*The beginning part of the show, set to music, with no words.
A pretty young woman is seen pushing a baby stroller with one hand, and carrying a paper bag of groceries in the other. She walks down a street in a middle-class neighborhood. The woman smiled and greets the doorman at her building, and disappears through the door.
A man, looking about thirty years old, is seen leveling a hunting rifle on the window of an apartment building, stationed on the roof of another structure. He settles the crosshairs on one window, and the viewer sees the young woman walking through her kitchen, holding her baby and putting groceries away.
The woman closes the refrigerator door and, having put everything away, she walks into the living room, still holding her baby against her chest. As she lies on the couch, she bends her knees up and braces the baby's back against her thighs.
The crosshairs are our view again, and we see the woman's forehead at the center.
She smiles at the baby, stroking her cheek as the baby blows raspberries. We see the window shatter, and the woman slumps over.
The man with the rifle is seen rushing up the stairs in this apartment building. He reaches the woman's door, and uses a key to unlock it. He enters, takes the now crying baby, picks up the diaper bag, and leaves, locking the door behind himself.
*The episode begins as usual now, with audible voices and no music.
Eddie jogged into the 4th precinct with a bounce in his step. He spied JC slouched behind his desk. "Yo yo, what up Papie?"
JC glanced up from the report he was half-heartedly filling out. "Filling out reports you left me with to go on your date last night. Hope you had some fun, you know what I mean?"
Ed laughed raucously. "Oh, I got some love. Owe you one, partner. So does she. I made her one very happy woman."
JC was spared a response to that arrogant remark by the arrival of Lou, who'd come down the stairs. "Spare me the report of your glorious conquest, Detective. I've got a body for you, at Lexington Avenue and Dupont. See if you can concentrate on making me a happy woman, huh Torres?" She raised her brows and awaited his response.
He looked her up and down slowly. "I'd love to, Lou," he wisecracked, crossing his arms.
She plunked one hand on her hip and tilted her body back to give him a look. "Dream on, Detective. Move on this. Now." She quirked a brow again, and waited for him to acquiesce.
He laughed and motioned at JC to get up. "We're on it, Lou."
*Inside the apartment building
Eddie and JC enter the apartment, ducking around the yellow crime-scene tape. They glanced at the body of the woman, which was being bagged by paramedics. Wong, the Medical Examiner stood nearby, making notations on a legal pad. Uniformed police officers milled about the room. One gave Eddie and JC the rundown, as both detectives donned latex gloves to protect the integrity of the crime scene.
"Single gunshot to the forehead. Looks real pro. The vic looked to be laying on the couch. Never saw it coming. Bullet entered through the big window there," he said, pointing at the large window that dominated the opposite wall. "From the entrance wound, looks like probably a rifle. No exit wound. The ME will save the bullet they get. No evidence of a forced entry, doesn't look like anything's missing here. You can check it out." The uniform moved away to confer with the other cops gathered in the doorway.
JC glanced at Eddie. "This chick was definitely marked. I'll check the window, see if I can see where he would have stood to get off a shot like that. Probably the roof of that building across the street. You check the bedrooms."
Eddie nodded and headed for the rooms on the other side of the kitchen. He walked into the bedroom. It was neat, with cherry furniture and lace curtains. The bed was made, and a few papers were scattered over the surface of the desk. His gaze skimmed over the nightstand, the closet, and the crib. He snapped his eyes back to the crib. There hadn't been a baby anywhere in the house. He moved closer, seeing small stuffed animals in the bottom, and a pastel mobile dangling over the top. He started opening drawers. Women's clothes were intermixed with baby clothes and supplies. Framed pictures of a smiling baby, looking about six months old, were on the dresser. In one, the dead woman stood with an older woman, probably her mother. Eddie noticed a hand on the shoulder of the woman, and reached for the frame. As he took the picture out of the frame, he realized that a man had been in the picture, and had been folded out of it. Eddie slid the picture into a baggie and placed it in his pocket. A large framed picture dominated the nightstand. It was an elaborate frame, with pastel baby colors swirling over it. Inside was a picture of a newborn baby girl with a tiny pink bow tied in her little curling mohawk. The baby had her eyes open wide, and was staring right at the camera. Beneath the picture, Grace Anne was written in scrawling calligraphy, followed by the date May 25, 1996. What Eddie guessed were her vital statistics were underneath the date. 7 pounds, 4 ounces, 20 inches long, born at 3:48 am. He picked up the frame and headed out to the kitchen.
JC was examining the hole made in the window. "What you got, Ed?"
Eddie passed the picture. "Looks like she's got a baby. Let's talk to the uniforms first on the scene."
JC raised his brows. "I didn't see any baby."
Eddie rolled his eyes. "Excellent deduction. Let's talk to the officers. See if she has any information about the next of kin in her purse. We may have a kidnapping here."
JC nodded. "You grab the kid who got here first, I'll check the purse."
"Sure." Eddie strode over to the cluster of cops. The first on the scene had been a rookie, 22 years old, and his partner, a slightly more seasoned officer of 26. He'd held up remarkably well, clearing the curious crowd to preserve the scene, checking the body for signs of life, and calling the paramedics. According to New York standards for death pronouncement, a police officer could only pronounce death if the victim was decapitated. The paramedics had done it upon their arrival, and called the Manhattan Medical Examiners office. Every homicide was an ME's case anyway. His partner had questioned the onlookers, but none had seen anything, and none knew who could have placed the anonymous call tipping the police that they were needed at the address.
Eddie again offered the picture. "Looks like this lady had a baby. Maybe this kid was with a sitter, maybe not. Did you see any sign of a baby when you got here?"
The rookie and his partner shook their heads. The partner spoke up. "I can ask the neighbors."
Eddie nodded. "Yeah, you do that. I'm going downstairs to check with the doorman. He may have seen her come in, remember if she had a baby with her."
The uniforms nodded and moved over to the crowd still gathered at the crime scene tape. Death drew a crowd, always. Some looked on with morbid curiosity, some with excitement, some with pity. But all looked.
*On the street, by Eddie's car.
Eddie and JC got into their car. Eddie slid behind the wheel, as JC hopped into the passenger seat. Ed glanced at his partner as he turned the engine over. "You got the mother's address?"
JC held out a crap of paper. "Right here. 15 on 103rd street. Apartment #5. Her name's Anna Harding. Victim's name was Victoria."
Eddie pulled away from the curb and hung a U, heading for 103rd street. "Talked to the doorman. She'd come in maybe half an hour, forty-five minutes before the call came in. She was pushing a stroller, baby was inside. She stopped to greet the doorman, and he heard the baby fussing. He said she had a bag of groceries in her hand. He almost offered to carry them up for her." Eddie shook his head.
JC said nothing, just stared out the windshield. He hated this part of the job. Telling families their loved one was dead was hard enough. Probing them for information regarding that death was worse. Telling them that more than likely their grandchild had been kidnapped was tougher than that.
Both men stood silently at the door they'd just knocked on. When it opened, they were facing a woman who had to be in her fifties, but who looked closer to forty. Her dark hair had some gray intermixed, but not much. Fine lines showed around her eyes and mouth, but they weren't plentiful. Soft blue eyes gave her a warm look, but she looked like nobody's grandmother. She was the image of her daughter.
Eddie showed his badge and looked her in the eye. "Ma'am, I'm Detective Torres, this is my partner Detective Williams. We need to speak to you for a few minutes. Could we come in?"
She wordlessly moved aside, gesturing for them to enter. She closed the door behind them, and followed them to the couch. She sat, and gestured for them to do the same. "Have a seat, Detectives. I'm Anna Harding, but I guess you know that. What can I do for you?"
She seemed remarkably composed, but her eyes gave away her panic.
Eddie cleared his throat. "Ms. Harding, there was a shooting at your daughter's apartment." He would have liked to stop, let her draw her own conclusions and avoid saying it, but continued, recognizing the cruelty of giving her even the slightest bit of hope, however brief. "I'm so sorry, but your daughter is dead."
She looked away, drawing in a deep breath. "Did he do it?" When neither man answered, she raised her voice to a shout, which bordered on hysterical. "Did he? Answer me! Did my daughter's ex-boyfriend kill my baby?" Her eyes filled, and she jumped to her feet.
Eddie also rose, placing his hand on her arm. "That's what we're trying to find out. We'll need to talk to you more extensively, but for now we can take you to the hospital they took her to if you'd like."
She turned to face Eddie, her face crumpling. Without warning, she bowed her head and began to sob. She covered her face with her hands. When Eddie put a comforting hand on her upper arm, she turned blindly toward him, seeking comfort where it was offered. He pulled her into his chest, curving one hand around the back of her head. She wept bitter tears against his shirtfront.
*Lieutenant Cooper's office at the 4th precinct.
JC prowled across the floor of the office that he, his partner, and their Lieutenant occupied. Eddie and Lt. Virginia Cooper sat, she in her desk chair, facing the couch that Eddie sat on.
JC spoke. "Mom ID'd the body. Confirmed that there was a baby. According to her, Victoria Harding met Buzz McCaffrey in 1995. She dated him for about six months. Mom says he seemed "weird" to her, said he was constantly certain that conspiracy's were being formulated, most with the purpose of damaging Buzz. He often spoke irrationally, starting on one train of thought, then rhyming nonsensical words with one word that was said. She gave an example of a flower arrangement that Victoria had brought her at Easter time. It had lilies in it. He said something to the effect of 'Lily, hilly, billy, jilly.' Mom says he did that all the time. The guy seemed harmless enough to Victoria, but her mom had reservations about him. Since her daughter wasn't serious about him, she didn't worry too much. Turns out he had a documented 'schizoaffective disorder.' He'd seen a psychiatrist few years before. He'd taken some medication, deemed himself cured, and stopped seeing the shrink. We talked to her, too. Then, one night, he had gotten angry, screaming at the girl and himself. He hit her, she pulled a gun on him and threw him out. Told him to get out and never come back. Called her mom and the cops. Filed charges against him for assault." JC stopped, gauging Virginia's reaction. She just lifted her brows in silent signal for him to continue.
Eddie picked up the story there. "He did six months, got out. Came after her, begging her to take him back. She slammed the door in his face. He stalked her then, following her to work, calling her, you know the drill. She got a restraining order. He violated it, coming to the hospital when she delivered the baby she'd become pregnant with right before the breakup. She refused to let him see the baby, he tried to force his way in. A nurse threw him out and called the cops. She listed the father on the baby's birth certificate as 'unknown.' He tried a few more times to get to the baby, but never through legal channels. She told him it wasn't his. He didn't believe it. Finally, he kind of faded away. She thought she and her baby were free of this guy. One day she comes home, he pops her through the window, takes the baby, and vanishes." Eddie braces his elbows on his knees, and steepled his fingers together over the lower portion of his face. To him, this case was a time bomb. Each hour that passed was another hour that a baby was held by someone with obvious mental problems.
Virginia spoke for the first time. "Obviously, getting this baby back is our priority. So how do we get this guy? What do we know? Do we know where he works, where he lives, who he socializes with? He got family? Parents, siblings?"
JC answered her. "Mother of the victim said he's got a mother in Scotland. Might've gone to her. No siblings. Worked for a construction company, but hasn't been seen there for three days. We checked out his address, the place was empty. We asked around the neighborhood, nobody saw much of him. One lady said she thought he was into guns because he always seemed to be coming home and taking them out of his car trunk. Called the airport, train station, bus stations. No record of a ticket sale to him."
Virginia nodded, lifting a hand as a thought occurred to her. "This guy on parole?"
Eddie glanced down at the file they'd made. He knew he'd documented that somewhere. He went through the papers from his previous arrest and time served. "Nope. Assault one, six months to a year. Did all the time."
She cursed. It would have made life a lot simpler if he had a parole officer. They'd have at least some idea of where to look. Another idea hit her. "Hey, this guy's a felon, right?" At their nods, she continued. "Convicted felons are not allowed to own guns. Must've got it on the street. See what you can find."
*House in the 'burbs, cordoned off with yellow police tape.
Eddie and JC entered the house, which was empty. A large gun case stood in the living room, with several rifles standing on a rack. Pistols sat on the bottom of the case. Eddie reached out and opened the case. There was no lock.
JC examined the rifles "All the same type of gun," he commented.
Eddie nodded his agreement. "So we take one with us, see who we can find selling these."
*Typical street corner in Harlem.
Eddie and JC screeched to a halt at the curb. They planned to shake down the guy known on the street only as JJ. They'd busted him awhile back for illegal arms possession, and sent him up for a year. Eddie and JC weren't his favorite people, but they figured he'd talk with the right incentive. When they'd busted him, he'd been selling guns exactly like the one they'd taken from McCaffrey's place. JC had recognized a man on the street corner as one who was tight with JJ, so they'd stopped there.
Both men got out, flashing badges. JC took the lead. "Hey, my man. Any y'all seen JJ lately? Know where we can find him?" He spoke to the crowd, but addressed the one he'd recognized, known only to them as Link. When nobody answered him, he tried again. "Better talk, boys. I know you know where he's at."
Link started to walk away, and Eddie called out "Hey, get your ass back here. Did I say you could go?"
JC repeated his question.
Link returned, and glared at Eddie and JC. "I ain't his mother."
Eddie jerked his arms behind his back and pushed him into the wall. "Coulda fooled us." With that, he jerked the man's hat off, whistling at the packets of drugs that fell out. "Wanna try again, little man?"
When no answers were forthcoming, Eddie cuffed the man, and addressed the group. "Look, you don't tell us now, and we keep coming back. Nobody does business today, or tomorrow, as long as it takes."
One of the men answered mutinously. "125th and 3rd."
Eddie released the man he held, stuffing his cuffs back into his pocket. "Now, was that so hard?" He and JC got back into the car and took off.
*The car pulls up in front of a seedy looking storefront.
JC exited the car and grabbed the rifle from the back. He and Eddie strode into the store. A young man stood at the counter of what looked like a liquor store. JC spoke first again. "You know where we might find JJ?"
The guy's eyes widened and he swiveled and ran for the back door. Eddie was on him in seconds, shoving him into the wall. "Relax, my man, we ain't after you. We just want to talk to JJ about something. You gonna tell us where he's at?"
The man was panicked, and tried to buck Eddie off.
JC spoke up. "Look, you can tell us where he is, or we can stick around to find out what you're so scared of."
The young man was stiff with fear. He'd never had a drug bust before, and there was a gram of coke in plain sight under the counter. It wasn't his, but the cops would never believe it. "Up the stairs outside."
JC checked, running up the stairs. When he called to his partner, Eddie released the kid and grabbed the bag of cocaine. "I'll keep this for you," he sneered sarcastically, and joined JC.
Both men entered an apartment through the open door. A young man stood by the window, smoking a fat joint.
JC held up the rifle when JJ turned. "We meet again, JJ. We got some questions for you. Now, being that we're such nice guys, we'll give you a choice. You answer them here, or you answer them downtown."
JJ considered them through a cloud of sweet-smelling marijuana smoke. "How 'bout C, Officers? None of the above."
Eddie dangled the bag he's pilfered from the counter downstairs. "You got another set of choices. Another drug charge, or a couple of answers. A or B?"
JC reached out and snatched the joint dangling indolently from J's lips. "Let's go, my man."
Eddie jerked his hands back, cuffed him, and led him out the door.
*Interrogation room at the 4th.
Eddie and JC sat on either side of JJ, as Lou stood up, questioning him. "All we want to know is who you sell this stuff to." She produced the folded picture from Victoria's apartment. "This guy look familiar?"
He glared at her, but finally decided that one customer wasn't worth doing time for the pot he'd been smoking. They couldn't prove the coke was his, he knew, but he'd been caught red-handed with the Mari Jane. "Called himself Buzz. I don't know why he wanted the guns, but he said he liked that kind. I don't know a last name."
Lou nodded in satisfaction. It looked like the creep was going to start answering. "We know who he is. We need to know where to find him. He got a job?"
"Yo, I dunno man. Used a post office box in Queens. I went by to see if I could find him once, he was late on a payment. They wouldn't tell me nuthin' but I remember where it was." At Lou's encouraging nod, he went on. "Some whacked out herb store in Queens, had some PO boxes in back. All that weird natural medicine shit. I remember they had this big microscope they said looked at live blood or something. It's on 118th street in Queens. Box number 314. I don't know the name." JJ looked down at the table. He needed a fix, bad.
Lou jerked her chin up. "Cut 'im loose. Wouldn't want 'im to have withdrawls before he can shoot up again." She strode out and headed for her office to get her coat. Time to visit an herbal medicine shop.
*Dingy little shop, shelves filled with varied herbal remedies.
Virginia looked around in disgust. They actually passed this medical quackery off as helpful. This kind of thing pissed her off. People actually swallowed this crap, believed it would help them.
The shop owner, a large, greasy man stepped forward. "Hello, can I help you with something today?"
Instead of getting to the point, she decided to heckle the man some. "What's the scientific basis for this?" she asked, pulling a random bottle from the shelf.
His eyes narrowed. Every few weeks he got some smartass or another, usually one with a medical background, asking him to explain his herbs. He could hardly say that most people are dumb and won't question whatever he said. "It depends on the problem, Miss. Usually it's used to cure headaches."
She examined the label. "This contains potassium. Doesn't that cause heart problems?"
He rolled his eyes. "Only in very large doses, Ma'am. It's all natural."
She replaced the bottle on the shelf. "So are poppies, Sir. Yet opium comes from that." She didn't like remedies passed off as all-natural. Most drugs came from plants, and that didn't make them any less deadly. The all-natural claim simply meant that the FDA didn't govern the use of the products. "What exactly is your title, Sir? Your sign says 'Doctor.' Are you a Medical Doctor?"
"No, I'm a doctor of Natropathy." He tried to look smug, but failed.
"Ah ha. I wasn't aware that they were passing out degrees in the study of crapola." She crossed her arms as she delivered this sarcastic line.
He opened his mouth to reply, but Eddie jumped in. he flashed his badge. "We're police officers, Sir. Can you tell us who's in charge of the PO boxes?"
The still sputtering man pointed to the back. "Jill, in the back." He glared at Lou, but the effect was lost. Her back was already to him, and she headed for the back of the store.
Eddie flashed his badge as he approached the middle-aged woman at the back counter. "Detective Torres, Homicide. We need some information on the renter of box number 314."
The woman behind the counter gave Eddie a retiring look. She glanced back at Lou and JC. "You know I can't give out that information, Detective."
Virginia jumped in. "You can't unless it's in regards to a business being run from a post-office box. He's using it to purchase illegal firearms. I'd call that a business, wouldn't you?"
She smiled slowly and nodded. "I would. Hang on, okay?"
They waited while she rifled through some files. She looked up a moment later. "I got an address and a copy of a drivers license." She slid the papers across the desk.
The address was the house they'd gotten the gun at.
JC glanced over Lou's shoulder, then said "We know who he is, but we're looking for a way to find him. He list anybody else to pick up his mail?"
The woman looked down. "Yeah, a Victoria Harding."
"Shit," Eddie muttered softly.
Lou looked past the woman at the boxes behind her. "Listen, you have anything in a box waiting for this guy?"
At this, Jill looked resolute. "There's no way I can give you his mail. Not without a warrant or something."
Virginia shook her head. "I just want to know if he has anything waiting. Maybe what it is, if you can tell without opening it."
Jill still looked uncomfortable, but walked through a door to check. She returned, saying "He's got a package from a drug company in there. Came in yesterday. He usually picks stuff up on Thursdays."
"Tomorrow," Eddie said. "Thanks a lot, Jill." The three trooped outside.
*Back at the 4th.
"Okay, so we'll take wait for him tomorrow. They open at 8:00 and close at 5:00." JC looked over at Virginia. "When he comes, do you want us to haul him in, or tail him and hope he leads us to the kid?"
She considered this for a moment. "Tail 'im. We don't want to take a chance on him not telling us where she is."
Both men nodded. "Okay. 8:00 sharp," Eddie said, getting up.
JC followed his lead, and the two men left.
Virginia glanced down at the papers on her desk. The one on top was a face sheet regarding all the guns that Buzz McCaffrey had. Eddie and JC were good, capable cops, but maybe she would drop in toward the afternoon time, see what was going down. Three against one were better odds than two against one.
*Eddie and JC sit in a nondescript car outside of the health store.
Police work was tedious. 5% was chasing bad guys and arresting criminals. 95% was grunt work. A stakeout wasn't nearly as glamorous as some might have you believe. It involved a cold car, hot coffee, and hours of silence broken only by an occasional comment from one of the men. Some cops chose to keep themselves occupied during a stakeout, by doing crossword puzzles or reading. Eddie and JC both stared resolutely through the windshield, waiting for a man who they'd only seen in pictures.
*Inside the store
Lou casually walked in, trying to hide her face within her coat. She glanced around the store for anything out of place. She'd spotted Eddie and JC immediately, outside in their car. She was now waiting for McCaffrey to appear. Lou had notified Eddie and JC that she would stay inside the store, while they covered the outside. She was well aware of the farcical aspects of different cops tailing the same person, and made sure that would be avoided by notifying them of her presence prior to her arrival.
She perused the aisles of medical quackery for nearly an hour. She was left alone by the odious store owner thanks to the badge she'd flashed in his face the previous day. Finally, as she contemplated something bizarre (probably 'scale of dragon, tooth of wolf' to her mode of thinking), she saw Eddie alight from the car. As he crossed the street, a man walked in to the store with a key ring in one hand. His face matched the picture, though his hair was longer and he was sporting a faint shadow of facial hair.
She walked closer to the boxes, pretending to be enthralled with the selection of home remedies there. He approached and handed over his keys to Jill. He ripped open the package she brought forth as he stood there. Lou, taking a chance, walked to the counter, looking at the keys. On the ring was a white circle of paper with the address "301 Turner Ave., B13" written on it. She turned away and headed for the door. The man was still inside, throwing the envelope in the trash and pocketing the bottle inside. She muttered to Eddie as she passed him "I think I know where he lives. You and JC stay with him." When he nodded, she turned and hurried down the sidewalk toward Turner Ave.
Buzz McCaffrey walked out of the shop and walked down the street in the same direction Cooper took. Eddie began to follow him, being careful to keep out of sight. JC was alongside Eddie, having decided to follow on foot rather than with a more obvious car.
They wound up the street, and down a smaller, obviously residential one. He entered a small apartment building. The detectives followed closely enough to see the elevator ascend to the second floor and stop. The men used the stairwell, and jogged up the flights to the second level. They saw, at the end of the hall, McCaffrey close the door of his apartment behind himself.
Eddie and JC jogged down the hall and rapped on the door. They did it again a moment later. "Open up, Police!" JC yelled.
No answer was forthcoming.
Eddie wasted no time. He kicked the door once, viciously, and it flew open. JC went in low, weapon held straight out, Eddie went high. They quickly turned in opposite directions, switching positions. It was the same way they went into every potentially dangerous situation. They'd worked together so long that their routine of covering one another was instinct.
Both men heard movement in the bedroom and headed that way, still checking behind doors and carefully navigating corners. What they saw in the bedroom made them halt in their tracks. McCaffrey was heading out the fire escape with the baby in one arm, and a pistol in the other. He stepped out onto a relatively large metal platform that looked more like a balcony than a fire escape. It ran all the way around the building, not breaking between each apartment.
"Freeze! Drop your weapon!" JC barked this order as he and Eddie trained their police-issue Glocks on McCaffrey.
McCaffrey held the crying baby in front of his torso, and thanks to the bulky blankets, the bundle adequately covered every lethal target excepting the head. "Come any closer and I kill this kid!"
Eddie tried to reason with him. "Come on, McCaffrey, the reason you did all this was to get the baby. You wouldn't kill her, would you?"
He waved the gun at the detectives. "I wanted her away from her whore mother! I'd rather see her dead than go back!"
Eddie was confused. "You killed her mother. How can she go back?"
McCaffrey ignored this. "Back off! I will kill this kid!"
JC jumped in. "You already killed one woman and kidnapped a baby. If you kill her, they'll have a strong case for the death penalty. Right now all you've got is life in prison. Hurt her, and you'll get strapped in for a lethal injection. Choice is yours."
With no warning, McCaffrey trained his pistol on JC's chest and fired. JC fell back and crumpled. Eddie fired once at the man's head, then hit the floor and rolled behind some furniture. Dimly, he heard another voice yell "Police, freeze! Drop your weapon!" He heard another shot, then another, followed by a clatter. He heaved himself up and looked out onto the fire escape balcony. McCaffrey was lying prone on the metal platform, the baby pinned beneath him. One glance back at JC told Eddie that his partner was all right; the other man was already sitting up. Eddie rushed out to the fire escape. He nearly collided with Lou, who was rolling the body of Buzz McCaffrey aside and picking up the baby.
He looked down at the body as his Lieutenant shoved her pistol back in the SOB holster at the small of her back. The baby was cradled expertly in one arm. JC joined them.
"Nice damn shot, Lieutenant," JC offered. With the body now on it's back, he could see a neat hole right between the eyes.
She was moving blankets aside and checking the baby. She didn't acknowledge his words. "Are you okay, Detectives?"
Both men nodded. "Took one in the vest. It'll bruise like hell, but I'm fine," JC added.
Eddie jerked his head up toward Cooper. "What about you?" It was then that he noticed a small smear of blood on her upper arm. "That his blood or yours?" he asked, even though he knew the answer.
She barely looked down at her arm. "Mine, but he barely winged me." Momentarily satisfied that the baby was in one piece, she rewrapped her as best she could, and held her securely against her chest. "We need to get her checked out at the hospital. Just in case."
Eddie agreed, and thought the hospital was a fine idea. He wanted that "wing" of Cooper's to be seen by a doctor. Just in case.
*Hospital Emergency Room
Cooper, Eddie, and JC stood around a bed inside of a curtained area, waiting as a scrub-clad doctor finished examining Grace.
He looked up and smiled. "No damage done. I'll flash some films to be sure, but I don't think this little one is any the worse for wear." He smiled and exited the curtain.
All three breathed a sigh of relief.
The relative quiet of the room was interrupted by a woman's voice. "Where's my granddaughter! Grace Harding. She's just a baby…"
Virginia picked up the baby and walked out to the nurses station where Anna Harding stood.
Anna turned at the sound of Virginia's approach. Her face crumpled at the sight of her granddaughter and she started to cry. When Virginia offered her the baby, Anna gathered little Grace close, rocking her gently.
*Natalies, that night
Eddie, JC, and Lou all nursed drinks at the bar.
Eddie glanced over at his boss. "That was good thinking today, Lou. I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't been waiting on that fire escape."
JC echoed his partner's sentiment.
She let the compliment pass. "I'm just glad I didn't hit the baby. I would never have shot at him, holding the baby like he was, if he hadn't shot at me."
Eddie and JC understood that. Both men had been petrified of hitting the baby. Eddie's one shot had been far over McCaffrey's head. In his desire to avoid the baby, he'd shot way too high.
"Well, grandma was glad the have the baby back," JC said.
Lou nodded. "At least she's got that part of her daughter left."
Both men stared into their drinks, unable to respond to that. They'd won; the baby was safe, and the killer had been found. But none of that would change the fact that a woman had lost her daughter, and that her baby would never know her mother.
Lou smiled up at her detectives. "Come on, guys. Who's buying me another drink?"