Finding Elvis Ch. 14byWine_Maker©
Chapter Fourteen: The finishing touch
Sweeney walked out behind us and made eye contact with me. He jerked his head to the right and raised an eyebrow. I nodded and followed him, leaving Gretchen to settle the final details with her lawyer.
He stopped a few doors down and leaned back against the wall. "That was an interesting show, Lieutenant. You really think that's what happened?"
I shrugged. "It's the only story that fits, so I'll run with it."
He nodded and mulled a question before asking, "What would you have done if the evidence said she did it?"
"Thank God it doesn't," I sighed. I thought about it for a moment, but I already knew the answer. "I'd have hated it, but I would've turned it over to you."
Sweeney smiled and planted his foot against the wall. "I figured you would. It's good to know that you're a good cop. It makes me feel better about breaking the rules to see you get what you needed."
I narrowed my eyes. "What are we talking about? Telling us the report cleared Gretchen? That's more of a bent rule."
"Nah. I caught your boy, Leo, nosing around the precinct looking for information," he said with a grin. "After I sweated him a bit, I realized who he was, why he was hanging around, and what he was looking for. So I gave it to him and kicked his sorry ass out the door. Not that I'll ever admit it."
"Elvis?" I asked incredulously. "You gave the CSI stuff to Leo?" I wasn't easy to surprise, but Sweeney had just surprised the hell out of me.
"Yeah, I did. Otherwise you'd still be twisting in the wind, waiting for Jerk-off to hand it over. Hell, you'd be waiting for it for a long time. He really wanted this trial. Now he just looks like the idiot he really is."
"Yeah," I said, suddenly uncomfortable. Partly because I understood why he'd done it; Sweeney reminded me a bit too much of myself, a good cop pushing back against burnout. And partly because I dealt better with people when I didn't owe them. I liked it much better when they owed me. "Thanks. I won't forget it. If you need something, give me a call, and I'll see what I can do to even us up."
"We'll see," he said. His grin didn't waver as he pushed off the wall, and I realized that he knew exactly what I was thinking. He confirmed it when he added, "I like being in the plus column, so I'll just let it ride for now." He stared at me for a moment. "Don't make the mistake of thinking this makes us pals. I don't like you and I don't like what your kind are doing to the concept of marriage, but I couldn't let an innocent woman take the hit. You go home and take care of her. Remember her, and don't get screwed up at home like most cops do. Spend time with her. You've seen the job destroy relationships. It'll happen to you, too, if you aren't careful."
I stared at him, totally at a loss for words. He fired off a casual salute, sauntered to the stairs and was gone before I could figure out how to respond. I shook my head as I realized I actually liked the son of a bitch.
Gretchen tapped me on the shoulder and I turned to look at her. "Zieter went back in to get certified copies of everything. He said he'll have them to us by tomorrow, and we can go home." She pulled me into a tight hug. "I'm so proud of you. You showed all of them who's the top dog."
"I just spotted the inconsistencies," I said with a shrug. "The CSI unit would've pulled that out in the final report. At least, I'm pretty sure they would."
"Well, I don't care about them," Gretchen said with a kiss, her eyes smoldering. "You're the one who found it first. You're the one who saved me, Hawk. Thank you. Now, let's go home so I can show you exactly how grateful I am. It's time to celebrate, honey!"
That sounded just right.
We were walking in the door when Lisa called to tell us they had made it home safely. She was ecstatic when I told her the case was closed and Gretchen was off the hook. She, just like Gretchen, told me she was sure I'd solve it. It was embarrassing.
I had just started to give Lisa the details when Hans came out and Gretchen rushed into his arms.
"Daddy," she called, "Hawk did it. She solved the case! It's over!"
Hans held her and I told Lisa and Hans what happened at the same time. Hans was obviously overjoyed that Gretchen had been cleared, but I could tell that the news about Kat killing Cartwright weighed on him, too. Gretchen must have seen it, too. With a look to me, she pulled Hans into the Brown Room - to talk, I expected. I was glad to see them taking the first steps towards repairing their relationship. It had taken years to destroy, and would certainly take some time to heal.
After another minute or two, I told Lisa goodbye and wandered up to our bedroom. I sat on the edge of the bed and thought about what Sweeney had said during his parting comment. Cop marriages broke up on such a regular basis, it was almost a given, a cliché. Homicide was among the worst for it, too. The days and nights were long, and family time was sometimes hard to get on a consistent basis.
I lay back on the bed and stared at the ceiling, frowning, thinking. I was still there when Gretchen came in a little later. She sat down next to me and reached out for my hand.
"You look like you've been thinking," Gretchen said, her eyes twinkling. "Haven't you done your share of that today?"
I rolled over on my side and shook my head. "No. I've only just really started thinking."
"Well, that sounds ominous. Why don't you elaborate on that."
"We were going to have our talk tonight, but I think I'm ready for it now," I said. "Something Sweeney said got me thinking about what I want and what's really important. I want to have my say before we start arguing."
"Are we going to argue?"
I nodded. "Yeah, we're going to argue, but probably not what you're expecting us to argue about." I sat up and pulled her into my arms and kissed her softly before I pulled away and got a chair to sit on. The back of the chair was placed defensively in front of me.
"You don't have to move," Gretchen objected. "We can both sit and talk on the bed."
"I want to be able to focus on what I'm thinking and saying, and I want us to have a good view of each other," I said. "Body language and all. The first thing I need to explain is what happened last night. Three years ago, I was in a committed relationship with another cop, Sharon. We lived together until she left me for another cop - a man - I think she'd been seeing him on the side for awhile. She wanted a family, and I couldn't provide that for her. I'm sure she dropped hints, but I just wasn't ready to listen. Or I didn't want to believe what I was hearing. When she left I was lost - adrift and devastated. I tripped over those emotions again last night."
Gretchen's eyes misted, and she nodded. "Lisa told me about Sharon. You felt rejected again."
I smiled sadly. "I should have known better, but I let my desires get in front of what was best for everyone. I wanted so badly to have all the people I love together and, in my usual way, I just bulled ahead until I ran into a wall."
"It'll happen when the time is right," Gretchen reassured me. "Lisa's right. We need to establish ourselves as a married couple just as much as they do. Then, when we're solid, we can have sex with them, and it'll be about fun and friendship."
I nodded. "I know, but you deserved to hear me tell you about Sharon, about why that landmine from my past went off last night." I felt tears sting my eyes and looked to the floor. Quietly, I added, "And part of me worries that one day you'll find someone to give you a family and leave, too."
"Oh, Hawk!" She jumped to her feet and pulled me into her arms. "No, don't go down that road. You're my family now, and you have our baby inside you. If you're worried that I might want my own rug rat, one way or another, I can get pregnant without having to be without you. I know it's hard to understand, even for me. Even though we only met a few weeks ago, even though I'd never considered a lesbian relationship, I love you. I love you so deeply that I can't imagine living without you."
I felt my stomach unknot slowly. I hadn't even realized it was all clenched up. Fighting back my tears, I held her and kissed her. "I suppose once bitten, twice shy," I said softly into her ear. Then I pushed back and looked into her eyes. "You thanked me for saving you, but Gretchen, in truth, you're the one who has saved me. Thank you for loving me, for telling me, for talking to me."
Gretchen hugged me tight for a long, long moment, and then she let me go and sat back down on the edge of the bed. "If we're having problems, Hawk, you won't have to guess. I'll be telling you, screaming at you, hitting you over the head if I need something or want something, and I expect the same in return. No psychic estrogen 'you should have known' or subtle hints. We both have to promise to just come out and tell each other what we're feeling."
I sat down again and gave her a lop-sided smile. "You've been less than forthcoming in the last week about some of the things driving you and so have I. I think the idea of either of us spilling our guts just because of this is wishful thinking. We've both built walls to protect ourselves and we're going to have to work our way past them."
"One step at a time," Gretchen agreed. "We each need to pick a place to start and let each other in as fast as we're comfortable with. Now's my turn. I know you have issues with me sleeping with my clients."
I nodded. "Yes, I do, and you have issues with me telling you what to do about it. Well, I spoke to a friend," I paused, smiled as I realized how warm that word made me feel, "someone who loves me, and this friend explained something important to me. I'm not going to demand, but I do want to ask, ask you to not have sex with anyone but me until we are settled, until..."
"Okay," she interrupted me.
"Okay?" I parroted stupidly.
"Yes, okay" she affirmed. "I won't sleep professionally with anyone else from now on. Though, like Ted and Lisa, I hope we can find some interesting people to share with each other on occasion. I do like men, too, and I know I'm not alone in that," she added with a wicked smile. "I'll cut back on my client list as well. Maybe even quit entirely someday."
I stared at her, my mouth agape. "Honey, that wasn't what I asked for! I..."
She placed a finger on my lips. She smiled serenely at me. "Shhh. It's okay, Hawk. I never would have offered it as long as you demanded it, but you trusted me - loved me enough to ask. I've never had anyone love me that much before. My clients will have to learn to live without me in their beds."
"Honey, I do love you, but I don't understand," I said. "Still, I don't think you need to make radical, life-altering decisions like this on the spur of the moment. Let's just go with things as they are for a few months and then talk about it again."
Gretchen said nothing for a moment and then nodded. "Okay. We said we would find someplace to start letting the other inside our walls. This is as good as any. You see, all my life, someone was telling me what I had to do, how I had to behave. When I was a kid, it was my mother and father and I did what they wanted, what they told me to do. Later it was Kat, and my father caved to whatever Kat wanted to do for the sake of peace." She wiped her face and stared at the ceiling. "I slept with one of my friends when I was fifteen. I discovered that I could get affection and feel loved even by someone I wasn't in love with. It became a means to control my own life, at least the aspects I could control. Defiance and connection; I had one only with the other."
I slipped off the chair and sat beside her, taking her into my arms. She wept softly, but she didn't break down.
"When I graduated from high school, I moved out and went to Nevada to put my mouth where my money was, so to speak," she said through the tears. "Just like you have associations with being a cop and they are important to you, being an escort has some for me. In a lot of way it was the happiest part of my life, until I met you."
"And that's fine," I said softly. "Some things are too important to force on someone else. I'll support you in whatever you want to do in life, unless you plan to be a felon and then I'll beat you."
Gretchen laughed and hugged me again. "I'm sure you would, too."
Kissing her forehead, I pulled back a little. "That brings me to the next thing I've decided. You don't need to move to Houston, if you don't want to. I'm turning in my badge."
"What?!?" she said, alarmed. "You don't need to do that, Hawk. I'll worry, but I won't ask you to give up what you love. You don't have to do this just because I'm going to quit my job! Didn't you just say we shouldn't make rash, life-altering decisions?"
"I did, but you don't know what it's like being married to a cop," I said. "The hours I put in are killer. I've seen people who love each other get torn apart because of it, and I won't do that to us. There is nothing else I could do that's more important than us." I took a deep breath and covered her lips with mine as she started to speak. I kissed her enthusiastically and thoroughly, but I didn't let the kiss deepen or linger. When I broke off, I said, "No, it's the right decision, and it has nothing to do with what you decide to do about your job. I'd already decided before you walked in the room. I can find something else to do. I have a private investigator's license in Texas and can probably get one like it in Nevada. Vegas is your home and it's going to be ours as well. I won't ask you to leave it for me, even though I know you would."
"Well, I guess I can't make you," she admitted, "but I don't want you to resent me for this. If you do, I bet we can find something more classy than following cheating husbands around and taking pictures of them at sleazy motels. We can make this work in Houston, or you could transfer to Vegas and stay being a cop."
I shook my head. "No, since I'm going to have a baby, it's the right time. I could ask for a desk job and get it, but I'd rather walk out at the top of my game. If you want to stay in Vegas, we need to make a trip down to Houston so I can get some of my things and pack up the rest. And you need to see Ted's vineyard. That and meet his family. His brother, sister and host of nephews. Plus I've got a few friends to introduce you to, just so you have an idea of what being a 'lesbian' is like."
"That should be educational. You don't need get rid of anything. Vegas will always be there and I'd rather live with you in Houston near our friends. We'll find a bigger place there and you should keep your place as a security blanket. God knows we all need a place to get away to at some point or another."
I laughed. "You haven't seen my couch. I think most of the furniture needs to be donated to Goodwill, even if we do live in Houston. There are some pieces I want to keep and some clothes and knick knacks. And my Harley. It's no sports car, but it's mine."
"Should I get a leather jacket or a shirt that says 'Hawk's Bitch'?" she asked with a laugh. "Or get my own bike and learn to ride? A tattoo, maybe?"
"I have one at home that says 'If you can read this, the bitch fell off'," I said with a grin. We laughed for a moment and then Gretchen surged to her feet.
"I think this is enough serious conversation for one day," she said imperiously, pulling me to her. "It's time to celebrate. Now we can get to know one another without some crisis over our heads. I told Vanessa to take Kirk out to dinner. I told her that he loved her and she needed to take a chance. It took half an hour of cajoling, but she's going. Then I told Daddy and Ivan to get out. Devon is off for an evening on the town with an old friend of mine that I think he'll find entertaining, so that's everyone. We're here all alone. If the phone rings, we ignore it."
"Just one question. How's your father doing?"
Gretchen sighed. "Not great. He is overjoyed for me and distraught over Kat. The fact that she could kill is making him second guess everything he ever thought he knew about her. The one thing I know about my daddy, though, is that he will work through it and come out whole. It helps that I'm back in the house, and happy." She cocked her head and looked at me. "We're all going to be happy, Hawk, and if you'll just shut up, I'll show you just how happy you can be right now!"
I felt my heart skip a beat and then speed up. A familiar warmth began seeping into my belly. "That sounds very promising. Did you get our bag from Lurch?"
Gretchen laughed. "Yes, and he was horribly embarrassed. You got him dead on with that call. I had him put the bag in the closet, right behind you."
"Then, let's get it out and give our toys a test drive," I purred. "I'm not letting you go for quite a while."
Gretchen grabbed the bag and set it next to the bed before taking me into her arms and kissing me deeply and thoroughly. Our bodies molded together tightly and I let my hands roam across her back and down to her firm ass. Her kisses became more heated and more aggressive as our embrace continued until I thought I was going to run out of air.
I finally had to force her back so I could breathe. "God, I'm on fire," I moaned. "I want you so badly. I need you. I love you."
Gretchen took my face between her hands and kissed me softly. "I never expected to love anyone," she whispered. "I love you, Shauna." I decided then and there that Gretchen had an exemption to the 'No Shauna' rule. Hearing her use my name made me ache for her and turned me on even more.
With a slow certainty that hadn't been there the first time, Gretchen began unbuttoning my blouse, kissing down the side of my neck as she exposed my chest. Then she kissed down to the top of my bra-covered breasts, making me pant with desire.
"Let's see if I can manage this right this time," she said with a sly smile. Her hands encircled me and she had the bra loose in a few seconds.
"Passable," I conceded, "but you need to practice until you can do it one handed in the dark with your mouth full."
"Full of what," she asked, a glint of devilishness dancing in her eyes.
"This," I said, grabbing her and kissing her hard, my tongue forcing it's way in past her soft lips to possess her mouth, dueling with her lightning fast tongue. One of my hands pulled her blouse partly up and made room for my other hand to snake back and pop her bra loose with a practiced twist of the fingers. Then I let those same fingers trail up and down her spine, raising goose bumps and spawning delighted shivers throughout her body.
"You know just how to light my fire," she groaned, breaking our kiss to pull her blouse and bra off, showing me those wonderful pink-tipped tits.
"Now, I'm going to make love to you slowly until I have you screaming for me to let you come," I said reaching over for the bag. "Close your eyes and give yourself to me," I whispered seductively.
Gretchen smiled and closed her eyes. They stayed that way right up until I slid the padded handcuffs through the headboard and snapped them around her wrists. Then her eyes popped open in a hurry.
I smiled my predator's smile, powerful and sure. "My, my, look what we have here - a beautiful woman totally under my control." The momentary tension in her body melted at once.
"Oh, please, Mistress Shauna. Don't hurt me," Gretchen said with feigned terror. "I'll do whatever you tell me, just don't hurt me."
"I'll do whatever I like, and you'll enjoy it," I assured her. "But there is one rule. If you want me to stop something, we need a safety word. The word for tonight is 'orange'. That way you can have all the fun you want playing the scene and still stop me if you're uncomfortable. Okay?"