KILLING ME SOFTLY

x x x

Friday, January 13th, Miami Dade Crime Lab, Hall

His name is Thomas Stevensen and he's a detective.

Lately he's been hanging around the lab a little too often than what would be normally necessary, but nobody's surprised. It's far too clear why he comes.

I cast a glance at him while I wait for some documents.

He's leaning against the counter in the hall, wearing a suit that I could never afford, not even if I saved money for a whole year.

His eyes are dark like his hair and the shade of unshaved beard gives him a casual sexy look. He's the kind of man a woman can't help noticing.

Tall, fit and handsome. He reminds me a lot of Delko, actually, but I don't trust him as I trust Delko.

I don't trust him at all.

It's clear by his comfortable movements that he has never had self esteem problems, and the sexy smile he usually wears could melt any girl.

I just wish he had chosen any girl instead of her.

"Hey!"

Calleigh's smiling brightly as she walks down the corridor, coming to the hall. I can't stand the happy tone of her voice. I can't stand that it's addressed to him.

"Hello, gorgeous." He says as she reaches him, and bents on her to leave a quick kiss on her cheek. "You're five minutes late, but since I'm a gentleman, I have a present for you."

He raises his hand and hands her a red rose appeared from nowhere. For a moment her eyes move across the room and lie on me. She hesitates, but then she looks at him again and her smile, if possible, widens as she grabs the rose.

"Thanks." She gently sniffs the rose. "You shouldn't have."

"I know. Unluckily this is the most beautiful flower I could find. Isn't it a shame that your beauty makes it look so ordinary?" he replies, winking.

Calleigh blushes and looks down in embarrassment, but she's flattered, and it's damn obvious.

"Shall we go?" he asks.

Again, her eyes move to me for less than an instant, then go back on him.

"Sure. Let me grab my bag, I'll be back in a minute."

I watch her head to the break room, and so does Stevensen.

A moment later, a young man with a badge hanging on his hip, who I recognize as Karl Lewis of the night shift, approaches him.

"Hey, Thomas."

Stevensen turns around and grins to the other man.

"Hey, Karl."

"Are you going out with officer Duquesne?"

Stevensen grins proudly and nods.

"Yeah. I still can't believe she's accepted my invitation."

Lewis pats him on the shoulder, shaking his head.

"I can't believe it either." He sighs. "Man, if I could put my hands on a chick like her…"

"Watch your mouth." Stevensen jokingly warns him. "You're speaking about my lady."

They both let out a small laugh.

This is too much.

Where the heck are those documents?

I look away from those two jerks and see Calleigh coming back, wearing a red coat and a colour coordinated bag. She looks wonderful.

"Here's my belle." Stevensen exclaims when Calleigh arrives in front of him. "See you, Karl."

They go out arm in arm. She doesn't even look at me. I supposed she hasn't noticed I'm here, cause she's too busy admiring her precious detective.

"Here are your documents, Wolfe." Paula says, handing me a folder, which I grab absentmindedly.

I don't trust that man, but Calleigh's a smart girl and she'll soon realize what kind of person he is.

Tuesday, March 20th, Miami Dade Crime Lab, Ballistics Lab

She's been rather nervous lately.

Stevensen still comes to find her almost every day, but it's been a long time since he last brought a present for her. Now he comes just to check if there's any guy hanging around her.

He only wants to make sure that nobody invades his territory.

He still calls her my belle, but this doesn't make her smile anymore.

I don't know why she's still with him, but she certainly doesn't look happy.

At all.

At the moment she's examining a gun for the case we're working on, but apparently she can't concentrate.

"Hey, Cal, are you okay?" I inquire nonchalantly. I'm really concerned about her.

She loos up and tries, in vain, to fake a convincing smile.

"Uh, yeah, sure. Why do you ask?"

I glance at her in disbelief. Why do I ask?

She has never looked so tired since the day we first met and there are dark shades under her eyes.

"You just… Seem to be a little distracted."

She runs a hand through her hair and shrugs.

"I just need to get used to sleep in Thomas's bed. I'm sure in a few days it'll be better."

Or horribly worse.

She has moved in with him three weeks ago and I don't believe it's a matter of acclimatization.

"So… How's it going between the two of you?" I nonchalantly ask, studying a bloody sheet.

She takes a few seconds to ponder the question.

"It's… You know, fine." She says at last. "He's very… Protective."

Who does she think she's talking to? Like I could believe Stevensen cares for her.

"Are you really sure?" I insist.

She forces her lips to curve into another smile.

"Yes, Ryan, I am. Thanks for caring, but you don't need to."

I usually would trust anything she says, but this time I really find it hard. I just wish she could understand how blind she is before it's too late.

Monday, June 4th, Miami, South Beach, Astor Hotel

I'm on the crime scene, waiting for Calleigh.

I've tried to phone her a few times in the last two days, but I've never managed to find her. I've left a couple of messages though. I hope she's listened to them.

She was supposed to be here ten minutes ago.

I'm about to take out my cell-phone again, but, to my relief, I see her car stopping on the other side of the street.

She gets off carrying her kit and crosses the road, fixing the sunglasses on her nose.

She's wearing a pair of jeans and a white long sleeved white shirt, which I find a little inappropriate for a hot day like today.

"Hey!" I greet her. "I was starting thinking there was something wr-"

The words die in my mouth as I notice there's a cut on her lower lip.

"Calleigh, what is that?"

"Nothing." She nervously answers, turning her face to hide the cut from my sight.

"Calleigh, what is that?" I repeat, but I already have a precise idea.

She doesn't say a thing. She just faces away in discomfort, ignoring my question.

Without waiting for her to speak, I lift my hand and move it to her face.

When my fingers touch her sunglasses, she abruptly steps back, as though it hurt her or something.

After a short moment of hesitation, I firmly grab the sunglasses and gently pull them off her face.

My heart stops as my eyes set on the bruised skin around her left eye. I instantly feel the anger uncontrollably growing inside.

"Did he do this?" I inquire, trying not to lose my temper.

She shakes her head, but the tears in her eyes tell a different story.

How can he have done this to her? How did he dare?

"Calleigh, look at me." I can hardly keep my voice straight. "He did this to you, didn't he?"

"It's not what you think." She mutters.

I can't believe she's talking like this.

I've always thought she was the kind of woman who could never end up struck in such a problematic relationship. Above all, I would have never thought she could be so naïve to defend a bastard like Stevensen.

"It is exactly what I think." I snap. "Do you realize that this is domestic violence? It is a crime, Calleigh, and people get arrested for this."

"Ryan, please, leave it alone, I'm fine." She pleads, placing a hand on her forehead.

A sudden thought hits my mind. I look at her shirt and a shiver crosses my spine.

"Uncover your arms." I bid her.

She looks up, a worried expression on her face.

"W-what?"

"Uncover your arms." I repeat.

Without taking her eyes off me, she starts rolling her left sleeve up, exposing her white skin to the sunlight.

"Oh my god."

Before my eyes there are other bruises and the unmistakable sings of human fingers around her wrists. Some are old, others look very recent.

For the first time in my life I feel the urge to kill someone. I swear Stevensen is gonna pay for this.

"Jesus, Cal, how could you have let him do this to you?"

"He didn't mean to hurt me." She falters, while two tears leave her eyes and run down her cheeks.

"Please, tell me he didn't do anything worse than this. Please."

"No." she says in a barely audible whisper, making me sigh in some kind of relief.

"I won't let you go back to him." I state. "I won't let him touch you ever again."

I gently take her hands in mine and look straight into her eyes.

"Trust me. Let me help you." I beg her. "Please."

Thursday, June 21st, Miami Dade County Courthouse

Calleigh and I are standing outside the tribunal, watching Thomas Stevensen being taken away by two cops, his former colleagues. He's just been sentenced to six months in jail.

For one second he glares at us in hatred, then one of the cops forces him into the car, and a moment later he's disappeared.

"It's over." I whisper, as the car leaves, carrying Stevensen away.

Calleigh stares in silence at the empty street, holding my hand tighter.

The setting sun sends golden beams on her hair, but it's the faint smile she has on her lips that's lighting up her face.

There are still those dark shades under her eyes, and the bruises will take weeks to heal completely, but she won't be alone in this. I'll be right where I've always been.

By her side.

I look down at her and brush her forehead with a soft kiss.

"Shall we go?"

She raises her eyes on mine, nodding.

"Yes." She says, and her smile becomes slightly brighter. "Let's go home."

x x x

Fin