DETECTIVES OF THE 9TH PRECINCT

SERIES

 

“THE DEVIL BELIEVES IN YOU”

PART 4

 

 

 

 

 

THE GOOD SAMARTIAN HOSPITAL:

 

 

They gave Neal the once over but all Neal cared about was Steve. Sanity was in short supply and Neal was slipping. Driving thru the dark to get here Neal was trying to process what he saw back at the church. What had he seen? Sitting here in the waiting room at this little hospital, his head in his hands, he knows what it wasn’t….it wasn’t a lie. That thing he saw back at the church was a whole lot of truth. He couldn’t say it out loud, didn’t even want to think it but the word Devil came to mind.

Sitting here now, after it was all over Neal faced an even bigger hurdle. The aftermath. How does Neal explain it. Oh yeah, people are going to want answers. Like now. Once they got here to the hospital all Neal had to do was pull the robe off over his head, since he had the luxury of wearing his clothes underneath. But not so with Steve, when Neal tried to take off the robe Steve was wearing that is when he realized Steve was naked underneath, well then, all he could was get rid of the pentagram necklace that Steve was wearing. Maybe, in the course of saving Steve’s life they won’t ask too many questions. Wrong. Major institutions always ask questions. Sorta like right now.

“Mr. Schon?”

Neal looks up to the Doctor coming towards him.

“Yeah.”

“I’m Doctor Andrews.”

“How’s Steve?” Neal asks.

“Your friend should be alright in a few days but I have some questions….”

“Naturally.” Neal replies.

“Mr. Schon a person’s personal life is none of my business….”

“Then why are you asking Doc?” Neal asks.

“Because when it affects their health I feel it is my duty to ask. What were you two doing tonight?” Dr. Andrews asks.

“Nothing really.” Neal replies. “Why?”

“Well because it’s too early for Halloween and you two are way too old to be joining a College fraternity, I only ask this because the robe your friend was wearing and the cut on his hand, it needed ten stitches by the way. Oh he also mentioned something about how you were going to sacrifice him but instead you killed the High Priest.”

Neal turns white then he tries to laugh it off. “That’s crazy!”

“Did your friend smoke anything?” The Doctor asks.

“No.” Neal replies.

“Did he take any pills?” The doctor asks again.

“No.” Neal replies again.

“Mr. Schon in his blood work we found Datura Stramonium.”

“What? In English Doc okay?” Neal replies.

“Jimson weed.” The Doctor replies.

“Jimson weed? You mean loco weed?” Neal asks.

“It sometimes been called that. Jimson weed is a very powerful hallucinogen, and in higher than normal doses it can be fatal. So whoever gave it to him knew what they were doing, otherwise he would be dead.”

“Is….is there something you can give him?” Neal asks.

“Yes Physostigmine it’s an antidote. We can give it to him in an I.V.”

“That’s great! Great! So then he’s going to be okay?” Neal asks.

“Yes eventually.” As Doctor Andrew replies he looks at Neal and it’s making Neal uncomfortable.

“What?” Neal asks.

“He also said something about a woman being on fire.”

Neal tries to recover. “Look Doc you said your self that this, uh….”

“Jimson weed.”

“Yeah Jimson weed was a strong hallucinogen!” Neal replies.

“I think I’m going to call the police.” Doctor Andrew replies.

“Wait no Doc. Don’t call the police.” Neal replies.

“I’m going to need a really good reason why.” Doctor Andrew replies.

Neal reaches into his back pocket and he takes out his badge and he shows it to him. “We’re cops. Homicide Detectives from Oceanview and my partner, Steve, was undercover.”

“You mean in the cult, that’s why he was wearing the robe.” Doctor Andrew replies.

“You know about the cult?” Neal asks.

“Yes. Everybody around here knows about them they just try to ignore them. They have been plaguing us for years. A lot of their victims have come thru this hospital.” Then the Doctor snaps his fingers. “Wait. I thought your name sounded familiar! You’re the detectives that worked on the murder of that Professor!”

“Yes that’s us. I think after tonight Doc you won’t have to worry about them anymore.” Neal replies.

The Doctor looks at Neal. “Then whatever you two went thru, was worth it?”

“It doesn’t feel like that now but in time I think it will. I least I hope it will.”

“In about an hour Steve will be moved up to a room on the second floor, you can see him then.”

Neal shakes his hand. “Thanks Doc.”

“For what exactly?”

“Well mostly for saving his life and for understanding.” Neal replies.

“I’ve seen some strange things in this profession, as you have too I‘m sure, you just have to process it and go on.” Doctor Andrews replies.

“This is going to take a lot of processing Doc.” Neal replies.

The first thing Steve realized was the fact that he wasn’t wearing his clothes and second that Neal was holding a knife over him. Then Neal stabbed the High Priest, he set Lydia on fire and now he was here in this new place. He was in and out but he knew these people were taking care of him. Again Steve had no concept of time. But this time when he woke up he saw Neal sitting on a cot next to the bed.

“Neal.”

Neal looks up and he puts the magazine down he had been reading and he goes over to the bed and he takes Steve’s hand.

“Hey Buddy.” Neal replies as he smiles down at him.

“Hey yourself.” Steve says back. “So I guess it wasn’t a dream huh? You really did try to kill me?”

“I had to make it look good didn’t I?” Neal replies. “You didn’t tell me that you and Lydia had gotten engaged.”

“She thought I was the greatest thing since sliced bread.” Steve replies.

Neal shakes his head. “Even chicks without a soul that worship the devil want to get it on with you. Explain that.”

“I told you man the chicks love the nose.” Neal smiles at this. “Neal come closer.”

Neal leans in closer to him. “You know when you told me not to look I looked anyway.”

“I did too Steve.”

“I don’t….can we talk about that later?” Steve asks.

“Sure. Whenever you want to.”

“Do you have my clothes and my badge. Oh what about Betsy?” Steve asks.

“No Steve I don’t have them, they were lost in the fire I guess. We can get you another gun. The Captain is coming out tomorrow he‘s going to bring you some clothes.” Neal replies.

“Oh okay. I think I’m going to go to sleep for awhile. Can you stay here? I don’t want to be alone.” Steve asks as he holds tighter to Neal’s hand.

“I will be right here on that cot.” Neal replies.

“It’s over isn’t it? I mean their gone, right, they won’t come back, will they?” Steve asks.

“Yeah Steve I think they’re gone.”

“I’m hope so. Goodnight Neal.”

“Goodnight Steve.”

Sometime during the night the nurse came in, Steve could hear her moving around the room, checking the status of the I.V. looking at the chart at the foot of the bed and as they usually do wake you up when your sleeping.

“Stephen?”

Steve slowly open his eyes as he looked at the nurse and he watched as she put another blanket on his bed. Then she learned over the bed and in her hand was a lighter that she flipped open. “Are you cold Stephen? Do you want me to warm you up?”

Wearing the nurses uniform was Lydia and that was when Steve sat up in bed and he realized she wasn’t there. He looked over and he saw Neal asleep on the cot. A dream. It had to be a dream. He can see the clock on the wall out in the hallway and pretty soon it will be daylight. He laid back down and he didn’t want to, but he was so tired, he went back to sleep.

 

3 DAYS LATER BACK IN OCEANVIEW:

 

“Steve?” Neal replies.

Steve doesn’t answer he’s too busy looking out of the car window.

“Steve?” Neal reaches out and he puts his hand on Steve’s leg.

“Hmmm what?” Steve asks him.

“She’s not out there.”

“I don’t know about that she can be anybody. Neal have you ever noticed….?”

“Noticed what?” Neal asks.

“How everybody just goes on about their lives oblivious to what happen? They have no idea what happened to us. What happened to the Professor. Their world just goes on. They don’t realize how close they come everyday….to it all being over.”

“I have noticed that and I was thinking the same thing the day I was looking for you. We better get going to the insurance adjuster’s office.” Neal replies.

“I really don’t feel like it.” Steve replies.

“Well I don’t either but it was a direct order from the Captain, the City wants to get it resolved and they need to talk to us.”

“And on top of everything else my landlord gave me thirty days to move out, I have to find another apartment.” Steve replies.

“That’s not a problem, we can put your stuff in storage and you can move in with Ruby and me, we have that extra room you know.”

“Neal, that is Joey’s room and Ruby is busy getting stuff ready for the baby she doesn’t want me hanging around.”

“Yes it’s Joey’s room but he’s not using it now and Ruby would insist you know that.” Neal replies.

“I could use a vacation.” Steve replies.

“After all of this is done, you know, give Nancy a call.”

Steve smiles. “I already did. She wants me to come up to San Francisco. I could use some heaven after all of this hell.”

“I know. I want to spend some time with Ruby before the baby comes. But that will have to wait until later, we have to go and get this taken care of.”

Steve nods his head. “I know. Let’s get it over with.”

 

TRI-COUNTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY:

 

“Well boys I’m glad that you finally made it.” Fred replies.

“We’ve been busy.” Neal replies.

“Yeah just a little.” Steve replies as he holds two fingers apart.

Fred looks at them. “Now tell me what happened.”

Neal looks over at Steve as he fidgets in his chair. “Well we had to go to Lucas County because the Professor’s car was found in the quarry.”

“It was torched, you know burned up.” Steve replies.

“It was loaded on the tow truck and we followed it in the Sheriff’s car.” Neal replies.

“He told us we could take it because he wanted to stay there.” Steve replies.

“And?” Fred says.

“And I guess I wanted to see what it could do and all, I mean it was a pretty fast car so I passed the tow truck.” Neal replies.

“Wasn’t that a violation of your departments policy? Won’t you supposed to stay with the tow truck because the car was evidence?” Fred asks.

“Yes and I admit it was bad judgment on my part. I drove up the road and out of nowhere, around this curve, was a deer! I was going too fast and I couldn’t stop so I swerved out of the way.” Neal replies.

“I see. You swerved to avoid a deer? That’s your story?” Fred says as he looks at Neal.

“It’s not a story it’s the truth!” Neal replies.

“You’re lying.” Fred says simply.

Steve looks over at Neal.

“I’m not lying! I was driving!” Neal replies as he points to himself.

“No you weren’t. I have the statement from the tow truck driver, he was driving.” Fred replies as he points at Steve.

Steve looks at the floor.

“The tow truck driver is wrong.” Neal replies.

“Look!” Fred stands up behind the desk and he takes off his glasses and he points at them. “You two numb nuts are lying! I have been doing this a long time and I know you’re lying! I want the truth!”

Steve looks at Neal. “All right you want the truth I’ll give you the truth.”

“Steve!”

“No Neal he wants the truth he’s going to get the truth. Okay look Fred I was driving and I was possessed by the devil!” Steve looks knowingly over at Neal who seems surprised. “I….passed the tow truck and I drove up the road….I don’t know what my intentions were exactly but Neal.” Steve looks at Neal again. “Was going to stop me before we got to town, we were fighting and he pulled up on the emergency brake and the car flipped and the rest….is history.”

Fred stood there a few more minutes then he sat back down hard in the chair then he leaned down and he opened up a drawer and he took a bottle of Jack Daniels and a glass sitting them on the desk.

“Drink?” Fred asks as he holds up the bottle and when Steve and Neal declined he opened the bottle and poured some into the glass then he drank it then he handed them two forms.

“Here boys fill these out and where you write the narrative leave the part out about the devil.” Fred replies.

 

STEVE’S OLD APARTMENT LATER THAT NIGHT:

 

“It could have been worse you know.” Neal replies as he helps Steve carry boxes to his apartment.

“How so?” Steve asks.

“Well the Captain only suspended your driving privileges for a month and it didn’t go in your service jacket. It was a verbal reprimand. Steve….?”

“Yeah Neal?” Steve asks.

“I was going to tell you about the car but I didn’t think you could….”

“Handle it? Probably at that time I couldn’t have. Can you get the keys out of my pocket?”

“Sure.”

Neal sits his boxes down and he gets the keys out of Steve’s pocket and he goes to the front door.

“Steve.”

“Yeah?” Steve asks.

“It’s open.” Neal replies as he looks back over his shoulder at him. Immediately Neal steps back as he draws his gun and Steve sit’s the boxes down on the ground, then he takes his gun out of his holster as well. Neal takes up a position on one side of the door and Steve on the other. Neal was able to open the door with his foot and the door swung wide open and they noticed the light was on.

“Oceanview Police!” Neal yells and Neal holds up three fingers and looking at Steve he slowly counts down. “1, 2, 3!” At the count of three Steve goes first into the apartment then Neal follows.

“Oceanview Police!” Steve says this time.

Steve, holding his gun out in front of him walks around the living room then Neal points upstairs and Steve nods at him as Neal makes his way up the stairs. Neal takes a good look around upstairs, making sure to check all the places that somebody can hide in. Once he cleared the upstairs he started back downstairs.

“Steve? It’s all clear up here. How goes it down there? Steve?”

Neal comes down the stairs to see Steve looking at a box that is sitting on the coffee table. Neal puts his gun back in it’s holster as he stands next to him.

“What’s that?” Neal asks.

Steve looks at him. “It’s a box Neal.”

“I know that you big dope I mean what is it doing here? How did it get in your apartment?” Neal asks.

“Good question. Neal do you notice something about it?”

Neal walks around Steve as he looks at the box. “No postage?”

“Exactly and no return address. So that means….”

“Somebody drop it off.” They both say at the same time.

“Maybe your landlord saw it on the porch and he brought it in.” Neal replies.

“At least It’s not ticking.” Steve replies.

“That’s is always a plus. So what do you want to do?” Neal asks as they both look at it.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean what do you want to do? I think we should call somebody, I mean it could be dangerous.” Neal points out.

“I want to open it.” Steve replies.

“Now?”

“Yeah. I mean there is no better time or place, right?”

Neal scratches his head. “Well okay but I still think….”

“Can I use your knife.” Steve replies as Neal looks at him. “Please.”

Neal takes the knife out of his pocket and he hands it to Steve.

“You might want to stand back.” Steve replies as he opens the knife.

Neal takes a deep breath as he goes over and stands by the entrance to the kitchen.

Steve slowly cuts the string off of the box then when they come off he unwraps the butcher paper covering the box then he cuts thru the tape that seals it. When nothing happens Steve opens it.

“Neal.”

“What is it?” Neal asks as he comes closer.

Steve reaches into the box and he takes out his badge and he hands it to Neal. “I thought it was lost in the fire.”

“I did too look it’s my gun and holster and my clothes. All of my stuff.” Steve replies.

“None of it is damaged. It doesn’t even look like it’s been thru a fire. But how? Who?” Neal asks.

As an answer Steve takes out a piece of paper and after he reads it he hands it to Neal.

“Eternally Yours, Lydia. She’s nothing but persistent.” Neal replies as he tosses the note back into the box. “Where are you going?”

“To call Nancy and tell her I’m going to take her up on her invitation. She told me if I ever needed a place to run to….” Steve replies.

“I understand.” Neal replies.

“I knew you would.” Steve replies then he goes upstairs.

Neal goes outside and retrieves the boxes that are out there and starting in the living room he begins to pack the boxes.

 

THREE WEEKS LATER NEAL’S HOUSE:

 

Neal comes out to the back yard carrying two beers and he hands one to Steve who is sitting in a lawn chair watching the sunset.

“It’s a beautiful evening isn’t it?” Steve asks.

“Yeah but probably not as beautiful as an evening in San Fran? Am I right?” Neal nudges Steve who smiles.

“You’re right. How’s Ruby and the baby?” Steve asks.

“Great! They should be coming home tomorrow. Do you want to come with me?”

“Thanks for asking but no. I think you and Ruby should enjoy this moment together, bringing a new baby home, that’s a big deal. I can’t believe I missed the birth of my godchild!” Steve replies as he shakes his head.

“Don’t worry about it you can be there for the next one!” Neal replies.

“The next one?” Steve asks.

Neal just smiles and shrugs as he takes a sip of beer. After a moment of silence Steve says,

“Can we have a serious talk?”

“Sure. About Nancy?” Neal asks.

“Partly.” Steve replies.

Steve sits there for a good few minutes and Neal lets him. He knows from experience Steve will get around to it.

“Nancy told me that she loves me.” Steve replies.

“And the feeling is mutual I take it?” Neal asks.

“Oh yes I love her just as about much as I love you and Ruby.”

Neal laughs. “Well that is a lot of love.”

“Neal she’s even willing to move down here to be with me.”

“Really, you mean give up her career?” Neal asks.

“She said she can get a transfer to the LAPD she said she could even go to work for the County, they are always looking for Investigators.”

“How do you feel about that?” Neal asks.

“It scares me Neal. It scares me that she would give up everything she has in San Francisco to be with me. We even talked about getting married.”

“Really? Steve you didn’t….” Neal asks.

“No I didn’t proposed or anything like that. She wants to have kids someday, I mean in the future.”

Neal pats Steve on the leg. “Well there you go Steve you always wanted to have a family, kids of your own.”

“Yeah I did until….”

“Until?” Neal replies as Steve gets up and he walks over to the chain link fence and he leans on it. Neal waits a few minutes then he gets up and he joins him.

“This isn’t just about having cold feet or scared of making a commitment, is it?”

Steve shakes his head. “Neal how long have you known me?”

“Oh counting when we kids it’s been awhile.”

“Have you noticed in the last few years how I have been running?” Steve replies.

“You mean with all your girlfriends?” Neal asks.

“Yeah.”

“It’s easier to spend the night than commit to a lifetime, right?” Neal replies as he looks at him.

“You figured it out didn’t you?” Steve asks.

“Yeah I did. You don’t let them get to close to you in case something happened to them. If the bad guys see that they don’t mean much to you then they won’t go after them, right?” Neal asks.

“Damn.” Steve replies as he shakes his head.

“It wasn’t hard to figure that out. So how much do your girlfriends know about you?” Neal asks.

“Oh my job of course, my favorite pizza and beer and position and that is about it.” Steve replies.

Neal laughs.

“Is it bad to say that sometimes I just need a warm body?” Steve asks.

“No I don’t think so.”

“I keep my distance because of what happened to Grace and Patty.” Steve replies.

“Steve those things weren’t your fault. Grace’s stepfather and Emily, well, they were crazy people. The badge they give us to carry can’t foresee the future, you can’t predict what people are going to do.”

“But I’m a cop I should….” Steve replies.

“So is Nancy.” Neal replies.

“But she’s a woman also.” Steve points out.

“Did you and her talk about all of this?”

“We talked about everything, including the this last case with the Professor and what happened at the Church. I told her how I feel, how scared I am, how I don’t want the people I love to be a target. I even told her if she wanted to walk away….she could.” Steve replies as he looks at Neal.

“And what did she say to that?” Neal

“She’s not going anywhere. She’s stubborn.” Steve replies as he shrugs.

“Like someone else I know.” Neal replies. “I never told you but Ruby finally told me why she turned me down all those times I asked her to marry me.”

“What did she say?” Steve asks.

“She was worried about me.” Neal replies.

“What?”

“Yeah. She knew I would be worried about something happening to her, about her becoming a target.”

“Sorta like me?” Steve replies as he points to himself.

“Yeah sorta like you.” Neal replies as he smiles.

“Neal how did you figure it out, I mean, about my girlfriends?” Steve asks.

“Because at one time I was so like you.” Neal replies.

“How so?” Steve asks.

“I was a cop on the beat and when my marriage to Kathleen broke up I became like a man possessed! Oh sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Steve replies.

“Then my first partner was killed I retreated so deep into myself no one could find me. All I did was work. I put so many bad guys away there was no one left! People on the street was scared of me! You know Ruby was my confidential informant right?”

“Yeah you told me that.”

“Matt introduced me to her, he told me I could trust her. She never gave me wrong info, it was always good. She was always there and I denied it for so long until there was this homicide case that changed everything. A little girl, about seven, was brutally raped and murdered and dumped like trash and it got to me. It got to me bad. I had a line drawn and I wasn’t going to cross it, not with Ruby. One night she called me and she told me she had some info on the girl’s murder so I went over there and in the course of her telling me, I broke down. That was the first night we were together. It wasn’t so much the physical aspect of it, although that was good to.”

Steve laughs.

“But more than anything it was the emotional connection we had. Steve, she got me. She understood everything I was going thru. I didn’t realize how tired I was until that night, I had been running for so long.”

“What happened the next day?” Steve asks.

“I bolted like a horse leaving a burning barn. I crossed that line that I didn’t want to cross, I had let too much of myself out. I was scared so I kept my distance. But Ruby never gave up on me. Do you know what she told me?”

“No what?” Steve asks.

“It’s going to be alright.” Neal smiles at Steve.

“So that is where you got that from!” Steve replies as he pushes Neal. “Whoever said women were the weaker sex were wrong. We have some very strong and stubborn women in our lives.”

“Well they have to be to put up with us. There’s something I haven’t told you Steve.” Neal replies.

“Oh that sounds serious. What is it?” Steve asks.

“A couple of months back when they had the Lieutenant’s test I took it.”

Steve looks at Neal surprised. “You did? How did you do?”

“Flying colors.” Neal replies as he looks at him.

“Oh. So when do you….?” Steve asks.

“I don’t.” Neal replies.

“Neal it would mean more money, what with the baby and all, probably better hours, and it’s safer why didn’t you take it?”

“Ruby didn’t want me to.” Neal replies.

“Is she crazy?” Steve laughs. “A chance to have you safe and coming home every night? Like with that last case we worked on! All the crazy people we deal with, being shot at, uh chased by cars!”

Neal laughs. “That is exactly why she told me not to take it. She knew I would miss all of that.”

“So if you wasn’t going to take it then why did you take the test?” Steve asks as he looks at Neal but the look on his face says it all as Neal looks down.

“You did it because of me.” Steve replies.

“When you were shot, if you had died, I was going to quit. Walk away. I couldn’t stand the heartbreak. If you weren’t here it wasn’t going to be worth it, I didn’t see the point of going on, without you.”

Steve hesitates a minute then he says, “Well that is just silly! Give up on a perfectly good career just because I’m not here? You know Neal sometimes I think your elevator doesn’t always go to the top floor! You’re at least one sandwich shy of a….why are you laughing?” Steve asks.

“Oh because I knew you would say all those things that’s why. I took the test as a back up plan.”

“Oh!” Steve shakes his finger at Neal. “This has been a very heavy conversation.”

“You know Steve I can’t tell you what to do with Nancy. Only you will know for sure. But I do know one thing.” Neal replies.

“What’s that?”

“If you don’t at least try you will always wonder ‘what if’.” Neal replies.

Steve kicks at the fence. “True. Hey it’s gone and dark around us.”

“Yeah it has. Why don’t we go and get a bucket of the Colonel and some beers and have dinner on the back porch then we set your room up. We can enjoy the peace and quiet because when Ruby gets home with the baby tomorrow there will be no more peace and quiet.” Neal replies as he grabs Steve around the neck as they walk back to the house.

“I can’t wait to see the baby.” Steve replies.

“He’s a good looking boy!” Neal replies happily.

Steve laughs. “He looks like Ruby doesn’t he?”

“Yes thank god!” Neal replies.

“Neal.” Steve hits Neal with his elbow.

Neal smiles. “It’s alright Steve, it’s going to be alright.”

“That is all I need to hear.” Steve replies as he puts his arm around Neal.

 

LATER THAT NIGHT:

 

Neal had went to bed but Steve stayed up a little longer, hanging the rest of his clothes in the closet, putting his stuff away in the bathroom then he decided he needed a glass of milk. He goes into the kitchen and he turns on the light and that is when he sees it. He knows it wasn’t there earlier because they had spent a lot of time in the kitchen, but now, well it was here. Bright as day and bold as brass sitting on the kitchen counter. He hasn’t seen it in awhile and he was afraid to touch it because now it was here and it shouldn’t be here. It had come back from wherever it had went to and in a lot of ways he knows who brought it here.

He walked over to the counter and he picked it up and he looked at it. His hairbrush. The one he kept in his desk drawer at the precinct that had gone missing the day Lydia showed up there. And now here it was. Steve looked around the kitchen then he went over and made sure the back door was locked. Standing there for a few seconds he looked outside then he slowly backed up turning the light off in the kitchen. Then he went thru the house and rechecked all the locks even thou he knew if she wanted to get in she could do it. Then he went back to his room and he shut the door.

 

 

V7V7V7V7V7V7V7V7V7V7

“You know Neal if she hadn’t been dead and if she had had a soul she could have been a hot babe.” Steve replies.

“I can’t believe you would say that and you know what else I can’t believe?”

“What?” Steve asks.

“That you actually had sex with her!” Neal replies.

“Okay look I told you I did that for you. To save you. Besides I was high on that….that stuff.” Steve replies.

“Jimson weed.”

“Yeah whatever. And to think she lied to me! She was planning on killing you anyway.” Steve replies.

“Oh yeah the nerve. To think a woman who didn’t have a soul and worship the devil and who was dead, lied to you. Go figure.” Neal replies.

“You know I still look over my shoulder.” Steve replies.

“I know you do.” Neal replies.

“I still think she’s out there somewhere.”

Before Neal can answer there is a knock on the office door and before they can answer it the door is opened by the cleaning lady.

“Oh I’m sorry I thought everybody had left for the evening, I’ll come back later.”

“Oh no that’s okay we’re leaving. Come on Steve lets go.” Neal tosses Steve his jacket as she comes into the office.

“Have a good night?” Neal asks.

“Oh it’s Maria.” She replies.

“Goodnight Maria.” Neal replies.

“Yes Maria goodnight.” Steve replies as he turns to leave.

“Goodnight to you too….Stephen.”

Steve hesitates for a just a moment then he turns and looks back at her and just for a second, a split second, he thought he saw Lydia.

“Something wrong?” Maria asks as she smiles at him.

“No nothing.” Steve replies as he shuts the door behind him.

 

 

 

 

 

-30-