|Primary Character:||Tony Hill, Carol, Kevin, Paula, Don|
|Warning:||m/m, non-con, rape|
|Description:||A serial killer shows up again, and Carol is hoping for help from Tony. Just like the last time, he’s strangely vague. Eventually, Carol finds out why.|
“He’s back. The son of a bitch is back.”
Carol Jordan looked up from the report she was scanning, while waiting for an important phone call. Kevin, her sergeant, was running through the room waving a piece of paper in the air. She could see that her other officers were staring too. Paula, who had been in the middle of an interview and Don, who had just come back from somewhere and wasn’t even sitting down again.
Putting the report down, Carol turned an inquiring gaze on Kevin.
“That doctor. The sick bastard. I told you – didn’t I tell you that he was guilty?”
The short, fair police officer glanced around the room as if seeking confirmation of his statement from his colleagues.
Carol cast her mind back to the cases she’d investigated in the past month or so. No doctors sprang to mind.
By now, Kevin had reached her desk and threw the piece of paper down on the desktop, a look on his face that seemed to be telling her it proved his point.
Carol’s phone began to ring and she snatched up the receiver, gesturing for him to wait.
“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. I’ll be sure to – yes – Right.”
She hung up and considered the message, an introspective look on her face. Then she pushed the matter aside for the time being and focused her attention on Kevin again.
“Right. What doctor? Refresh my memory.”
“Dr Wiley. Almost two years ago. The killings of elderly patients.”
Carol nodded. That doctor. She was beginning to recall more details of the case. Just like Kevin, she’d been inclined to suspect the doctor was guilty. On the other hand, the evidence hadn’t been sufficient and their pscyhologist, Dr Tony Hill hadn’t seemed to agree. Or, she amended, he’d wavered and in the end appeared to lean towards the idea that Wiley hadn’t been guilty after all.
Carol frowned. That case had never been solved and now, apparently, the doctor was connected to another suspicious death. Could that be a mere coincidence? In her experience, those kinds of coincidences were rare, not to say non-existent. Still, she wouldn’t say impossible.
“Alright. I remember. What’s he done now?”
“Another patient died under suspicious circumstances. Her fiance was the one to sound the alarm.”
“Right. Fiance? How old was the victim?”
“38? The other victims were in their seventies and eighties, right?”
“Most of them. One was 59.”
“Ah, yes. The one suffering from Parkinson’s. Still, 38 is quite a bit younger.”
“I know, but – who else would it be? The last time it was – five people. I knew he wasn’t going to stop there.”
Carol could have pointed out to Kevin that ‘who else would it be’ did not constitute sound investigative methods, but she knew Kevin knew that too. An outline of the case began to take shape in her mind.
She pointed to the sheet of paper, now lying slightly askew on the edge of her desk.
“The results of the postmortem. We had to wait for that to officially begin the investigation.”
Carol picked up the report. The medication used to kill the woman wasn’t in any way out of the ordinary. Anyone could have obtained it, over the counter, and no special skills were needed to administer them. They would need more than this to convict their doctor. Though of course he knew that. If it was that sly bastard, he would be well aware that the drug used to kill could easily be traced.
“What drug was used with the other patients, do you remember?”
Kevin began to recite from memory. Two different drugs had been used the last time, neither unusual enough to indicate a medical professional.
“Of course the last victim was suffocated, using a pillow.”
“Right. I remember. Though there were traces of that drug in her blood stream, weren’t there?”
“I think so. When do we pull him in?”
“Hold on a minute. We’ll need to proceed with caution. Remember that he had some sort of connection to the Police Commissioner.”
Kevin made a face.
“Can I have this case?”
“Go on. Get Paula and Don to help you.”
Kevin disappeared, leaving Carol to consider the new information. There was a nagging sense of discomfort associated with this case. Something about Tony Hill. He’d behaved oddly the last time. It had been the first time she’d had the impression he was wrong, clearly wrong, not just slightly.
She started when she heard Dr Hill’s name mentioned.
“Sorry, ma’am. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“That’s alright, Paula. Go ahead. You were saying -”
“Will you call in Dr Hill this time?”
“Not just yet. Let’s see what we can make of it first.”
Paula regarded her superior oddly. Usually, Tony Hill was the first person Carol would turn to, whenever she had a complex case to investigate. In fact, she and the lads had a running bet that their gov would turn out to be shagging their consultant. So far, no one had won anything, but Paula didn’t think she was wrong. There was something between those two.
The latest victim had been engaged to be married. Her fiance looked stunned. It was as if he still hadn’t taken in the full impact of his loss. Somehow, it was as if he was still expecting her to walk in. His face had a pallid, rigid look and Carol found that she had to repeat some questions.
“I said did your fiancee ever mention anything out of the ordinary in the last couple of days?”
“Well – she was going away, to a conference. I’m not sure -”
“I mean, did she complain about having received threats? Had she noticed anyone stalking her? Was there anyone at work who she had had a disagreement with? That sort of thing.”
He frowned, as he tried to recall the events of the past week or so.
“Oh, right. She wasn’t happy about her doctor. I think Sharon was going to file a complaint.”
“About four months ago, he prescribed medication that has strong potential side effects. Sharon was concerned about those. She didn’t feel her condition was serious enough to warrant such -”
He broke off, as if he had suddenly forgotten the word he was about to use.
“I see. Was she in good health, in general?”
“Oh, yes. In very good shape.”
He seemed very sure and as it happened, Carol’s information confirmed that.
“Right. Did she mention to you how her doctor reacted to her complaint?”
“Well, he insisted he was correct in his treatment of the condition.”
“What condition was that?”
“Oh, didn’t I say? It was an ulcer. Just a mild case. The other doctor Sharon consulted wouldn’t have used that strong drug, and -”
“I see. Thank you. Anything else you can think of?”
The fiance made another effort to remember, but failed to come up with anything.
“Thank you. If you remember anything else, please call me. You have my card?”
“Oh – yes. Thank you. Do you think the doctor did it?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I can’t think of anyone who might want to harm her. She was -”
His eyes misted over and he buried his face in his hands. Carol glanced beseechingly at Paula.
“Paula, could you go and get mr Phillips a cup of tea?”
Mr Phillips took the cup, but didn’t drink. When he’d recovered sufficiently, he left. There was a vague, aimless look about him as if he’d just lost all purpose in life.
In Carol’s mind, there was little doubt that the doctor was implicated. The last time, they’d failed to come up with a credible motive. This time, the threat of a formal complaint against him might be the trigger. Carol had a feeling that this time, they wouldn’t find it quite as hard to get the killer convicted. At least if they made as good progress as they had so far. Soon it would be time to confront Dr Wiley.
Dr Wiley was a man in his early fifties. Even seated in the interview room, he appeared to be at ease. Carol prided herself on being able to judge a person’s state of mind and she was quite sure this man was comfortable. There was a smug expression on his face, and she couldn’t rid herself of a feeling that the doctor was somehow enjoying a private joke. Everything about this man rubbed Carol the wrong way.
She glanced at Don, who was sitting on her left. Judging by the way he looked, he concurred with her. If this man wasn’t guilty, he definitely was a thoroughly unpleasant person.
“Dr Wiley. The last time we met, I was investigating a series of unexplained deaths among your patients. Now another of your patients has died, again under suspicious circumstances.”
Dr Wiley’s smile deepened. He didn’t appear at all troubled by the inference.
“That’s very sad. I wish I could explain miss Crowley’s death, but I’m afraid I can’t.
“Being a patient of yours seems to be a health hazard.”
The doctor’s barrister coughed meaningfully. He shot a glance at Carol, but didn’t comment. Yet. She was betting he was waiting for a better opportunity.
Now the smug bastard spread his hands in a gesture clearly intended to illustrate his inability to explain his patient’s death.
Carol made an effort to focus on the case. It was rare for her to dislike a suspect so much. The only thing holding her back, other than, naturally, a wish to handle the case according to the letter of the law, was the fact that the man so plainly expected her to lose her temper. She wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. Taking a deep breath, Carol did her best to smile back at the doctor, trying her best not frown or scowl at him.
“She was your patient. According to your own records, she was on medication.”
Dr Wiley nodded.
“I hope you’re not suggesting my prescription had anything to do with miss Crowley’s death?”
“You know I don’t. She was going to lodge a formal complaint against you.”
“What can I say? Unfortunately, patients and doctors don’t always agree about treatments. Still, you have to say that since I’m the one who wears the white coat, I should know what I’m doing.”
“Exactly. You should know what you’re doing. Yet someone pumps your patient full of barbiturates.”
“Miss Crowley wasn’t hospitalized. What happens to a patient when she isn’t consulting me, isn’t my responsibility.”
“Are you suggesting she took those barbiturates herself?”
“I’m not suggesting anything. I’m merely pointing out that I’m a doctor, not a deity.”
Carol almost put her fingers to her ear, before she remembered that she hadn’t called in Dr Hill. It was time she did. The mention of a deity brought to mind earlier instances of psychobabble. She wasn’t trained to interpret subtle clues into the suspects state of mind. Tony Hill was.
“I can’t imagine that you were thrilled to find that a patient of yours was going to make a complaint against you.”
“As you say, no, I wasn’t, but these things happen.”
“Have they happened to you before?”
Having done her homework, Carol knew perfectly well that during the doctor’s earlier years in practice a few such cases had occurred.
“They happen to all practicing doctors.”
Carol was beginning to regret not asking for Tony Hill’s help. Usually, she felt perfectly capable of handling a murder case. However, there were some that tended to tax her and her sergeants’ abilities and rather than risk further victims, she found herself in need of assistance from a trained clinical psychologist, like Dr Hill.
She asked a few more questions, let Don do his part, but let the doctor go earlier than she had intended. It was clear that the doctor himself hadn’t expected this either. Good. If he believed she was merely covering as much ground as possible and wasn’t seriously after him, he might let down his guard. She didn’t have much hope of that, but in the meantime, there was Tony Hill. With his help, she was sure she would be able to crack the case.
She didn’t have time to go and see Tony Hill in person, so she missed the expression on his face when he heard her request. There was something in his tone that hinted he was – reluctant to take on the case. Carol was sure she knew him well enough to be able to tell.
“Are you busy? I mean, do you have something more urgent -”
There was an uneasy pause, on the other end of the line. Or was she just imagining things? When Tony spoke again, he sounded less strained. As if he’d considered her request and decided he would have time, or if he’d gestured for some postgraduate student to leave. Still, she had the distinct impression he was struggling to maintain a light tone of voice.
“No. Of course I’ll help you out.”
“Thank you. Can you come over straight away?”
Again he paused, but this time she heard the rustle of papers. He was checking his diary or at least looking through some paperwork.
“Alright. I’ll be right over.”
“Good. I’ll have the relevant facts for you.”
“Um – yes, thank you. See you soon.”
Carol frowned. If Tony was busy, why couldn’t he say so? Could he have something personal going on? Though when did Tony Hill ever have a personal life? As far as Carol knew, he played computer games when he wasn’t working or sleeping, that was all. Again, as far as she knew.
In any case, she didn’t have time to wonder about Tony Hill. If she spent too much time doing that, she would get little or no work done.
When he arrived – for once rather late – it seemed to Carol that he was more than usually clumsy, but she didn’t have any time to spare for observing her psychologist.
She handed over a file, then as he began to review the case, she got on with her own work. Paula had spent the day on the phone trying to find a witness, and when he finally answered his phone, he could only tell them he was on his way out of the country again. Business trip.
Carol decided to send Kevin and Don over to interview him, rather than waiting a fortnight for his return.
“Paula – could you handle her co-workers?”
“I’m on my way.”
Carol was hoping Tony Hill would finish reading the file soon. She had had an idea concerning Doctor Wiley. They would seek him out at his surgery, with no advance warning. She had little hope that would catch him off guard, but at least Tony Hill might be able to read something into the man’s reaction. Possibly. Carol seemed to recall that the last time Wiley had been a suspect, Tony Hill hadn’t been of much use.
She forced herself to ignore her vague misgivings. This man was guilty. Somehow, they’d find the evidence to convict him. She wouldn’t consider any other option.
When she looked across towards Tony Hill, he wasn’t looking at the paperwork. He seemed – Again Carol had the impression he was under considerable strain, possibly more. There was something tense about him which was altogether different from the focus he normally evidenced. In fact, usually, he’d even show enthusiasm.
But again, they had no time for idle speculation. A wave of irritation rose in her and she picked up her mobile phone and put it in her jacket pocket.
“Are you finished?”
No reply. Not that it was uncommon for Tony Hill not to pay attention to the outside world at times when he was piecing together a theory regarding a case. Perhaps he was already at work. Carol took a deep breath and tried again.
Again, he didn’t appear to have heard her. She grabbed her jacket and closed the distance between them, tossing the jacket on, then placing a hand on his shoulder. His reaction startled her. He whirled around, a look of – what? – on his face. Not anger. She was pretty sure about that. Besides, in the time she’d known Tony Hill he’d rarely lost his temper. This looked more like terror.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you. I was asking if you’d finished reading the file. It’s time to go.”
He made an effort to pull himself together. The look of terror, if that was what it was, was gone so soon, Carol was already beginning to think she’d imagined it. Once again, Tony Hill was himself, or close enough.
“Oh. Right. Sorry. I was miles away.”
Carol was hoping he’d give her his opinion of the case so far, but he still appeared pensive. Irritation was beginning to take over again and she felt the onset of a headache.
“Could you give me any kind of comment?”
His face appeared to close. She sensed that he was weighing each word carefully before he spoke.
“Well, the motive has changed. At least the apparent motive.”
Clenching her fists, Carol tried hard not to let him see her lose her temper. Even she could have told him that. New motive, or at least the semblance of one.
“Yes. What else?”
“That means the killer is doing it, not only for ‘fun’, but also for gain.”
“And what does that tell you?”
“That he’s finding it easier to kill. It’s become commonplace.”
“Right. Does it help us get him?”
“Not that I can see. You need to find solid proof that ties him to the case. Or – but that’s highly unlikely – have someone catch him in the act.”
“And how would that work? He’s a doctor. If someone caught him administering a drug to a patient, he’d have a perfectly plausible explanation for his actions. Can’t you do better than that?”
This time, she couldn’t keep the anger from leaking into her voice.
If he noticed, he didn’t give any indication of it.
“Sorry. No. Not at the moment.”
“Fine. Come on then. We’ll confront him in his surgery.
Tony’s features twisted into a mask of pain, but again, his transformation only lasted for a fraction of a moment. This time, though, Carol was sure she’d seen it. She was wondering if perhaps she’d been mistaken. Tony might be ill and in physical pain, or something unrelated to the case could be bothering him. The trouble was, if it was the latter, she didn’t know how to ask him and wasn’t sure if he’d answer her truthfully.
“Are you alright?”
At first he didn’t reply. He turned and faced away from Carol, making a show of returning the papers to the file.
“What? Oh, yes, I’m fine. Didn’t get very much sleep last night, but it’s nothing. Right. Let’s go.”
On the way over to the surgery, Carol kept glancing at Tony, out of the corner of her eye. She couldn’t detect any kind of reaction now. Even so, she sensed that something was wrong. Perhaps she ought to try and handle this case on her own or – but somehow this option didn’t appeal to her – she could talk the commissioner into letting her hire another consultant. They had used profilers before. Someone else might be able to help her.
She parked the car and got out. Again she was irritated and puzzled by Tony’s slow reaction. He remained in the car just long enough for her to pay attention. When he finally got out, he was walking so slowly she couldn’t rid herself of a feeling he was trying to stall.
She waited for him to catch up, then made sure he followed as she entered the building.
The doctor’s receptionist looked up. It was the same woman who had worked there the last time he was under investigation. Even so, she tried to slow them down.
“If you’ll excuse me, I’ll just ring the doctor and -”
“No trouble on my account.”
“Is he with a patient?”
“No, but -”
Carol brushed past the receptionist and pushed open the door into the surgery.
The doctor turned, looking annoyed at the intrusion. He’d been seated behind his desk, going through some paperwork, but Carol didn’t think he looked all that busy.
With what seemed like considerable effort, the doctor smiled at her. So, he wasn’t too happy about being bothered at his place of work. Tough. She was wondering how he’d like seeing her at his home.
“Inspector Jordan. What can I do for you today? I have some aspirins. You look as if you could use them.”
“Thank you, but no thanks. Under the circumstances, I’m sure you’ll understand my reluctance to accept medication from you.”
He made that infuriating gesture again. Before Carol had time to ask her first question, Wiley turned to face Tony Hill, an odd look on his face. There was a sort of knowing grin that puzzled Carol.
“And your psychologist. Of course. I’m so glad to you see you again, Tony – Hill.”
The innuendo he put into his voice was inexpicable. To Carol it sounded as if he somehow knew Tony Hill. Professionally? Surely not. This was an ordinary GP, not a psychiatrist. Ordinary, except for the fact that he’d taken to killing of his patients.
To her astonishment, Tony Hill appeared to be at a loss for words. Incredibly, he also looked – guilty somehow. Carol could have sworn his face took on colour. All in all, the strange opening to her planned confrontation threw her off balance. While she was struggling to regain the initiative, she saw Tony do the same, with less success, it seemed.
Before she could start again, the thwarted receptionist, Janine, entered, looking disconcerted.
“Can I get you or your visitors anything, Dr Wiley?”
“Nothing for me, thank you, Janine. Perhaps Inspector Jordan or Dr Hill would like something?”
“No, thanks. We just have some questions for you.”
Dr Wiley gestured for Janine to leave.
“Well, go ahead.”
“Your patient, miss Crowley – was she a difficult patient?”
“Not at all.”
“Really? She didn’t seem to agree with you about your course of treatment and she was about to report you.”
“Well, I’ve had more congenial patients, that’s true.”
“What about miss Avery? Old mrs Prentice? Miss Larch?”
“What about them?”
“Did you find them more – congenial?”
“Now that you mention it, yes – they were lovely old ladies.”
Carol kept up the questioning for another ten minutes, but she felt lost without Tony’s guidance. To her surprise and dismay, Tony didn’t contribute at all. She was hoping he was observing and would give her his opinion later.
“Well, that’s it for the moment. I’ll be back when I have something else to ask you.”
“I’m sure you will. Do bring your charming psychologist. As always, it’s a pleasure to meet him.”
Carol glared at him. That tone – it had to be calculated to offend – the question was who? Her or Tony? Either way, it didn’t make sense. She forced herself not to show any reaction to his taunts.
Outside, in the car, she was stunned to notice that Tony’s face was chalky white and he kept rubbing his hands against his pants, as if the palms of his hands were damp. When he sensed her attention, he regained control over himself
Carol didn’t know how to ask him about his reaction, so she contented herself with discussing the case.
“Well? What did you make of his reaction?”
“You mean when you confronted him about the latest victim?”
“Yes, and about the others.”
He was silent for so long Carol was beginning to think he wasn’t going to reply, but finally, he faced her again, his face impassive.
“He isn’t upset about their deaths. They mean nothing to him. Unless he’s gloating, but covering his reaction.”
“Alright. What else?”
“I’d say he’s – if he’s guilty – he’s relishing the power. Power over life and death. It’s that simple. But he’s getting used to it so he feels comfortable killing for gain as well. If he’s guilty -”
Again, Carol snapped. She was rapidly getting fed up with her lack of progress and even more with Tony’s behaviour.
“What do you mean if? You don’t think he’s guilty?”
Tony refused to meet her gaze. He turned away, pretending to watch the traffic, something Carol had to do as well. When she looked back, he was still facing away from her, toying with a loose thread on his right sleeve.
“I don’t know.”
Silently, Carol began to count to ten inside her mind. First forwards, then backwards.
“Fine. I’ll drop you off at the university.”
“That’s not necessary.”
“It’s no trouble.”
She backed into a narrow parking space outside the university and ended up almost blocking another car.
The driver, a man in his late fifties, rolled down his window and smiled politely but expectantly at her.
Hastily, she apologized and once she’d managed to right her car, she felt obliged to go outside and apologized again.
The man smiled in return, and held out his hand. She shook it.
“How do you do? You must be Inspector Jordan. My name is Miles. Rodney Miles.”
“Oh, pleased to meet you, mr Miles.”
“It’s Doctor actually. I’m a therapist.”
By now, Tony had emerged from the car, seemingly intent on escape. Dr Miles stopped him.
“Hold on, Tony. Don’t forget our appointment on Friday.”
“I won’t. Well, it’s almost five. I have a student coming in for tutoring, so -”
“Of course, don’t let me keep you.”
After Tony’s departure, Carol remained standing, exchanging a few more polite phrases, then at last was able to get away. She would like to know what sort of appointment Tony and Dr Miles had on Friday, but she realized she wouldn’t get any answers from the man himself.
By chance, she caught sight of another colleague of Tony’s entering the parking lot, as Carol was leaving. She took a chance and waved at the woman, who waved back, then rolled down her window and shouted a greeting.
Carol could still see Dr Miles ambling across the green.
“Who’s that? I almost blocked his car.”
“Oh, that’s Dr Miles, our rape counsellor. Very good man. His work with victims have produced marvellous results. Many of them are able to return to a completely normal life.”
“I see. Well, I’m glad I didn’t scratch his paint.”
A rape counsellor? And Tony had an appointment with him? Or was it the other way around? Did the rape counsellor see Tony for treatment of some kind? It was really puzzling. Of course, Carol told herself, it might be nothing to do with their actual work. Their appointment might be about students’ schedules or use of lecture halls. Even so, it was odd. Tony clearly hadn’t liked running into Dr Miles and had seemed decidedly reluctant when it came to their appointment.
In the meantime, as Carol couldn’t find an answer to all her questions, she returned to her own office. Paula had finished with the victim’s colleagues and Don and Kevin were back too. Carol handed out new assignments for Kevin and Don, then asked Paula to stay.
“Dr Wiley used to be married, right?”
“Yes. He was divorced about three years ago. Just before the killings, if I remember correctly.”
“Where is the wife now? We interviewed her the last time, didn’t we?”
“Briefly. She had already left him and was living in – Newcastle, I think. Or Leeds. I could look it up.”
“Yes. Do that. I’d like you to go and interview her. Take someone. Anyone you like. Not Don or Kevin. I have other work for them.”
“Yes, or as soon as you can get her to see you.”
“Alright. What will I ask her this time?”
Carol hesitated. She knew she had no official excuse to ask this question, but after what had happened today, and the impressions she’d formed, she really liked to know. Besides, she rationalized, many killers had sexual motives that didn’t stand out, until their crimes had been examined thoroughly. They might still find that he’d had some kind of sexual rush from exercising his power of life and death as Tony had put it.
“Ask her about their sex life.”
Paula’s eyebrows shot up. She hadn’t expected this. All she could conclude was that her gov had had some sort of hint from Tony Hill and was now eager to follow it up.
“I’ll do that. Anything else?”
“It depends on what you learn. Follow it up. Ask if he was ever violent with her, or if he showed any interest in others, that she was aware of.”
“Like older women?”
In the morning, Paula left for Newcastle. Once Kevin and Don had reported their findings, Carol sent them to interview Dr Wiley’s colleagues and friends, including Janine, the receptionist. If he was seeing someone now, Carol wanted to know about it. She wanted to know about any former or current partners.
Rather than upsetting the late miss Crowley’s fiance, Carol herself went to question the victim’s best friend, Clare. Afterwards, Carol wasn’t sure if Clare’s information was useful or not. If Dr Wiley had made a pass at miss Crowley, she hadn’t confided in her best friend.
Towards evening, Paula returned. She went into Carol’s office to make her report straight away.
“The ex told me a few things about Dr Wiley. He was never actually violent, but he had a tendency to take charge. In the end, she felt as if he wanted to control every aspect of her life.”
“I see. But he let her go without a fight?”
“Yes. It was as if he’d lost interest. Quite odd, I think. There was another thing. She wasn’t sure but she thought he might be bisexual.”
“Did he cheat on her with a man?”
“No, but – she went through his computer and he’d visited sites with a mixed content.”
“Anything really appalling?”
“You mean like children or animals? No. Some gay sex.”
“Male or female?”
“I see. Anything else?”
“Well, there was a male nurse at work who was definitely gay, and the ex had the idea he and her husband were seeing each other.”
“We’ll have to interview this nurse and any colleagues that might confirm this.”
“That’s just it. Apparently, the nurse has left the country. I did ask at the hospital. He wasn’t in private practice back then. We’re talking about at least a year or two before the divorce.”
“Right. Thank you, Paula. You can go home now. Don and Kevin will be back soon, I think, and after I hear what they have to say, I’ll go too.”
Just after Paula had gone, Kevin came in.
Carol went to meet him.
“Don’s talking to someone but he’ll be back soon.”
“Right. So what do you have for me?”
“Apparently, our doctor is gay. I don’t know if that’s relevant or not. But we were able to find a few of his colleagues who had seen him with a man. Possibly two or three different men. Don’s talking to one of them now.”
“Did it seem as if he was violent or – had a fixation for dead bodies or something?”
“No. I didn’t know I was supposed to ask about that, but I’m sure someone would have mentioned that.”
“Yes, of course. Well, if that’s all, you can go home. We won’t get anything else done tonight.”
When Don showed up, he confirmed that the man had been Dr Wiley’s lover but he’d had nothing to say about the murders. Hadn’t even known his lover was a suspect, in fact. It didn’t seem as if Dr Wiley had used any particular violence, but again, Don hadn’t thought to ask.
On her way home, Carol tried to incorporate the new information with what she already knew. She didn’t think any of it added up. Yet. A man might be gay without being a rapist, just like a straight man wasn’t necessarily a rapist either. Still, if she put together Tony’s odd behaviour, that of the suspect’s and the latter’s bisexuality, Carol seemed to read a disturbing pattern into it all.
She kept pondering the case, until well into the wee hours, but could come to no conclusion. Then when she returned to the office in the morning, she had an unexpected break. A witness had recognized a photo of Dr Wiley as a man who had come into a chemist’s and bought the drug that had been present in most of the victims.
That was enough to take the suspect into custody. Carol also put in a request for a warrant to have the man’s records searched.
A nagging concern at the back of her head kept turning her thoughts back to Tony and the way he’d changed so drastically, especially since Dr Wiley had come under suspicion again. To the surprise of her sergeants’ Carol didn’t insist on interviewing Wiley right away.
“Let him sit for a while. Consider his situation. Who knows? It might actually get him to say something ill-considered.”
“I’ll be back later. In the meantime I’d like you to search his records and his house, Paula, Kevin. Don, could you stay here and wait for me? I’d like you to sit in on the interview.”
Carol ignored the puzzled glances that followed her outside. She couldn’t wait any longer. Tony might not answer her questions, truthfully or otherwise, but she felt compelled to try.
He was in his office at the university, just as she’d more or less expected. There was no colleague or student there, so Carol walked in. Tony appeared to be going through a thick file but when he looked up, she realized he wasn’t looking at anything, not even her. Gazing over her shoulder, she closed the door behind her. Not even that broke Tony out of his brooding.
Eventually, she said his name. Startled, he looked up. The look on his face was so distraught, Carol knew there was something to her suspicions.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. We have Dr Wiley in custody. A witness came forward, placing him at a chemists’. This time, I think we have him.”
It looked as if Tony was about to say something, but he checked himself, then after swallowing hard, he tried again.
“That’s good news. Great.”
“Yes. It’s just that – I’m sorry to question you like this, but – what happened? This case – I’ll be honest – you weren’t much help at all.”
“I’m sorry. Clinical psychology isn’t an exact science. Sometimes -”
“Yes, but there’s more to it than that, isn’t there?”
At first she didn’t think she was going to have a reply, but in the end, Tony collected himself.
“I’m not sure I know what you’re -”
“Oh, Tony, stop it. Something’s wrong. Why won’t you tell me what it is? We’ve been friends for how long now -? If you consider me a friend, please tell me what’s wrong.”
The pleading in his voice took Carol by surprise, and not only that, but also her own reaction to his tone. She felt as if she wanted to tear that Dr Wiley limb from limb. Anything, to get the old Tony back. And she didn’t even know for a fact something had occurred.
She had been about to reach out and place her hand on his, but she checked herself in time, clenching her fist instead.
When he spoke again, he sounded even more desolate. Carol swallowed and blinked. Her eyes felt suspiciously misty.
“I’m sorry I let you down. I’m sorry about this woman – Crowley? It’s my fault. You could have put a stop to him a long time ago if it hadn’t been for my -”
“What happened, Tony?”
Carol had to break in, or she would have started to cry. This was absurd. She never cried. Her voice sounded more harsh than she’d intended to, but again, that was only so she could keep herself in check.
His eyes met hers, and the look in them was so filled with despair, Carol almost reached out again, but at the last moment was able to stop herself.
“The last time you were investigating him – I – it was obvious he was guilty. I’d already begun to think of a way you could catch him, when -”
She had been right. He’d seemed so sure that Wiley was their man, then suddenly, he’d begun to waver in his resolve. They’d had nothing, and in the end, they’d had no choice but to let him go.
She’d never seen Tony like this. He looked more like one of his more disturbed patients. Hugging himself, he kept his eyes averted from her, there was even a tendency to rock back and forth just a little. It made Carol feel utterly helpless. Again she wanted to rush back to the station and – but all she could do was stand there, listening to Tony’s story.
“He was waiting for me when I got back.”
He’d returned late. After he’d been at the station until quite late, he’d been forced to return to the university to pick up a case file, then towards midnight, he’d been standing on the front steps, unlocking the door. He hadn’t been paying attention to his surroundings. His neighbours were usually in bed at this hour and there wasn’t much traffic on a weeknight.
The attack had been completely unexpected. One second, he’d still been dwelling on his patient, the next – just as his door swung open, someone hit him and pushed him inside. He’d heard the door slam shut behind him, but whoever it was that had barrelled into him, didn’t give him any time to recover. A series of blows to his lower back, then the back of his skull rendered him partially unconscious.
When he came to, he’d been turned over, and now he could face his attacker. Dr Wiley was straddling him, repeatedly punching his face. He felt something hot and wet splash across his lips and he knew it was his nose bleeding.
Again, he lost track of time and when he was once again aware of his surroundings, Wiley had stripped him. His pants were lying bundled up somewhere around his knees, his jacket and slipover were gone and his shirt was torn open in front.
A period of time was lost, but he knew Wiley had straddled his face and after a few additional blows, he’d done what he was told. He kept fading in and out, but when Wiley turned him over again, he stayed lucid long enough to feel the penetration. It hurt more than he had imagined.
He was almost relieved, when Wiley punched him out again. But his ordeal wasn’t over. When his eyes rolled open, he knew Wiley was still there. It took him a while to realize that this time his hands and feet were securely tied. He was lying on his back and Wiley –
When he realized what Wiley was about to do, he began to babble. Part of him was aware of how complete his loss of dignity was and deep down, he wished he’d had the strength to hold the words back, but he couldn’t.
“No. Please, don’t.”
A look of dismay spread across Wiley’s face and he retreated. Tony knew it wasn’t over, and sobbing, he waited for Wiley’s return, so tense every muscle and sinew in his body ached. Wiley held something in his hand. It took Tony another moment to recognize it as his old, damp and moldy dishrag, which should have been thrown out weeks ago, if not months. This Wiley stuffed into Tony’s mouth. The taste made him retch.
Appearing satisfied, Wiley went on with what he’d been about to do before the interruption. To Tony’s horror, he couldn’t suppress the physical reaction following the intimate action. It was like a nightmare, but he was perfectly aware it was real and that there was nothing he could do to stop what was happening to him. Wiley didn’t stop until matters reached their inevitable conclusion.
He withdrew and again straddled Tony, pressing his face up close so Tony had no way of evading Wiley’s gaze.
“Listen to me. I’m sure you’ll have figured it out by now, as the good little psychologist you are. That’s fine, as long as you don’t tell your copper friend. Is that clear? If I hear that you’ve been talking to her, I’ll be back. We’ll get to do all this over again. Nod if you understand.”
Hating himself for his weakness, Tony found himself nodding as best he could. Not until then did Wiley remove the dishrag.
“Remember what I said. In fact, remember what we just shared. If you go to your tough copper friend, there’s that, right? You and I – intimate. I wonder what that will do to your credibility? Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy it. We both know that wouldn’t be true, now would it?”
Before Tony could do anything to stop it, Wiley covered his mouth with his and pushed his tongue inside.
That appeared to at last satisfy him. He straightened out his clothes, hastily removed the bonds tying Tony’s hands, then left, closing the door softly behind him.
Carol’s voice seemed to be coming to him from such a long distance, he wasn’t sure he wasn’t imagining it.
It came again, and this time it was accompanied by a cool hand on his forehead. He was surprised he didn’t recoil violently, but it seemed he’d used up all his energy in telling Carol. Telling her and at the same time reliving it. From deep down came another explanation, this time from the psychologist in him.
You know you trust her. You know you’ve been dying to feel her touch like this, or in other ways. That’s why you’re not pulling away.
But he couldn’t hold on to those thoughts. They slipped away in the confusion.
“Tony? Come on. You’re scaring me. Wake up.”
He could feel Carol’s strong hands lifting his head up, holding on to him, strengthening him. After a while, it became easier to stay focused on her voice and her touch.
“Are you awake?”
“You really scared me when you faded out like that. Tell me what to do. Should I call a doctor?”
“Alright. Tony, listen to me. I’m sorry. I should have guessed something was wrong. You could have told me. I’d have believed you.”
But even as she heard herself saying the words, she found herself doubting them. Would she have believed Tony? If she’d been presented with some sort of evidence of sexual relations between him and the suspect. He wasn’t like other men. That was why her attraction for him never led anywhere. Or was it his odd reaction to it? Had she subconsciously believed him to be homosexual and so been afraid to expose herself and her feelings for him?
“It doesn’t matter, does it? I couldn’t stand up to him. I was weak and that’s why another woman is dead. It’s my fault. If I’d been stronger – if I’d been like other men -”
Carol felt her cheeks heat up, at Tony’s words. It was as if he’d read her mind. She was hoping that wasn’t true. If so, he’d know –
“You know that’s not true. It wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry, I have to return to the station and interview him. Tony, I can’t leave you alone like this. Will you come with me?”
“Come on. I can’t leave you now. You don’t have to help with the interview. Just – stay there and wait for me. Please.”
Carol sounded so serious, Tony found himself agreeing, against his will. In fact, he knew that he’d always find it hard to refuse her anything. That was why, he kept coming to her help, over and over again, even though there were times he’d much rather stick to his patients.
Paula and Kevin had returned and Carol knew right away that they’d been waiting and wondering at her absence. She forced herself to ignore their expressions and push on, as if this was what she’d intended all along.
“Right. Take Dr Wiley to interview room 1. Is that available?”
“Good. Don, I want you with me in there. Kevin, why don’t you stand outside and observe?”
Carol could feel their gazes lingering on Tony Hill and she was wondering how best to forestall any questions. She needed time to think of a way to help Tony. Events were moving too quickly for her, but she had a duty to get the dangerous killer before there were any other victims, so she doggedly stuck to her role as a police officer, leaving any other concerns for later.
“Tony – why don’t you wait in my office? I’ll – call you if I need you.”
She knew she wasn’t handling this the best way, but right now, this would have to do. To her relief, Tony ambled off towards her office, without a word.
“Paula – keep an eye on him. Please. I’ll – explain later. Get him a cup of tea, make sure he doesn’t wander off. I’ll need to talk to him later, but I don’t have time right now. Just keep him here.”
Paula’s eyes were filled with unspoken questions, but she only nodded her agreement.
Carol let out the breath she felt she’d been holding in for so long. This should give her time to deal with the suspect.
More than an hour later, she wasn’t as hopeful. Wiley made use of his right not to speak. His legal representative backed him up, looking almost as smug as he did. Carol wouldn’t be at all surprised if the two men played tennis together. In fact, though Wiley had been processed and so had his tie, belt and shoelaces removed, she had a hunch the barrister’s school tie was the same as Wiley’s. It just wasn’t the sort of thing she would remember.
In the end, she gave up. It was well past lunchtime. Another couple of hours in a cell might soften Wiley up and even if it didn’t, she was sick of the sight of him.
It was time she dealt with Tony Hill. She told her sergeants to go out and have lunch, then sent for something for herself and Tony, all the while doubting either of them would have any appetite.
What was she to do about Tony’s ordeal? On the one hand, he’d need professional help to deal with it, but then he was already getting that, albeit reluctantly. As far as she was concerned, she had a duty to report a crime that had been committed against a civilian. Yet how could she betray Tony’s trust? He’d obviously felt impelled to keep his dreadful secret, rather than have it be known he’d been the victim of homosexual rape. What man would want such a secret to be exposed?
This was a nightmare. Every second she had been forced to sit facing Wiley across the table, had been agony. She had wanted to confront him, to bring charges against him, to – physically punish him for what he’d done to Tony.
A part of her that she hadn’t known existed wanted to talk to the men under her command who she knew were capable of attacking a prisoner and ask them to do just that. Though the police force did their best to stamp out such behaviour from within their ranks, she knew that paedophiles and child killers could find themselves the victims of ‘accidents’.
With an almost physical effort, Carol was able to repress the urge to order such an ‘accident’.
When she walked into her office, she found Tony walking around, aimlessly picking up an object here and there, then putting it down. She wanted to run to him and pull him into her arms and hold him, but all she could do was say a few words, inadequate as they were.
“Are you alright?”
“Mm? Oh, yes, I suppose so. Did you – get a confession?”
“No. He’s still not talking. I mean, literally, not saying anything.”
“Oh. How good is your evidence against him?”
“The testimony is solid. Our witness is very sure of himself. So we can try. His silence speaks against him, as you know.”
“You might find trophies at his house. Some sort of tiny keepsake no one will have missed. The postmortems – did they show any inexplicable minor abnormalities? A lock of hair missing, fingernails clipped, that sort of thing?”
“I’ll have to check, but I don’t think so. Not with the older patients. Possibly with the latest victim. She was going to report him for malpractice. That will be strong circumstantial evidence. I think we’ll get him. Don’t worry about it.”
“But if it wasn’t for me, he would already have been caught, wouldn’t he?”
“You don’t know that. Besides – no one could have foreseen what that bastard was capable of. Don’t blame yourself.”
“If I’d been like other men he wouldn’t have -”
“You know that’s not true.”
“Fine. I’m not like others, so I should have been able to – rise above what happened and – tell you anyway, but I didn’t. Did I? And now another patient is dead.”
This time, he fell silent.
Just as she’d guessed, neither of them had any appetite. After lunch, she decided not to continue the interviews, instead choosing to follow Tony’s advice of searching the doctor’s house and going over the postmortem reports again.
While her sergeants were continuing their work, she took Tony home. Her eyes roamed around the living room, wondering where it had happened. It was almost as if she could see it happening. Suddenly, it occurred to her that a carpet that had been there during her other visits to Tony’s home, was now gone.
He followed her gaze and his face a chalky white, he confirmed her suspicion.
“It was there. On the old carpet. I – just panicked and got rid of it.”
“Of course. I understand.”
She felt angry with herself for so lightly claiming to understand, when in fact, she had no idea what he must be going through. That was one reason she felt so helpless. Awkwardly, she remained standing, wondering what to say that didn’t sound so banal. In the end, she felt drawn back to the station.
No matter how much she wanted to stay and comfort Tony, not even knowing how, she knew she had to get back to work.
“I’ll have to go. Are you sure you’ll be alright?”
“I’m not going to kill myself, if that’s what you mean. Rodney would never forgive me.”
It took Carol a moment to associate the name with the therapist she’d met recently. The rape counsellor. She’d known there was something odd about Tony’s connection to him. Having learned the truth, she didn’t feel much better.
“It’s alright. I’ll just – go over some patients’ files. No rape cases.”
She didn’t know what to say so in the end, she made no comment on his last statement.
“I’ll look in on my way home. I -”
“Yes, yes. Go on. I’ll be fine.”
Carol returned to her office and sat down behind her desk. There was still no information about possible trophies or reports of missing hair or fingernails, but there was quite a bit of material to go over. She hardly expected an answer within the next half hour or so.
When the phone rang, she expected to hear from Paula or Kevin, but the voice on the other end of the line wasn’t that familiar. It took her a while to recognize it. It belonged to the guard on duty downstairs.
“You’d better get down here, Inspector. One of your suspects has – had an accident.”
“I’ll be right down.”
On her way downstairs confused thoughts chased each other through her brain. Had Dr Wiley injured himself for some reason? Had another prisoner taken a dislike to him? What was going on? She knew she hadn’t said a word to anyone about what Wiley had done to Tony Hill. That couldn’t be the reason. It simply wasn’t possible.
By the time she’d made her way downstairs, Don and Kevin were already there, and one of the guards was administering first aid. Upon inquiry, she found that an ambulance was on its way. However, it didn’t get there until her own boss had arrived.
As they stood watching, Wiley came to. He was bleeding profusely from an apparently shallow head wound, but he was also bruised and battered. During the attempts at reviving him, the guards had removed his shirt and it was clear that someone had had a serious grudge against the doctor. From what Carol could see, given the crowded state of the cell, judging by the condition of his hands and arms, he’d fought to defend himself.
Wiley’s eyes searched the room, lingered on Carol, or so it seemed to her, then veered off towards her boss.
“It was her. She’s the one responsible.”
He was breathing shallowly, as if he was in considerable pain. Despite that, he managed to raise his arm enough to point at Carol.
She could feel her boss’ gaze boring into her. Her face heated up.
Before Wiley had time for any more damning announcements, the paramedics arrived and took charge. Two uniformed policemen accompanied the prisoner to the hospital. They weren’t taking any chances with a suspected serial killer.
Carol silently counted to ten. Before she’d finished, she heard her boss call her name.
“Detective Inspector Jordan – can I have a few words with you?”
Her face froze into a mask, but she merely nodded and followed him upstairs. As she passed them, she saw Kevin and Don exchanging glances.
They were barely inside her superior’s office, when he turned and faced her. He didn’t even bother to sit down.
“Well, can you shed any light on this incident?”
“No, sir. I was upstairs when I received a call from the guard on duty. That’s all I know, except for what I saw once I arrived on the scene.”
“I see. You are the officer in charge of the investigation into the case?”
“That would explain it, I suppose. Right. Just to make sure this is done according to the rule book, I’ll send Inspector Barnes to take his statement. As soon as we know more, I’ll let you know. Now – how solid is your case?”
“We don’t have a confession, sir, but we have a witness and compelling circumstantial evidence. So far. The investigation is continuing. I was just expecting reports from my sergeants, when this happened.”
“Hm. That sounds a little chancy, but I have faith in your work, Inspector Jordan. While we wait for the suspect’s statement, carry on as usual.”
It was less than an hour later, when the call came, summoning her back to her superior’s office. She had a bad feeling about the case. Don and Kevin hadn’t been able to find any of the trophies Tony Hill had hypothesised about. Paula was still perusing the postmortem reports, but so far she hadn’t found any indication of any trophy collection. There had to me more.
And now this. It was too much. She was beginning to reach the end of her patience. Now it looked as if she might be forced to ask for exhumations of the earlier victims. Fortunately, poor miss Crowley was still in the morgue. Her fiance wouldn’t make any difficulties about a new autopsy. He would be grateful for anything that might help catch the killer.
Feeling like a schoolgirl, Carol knocked on her boss’ door, waited for his reply, then walked in.
He looked strained. That bastard Wiley must have had more to say, about her.
“Detective Inspector Jordan – according to Inspector Barnes, the suspect claims you ordered the attack on him, because – and I quote: she found out I’d been doing her boyfriend – end of quote.”
“But sir, I’m not even seeing anyone at this time.”
“I see. Well, I’m afraid the suspect mentioned a name. Dr Tony Hill.”
“What? That’s absurd. First of all, I’m not seeing Dr Hill in any other capacity than as a consultant, certainly not as a – boyfriend. Secondly, I find it extremely hard to believe that Dr Hill would – I mean, he doesn’t strike me as a -”
“Quite. Well, there you have it. I must say that it’s all very vague. A barrister would most likely demolish his story in seconds. He didn’t see the man who did it and even if he had, a link between you and this man would have to be established.”
“I know. For what it’s worth, sir, I think he’s just lashing out. He’s furious we found the witness and – he’s grasping at straws.”
“Yes, that’s my interpretation of the situation. However, while the investigation continues, I’m afraid I’m going to have to remove you and – your male sergeants, at least – what’s his name again?”
“No, the other one. Big fellow.”
“May I ask why, sir?”
“Because the suspect advanced the theory that your sergeant was the one who carried out the actual attack.”
“The other two may continue their work, under Inspector Barnes.”
“Very well. Am I suspended?”
There was an awkward pause, then her superior replied.
“No, but take the rest of the day off. Tomorrow, we’ll see how far Inspector Barnes has come. Oh, and – were you using Dr Hill on this investigation?”
“Yes, of course. He usually helps us with murder investigations.”
“Quite. Let’s just wait a while. Please tell Dr Hill that we appreciate his help, but this time, it might be best if he’ll just sit this one out.”
Carol walked outside, chin up and shoulders squared. She informed her sergeants of the new developments, noted Don’s protests and grabbed her jacket.
“I agree, Don. It’s absolute nonsense, but orders are orders. We’re not suspended, he just suggested we take the rest of the day off. Not you, Kevin, Paula. You will assist Inspector Barnes. And Paula – if you can, continue to go through the post mortem reports. Suggest to Inspector Barnes that he might want to get the ME to perform a second autopsy on miss Crowley’s body or at least a visual inspection.”
“Will do, boss. What are we looking for?”
“Any signs of trophy taking. Locks of hair, finger- or toenails, that sort of thing. Oh, and ask the poor fiance if he’s noticed any jewelry missing.”
Carol knew she wouldn’t be able to stay away from Tony’s house, and though she knew how it might be interpreted, she didn’t even want to try. The state he’d been in the last time she saw him had been alarming. She had to make sure he was alright. Besides, the gov had told her to inform Tony he was off the case, so she had an excuse to see him, after all.
Tony reacted the same way Don did, except, considering the circumstances, naturally he was more stricken.
“Naturally, I did my best to assure the boss there was nothing in it. Just the wild accusations of a man who knows he’s trapped. The gov seemed to agree. So you have nothing to worry about.”
“Nothing? No, I suppose not, except everyone finding out about my cowardice.”
“You’re not a coward.”
“Really? Then why were you the one who beat him up, not me?”
“I didn’t do it.”
“Oh, of course I see that you didn’t physically lay into him with your fists, but – What did you tell him? Was it Don? Or someone else?”
“Stop. I didn’t have anything to do with it.”
Tony broke off, a look of uncertainty on his face.
“I’m sorry, I just assumed -”
Carol closed her eyes and made a face.
“No, don’t tell me you’re sorry. I wanted to. Alright? I was considering it, but – I just couldn’t do it. This is my job, my career, my life. If I begin to bend the rules, I couldn’t continue doing my work.”
Tony regarded her with those eyes that never failed to cause a reaction in her. This time, she thought she recognized the look. He was analysing her again. Normally, that would have infuriated her, but somehow, she couldn’t help but see it as a good sign.
“You wanted to?”
She looked away. If she said anything more about this, he’d know. After all this time, he’d finally find out how she felt about him. She wasn’t sure she was ready for that. On the other hand, she’d come this far. And she didn’t seriously think Tony was entirely in the dark about her feelings.
“I wanted to make him pay for what he did to you. He – Bloody hell, I want you myself and now he’s – There. Analyse that.”
She made an exasperated gesture, then fell silent, dreading his reaction. When it came, it wasn’t anything she had expected. He was actually smiling. It wasn’t a very happy smile, but still, a smile.
“What does that tell you? Your analysis of my – admission?”
Tony’s smile widened.
“Well, for one, that you wouldn’t have said so, under normal circumstances, so in a way, I suppose I should be grateful to Dr Wiley.”
Carol instantly sobered up.
“No. Don’t say that. Don’t even joke about it.”
The smile vanished and Carol found herself tensing up. He didn’t return her feelings. Of course. That was why she’d never dared to voice them before.
“Other than that I feel the same way? No. I’m not being very psychological today. Sorry. I’ve had better days.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that. So, what would you like to do now that we’re officially off the case?”
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but could we go to your place? I – whenever I can, I try to get out of here. Maybe I should sell the place. It still reminds me of -”
“Oh, Tony. I wish you’d called me. I would have -”
“I suppose you’re right. I – No. But I would have been here for you. You’re not the easiest person in the world to love, I suppose you know that? But then again, neither am I, I’m sure.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say so.”
She found herself smiling again and Tony was returning the smile. Somehow, he looked much less tense than when she’d arrived. Carol took a step closer, then another. To her surprise, he did the same.
Awkwardly, they stood facing each other, until Carol decided to make the first move. She pulled him into her arms and held him. It felt odd, but not unpleasant and as they kept holding on to each other, the sensation grew on them.
The sound of Carol’s mobile phone dispelled the mood and she jumped back, as awkwardly as ever.
She hissed into the handset.
Her expression changed as she listened to the report. She nodded, then terminated the call.
“That was Paula. They found out who was responsible for the attack on Wiley. One of the guards had an affair with the latest victim. Before she met the fiance. When he heard about Wiley, he couldn’t restrain himself. And there’s more. The ME went over miss Crowley’s body again. This time he noticed that her left earring was missing – and – it was found in Wiley’s home. You did it. You caught our killer for us.”
“No, you did.”
“We did it. Now, come on. I think we can safely assume we’re back on the case, since we’re no longer under investigation.”
“So I take it we’re not going to your place?”
“We’re going to my second home, but don’t worry about it. I’ll take you to my other place later on. We can order pizza and play one of your computer games. Or do you prefer Chinese?”
“Pizza’s fine. Thanks, Carol.”
“No, thank you.”
The look on his face was so naked and vulnerable, Carol almost froze, but since the day was improving and they’d made some progress between them, she tilted her face upwards and placed a light kiss on his lips. He tensed up, then to her surprise returned the kiss rather more ardently than she’d expected.
Then he returned to his old self, by retreating and inadvertently knocking over a pile of papers lying on his desk. They scattered across the floor and when he bent down to pick some of them up, he managed to sweep down the stack of CD:s, presumably containing those computer games.
Carol knew it was too much to hope for, but maybe a few of them were broken. Perhaps Tony would settle for some tv or a little soft music and conversation. But if he wanted to play computer games they would. At least for a while now, she was going to treat him with kid gloves.
The only thing that still worried her was the fact that it looked as if Wiley was going to get away with raping Tony. If there had been any way she could get him for that too, she would have, but for Tony’s sake, she was just going to have to swallow her fury.
Despite everything, she found that she couldn’t keep from grinning contentedly. If she didn’t manage to subdue her reaction, someone, most likely Paula, would suspect. Then she looked at Tony and realized his face was split by a rather foolish grin too. Perhaps it was inevitable that someone found out at some point, but the longer they could keep their secret the better. She really wanted them to have some private time together, before the world barged in and began to make judgments. They’d wasted enough time.
Suddenly, Carol knew that this was what she’d wanted ever since she’d first met this peculiar yet endearing man. He was nothing like the men she normally dated, but deep down, she felt a contentment at having found him, that went beyond anything she’d felt before. Even if it might be a while until she could say the words out loud, she knew that she loved Tony and that he loved her back.