A Bad Idea
November 6, 2011
Author's note: I usually go for a lot of angst (and I'm also usually a slasher), but there is something about Jenny and Kevin that makes me unable to help myself. I guess I have a secret sappy side…
Kevin Ryan knew that it was a very bad idea to look at anyone even remotely associated with his job with anything but professional eyes. But when the petite blonde with the big hazel eyes was directed to him, determined to be helpful despite the fact that she was shaking, oblivious to the blood on her hands, he couldn't help himself. His heart leapt into his throat and he had to restrain himself from hugging her. The woman was a freaking hero, and she was looking at him like a puppy that had just been fished out of the river.
"Miss O'Malley?" he said gently, taking her arm and guiding her to a nearby bus stop bench. "Let's get you cleaned up a little." She'd already been processed for evidence, so there was no harm. He'd fished the towel he normally used to clean frost off his mirrors out of the car, and now he took her hand in his, wiping off the blood.
"Duffy-O'Malley," she replied shakily. She was staring down at their hands as if she'd only just noticed they were dirty. "I – of course there'd be blood…" Miss Duffy-O'Malley started to cry.
"Hey, it's okay," Ryan replied, ducking his head to meet her eyes. He reached for her other hand, continuing his ministrations. "You did everything you could."
"But he died," she pointed out, pulling her small hand from his large, clumsy one and dashing tears from her cheeks. "He died right there in front of me, and everyone just kept walking and no one would help me." Her voice was angry, not distraught.
"I know," Ryan said, his heart going out to the girl even as his head attempted to chastise it. A homicide detective had very little time for sympathy. "I promise you, we're going to do everything we can to catch the person who did this." He hesitated for just a moment, but then his mind won out. He had a job to do. "That's why I need you to tell me everything you saw before the man was shot, okay? Every little detail you can remember. Can you do that for me?"
"Of course, detective…?"
"Ryan," he supplied.
"Of course, detective Ryan." She sat up straighter.
"Okay," Ryan said, pulling back and reaching for his notepad. "So when did you first see the victim?"
Jenny Duffy O'Malley was a bookstore clerk. She worked in the 'rare finds and unique gifts' specialty store, Munro's, on 11th Avenue. She'd been standing in the window, rearranging the display to advertise some new independent publisher that they'd just started stocking when she'd heard the angry voices. She looked up to see two men arguing on the street. She couldn't hear what they said through the glass, but she'd happened to look up just as one man grabbed the other, angrily turning him around as he tried to walk away.
When the shot rang out, she'd been so shocked that she'd lost her footing on the small step ladder she was using to reach into the display case. She'd had tripped and fallen into the store, landing on her butt. By the time she'd found her feet again, the one guy was gone and the other one was lying in a pool of his own blood. She'd rushed out of the store to try and help him, and of course she'd left her purse in the store so she didn't have her cell phone. So then all she could do was cry for help, her hands pressed against the wound, totally helpless and way out of her depth. But before the shot, when they were just arguing, she'd gotten a good look at them. Both of them.
Ryan suppressed a smile as he typed up his notes. It was a really great lead. He glanced across the precinct to where Jenny Duffy O'Malley was seated with a sketch artist. She still had that determined look on her face.
"Dude," a voice behind him said. He looked up and back to meet the gaze of his partner, Javier Espisito, who was shaking his head.
"Bad idea," Espisito replied.
"What?" Ryan shrugged his shoulders and tried to present he had no idea was Epso was talking about.
"Oh, please. Small, blonde, adorable, and she does the right thing? If you go over there, I'll bet you fifty bucks that girl will own you by the end of the week."
Ryan made as if to argue, but then she happened to look up, catch him staring at her, and smile. It was like a current flowing across the room, connecting them. He stood up, reaching into his back pocket, pulled out his wallet, and handed Espisito two crumpled bills. "All I've got is forty," he replied, grinning at his partner. "I'll have to owe you."
He stuffed his walled back in his pants as he turned away, walking across the room with his fingers crossed, practically holding his breath. He felt like he was about to leap off of some great unknown edge. His hands were sweating by the time he reached her, just as she was standing to leave, her sketch of the suspect finished.
"Detective Ryan," she said, looking up at him.
"Kevin," he blurted out, shifting his weight.