Tired of it All
Mady Bay – 1, 2005
"You're late, Edwards."
"Sorry, Boss. Long night." Detective Danny Edwards took a sip from his coffee mug, then waved a greeting to the other detectives in the room: Chris Gains, Sean Harrison and John DeClan.
Captain Terry Harada nodded his head and continued the briefing, despite the murmuring and snickering of his detectives as to why Edwards was late.
"Nice hickey," Declan whispered with a smirk. He was disappointed at first when Danny ignored him, but then smiled as Danny, while covering a yawn with his right hand, wiggled that middle finger at him.
"Gains, Edwards," Harada spoke up, getting his detective's attention back, "you two will be on the beach."
"We get to be lifeguards?" Chris asked, hopefully, only to get a look from Harada and more snickers from the others.
"Tourists," Harada corrected.
Danny mumbled, stifling a yawn, "You be the camera happy one this time. I'll be checking out the bikinis."
Harada smiled, and continued, "Sean and John will be inside the beach house making the deal."
"What time's the meet?" Chris asked.
"High noon," Sean replied smoothly.
Danny was about to say something but another yawn stopped his comment.
"Yo, sleeping beauty, you gonna make it?" John asked.
"Just need some more coffee," Danny replied, emptying the mug he held.
Terry and Sean finished the briefing, fleshing out the details of the meet with one of the newer drug dealers in town. When the meeting was over, Danny and Chris headed back to their desks in the bullpen. Danny opened up the large thermos bottle he'd left on top of his desk and poured some more coffee into his mug.
Chris, seeing the thermos, shook his head as he asked, "You're back together again, aren't you?"
"Yup," Danny replied, taking several sips of the hot liquid and sighing in satisfaction.
Chris looked skeptical. He'd heard every sordid detail of Danny's three month-long relationship with Linda Lewis, the coffee girl at Javalina's Coffee Shop. The sex, the romance, the sex, the fights, the make-up sex, the break up... Now he'll have to hear about more make up sex... He shook his head and booted up his computer, needing to work on a case.
But he looked again at his partner. Despite Danny's current state of happiness, he knew it wouldn't last. Within a week Linda would break up again. He didn't know what the woman's problem was - why she needed to exert this control over Danny. He was equally flabbergasted as to why Danny put up with it - there were plenty of other women interested in his partner. But for the past three months, since Danny had met Linda at the hospital while he was recovering from a gunshot wound, it had been just her.
Oblivious to Chris's concerned looks, Danny had already started typing something at his computer.
About twenty minutes later, Chris looked over to see Danny with his head down on his desk. He threw a pencil at his partner, hitting him on the head.
"Huh? Wha-?" Danny mumbled, picking his head up and looking around.
"Wake up, sleepyhead," Chris teased.
"Ha, ha," Danny replied sarcastically, throwing the pencil back at Chris.
"Oh, you're just gonna be just so much fun at the beach today. Keep it up and I'll have to sit you on a bench with the old ladies," Chris teased.
Danny replied by waving a finger in Chris's direction.
Chris laughed and rose from his desk. "Gotta go ask Harada something," he said and walked toward the Captain's office.
Three hours later, the detectives were at the beach, covertly keeping their attention on the beach house to their right. Sean and John had been in there for about twenty minutes so far.
"You'd think they'd have things figured out by now," Danny groused.
"You heard what Sean said about this guy he's skittish. Still a newbie," Chris replied.
"Not so newbie that he's got a reputation already," Danny countered. He stopped and admired a bikini clad body walking by. "Good afternoon," he greeted the woman, adding a wink.
"You're such a slut," Chris told him.
"You say that like it's a bad thing."
"Heads up, they're coming out," Chris said, returning his attention to the beach house.
They watched as Sean gave them a subtle tip of his ball cap, telling them that all went well. Chris and Danny stayed on the beach until after their target left the beach house, as well.
Back at the station, a little while later, Sean and John filled everyone in on what went on with Louie Cassavetti, their drug dealer. Cassavetti would be calling them in a day or two and setting up a buy.
"So what's the deal with you and Linda? This morning you're basking in the sunshine of love, yet, out there on the beach, you're eyeing anything in a two-piece," Chris asked as he and Danny were getting ready to leave the station for the night. "She breaks up with you, then wants you back..."
"I don't know," Danny replied with a shrug. "Just one of those relationships, I guess."
"I don't get it," Chris said, shaking his head. "Why the hell do you put up with it? I mean, there are sooo many other women out there, who've got to be just as good as Linda in bed, that you could at least... I don't know, think long term with?"
"We don't want anything long term. We're just looking to have a good time."
"A good time?" Chris asked, skeptically.
"You guess! Jeez, Danny! No wonder you keep breaking up and making up!"
"She's the one who does it all. I just go along with it," Danny replied with a shrug.
Chris shook his head. "I give up. I don't get you. I don't want to get you." He waved and headed toward the office door. "I'll see you tomorrow, partner."
"Mornin', Chris," Danny mumbled out as he slowly made his way through the bullpen and over to his desk.
Chris raised his eyebrow in question as he looked at his partner. "You're bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning," he said sarcastically. "That a sign of not getting sleep or not getting sleep?" he asked. Then, "Shit, I had to ask."
"I got a wonderful night's sleep, thank you," Danny replied, taking the seat at his desk.
Chris looked at his partner carefully. Saw the lack of thermos on Danny's desk. "Shit. That was quick, only one day this time?"
"Doncha wanna hear about last night?"
"Nope," Chris replied simply. "Don't want to know."
Danny just shrugged. "She thinks I'm cheating on her," he said.
"I told her about working the beach. She thinks I'm getting paid to flirt."
"La la la la la!"
"I guess I was, though, yesterday, huh?"
"I'm leaving!" Chris called out, rising from his desk chair and heading toward Captain Harada's office.
"Best damn job around!" Danny said with a smile. Then he leaned over, grabbed Chris's coffee cup and drained it.
"Midnight?" Chris groaned. "This Cassavetti guy has some superstition about the number twelve or something? Every time you deal with him it's gotta be either at noon or midnight."
"I don't know if it's superstition or just his lucky number," Sean replied, "but at least he's consistent."
"True," Danny agreed, "but midnight cuts into my social life."
"Just think of the overtime check you'll get to spend on the ladies," John suggested.
"Yeah, how much coffee can you buy?" Sean joked.
"It's free," Chris cut in. "That's the real reason why he dated her not for the sex, but the coffee!"
"Ha, ha, ha," Danny laughed, drolly.
"Can we get back to business, now?" Terry asked. "Police business, maybe?"
"So we're meeting at midnight, at pier twenty-four," Sean said. "He'll supply the drugs, we supply the money."
"He say anything about how many hired hands you can bring?" Chris asked.
"I told him that I'd be bringing John and two others," Sean replied. "I'd like to bring Kaleo inside," he added. "Put him up against Cassavetti's big boy."
Harada nodded his head. "Fine. Kaleo and Gains," he suggested. "Edwards and Lihn can stay outside and watch the perimeter."
"Oh, man! That means I gotta get there early, stay late… I'm already working OT that afternoon for Charlie Jenks," Danny groused.
"Time to start dating Linda again, so she can set you up with a good caffeine supply," Sean joked.
Danny just rolled his eyes.
Danny's four hour overtime stint for Charlie Jenks had consisted of taking sworn statements from four witnesses to a motor vehicle accident involving a visiting dignitary and driving them back to their hotel room. And as much as he hated doing it, he couldn't pass up the temptation as his route back to the station took him right past Javalina's.
He'd had time during the day to think about Linda. Thoughts of Chris's comments, about how she had been manipulating him, how he'd let himself be manipulated, kept coming to him. He really needed to talk to her. Settle things once and for all.
They'd talked before, even agreed that the relationship had started out good. After his and Chris's disastrous encounter with Damien Ho and Johnny Cho, in which he'd gotten shot in the shoulder and they'd been forced to swim from their damaged boat to shore, he'd met Linda. They'd gone to the same physical therapist, her for a strained knee. She provided a distraction from the physical pain of his injury as well as filling his days spent home, out of work.
But since he'd been cleared to come back to work, they now realized, things had changed. Their schedules didn't mesh, he'd been working late shifts, overtime... He really couldn't blame her for breaking up with him, when he thought about it, now. But why she kept coming back to him and breaking up again, they never did quite figure out.
He'd had tried calling Linda earlier, but was unable to do more than leave a message. And when he arrived at the coffee shop, Linda had refused to even speak with him, even refusing to come out from the back room of the small shop.
"Come on, Linda, talk to me!" Danny called out to her, pounding his thermos onto the counter, shouting past Tommy, the cashier.
"Tommy, tell him to leave!" Linda shouted back.
"Will you tell her that I'm not leaving unless she talks to me?" he told Tommy.
The poor employee stuck in the middle just looked helplessly back and forth between the two.
"Tommy, tell him I said to go to Hell!"
Frustrated and unwilling to take it any further, and seeing that the crowd in the coffee shop was starting to get nervous, Danny left.
As the door chimes rang, Tommy held up Danny's thermos and quietly said, "You forgot your coffee."
Linda came out from the back room then, looked sheepishly at Tommy, and took the thermos.
A few minutes later, as Danny was just about to start his car, he heard, "Danny! Wait!" Linda had come out of the back of the coffee shop and was running toward the parking lot. "I'm sorry. What I said in there was uncalled for," she said. "Can we go somewhere? Talk?"
"What about work?" he asked, nodding toward the coffee shop.
"Tommy will cover for me. He always does."
"Get in," Danny said, unlocking the car door.
"We can stop at my place for a bit," Linda offered. "It's close."
Now, two hours later, Danny sat inside the old station wagon he'd been assigned. Lihn was in a pick up truck on the other side of the pier's parking lot, doing the same thing he was: watching the pier and being bored out of her skull. He knew they had a very important job: keeping the area clear for the upcoming drug buy, keeping tabs on who was coming, who was going, who might be doing a similar job to theirs, but for the bad guys, but it was still going to be boring.
Danny scanned the area with his binoculars one more time before reaching for the thermos. As he opened it up, he took a large whiff, smiling and sighing at the aroma. Not bothering with a cup, he took a sip right from the thermos' opening. It occurred to him that it would be the last coffee he'd ever get from Javalina's. But no matter, he thought with a smile. It was, once and for all, over. He would never see Linda Lewis again.
Shifting in his seat, trying to get comfortable, Danny winced at the twinge of pain lancing through his shoulder, a commonplace and annoying reminder that, while he was good enough to be back at work, he still wasn't 100 recovered. He reached into his jacket pocket and shook out some pain medication. Then he grabbed his thermos and used the coffee to get the pills down his throat.
A few minutes later, the silence in the car was broken. "Edwards, you all set?" Sean's voice called over the radio.
"Yeah," he replied, stifling a yawn. "You're good to go so far, Sean."
"Lihn?" Sean called her next.
"Same here, boss," she replied.
"Just let us know
when he shows up," Sean called back, adding, "He'll
probably be in that green Beemer."
"I got it," Danny replied.
Fifteen minutes later, an hour earlier than expected, Cassavetti and his crew showed up at the pier. Danny keyed his radio mike. "Heads up, boys," he called. "They're early."
"Copy, that, Edwards," Sean answered. "Stay put. We're staying on schedule."
Danny double clicked the radio's mike button as a response, as his body chose to yawn at the moment he was going to verbally respond. Putting down the radio, he picked up his thermos and drank some more coffee.
"Gonna be a long fucking night," he muttered.
"You ready?" Sean asked, looking at his "crew," John, Chris and Kaleo. All three nodded their heads. "Nothing new from Danny, and Lihn says we're still good to go."
As they drove into the parking lot, heading for pier twenty-four, they drove past Lihn's position first. She moved her hand up and then quickly down, as if remembering at the last minute that she wasn't supposed to be there… Sean was happy to see no reaction from Danny in the old beat up station wagon. But still, he couldn't fault Lihn for her enthusiasm, she was still new to the stake out and drug buying game.
Inside the small boathouse, Sean found himself quite happy to have Kaleo with him as he found his crew outnumbered by almost two to one. And he was pissed at Danny and Lihn for not telling him sooner.
They'd reported the arrival of Cassavetti and his two main goons at eleven. But they didn't say anything about the other four men in the room. He cooled his emotions as he and John went through the basics of the deal, reiterating the numbers involved. Finally, the deal was done and the money and drugs were exchanged. Sean nodded his head to John, and then keyed his wrist mike and whispered, "Go!" to tell their back up officers to move in.
After about thirty seconds, Sean announced, "HPD! You're under arrest!" as the four HPD officers on the inside of the boathouse were joined by six more from the outside and converged on Cassavetti and his men, guns drawn to control them.
Once things were under control, thankfully done without a shot being fired, Sean took a step back. He searched for Danny and Lihn, ready to ream them out for missing Cassavetti's extra men. "Where is he?" he asked Lihn of Edwards when he saw her. "We had three extra bad guys in here and nobody told us!" he yelled at her.
Gains was now just as curious as Sean was, and getting worried, too. "What if they saw him first?" he asked, fear taking a stronger hold on him, now.
"No, they wouldn't have come this far. They would have known it was a set up," Sean replied.
Before Sean could say any more, Chris was heading out the door and toward the old station wagon across the parking lot. As he got closer, he saw Danny's head slumped against the window. "Son of a bitch fell asleep," he muttered, moving faster, hoping to wake up his partner before Sean saw him sleeping on the job. He pounded on the window, hoping to scare the hell out of Danny as he woke him. "Wake up, Danny!" Unfortunately, it was Chris that was getting the scare as Danny refused to wake up. "Danny?" Chris tried opening the doors, but they were all locked.
"Chris?" Sean called, picking up his pace now, seeing Chris pound on the car's windows.
"Danny!" Chris shouted again, pounding on the window.
"Move back," Sean said, and then swung his leg up, kicking through the rear window. He reached in and unlocked the driver's door for Chris to open, and then quickly helped Chris catch Danny as he fell out of the car.
"Danny?" Chris called out again. When he got no response he quickly checked Danny's chest and neck for breathing and pulse. "He's not breathing!"
"We need an ambulance at pier twenty-four!" Sean shouted into his radio. "Officer down!"
"What's going on, Harrison? What happened?" Terry demanded over the radio.
"Edwards is down. I don't know why or how yet," Sean replied.
"I'm on my way," Terry informed him.
Sean watched as Chris began rescue breathing for his partner, calling encouragements as he did. He knelt down on Danny's opposite side and checked for a pulse. "It's slow, barely there," he told Chris. "Come on Edwards. Breathe, dammit!" he swore.
A few minutes later the ambulance crew arrived and took over his care. No one could explain Danny's condition to the paramedics as they asked about any sort of medical history - was Danny diabetic? epileptic? sick? had any recent head injuries? any allergies? - they just received blank stares from shaking heads.
Sean pulled Chris back from Danny's side to give the paramedics some more room. They watched as they attached all sorts of tubes and wires to the young detective before putting him onto the stretcher.
"Gains, go to the hospital with your partner," Sean ordered, taking control of the situation. "We'll finish up here."
Chris nodded his head and climbed into the front seat of the ambulance.
After talking with Sean and John, Terry headed for the hospital. He found Chris anxiously pacing the waiting room. "Chris?" he called.
Seeing the question in his captain's eyes, Chris replied, "No word yet."
Terry sat down on one of the more comfortable looking chairs.
An hour after Danny had arrived at the hospital, a doctor emerged from the emergency room entrance. A nurse had quickly pointed out Chris to him and he walked over. "You're here with Detective Edwards?" he asked.
"Yeah. I'm Detective Gains. This is Captain Harada. How's Danny?" The doctor directed the men over to a chair. Chris didn't like this; he knew it must be bad news. "Please," he pled.
"He's alive," the doctor said first. Then he took a deep breath and let it out. "We pumped his stomach, gave him a few doses of a narcotic antagonist... but... the drugs have taken a toll on him."
"Wait a minute," Chris cut in, confusion in his voice. "Drugs? What are you talking about?"
"Your partner overdosed on narcotics, detective," the doctor replied. He hadn't realized Chris didn't know. "Probably whatever he'd been taking for the gunshot wound. How long ago did he receive that?"
"No. Not possible. Not an overdose. He wouldn't," Chris argued, ignoring the doctor's question.
"His condition and the lab results don't count up to anything else, detective," the doctor countered. "Chronic pain from injuries such as your partner's... has he had any personal conflicts, relationship problems or work related problems lately?"
Chris thought immediately of Linda. And then remembered Danny's long recovery after being shot in the shoulder. He'd only recently been cleared to return to full duty. He shook his head, though, repeating, "No. Danny wouldn't do that. He wouldn't."
"Well, then, detective, I suggest you figure out how else he was overdosed," the doctor said, continuing, "because all our findings are showing that he mixed his coffee with what would amount to about half a bottle of pain killers.
"Coffee?" Chris repeated, then shouted, "Son of a bitch! She poisoned him! She fucking poisoned him!"
"What are you talking about, Gains?" Terry demanded.
"Linda," he spat.
"That woman from Javalina's?" Terry asked. When Chris nodded his head, he asked, "Why would she poison him?"
"I don't know!" Chris shouted, his worry, anger and frustration coming out.
Terry got out his cell phone. "Harrison, once you get Cassavetti and his crew settled, I want you and Declan to go to Javalina's; pick up this Linda person Edwards has been dating. If she's not there, find her. Bring her in. I want that station wagon treated like a crime scene. Anything in it, especially any coffee cups or such, go to the lab, ASAP," he ordered.
Chris was glad of Terry's presence; his orders. He didn't trust himself to deal with Linda at the moment, and his partner's life was more important, anyway. He needed to be with Danny.
The doctor was still there, so Chris returned his attention to him. "He didn't do this to himself," he told the doctor, reaffirming his earlier statement. "He wouldn't do that to us."
Chris stood up and stretched. He checked his watch again - 3:44AM. He'd been waiting in the ICU waiting room for almost an hour now, waiting to be let in, waiting to see his partner. When the nurse finally called to him, though, his anxiousness had turned to trepidation. He was afraid to see how bad his partner's condition was.
The doctor said that they'd done all they could to counteract the narcotics in Danny's body, to flush them out; but he'd also said they might have already done some damage. Danny still wasn't breathing on his own and they were concerned about liver damage and...
Seeing the nurse still waiting patiently for him, Chris nodded his head to her and took the steps necessary to follow her.
As expected, tubes and wires surrounded Danny, keeping him breathing, checking his bodily functions, and making him look as if he truly had been on death's door.
"Hey, partner," Chris whispered, reaching out and touching Danny's forearm. He sat down on a chair next to the bed. "They haven't found her yet," he went on. "But they will. I will."
Sean could hear the yawn in Terry's voice as he answered the phone, "Harada."
"Terry, it's Sean."
"What've you got, Sean?" Terry asked.
"We found her," Sean replied. "She's dead." He pinched the bridge of his nose.
That statement chased the sleepiness out of Terry's system. "Talk to me, Sean," he said. When Sean didn't reply right away, Terry became concerned. "Sean?" he called.
"She'd been beaten; probably raped. We've got a witness that said Danny had been to her house." This time it was Terry that didn't reply right away. "Terry?"
"I'll be right there. Call in another crime scene team," Terry replied. "Maybe the PBA, too," he added before ending the call.
Sean folded his cell phone and placed it back onto his belt as he looked around the bedroom, searching for clues.
"Yo, Sean," John called, about ten minutes later, getting his attention. Sean looked over and met his gaze. "Crime Scene's here. Where you want them starting?"
"At the back door," he replied.
There were times when Terry Harada did not enjoy his job. Not so much the police work itself, but the responsibility the rank of Captain held. Times like this, when he'd have to be the one to hold his men together, when things seemed to be conspiring to pull them apart. He was going to have to make a tough decision or two this morning, and he knew that none of his detectives would be happy about them.
He pulled alongside the curb, down the block from Linda Lewis's house, and exited the vehicle. He walked along the sidewalk, noting the various police vehicles parked nearby, and hoped none of them had destroyed any evidence. Approaching the front walk, he held up his gold badge, dangling it from its chain around his neck and presented it to the officer in charge of the perimeter. He signed into the scene.
Inside the house, he quickly found Sean and John. "What can you tell me?" he asked them.
"We found her on the bed, naked," John began, leading Terry back to the master bedroom. Terry saw Linda Lewis's bruised, bloody and lifeless body spread-eagle on top of the bed. He turned away and looked at Sean, while John continued, saying, "Nobody else around, none of the neighbors heard or saw anything, except…"
"Except?" Terry asked.
"Except the one across the street," Sean finished. "Little old lady, Mary Perricone, saw Danny and Linda here around eight."
Terry nodded his head. "Turn over anything you've got to Weller and Franks. They've got the case," he said, and braced for the outburst.
"What! No way!" Sean and John both exclaimed. "Danny's our boy," Sean continued, only to be interrupted.
"Which is exactly why you're going to turn it over to Weller and Franks," Terry explained, calmly. "Danny is our boy. Which means, we're biased. We know he didn't do this." He stared at his two detectives, making sure they understood his meaning.
Sean ran a frustrated hand through his hair. "Yeah," he said with a sigh. John took a few more seconds and a few more pointed looks from Terry to finally agree.
"I don't want any mistakes," Terry told them. "We're already going to be put under a microscope. I don't want them using the high-powered lens."
John nodded his head, understanding.
"So hand everything you've got over," Terry repeated his instructions. "Then go back to the station and deal with Cassavetti. I'm heading over to the hospital, I want to get to Gains and Edwards before the press do."
Chris turned his head and moaned. "Five more minutes," came out sleepily.
"Gains," Terry called, shaking his shoulder again.
When he'd arrived at the hospital, Terry had been directed to the ICU. There, in its waiting room, he found Chris sprawled out on the couch, one leg commandeering a nearby chair to add to its length, to accommodate his long legs. Terry wished he'd had the chance to get some sleep.
Leaving Chris for a second, Terry headed towards the nurses' desk. "I'm Captain Harada, HPD," he greeted the nurse, showing her his badge. "How is Detective Edwards?"
"He's hanging in," she replied. "No change from when he was brought up here."
Terry nodded his head and thanked the woman before returning to Chris's side and making a more determined effort at waking him. "Chris, come on, wake up," he said.
Chris came awake suddenly, then, sitting up, eyes wide. "What! Danny?"
"Easy, Chris," Terry soothed, squeezing Chris's shoulder. "Danny's fine."
But Chris saw that something was wrong. He knew Terry well. "Cap?"
"Harrison and DeClan found Linda," Terry told him. "She's been murdered."
If Chris wasn't awake before, he was now. "What!" he exclaimed, sitting up even more. "You can't think Danny did it!"
Terry shook his head, saying, "Of course not. But that's not how it's going to look to anyone else. The press'll be on this like hotcakes," he continued. "We're gonna need to keep this under control – with Danny here…" Terry stopped. He didn't know what to say about Danny now.
"Somebody set him up," Chris spoke up, taking over the conversation. "They murdered Linda and then tried to do the same to Danny – make it look like a murder/suicide or something."
"But who?" Terry asked. "And why?"
"What if it was a murder/suicide?" Chris asked. "But she was the actor?"
Terry shook his head. "No, she was beaten; possibly raped." Chris nodded his head, understanding that his theory didn't work. "I told Sean and John to hand the case over to Weller and Franks. I don't want you touching it, either." When Chris was about to protest, Terry held a finger up, saying, "Uh uh. I don't want any questions asked. This is going by the books."
"Detective Gains?" a nurse called, interrupting the two policemen. "You can see your partner again, now."
As Terry and Chris rose from the couch, Terry said, "I'll see what I can do to keep the press away from here. I'm sure they'll want all the details."
Chris nodded his head and said, "Won't get nothing from me."
"I know. And I've got a couple of uniforms out in the hall, to make sure they don't get this far, either," Terry assured him.
Terry decided to follow Chris into Danny's room, wanting to see his ill detective for himself. He didn't like what he saw.
"They told me he's better than he looks," Chris said, sensing Terry's unease.
"Can't be much worse," Terry replied quietly.
Sean signed one more report, and put it into the copy machine. Looking around the conference room, which he'd commandeered to organize Cassavetti's crew's arrest paperwork, he let out a sigh, shaking his head at the amount of paperwork involved; copies for the court, copies for the department, copies for the District Attorney, copies for the Defendants… he wondered how many trees were murdered for this one arrest.
"Gotta do what the Captain ordered. Let the other guys handle it," John told him, coming up behind him and putting a hand onto Sean's shoulder. He'd seen the dark look on Sean's face.
"Wrong murder," Sean replied. Upon seeing John's confused look, he just shook his head and said, "Don't worry. I know it's for the best. You hear anything?"
"Nothing," John replied, adding some of his own reports to the paperwork piles. "Well, just that they were going over Danny's reports for the day. Something about some diplomat and a car accident piqued their interest."
"Some diplomat?" Sean asked.
John shrugged his shoulders.
"That won't pan," Sean said, shaking his head.
Chris rubbed his hands down his face, trying to wake himself up. He looked at his watch. It was almost noon. He stood and stretched, wincing as his shoulder, back and neck joints cracked. He waved hello to the nurse at the desk before going to Danny's room.
"Hey, Danny, you awake yet?" he called quietly, patting Danny's leg. "Let me tell you partner," he went on, "I hope you wake up soon. That couch out there ain't too comfortable, you know?" He paced carefully around the bed, careful of the various machines, tubes and wires attached to his partner before looking at Danny again. He wasn't expecting to see a pair of brown eyes looking up at him. "Danny!"
Officer Kaleo made his way through the detectives' bullpen to Captain Harada's office. File folder in hand, he was about to knock on the doorjamb and enter, but caught sight of the sleeping figure at the desk.
"I'm sure if it's important enough, he'll forgive you," Lihn told him, coming up behind him.
"Faxes from the crime lab," he told her. "I think they're important."
"If they can tell me what happened to Edwards, they are," Terry said, rising from his chair, hand out.
Kaleo handed over the file folder and watched as Terry quickly read through the papers.
"Go find Harrison and DeClan. Tell them to meet me in the conference room," Terry said.
"They're already there, sorting paperwork," Lihn told him, receiving a nod in return as Terry picked up his phone and dialed.
When Terry arrived at the conference room, Sean and John were cleaning up the papers on the table.
"What's up?" Sean asked, seeing the determined look on Terry's face.
"Edwards?" John asked, worried Danny might have taken a turn for the worse.
"Lets wait for Weller and Franks," Terry told him.
"Terry?" Sean pressed, worry in his voice, too.
"He woke up, briefly," Terry replied, but quickly added, "But not enough. Chris said he didn't think he knew what was going on. Didn't react to them," before they could get their hopes up.
"I talked to Weller already," Sean said, ignoring the pained look Terry gave him. "Said they were interviewing Linda's coworkers at Javalina's."
"As they should," Terry said, and motioned with his hand for Sean to continue.
"They had an argument there yesterday. Then Linda left with Danny. About fifteen minutes before they got to her house."
"I thought this was my case?" Jeff Weller asked as he entered the room.
"No argument from me," Sean replied.
"I've got some information for you," Terry told him, holding up the file folder Kaleo had given him. "But I'd like an update, too."
Weller pulled out a chair from under the big conference table and sat down heavily. "Talked to two employees – Dana Jenkins and Claire Mason," he began. "Both were there yesterday, along with another employee, Tommy Kull – who we're still trying to track down – and heard and saw Edwards and Lewis arguing. Ended with her telling him to 'go to Hell' and then the two of them leaving in his car."
"Willingly, of course?" John asked.
"Yeah," Weller replied. "Got the impression that it was a common thing between the two. One day they'd be best friends and the next hated enemies. Quite the love/hate relationship."
"About sums it up," Sean agreed. "We got the same here, though only Edwards's side of the argument."
"Any significant evidence at the crime scene?" Terry asked.
"The back door, for starters," Weller replied, looking at Sean. "Definite pry marks. Edwards was an invited guest. He wouldn't have needed to break in. What have you got, Cap?"
Terry handed him the file folder. "Lab analysis of the coffee in Danny's thermos. Enough narcotic content to put an elephant to sleep," he said.
"Do they know what kind?" John asked. "His Darvocet?"
"No," Weller replied, skimming the report. "Nothing definite yet." He looked at Terry. "You see this other stuff? Isn't that for anti-anxiety?"
"Yeah," Terry replied. "I had to look it up to make sure."
"Don't think Danny's had to take any of that," John spoke up. "Though with that girlfriend of his…" he continued, and then stopped, shaking his head.
The room was silent for a moment, as John regretted saying what he did. They all startled when Weller's cell phone rang.
"Hey, partner," Chris replied, a gentle smile on his face. "How you feeling?"
"Sounds familiar," Chris said, feeling the same way himself.
Danny closed his eyes. He felt so exhausted that even the task of keeping them open was difficult. "Talk to me, partner," he slurred, sleepily.
"When's the last time you saw Linda?"
The words drifted in and out of Danny's head and he couldn't understand why Chris wanted to talk about her. He didn't like her. Chris didn't like her.
"Danny?" Chris called, trying to wake him up again. When Danny opened his eyes again, he repeated his question. "When's the last time you saw Linda?"
"Tuesday. At the beach. Where I saw the bikini girls."
Chris patted Danny's arm. It was Friday afternoon. According to what everyone had said, Danny had last seen Linda Thursday evening. "Guess those drugs messed up a few things," he whispered as he watched Danny drift off to sleep once again.
Sean saw the look on Weller's face – he had an idea. "What, Jeff?"
"That was Jimmy. He spoke with Kull's landlord," Weller answered. "Said something about him being all squirrelly and off his meds yesterday."
"Maybe he's off his meds because he put 'em in Danny's coffee?" John theorized.
"Lets find him," Terry ordered, giving Sean and John permission to join the search.
Four hours later Tommy Kull sat in an interrogation room with Detectives Jeff Weller and Jimmy Franks. Terry, Sean and John looked on through the one-way mirror.
"They deserved it!" Tommy spat, rocking back and forth on his chair. "They drove me nuts! Every fucking day, back and forth, arguing, kissing, arguing, kissing. She was such a fucking slut going with him; wasting her time with him! I was so damn tired of it," he said, practically sobbing.
"What did you do, Tommy?" Jeff asked.
"I couldn't take it any more. I put the pills in his coffee. I didn't want him to come back anymore."
Jeff looked back at the window. He nodded his head to the men unseen on the other side.
"And what about Linda?" Jimmy asked.
"She… she wouldn't go out with me," Tommy replied, angry again. "She didn't know what she was missing, wasting her time with him. But I showed her. I showed her."
Jeff had heard enough for now. He'd let Jimmy continue the interrogation. He rose from his seat and left the room.
"We've got him – intent and everything," Jeff began.
"But he's crazy as a loon," John finished, getting head nods from the other detectives.
"Defense attorneys'll be going for an insanity plea," Sean remarked.
"Sucks," Jeff agreed. "But at least Edwards is in the clear." A moment passed, then, "How's he doing, anyway?"
"Good enough that Gains finally went home," Terry told him. "They're gonna keep him a day or two more, until his blood work comes back clean."
"He know about Linda?" John asked.
"No, not yet," Terry replied. "The doctors wanted us to wait."
They heard a shout from the interrogation room. Kull was pacing the room. Jeff waved to the three men and went back into the room to rejoin his partner.
"You sure you're okay?"
"For the thousandth time, Gains, yes," Danny replied. "I stood up too fast. I got dizzy. Happens when you've been drugged comatose and spent four days in bed."
"That's not what I'm talking about and you know it," Chris shot back.
Danny sighed loudly from his recliner. He'd been home only an hour now, courtesy of Chris's ride home from the hospital, and already he was ready to kick his partner out. And then he felt guilty.
"I know, Chris. I'm sorry," he apologized. "I guess I'm not all right. Not every day I find out some psycho drugged me and killed my girlfriend, you know? That our… relationship – the fighting, the making up – that that was what threw him over the edge. Does that make her murder partly my fault?"
"It's not your fault, Danny," Chris replied earnestly, moving across the living room to sit on the coffee table next to Danny. "Hell, if that was true, then I would have tried it months ago! Wouldn't have done mouth to mouth on you, breathed for you, again." He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
Danny let out a quiet laugh.
Chris looked at his watch. "Hey, you want anything to eat? Terry's wife dropped off some chocolate chip cookies for you."
"Sounds good," Danny replied.
Chris stood up and headed for the kitchen. "I'll make some coffee, too," he said as he walked.
"Chris?" Danny called, stopping Chris, making him turn around.
"Tea?" Chris corrected, knowing what Danny was thinking.
"Yeah. Thanks, partner," Danny replied, smiling. "And thanks for putting up with me," he added, quietly.
"You bet," Chris replied with a wink, then headed for the kitchen, in search of chocolate chip cookies and a teapot.