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4: Too Cheap To Buy Me Dinner

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The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. 

~H. P. Lovecraft

~**~~**~

Squinting into the dark, Thomas stood by the Commander's vehicle; his palms were sweating and his breath coming in short gasps.

His regulation handgun, clutched in a death grip, was shaking so badly he probably couldn't hit a target point blank. It wasn't his fault though; he had never drawn it on the job. Just at the old run down shooting range on the brink of town. And even then, he barely survived the blowback.

When the Commander had drawn his own weapon and ventured into the house, Thomas had skittered down the steps like greased lightning. Only when he was in the safety of the street did he realize that he had left his commanding officer behind.

The drizzle outside had stopped, but the musty smell of wet grass still loomed, saturating the air, filling Thomas with extreme dread. Anxiety was creeping in and Thomas didn't know how to fight it. He was just about to make a run for it. . .

"Stand down Officer; the situation is under control."

Jack limped down the steps, walking bowlegged. With a grimace of pain adorning his face, he guided someone with a hand on the shoulder.

As they drew closer, Thomas realized it was a woman.

She was a lithe figure, covered in black from head to toe, becoming opaque in the surrounding darkness. Her face was the only thing illuminated in the shadows, revealing chiseled cheekbones and glossy skin. But it was her eyes that drew him in. They were glowing brightly under the stars and Thomas swore that if he looked close enough, he could see hidden galaxies.

When Jack abruptly cleared his throat, Thomas broke free from the alluring spell as his eyes shifted to the silver handcuffs accessorizing her covered wrists.

"Is she. . . is she the perp. I mean. . . unSub, is she the unSub?" Thomas stuttered, wide-eyed.

"I dunno, Officer," Jack declared. "but I intend to find out."

~**~~**~

V.C. sat in the back of the squad car and hung her hands over the median consul. She leaned over towards the driver's seat and faced Jack

"Is this really necessary? I mean, handcuffs? Geez, are you going to frisk me next? C'mon Commander, if I wanted to escape, I would have been gone by now."

"Yes. It is necessary. You broke into my crime scene."

"That's funny, I didn't see your name on it." She retorted, a smile hanging from her lips.

V.C. could almost hear him roll his eyes as he snapped back at her, "Fine. Let me start over. You're a criminal. Criminals get cuffed. End of story."

She breathed out and indignantly asked, "You can't really believe that I had anything to do with this murder, do you?!"

Jack took his eyes off the road and twisted in his seat to look at V.C. "And just how did you know there was a murder?"

V.C. shrugged. "It obviously wasn't a break-in or you wouldn't have been called. The only reason you would have left HQ is if there was a chance for action. And what says action more than murder?"

"Fine. Then why were you trespassing?"

"I. . .uh. . . got lost."

"You got lostin Rinshawn? The two horse town where one of those horses is dead?"

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