Repeat Offender - Chapter Two

Korrinne Bradley twirled a lock of hair around her index finger. She'd pick up the habit as a child and now it was as unconscious an action as breathing. Anyone who knew her well could read the heavily concealed distress in her eyes but, other than Mike Logan, no one in the squad room knew her that well. Good thing. Privacy was very important to her, it always had been. She'd already broken several of her own rules by dating a co-worker and sustaining a long term relationship. In the end, it had probably been a bad idea. Like the saying went: sleep with a cop, sleep with his partner. Lenny Brisco definately knew more about her private life than she would have liked, even if he did play dumb well. Soon they'd all know things she didn't even like to think about herself. The entire squad. She had to tell Brisco and Logan, the Captain would have to be let in as well. Before too long, they'd all know.

"'Rin, are you okay?" Korrinne knew that Mike's nickname for her was simply and abbriviation of her given name she couldn't help thinking of the bird - a delicate little wren - when he said it. She certainly felt like a fragile common bird at the moment. Weather worn and in desperate need of shelter. Not so long before, Mike Logan had been that shelter.

"I'm fine." He wasn't her's to lean on anymore. The only parts of him left in her life were a toothbrush and a razor in her bathroom. Painful reminders she used to pick at her emotional wounds - nothing to cling to.

"I didn't want you in on this one." Mike appriciated the small smile that turned up the corners of her lips. It let him know that at least part of his Korrinne was still his - as long as she could still smile at him, there was something right with the world. "You don't know her, do you?"

"No, although I see why you ask." Brisco was talking Captain Cruse in her office, so, for the moment, Korrinne and Mike were alone. On the other side of the squad room Ray Curtis glanced at them. Although Korrinne hadn't yet come to NY when Mike was reinstated, she'd heard that there was a healthy amount of rilvelry between Curtis and Logan. They hid it well but it was still there. Even after a year back on the force, most of the detectives were a bit wary of Mike, Ray's initial resistance hadn't helped matters. But Ray Curtis was the least of Korrinne's worries. "I know who killed her, Mike."

"What?!" He straightened in his chair almost as if there was immediate physical danger.

"I don't know his name but I know his past." The stories were like secrets, terrible secrets that she had to tell despite the pain. "Back in my hometown there was this rash of kidnappings in the local high school about six years ago." She came from a sleepy little Irish Catholic textile factory town about three hours outside the city. Population under a thousand. "All the girls were red-heads, between fifteen and eighteen, all turned up dead a few weeks after being reported missing." She watched the wheels turning in Mike's head. She was twenty-two, subtract six years..."Local cops weren't equiped to handle that type of thing - the guy left no evidence. He took the kids from their own homes but didn't make one mistake. Local police had never faced anything like it." Remembering was the hardest part. For years she'd spent every spare moment forgetting and, partially, it had worked. The details were sketchy in her mind. Every nuance of her being begged for it to be left that way. Forgetting wasn't healing but it came close enough. "My daddy was the police chief, you know. When the FBI came in, he took his deputies and stationed them at our house. He had five red-headed little girls."

"I guess that's why this guy never tried to grab us from our house, we were never alone. We just should have listened to Daddy..." Kori shook her head, he eyes closed against the waterfall of memory. "I swear to God, Mike, the school was a three minute walk from our house. I'd forgotten my Physics homework and Maggie knew how I was struggling in that class...We were supposed to be safe, we were together. The guy had never attacked two at once...." There weren't many pictures of Maggie Bradley in Korrinne's scrapbook. The one Mike remembered was of a pretty laughing girl holding a puppy and pointing at the camera. Maggie had been all of thirteen months older than Korrinne. "He came out of nowhere. We were talking about Maggie's graduation - she wanted to go to Vassar. I don't remember him making a single sound, but suddenly he was pushing me into a car trunk. I don't know how he got both of us but Maggie was with me." Mike touched her hand and she allowed the gesture. She didn't know that Brisco and Cruse were behind her - it was better that way. "We were cop's kids, Mike. We knew the rules. He had to stop, he had to open the trunk. We had to run."

"So I ran. He opened the trunk and I ran. If I just kept running, I'd live. That's all I thought - run, just run. I never even thought about looking back...for Maggie." She wouldn't speak the rest. there was no need, Mike had to realize. The long silences, nightmares, and he inability to let anyone close to her - everything that had driven them apart - it all had an origin. Korrinne had never distrusted Mike, only herself.

"Anyway this is the exact same MO. The FBI never found that bastard and now he's back."

Captain Cruse wasn't a warm woman; she was all business absolutely no personal. In the six months that she has worked there, she'd smiled twice. Thus, it was a surprise when she laid one hand on Korrinne's shoulder. "You don't know that for sure."

"Five girls dead six years ago." Maggie, gone forever, "This sicko was methodical - the Denver girl's murder in an exact match."

"And and isolated incident," Cruse interjected.

"So far." Korrinne knew better than to contridict Cruse. The Captain was like a pit bull, she didn't back down when she was cornered no matter what the odds. The validity of Korrinne's knowledge aside, Cruse would balk if she felt her authority was being challenged. Knowing this, Korrinne conceded, "It's possibly that these cases have nothing to due with one another but we should consider the possibility, shouldn't we."

"Of course." Cruse was tough but she had a soft spot for Bradley, even if it rarely showed. The young woman was bright and had a healthy helping of common sense, that Cruse could respect. "You could probably get the file without a load of political bullshit."

"I'll call my father."

*********************Part Three, coming soon*********************