Moonlight in San Francisco
Ironside instinctively moved toward Barbara protectively. She placed a hand on his shoulder as he maneuvered her behind him. "Hello Jimmy," he said, looking directly into Jimmy Chard's eyes.
"I have been waiting a long time, Chief." Jimmy moved closer to Ironside and Barbara.
"Why, Jimmy? Your beef was with me. Why did you kill all those people?" Ironside demanded.
"They were for you, Chief. I knew it would be the one thing that would hurt you the most. You fancy yourself as San Francisco's big protector. Killing those people would get your attention. It worked, Chief. I got your attention, didn't I?" Jimmy set the butcher knives down on the table.
Ironside glanced around the room. He knew this office better than anyone did. He had to find a way to protect Barbara from this disturbed young man. He glanced at the knives on the table. He knew they presented a bigger threat than the gun Chard was carrying. Chard did not want to shoot either of them. He wanted to use those knives. Ironside knew it was Chard's desire to kill him with one of them in the same manner he had killed the others. Barbara was a potential victim only because she was with him. Ironside inched his chair forward to see how closely Chard was watching him.
Chard lifted his gun a little higher and pointed it at Ironside. "That's far enough, Chief. Stay where you are."
Ironside stopped. "You should have stayed in prison and served your time, Jimmy. Breaking out of prison would have added time to your sentence. Killing those people will put you behind bars for the rest of your life."
"In case you haven't noticed, Chief, I am not in prison now." Chard laughed. "Since you have pointed out that I will spend the rest of my life in prison you should realize I have nothing to lose."
"Give me the gun, Jimmy," Ironside said as he reached out a hand.
Chard laughed. "You would like that, wouldn't you, Chief? I would go back to prison and you would get away with killing my brother."
"I didn't kill your brother. He robbed that bank. He killed those cops. I had nothing to do with it," Ironside insisted. He could feel Barbara tightening her grip on his shoulder. She was trembling slightly. He wanted nothing more than to tell her everything would be all right, to reach up and take her hand in his. He did neither. He needed to keep Chard talking until he could figure out a way to stop him.
Chard became visibly angry. "Nothing to do with it! You put him there, Ironside."
"No, Jimmy. We have been over this before. He killed two cops." Ironside's eyes continued searching the room for a way out of the situation in which he and Barbara found themselves.
"And I told you he was only protecting himself," Chard shouted.
"Robbing a bank, Jimmy…. You do not get to claim self-defense from police officers who are doing a job, stopping a crime in progress. He was breaking the law. Two men died because of it." Ironside knew it was futile to reason with him but he had to find a way to protect Barbara.
"What gives you the right to decide he should die for shooting those cops? If one of those cops had shot him, the cop would not have had to die!" Chard yelled.
"I didn't make that decision. He was tried by a jury and sentenced by a judge under the laws of this state. Those laws are there to protect everyone. He broke them and he was punished by the state of California." Ironside looked at the table where Barbara had put her purse. He remembered she carried mace in her purse ever since the attack in her apartment the night he and Mark had dropped her at home. "Jimmy, Barbara must take a pill for diabetes. It is in her purse there on the table." He watched Chard for a reaction.
Chard calmed down and laughed. "You are both going to die and you are worried about her taking a pill."
"You don't want her to go into a diabetic coma," Ironside said.
"What difference does it make? I killed all those people when they were unconscious. It was much easier than trying to kill them awake and fighting me every step of the way. You both are going to die the same way." Chard looked from Ironside to Barbara.
"No, Jimmy. You are not going to kill us the same way as the others. ThanksYou want me to see you plunge that knife into my chest. You would not be satisfied killing me while I am unconscious," Ironside said.
"You know, Chief, you just might be right at that. Alright, lady, get your medicine but do not try anything. Remember I have a gun pointed at your boyfriend's head," Chard warned. "I will use it if you force me to."
Barbara knew Robert well enough to know there was a reason he wanted her to reach in her purse. She wished she was carrying a gun in there but she felt so safe with Robert protecting her that she did not bother. He must have a reason for making up the diabetic story. What did he think she was carrying in her purse that might help them? She moved from behind Ironside's protective care and walked slowly to the table so as not to panic Chard in any way. Barbara reached for her purse and opened it. Why, of course, she thought. Immediately she tucked the mace into her shirtsleeve.
"Just a minute, lady," Chard said suddenly. Keeping the gun pointed at Ironside, he grabbed the purse from Barbara's hand. Emptying the contents on the table, he checked them. Not finding anything that could be used as a potential weapon, he motioned for Barbara to go ahead. Barbara picked up her pillbox and stepped back under the protection of Ironside. She opened the box and pulled out an aspirin. Ironside motioned Chard for a glass of water from the table. He gave it to Barbara who placed the aspirin on her tongue and drank water from the glass. Chard stepped forward and took the glass, placing it back on the table.
"Alright, where were we?" Chard asked.
Barbara put her hand back on Ironside's shoulder. Only this time he could feel the small container of mace against the fabric of his suit coat. "Robert, what does he want? Is he really going to kill us?" she asked Ironside, trying to muster as much fear as she could which under the circumstances was not difficult to do.
Ironside reached up and put his hand over hers. Ironside was a big man and so was his hand. Barbara's hand disappeared under his. She lifted her hand under his, allowing the mace to slip from her possession to his. "We'll be alright, Barbara," he said calmly.
Chard laughed. "You are not going to be alright, lady. Unless, of course, you consider being dead alright." He noticed two files sitting on the table. He reached for them all the while keeping his gun pointed directly at Ironside and Barbara. Chard opened the file on himself. It was the arrest report on his attack on Chief Ironside. He continued reading the report.
Ironside watched Chard. He took advantage of Chard's distraction to search the room with his eyes for something to help defend Barbara. He had to come up wiIh something in addition to the mace.
Sgt. Brown and Lt. Reece were wrapping up the investigation of the Moonlight Killer's latest victim. The coroner had finally arrived to remove the body from the scene. Ed directed the two men with him to the basement where the body still laid. While they were removing the body Ed pulled out the cell phone for the third time and called Ironside's office. Busy again. Ed placed his phone back in his pocket. He tried to remember if the chief mentioned what he was going to do while they were gone. The chief never spent that much on the phone. He was a man of a few words. Ed could not imagine what was keeping the chief on the phone.
Carl re-entered the basement. "Well, that is about it, Ed. We should probably go back to the other house and make sure they have things wrapped up there. We had better make sure they did not miss anything. The chief will be asking us a whole lot of questions and I would like to be sure we can answer them all. Did you call him and let him know we are finished here?"
Ed began walking up the basement stairs. "I have tried the office three times but the phone is busy."
"Busy? Since when does the chief spend that much time on the phone?" Carl asked.
"He doesn't. You don't suppose there is a problem there, do you?" Ed pondered.
"What problem? Besides, Mark and Fran are there with him. Anyway, even if they were not the chief can take care of himself. What could possibly be wrong?" Carl asked.
Carl is right, thought Ed. I am letting my imagination run amok. "Nothing, forget it. Let's get going."
Eve could not get the chief off her mind. Jimmy Chard had already tried to kill him once. Now he was back here in San Francisco killing people out of hatred for Ironside. Ed, Carl, Mark and Fran would look out for him. Not that he needed it, the last time hard had tried to kill him he was alone that night with no weapons. What did he do then? He created his own weapons. When she, Ed and Mark finally raced back to the office, Jimmy Chard was laying on the bathroom floor where Ironside had run a jolt of electricity through his body. The chief could take care of himself. Why then did she feel so uneasy? She tried calling his office…busy.
Chard sat down at the table as he continued reading the police report. "So, you think I am a disturbed young man, is that it, Chief?"
"You need help, Jimmy. Give me the gun and I will recommend mental care instead of prison," Ironside said, knowing Chard would not even consider the option.
"You don't get it do you, Chief?" Chard said, shaking his head. "I don't care what happens to me. I just want you to pay for what you have done to me and my brother."
"No, you don't get it, Jimmy. You think it is perfectly alright for Bobby to rob a bank and kill a police officer. You think it is alright for you to murder nearly a dozen innocent people in cold blood and yet you blame me for your brother's death by his own hand. You have a strange value system, Jimmy," Ironside said.
Chard became visibly upset. "No more talking, Ironside. It is time for you to die." Chard reached for a butcher knife.
"Why no more talking? Does the truth hurt, Jimmy? Is it because deep down you know what you have done is wrong? Is it because you really did not want to hurt any of those people? You do not want to talk because you really do not want to kill me or Barbara. You feel an obligation to your brother. You are feeling guilty because you planned the robbery and did not have the guts to go through with it. You are afraid, Jimmy," Ironside continue trying to buy time.
"SHUT UP!" Chard shouted as he stood up in a threatening pose. He was confused. Ironside was confusing him. He was wrong. He wanted Ironside dead more than anything. Didn't he? Chard backed up and sat back down in the chair.
"Jimmy, I can help you. They will listen to me," Ironside said softly. "I won't minimize what you have done but I can get you the kind of help you really need. You don't need prison, you need a doctor that can help you understand what has happened to you. I can get that kind of help for you," Ironside continued. "Jimmy, let me help you."
Chard sat at the table staring at Ironside. What was he doing? Why don't I just kill him? No, he would not listen to him. He wanted to kill him. He needed to think. "Just shut up, Chief." Chard put the butcher knife back down. He just needed to think and he could not do that with Ironside running his mouth.
"If you will just come back here, Officer Belding, I will show you the video of the young man who ordered and picked up those knives." The store owner led the way into the backroom. Fran and Mark followed him into a room where a computer was located. It had been hooked into a security system with twenty-four-hour recording.
Mark and Fran looked at a screen that showed several different areas of the store including the back entrance. The man began typing on the computer keyboard. The current visuals of the store disappeared from the screen replaced by the sales counter. He continued going through scenes taken of customers at the counter. He moved back day by day until a tall good-looking young man appeared on the screen.
The hair raised on the back of Mark's neck. From the expression on his face, Fran knew Mark recognized the man. "What is it, Mark? Do you know him?" Fran asked.
"We have to get back to the chief! Let's go!"
Ed and Carl stopped at the scene where the police were just wrapping up their investigation at the first site they had been at today. Ed just could not shake the uneasy feeling. He was worried about the chief. He kept trying to tell himself he was being overprotective of his boss. Ironside was well-known for being able to take care of himself, even from that wheelchair. Ed thought back to the times the chief was able to either talk himself out of a situation or just plain outsmart his attacker. How many times had they raced in only to find the situation completely under the chief's control?
But how many of those times had he been in grave danger? Every time, Ed thought. If one little thing had gone differently things could have been disastrous. Now with this latest killing he just did not like the course this case was taking. The killer was becoming more creative. What was this latest killing supposed to tell them? Ed knew it was a clue of some kind, but what? Why did the killer bother to electrocute what had to be a dead body? What would that have to do with the chief? He understood the granite and what it meant. He could even understand how the drugs and the money might tie in to the case. But electrocuting a dead body? That just did not make sense. How that could be tied to the chief, he did not know. All of a sudden, it hit Ed. ELECTROCUTION! Jimmy Chard! The chief stopped him from killing him using electricity! He was in prison or at least he was supposed to be. "Carl, we are leaving right now!" Ed shouted. "We have to get to the chief."
"Ed, what the hell are you talking about? We went through this," Carl complained.
"The chief is in danger. I just know it. Are you coming or not?" Ed asked.
Carl looked at him. Ed knew the chief better than he did. If Ed was this convinced something was wrong then maybe he was right. "Ok, Ed, let's go make sure he's alright."
Carl and Ed left the scene on a dead run.
Ironside knew he was running out of time. He could only keep this up for so long. Right now all there was between him and Chard was a small container of mace. It wasn't enough. He could not risk Barbara's life on that container of mace. There was nothing within his reach he could use against Chard…nothing that is except those butcher knives! He had to get close enough to them to be able to grab one in a hurry. He would have to keep Chard distracted for a few more minutes. He placed one hand on the wheel of the chair and inched it a bit closer to the table. "Jimmy, please let me help you. I can, you know." Ironside began stalling for just a bit more time.
"How many times do I have to tell you to shut up!" Chard shouted.
What was Robert doing? Barbara did not understand why he was deliberately agitating Chard. She was becoming worried but she had to trust Robert. This was his job. He knew what he was doing.
Ironside felt Barbara's grip on his shoulder tighten. While Chard was confused and distracted, Ironside took Barbara's hand in his and removed it from his shoulder. He did not want his forward momentum slowed, not even a bit. She seemed to understand as she took a step back from him. "Jimmy, listen to me. Give me the gun. I will help you." He inched forward just a bit more. "Come on, Jimmy. You don't want to hurt anyone. You never did. You were driven by your hatred of me. But there is no reason to hate me. I understand your pain. I will help you with it."
"Do you ever shut up? How the hell does anyone ever work with you?" Chard screamed. "Just shut up so I can think."
"But you are thinking, Jimmy. You are thinking you really don't want to kill anyone. You never did." Ironside inched closer to the table…and then closer again.
"If you don't shut up…"Chard screamed.
"What about your parents? They have already lost Bobby. Don't let them suffer the loss of their only living son. Let me help you, Jimmy." Ironside moved closer yet. He was now within arm's reach of the knives.
"That's it, Ironside. I warned you." Chard lifted the gun and pointed it at Ironside.
Barbara scream, "NO!" Chard was momentarily startled. It was the final distraction Ironside needed. He pulled out the mace and sprayed it directly into Chard's eyes. Chard screamed. He dropped the knife back on the table. Ironside used all his strength and hit Chard's gun hand with the side of his own. The gun fell to the floor and skidded away.
Chard's eyes began watering. His vision was blurred. He reached down and grabbed the knife he previously dropped. "I'm going to kill her right in front of you and then I'll take care of you," he yelled. He placed his hand on the table to steady himself.
Ironside grabbed the other butcher knife and stabbed the knife into Chard's hand pinning it to the table. Chard screamed in agony. "Barbara, the gun!" Ironside shouted at her.
She ran over and picked up the gun. Racing back to Ironside she handed it to him. Ironside pointed the gun at Chard and instructed Barbara, "Go get some help." She headed up the ramp. Just as she reached the door, it burst open.
Ed, Carl, and Fran came running in with guns drawn. Mark followed directly behind.
"What in the flaming hell took you so long?" Ironside complained. "Fran, go downstairs and get some help up here." Ironside lowered Chard's gun and took Barbara's hand in his own. Softly he asked, "Are you alright?"
She smiled at him, bent down as he put his arm around her. "I am now."
A few minutes later police started pouring into the office. Ironside wheeled forward to the table and pulled the butcher knife out of Jimmy Chard's hand. Chard screamed in pain. He looked at Ironside as a medic put a temporary bandage around his hand. "Did you mean what you said, Chief? Will you help me? You were right. I really did not want to kill those people. I don't know why I did."
"I meant it, Jimmy. I will see to it you get the doctors and care you really need," Ironside said. "Jimmy, I need to know where Vic Richards is. You have to tell me where he is."
"He's in a house about three miles where I rigged the bathtub. It is for sale as well. It has a Century 21 real estate sign on it. He's in the basement," Chard said.
"Carl, you stay here. Ed, Fran, Mark, come with me." He looked back at Carl. "Call an ambulance and have it meet us at the house. Call the van phone with the correct address. Let's go!"
"Chief," called out Chard.
Ironside turned his chair back toward Chard. "Yes."
"I'm sorry," he said as he looked down at the floor.
"Get him to a hospital," Ironside ordered.
"Robert, I want to come," Barbara said.
"Of course," Ironside replied.
Mark pulled the van into the driveway of the house Vic Richards was in. Fran and Ed got out the back of the van as Ironside lowered himself down to the ground. Barbara remained in the van. An ambulance pulled immediately in behind them, followed by one police patrol car.
Ed and Fran ran to the house. The front door was locked. "Try the back," yelled Ironside. "Chard had to enter somewhere."
They went around to the back. Sure enough the back door was unlocked. Ed entered first, followed by Fran and then by the two police officers who drew their guns. When they arrived downstairs, no one was in sight. Ed spotted two doors. "Try that door," he shouted. "Fran, try the other one." Fran headed for the door closest to her while one of the police officers walked over to the other one. "Nothing in this one," Fran yelled.
The police officer tried the door. "This one is locked," the officer said.
"Kick it in," Ed ordered them.
On the count of three, both officers rammed the door with their shoulders. It held on the first try but gave way on the second. One officer shined a flashlight into the room. "Sergeant, he's in here," he shouted to Ed Brown.
Ed burst into the room. He reached overhead and pulled a string that lighted the room with one bulb. There on the floor Vic Richards was bound and lying on his side. "Get this man a pair of sunglasses," he ordered. "Sgt. Brown, Vic. Chief Ironside sent me."
An officer handed Richards a pair of glasses. Vic put them on. "Is Ironside here?"
"He's right outside. So is Barbara," Ed said as he untied him. "Don't try to move. We have an ambulance right outside. Chief Ironside has ordered us to take you to the hospital." Ed told one of the officers to have a stretcher brought in to take Richards out on. The officer disappeared through the door. A few minutes later two paramedics came through the door. After checking Richards' vital signs, they lifted him onto the stretcher. Ed and Fran followed the paramedics out the door. When they reached the chief, they stopped.
"Hello, Vic," Ironside said. "Sorry it took us so long to reach you. We've been busy tracking down the killer who was holding you."
"I guess I should say thank you," Vic said. "But quite frankly I was hoping never to see you again."
"I understand. And you don't have to thank me. I am just doing my job," Ironside said. "Barbara is in the van. She is going to ride to the hospital with you."
"She contacted you then?" Vic surmised.
"Yes, she was very worried about you," Ironside offered.
"How long has she been here?" Vic asked him.
"For over a week," he answered.
"Did she stay with you?" Vic asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.
"She stayed with Mark and me. I felt it was the best way for me to protect her," he answered him honestly.
"I bet you did," Vic said with resentment.
Ironside nodded to the paramedics who carried Vic Richards to the ambulance. Barbara stepped out of the van and met Ironside halfway between the two vehicles. "Robert, I will see you back at your place. I have to do this."
"I know." Ironside wheeled past her.
Barbara Jones, aka Lois Richards, sat beside her husband's bedside. Vic had not said a word since she had arrived in his newly assigned room. "Vic, we need to talk to each other. This silence is not doing either of us any good."
"Talk about what, Lois? Ironside?" He sneered.
"How can you talk about him in that tone? He just spent every waking hour locating the maniac that kidnapped you and killed all those people. He got the killer to tell us where you were. Vic, for God's sake, he saved your life. And he risked his own life to do it." Barbara allowed a trace of anger to seep into her voice.
"I thanked him. What else do you want me to say to him?" He was quiet for a moment and then added', "You stayed with him. He told me."
"I did. He did not need to be worrying about me while trying to find you. As soon as he realized that your disappearance and the killer were connected, he decided not to take any chances with my life either," Barbara said.
"Is that the only reason you stayed with him, Lois?" he asked quietly.
Barbara looked away from his glare. "No. I would be lying to you if I said otherwise."
"Then there is no chance for us then?" he asked. This time it was his turn to look away from her.
"Vic, we are kidding ourselves if either of us believes that things have not changed drastically between us. I did not choose to be attacked. Nor did I choose to lose my memory. I have not cheated on you. In fact I feel like I am cheating on Robert. When I fell in love with Robert I did it not knowing I was married. I did not plan it, Vic. It just happened. I simply can't forget him. I love him Vic. I know it hurts for me to say that and I am sorry but I can no longer go on hurting you by pretending that I still love you. I don't," Barbara said.
Vic looked straight ahead. Her words sliced through his heart. "Then I guess there is nothing further to say to each other."
"This is not your fault, Vic. You were a good husband. I want you to know that. Something happened when I lost my memory. My memory of my love for him is stronger than that for you. I don't know why but it is. The kindest thing I can do for you is to let you go. To stay with you when I love him would be unfair to you." Barbara knew she was hurting him deeply but she also knew it was kinder than staying with a man she no longer loved. "I know I don't have the right but I am asking you to understand. I tried, Vic. I really did. I simply can't forget him."
Vic had developed tears in his eyes. "I guess somehow I knew this day was coming but I just kept hoping you would forget him. I will no longer stand in your way. When I get home, I will move out. I'll file for divorce so you do not have to. There will be no trouble. We will divide everything in half."
"There will be no trouble with the girls. We will have joint custody. They will spend as much time with you as they do with me. I promise you," Barbara said.
Vic nodded. "One last thing, will you tell Ironside I want to see him?"
Barbara looked at him. "Alright, but please remember he is not to blame for what happened between us. He's an honorable man. He would not have seen me in the beginning if he had known I was married."
Vic nodded but said nothing.
Barbara got up. She kissed Vic on the cheek and walked out of his life for the last time.
Ironside wheeled his chair into Vic Richards' room. Vic watched as he approached his bed. "Barbara said you asked to see me?"
"I could not leave without properly thanking you for saving my life. I don't think there is much doubt I would not have walked out of there alive if you had not stopped that man," Vic said.
"You don't have to thank me, Vic. I did my job. I would protect you the same as any citizen in this city," Ironside told him.
"That is not the only reason I wanted to see you, Chief. I am sure Barbara has told you we are getting a divorce," Vic said.
"Yes, she has. Vic, you may not believe this but I am truly sorry. I know what you have lost," Ironside said softly.
"Chief, do you remember what you told me that day you left Barbara's room at the hospital when you realized she lost her memory of you?" Vic asked.
"Yes, I remember," Ironside said.
"Well then, take care of her," Vic said.
"I will," Ironside told him. Vic offered his hand and Ironside shook it.
The door to Ironside's office opened and Commissioner Dennis Randall entered and walked down the ramp. "Well, Dennis, to what do we owe the pleasure of this visit?" Ironside called out.
"I just wanted to congratulate you on arresting the Moonlight Killer. The entire city of San Francisco is breathing a sigh of relief. I want to do a press conference giving you and your staff full credit for breaking this case, Bob." Randall walked over and got a cup of coffee.
"No, Dennis. You do the press conference. We have had about all of the Moonlight Killer we care to. How about a nice burglary next time?" Ironside suggested.
"Well, I glad you mention it, Bob. We have had a string of jewelry store burglaries and the boys are getting absolutely nowhere with them," Randall said.
Everyone let out a collective groan.
"No, Dennis. Let the boys handle it. We have a full caseload here," Ironside grumbled.
"Bob, relax. I was just kidding," Randall grinned.
Everyone laughed at Ironside's expense.
"Carl, get out of here and return to homicide," Ironside shouted.
The phone rang. Ed picked up, "Chief Ironside's office. Just a moment, Eve."
Ironside punched the speaker button. "Hello, Eve, how are you this morning?"
"Doing fine, Chief. I heard what happened yesterday. I am glad everyone is alright and I can't wait to get back to work," Eve told them.
"There will be time for that later. Right now I want you to just lie there and get well. That's an order, Officer Whitfield," Ironside said.
Eve laughed. "Alright, Chief and congratulations to everyone on breaking the case."
"Congratulations yourself, Miss Whitfield. You helped us do it. Now get some rest," Ironside barked as he hung up the phone.
"Hey, Chief, was that order to report back to homicide before or after breakfast?" Carl inquired.
"OUT!" Ironside growled. Carl left the office with a grin on his face.
"Fran, I would like you to stay on until Eve is back to work," Ironside said.
"Sure, Chief," Fran replied.
"Robert, could I speak with you, please?" Barbara said.
"I better go get the van tuned up," Mark said as he grabbed his jacket.
"Come on, Fran, let's go check out the bank robbery suspect. We got a call he is held up in a shack on the outskirts of town," Ed said. He and Fran headed for the door.
"You have a very efficient staff, Bob," Barbara said.
"Yes, I do," Ironside agreed. "But that is not what you wanted to talk to me about, is it?"
"No, it is not," she said.
"Then what is it?" he asked.
"I need some time away, Robert," Barbara told him.
Confused, Ironside said, "What do you mean 'away'?"
"I want to take the girls away for a while and spend some time with them. I have to break the news to them about their father and me," she answered.
"But shouldn't we do that together? I should be there when you tell them about us," Ironside insisted.
Barbara shook her head. "No, I want to tell them. I don't want them to resent you and I think it best you not be there when I tell them."
Ironside took her hand in his. He looked into her eyes. He did not like what he saw. "That is not really the reason, is it?"
Damn the detective in this man, she thought. "In part, yes. I really believe it is the best way to break it to them. But you are right it is not the only reason."
"Then what is it?" Ironside asked her.
"Bob, with everything that has happened here I just need to get away for a while. First Vic disappearing; all of those murders; Eve's attack; Fran's attack; you and I almost getting killed and having to face Vic and tell him we are finished. It has been very difficult to deal with. And what bothers me most is this is what you do every day," she said as she looked away from Ironside.
"Are you trying to tell me you have changed your mind about us? Are you trying to say you can't handle the fact that I am a police detective any longer?" Ironside asked, dreading the answer.
"No, don't you think that for one minute. I love you, Robert Ironside. I just need some time away with the girls. I am asking you to understand and give me that time. I want to start life with you with a clear head." She squeezed his hand.
"Barbara, I want to help. This is something we should work out together. I don't want to be apart from you again," he said.
"Robert, it has taken this long for us to be together, a little while longer is not going to make that much difference."
"How much longer?" Ironside demanded.
"I don't know. Please try to understand. It won't be long. Please give me this time. Please, Robert, I need it so that I can build a life with you," she pleaded.
"How will I contact you?" he asked.
Barbara looked down. "I would prefer that you didn't. I will call you when I am ready."
Ironside was clearly upset. "Barbara, what is wrong? You just expect me to let you walk out of here and not know when you will call me if ever?"
Barbara placed a hand on both sides of his face. "I will call. I promise you. Please, Robert, I have to do this. I have to enter a relationship with you with a clear head and I cannot do that right now. Give me time to deal with the girls and with the divorce. Let me put the past behind me so that I can enter the future with you."
Ironside looked into her eyes. "I can't say I like this but I doubt that I have a choice. When are you leaving?"
"I have to catch a flight in an hour," she said.
"An hour!" Ironside complained.
"Robert, look at me. I will be back." Still holding his face she kissed him with a passion that would have to last until they saw each other again. "Robert, I will be back."
Ironside pulled her into his arms. "You better be or I will come looking for you."
"That will not be necessary. I love you, Robert, and I will be back." She kissed him again and walked out of his office.
Eve Whitfield entered the office. Ed and Mark got up to greet her. Each one gave her a quick hug. She walked over to Ironside and kissed him on the cheek. "Morning, Chief."
Ironside smiled. "Good morning, Officer Whitfield. Welcome back."
"It's good to be back, Chief," she said.
The door opened and Commissioner Randall walked in. "Bob, you have to do something about that aunt of yours. She is at it again. She and her bridge club. They are out there acting like detectives again. This time it's baby selling."
Aunt Victoria. Well, how could he blame her? Investigating was in the Ironside blood. What are you up to now, Aunt Victoria?
Thanks for reading Moonlight in San Francisco! I hope you enjoyed it. Reviews would be appreciated! I do not own any of the Ironside characters. They were created by Collier Young. All other characters were created by my overactive imagination.
This fanfiction was based on three of my favorite Ironside episodes "Barbara Who, Return to Yesterday and One Hour to Kill."
Watch for my next Ironside police story entitled "Victoria's Secret".