Sex stories

Short sex stories




A Saint and A Sinner Ch. 09-11

Chapter Nine

Hmmm, heaven was built on spicy Szechwan chicken. Michelle popped the last bite into her mouth and sat back on the couch, her hand on her flat stomach. She had changed clothing before sitting down with Nick and the food, putting on a pair of short black leggings and an oversized FBI tee shirt her brother had gotten for her when he went to Quantico for some training classes a few months ago.

With her hair pulled up in a long blonde ponytail and no makeup, she looked all of ten years old.

"Full?" Nicky asked, amusement in his eyes. She had plowed into the chicken and vegetable dish as if she hadn't eaten in a year. Nick had watched in amazement as she had polished off the entire container and her half of the fried rice.

"Yep." She felt too good right now to let him bug her or provoke her. She sat back up and pulled her feet up on the couch, sitting Indian style facing him. She pointed at the cashew chicken mixed in with rice on his plate. "You gonna finish that?"

He pulled his plate out of her reach and then fed her a bite from his fork. To keep her occupied and out of his food, he reached behind him and picked up the file that he had brought with him, handing it to her. She reacted the same way she had with the food, eagerly opening the file and pulling out the copy of the letter that had been sent to him.

The note had been sent through prints and trace elements, and to their linguistics guy. There were no discernible prints on the plain white paper.

One hair was found in the envelope and was being sent to the lab in Lansing as they spoke, but the DNA results could take weeks before they got results back. Linguistics hadn't gotten back to him with their report yet. So most of what he had was the note and a bad feeling.

"You know, Nick, I thought that cutting letters out of newspapers and magazines had gone out of style when home computers and printers were invented. There's something a little freaky about this cut and paste job."

Nick snorted in agreement. "We got ourselves a purist, an old fashioned type of guy or else he's been watching way too many old movies."

The words had been glued to the page by Elmer's glue, something that could be picked up at any discount store around. The words themselves were a taunt.

"Don't you ever get tired of being a day late and a dollar short, Detective Saint?" Michelle read.

"Well isn't that just so nice of him? And what we needed, to be dissed by a psychopath." The letter was signed with a single initial that was cut out of a headline so that it was bigger than any other letter on the page, the letter M, the font in bright red.

"Yeah, made me feel all warm inside," Nick said around a mouthful of chicken and cashews. "Now all we have to do is look around for every white guy around the age of 30 to 35 who wears high end wool suits and has the first or last initial of M. Should be a piece of cake."

"Hey," Michelle laughed, in a much better mood now that she'd been fed. "Don't be such a pessimist. Maybe the lab guys can do something with the hair. Or maybe we'll get lucky and this guy likes to run with scissors and play in traffic. Maybe he'll run into a semi. "

"I have a feeling that the hair is just going to belong to one of our two victims. It was about twelve inches long and blonde. If not them, maybe to his newest victim." He gave her last comment all the dignity it deserved and ignored it. Was there a time that he had thought she was too classy to be a cop? He put his plate on top of hers and took both of them into the kitchen and rinsed them in the sink.

"I really don't want to think about a victim number three," she said as he reached under her sink for the dish detergent. Michelle had gotten used to him picking things up behind her. He was a neat freak and didn't even realize when he was doing it anymore. He thought better when he was doing something, anything, sitting drove him nuts unless he was busy. She had gotten used to taking things from his hands, putting them down and watching him pick them up to toss them around again.

She was reading some of the notes on the interviews she had missed out on today. They had tracked down the manager of the Blockbuster Video Store that Sheri Meridian had worked at and brought him in. He was a cranky old man who had finally called the police when one of his other employees had told him about the picture in the newspaper.

His interview was the usual, he didn't know nothing and hadn't seen her in a month. He thought she had just gotten tired of being away from her family and had moved back home. After a week of consecutive absences, he had called and fired her on her answering machine. What a sweet and considerate man. Michelle rolled her eyes.

Her coworkers weren't much better, it seemed as if no one knew much about Sheri besides the fact that her parents lived in a different state and that something bad had happened between them. Sheri had moved here recently, before that she had been in Toledo, Ohio. Before that, was anybody's guess.

Sheri didn't talk to her parents anymore. She wasn't the type to make friends and didn't socialize with any of them outside the job. The biggest consensus had been that Sheri was a stuck up bitch, to quote verbatim.

"What about a car?" Michelle called back to him, looking over her shoulder to where he was drying dishes and putting them away.

He walked out of the kitchen and grabbed his pack of cigarettes off the end table, setting them back down at a scowl from her. "I put a bulletin out on it today. She drove a," he looked down at the report she held, reading upside down, "1986 Honda Accord, blue." He sat down again, still looking longingly at his cigarettes. "With our luck, it's a piece of junk that has already rusted into the ground. But we'll look for it."

Michelle reached into the pocket of his coat and pulled out a square of Nicorette gum, tossing it to him and then flipped through the new pages in the file. "Not much here. I guess when I hadn't heard from you today, I hoped you were making an arrest."

"I called you." He sat the gum down next to the cigarettes with a grimace of disgust.

"Yeah, Jimmy just forgot to tell me. Did he tell you that he left me in charge of the scene today?" She turned a page.

"He did what?"

She flinched at the sudden anger in his voice.

"I'll take that as a no." She tried to ignore his silence and kept talking. "I was there watching the crime scene people doing their job. He figured I could handle it." She glanced up at him. His face was stony.

"Was I wrong?"

"How'd it go?" He didn't answer her question.

"Fine, I waited for them to leave, put the notice on the door and assigned someone for door duty. I have the key here. It's in my briefcase." She let the file drop into her lap. "Did I do wrong?"

"No, Jimmy did." And he could have gotten Nick's butt in a bigger sling than it already was in. But he didn't tell her that. There wasn't any reason to let her worry about it. He wasn't going to. He changed the subject. "So what do you think about the note?"

"Uneducated guess?"

"As if you're uneducated," he scoffed.

She glowed at the compliment but didn't mention it. "I'd say he's trying to goad you into making this personal. It's addressed to you, he wants to see if you are smart enough to catch him." She paused and looked at the note again. "I would say that he wants to see how many times he can get away with it. This won't be the last note you get either. Unless we catch him right away, you'll probably get one after every body that is found."

"My take on it as well. I think we got us a game player." He rubbed his forehead, the lingering essence of the headache right behind his eyes. "It's not just the fantasy, or the hunt, or even the kill that gets these guys. It's proving they're smarter than whoever works the case. And the bigger the name in charge, the more the killer has to prove. Psychos like these are much worse than your run of the mill serial killer."

"Ah, but," she lifted a finger in the air to make a point, "he hasn't reached serial killer status yet. He's got to knock off a couple more to get that."

Nick snorted a laugh. "Yeah, but lets not tell him that okay?"

"Yeah, just cause this is blonde," she pulled a strand of hair forward over her shoulder, "doesn't mean that it's a life style."

"You sure?" He laughed and ducked when she swung at him. "Seriously," he added when he quit laughing, "I got five calls and a bunch of call back slips from the newsies today. Someone let it slip that we got an ID. They are going to be all over this."

"Oh, shit."

"My feelings exactly. I no commented them, gave them the blah, blah, blah about waiting until the victim's next of kin had been notified. But you know that they are going to run it as soon as they can bribe, steal, or cheat someone out of the name." He sighed in disgust. "I know they got a job to do, I read the paper like everybody else. I just wish they would realize that what they do can really fuck up an investigation."

"Did you get a hold of her parents?" That was not a job Michelle would want to do. How do you tell someone that their estranged daughter was dead at the hands of a psychopathic killer? How do you tell a father that his little girl was tortured and abused and then thrown away like yesterday's garbage? She could only imagine what it would do to them to think of Sheri's last days on this earth and know the kind of pain and terror she must have experienced. Just the thought of that terror gave her shivers.

Nick saw the shiver that went through her body and understood it. The worst thing about this job was to explain to parents that their child had been murdered. And in a manner that was this grisly, there was no way to break it gently. He reached out and put a hand on her shoulder, rubbing gently at the knot of tension in the back of her neck.

"Yeah, I called them."

Michelle was silent as she leaned into his touch, knowing that there was more to tell and that he needed to get it out.

"I talked to her father in Arizona. They hadn't heard anything from Sheri since she moved out when she was seventeen, three years ago. He said they had a fight over some guy that she was seeing that wasn't good for her." His hand moved further down her back, still kneading at the knotted muscles.

"Want to know the really sad part? The guy dumped her a month after she moved out of the parents' house. He took everything Sheri had, money, jewelry and most of her clothes. Then he just walked on her."

Nick shifted on the sofa so that he could use both hands, turning her so that her back was more accessible to him. Touching her was doing wicked, wanton things to him, not touching her was slowly killing him. He almost bit through his bottom lip when she moaned in pleasure, a deep husky sound that sent heat hardening his cock, as if it could get any harder around her.

Michelle was in trouble and she knew it. But she wasn't moving or doing anything to take those talented, long fingers off of her body. Think about the case, the case was why he was here.

"Are they coming to get the body?" Was that her voice? She sounded so breathless, so unlike herself. His hands were at her waist, thumbs touching and almost under the waistband of her leggings, her tee shirt having ridden up under the gentle massage of his hands.

He scooted forward on the couch, coming so close that there were mere inches between their bodies.

He could smell her skin, the same smell of sweet sin that was in her bedroom. Her husky voice was a siren's call of seductive heat, luring him away from all thoughts of death and killers. She had said something. What? Oh yeah, the body.

He cleared his throat, leaning closer, his chest touching her back, his hands circling her waist.

"Yeah, they'll be taking a flight in to Detroit tomorrow. I asked them to come in for an interview before they leave for home. I don't think they have anything pertinent to add to the case but it can't hurt." His voice had gotten softer as he spoke until he was almost whispering.

She turned her head, looking over her shoulder at him, her eyes wide, pupils dilated with the pleasure of his touch. His hands were on her stomach, pulling her further back until she was on his lap, then gliding under her shirt to rest on her bare skin.

She couldn't breath, his hands were so hot against her bare skin, evoking feelings that she had never felt before, had never imagined were possible to feel.

"Nicky," she whispered.

"Hmmm?" His hands were moving restlessly on her body, sliding upward, finding out to his delight that she had nothing on under that tee shirt but skin.

"We shouldn't do this, Nicky." Her voice was nothing but a moan of pleasure as his questing hands found her breasts, lifting them. His thumbs moved over the rigid tips, around them, creating a havoc of desire to pool in her belly. She moved restlessly in his lap, her head falling limply back to his shoulder, wanting to deny her own words and let him do with her as he would, wanting nothing more than to drown in the pleasure of his touch.

His mouth nuzzled at her throat, tasting the soft warm sweetness of her. His hands found that she fit him perfectly, her nipples hard points against his palms.

"You're right, Chelle," he breathed against her skin. "We shouldn't do this." He nipped her flesh with his teeth and then laved the spot with his tongue, her shudder of pleasure almost his undoing. "Do you want me to stop?" He held his breath even as his hands continued to move on her, one slipping down to glide around her small belly button and steal beneath the waist band of her leggings and panties, fingers just touching the delicate flesh between her legs.

If she told him to stop, to take his hands off of her right now, it would be the hardest thing he had ever had to do and he probably wouldn't walk standing up straight for a week. But, somehow he would do it. He wanted her so badly, wanted to slip inside her, feel her stretch and give for his cock. He wanted to taste that part of her and bring her over that sharp edge into pleasure, hear her call out his name in her smoky voice. He wanted to take her until they were both too tired and numb to know their own names. And then he wanted her one more time after that to prove to both of them how good it was.

He turned her in his arms until she was laying across his lap, looking up at him. Her skin was flushed, her eyes fuzzy with pleasure wringing another groan from him. He shook her gently but impatiently, needing to hear her say the words before he lost control.

"Michelle," he said urgently. "Do I stop?" His lips were right above hers. "Do I?" he prodded again.

She opened her mouth, the tip of her pink tongue coming out to moisten her lower lip.

Did she know what she was doing to him? He groaned and wanted to chase her tongue back into her mouth with his own.

Her hands were on his chest, playing with the tie that he had loosened but hadn't removed yet. She used it to pull his head down further, her mouth finding his, anxiously needing to see if what he had made her feel earlier hadn't been a dream.

His control broke. "Too late," he growled against her lips. He swept her up against him, only releasing her mouth long enough to pull her tee shirt over her head. He kissed her frantically, long days of working with her, of getting to know her, of restraining his desire for her wrapped up in a kiss meant to devastate her control. He had to make her as needy for him as he was for her, if that were even possible. His hands were everywhere, almost harsh in his need of her.

His tie followed her shirt and her hands were busy trying to make stubborn buttons go through tiny holes. She laughed wickedly as he pulled away and tore open the shirt, buttons flying everywhere. He took her hands, placing them palm down on the hot flesh of his chest, groaning at the contact.

Michelle sat up, straddling his lap. She slid her hands down the smooth skin of his chest, stroking over his hard belly and then back up, wrapping her fingers around his throat. "Mmmm," she moaned, dragging her nails over the tiny hardness of his nipples. "I want you, Nick." Her smoky voice crooned seductively next to his ear as she let her hips push against the long bulge underneath the sleek pants he wore. She slid her hands up and over his muscled shoulders, pushing the shirt off and down his arms. Her teeth found the cord of his neck, nibbling and biting with delicate precision.

Nick took all he could handle of her sweet teasing, moaning when her teeth nipped just the tiniest bit too hard. Finally, he had enough. He pushed her gently, tumbling her back down on the couch while he worked to free himself of his ruined shirt. It went flying behind his head as he tore it off and landed on top of the lamp, diffusing the harsh light. He leaned over her, his legs pushing her thighs apart settling his hard body into the cradle of her hips.

She reached up and threaded her fingers in his soft hair, pulling his face down to hers, her lips finding his in a kiss that threatened his sanity.

Her arms pushed at his as they held his weight off of her, knocking him off balance so that he fell against her. They both moaned at the contact of his hard chest against the softness of her breasts. His long length fit perfectly against her slim curves, his hand curled around her thigh, drawing it up so her leg wrapped around his waist.

Michelle had wanted this, too, for what seemed like a long time. It didn't matter what happened later. She would deal with that then. Now was for her. Now was heat and lights, shocking streaks of need wrapped in an intensity of passion that she had never felt before. He kissed her and she felt it to the tips of her toes. He touched and her body sang with want and desire all coiled around bolts of fire. She wrapped her leg around his waist tighter, holding him to her, her hands slipping down the muscled length of his back.

He tore his mouth from hers. "You minx. Do you know what you're doing to me?" His breathing was unsteady, his heart thundering in his chest. She made him feel like no other woman ever had before. She was all soft curves and long lines, gentle and delicate with a core of strength that could shock and delight. Touching her was an addiction he never wanted to end. Kissing her was mindless, aching pleasure. She crept in, invading until he couldn't think of anything but her. She made him tremble with longing, desperate with hunger.

Nick pulled away, his hands sweeping the leggings down her body, her panties following swiftly behind. He looked down at the treasure he had uncovered.

"God, you are so beautiful." His hand followed his eyes, fingers teasing her nipple, caressing the line between her breasts to her stomach, and then finally coming to rest between her thighs. He parted her gently, looking into her eyes, his finger finding the tiny kernel of nerves and massaging it softly. He heard her surprised cry of pleasure and leaned closer, whispering in her ear.

"I want to watch you, Michelle," he breathed. "I want to see you when you come. I've dreamt about it, about you and I like this." He leaned back, loving the sight before his eyes. He felt her hands come up to his shoulders and dig in, her nails leaving little half-moons in his skin, seeing her head tip back and her body tighten. She was flame and golden beauty under him as she moved against him, desperate to find the pleasure that was just out of reach.

Her heart thundered in her ears, her body stretched taut as a bow string. She couldn't catch her breath. She could see him above her, his face almost harsh in passion. He was whispering to her, erotic things that made her hunger even more for what was coming. She raced to it, gasping as it swept over her, an explosion of heat that dragged his name out of her in a startled cry as the waves of ecstasy seem to flow endlessly through her.
Little aftershocks were still wracking her body when she felt him move off of her. She stared up at him in confusion through heavy lidded eyes.

"What are...?"

She shrieked as he picked her up suddenly and threw her over his shoulder, smacking her bare rear end when she tried to climb off of him. He walked into her bedroom, holding her still with one hand while he pulled down the bedding then he dumped her roughly in the middle of her bed. She sat where she landed, eyes round in surprise, a hand covering her mouth to stop the giggles that wouldn't quit. She watched him as he grabbed a foil wrapped package out of his wallet, kicked off his shoes and climbed on the bed.

"My turn," he growled, advancing on her quickly, leaving no room for escape as he grabbed her ankles and dragged her under him.

>^,,^<

Chapter Ten

The door creaked open and the switch was thrown. Light filled the underground room. Another soft click and the tape was stopped, the voices disappearing. The figure on the table blinked in surprise at the light and lack of noise, the quiet was more disturbing now than the voices. They had become friendly and familiar, even if the words were evil and bloody. The voices meant that she was alone and that no one would hurt her. She was safe with them. When they stopped was when she felt terror.

She no longer hurt. Her body had gotten to the point where the pain felt... right. The absence of pain would be strange now and absurdly unwelcome. Her feet and hands had turned black days ago from the circulation being cut off, she could no longer walk. Her body had been used in every way that her captor could possibly think of, horrible ways that would have been degrading and shameful if she still felt those things.

She no longer remembered what outside felt like, what the sun looked like. Those words were foreign to her now.

Day and night were terms that were distant memories. She knew light or darkness, no shades of dusk or tints of dawn. She couldn't think of what the wind was or how it felt against her skin. The only air she got was the stale air that was thinly circulated by fans. Trees, flowers, animals, those things were gone to her, gone like her innocence. Gone like her belief of heaven because she survived in hell.

She wasn't concerned with her nudity any longer. Any femininity had been stripped off her, any beauty she had once possessed taken violently. She was skin and bones, breasts flattened by starvation and deprivation. She was glad for it, ugliness would mean lack of desire on the part of her captor.

She probably wouldn't be able to recognize her own face. She doubted anyone else would either. She had been beaten terribly, bones broken and never set, starting to heal in ways that were grotesque and disfiguring. She had only three whole teeth left in her mouth, the rest were either completely gone or broken, her lips shredded against the ruined, fractured stubs. Punishment and abuse were the constants in her life. That and terror.

Her body had been viciously torn by objects used to rape her in ways too horrible to remember. She had been sodomized so violently that she had been sick for days afterwards. Any defiance or will had long since been taken from her by means too foul to think of without completely losing what little was left of her mind.

She still knew her name. He called her by it in saccharine tones, expecting her to do as she was told, even when it was physically impossible. The other didn't use her name. He only called her bitch, or whore, or other words that hurt as much as blows, cuts and burns did. She had lost one nipple to the other, the Knife, as he called himself. He had pulled her hair out in rage, spittle flying in her face from his screams and threats. He had lost himself to that fury, his fists flying in blows that broke bones and tore flesh.

She had thought that she would die that day and had faced disappointment greater than anything she had ever felt when she hadn't. She had tried to push him into killing her that day, had tried to fuel the rage that the knife brought despite the immense amount of pain. She just wanted it over, the battle of wills had been won, she had been defeated. But he had left her, returning later, once more in control of himself, to wash her wounds with care and kind words that only made losing worse.

She looked at her captor dully now, not caring what he thought or what he wanted, only remembering in a way that was strangely detached that she was the victim in this. Tonight he looked different, tonight he was dressed in black from head to toe. Her abused mind processed the fact and she knew it was almost over. If there had been any moisture left in her broken, dehydrated body, she would have wept for joy.

He was speaking to her but she had long ago forgotten how to hear or to care if she did. She felt him hit her hard enough to turn her head, felt her lip split again and she left it there, not interested in looking at him. She longed for the feel of the blade against her skin, puncturing, driving deep into a heart that no longer wanted to beat. She was defeated.

He cut through her ties, she couldn't feel it. He sat her up and she slumped bonelessly, only staying in that position because he held her there. Her head was bowed, chin hanging against her chest. What little was left of her stringy hair fell into her face and around her shoulders. He propped her up, holding her with one hand against her malnourished body. With the other he took the picture. The picture that he would label when he got back. The picture that would have only one word on it.

AFTER


>^,,^<

Chapter Eleven

The shrill scream of the phone woke her and she reached for it without opening her eyes. She managed to pick it up, fumbled it for a second and then held it to her ear.

"Yeah?" she croaked, managing to put in one word her anger that all her longing for sleep, peace and quiet was going down the tubes.

"Deputy Parsons?"

Oh, shit. She knew that voice. She sat straight up and then gathered the sheet back up over her breasts.

"Yes, Sheriff, what can I do for you?" She heard a groan of disbelief from beside her and wished she could slide under the bed.

"I'm looking for your partner. We have another dead body." He paused briefly to let that news sink in, like it was her fault and if not hers, definitely Nick's. "Do you have any idea where he is, Deputy Parsons?"

"I can probably find him, sir." She stared at the ceiling, refusing to even look at Nick, slapping away his hand when he tried to pull the sheet out of her fingers.

"Do that and tell him I want to see him. Immediately" He hung up before she could even think of an answer for him. She sat looking at the receiver as the broken connection buzzed at her.

Nick reached out and took the phone from her and hung it up. He curled up his pillow under his head and reached out his hand to play with her hair.

She smacked his hand away again and got up, reaching for her bathrobe. She turned and glanced at the clock. They had been asleep for less than an hour. She didn't want to look at him, refused to look at the picture he made. There he was laying in her bed, under her sheets, looking way too damn sexy for her own good. He was all male, with bare chest and mussed hair encamped in her flowered sheets like he belonged there. She pushed her hair back out of her face and started looking for clean clothes.

"We got another dead body."

* * * *

Nick heaved a huge sigh. What a lousy ending to a pretty remarkable evening. He laid back with a grunt, covering his eyes with his hands, like he was preparing to hear the worst.

"Where?"

"I didn't get an address, he hung up too quickly." She opened a drawer and pulled out some sexy lingerie that had Nick's mouth going dry. He moaned at the thought of the picture she made in his head dressed in what she held. She glared at him, burying the sexy black lace thong in the pile of clothes she held in her hand.

Nick reached for the phone and dialed the number to the station. He spoke on the phone for a minute, then looked at Michelle, motioning for a piece of paper and something to write with. He scowled into the phone at something that was said and hung up, writing the address down, muttering something that sounded like Minnie Mouse on speed.

He threw the covers back, sitting on the side of the bed, smiling when he saw Michelle turn her back on him and retreat into her bathroom to dress. She hadn't been so shy about seeing him naked an hour ago. She'd had him flat on his back begging for mercy not too long after he carried her in here. His smile got brighter when he thought of the things she had done to him with her mouth, the sounds that she had wrung from him as she had tormented his poor deprived body. She'd been his match in bed, giving as much if not more than she got.

The woman was a sexual phenomenon. And now her face was red. He chuckled softly.

Nick got up and grabbed his pants, pulling them on as he went into the living room. His shirt was still on top of the lamp and he pulled it off and shook it out. His smile got even bigger as he looked at the damage they had done to it.

She came into the living room and saw him standing there, chest and feet bare, pants zipped but not buttoned. Desire hit her fast, weakening her knees as she remembered what his mouth had done to her body. And the things he did in bed... and on the couch... and the floor next to her bed when they had rolled off the mattress. Uh huh. Oh, no way was that what she should be thinking about right now. She shook her head to try to clear the pictures from her mind, no more successful at that then stopping the need he made her feel.

"Guess you're going to need to head home first." Her voice was a little huskier than usual but didn't sound too bad to her ears.

"Nah, I keep extra clothes in the car." He grinned as he saw the anger come into her eyes. "You know, for when I have to go to a really bad body. The smell never comes out of the material. I just learned to keep new clothes handy."

He walked by her to grab his socks and shoes out of her room, handing her the shirt in passing. "Sweetie, you should really get your mind out of the gutter."

She wanted to scream at him. Gutter minded? She was gutter minded? He was the one that... she wasn't going there. She shook out the shirt and looked at the damage they had done to it, most of the buttons missing, the material ripped. She had to fight the urge to bring the material up to her face, to see if it smelled like him. Instead, she walked into her kitchen and shoved it into one of the cupboards, not questioning why she didn't just throw it away.

The screen door to her apartment slammed shut and she jumped. She hurried out the door to yell down at him before he left without her. He would do that without a second thought, her eyes narrowed as she glared at him.

"Hey, you gonna give me that address?" She tried not to be too loud. It was almost three in the morning, her neighbors had their windows open to combat the heat of midsummer.

He motioned for her to come down, nodding when she held up a finger. She raced back into her apartment, grabbing her shoulder harness and pulling it on over the rose colored tank top she wore over a pair of faded denim jeans. She grabbed her boots, pulling them on quickly and snatched up her keys, phone and light jean jacket she kept close to the door for just such an occasion. She was out the door, pulling it closed and checking the lock in less time then it took him to open his trunk and pull out a slightly wrinkled dress shirt.

He shrugged it on, buttoning half the buttons and tucking it in without paying much attention to what he was doing.

She had left her hair down and the lights in the parking lot made it look like a halo around her beautiful face. He felt a lurch in his chest in the region of his heart but ruthlessly pushed it away.

Nick went to the passenger door of his car, unlocked it and held it open.

"No. I'll drive myself. I'd like to get there alive." Her chin went up and she stood ready to argue with him if necessary. Okay, yes it was an excuse. It was also true, he drove like a maniac. But she could just imagine the speculation it would cause if both of them were to arrive in the same vehicle at this early hour of the morning. No way was she putting herself through that.

He slammed the door shut, maybe a little harder than was necessary, and handed her the slip of paper with the address written on it.

"Okay, I'll meet you there. Since you don't seem to want anyone knowing that we were together, I'll go the back way." He saw her open her mouth to argue, and quickly interrupted. "You're not as smooth as you think you are hotshot." He tried not to let the disappointment he felt be heard in his voice but didn't think he quite pulled it off. He walked around his car, got in and sped off, the big back wheels of the sports car spinning up gravel as he pulled onto the road.

She stood watching him, knowing that she had just hurt him somehow. But knowing also that if she didn't do it now, she was just going to be hurting herself worse later on. She rubbed a hand across her forehead, trying to get rid of the lines she knew were there. Why, she wondered, if she thought it was going to be so bad later did it hurt so bad right now?

She got in her car, a Neon that she had bought and paid for herself while working for her mother. It didn't have the flash and dash that his car had, but it was a symbol to her of her independence. And that made it all the more important. Having a police officer, no, he was a cop, she corrected herself, for a father made growing up difficult on a girl. Her dates were interrogated at the door, and after a few first dates, most of the guys at the school learned what it was like to go out with her.

She would have led the life of a sequestered nun if her father had had his way.

Thank God for her mother and a little stealth. If her father had any idea of the things she had gotten away with in high school, things that even her brother didn't know about, he would have a stroke first and then a heart attack when he came after her.

She drove out of the lot and turned right, heading south of town towards the newest crime scene, yet another abandoned house and another dead girl left like so much trash.

The scene wasn't hard to spot, lights lit up the area like some kind of outdoor rave, all that was missing was the music and the drugs. She pulled in close, ducking under the crime scene tape and heading for the door. She had to flash her badge at the cop at the door, a city cop. The sheriff was pulling out all the stops.

The newsies had already gotten their teeth into this one and were yelling questions at her the entire long walk to the house, held back only by determined uniformed officers. She ignored them all. She walked in the open door, expecting to get hit in the face by the smell of death as she had at the other scene. It wasn't there.

Nick's car hadn't been outside, and she didn't spot him amid all the uniforms. She saw a familiar face and headed over.

"Jimmy," she nodded as she got close enough to be heard over the rumble of male voices and police radios. "What's up?"

"Sheriff's in with the body. He's been waiting for you two to show up. I hope you managed to track down your partner. The man's out for blood tonight, kiddo, and I don't think he's in the mood to discriminate between yours and Nicky's." He craned his neck to look down her shapely backside. "Better watch that fine ass of yours."

"I leave that for you to do, Jimmy. You pig," she added as an afterthought, knowing that he expected it. "I wonder who called the sheriff in?" She swallowed the lump that was her heart out of her throat. "Where's he at?"

He nodded towards a room at the back of the old farm house patted her on the fanny as she walked past him. She didn't even have it in her to give him her usual smart ass comeback. She walked through the rubbish, wondering how anyone managed to live in places like this. And she tried not to notice how everyone quieted down as she walked past until the room was as silent as, well, as death. She felt as if they were expecting some grand statement from her and thought of turning and saluting them with something like; for those of us about to die, we salute you.

She crossed the open threshold and instantly caught the smell, death mixed with stale cigar smoke, garlic and cheap cologne. The death smell was easily placed, the girl lay face down, her pale body nude and posed, legs spread wide with an envelope taped over her exposed genitals. The cigar smoke and garlic came from the sheriff, along with a healthy dose of cologne that almost made her sneeze. She was getting bad when death didn't even cause her to wrinkle her nose, but cologne, in that abundance made her want to retch.

"Good morning Sheriff, well, maybe not so good at that, hmmm?" She thought she sounded in control. It would take a miracle considering the night she had plus this.

"Where is Saint?" Short, clipped and concise.

Okay, he was pissed. She took a second look at his face. More than pissed, much more.

"On his way sir," she said as she carefully walked around the body. At least she hoped he was. She took in the scene.

The girl had the same atrocious injuries, the same stabbing wounds. She had been brutalized, severe trauma to her face, bruises to what areas she could see. Her head looked as if it had been kicked in, or caved in with some kind of blunt, heavy object.

"Right here, sheriff."

She looked up as he came through the door, a couple of steaming Styrofoam cups in his hand. He handed her one as she came over to stand by him and she breathed in the scent of fresh coffee like it was sent from heaven.

"Black, one sugar, right?"

She was touched and a little surprised that he remembered. And she had to viciously squelch the warmth that wanted to flood through her at the gesture.

Nick took a drink of his coffee and studied the victim, noting the envelope and the fact that his name was prominently displayed on the front. He took his time looking at the body, comparing what was known of the other two victims to this one.

"She's been through hell." His words were flat, devoid of the emotion that he was feeling. Emotions didn't have a place at a crime scene like this. They got in the way of doing the job. The job was the only thing that was important.

In doing his, he used feelings, intuitions, but emotions were a drain that couldn't be allowed to impinge on the tension he felt during a case.

The body was emaciated, bones clearly showing through the skin. He would bet his detective's badge that she was severely dehydrated also. Her hair had been ripped out, her face caved in. She was in rigor, the body hadn't been there as long as the other victims had sat undiscovered, decomposition hadn't even started. No creepy crawlies or flies yet either, he noticed.

"He wanted us to find this one fast," he muttered to himself. "He's playing games. Maybe starting to escalate. Going this fast, he's bound to make mistakes. Good, let's find them."

He turned to the Sheriff. "Who found her?"

The Sheriff's face was grim. Anger spewed off of him like lightening strikes. "We need to talk, Saint."

Nick held up a hand in a gesture meant to dismiss, an in your face a move that he was sure would piss the sheriff off even more. "Yes, Sheriff, we will. But first and most importantly, I have a crime scene that needs processing." He turned back to the body, studying the placement, noting the lack of blood once more. "So," he paused. "Who found her?"

Watching the Sheriff tamp down his anger was scary. He seemed to swallow it whole, hold it in waiting for the day to let it burst out all over the head of some poor unsuspecting person. His pulse was throbbing in his forehead, veins standing out. He held himself so rigid that he was shaking.
"A young couple. Came in here. This place is used as a make out spot," he gritted through his teeth. "Saint, I want you in my office today. I want a report. I want this stopped."

"Sure, Sheriff." Nick was busy circling the body. "Where's the couple?"

"In the back of one of the cars." He turned and left the room, bellowing orders at the poor fools who hadn't had the good sense to be out of reach of his rage.

Michelle stood there shaking in reaction and relief that she still had her hide. His anger hadn't been directed at her, yet, and even as she rejoiced, she wondered how long it would be before it was. It had been an awe inspiring scene and the fact that Nick could take it so off handedly amazed her.

"Did you see this?"

He pulled her over, squatting down. There was a piece of fabric in her hand, and her fingers were filthy.

"Maybe she got a piece of him before he killed her. We need the crime scene guys in here on this. If we got skin and he's got a record, this might be easy yet. But something in his tone of voice told her that he didn't believe it would be that easy.

"And you believe in the Easter Bunny?" she asked.

"If it gets our subject off the streets any sooner, then, yes, I do." He helped her up, stepping back to once more get an overall feeling of the scene. "She's staged, he posed her in this position for a reason. And even though I dare to hope," he said as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of latex gloves. "I'm betting that fabric matches the material we found earlier. And I'm betting it's staged, too." He pulled on the gloves, leaned over the body and reached for the envelope.

"Don't touch that!" Michelle was outraged. He knew better, the body couldn't be touched until the Medical Examiner okay'd it. He was messing with possible evidence.

"I'm not touching the body," he said as he pulled the envelope away. "I just want the envelope. I don't think we need this to go through x-ray, we know he wants to play games and physically hurting me means that the games would have to start with someone else."

He stood and turned to look at her, seeing the coroner's rig pulling up over her shoulder, crime scene unit people already jumping out of their truck. "There won't be any prints, you and I both know that." He tried to placate her, not bothering to figure out why her agreeing to this meant so much to him. "I'm not taking it, I just want to know what it says. I promise, I'll put it right back."

"But..."

"Well, I could give it to Lisha, if you want."

"That..." she didn't finish the thought.

"Bitch?" he supplied the missing word, hiding his smile.

"Yeah, okay." Mischief sparkled in her eyes. "But if we get caught, I was only following your orders."

"You're all heart, Michelle." He slid his thumb under the flap of the envelope that hadn't been sealed, just tucked under, pulling it up. The note he pulled out was made the same way as the last, Elmer's glue and magazine letters. The message was different.

"She remind you of anything, Nick?" He read the message aloud. "Oh, I just love being on a first name basis with scum bags."

"Yeah, I just bet his mother taught him really good manners when he was a kid." She peered over his shoulder at the colorful lettering. "What do you think he means by that? Maybe another scene that you were at?" She tugged at her hair as she was thinking.

Nick reached out and rescued her hair from her hand. "He could mean anything or nothing. He could just mean that this is another crime scene and maybe I should get used to seeing them." He twirled the strand a little around his finger before pushing it behind her ear. "Or he could just be trying to make me stand here and be dazzled by his masterpiece while he sits around and jerks off."

"Yeah, now that's a picture I want in my head." She glanced behind her. "Better put it back, Nick." She gestured over her shoulder to where Lisha was strolling in, drawing a wolf whistle from one of the newsies out front.

The woman was dressed in tight black leather pants, a black scooped neck tee shirt and boots that had at least a three inch heel on them. Her hair was sprayed into a hard shell that still managed to have the look of something appealing.

Even at this time of the morning, her make-up was perfect, her teeth impossibly white. She turned and blew a kiss at the group of news people, bending slightly at the waist so that the men could get a good look down the front of her low necked top. The cameraman who had whistled snapped a quick picture of her.

"Can you believe her?" Michelle asked, appalled.

"Yeah," Nick came to stand next to her. "That one ought to look really good on the front page tomorrow."

"I can already see the headline. 'Bimbo criminalist gets degree from Hooters'. Think she'll give me her autograph?"

She batted her lashes up at him, twirled her hair and tipped her head to the side. All that was missing to complete the dumb blonde look was the ditzy look in her eyes and the gum being chomped on hard.

He laughed, elbowing her to get her moving. "She'll stamp her heels impressions on your back if she hears you talk like that. Come on hot shot, we got a couple of kids to go interview." He yanked her out the door and past Lisha before she could say anything to her that could cause more headlines in tomorrow's paper.

They walked out to the car, amid shouted questions. Michelle glanced up at Nick.

"Do you ever get used to this?"

He stopped before they reached the car where the teenaged couple sat. "No, but you learn how to not let them see that they get to you. Just takes a couple years to toughen the hide." She was so appealing to him right then, her eyes large, her skin just slightly pale from lack of sleep and the scene they had just walked out of. Her hair was mussed from her hands and he couldn't help but wish it was from his instead.

He turned away without saying anything more and lead the way to the car where he spoke to the cop standing outside the door for a minute. Then he opened the back seat and spoke to the couple.

The girl couldn't have been more than sixteen. She was a brunette with the all American good looks that most kids envied. Except now, her face was flushed from crying, blotchy and red, her mascara was streaked down her face.

She had a hold of her boyfriend's arm like she was afraid she was going to be hauled down to jail.

Her boyfriend was a jock, right down to the green and yellow letter jacket. He had a pinched look about his face, as if he wanted to break down and cry but couldn't do it because he had to be the man and take care of his girlfriend. And he was trying to, she just wasn't making it easy.

"Hi," Nick said, trying to sound friendly and unthreatening. He had used battering at suspects until they broke down and cried before but he didn't want this girl losing it. She looked like a howler.

The boy offered a nod, the girl just clutched the boy tighter.

Nick knelt down in the opening of the car. He would have liked to take them down to the station, get them away from the cameras and the noise. But they were minors.

"Has anyone called your parents?" he asked.

"No," the boy started to say something else but was interrupted by his girlfriend.

"Do they have to do that? I mean, couldn't we just give a statement or something? My parents find out that Jamie and I were out here and I'm gonna be grounded for the next year." She started crying again.

Nick tried not to flinch at the sight. Some people just didn't cry good, he thought. And she was definitely one that didn't.

"Kelly," he said softly, not wanting to make the water works worse. "Your parents have to come down to the station. I can't let you go on your own, okay?" He cringed as she really started up, tears streaming, little howls coming out of her mouth. And he had to give credit to her boyfriend. He dug out a handkerchief, handed it to her and then patted her on the back until she calmed down. Must be love.

"I'm going to have Officer Royal, here, take you two down to the station. We'll let you call your parents there." He stood and let the amused officer close the door.

Michelle was standing there, looking at the tree, at the house, at the lights shining in the few unbroken windows of the house. Anywhere but at him.

He nudged her as he walked by. "It's not funny." He walked over and got into his car, slamming the door behind him.

"Yes it is," she said, a huge grin on her face. She took a sip of her coffee, got into her little Neon and followed him to the station.

saint   09-11   sinner   and  

Feb 11, 2018 in romance

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