."
"Does this Mitch know?" Alan asked. Natalie shrugged.
"Don't think so. He just wants his money."
"But he's got the money," Jamie stated.
"You don't understand okay? I owe him."
"You don't owe him anything," Alan answered.
"There's something strange going on with that girl," Alan announced as they got into his car, sharing the ride into work.
"I agree, I do," Jamie replied. "But what if she's telling the truth? Shouldn't I, I don't know, try to help?"
"Mm," Alan hummed. "Be careful Jamie. She could be completely bull shitting us both."
"Free food?" Alan suggested. "I don't know. Does she seem genuine to you?"
"She seems smart," Jamie answered.
"I know, that comment about rape trials seemed odd."
"She couldn't have run away from home that long ago. Do you know anyone who-"
"Could do a little digging?" Alan continued, nodding. "I'll see what I can do."
"You're late," Eugene declared as Jamie and Alan entered the conference room, everyone else packing up to leave.
"Sorry, our orgy ran overtime this morning," Alan answered with a smile. "Anything happen I should know about?"
That night, Jamie was sitting at her desk when she was distracted by Tara dragging her chair across to sit opposite her. Jamie looked up.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"I'm not one to gossip but I have it on good authority Ellenor does not like you," Tara began. Jamie chuckled.
"Yeah, what gave you that impression?"
"I heard her talking to Eugene."
"What about?" Jamie asked.
"You and Alan coming in late. Are you sleeping with him?"
"Alan?" Jamie asked. Tara nodded. "No!" Jamie exclaimed. "That's...the stupidest thing I've heard today, and after my two misdemeanour assaults that's saying something." Tara sighed.
"Good," she answered. Jamie smiled slyly. "It's not like that."
"Oh yeah," Jamie continued.
"Ellenor thinks the opposite," Tara informed her. "She told Eugene she was right."
"About what?" Jamie asked.
"That you're not to be trusted around men." Jamie frowned, her mouth opening in a silent protest. "I just thought you should know, to be extra careful."
"Thanks," Jamie answered. "Tara." Tara caught her eyes. "Do you think I did the right thing, with Eugene?"
"Well," Tara thought, her eyes drifting off to the side. "I can't be sure. What's this about you being Jewish? I'm Catholic. I don't go to mass. I've never heard you mention Rosh Hashanah either. Religion has nothing to do with sex, no matter how much all those old men tell you otherwise." Jamie smiled.
"It's not religion. I told him I wasn't interested," Jamie confided.
"You don't sound convinced."
"We work together Tara."
"Yes," Tara replied in her polished accent. "And?"
"And look what that did to Bobby and Lindsey!"
"I only knew Lindsey for a short time."
"So did I. Bobby and Eugene, Tara, they're the same."
"You're not Lindsey."
"No but, but if Bobby couldn't make it work, what makes me think Eugene could. I'm not Lindsey, but I'm not that different either."
"I like you better," Tara concluded. Jamie smiled softly. "So you're telling me you lied to Eugene?"
"I just...I could feel him drifting, you know? Work is life, life is work-"
"Did it ever occur to you that maybe he would forget that if you turned up naked one night?" Jamie laughed.
"Eugene has been permanently distracted."
"He still is. Only this time, perhaps it's for a different reason," Tara answered, standing from her chair. "For what it's worth, I think he would reconsider-"Jamie shook her head.
"No, I can't. I can't just take it back."
"He didn't fire Alan because Alan was helping you, you know that, right?"
"No," Jamie answered. Tara smiled.
"You're lying, Jamie." Jamie returned the smile.
"Don't you have a class tonight?"
Jamie entered her apartment to find Natalie sitting at her kitchen bench.
"Hi," she greeted, dumping her things on the bench before she focussed and saw what Natalie was looking at.
A bloody knife.
"Natalie," Jamie continued, urging the girl to make eye contact. "Are you hurt?" Natalie shook her head. "Where did you get that knife from?"
"Your drawer." Just great, Jamie thought.
"Whose blood is that?" Natalie shrugged as the phone rang. Jamie kept a close eye on her as she reached blindly for the phone. "Hello?"
"Jamie, Alan. Did you just get home?"
"Yes. We have a situation."
"Oh, I think that's obvious."
"Why?" Jamie asked.
"Because there's a dead body in my driveway. I just got home too. What a lovely surprise." Jamie cringed. "A large, black man. The police just reached into his back pocket and declared his name was Mitchell Harris. You haven't happened to have seen Natalie, have you?"
"I'll take her down to the station."
"Are you okay?" Alan asked Jamie softly as he moved to stand beside her. She nodded. "It seems Natalie went to the clinic today and had the termination."
"We could argue diminished capacity," Jamie reasoned.
"She then went to your house, retrieved a knife, made a phone call using your phone to Mitch and arranged to meet him at my house."
"How does that automatism thing work?" Jamie asked, trying to be light. Alan touched the small of Jamie's back gently.
"I'm sorry Jamie."
An officer cleared his throat behind them and they turned, coming face to face with Mike.
"We have a problem," he declared. "The victim is not Mitchell Harris." Alan frowned.
"Well who is he?"
"Jason Harris. His brother."
"I...what?" Jamie asked.
"She's not talking."
"Have you found the family yet?" Alan asked.
"Yeah, they're on their way in," Mike answered.
"Will Jamie be safe going home?"
"Should be okay to pack," Mike nodded. "You should both find somewhere else to stay tonight. There's something else, which gives me cause for concern."
"What?" Jamie asked.
"The prints on the knife Natalie removed from your drawer. Hers weren't the only prints on it. Mitchell Harris' prints were on it also. One of them killed Jason. One is in there, but how many fifteen year old white girls do you know who could take down someone like Jason, face-first?"
"Good point," Alan nodded. "Jimmy's coming in to speak with her."
Alan pulled out his cell phone as they entered Jamie's apartment so she could pack a bag.
"Tara, hi," Alan began. "You got room for Jamie tonight?" Tara was about to reply when there was a knock on Jamie's door. "I'll call you back," Alan added. "Sweet dreams."
He opened the door as Jamie came out of her room, tying her hair into a bun high on her head.
"Eugene," Alan greeted.
"What is going on?" Eugene asked, glancing at Jamie. "Jimmy called me and said you were both involved in a murder tonight."
"Well that's an exaggeration," Alan answered. "Just because both our houses are crime scenes." Eugene looked at him blankly.
"Why did Jimmy call you?" Jamie asked.
"Oh I don't know. Maybe he was a little surprised and thought I might like to be informed, as senior partner, that you've been harbouring a fugitive."
"She's fifteen," Jamie stated, before turning and shaking her head. "Never mind."
"Do you need a place to stay?" Eugene's question caught her off-guard and she froze, before slowly turning to face him.
"I'm going to stay with Tara." Eugene nodded.
"Fine. I'll see you tomorrow." After Eugene left, Alan raised his eyebrows.
"Crash and burn, Jamie," he said. Jamie sighed.
"Don't you start."
"The guy just asked you to sleep with him!" Jamie rolled her eyes.
"He did not."
"Uh...yeah, he did."
"Well it's not like that anymore."
"And whose fault is that?"
"Does everyone I work with know what went on?" Jamie exclaimed.
"I think Jimmy's a little hazy. You know how he is when you start mentioning religion and race, we're trying to be discrete," Alan answered. "Are you packed?" Jamie growled, returning to her room.
Jamie and Tara turned up for work on time the next day.
"Here she is," Alan greeted.
"Jamie," Ellenor began. "Are you ready for court this morning?"
"Tara and I went over it last night," Jamie nodded.
"Did you get any sleep?"
"No," Jamie smiled. "But I'm less tired than I would have been if I'd only had an hour or two."
"Right," Ellenor added. "Once you're done, we need to talk." Jamie nodded.
Jamie entered the conference room and found Ellenor, Eugene, Alan and Jimmy already there.
"How'd it go?" Jimmy asked. Jamie smiled.
"Well, I think." She took a seat.
"I spoke with Natalie's parents," Ellenor began. "They're from a nice neighbourhood, both work full time. She ran away from home a year ago. They'd only managed to find her once before, but they said she didn't want to be found. She was on drugs."
"Which drugs?" Jamie asked.
"Marijuana, cocaine," Ellenor shrugged. "They couldn't be sure. They didn't think it was heroin. Her tox screen has come back clean." Jamie nodded.
"She was trying to go straight."
"And you believed her?" Jimmy asked. Jamie frowned.
"What reason do I have not to? She wasn't violent, a little bitchy, but she's just a kid."
"The police have also determined," Ellenor continued. "That she did not deliver the stab wounds to the victim. She's not tall enough to deliver that particular directional blow."
"That doesn't make any sense," Alan declared.
"She's made a statement," Jimmy replied. "She was in a relationship with Jason, the victim. She calls Jason to meet her at Alan's house, and she takes a knife as protection. She said Mitch must have worked it all out because he was there too, he and Jason began fighting, and Mitch killed him."
"How did Mitch get the knife?"
"Natalie said she took it out to defend herself, but that Mitch pulled a gun and told her to give him the knife. She didn't think she had a choice."
"How did she end up back at Jamie's house?" Alan asked. "Why didn't he kill her too?"
"She said Mitch took her back there to look for the money."
"Natalie told me he already had the money," Jamie interrupted.
"Mitch didn't believe he had it all, and they went back to your place to take whatever they could find to sell off, so she could pay back her debt. He didn't take anything, he left and then you came in."
"Why didn't he take anything?" Ellenor asked.
"She said he went into Jamie's room, and after a few minutes came out and said he was leaving, and told Natalie to stay right where she was. He left quickly."
"What's in your room, Jamie?" Ellenor asked. Jamie thought.
"Uh...I'm not sure."
"You're not telling me there's nothing in there worth stealing? No jewellery, no money-"
"No, all my jewellery was still there."
"Well something changed his mind."
Jamie took a seat opposite Natalie in juvenile detention.
"I hear your parents came to visit," Jamie began, smiling. Natalie nodded. "Isn't that what you wanted, a second chance?"
"I don't know," Natalie replied. "I'm stuck in here, aren't I?"
"We'll see what we can do about that, okay? Listen, why did Mitch care so much?"
"About me and Jason?" Jamie nodded. Natalie shrugged. "Maybe because he's twice my age. I dunno." Jamie raised her eyebrow. "Mitch was always coming onto me, you know? I wasn't lying when I told you he raped me. Jason found out and confronted his little brother. I got out of there. Maybe Mitch thought I was going to the cops, but that's when I ran into your building. While he was following me, Jason stole some of Mitch's money from the safe. It was for me, to help me."
"You arranged to meet with Jason so he could give you the money," Jamie stated. Natalie nodded.
"Except Mitch found out, followed us."
"Why did you and he come back to my apartment?"
"I told the police and the lawyers this already. He was looking for more and made me take him to where I was staying."
"But you don't know for sure if he found what he was looking for."
"It's not like we were having a real deep conversation," Natalie answered.
Eugene tapped on Jamie's door, only to find it partly open. Frowning, he pushed the door open and stepped inside.
"Jamie?" he asked, making his way around the small apartment.
"What are you doing back here?" Ellenor asked as Jamie walked into the office later that night. Jamie sighed.
"Working," Jamie answered.
"What about you, don't you have Zoe to go home to? Why stay here?"
"I was just about to pack up." Jamie smiled, sitting down at her desk as Ellenor closed the filing cabinet.
"By the way," Jamie began. "I'm not sleeping with Alan. Give me some credit." Ellenor smirked.
"Tara? I knew she was listening."
"Nice to know everyone thinks so highly of me."
"Eugene's hurting, Jamie."
"So? So am I, dammit!" Ellenor looked at Jamie pointedly as her eyes welled with tears. "Sorry," she added. "I'm just going to go."
Jamie entered her dark apartment, unlocking the front door and heading inside. She cracked her neck to the side, flicking the light switch. She swore when it didn't work, heading into her bedroom to find the torch.
Twenty minutes later Alan returned to Jamie's apartment with the superintendent in tow. He'd arrived five minutes earlier. No answer from inside, even though Jamie's car was parked in its spot. No one had been able to contact her after she'd left Ellenor at work, and Alan was worried.
The super unlocked the door and Alan walked in first, flicking the light switch.
"Power problems?" Alan asked.
"Nope," the super answered, reaching into his belt and removing a small torch. He flicked the light towards the bulb and found it missing. Alan glanced upwards.
"Jamie?" Alan called, gesturing for the torch. He heard a soft groan from the bedroom and raised his eyebrows as he flicked the torch in that direction. When the light caught Jamie's heeled shoes Alan moved quickly.
He dropped the torch on the ground beside an unconscious Jamie as he dropped to his knees, turning her onto her side and pulling her hair off her face, pushing it behind her ears. His fingers caught a trickle of blood from her hairline and she whimpered, coming to.
Jamie reached up and grabbed onto Alan's arm, digging her nails in.
"Ow," Alan exclaimed, listening to the super use the phone to call an ambulance. "Jeez Jamie." Jamie sobbed and Alan shut up immediately.
"Can you hear me?" he asked. "It's Alan, you're okay sweetheart." He ran his fingers through her hair after pulling her into his lap, holding onto her tightly. Jamie's eyes fluttered.
"Alan?" she voiced.
"That's me," he answered.
"Eugene, was here," Jamie added, before her eyes closed again.
Eugene stared at Alan as Alan's hand rested firmly in the centre of Eugene's chest outside Jamie's room later that night.
"Not so fast."
"Excuse me?" Eugene asked.
"You were at Jamie's earlier tonight?"
"Yeah, she wasn't home. I left her a note."
"Did the light work?"
"No," Eugene shook his head.
"How did you write the note then?"
"I didn't say it was neatly written," Eugene replied. "Now, can I see her?" Alan watched Eugene, and nodded, letting him pass.
Jamie was propped up against several pillows, her knees pulled up. She opened her eyes when she heard the door, but the smile Eugene had come to expect never eventuated.
"Hi," he began. "How are you feeling?"
"Like someone hit me over the head with a chunk of metal," Jamie replied. Eugene approached the bed, lifting the hair from her cheeks and pushing it behind her ear, before gently touching the tape covering the wound.
"How many stitches?" he asked.
"Four," she answered. "You can't do that you know," Jamie continued softly.
"Do what?" Eugene asked, his voice gentle. Jamie shut her eyes against tears.
"If you won't let me touch you, you can't just decide to touch me."
"Can I sit?" Eugene asked, dropping his hand. Jamie nodded, shifting over for him to sit. The mattress dipped to accommodate his weight and Jamie found herself slipping back until their knees were side by side, hers covered by the hospital blankets. Jamie reached out and rested her hand palm-up against Eugene's leg. He hesitated, before covering it with his own, their fingers twisting together.
"You think we should interrupt?" Alan asked as he and Tara peered in.
"They look like they're about to have it out Alan," Tara replied.
"Is that a yes?"
"That's a no you...stupidhead."
"That's mature, Tara."
"It's late, shut up."
"I never meant to hurt you," Jamie whispered.
"What did I do...wrong?" Eugene asked, almost mechanically. Jamie smiled.
"My ex-wife told me she wasn't interested too, so it has to be something I keep doing, that I'm not aware of."
"You want the truth?" Jamie asked. Eugene nodded.
"You're brilliant Eugene. You've accomplished so much and you command respect. You spend so much time defending other people though, that you forget to defend yourself, to defend me, or us. Maybe you think I don't understand what you feel, because I'm white. It never bothered me Eugene. Did you think it did?"
"Not until you brought it up," Eugene answered.
"You have to believe me. I don't care what colour our skins are. Although, you're a little old for me-"Eugene pouted and Jamie grinned.
"Nice to see you've kept your sense of humour."
"I could see where we were headed Eugene," Jamie continued more seriously. "We were together because, we just were. I didn't feel like you particularly wanted me there-"Eugene began to protest but Jamie cut him off. "Maybe that's not the case, but I never knew. We were living together and we'd never even said 'I love you'. Doesn't that strike you as odd?" Eugene shrugged. "I know you're a man of few words," Jamie smiled softly. "I don't need to hear it every time we talk, but we were losing sight of us, and I couldn't sit back and know, within myself, that we were beginning to resemble a certain other couple who worked in this same firm together. Look where they ended up. Lindsey was at least trying. I never told you how I felt either."
"I'm not Bobby."
"Do you remember one of our first conversations? In your car," Jamie urged. "Bobby wasn't capable of sustaining a relationship outside work, and I asked if you thought you were?"
"I'm not sure you are, Eugene. It's not a bad thing. It's just who you are." Eugene looked at their hands.
"I didn't know you felt like that," he answered.
"I know we weren't just a thing. It wasn't no big deal," Jamie continued gently. "Tell me how I can make this better. I want to fix this, but I need you to match me Eugene."
"I thought you weren't interested any more," Eugene replied.
"You interest me. I saw the iceberg coming and I jumped before the boat sank, but I left you up there to deal with it all by yourself. I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry." Jamie chuckled.
"We're both sorry then. Listen um, do you mind if I sleep now? They've got me on these really great tablets but they're making me a little dizzy." Eugene nodded.
"Will you stay?"
"Do you want me to?" Jamie smiled, nodding as she lay further down against the bed. Eugene remained seated beside her, holding her hand as she closed her eyes. "Jamie."
"Yes?" Jamie asked, looking up at him. Eugene leant over, giving her time to push him away – she didn't – before kissing her softly. Jamie's eyes fluttered closed against his face and one hand held him to her as she returned the kiss.
"I'm glad you're okay," Eugene answered as they locked eyes. "Tomorrow, I'll take you home." Jamie nodded. "Sleep."
Jamie opened her eyes to see Alan perched on the side of her bed the next day.
"Hi," she yawned, reaching up to touch her stitches. Yep, still there, she said to herself.
"Morning. Don't worry, I wasn't ogling." Jamie smiled.
"What can I do for you Alan?"
"How you feeling?" Jamie shrugged.
"I've been sent to ask you a question." Jamie listened patiently. "Are you sure Eugene wasn't the one to clobber you over the head?"
"Yes," Jamie answered.
"But it was dark. You're not even sure what he hit you with."
"I can take a guess it was this gun Mitch was meant to have pulled on Natalie."
"Mm, very likely. Speaking of Natalie, she's been released. She's promised Jimmy she'll stay in the shelter until this whole mess is fixed up."
"Good," Jamie answered as the door opened and Tara entered carrying two coats and a small overnight bag. They smiled at each other.
"Have you been released yet?" Tara asked.
"Pretty much. I have until uh, one, to clear myself out of here. Eugene's meant to come by about noon, but-"Jamie let Tara finish, smirking.
"He's been called into court," Tara explained. "I drove by and picked up some clean clothes for you, and I have strict instructions to take you back to his place, no detours."
"No detours?" Alan asked. "You mean you can't stop for icecream?" Tara shrugged.
"I guess not," Jamie replied, chuckling.
Jamie sighed as Eugene held her neck, carefully supporting her head as they made out lying on the couch that night.
"Okay?" he whispered between kisses. She nodded, bending her knee around his hip to draw him closer.
They both froze at the knock on the door.
"Shit," Jamie whispered, relaxing her head as it fell against the pillow and Eugene's hands. He smiled, touching her cheek momentarily as he pushed himself off the couch. Jamie was thrilled to see the tender smile on his face before he turned away. She sat up, pulling the blanket from along the back of the couch and tugging it around herself.
"Mike, hi," Eugene began.
"Is Jamie here?"
"Yeah," Eugene sighed. "Come in." Mike lead the way, and Jamie smiled at him as he took a seat beside her.
"How you going?"
"Good," Jamie nodded, her cheeks pink.
"Really? You look a little flushed." Jamie cast a satisfied glance towards Eugene and he cleared his throat, embarrassed. Mike caught on quickly. "Sorry to drop by without calling," he continued. "Um, there was a break-in at your apartment. One of your neighbours called us and we were able to apprehend the suspect. He was empty-handed. Mitchell Harris."
"What was he doing there?" Eugene asked, moving forward to stand behind Jamie, his hands resting on cushions either side of her head.
"Not much, according to him. We hit him with the murder allegations and he's singing though. Apparently, he and Natalie arranged to kill Jason together. She arranged to meet Jason to receive the cash he stole from Mitch. She called Mitch, knowing he would want to go after Jason. I sent some people over to the shelter to pick her up, but she was gone."
"Not surprised," Eugene sighed. Jamie bit her bottom lip.
"You haven't heard from her, have you Jamie?" Mike asked.
"No," she answered.
"The good news is your place is a mess, but nothing appears permanently damaged. No broken glass or snapped table legs... Do you have any idea where she would go?" Jamie shook her head. "As well as that, Harris had a weapon on him when he was arrested. Forensics actually found a long, blonde hair twisted into the barrel. All we need is a DNA sample from you, and we'll probably be able to charge him with your assault."
"You know what's weird?" Jamie began after thinking for a minute.
"It appears that Natalie set Mitch up for Jason's murder, right? And assuming Jason did give her that money, she may also have what Mitch is looking for. Or she knows where it is, at least." Mike nodded.
"At this stage that is the most likely explanation."
"Well um, when I went to visit her, she said she took Mitch to where she was staying. My place. So he could look for whatever it is he wanted to make some cash."
"That's right," Mike nodded.
"Yeah but she wasn't staying with me," Jamie shook her head. "She was staying with Alan."
"Where is Alan?" Eugene asked. Mike was about to reply when his phone rang. He excused himself, moments later excusing himself once again. He had to leave; they'd had a call from Alan.
Eugene returned after letting Mike out. Jamie pulled her legs up onto the couch as he sat on the edge by her waist.
"Now, where were we?" he asked, resting his hand on her stomach. Jamie glanced up at him seriously, curling her fingers around the back of his neck and pulling him down towards her.
"About freaking time," Alan joked as he opened the door to Mike and two uniformed officers. "This way."
Alan led them into the living room.
"Look Natalie, friends of yours," he stated calmly. Mike smirked. Alan had tied her to a chair.
"I want to press charges," Natalie declared.
"You don't look bruised," Mike replied, untying her, his handcuffs ready. "Why are your sleeves wet?" he asked. Natalie remained tight-lipped.
"Allow me," Alan declared. Mike cuffed Natalie and handed her over to one of the uniforms to hold, while he followed Alan into the next room. "I caught her with her hand in the tank," he continued. Rolling up his sleeve, he reached in and dragged his hand along the bottom of the tank, scooping a few stones into his palm. As he removed his hand, water dripped back into the tank.
"Rocks," the uniformed officer shrugged.
"Guess again," Alan grinned.
"You're not serious," Mike drawled slowly, raking through the rocks in Alan's outstretched hand.
"I do think you should take these to be checked out. They appear to be uncut diamonds."
"No shit," Mike shook his head. "This is what the big deal was?"
"Several million dollars worth, if those rocks down there all match these. I certainly didn't put them in there."
Mike gave Alan a suspicious glance. Alan raised his eyebrows.
"Comfortable?" Eugene asked as they sat down to watch a movie after dinner. Jamie laughed.
"I'm fine, thankyou. You can stop blaming yourself now."
"Oh please," Jamie shook her head before reciting the note he'd left. "Jamie, sorry I let myself in. Looks like I just missed you. We need to talk. Eugene."
"Jimmy told me that you told Mike you think you might've passed Mitch on your way out, and it was only minutes before I came home." Jamie turned to face him. "If you had hung around, which you had no reason to do at that time, you probably would've been shot with that gun. This way, I got off a lot easier. Maybe we both did." Eugene managed a small smile, which Jamie returned hesitantly. "We still have a lot of work to do, don't we?" she asked. Eugene nodded, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and pulling her closer as the movie started. Not long afterwards, the last thing Jamie recalled before falling asleep was the feeling of Eugene's lips against her forehead.