DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
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The tension is almost palpable as we sit and wait for the call. Sarah's nervous, pacing. Across the room, I catch Cindy's compassionate gaze. She knows I didn't like involving Sarah and Heidi in this in the first place. She also knows I had no choice; we have to see this through now.
The phone rings. I nod to Sarah after the second ring, and she picks it up. "Hello?" Her voice is firm. Good. I have no doubt that she'll manage.
"Hello, Sarah. Remember me?"
I understand this can't be good even before she tenses up, her whole body language changing. "Who is this?" she asks, though I'm sure she already knows.
Laughter cackles over the line. "Don't play dumb, sweetheart. You know exactly who this is."
"What do you want?" There's a lot of anger. Sarah Wells hasn't told me half the story. She must have had a suspicion all along.
"Ah, that's not the question. I've got something that you want. The question, dear Sarah, is what would make me give it back to you?"
There's some white noise, and then a women's voice, sounding tearful and desperate. "Sarah, don't--" I freeze. It's Heidi Meyer. He's got her.
Sarah looks so pale I'm afraid she's going to faint. "Heidi!"
The woman's scream is cut off apruptly, then the killer is back on the phone. "Now you ladies know what the stakes are. Sarah, what I want is you with me on one last job. You do exactly as I say, you'll get her back. You don't... Byebye Heidi it is. I'll call back with instructions."
He hangs up on her. Sarah jumps to her feet, looking desolate and desperate, a dangerous combination.
"Sarah, wait," I say. "We are going to handle this. We are going to get her back, I promise." With 'we', I mean the police, of course, not Cindy who nods emphatically. This is as far as the exclusive's going to go. I want her nowhere near this man with the voice that makes my skin crawl.
Sarah grabs her purse and opens it. Cindy's eyes widen when she sees the gun.
"You need to leave this to the police," I state it clearly.
Defiantly, Sarah stares back at me. "Remember when your Medical Examiner told the women in the city to start packing? Well, I did. I know how to use it, too."
Somehow, I don't find the idea of an ex-jewel thief with a loaded gun out there for justice any reassuring. Event though I can understand her, so well. It was Heidi's husband, the Lipstick Killer aka Pete Gordon who had made Claire snap and deliver that famous line on TV. He'd been murdering mothers and small children. Too damn many before we caught him. And now, another killer had Heidi.
"No way, Sarah."
"And who are you to tell me?" she explodes. "Hell, you're such a hypocrite. You would do the same thing! If this was--"
With my eyes, I warn her not to go any further. We can't afford this kind of discussion in the midst of this crisis. Still, when my gaze meets Cindy's, I know I can't pretend.
If it was her, I'd be the one dying inside now.
"Everything is going to be alright," I say, even pretty convincingly. Sarah might have been right in calling me a hypocrite, but it doesn't matter now.
There's a life at stake.
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