tagNovels and NovellasCriminal Affair Pt. 09

Criminal Affair Pt. 09


Penelope and Billie help me get dressed into my dress uniform for my retirement ceremony. As always, I am wearing the pants and not the skirt with it. My ribbons are measured, the metal and buttons are polished, and my shoes are shined. I pull by hair into a tight bun and adjust it so my cap can remain firmly on. Chief of Police gave me the go ahead to dress as if I was a detective, but I opted to do this the right way. It's a little rigid, but my sling still works in it.

I look at myself in the mirror and sigh. Ten years of my life. Everything I ever worked toward, taken by one asshole who got a lucky shot off.

There is a knock at my door and I ask one of them to get it. Penelope leaves the room to get the door, while Billie takes a cue tip and polishes anything shiny.

"This isn't the end. Get a new routine," Billie reminds me, and I give her a small smile.

"Dad!" I hear Penelope shout from the living room. My heart races as I leave my room and see my father in the living room, Penelope still holding him.

Sylvester Oliver Simpson. Yes, my father's initials are literally SOS. My parents starting having kids late, my dad was in his mid-forties when I was born, so he's already in his seventies, but it's hard to tell with him because he aged well. Still an imposing looking man who would never impose. His eyes are full of life. The pace and smoothness of his voice and words was astonishing. No stammering from age, nor did he suffer from a voice that sounded tired at its core.

My dad came dressed for the occasion. For thirty seven years he worked as a fireman, and he stood in my apartment dressed in his service uniform. He teaches aspiring EMTs now, even at his age. It was obvious he was a once a much more built man, but he wore it proudly. When he saw me in mine, he gave a salute with a stern look on his face.

I snap to attention and returned it. We both drop our salute, laugh, and hug.

"Hey dad, I didn't know you were coming. I was going to tell you after because it was so short notice, even for me I thought you couldn't make it," I say, letting him go and seeing Billie walk out of my room. "This is Billie, my friend." Billie looks absolutely delighted I didn't say neighbor.

"Pleasure to meet you," Dad says and shakes her hand. "We heading out soon, or do I have time to enjoy a cup of coffee?"

"We can make one to go," I say and show him to the kitchen and the keureg. He's old, not helpless. He knows how to work a keureg.

We all take one car, Penelope driving, Billie in the front with Dad and I in the back. We talk the entire time, mostly about how crappy the Cardinals are this season. I don't follow the sport but I assume he's right. When we arrive I climb out of the car and realize I forgot my hat, but Dad already has it. He walks around and places it on my head for me, and then fixes my tie a little.

"You have nothing to be ashamed of. You gave all you could, and no one will ever be able to take that away from you," Dad says as he pulls to tighten it, and correct its position. He knows that this is what I need to hear.

"Thanks Dad," I say and face the building. "Let's retire."


"Detective Jill Simpson, entered the academy in August of 2007. It was clear from the very beginning this was a person who would excel in this career field. Graduating top of her class, she began as a patrol officer, in June of 2008. Her leadership was impressed and spoke her praise frequently. A clear minded and competent police officer was the consensus by anyone who ever evaluated her performance. Soon it was clear in record arrests and convictions.

"In 2010 she received her first promotion, to the rank of Police Officer, First grade. This was the first time in her career she was entrusted with leadership responsibilities. Again, she excelled. Officers trained under her, many of whom are sitting in this room, have told me that it was the finest training they had received. They truly learned from the best in an unappreciated police competency; peaceful conflict resolution. Detective Simpson codified in a generation of young officers the power of displaying respect to those we have all sworn to protect.

"In 2014 she was again, promoted, this time to Patrol Sergeant. Within a year she was offered the promotion to lieutenant, which she refused, fearing she was not ready for that so soon. The average experience of an officer offered that promotion is twelve years. She was again asked in 2016, and again she refused it. However, wanting to challenge herself more, Detective Simpson took the detectives exam, receiving the highest score in her group in the written exam, the range, and physical requirements.

"In the relatively short time she was a detective, she displayed the same level of competence and dedication that had characterized her career which was cut short.

"Detective Simpson was wounded in action and can no longer serve. This ceremony is to show that we do not forget those who gave so much and allows us to honor her service. Thank you, Detective Simpson, for ten years as one of our finest officers."

The chief of police himself gave that speech. Chief Zorn is so dedicated he tracked down anyone I worked with and asked about me. Many officers who retire get an audience of a dozen people. I'm overwhelmed with over a hundred men and women in their best dress. Is this my impact?

I'm seated behind the podium to the right from the view of the audience. When the chief is finished speaking, I walk over to the podium and look at the crowd. I am amazed how many of them I recognize. Some I worked with for years. Others, I had a small relationship in passing. A few I had only seen a once or twice, but they stood out the most.

Sitting front row was a young woman to whom I was the responding officer to her domestic abuse call. Also present was Natalie Hawthorn, the girl Derek and I rescued. A couple with a toddler in the mothers lap I pulled over for speeding three years ago. They were speeding because she was in labor, so I told them to hug my bumper and follow me. A man who's store got robbed while I was in it off duty. All of the people I had helped. I don't even know how they knew I was retiring.

"Thank you all for coming..." I start, but I don't know how to continue. I have never been one to stammer or stutter, and not know what to say. Today I'm drawing a blank.

"I had no expectation this many people would show up..." I say, and I stop again.

"I'm not good at speeches, and I never have been, so I'll keep it short. Thank you, Chief Zorn for giving me something impossible to follow." The room laughs, easing my tension a little. "I'd like to thank the leadership and mentors I've had at every point in my career." All of those leaders and mentors are here. "The knowledge you handed down to me was invaluable, and saved my life, and by extension others, more times than I could count.

"For the new police officers, the next generation about the patrol the streets, the most powerful weapon you have is respect. How you approach a situation, determines more often than not if you draw your gun. No one likes police, until they need them. Put that in the back of your mind, and never forget it.

"Like I said, I'd like to keep this short. Thanks again for coming," I conclude and return to my seat.

The ceremony is complete when my detective shield was put onto a plaque and put onto a wall with other plaques. My badge number is officially retired. No one in the future of this department will ever have my badge number. This does not happen to every person who retires. Few on that wall are on put on it when they're still alive. Most receive the honor posthumously. This is like Derek receiving the Medal of Honor for his military service.

This cements the fact being a police officer was exactly what I was supposed to be doing with my life. Nothing but that. I'm not meant for anything else. I can't do anything else. There is nothing I will be as good at. I don't even Derek to fall back on anymore.

I shake hands and smile. I thank people for coming and excuse myself and go to the bathroom. Locking the door behind me, I walk to the mirror to look at my face. Instantly I break down in a fit of tears. I'm leaning on the sink with my good arm, before I sit on the floor like a little girl again.

In just a few months I lost everything. Not only is my career over, I have people telling me I should be happy I get a retirement. I'm probably not getting Derek back, just when I began to develop ambitions I never knew I had. Before I met Jesse, I would have never illegally used police resources to track down his mother and threaten her to make her leave them alone. That was pure maternal instinct. Jesse became my cub, and someone threatened my cub.

I let it out and return to my feet. I wash and dry my face in the sink, fix the wrinkles in my uniform and adjust my tie and return to my retirement.



I get a call from a friend of mine in Narcotics that they arrested someone of great interest to me. There is an unwritten rule that if a department arrests someone and another department was the first people tracking them, they get first dips on him. It's stacks the charges and puts them away for longer. Illegal, no. Unethical, debatable.

I take the elevator down to holding on the first floor. Jill is giving a speech for her retirement ceremony, but I decided not to attend. I don't know what to do with her yet to be honest. We were never in a relationship we ever established, but that's not an excuse. She basically lived with me and cooked my son dinner and helped with his homework. At that point we're well passed the requirement of making anything official.

Richard in Narcotics told me they were in observation room five. I count the doors with the numbers above them and enter five. Richard turns to me, shakes my hand and points through the glass.

"Recognize this piece of shit?" Richard asks.

A tweeker looking man with frazzled hair and an unkept beard. He was currently talking to a lawyer by the look of it, so he wasn't stupid at the very least. If you're ever told by detective that asking for a lawyer makes you look suspicious, the detective is suspicious.

"Should I?"

"That's the fuck nut who shot Simpson," he says, and I feel my fist clinch. The lawyer turns, and I realize who it actually is. It's the assistant DA.

"Why the hell is the ADA in there?"

"Cutting a deal. We caught him on a sting with fifty pounds of coke and he's rolling over hard right now. He'll plead guilty to trafficking, do a year, but we have to drop the charge of shooting your girlfriend."

Oh fuck no.

"Bullshit," I say and step toward the door but he stops me.

"Want to know who he's turning on? Trevor Hart, same nephew of the Alderman that fucked you over. He says he's willing to testify the Alderman is not just using his political connection to get him off. He's getting some of the cash. DA has been posturing to run for mayor for years, with the mayor retiring he doesn't have to go against an incumbent. Guess who his opponent is?"

"You're fucking kidding me?" I ask, and he shakes his hand.

"Douglas Hart. Talk about October surprise," Richard says and I hold at the door. "I'm not happy about it either, but this is above both of our paygrades."

"Why did you call me if I can't do anything?"

"An anonymous tip to the media that the DA is offering deals to further political gain by attacking his rivals..."

"Then we help Douglas Hart and a drug lord becomes mayor," I say and look at the piece of shit in the other room again. I exit observation and enter the holding room, the ADA looking up at me. "Out."

"I'm talking to the subject..."

"Are you his lawyer?" I ask, and she shakes her head. "Then get the fuck out."

"I'm not telling you shit without a lawyer," he says as the door shuts behind her.

"Not asking you questions. I really don't give a fuck about the drugs, or what you have on the Hart family. You shot a cop and the people you can roll on just happen to be someone the DA needs to fry to win an election. I'm here to warn you. Keep your head down for the rest of your natural born life. If you so much as jaywalk, police will swarm you. We do not forget."

I say nothing more and leave the room, pausing out the other side of the door. Taking a few deep breaths I walk away and return to the elevator. I hear applause from the main hall and take a quick peak around the corner. They are placing her badge on the wall, forever retiring it. That is a huge deal.

Jill deserves justice for this, and the person who did it is going to get a year because he benefits the political career of another asshole. I walk back to the elevator and miss it, having the push the button now frustrated. I press the button rapidly until my anger grows and I punch the door of the elevator. The doors open eventually, and I go back to my office and back to work.



I sneak away from Penelope and Billie in the night events, taking my keys with me and start driving. My first stop is a liquor store where I stock up on a few tall boys and a bottle of rum. I drink from the tallboy in my cup holder and drive randomly.

The pills and alcohol blend horribly again, and the nights blurs into streaks of red tail lights, blaring horns, and voices screaming obscenities at me. What snaps me back to reality is my airbag deploying into my face.

Everything is spinning around me, and I honestly don't know how long it's been since my head slammed forward. I really hope I didn't refuck my shoulder, but luck isn't my strongest attribute right now. Painfully I push off my steering wheel and look through the cracked windshield. I hit the start of a guard rail about to go over a bridge that cross a stream. How did I get this far out of the city?

Pushing my door open, I step out, but get caught on my seatbelt I failed to unbuckle. I struggle to unclip it, and when it finally let go I fall out of the car and land in a pile of glass. I landed on my left side at least. Grunting so I hard I cough, I crawl away and pull myself to my feet, but wobbl back into the car to support myself. My lights are flashing and it's annoying me, so I turn off the car and stuff the keys in my pocket.

I'm at the point where good ideas start sounding good. I have nothing. I've hit rock bottom, and I don't see a way back up. Looking at my glove compartment, I reach over and pull my gun out.

I check my ammunition like I always do, and chamber a round. I try to do it with my right arm, but I can't even line it with my temple. I can't even kill myself with this arm. Switching hands I put it to my temple.

My hand is trembling, and tears are streaming down my cheeks. I feel both of my hands clinch at the same time. The left hand on the trigger, the right on my pocket, accidently gripping my keys. Without lowering the gun, I pull my keys out and hold them in my hand.

Jesse's keychain is looking up at me. The female police officer lego figure. I start crying more and throw the gun into the wood line. I press the keychain to my chest and fall to my knees, and cry in the center of the road.

I feel around my pockets and pull my phone out. It now has a nice crack on it, but I push forward and call Derek.

I put the phone to my ear and listen to it ring. Please answer. I'm sorry, I'll do anything.

"Jill?" Derek asks.

"I need you," I mumble into the phone. He's quiet for longer than I like. "I'm sorry."

"Penny called, she's worried. Where are you?"

"I don't know. Middle of fucking nowhere. I fucked up again, not in the same way though," I say and he asks me were I am again. I pull up my GPS and send him a snap and he says he's coming to get me right now.

I'm far enough in the middle of nowhere that no cars pass me and it's a good hour before I see headlights approaching. Derek, Dad, and Penelope pull up behind me, Penelope running up immediately with dad walking behind her.

"You need to stop doing this. You are going to kill yourself," Penelope says and hugs me in tears. Dad hugs us both. I hug them back as Derek approaches as well, him having a similar look of concern. He looks at the car then at me, and I look away and push my face into Penelope's shoulder.

Dad looks at Derek, then at me, and knows I want to talk to him alone. I figured they may have had a good talk in route, or maybe sat stoically next to each other. Neither would surprise me. Dad pulls Penelope away from me, whispering something in her ear that makes her look at Derek. Now she knows what he knows. They both walk to the car and leave Derek and I alone.

"Where's your gun?" Derek asks immediately. I point toward the tree line. Does he know what I almost did, or at least have a good idea I might have considered it. "I get it, I've been here. Not quite such spectacular fashion, but I've been here."

I laugh a little and he hugs me. I feel ashamed a cry for help is what brings him back, but I'm not complaining. He's so warm and exactly what I need right now. He leads me away from my crashed car and toward the bridge, which me both lean against the ledge.

"I don't know what I do now. I'm so lost," I say and look at him.

"Have I ever told you about my dad?" Derek asks, and I shake my head. "My mom made sure I didn't see him much when I was younger, but when I turned eighteen that changed. When he was growing up, my father wanted nothing more than to be a fighter pilot.

"He trained and prepared, and when he went to the recruiter, they did the battery of tests on him, and found out he was color blind. Couldn't be a fighter pilot. Guess what my dad does now?"

"Let me guess, he's not a fighter pilot."

"No, but he owns a charter plane service. He flies every day. He calls it his close enough," Derek says, and I blink.

"I should be a fucking security guard? What is your point?" I ask.

"The point is, it isn't the end. You can have a long, fulfilled life doing something that's close enough."

"I just want to go home right now," I say and look at him. "Take me home."

We call in the accident and get our stories straight. Derek was driving because I was drunk and on pills, and he tried to avoid a deer that darted across the road. My sister and dad came to check on us, beating the ambulance. The EMTs release us, but recommend I get my shoulder examine. We stay a little until the car is towed away. None of us feel good about it, but neither do any of us feel like telling the truth.

Penelope pulls up outside of Derek's apartment and he exits the vehicle, and so do I. I tell Penelope I'm staying with Derek tonight and she drives away. Derek looks at me, not sure what I'm doing.

"I said take me home," I said with a small smile, a smile forming on his face after a few seconds.

Hillary was able to come over at short notice, and Derek paid her and let her go. Jesse was asleep in his room. I pause at his door, before slowly stepping in and sitting next to him in his bed. I kiss his head and smile with a watery face.

"Thank you," I whisper to him. I truly believe if the Lego figurine wasn't in my pocket, I would have pulled the trigger.

Derek is watching us from the door as I leave and close it behind me. He walks to the living room where I join him on the couch. This is where I want to be. If I have this, I can probably handle it from here.

"I'm a train wreck right now," I say, and he nods, making me playfully slap his knee. "I love you."

Those are three words I haven't said to someone who wasn't my family since eighth grade. Since before I understood those words. I'm not going to lie to myself anymore with how I feel about Derek. How I feel about Jesse.

"I love you too," Derek says before he leans over kisses me.

The best we could muster, we make love. Slow and passionate. I wake up the next morning warm and satisfied, but still cranky because I don't do mornings. Derek is already up and dressed, fixing his tie in the mirror to go to work. Jesse is finishing his breakfast and doesn't know I'm here yet but is excited when he realizes I am and jumps on the bed.

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