"Pregnant?" Maxine Stewart Lacos asked Jill Brock dumbfounded. "You mean with a baby?"
"No, with a goat," Jill replied trying not to laugh at Max's shocked expression, "Although in this town that might not be so strange. Of course a baby."
Utterly speechless, Max placed her hand on her flat abdomen and thought of the life she and Kenny had created in there. A baby, she thought, we're having a baby. We haven't really talked about it, and we could barely made it down the aisle.
"A baby?" Max said numbly. "Wow."
"You weren't expecting this?" Jill asked carefully to her shell shocked friend, thinking how they had been married for almost two years. "The nausea, tiredness, and missing period didn't give you any hints?"
"I've been busy," Max replied defensively, coming around. "Oh, I don't know. We weren't planning on this right away, although Kenny once told me he wanted to have six kids. I nearly fell over when he said that. Pregnant."
"About six weeks," Jill concluded looking at her chart. "I want to see you in a few weeks, and please go see your gynecologist. Oh and congratulations."
Max slid off the table, as the realization that she was having a baby set in. "Is there anything I should do? I'm about as maternal as that plant, and that's probably pushing it."
"You're young, healthy, so get plenty of rest, and we'll schedule a sonogram in a few weeks," Jill said as she watched a wide smile spread over Max's face. "Go tell Kenny, if he wants six this is probably a good start."
Knowing that Kenny had a shift until seven, Max began to plan for later.
Taking one last appraising look in the mirror, Max pulled the brush through her long red hair one more time. The green sundress hugged her waist and fell to her knees. Sexy, she thought, but not too much. Hearing the car in the driveway, she tossed her brush by the sink, and ran barefoot downstairs.
"Well, look at you," he said giving her an appreciative look, and noticing the scatter of pots and pans around their kitchen. "Did you cook?"
"Very successfully, I think I'm getting the hand of this domestic thing," Max replied grinning, giddy with the news. "I didn't burn anything, and it even tastes decent."
Kenny studied his wife for a moment, and noticed the excited glint in her eye. He knew she wouldn't be wearing that dress, and be standing there looking like the naughty girl next store if she wasn't up to something. "Max? What's going on?"
She walked slowly up to him, her dress rustling around her legs. As he watched her approach he wondered how after knowing her for almost 10 years why he still felt the same desire for this woman that he did when she first smiled at him. She tossed her hair back, and kissed him softly."I can't cook dinner, and get dressed up for my husband without him thinking I'm up to something?"
"I know you better then that," Kenny replied placing his hands around her waist. "You're driving me nuts in this dress by the way, and if you don't tell me now, you probably won't get a chance for awhile."
Max grinned wickedly at him, tempted to take him up on his offer. "Well, that's not what I had planned, but… if you want to work up an appetite…"
Kenny leaned in, kissed her again, and pulled her close to him. Max sunk into his arms, forgetting about what she wanted to tell him. When he pulled away, she looked up, confused. He looked at her expectantly, and Max tried to regain some of her composure. Feeling a little off kilter by the news that she was pregnant, and wanting to tease him a bit, she stepped back too.
"How was it today?" she asked trying to sound casual. "Anything exciting happen in Rome?"
"No," he replied still wondering what she was up to. "I think we only get the interesting cases when you're in. You?"
Max shrugged. "Jill called about my physical, so I stopped by to see her. Then some errands, did you know the only three things in our refrigerator were beer, left over pizza, and a hunk of cheese?"
"Max?" Kenny began carefully not wanting to push her. "Was there anything wrong? I mean if Jill called you back in… are you all right?"
She turned to face him again, with a big grin on her face. As much as she wanted to poke at him, Max wanted to tell him more. She wanted to see the expression on his face when she told him they we're going to be parents in eight months.
"Max?" he asked again nervously. "You'd tell me right? Honey?"
"Kenny, I'm not dying," she replied, and taking his hand in hers. "But I've been feeling a little off lately, and with the way things have gone in the past few years… well you know. She got the blood tests back, and well, I'm pregnant."
Kenny stared at his radiant wife, and was numb from the shock as he looked at her. "We're having a baby?"
Max nodded, and noted how he paled when she said it. "Ah, do you want to sit?"
Kenny nodded, as he sunk into a chair trying to grasp what Max had just told him. He held out his hand to her, and pulled her into his lap. "You're serious? You and me? A baby?"
Max nodded again, as he cautiously put his hand on her stomach, and she rested her head on his shoulder. "I'm not sure you can feel anything in there yet. It's supposedly as small as a pencil eraser."
He looked up at her then and she saw that some of the shock had begun to wear off. "It's going to get bigger though. I don't know what scared me more, the thought of you dying or pregnant."
"Jill told me, and I asked if she meant with a baby," Max replied. "Believe me, I wasn't expecting this, but I'm starting to get used to the idea."
Kenny watched her for a second, and her enthusiasm was contagious. He felt some of his own surprise wear off, and he pulled her closer to him. "You're going to be a great mom."
He kissed her, and tugged her closer to himself. The idea of having a baby, even with Max, was wild Kenny thought. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and tilted her head back to deepen the kiss. He rested his hand on her still flat stomach, and realized how far they had actually come.
"Oh, god. I'm going to be sick," Max groaned the next morning jumping up from bed and dashing to the bathroom. Sticking her head in the toilet, she felt all of dinner come up, and then some. Gagging, she spit out the rest, and leaned up against the wall, feeling her stomach still jumping around. "Shit."
Kenny had watched her fly out of bed, and threw the covers back after he heard her finish. Not knowing how she would react, he poked his head in cautiously and saw her leaning against the wall with her head between her legs. "Max? Everything alright?"
She lifted her head and smiled weakly. "Yeah. It just caught me off guard, and it's something I'll have to get used to."
"Maybe we should keep a bucket by your side of the bed," Kenny quipped, as he helped her to her feet. "And some paper towels."
"Oh, you're hilarious," she shot back, wiping her face. "How long is morning sickness supposed to last?"
Kenny shrugged. "We should go get a book or something on this. Do we know anything about kids?"
"Not really," Max agreed. "I put a few diapers on Cara backwards, and my sister's kids scream a lot. You haven't had the pleasure of meeting them yet."
"You sure you can work today? You look a little green," Kenny asked her.
"I'll be fine," Max insisted. "I've been through worse you know. I feel better, really, I'm just not used to throwing up first thing in the morning. I think I'll skip breakfast though."
Max hid her amusement of her new partner well, better then his obvious appreciation of her. Oh, to be 23 again, she thought ,looking at young Pete Hunter, who she had been partnered with since she and Kenny had gotten married. He won't be staring so much in a few months, and as much as it killed her to admit it, his attention did flatter her some. Wisely, she kept this from Kenny.
"It's kind of slow out here today," Pete said interrupting her thoughts. "Think we're going to see any action?"
"It is Rome," Max replied indulgently. "Weird things happen here."
"Not recently," he grumbled. "When I was assigned here, all I heard about was people combusting, elephants, kitchen appliances, and serial killers. Now there is nothing."
Max thought back the tumultuous last year of Danny killing and raping all those women, and chose her next words carefully. "It means we're doing something right Pete."
"Yeah, but I want to see some action."
Max tried not to groan at his youthful enthusiasm, but she was relishing in the peace of late. Maybe I'm getting old, she thought, I'm 31,almost 32, married and pregnant. Actually I kind of want to shout it from the rooftop. "Stick around and you will. Trust me Pete, this place attracts all kinds."
Pete grumbled something under his breath, and the radio cackled to life. He grabbed it in triumph, as Max flipped on the siren and lights.
Pregnant or not, Max vowed not to throw up at the sight of the body in front of her. Decapitated and dissected by an angry housewife with a butcher knife, the corpse more closely resembled mangled meat then a human being.
"Take him," Jimmy instructed Carter, and motioning her over. "Autopsy what you can. Max, Skeeter took the wife back to the station. Go question her, and Wambaugh is going to meet her there. Take Pete, and put the fear of God in her. I'll be there soon."
"Sure," she agreed, seeing Pete's green face. "C'mon, you wanted something, Pete, let's go."
Pete watched the body being loaded into the medical van, and wearily climbed back into the squad car. Max sympathized with him, but didn't let it show. He liked to keep him emotions in check and not express much, and she didn't really know him well enough to have him open up. Heading back to the station in silence, she sighed inwardly, and wondered what could have possibly driven this woman to butcher her husband like that.
Max and Wambaugh exchanged a look as he came out of the interrogation room after speaking to his client. The thick walls muffled the screams some, but Max dreaded going in to all that noise.
"I think this one is a few fries short of a happy meal," Skeeter said joining them. "You ready to go back in?"
"She won't answer anything without me," Wambaugh replied. "No coercion, she's obviously not in her right mind.""
"Fine," Max said. "I'm used to that by now."
Filing into the room, the three tried not to wince at the screams.
"Gina," Wambaugh soothed. "You don't have to tell them anything. As your attorney, don't answer anything without me present."
Gina lifted her head to study the people in front of her. She leapt up from her seat, her handcuffs clinking together as she and Max made eye contact. Stumbling away from Wambaugh, she gasped as Max dropped the recorder on the floor.
"You," Gina gasped. "You're a cop? Why didn't you ever say that? Oh, god, that's why you were there? No one raped you! You were there to get information!"
"Gina," Max said recognizing the woman from the counseling group she went to after Danny had kidnapped and raped her last year. Oh shit, she thought. "Gina."
"You know her?" Skeeter asked softly from behind her. "Max?"
She turned from Gina's angry twisted face, and nodded slightly. "Yeah. Can we go outside for a second?"
"Don't do anything," Skeeter told Wambaugh. "We'll be right back."
"From the counseling group," Max blurted out as soon as he closed the door. "Shit, you know what happened to her? I can't question her and be objective in there."
"She was raped?" Skeeter asked, not wanting to open a touchy subject for her.
Max was torn, not wanting to betray the confidentiality of group, but her duty as a police officer weighing heavily on her mind. She honestly didn't know where she would be without their support, and Max knew she would be devastated if any of them blabbed about what she had said. They had helped her put her life back together. Not knowing the right thing to do, she shook her head as Jimmy came in. Exchanging a look with Skeeter, Max knew she had to tell him.
"Wambaugh's in with her," Skeeter said. "But we might have a problem."
"Not a surprise," Jimmy said under his breath studying the two deputies. "Care to enlighten me?"
Max, dreading this, replied. "Jimmy, I know her. From counseling."
She heard his sharp intake of breath and he repeated Skeeter's question. "Was she raped?"
"I can't tell you. It's all confidential, and I can't do that to her," Max replied steadily, thinking back to Gina's story. "Please don't ask me too."
Jimmy saw the conflict in her eyes, and thought to how he and Jill had argued over the subject of confidentiality. Now he was getting it from Max, so responded carefully. "You have a duty as a police officer, Maxine. This woman just killed her husband, and I won't have you protecting her. If he hurt her in any way, you have a duty to report it."
She held his gaze, and knew what he was doing. "I heard a lot of women tell about their ordeals last year. Would you like a report on all of them, or just the ones that kill people?"
"You're coming in for the interrogation," Jimmy replied. "She probably feels comfortable talking to you at least."
"Fine," Max said, doubting that. "Let's go."
"My office, when we're done." Jimmy said to her, heading in.
Skeeter gave her a sympathetic smile as they followed him, and Max wondered why life just couldn't stay simple.
"I'm not telling you anything," Gina insisted. "I don't need my lawyer to tell me that either. You cops, you don't care about me."
"Gina," Max broke in feeling the frustration in the room. "Just tell them, please. We're trying to help."
Gina glared at her. "Like you know how I feel? I can't believe that a sheriffs department would send someone into a support group."
Max tried not to feel insulted by Gina's retort, as Jimmy cut in. "That's not what happened, and if you don't want to talk, we'll just send you back to your cell."
"Fine," she snapped, wrapping her arms around her body. "I don't care."
Skeeter led her away, as Jimmy beckoned Max into his office.
Max tried not to squirm under Jimmy's gaze, and she could tell he was trying to hide his frustration from her. Part of her wanted to spill Gina's situation to him, thinking it might help her in the trial, but also giving her a motive for the murder of this man.
"What would you have me do?" she asked breaking the silence. "One reason women go to these groups is that they know the information doesn't leave the room. That's why I went. Jimmy, it's a great program, and the counselors help thousands of people every year. If I tell you, don't you think that might stop women from getting the help that they need?"
"Max, there is a strong possibility that she murdered this man, and she's being charged for it. We found her knife in hand over his body, and if someone raped, abused, or hurt her, it does give her a stronger motive, or a defense," Jimmy said rationally. "I understand where you're coming from, but please think about it."
"I'd offer to talk to her, but she doesn't seem to trust me that much," Max replied sadly.
"They didn't know you were a cop when you went," Jimmy asked, broaching a subject that he knew Max was reluctant to talk about.
"No. I never brought it up, maybe subconsciously I thought they might react the way she did. I knew a lot of them never press charges, and part of me wanted to drag them down here kicking and screaming. It's a hard charge to make stick, and as much as it kills me to admit it I understand why they don't report it," Max replied pausing, not sure she wanted to delve into this subject with Jimmy Especially as she barely discussed with Kenny. "I didn't want anyone to know what Danny had did to me… I felt so dirty and used. You can't know what it's like it until someone does it to you."
Jimmy studied her for a moment. "You don't want her to have to relive it?"
"I don't want anyone to," Max conceded, knowing she was saying more then she should. "But she certainly implied some things in there."
"I want you to talk to her when she calms down," Jimmy said. "You have a relationship with her Max."
"I don't think Wambaugh would like that," Max countered. "I know nothing she tells me from now on is in confidence, but I have my doubts that she'll say anything."
"We'll try," Jimmy said, as a knock came at his office door. Kenny stuck his head in after Skeeter filled him in on the body, and said that Jimmy wanted to see him. Glancing at his wife, Kenny didn't like the tense expression on her face, but they had an agreement not to bring their personal relationship to work. Jimmy waved him in, and he settled into the chair next to Max.
"What's going on?" he asked.
Jimmy and Max exchanged a look, and filled him in on the situation.
"I can't believe you would ask me to do that," Max exclaimed to Kenny later that night. "Just like that you want me to betray her trust? How would you feel if someone decided to broadcast what I said in there? Or if it was your sister's case?"
"That's not fair," Kenny snapped. "You and Abby didn't kill anyone Max."
"Okay," Max replied. "What if instead of stabbing Danny in the shoulder, I drove that knife into his heart? Would it have been okay for the other women to tell everyone what I said?"
"Damn it, Max," Kenny said throwing his hands up in frustration. "This is different."
"How?" she asked. "Tell me how."
"You're my wife, that's why," he said. "What Danny did to you was unforgivable. Both times."
"Yeah it was," she agreed. "I would hope that the people I went to for help wouldn't spill my deepest admissions about it. I know she killed someone, but I can't do it. Kenny, they understood everything I went through that night, and I owe them more then I can tell you."
Kenny knew how stubborn she could be when she dug her heels in, and he knew that Max wouldn't tell him. Even when she was going to the group she didn't say much about it, but as the months went by Kenny saw the woman he fell in love with emerge back into the world. He was thankful for that, and wished they did the same thing for Gina.
"I want you to understand," Max said quietly sinking into the sofa cushions. "You know how I think, and this is difficult for me. Why can't things just be simple?"
Kenny sat down next to her. "You're a cop, Max, they should be."
She glared at him. "As you pointed out earlier, I'm also you're wife. I would expect some support."
He opened his mouth, but Max cut him off. "Let me make this simple for you. Forget the case, Gina, and your apparent disappointment in me. I know you, Kenny, and I'm sure I've got enough dirt to embarrass the hell out of you. I've even seen you cry. I hope you know that I wouldn't betray you like that, or anyone else. If you think I would, you don't know me at all." Max stood and paced across their living room, as she watched her husband gather his thoughts. She realized that she really didn't want to hear it right now. "I need to get some air."
She felt Kenny's eyes on her back as she wandered out onto their back porch, and part of her felt like screaming in frustration. Thinking about Gina, she settled down on the step, the cool night air feeling refreshing on her skin. Talking to Kenny sometimes was like arguing with a brick wall, Max thought, and she knew that arguing was an important staple in their relationship. Wrapping his sweatshirt tighter around her body Max felt her temper simmer down, and she saw Kenny's points. She really did, and she leaned back against the step, and didn't turn when she heard the back door open and his foot steps coming closer. He sat down next to her in silence, not really sure what to say to her.
"She's a murderer Max," Kenny said carefully. "Think about that. I know what these people did for you, but you're a cop, and a damn good one. Whatever happened to her might not even affect the case."
"I think it does," Max said her voice barely above a whisper. "I really don't want to talk about this anymore tonight. Can we just drop it for now?"
"Okay," Kenny agreed, laying his hand on top of hers. "Max, I understand what you're saying. I really do, but I don't agree with you."
"Since when do we agree?" she asked. "This kid is going to think his parents hate each other."
"Nah," Kenny replied, thankful for the change of subject. "I love you, even when we do this. Do what you think is right okay?"
"I think that's the problem, I don't know what is," Max sighed. "I want to help her. Kenny, she's not well, at least she wasn't a year ago. She's been through a lot."
"So have you, and you haven't killed anybody. At least not anyone who wasn't a criminal."
"It's getting late," Kenny said. "You want to go up?"
Max nodded. "Jimmy wants me to talk to her tomorrow, and I think I need some sleep for that."
"Don't get sick on her," he replied trying to lighten the mood, as they stood. He was rewarded with a small smile, but they both knew that they had a long way to go.