"I'll be in touch as soon as I can, J," Gary said.
"I'll be waiting for your call," said Josie.
"I'll keep an eye on Josie until you get back," Joe promised.
"Thanks, Joe," Gary said. "I'm glad you'll be here for Josie."
The Federal Agent cleared his throat and said, "You do realize, don't you, that Sinclair isn't just going on a little trip? This job he's doing for us is dangerous, and"
Joe took the agent aside and said in a low voice, "We all know that Gary isn't going on a vacation, but right now his wife doesn't need any reminders. Saying goodbye is hard enough as it is."
"Hey, his wife is a cop. She knows what can happen," the Fed pointed out.
"Well, maybe you should keep in mind that right now his wife is first and foremost a wife. Now, I'm going to give these numbers where you can reach me if, God forbid, anything goes wrong. If there's bad news, Josie should hear it from someone who cares about her."
Six weeks had gone by, and there had been no call.
Josie was at her desk at the 2-3, looking for... what was she trying to find? She couldn't remember; she couldn't concentrate. The truth is, she hadn't gotten much sleep lately.
Joe walked up to Josie's desk and asked, "You okay?"
Josie looked up at him. She didn't answer.
"Well," Joe said, "that was a dumb question. Look, Josie, I'm going to take you home now. It's for your own good."
"Am I in trouble?" Josie asked.
"Of course not," Joe said. "This just isn't the time for you to handle police work."
Joe walked Josie home. Josie unlocked the door, and they went inside.
Josie looked at Joe. "Could you...?"
"You want me to stay with you?"
"Please," Josie said. "Just for a little while."
"Of course I'll stay."
"Oh, Joe, what if I never hear from Gary? What if.." Josie's voice trembled.
"Josie, please don't assume the worst," Joe said. "Gary will get in touch with you as soon as he can."
"But what if he can't? I mean, it's been six weeks, and.."
Joe didn't know what to say. He knew that the worst might have happened; he prayed that it hadn't, that it wouldn't. There was nothing else he could do, except to take Josie in his arms and try to comfort her if he couldn't reassure her.
At that moment, Joe was not so much Josie's captain as he was her friend. He held her close, stroked her hair, and kissed her.
And afterwards, she slept, exhausted but comforted, in his arms.
The call came the next day.