A/N – I envision this story having four or five more chapters, and it's my goal to FINISH it by my birthday at the end of March. (I'm hoping that actually writing down my goal and putting it 'out there' will help me achieve it :-)
Lex Talionis – Chapter 11
Temptation. One moment of weakness makes it that much harder to resist.
Bobby kept his eyes focused on the descending numbers of the elevator display, but that didn't stop him from being acutely aware of her standing next to him. So close. He drew a deep breath through his nose and disguised it as a sigh, just so he could smell her – all shampoo and soap and perfume. This feint wasn't anything new, but the knowledge that he could lean in and give her a morning kiss without being turned away … that was new. And tempting.
But before he had the chance to prove exactly how weak he really was, the elevator doors opened and Eames stepped forward into the lobby. This time his sigh was genuine.
Breakfast consisted of bagels, bananas and coffee-to-go from the hotel's breakfast bar, eaten in the car on their way to Jennifer Woodson's office. The drive was mostly silent and Bobby forced his thoughts away from his partner and on to the conversation he'd had with Lisa Hahn's mother first thing that morning. He wanted to borrow the religious study books he'd seen in Lisa's room, believing there was much insight to be gained from reading the notes she'd made in the margins. Mrs. Hahn was reluctant at first, but agreed when he assured her they would be returned, and that they may hold a clue to finding Lisa. He didn't mention seeing Lisa on the street outside her home. Bobby wanted to be able to see the mother's reaction to that bit of news. Surprised or wary. Her response would tell him a lot.
The plan was to meet with Jennifer Woodson to see what, if anything, they could learn about Lisa. Afterward they would swing by Mrs. Hahn's home to pick up the books and then make the drive back to New York. Last night's snow had dumped several inches on the ground, but fortunately the roads were mostly plowed and cindered. The day was bright and crystalline. Nothing should prevent them from getting to New York early enough to miss the Friday afternoon rush hour traffic.
Eames parked the SUV outside a non-descript office building – three stories of red brick with peeling paint on the window frames and unimpressive double glass doors. The office they sought was on the second floor, identified by a nameplate on the dark wood door: Jennifer Woodson, Clinical Psychologist.
Bobby opened and held the door for Eames as she preceded him into the small waiting room. On the desk where a receptionist would normally sit was a sign that read: In Session – Please Wait. Bobby glanced at the wall clock. 8:50. They were ten minutes early. While Eames sighed and sat in one of the green upholstered chairs, Bobby clasped his hands behind his back and leaned over the desk, trying to read anything of interest in the papers scattered there. He then wandered around the small space, looking at the pictures hanging on the walls. Finally, not finding anything to hold his attention, he lowered himself into the loveseat across from his partner and smoothed his tie.
"Bored?" Eames' mouth quirked up on one side.
He smiled and bobbed his head once. Shifting his weight on the uncomfortable seat, Bobby finally gave up and leaned against the back, crossed one leg over the other and hoped for a short wait.
Five minutes later, the door to the inner office opened. Bobby recognized Jennifer Woodson from their previous meeting in New York, conducted shortly after the Central Park murders. She was an attractive black woman with smooth, chocolate skin; high cheekbones; wide, dark eyes and full lips. Her hair was shorter than when he'd last seen her and Bobby thought this style was much more flattering to her features.
The man who walked out with her caught Bobby's eye. He had a slight build, blonde-streaked hair, a metrosexual wardrobe, and very effeminate posture and gestures. Bobby stood up and nodded a greeting to the man before turning to Jennifer Woodson.
"Thank you for meeting with us, Ms. Woodson."
"I'm not sure how much more I can tell you, but if it will help find Lisa …" she trailed off and opened the door to her office.
"Have you seen or heard from Lisa recently?" Eames lobbed the question as she walked past her. Bobby watched for Woodson's reaction. Nothing.
"Unfortunately, no. Not for over a year."
Rather than sit behind her desk, Woodson sat in a wing chair, tucked one leg beneath her, and gestured toward the couch across from her.
"Your practice … do you specialize?" Bobby eyed Woodson while she studied Eames. "Child psychology? Marriage counseling?"
"I work mainly with couples counseling." She smiled at Eames.
"Couples." Not marriage.
"My clients are almost exclusively GLBT," she finally turned to face Bobby. "But you already knew that."
"Suspected," he nodded confirmation. "You have a personal interest in serving that population." Woodson raised an eyebrow and Bobby smiled. "It … it's the way you … look at and speak to my partner."
"Disappointed … or jealous?"
"Ms. Woodson," Eames interrupted their verbal maneuvering with a clipped, irritated tone. "What about Lisa? Was she one of your clients?"
"Not exactly. Although she did occasionally come to me for advice or help coping with her life."
"Lisa is gay?" Again Bobby watched for Woodson's reaction.
"Lisa is … conflicted."
"Conflicted," Bobby repeated. "How?"
"You know, Detective," Woodson leaned back into the chair and wrapped her arms across her chest. Closed body language. "Lisa may not have officially been my client, but she had every expectation of privacy when she met with me."
Bobby nodded, considered a new tack. "Let me ask this. Does her conflict have anything to do with her childhood trauma? At the summer camp?"
Woodson paused only briefly, but during that moment Bobby saw wariness creep into her eyes. "That didn't help. Lisa couldn't get past her feelings of betrayal."
"Everyone let her down," Eames murmured. "Her mom. The camp counselor."
Woodson's eyes flashed with something close to anger.
Bobby leaned forward. "Ms. Woodson, what did Lisa tell you about the camp counselor?"
She glared at him. Definitely angry. "Just that he was another one of them."
"People who didn't believe her. The whole incident and everyone involved with it left her scarred … and very vulnerable."
"She came to you for help with her vulnerability?" Eames asked.
"She came to me looking for the strength to get on with her life."
"Did she find it?"
Woodson unwound her tense limbs and stood up from her chair – a definite sign that this interview was over. "I haven't seen or heard from Lisa in over a year. She must have found something that helped her cope."
Once they were back at the car, Bobby noticed Eames's frown. "What are you thinking?"
She paused and turned to him. "I think she's still hiding something."
He silently nodded his agreement then flashed a wide grin. "She's certainly not hiding her attraction to you." Eames' frown turned into an embarrassed blush and Bobby just chuckled.
Note: GLBT = Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender (just FYI)