WICKED THINGS DONE RED
Author: G. Waldo
Rating: Case-fic. Red John-ish. Angst. Some violence.Hurt-comfort.Jane-pain. Maybe some smut!Maybe!
Characters: Jane/Other; Jane/pre-Lisbon, Lisbon/Mashburn
Summary: Someone one from Jane's past twists his world (and Lisbon's) inside-out and upside down.
Disclaimer: Not mine though I wish he was.
"Come on." Jane kept his eye trained on the suspect and Lisbon watched from behind the two-way glass – his only audience.
The female, a long legged cougar with hair dyed the blackest back, stared back at the well dressed, slightly dandified man with cold defiance. Lisbon recognised the look; the woman knew they had no proof and if she didn't say a word, she would walk out of there. The thing was; Jane knew that too so his interviewee, a suspect in her husband's murder, didn't know she was just a nag in the final leg of a mental race against a seasoned thoroughbred, and rapidly falling behind.
Lisbon was amused. Although the case itself had turned out to be a fairly common, sordid affair of greed, lust and betrayal, the murderer's sudden designs on tripping up the good-looking investigator using her feminine wiles was not. Elissa was not the first prowling female to focus her lying eye on the dashing Jane.
However getting Patrick Jane to look your way was not a simple task and her first attempt to be overtly friendly with Jane had failed. Then her attempt to avoid him had failed (one may as well try to avoid ants at a picnic), and finally her flirting attempt to seduce Jane had miserably failed, a ruse Lisbon could have told her would never have succeeded because, as far as she had observed, Jane's taste in women ran to a more refined specimen than a cheating husband killer in leopard spandex. Because Jane was not a horse you bet against, particularly if you were a screw in the race along with him, and the over-confident female was beginning to understand that fact.
"Come on..." Jane said, his tone said he knew she was guilty – he knew it. "You left home at seven-thirty all right but you weren't at the club for more than fifteen minutes before you left, returned home, and shot him, taking your husband's horde of diamonds from the safe and the cash from his wallet. Now anyone who knows how to Google can learn how to open a cheap house-hold safe but your real mistake, the thing that first made me look at you as the possible murderer was your hair. You claimed to be in love with your husband - oh you shed all the right tears, and you said all the right things, but your husband Bill loved the blonde you used to be.
"Now any woman who claims to love her husband would not dye her hair so soon after his demise. She might eventually but not the next day - it's so vulgar, not to mention disrespectful to his memory. But you didn't care about any of that, did you, Elissa? No, you may have loved Bill once upon a time, but as he doubled and then tripled his personal wealth, he became such a cheap-skate toward you that you couldn't stand to be with him anymore.
"He was like many self-made men, generous toward himself and his friends, and maybe even his mistress, but cheap like borscht with you. As soon as I learned of the grossly unfair pre-nup' and that you'd visited the salon the day after the funeral my suspicions were confirmed. Then it was just a matter of who it was you were dying your hair for -Nolan Morris as it turned out, the club owner I suspect lied and gave you your alibi the night of the murder. And why would he do that if you weren't sleeping with him?"
Jane smiled, a genuine gloating grin of personal satisfaction, and Lisbon could not help but smile a little right along with him. Jane loved putting one over on a murderer, for him it was like really good drugs.
Jane continued his monologue. "That dye job was you washing Bill from your hair, but I mean - really, Elissa? One day after his funeral and you dye it black as night? You were smart enough to rob your own house and make it convincing but you couldn't hold your emotions back when it came to how you felt about him – hence the raven dye-job." Waving his hand at another minor fact - "Well, that and because Nolan Morris convinced you to run away with him with Bill's diamonds which you both would have taken through customs in the uncomfortable way."
Jane stood and went to the door. When Elissa saw that the long-winded investigator was finished, the murderess smiled to herself. On the other side of the window Lisbon held her breath. It was too soon for such smugness. One did not smile in such a way to Patrick Jane's face and get away clean.
At that moment Jane turned back. "Oh, and just in case you were wondering if keeping silence might save you – Nolan Morris just sang like a canary for a lesser charge. He just told us everything. Nolan may have been a fun guy, Elissa, but in the man department - he lacks gumption." Jane waved pleasantly. "Have a nice day."
Lisbon met Jane outside the interview room and fell into step beside him. "You really like to rub their face in it sometimes, don't you?"
Jane gave her a one shoulder shrug. "Wife kills her husband." In his eyes it was unforgivable. "Even if the guy was a miser, it's not right. If she wanted a sympathetic ear, there are divorce lawyers on every downtown corner."
"Well, she's sure singing now. I guess Elissa made some poor life choices."
"And now she'll have fifteen to twenty to think about them – the shameless flirt."
Lisbon was regularly bemused by Jane's chivalrous standards. When it came to the fairer sex, in some respects Jane was a man out of his time. "You know, I don't think she actually liked you."
"I'm not sure she liked any man."
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, you know, some women have a problem with men."
Lisbon stared at her tea-brewing, nap-taking, work-avoiding, opinionated, case-closing but thoroughly disobedient employee. "Tell me about it."
Jane took a turn toward the kitchen.
"Hey, we have another case, where are you going?" She asked.
Jane said over his shoulder. "Tea time."
Lisbon let him go. One case down, two new ones sitting on her desk. "Well, hurry it up. We've got even more work cut out for us." Her frustration with Jane's cavalier attitude towards work was well offset by seeing him walking around, healed and healthy. He was alive and kicking up his usual dust and – no matter where it might land - it was all good.
The team was seated around the larger of two office tables. Lisbon entered from her office, tossing a folder to each of them. Jane was conspicuously absent. "Where's Jane?"
"Went for pastries." Cho said.
"That man and his sweet tooth." Lisbon muttered. "We'll start without him then. Here. There isn't much to go on. Wainright tried saying no but Bertram had this sent down from SFPD anyway. It's a cold case ten years old or more and now it's on our desks."
"Ten years?" Cho, the faster reader of the group when Jane wasn't around, looked up at his boss. "There's no victim profile."
Lisbon explained "That's because there's no proved murders, just missing, and presumed dead kids."
Van Pelt looked confused. "Why are we getting a cold case of what could be serial murders? Doesn't the BAU handle this sort of thing with the local PD's?"
Lisbon looked behind her but there was no sign of Jane yet. She took her seat. "The profiles are there on the last pages. These kids are all probably dead, though for now we keep them on the sheets as abductions. The BAU has their hands full and SFPD want us to listen to their evidence and see if we can come up with any fresh ideas on who the abductor-slash-killer might be, and that's all." Lisbon handed Van Pelt a disk. "That is a series of old recordings dug up at the SFPD four weeks ago out of the archives. It was originally sent in from an anonymous source eight years ago. Whoever sent the tape was never discovered but the SFPD assumed it was a child abductor. Grace?"
Van Pelt inserted the disk and said. "Ready."
"This is harsh to listen to, okay, so just try to stay objective." Lisbon thought that perhaps it was best Jane was absent for this part. Van Pelt ran the program.
It was a recording of seven voices, child's voices, all female, and they were calling out for their mothers or daddy's and, in three cases, then screaming in terror before their voices were abruptly cut off by what method was not obvious from the recording.
"Oh my god." Van Pelt said when it was finished.
Lisbon spoke to reign in any emotions that might be threatening to spill over. "We've dealt with this sort of thing before, so let's just work the case. Number one – Van Pelt will send a copy of the recordings down our tech guys to see if it can be enhanced."
Van Pelt nodded. "I already called them and as usual they're back-logged so the results will take weeks."
Rigsby asked "Have any of these voices been identified?"
"None. The SFPD let dozens of sets of parents try to identify the voices of their missing child but none were able to. Ten years ago the investigating team took it as far as they could and then the recording was shelved." Lisbon explained. "But Van Pelt I want you to run down the parents of any children abducted and not returned in and around the San Francisco area in the last decade. I'm not expecting you to find them all. Statistically after the loss of a child, parents move on, get divorced, pass away, move to another state - the list goes on. Maybe the SFPD missed something. If so, we'll try to find out what that is."
"Right." Van Pelt said and began punching the information into her computer, "I'm on it."
Cho asked. "If it's a cold case and they've given it to us that means it is Jane they want, doesn't it? Is this an Agent Darcy thing?"
Cho was no slouch, but Lisbon shook her head. She had suspected as much as well but thus far Susan Darcy was keeping her nose out of it. "As far as I know, Agent Darcy or the FBI has nothing to do with this. Jane and I will start with the most recent abduction – the daughter of a retired SFPD chief. She disappeared three years ago. It's possible she's on here. We're going to let him listen to it."
Cho was curious. "The previous task force worked on this for six years and found nothing."
Lisbon said "The task force didn't have Jane, and SFPD knows that."
Rigsby and Cho exchanged glances. Cho was the most concerned and voiced it. "You realise this one is going to make Jane crazy – right? These are kids."
Lisbon said "Well Jane's just going to have to deal with it." Maybe it would put Jane on edge and in a crazy fashion that could drive them all to want to start popping pills but however jerky he became, Jane was their best asset. He got things done. Plus Jane was the one person on the team who had been a father, and not only a father but a father who had lost his child to a serial killer that had sent him on a decade-long hunt for that killer. It was those factors - those unique differences - that convinced Lisbon they had a better chance of solving it than any ordinary team of investigators would.
Jane was her ace in the hole.
Jane looked around. He was alone in the kitchen. Digging three red and black capsules out of his pocket, he swallowed them down with the cold remnants of his second cup of tea. In just a few minutes, the residual post-operative pain would become a nebulous background mist in his brain and he would be able to work once more. The hour spent grilling Elissa the husband killer while hiding the pain in his gut had taken it out of him.
"Hey." Cho entered the kitchen and grabbed a water bottle from the fridge. Cho took one look at Jane's face and leaped to the right conclusion. "Guts still hurting?"
Jane nodded. Cho could kick himself for agreeing to help Jane hide his lingering discomfort from the boss. Losing a foot of small intestine was no trivial matter never mind having a bullet ricochet off your skull. "Well...Lisbon sent me to get you. She's waiting in her office."
Jane took a deep breath and, with some difficulty, stood up, fending off Cho's offer of help with a small wave. "That's fine...I'm good."
"Liar." It was obvious he wasn't. "Maybe your doctor should give you something stronger?"
"These work." Jane ignored that. "Why her office? Am I in trouble?"
"I don't know."
When he knocked and entered, Lisbon was alone, waving him to a seat. She handed him some forms.
"What are these?"
"Just some insurance information that's needed from when you got shot." He voice faltered just the slightest on the last word. "So they can expedite your injury-pay."
"I get paid to get shot? Cool."
"Not exactly. Just fill them out and get them back to me. How are you feeling?"
"Right as rain."
Lisbon searched his face to see if she believed him. "I know you're popping pills, Jane. Take the day off. Go home. Get some rest if you need to. Cho and I can handle this. Besides this case is already a decade old, another day won't matter."
"Lisbon, I'm fine." Jane stood and spun in place, snapping his fingers. "See? I could dance all night."
"Yeah – if you could dance."
"That's cruel." He sat down again. "Please let me go with you? Another hour of reality television and I'll go crazy."
"Suit yourself." Lisbon stood. "Come on."
Jane opened the door for her, ushering her through with a hand on her lower back. "I'm with you - let's go get the bad guy."
Lisbon said. "Mister Daniels, we'd like you to listen to a tape recording. Now I know this may be a bit-"
"Excuse me." Jane interrupted. "Where is the washroom?"
Daniels pointed toward the staircase. "Uh, top of the stairs. Third door on your left. Switch is on the outside."
Jane excused himself and Lisbon continued. "We need you to tell us if you recognise any of the voices on this tape."
"What is the tape?"
"It has just recently come to the attention of the CBI. The previous investigative team were unable to make any progress on who the children on the tape might be." Lisbon knew Daniels would immediately understand the parts she wasn't saying.
"You mean...my daughter might be on there?" Daniels looked sick. "It could be Julie's voice?"
"I'm sorry, but yes." Lisbon played the twenty-right seconds of tape through.
"No." Daniels said after he listened to the tape, appearing much relieved. "No. No, I don't think any of those...poor kids is Julie."
Jane returned from the washroom. "That's a lovely set-up you have there, sir. Good magazines."
Daniels frowned at the consultant's comments. They seemed totally out-of-keeping with the situation at hand. Unable to keep the disapproval out of his voice "You're welcome." He said as little sarcastically.
Lisbon had learned to ignore Jane's odd moments, mostly because Jane usually, though not always, had an underlying reason for his behavior toward someone. Often, in Jane's mind at least, the person was under suspicion. "Chief Daniels, was there any unusual occurrences prior to your daughter's disappearance? Workers at the house, visitors – even relatives? I know it was a long time ago but anything you can remember would be helpful." Lisbon asked, carefully keeping her tone sympathetic but professional because this was the former SFPD Commander and Chief. He had no doubt been asked these questions many times before.
"No." He said, running fingers through thinning grey hair. Despite his former position and air of authority, he still looked like a man who had lost his little girl. "We already went over everything with the previous team more than once over the years, and the private detectives we hired. Nobody came up with a single useful lead. I don't know how much more I can tell you, agent."
Jane asked from his place by the mantel and the four silver framed family photos lined up and on display. "What about phone calls. Delivery people? Anyone new?" Two of the photos showed stiffly posed portraits of a slightly younger Daniels in full uniform and his daughter, perhaps two years old at the time, in his arms. One was of the daughter sitting with a pretty brunette – evidently the nanny. There was only one candid photo of what Jane guessed was the child's absent mother holding her daughter in her arms. The mother's face was obscured by the little girl's cherub-like face, the daughter's dark brown, almost black curls a stark contrast to the straight cinnamon waves of her mother.
The Chief thought. "Only the laundry service guy, but they changed almost every year anyway. Besides, we had them all checked out. There's noth-"
"-Just because a guy's record is clean, doesn't mean he actually is." Jane said from the tea service sitting on a small table next to the window, his nose two inches from the tea-pot, admiring the gleam from its polished silver.
"Sir, we plan to go through every scrap of evidence and do everything we can." Lisbon said. "What about her friends?"
"What about them?" He asked, spreading his hands. "They were all seven year-olds at the time. I guess they'd be in their late teens now."
"Seven year old girls often have older brothers, uncles, or perverted fathers." Jane pointed out. "Did Julie ever stay over-night at one of her friend's houses?" Jane asked. "And come home the next day...unusually quiet or acting out-of-character?"
It was a thought that had not occurred to the father, but his face changed from a man absent of beloved child to one of suspicion and anger. "The investigating team at the time thought of that, too...have you heard something new? Do you think one of the older boys-?"
Lisbon was quick to interject "-We don't know that, sir, but it's worth checking out again. We'll do an updated check for offences and see if anything pops up."
Jane said from the oak Buffett, his eyes scanning through all the tiny little statues of St. Mary that the Chief's ex-wife had collected over the years. "Julie is your only daughter?" Behind the glass were at least a hundred fashioned from every medium imaginable. It had for certain been the wife's hobby. Men did not collect images of saints.
The Chief nodded. "Yes. Debby was never the same after Julie disappeared. I mean she was okay for a while and then she sort of...fell apart – she spent some time in a hospital. We divorced two years ago."
Jane nodded and Lisbon could tell he felt something for this man, though he was being careful not to show too much of it. "I'm very sorry for your loss." Jane said. "Where is your wife?"
"Last I heard she was living with a friend in Oakland." Daniels said.
"Do you have any household staff?" Lisbon asked.
Chief Daniels waved a hand in afterthought toward the driveway. "I have a housekeeper who comes in on Thursdays, but she's new."
"Still, it's odd that your wife would not want to be here to speak with us." Jane mused. "After the divorce you were granted sole custody but Julie is still her daughter-"
"-That doesn't mean she was an unfit mother." Daniels snapped at the implication. "But Debbie, she was a mess – afraid...just afraid of everything." Daniels explained. "She hated strangers, cameras, dogs, feet – everything. I told her it was best if she stayed away today."
"Afraid? After her daughter disappeared?" Jane asked. "Or before?"
"Both. More afraid of everything after I guess. Even afraid of me I think."
Jane nodded. "Why would she be afraid of you? Any theories?"
Daniels looked uncomfortable. "She said when she looked at me she saw...she saw our daughter. I suppose she couldn't stand seeing that anymore."
"I see." Jane said. The finger-tips of his right hand worried each other. To Lisbon it was a first-class tell that Jane was kitting together a theory or two.
Lisbon asked. "Do you have an address or a phone number where we might reach your ex-wife?"
Daniels stood and walked to the buffet against the far wall, the one containing the religious statues. He opened a drawer. "This is the address of her friend from after the divorce. I don't know if she's still there or not. We don't speak." He said handing it to Lisbon.
Jane asked suddenly. "How long were you and the former housekeeper having an affair?"
Daniels was about to sit down but paused half-way onto the couch. He stared at Jane, and then settled himself down heavily, almost falling into his seat. "Two years."
"And your daughter. She wasn't Debbie's, was she?" Jane asked though he already sounded sure of it.
Daniels shook his head, his eyes on the carpet.
"So...the divorce was more than Debbie being sad over losing Julie?" Jane said. "She was humiliated. She saw the nanny's in her daughter's eyes and was constantly reminded of the betrayal in yours...every time she looked at you." Jane asserted calmly. "Did Debbie want to adopt Julie or was that just your idea?"
"No. Debbie loved Julie as though she was her own. Debbie was unable to conceive. We couldn't have children, so when Geena - the housekeeper - got pregnant, we decided to keep the baby and raise her as our own daughter."
"So you paid Geena off. Gave her enough money to go away and never say a thing about it." Jane surmised.
"Yes." Then Daniels added. "But losing Julie was the main reason we divorced. Plus I knew Debbie herself was seeing someone."
"It probably has nothing to do with your daughter's disappearance, but how do you know?" Lisbon asked.
"She was spending a lot of time away from home during the week. She quit her job and came home late some nights. She wouldn't talk about what she was doing."
Jane had a suspicion. "Wasn't that the time you first noticed her becoming more afraid? Then, and not after Julie disappeared?"
Daniels thought about it. "Well, yes, I guess it was then I first noticed it. I assumed she was afraid I'd find out, but it was easy to see something was going on behind my back. She was always sneaking off."
"As opposed to your out-in-the-open affair with the live-in housemaid?" Jane asked rhetorically.
Daniels' face reddened. "Of course I kept it hidden at first, but after a while I couldn't live with all the lies and the secrecy...from either of us."
"You filed the divorce papers?" Jane asked.
Lisbon asked. "How long were you married?"
"Almost five years." Daniels rushed to offer some positive light on his personal tragedy. "It doesn't seem like it now, but the first three or four years were wonderful. Especially after Julie was born."
Lisbon stood. "Thank you Mister Daniels. Mister Jane and I have to be getting back now. We have your number if we should have any further questions, and please feel free to call us if you think of anything else."
"Just a second." Daniels said. "Mister Jane, how did you know I'd had an affair with Geena?"
Jane shrugged. "A bit of guesswork mostly. I knew your daughter wasn't Debbie's because your wife's eyes are blue and yours are green, plus from your older photo, you were a red head and your wife was auburn, but your daughter's hair is almost black and she has brown eyes, like Geena's."
Jane waved a finger toward the mantel. "That and the photos you have displayed of your daughter – most are of Julie with the housekeeper, and not her mother. You only have one photo of Julie with Debbie; only in it Debbie's face is obscured. It can't be seen. That means either you feel guilty for playing a part in driving your somewhat disturbed ex-wife from the marriage or because Debbie herself didn't like her photo being taken, being so afraid of it in fact that she wouldn't allow her face to be photographed – not even with her, as you said, beloved adopted child."
Daniels narrowed his eyes at Jane. "Adopted or not, losing Julie drove my wife into a mental ward, Mister Jane. Do you have any idea what it's like to lose a child?"
Jane's fingers worried each other. "As a matter of fact..."
Lisbon heard the tone in Jane's voice, the one that said he was about to teach someone a verbal and snappy lesson. To stop that avalanche before it got going she stood and shook Daniels' hand. "Good-bye Mister Daniels. We'll keep you informed."
"Was that your only theory, or do you have other worse surprises for me?" Lisbon scolded.
"That Daniels maybe abducted his own child? I know that's what you're thinking, Jane. Just admit it."
"No I'm not. However the day is young."
Lisbon looked crosswise at Jane. "Liar. I know that look." She said. "What are you thinking?"
Jane set his lips together in an upside-down contemplative grimace. "I'm thinking two tragedies in the same household. First the daughter is lost, probably killed, then the mother's mind."
"First of all, we don't know that Julie is dead. A second of all – Debbie Daniels had a breakdown. It happens."
Jane understood all too well. "His grief is genuine enough. Funny, though, that the wife decided to go along with her husband and avoid the interview."
"Maybe he's telling the truth? Maybe she really couldn't handle anything more? Or maybe she's a wreck to this day? Did you see all those statues? She probably still prays her heart out every night. She's religious."
"My wife was religious but she wouldn't have rested until her daughter was found – that is if my daughter was missing and Angie was still alive. I mean think about it - if Tommy were to disappear, you're telling me you wouldn't make yourself available to anyone who might be the one to bring him home? No, you'd look with hope to the next investigator and the next after that. You'd be there to help."
"Your wife was religious?"
"Yes, it was a bone of contention between us now and again."
"So you think the ex Misses Daniels...?"
"Is our abductor? No." Jane said, finishing her thought for her.
He did that a lot. Lisbon knew she was not innocent of it either, and at times it seemed she had read Jane's mind. On the job it happened most days and it was a silent message to her that working together for these last four years had tuned them in to each others thought processes, making them a better team. Or that she needed a good, long vacation.
"I think she has something to hide, though." Jane added.
"Yeah - what?"
Jane slipped in behind the wheel of his foreign French car. "No idea."
"Where are we on the interviews?" Lisbon asked. Jane followed her into the bullpen and took his usual seat, sinking down into his brown leather couch with a sigh of contentment.
Lisbon had a couch, too, in her office. A new one Jane had bought her of buttery-soft leather the colour of vanilla custard. She indulged in a good contented sit-down every-so-often as well, with her blinds closed. It was the one gift out of all the little gifts Jane had bought her over the years that she had allowed herself to keep.
"Done." Rigsby said. "But nothing really new. The parents of the missing Dunne girl came down, and the Barry parents – the rest were done by phone. Some of these people have changed residences or are divorced now and living in different cities. No one came up with anything. None of the voices seemed familiar to any of them."
"Okay. For now we'll concentrate on the Daniels girl – one tragedy at a time. Who ever took her most likely took the others so let's bring these parents some peace and get this perp'."
"We need to speak to the former Misses Daniels." Jane said.
"We will." Lisbon answered. "Van Pelt, you, Cho and Rigsby run down some of these friends slash relatives of Julie Daniels – the older brothers, the uncles, anyone who was in or near that house three weeks up to and including the day she disappeared. And who spent any time with her at all; I don't care how innocent it might seem. We need to know when they were near her, why and what they did, and their alibi's for the day and hour she disappeared. Talk to as many of them as you can."
Lisbon glanced over at Jane. "I'm going to call Daniel's ex' and get her down here."
"Okay." Jane opened his current hard-cover and began to read. Lisbon had a remark about lazy consultants on the tip of her tongue but it never left. It had been a hard year for Jane and he needed a bit of slack. "Jane?"
He looked at his watch. "It's only ten-thirty."
"No, I mean what are you doing for lunch?"
He looked over at her. "Are you asking me out?"
Lisbon nodded. She and Jane hadn't taken in a meal together in a long time. She missed it. "To lunch - yeah."
A hint of an impish smile touched the corners of his mouth. "As long as it's not a burger joint, I would be delighted."
"You got anything against fish and chips?"
"Not a thing."
"Okay. We'll do fish."
Lisbon returned to her office and sat down at her desk. Her heart was beating just a bit faster than it had been a moment ago and she realised she was nervous. There was no reason to be nervous. Lunch with Jane was just lunch with Jane. Even so, she looked forward to it.
Lisbon stretched out her back, hands high above her head. It wasn't even noon and already she has spent too much time sitting in cars, sitting in other people's living-rooms and sitting in her hard desk. She looked longingly at her couch; the one Jane had surprised her with. It beckoned her to lie down and snuggle for a few but there was too much work.
It was nice, though, having it there waiting for her when she really needed it. It had been a wonderful and entirely unexpected gift. Lisbon recalled complaining about losing her old brown couch which complaint at the time Jane seemed to take in stride, as though he knew she was just putting on the pretence of following unwritten office policies about no favouritism which meant no lavish gifts to the boss, policies at which Jane regularly scoffed and often out-and-out ignored. And now, two years and many comfortable sit-downs later, she couldn't remember if she had ever thanked him for it.
Cho stuck his head in the door. "Boss - Debbie, the ex Misses Daniels is here. I put her in Room 2."
"Thanks." Already it was back to business. "You seen Jane?"
Of course – tea. Or cookies and tea. Or muffins and tea. It was a wonder how that man stayed slim. "Okay. Would you tell him I'll meet him in there please?"
"Sure." Cho added. "The woman looks scared. And she's been crying."
Lisbon's eyebrows climbed her forehead. "Huh." And they hadn't even questioned her yet. This would be one for the books.
"Call me Debbie please." She said. Her hair was dyed as black as tar and her eyes were red-rimmed from crying, but otherwise she was an even featured, attractive woman of medium build in her mid-forties. She had her hands folded on the table in front of her, the pink-painted nails bitten to the quick. She wore a simple white blouse over jeans. She kept looking out the window to the hallway. The blinds were cranked halfway open and people could be seen passing by in the hall. "You're Agent Lisbon?" She asked.
"Er – yes." Lisbon answered. "Mister Jane will be joining us in a moment." She assumed.
Debbie twisted her hands together. "There is something I need to tell you, Misses Lisbon –"
"Oh, of course, I'm sorry." Debbie studied her hands and then looked up at Lisbon. "You see..." she covered her eyes with her palms, sweeping them over her eyebrows. She was highly agitated now. "This is going to be so hard..." She dropped her hands and took a deep breath, as though bracing herself for a thing unknown and rumoured to be painful. "Before the...other person gets here, I want to explain to you why I seem so ner-"
The door opened.
"You don't have to be nervous, Misses Daniels. This isn't an interrogation of any kind - we only want your insights into the disappearance of Julie-"
But Debbie Daniels was no longer paying attention to Lisbon. Instead she was staring at the person who had entered. It was Jane of course, though he had not introduced himself nor sat down.
"Uh, Jane..." Lisbon as about to tell him to take a seat but something in his stillness instead caused her to twist around in her chair and look back at him.
Jane was frozen on the spot, his tea cup hanging in mid-air but slowly tipping as though his fingers had lost all strength. The tea was spilling over the side of the cup and dribbling onto the floor. His eyes were locked unblinkingly on Debbie Daniels. Lisbon sucked in a breath when Jane's face suddenly blanched white. His mouth hung open and he was sucking in quick, audible breaths.
Except for the soft gasping, anyone passing him on a street would have mistaken him for a mannequin standing in a display. "Jane?" Maybe he wasn't healed up just right yet? She should have followed her guts and ordered him home to rest. Lisbon asked him again, getting worried now. "Hey - are you all right?"
Debbie Daniels was the one who broke the silence. "Hello Patrick." She said softly, her voice tender, her eyes bright and intently focused on the consultant's features. Clasping her hands over her mouth in disbelief at the sight of Jane - as though he was an angel that had appeared to her in a dream, now coming to her in the waking world, Debbie said "My god...baby, I've missed you so much." Traces of joy and apprehension were whispered in each syllable like a warm wind through bleak winter branches. Silently she started to weep. "Hello my darling husband."
Part 2 soon