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SERIES: Cut Series

By Demeter


The doorbell rang for the third time within less than ten seconds. It clued him in to that whoever the late night visitor was, they were not going to go away anytime soon. His gaze fell on the empty space beside him, and he frowned. He hadn't heard her leaving.

On the fourth ring, Pete Raynor opened the front door to an impatient looking Jill Bernhardt.

"I couldn't reach Lindsay on the phone, so I came here," she said.

"So I've noticed." He wasn't going to answer the phone of a woman he'd barely knew. Also, there was a hint of accusation to Bernhardt's voice that he didn't like. "I'm sorry, but Lindsay isn't here."

Jill's eyes widened briefly. "Do you know where she is? It's urgent. Kiss Me Not struck again last night. We need her at the crime scene."

Pete wondered when she had to the conclusion that Lindsay had shared details of her work with him. "I take it he's no Prince Charming?" The joke didn't quite seem to work, and he resisted the urge to tell her that he wasn't the bad guy in this story. Realization dawned, though, that a bad guy could be very well involved in Lindsay's sudden disappearance. Lindsay Boxer walked in shadows taller than the high rises he built, that much he had understood about her in the past few days. "Look, if you want to, come in and convince yourself. It's not like I've got her tied up in here or something."

He reached down to pet Martha who had come to the door to see who the visitor was. She growled and snapped for his fingers. Traitor, he thought. You let me walk you and eat the snacks I bring you, but you can't back me up here?

"As a matter of fact," Jill said, not commenting on his words. "I'd like to come in. I need to call Tom, and my cell's battery just died."

He moved aside to let her in and shrugged. "Help yourself."

Back inside Lindsay's apartment, he wondered about his lover's whereabouts and with some resentment, why she couldn't have left a damn note. She was intriguing and irritating alike, which was what had attracted him in the first place. "So how's Cindy?" Maybe that was where Lindsay had gone. The reporter seemed to be on her mind a lot more than Pete cared to know.

Jill looked a little startled at that. "She'll be fine," she said, though it was more obvious what she was not saying. What's it to you?

Another potential source of frustration, the tight protective circle of Lindsay's friends. She could use them, no denying that. Behind the gun and the badge there was a person more vulnerable than she cared to show most people. Struggled to show even to a lover. "That's good, then."

"Yes." Jill quickly made her call, turning away as she spoke to the lieutenant.

"How can I help?" Pete asked when she was done.

Jill just shook her head. "I can't see how. Just let me know if she calls you."

"Will do. Is it – do you think there's anything dangerous going on?"

There was a probability. The kind of people Lindsay dealt with in her job were scarier than the most evil investors he'd negotiated with. It was kind of fascinating, a cop drama come to life.

"I don't know," Jill said tiredly. "I've got to go now."

Sitting in her car, Jill took a few moments to get her bearings. As if worrying about Cindy and her own guilt about the fight they'd had wasn't enough, Kiss Me Not had to strike again.

Just after Cindy, still doped up on painkillers, had finally confessed her feelings for Lindsay, but unfortunately, to the wrong person. Lindsay who was now AWOL. She'd taken off in the middle of the night, destination unknown, uncaring about the man who had made himself at home in her apartment and her life.

A shiver ran down the length of her spine.

She couldn't help the feeling that more bad things were yet to happen.

The End

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