The phone rang once, twice, three times. He rolled over, away from the warm body beside him. He glanced at the caller ID before answering."This better be good, Goren."
"We've got a body in Battery Park, and it's gonna take too long to take the kids to John's."
"So you want me to come over and babysit."
"You can take the kids or you can take the case. I really don't care."
"Did I ever tell you how happy I am you guys moved closer to me? We'll be right over."
"Shut up, Goren."
He hung up the phone. Barek rolled over in the bed. "They have a case?"
"You didn't say we'd take the case, did you?"
"Do I look stupid? I'll take Maggie and Tom over a dead body any day of the week."
"Good boy. Let's get going."
Logan rapped lightly on the door and opened it, knowing it wouldn't be locked. "Uncle Mike!"
He caught Maggie in his arms and lifted her, casting an annoyed look at her father. Goren shrugged. "You try to get out of bed without waking her up."
"What the he...I mean, what was she doing in your bed to start with?"
"Aww..." He looked at Maggie. "You have a bad dream, bunny?"
"You and Daddy went away again."
Logan looked at Goren, whose expression was pained. He hugged the little girl. "Hey, didn't we promise you that wasn't gonna happen again?"
"And has it?"
"No. But I can't turn my dreams off!"
Goren came over and kissed her temple. "It's ok, baby." He laid a hand on Logan's shoulder and smiled at Barek. "Thanks, guys."
Eames came into the living room. "Tommy's still asleep." She kissed Maggie. "Be a good girl. Thanks, guys. Just take them to my dad's before you go in to work."
"Will do. Have fun in the park."
Goren frowned at him as he opened the door and followed his wife from the apartment.
She was young...petite, muscular, blonde. Goren glanced at his partner before returning to his stroll around the body. She turned away and approached a nearby officer. "Who found the body?"
"I don't know. It was an anonymous call-in and there was no one here when we got here."
"Why did they call us out instead of Homicide?"
"Caller said Major Case needed to take the case."
"Really?" That was odd. "Have them pull the call for us."
She returned to her partner, who was now on one knee beside the victim, examining her hands. "She put up a fight," he said quietly as she approached. "A couple of her nails were broken...and it looks like her right index finger was dislocated."
"Anonymous caller, requesting us for the case."
He looked up at her, but he said nothing. Then he turned back to the body. He pointed toward her neck. "H-her throat was cut. Clean, smooth. This killer had confidence, no hesitation marks. Are they pulling the tape?"
He nodded, reaching toward the victim's face. He gently pushed up her eyelids. "Petechial hemorrhaging. She was strangled...but not killed until..." His hand indicated the blood on her clothes and the surrounding ground. "She bled out. But she was not conscious when her throat was cut." He leaned back on his heels, thoughtful.
"The killer didn't want her to suffer?" Eames offered.
"Maybe. Or maybe he just didn't want any more of a fight." He waved a hand at the body. "She was an athlete, a runner. Very muscular, and her legs are well-defined. She would have put up a real fight." He continued looking at the body, his eyes moving slowly from top to bottom and back. He leaned closer, moving her hair back from the side of her neck. "What do you make of this, Eames?"
She came around to his side and looked at her neck. "That looks like lipstick."
He nodded. "Our killer is a woman?"
"Or the vic was with a woman right before she was killed."
He met her eyes. "Or both."
He leaned over to look at the victim's face again. His eyes slowly made their way down the body. Moving her shirt away from her shorts, he pulled an evidence bag from his pocket and motioned to Eames. She took the bag and held it while he removed a hair from the twisted waistband of the victim's shorts. He studied it in the light of the streetlamps that lined the path. "Root looks intact. Maybe we got lucky."
"Maybe it's hers."
He shrugged and dropped it into the bag, which she closed and labelled. He continued his perusal. "Both knees are abraded. She went down hard."
"No odd smells?"
He shook his head. "No. No perfume, no alcohol, no cigarette smoke...her breath smells like mint, but that's all."
He slowly stood up, turning away from the body as the medical examiner approached and Eames handed off the evidence bag to one of the CSU techs. Rodgers never knew whether to be apprehensive or glad when she saw Goren at a murder scene, even after all this time. "Anything I need to know?"
"Nothing you can't figure out, doc."
"Gee, thanks, Goren."
He gently patted her shoulder as he passed her, heading back toward the SUV with his partner. "Where did the call come in from?"
"Let's find out."
They found the officer Eames had spoken to earlier. She asked, "Where was the call-in made from?"
"Pay phone over on Murray."
Goren frowned. "Not the one here in the park?"
"Send someone over to dust it. Dust the coins in the box, too. Maybe we'll get a hit."
They continued toward the car. "No wonder these guys love you. You don't need to deposit a coin to call 911."
"Maybe they made another call. Or maybe someone who used the phone saw something useful. You never know."
"That's what I love about you. Always thinking outside the box...or inside it, as the case may be."
He smiled and slid into the passenger seat. She got behind the wheel and they headed toward 1 PP.