The Lady in Blue Ch. 07byWine_Maker©
Chapter Seven: Never drink alone
Hawk's point of view
The gloved hand seemed to come from out of the darkness behind the door, slamming my head into the doorframe as it choked me. I fell to my knees, sprawling, my head ringing. My gun thudded heavily as it fell into the room and onto the carpeted floor. The glove was black leather. Odd how that came through but I couldn't seem to see the person. With a second crack of my head against the wall, I fell hard to the floor, stunned, as my attacker rushed out. I struggled to my feet and stumbled toward my fallen weapon and then out the door. I felt something trickle down my face. I wiped it away - blood. The bastard had made me bleed. I hated bleeding.
The hall was empty when I staggered out. Fuck me! That had to have been the killer! Only one way he could have gone. I ran down the hall and when the ladies room door opened, I had it covered. Lisa screamed like a B-grade 'Scream Queen' when she saw my weapon pointed at her.
"Someone was in Calvin's office. Where are the stairs?"
Lisa pointed down the hall about twenty feet. I heard her running after me as I yanked the door open and ran down the stairs. I saw no one in the lobby so I ran outside, into the street. Nothing. Shit! I kicked the mail drop box in frustration.
Lisa came out the door behind me. "Are you okay? You're bleeding!" She pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed at my forehead. "You need to go to the hospital."
I holstered my weapon. "Screw that! He was right here! In Calvin's office! Why?" I waved her off and started pacing. "We need to call Galveston PD and let them know. They need to take over on this and search his office."
I pulled out my cell and dialed 911. In a few minutes I had passed the details into the hands of GPD dispatch. The first uniform was here in less than ten minutes. The next hour had them asking all the questions I wish I had answers to.
Then I heard the most God-awful redneck drawl come from behind me. Just what I didn't need. Last year's first runner up for Dick-of-the-year, Detective Lieutenant Dick Murphy, Galveston PD. I could tell he was not happy to see me on his turf. That's fair. I didn't particularly like him either.
Murphy leaned on the running board of the ambulance where the paramedic was treating the gash on my head. "So, Detective Hawkins, I see you still don't understand that your big city badge don't mean squat on my fair island. Why didn't you have GPD provide an escort for you? We not good enough for you? Not smart enough to keep you from getting your head bashed in?"
Murphy knew just how to torque me up. "This wasn't supposed to be anything more than a visit to look for leads on a homicide in Houston that she and I are working on. She had all the authority we needed to be there. If I had any idea that someone was here that shouldn't be, I would never have gone in. Then again, it's not my job to secure this building, is it?"
Murphy shook his head. "I don't care about what you thought." He stuck his face into mine. "I know you. You're a hotshot that thinks she knows better than everyone else."
"I bet you wish you had a dick as big as your ego, don't you, Dick? You don't mind if I call you dick, do you, Dick?"
Murphy put his hands on his hips. "You talk a lot of shit for a stuck up bitch that's in a lot of trouble for working out of jurisdiction. You should let some man show you what you're missing. Then, maybe, you wouldn't be such a piece of work."
I laughed sarcastically. "Is that your answer to everything? Find a man and all my problems are solved? No thanks. Women are safer."
Murphy laughed back in exactly the same tone. "Really? Then why did your last girlfriend dump you? Oh, I forgot. She left you for a man. That must be rough, having a lover switch to the other team. Do you think you drove her straight?"
I felt the rage rise up from deep inside me. The pain, the hurt, the anguish. Suddenly, I was trembling and felt tears burning behind my eyes. My gaze locked on Murphy's face and I felt my fist clenching. I could see him smile. He wanted me to take a swing at him. Well, it had been a year since my last suspension. It might be worth it. I came off the gurney but the paramedic held me back.
"That's enough. Back off."
The three of us looked over in surprise. Lisa stood there, her hands on her hips. "I have the authority to have her here. It was my decision to bring her with me to go through my files." She leaned in on Murphy. "She's told you what happened. Twice. I've told you what happened. We're done here. Do you understand, Detective? You're finished and we're leaving as soon as the paramedics release her. Don't make me have a conversation with Captain Gonzales about this. The department has firm rules on sexual harassment. Is that clear enough for you?"
Murphy looked like he wanted to argue but swallowed and nodded. "Yeah, I guess that's clear enough, Miss Davis. I'll go take care of the crime scene." He stalked off, pissed as hell. I knew how he felt. I've been there before. All cops hate mouthy lawyers; but, God, what a mouth she had on her.
The paramedic slapped my shoulder as I looked at Lisa in surprise. "Detective? You're done. The bandage will hold that cut for you. If it starts bleeding again or if you have any dizziness or blurry vision, go to the nearest hospital. I mean it." I nodded at him and hopped down.
Lisa slid an arm around my shoulders and we walked off towards the parking area. "Can you drive? Do I need to call a cab?"
I shook my head. "No, I can drive. Do I need to take you back to Ted's?"
Lisa nodded. "Yes. I called him and he's worried about us."
At the bike, I slid my helmet on with a grunt. My head still ached. That pissed me off. I really wanted a rematch. Next time I would not go down so easy. The bike started with a roar when I kicked it off. As soon as Lisa slid behind me, we were out of there and on the road.
"You shouldn't have lied to him," I said. "That could come back to bite you."
"If I told him you were digging in without him, you would get in trouble. I'll tell a white lie to save a friend some grief." Lisa chuckled. "Besides, now I have leverage."
I smiled. "Why do you need leverage on me?" I sped up and passed around the cars a little fast for the speed limit and felt her clutch me tighter.
"I'm not going to sit back and wait for someone to tell me who killed Calvin. You're going to let me into the investigation." She sounded smug.
I shook my head and immediately regretted doing so. "Bullshit. I am not going to put you in danger. I'll cut you out if I think that is the best for you, even if that means you turn me in and I catch hell."
"He's just a case to you. To me, Calvin was my best friend. You need willing help down here and you are not winning any friends, if you catch my drift."
I stewed a bit at that but was forced to admit that she had a real point. Winning friends and influencing people was not one of my strong points. Reluctantly, I nodded. "If I do, it's under my rules and at my discretion."
"What rules and what discretion? I'm going to be involved whether you 'let' me or not. I'll take a leave of absence and dig in without you if I have to. You want to keep me safe? Then don't force me to work alone. I know how to investigate and I can do this with or without you. Tell me if that's what you want."
Shit. I'd catch hell for letting her in or letting her get hurt. She wasn't as tough as she wanted me to believe. She had cops to do the real legwork and dig into the scum. "Let me think about it."
Lisa was quiet as I drove into Houston. Interesting how the tables had turned. Now I had things to think about and didn't want to talk. We each had something we wanted that the other didn't want to give into, it seemed. This was making my head hurt more.
* * * * *
I pulled off the freeway and started into the area near the Juice Box, Minute Maid Stadium, home of the Houston Astros. I wasn't in shape to make it to Ted's.
"Where are we going?" Lisa asked.
"My place. I think you will need to call Ted to come and get you. I'm feeling a bit wiped out and it's not safe to drive a bike when I don't feel like driving."
"Maybe we should take you to the hospital," she said. "If you feel that badly, it might be best."
"No way. I fucking hate doctors and hospitals are where people die. I'll be fine." I drove past the condos and into the small housing development that had grown up near the renovated area. A click of a button and the garage door slid up. I drove in and parked next to my car. The little blue Accord was okay but it wasn't a Harley.
After Lisa dismounted, I slid off and put my helmet on the seat. I opened the door and shut off my alarm. Sliding off my jacket, I hung it by the door on its peg. "You want something? A beer?"
Lisa had her cell phone out. "Do you think drinking is the right thing to do in your condition? It might make things worse."
"Can't make it much worse," I said with a sour laugh. "The paramedic said there was no concussion so you don't need to worry. I'm a big girl."
Lisa shrugged and I pulled a beer out of the fridge for both of us, just in case. She was talking to Ted, asking him to come and get us. She prompted me for the address and gave him a rough set of directions. It would take him an hour to get here on a good day.
When she hung up, I handed her the beer. "I'm sorry that I can't get you home... Or rather back to Ted's." Silly mistake. I really wasn't thinking straight. I already had her and Ted as an item in my head. I guess I had already surrendered that fight.
Lisa walked around my rather spartan living room and examined the shelves. "Do you mind if I look around? I find I can tell a lot about people by looking at where they live."
I shrugged. "Suit yourself. Not much to see. Does that mean there's not much to me?"
Lisa laughed. "No, that just makes what is there more important." She wandered slowly, looking at the scattered knick-knacks. She stopped next to the television and was looking at the small-framed drawing. I had forgotten it was there. If I was prone to embarrassment, that would have made me blush. It was a hand drawn rendering of a woman's sex, open and aroused.
"You don't have any pictures but you do have this," she said, picking it up to examine more closely. "That tells me something. It means a great deal to you." She looked over to me. "Did you know that pictures tell us more about ourselves than we do? A lack of them tells me that you don't have someone you are close to right now."
I took a deep pull of my beer. "That was drawn by Sharon, my last girlfriend. She was a great artist." I laughed bitterly. "Among other things."
Lisa sat down in the chair next to me. "Tell me."
I felt myself closing in. "It's not important. She's gone. She's happily married with a little boy."
Her hand clasped mine as she leaned over. "No, it's important. She's still in your heart or you wouldn't still have the drawing. Was she the girlfriend that Murphy was talking about?"
I nodded. Amazing how empty that made me feel, even now. "Yeah. She and I were together for three years. Then one day, she wanted to have a family. A real family. One with children. A husband, not her lesbian lover. I suppose she had been hinting for months and I just didn't hear her." Did I really sound that bitter? I thought I was done with that. I shook my head angrily and again regretted it. Pulling my hand from hers, I started into the kitchen and picked up a bottle of vodka. If I was going to talk about this, I needed something more potent than beer.
Lisa gave me a look of reproach, but didn't say anything as I poured myself a double. She waited until I was sitting again to continue. "If she hurt you so badly, why keep the drawing?"
"Because it's all I have left of her." I swallowed hard and drank the double in a gulp. "She left me and it was as sudden as if she had died. I thought she loved me. She told me she did. Like an idiot, I believed her. For people like me, there is no love."
I couldn't help but chuckle at the profanity. "That's my line. Look, Lisa, it's different for you. Society doesn't frown on your very existence. As a lesbian, everyone hates me. The religious types tell me I'll burn in hell. Women avoid me like a leper and men feel threatened by me. They think I want to steal their wives. Only among other gay people do I feel like I can talk freely about anything."
Her eyes twinkled. "You seem to be talking just fine to me."
"I'm hurting and getting drunk. I'll probably offend you before Ted gets here." I poured another drink.
"Is the drawing of you?" Lisa asked.
I looked over the glass at her and nodded. "Yeah. My inner portrait. Do you want to know what she did to get me ready for it?" I asked with a challenging tone.
She blushed and shook her head. "No. What's important is that she made it with love. You still love her, don't you?"
I shook my head. "No."
The glass shattered against the wall before I even realized I had thrown it. "What the fuck gives you the right to come in here and call me a liar?" I shouted, standing up and stalking back and forth. "Can you read my mind, know what I think and feel? Hell, no!" The tears I held back earlier started to burn again. "God dammit." I stalked into the kitchen and got some paper towels. When I turned around, she was right behind me. Her arms wrapped around me and I stiffened.
"Shhhhh," she said softly. "I don't want you to hurt. I wish I could take away the pain."
I cried and laughed at the same time. "Nothing can take away the pain. Not even sleeping with you."
I could see tears in her eyes and she smiled. "No, not even sex can take away the pain of losing someone." She held me close and my throat closed up. I don't know how long I cried on her shoulder. I felt like Sharon had just left me that morning. All the pain tore at my insides again.
She led me back to the couch and poured herself a drink of vodka. She looked me in the eye and tossed it back. Then she just held me.
I cried again until, as suddenly as they came, the tears were gone and I felt drained. Emotionally drained. I considered kissing her and I rejected it. I didn't need a sympathy fuck, even if I could have lured her into my bed that way. I needed to be wanted for my own merits, not given into for sympathy. Even if I didn't scare her off. Pushing her back, I wiped my face.
"Why is it all the good girls are straight?" I joked. "I find one and she has a man in her life. What is it that men have that I don't, besides a package?"
"Is there a serious question buried in that humor-as-a-shield protective coating?" Lisa asked, pouring a drink for both of us.
I was already feeling a bit tipsy but I drank it anyway. "You mean there's really an answer? Yeah, I want to know. I've never understood why I couldn't give Sharon what she wanted. I mean, we could have gone to a fertility clinic or something like that. If you know an answer, I want to hear it."
Lisa downed her drink. I could see the alcohol flush on her, too. I think we were both a little over the legal limit. Maybe that explained it. I couldn't understand why I even started talking about Sharon. Or why we had veered into this deep philosophical discussion on the differences between men and women.
"I wish I did have a clear cut idea, Hawk. I'd make a mint if I did. I don't know Sharon at all and I am just getting to get to know you. I like what I have seen so far. You're strong, resourceful and loyal. That's the inside. The outside is pretty good, too."
I laughed derisively. "I have no tits or hips. I look like a man, just smaller."
"Bullshit," she retorted. "You're beautiful and I'm not the only one that says that, I'm sure."
"Did Ted say that?" I asked incredulously.
She flushed. "I'm not going to say who said that, just accept for the sake of this discussion that someone out there thinks you're beautiful." She cocked her head. "What if it was Ted? Does it make you uncomfortable to have a man find you attractive?"
I felt my face heating. "I'm a lesbian, how do you think it makes me feel?"
"I don't know, that's why I asked. What attracts you to a woman, Hawk? Not her body, what's inside her. What traits?"
I took a deep breath and forced myself to relax. "Loyalty. Someone who likes me for being me. Someone honest. Someone that can love me. And what do you look for in a man, Lisa?"
She smiled. "Just about the same things. Isn't that an interesting twist? The same things you want in a woman are the same things I see in Ted. I bet he looks for the same things, too."
"Men and women are not the same. I'll bet you've noticed the differences," I said smartly.
"Oh, I've seen the differences but in the end, people are people. Eliminate the physical. People love each other for what is inside, not on the outside," she said.
"Then why don't more women like you want women like me?" I asked. Immediately, I regretted asking it. I waved my hands. "Never mind. You didn't want to talk about that. I forgot. I'm sorry. Just drop it."
Lisa poured us one final drink and took the bottle back to the kitchen on unsteady feet. When she flopped back down, she handed me my glass with a shaky hand and we tipped them back. The liquor burned as it went down. The warmth from inside was finally beginning to make me feel human again.
"Why don't you see things like that in men? I've seen you in their world. Tough, confrontational."
"Well..." I started.
"You asked me earlier if I had ever thought about making love to a woman," Lisa continued. "Have you ever thought about what it would feel like to make love to a man?" I started to tell her what a stupid idea that was and she just waved me to silence.
"No. I want the 'why.' Think about it. I promise to think about your question and give you an honest answer but I want the same in return. Deal?"
This conversation had taken a turn for the bizarre. How the hell could she ask me that? She knew I was a lesbian. It was unnatural but I nodded slowly. "Okay. I already know the answer but I'll get a reason for you."
"No!" She shook her head emphatically. "I want you to really think about it. Honesty is not a knee-jerk response. It is not the same as rejecting what is not familiar."
"Are you trying to set me up with a man?" I asked, not really sure of where this conversation was going.
She colored. "No."
I leaned forward, a bit unsteadily. If I were sober, I would never have the nerve to ask this. I may never have the nerve to ask it again. "What is it like," I asked curiously. "Making love to a man? If you believe Penthouse Forum, it's the best thing since sliced bread. What makes it any better than, say, a woman with a strap-on?"
Lisa reddened deeply. "I don't know, but I doubt there is a whole lot of physical difference, except for the tits. It's in the emotional connection. That's what makes sex with a man that I like good. I'm sure it's the same with women, too."
"But they come. Isn't that gross?" I shamelessly asked. I had been curious. "Especially blowjobs. It can't be as nice as going down on a woman." She became so red, I was sure I had pushed too hard. "Never mind. That's a bit personal."
Slowly, she shook her head. "No. Obviously, I don't know about going down on a woman, but a blowjob is almost more intimate than sex. Holding it in my hand, kissing it. It tastes like him."
"Ted, you mean," I asked?
She shook her head and giggled. "He went down on me but I still haven't gone down on him. I want to and I think I will in the morning. I'm sure it'll be great. The come can be a bit bitter but it is a part of a man's most inner self. I don't think it tastes too bad but it is an acquired taste." She looked at me more closely. "I've tasted myself but I'm curious. Do all women taste differently?"