"Hey, Linds, it's me." Lilly listened to her friend's greeting and bit her lip. She'd stayed back a few hours last night, but hadn't come up with anything on Christina. Except that the warrant was still outstanding. She did find that another guy who'd worked for the same fraud ring was a minor, currently languishing in a cell awaiting the decision of whether he'd be tried as an adult. And that his attorney was none other than her friend from high school.
"You know Jimmy Grey? Yeah, credit card fraud. Is there any way I can talk to him?" Lilly waited for an answer, shifted her briefcase in her hand as she started walking up the steps to the PD.
"Yeah, I can meet you. I'll explain everything then. Thanks." Lil flipped her phone shut, pushed through the door. DMV network had been repaired too late for she and Scotty to be able to talk to Mr Delgado and they planned on seeing him this morning. Vera and Jeffries had seen Annie's mother yesterday and had apparently, according to them, absorbed enough animosity to last them all afternoon. As much as she didn't like her daughter though, she had an alibi that checked out. Her phone rang just as she got on the lift and she looked at the number, didn't recognise it, answered.
"I said I'd call you tonight."
"I was worried." Lil rolled her eyes, got off at the third floor. Of course he was worried about Christina; it was always about Chris.
"Of course you were. I mean, you only get two days to get horizontal with her and then she vanishes. That's gotta make you worried."
"Fuck, Lil, I told you… Jesus, she was sleeping on the couch. After that one time… That was it. I didn't even want to let her in, but… I mean, she's related to you and… Fuck. I thought I'd be helping you out. And I wasn't worried about her, I was worried about you. In case you found anything. She is your sister." Lilly sighed, managed to juggle the phone and get her jacket off without hanging up on him. As much as she felt like doing that right now. He'd always made her feel extremes, and right now she was pissed at him, although she couldn't pinpoint why. Maybe because he thought helping her was opening the door to the same woman that had so effectively broken them up in the first place, or because he was still as good at spinning a line as he used to be. Of course he'd say he was worried about her, and not Christina.
"I'm going to talk to someone today. That was running the numbers with her. He's in juvvie."
"Want me to come?" Lil put a hand to her forehead as she reached her desk, sank into her chair and tried not to grit her teeth.
"What the hell for? What are you going to do? You're not even a cop anymore. Do you know how hard it was for me to get in to see him?" She kept her voice down with effort, almost hissing at him. Actually, it took a short phone call, but she didn't need him to know that. She had the urge to get him as irrationally annoyed as she was. It had been a pattern through their relationship that, nine years later, they fell right back into. If one of them was upset about something, they'd try and goad the other into a fight so that there could be the make up.
"Jesus fucking Christ, Lilly, it was just a question. Okay? In case he told you something you didn't want to hear. So I'd be there for you." Lilly was to her feet in a flash.
"So you'd be-." She cut herself off, realising she'd raised her voice. Looking up, she caught three sets of eyes immediately snap down to their desks. It would have been four sets, but Vera wasn't in yet. Lilly sank back into her chair, spun so she was facing the other way, lowered her voice.
"I think I can handle whatever he says, okay? I've managed for the past ten years without you there for me. I'll talk to you tonight." Feeling satisfied, Lil flipped her phone shut before he could say anything else. She spun back around and caught Scotty's eye.
"You ready to talk to Delgado?" He nodded, picked up his jacket and preceded her out the door.
"Sorry I'm late." Lil jogged across the street from the car, joined Lindsay. She and Scotty had mentioned James' name and Pete Delgado had scampered down his hallway and out his back door as well as a three hundred pound man could scamper. They'd caught him before he'd made the back fence and decided to take him to the station for questioning. She'd had to excuse herself from the interrogation and rush out.
"I just got here myself. Court ran over. So, what's with my client?" They walked into the detention centre and waited while their names were cleared.
"Well, you'll never guess whose back in town, and you'll never guess why." Lindsay signed Lil in as a guest, watched her check her gun.
"You've got some pretty interesting skeletons in your past. I think I'll pass."
"Patrick. Because he thinks Christina is missing; and not of her own accord."
"And he thinks that because…?" Lindsay had known Lilly longer than she hadn't. She'd brought chocolate and wine after the engagement had been called off and they'd had a girls night in.
"She was staying with him for a few days." Lilly shook her head, followed Lindsay through the security gate.
"Anyway, I said I'd check it out. This kid was running numbers with Chris, so I thought I'd ask him about her."
"Over there." Lindsay motioned towards the skinny kid across the room. He was slouched on a visitor's chair, picking at the edge of the table.
"Hey, Jimmy." Lindsay sank into a chair opposite him and Lilly followed suit. He grunted a reply but looked up, his eyes lingering on Lilly.
"I'm Lilly. You used to work with someone called Christina." Lil didn't want to scare him off by revealing she was a detective.
"So?" He shifted position so he was leaning back, arms folded.
"She might be missing."
"You a cop or something?" Lil brushed back her hair, decided to lie by omission.
"She's my sister."
"Really?" He looked to Lindsay, who nodded. Leaning forward, Jimmy appeared to soften.
"She was nice. I mean, she could be a hard arse if I didn't get the numbers in on time, but other than that she was good."
"You gave the numbers to her?" Lil asked. Jimmy shrugged.
"Yeah, she was the boss. Told everyone else what to do." Lil looked down at the desk. Chris had sworn to her that she hadn't even known she was involved in fraudulent activities; that the people she worked for made her do it. Of course she'd have lied about that.
"You ask me, she's missing because the cops are on her tail."
"Thanks, Jimmy." Lilly looked across to Lindsay.
"I'll wait for you outside."
Lil only had to wait five minutes outside until Lindsay appeared.
"You need a ride back?" Lilly asked. Lindsay nodded and they crossed the street, slid into the car.
"Guess that settles it. Chris is gone because she wants to be gone. Again." Lilly pulled out into the traffic.
"When are you going to tell Patrick that?"
"I said I'd call him tonight." There was a brief silence.
"So, how does he look after ten years?" Lindsay asked. Lilly sighed, turned a corner, shook her head as she shot a quick glance over to the passenger seat.
"Almost the same. Just as tall." She allowed herself a smile. "He looks good. Doesn't mean he's not still a lying bastard." Lindsay grinned.
"Glad to see you haven't melted again."
"What do you mean again?"
"Come on. I was in the bar where you met him. Your eyes locked across the room and everyone in between felt the heat." Lilly let out an incredulous laugh, although she knew Lindsay was right. It had been instantaneous; as soon as she'd seen him, she'd wanted him. He'd bought her a vodka that she hadn't had time to drink before they left together.
"The ship has sailed. It was gone as soon as…." Lilly trailed off as she pulled up outside the courthouse.
"Call me if you need another night with wine and chocolate and good, old fashioned female bitching." Lindsay opened the door and got out.
"Thanks, Linds." Waving as she pulled away, Lilly checked her watch, swore. She'd told Stillman she'd been half an hour and it was going on forty minutes. Pulling in to the parking lot, she hurriedly locked the car and rushed up the stairs.
"We got him." Scotty said as she walked in. Lil dropped her bag at her desk.
"And where we can find the murder weapon. Kat and Will are out with CSU getting it now." Lilly smiled, took off her jacket.
"That's good news. Vera gone to tell Mrs Delfino?" Scotty nodded.
"Your thing go okay?" Lilly nodded, not wanting to talk about where she'd been. At least Jimmy's words would get rid of Patrick. Stillman opened the door to his office, looking serious.
"Lil, can I talk to you for a minute." Lilly nodded, stood up from the desk she'd been leaning on to walk into his room.
"You might want to sit down." Lil perched herself on the edge of a chair. She couldn't remember doing anything that required admonishment. Then again, the Boss looked more upset than angry. She felt that same coil of fear that Patrick's news had brought.
"Homicide three just called over. Christina's body was just discovered in the boot of a car." Lilly tried to gasp but she could find the air. She bent over, looked at her feet, concentrated on reminding herself to breath. She'd just stopped worrying, after she'd seen Jimmy. She was looking forward to getting Patrick out of her life and everything going back to normal.
"Lil, I'm sorry." Stillman came around, rested a hand on her shoulder. Lilly finally managed to draw a decent breath. She had to find their mother. She had to tell Patrick he'd been right to be worried, while she'd been annoyed at the intrusion. Annoyed at having to put time into finding her sister. Her own sister. Who was now laid out at the morgue. Lilly put her head back between her knees. She felt dizzy, like the walls were swaying towards her, closing in. She'd told Christina she never wanted to see her again; and now she wouldn't. Despite everything, she was still her baby sister. She'd taught her how to swim, how to clean their mother up after a particularly bad drinking binge, how to tie her shoelaces.
"Is there anyone I can call?" Lilly shook her head, lifted it with effort. Her first thought was to call Ray, but he was halfway across the country on a biking trip. Her second thought was Patrick and before she could consider the repercussions she had her phone open.
"I'll just…" Lil scrolled to received calls. She called his number, didn't bother to say hello.
"Can you come see me? Now?" He must have heard the tremor in her voice because he agreed, hung up immediately.
"Take the rest of the afternoon off, Lil. The rest of the week. Next week. As long as you need." Stillman stood as she did. Lil nodded at his suggestions. She knew she probably couldn't stay away from work for two weeks, but this afternoon she wasn't going to be able to concentrate on anything except Christina. The fact that she'd yelled at her the last time she'd seen her. That she'd never gotten a chance to say sorry.
"I can drive you home." Stillman opened the door for her and Lilly shook her head again.
"No, that's okay. I've got someone…" Stillman made her feel like a child as he gathered her bag for her. She took it and put her jacket on, walked to the elevator. It opened to reveal Patrick, looking worried. He opened his arms and Lil stepped into them, revelling in the familiarity of them. Ten years, and he still felt the same. He didn't ask her what was wrong, and she was grateful. He was just there, tall, strong and silent.