“Who’s the foxy lady, Jimmy?” one of the cops in the squad room, a grinning rookie, asked his captain and Jimmy turned in the direction of the
young man’s gawking.
When he saw Reggie hurrying down the back hall, her long, wavy hair bouncing against her perfectly straight back, he frowned. “What the hell,
” he started saying and then quickly realized just what Reggie was really up to. Reggie the reporter for crying out loud!
“Hey!” he yelled, and, knowing that he was toast if Robb saw her walk through that door in the middle of an interrogation, made a run for it.
was she doing in there. Gaffney turned away from Wilcox and started screaming for her was she doing in there. Gaffney turned away from
Wilcox and started screaming for her to get out and get out now. Reggie was yelling that she had a right to be there, that she had to see for
herself the man who murdered her brother. Wilcox was yelling that they had the wrong dude, that he would never do anything like that to Mike
Reynolds. Jimmy Glenn raced in yelling that Reggie knew better than to just barge in on an interrogation. And Robb . . .
interrogation. And Robb . . .
His breath caught the moment Reggie entered his orbit again. He was still in the adjacent room, still staring at the interrogation through the one-
way mirror, when his world tilted. It had been so long, so many years, that just seeing her again took his breath away. Everybody were
screaming, but the voices were clogging up into gibberish, because Robb couldn’t take his eyes off of her.
He stared at her, at her smooth, deep-toned brown skin, her long, thick, wavy hair, her big brown eyes the color of grain. Her hair was loose,
hanging down her back in waves of black glory, and even in her feistiness, as she matched Gaffney yell for yell, as she stood toe to toe with his
toughest cop, there was no human being on the face of this earth who could have looked more radiant, nor more vulnerable, to Robb. His heart
hammered against his chest.
He came out of his stupor, however, when Finch became tired of all of this back and forth and angrily grabbed Reggie by the arm. Robb
snatched open the door, then, and stepped into the chaos. Everybody stopped cold when he walked into the room, and even Finch had the
good sense to remove his hand from Reggie.
Reggie’s heart lurched when Robb walked in, as that comfortable, familiar feeling overtook her. But his stern, all-business look kept her from
falling apart, from breaking down in tears before his very eyes.
“Take him back to his cell,” Robb ordered Gaffney and Gaffney, although not thrilled at all by these turn of events, grabbed Wilcox and did as
he was instructed. Finch followed Gaffney out, and Jimmy and Robb kept their eyes on the suspect as they went.
Reggie, however, watched Robb. He was immaculately dressed the way he always used to be, his athletic body still rippled with muscles, his
handsome face still seared with intensity. She could barely believe that after all this time, after all those dreams, she was in the same room with
And even under these horrific circumstances, where the last thing that needed to be on her mind was some unrequited love, her heart still
managed to quiver at just the sight of him. He looked older to her now, those lines of age beginning to show prominently on the sides of his
large, blue eyes, but no-one could have looked better.
“I tried to stop her, Chief,” Jimmy said to Robb when the others had gone.
Robb turned and looked at Jimmy. “It’s all right.”
“She wanted coffee, I went to get the coffee, and then she was gone. Planned it all along.”
Reggie was offended by the comment. “I apologize for coming in here, Jimmy,” she said, “I was wrong for that. But I didn’t plan anything. I
just wanted to find out what happened to my brother.”
“I told you you couldn’t come back here.”
“And I told you I needed to know what happened to my brother.”
“Truth at all costs all over again, is that it?” Jimmy asked her. “No matter who gets hurt?”
Reggie felt as if she had just been slapped. Did Jimmy think of her that way, too? Did he actually believe she wrote that article about her father’
s corruption so that she could get ahead? “What are you saying?” she asked him, astonished that he would think it, too.
“That’ll be all, Jimmy,” Robb interrupted, realizing Reggie’s hurt.
“Look, Reggie, I didn’t mean — ” Jimmy started to say, but Robb interrupted again.
“Jimmy,” he said.
Jimmy let out a sigh of frustration. He hated what he’d just said to Reggie, but he also knew that he couldn’t take it back. “Want me to take
her with me?” he asked Robb, knowing the answer before he asked the question.
“No,” Robb replied unabashedly, and Jimmy nodded, figuring as much.
“Reggie, I,” he started again, but then he looked at Robb, saw that look on his face, and left.
Robb began walking around the interrogation room, his hand rubbing the back of his neck as if relieving tension, his other hand in his pant
pocket as if he was truly not up for all of this drama, and Reggie suddenly didn’t know where to begin. Was he on her side as she had hoped,
or would he, in the interest of election year politicking, string her along? Did he really want to find out what happened to her brother or was this
sudden incarceration of some thug like Wilcox all about announcing a speedy arrest to avoid any unnecessary questions?
She thought she’d know every answer as soon as she looked into his eyes. But when he came into that interrogation room, and she had the
opportunity to take that look, she saw nothing. No affection for her, no grief for her brother. Nothing. And it scared her. Had she been that
wrong about him? Had she been that blinded by her heart?
He walked around the room nearly three full times, the sound of his expensive shoes clanging down on the hardwood floor, until he finally
stopped directly beside her. He had the smell of a rich aftershave fragrance, that same fragrance she used to awaken from sleep certain that she
had sniffed once again, and it took all she had not to reach out and touch him.
“When did you get in town?” he asked and looked at her. When she returned his gaze his heart pounded against his chest.
“I just got in town.”
“And you came right over?”
“Of course I did. I want to know what’s going on.”
“Didn’t go to your sister’s house?”
“No. She’s. . . I tried to call her after I got the news but she’s still not interested in talking to me. I’m still lower than a snake in her eyes.”
Reggie looked away when she said this, unable to hide the hurt that such a reality still carried. When she looked back at Robb, his eyes were
filled with concern.
“Phil, what happened to Mike?” she asked him.
Robb exhaled. “I told you what happened.”
“You told me what you think happened. What have you found out?”
“I’m sure Jimmy has filled you in.”
“But why this Wilcox guy, Phil? That’s who you actually believe killed Mike?”
“He’s a suspect, yes.”
“But he’s some small-time crack dealer.”
“And he’s a crack dealer!”
“I see. So crack dealers don’t commit murders now?”
“That’s not what I’m saying.”
“Crack dealers are the perpetrators of more violent crime in this community than any other criminal I’ve ever run across, young lady. Don’t
you forget that.”
“I’m not forgetting anything,” Reggie said as if she was annoyed that he didn’t seem to understand. “But he said he didn’t do it. He said he
would never do anything like that to Mike.”
“And you believe him?”
“Yes. I mean no. I mean I don’t know what to believe. I just want the truth.”
Robb’s looked at Reggie and his heart squeezed. “We all want the truth,” he said to her. “But you have got to let us figure that truth out.”
“Figure it out how? By that detective of yours beating a fake confession out of him?”
“Don’t even go there, Reggie.”
“But he said he didn’t do it, Phil!”
“What do you expect him to say? He’s a drug dealer, Regina!” Robb’s temper flared and he was immediately regretful. He wanted to
apologize, he knew how awful this was for her, but he didn’t.
Reggie was hoping for that apology, for some semblance of concern from this man. But she didn’t wait long. “What if he’s not the one?” she
asked. “What if the real killer’s still out there and you’re wasting precious time on him?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“But what if it’s true, Phil? What if you have the wrong man? He’s just a thug, he’s never even been arrested before for something like this.”
“Jimmy told you that, too?”
“Are you still investigating? Are you still considering other suspects?”
She asked these questions pointedly, her eyes riveted on Robb. Robb, however, sighed, knowing the deal; knowing that his investigation would
be what the politics of the day dictated that it would be, and it sickened him. “Don’t worry about the investigation, all right?”
Reggie shook her head in disgust. “How can you do this, Phil? How can you do this to me?”
This hurt Robb, she could see it in the sudden flash in his eyes. “This case isn’t over yet, okay?” he said. “You’ve got to trust me.”
“Somebody killed my brother,” she said sadly. “Somebody ended the life of my brother, Phil. Don’t you understand what’s happening here?
Somebody killed Mike. He didn’t deserve that, he wasn’t some animal, I don’t care what kind of labels you try to put on him. That’s my
brother they killed. My brother, Phil. You’ve got to work harder on this one.”
Robb’s heart dropped. The pain in Reggie’s eyes stunned him, as her tears began to flow. He didn’t hesitate another second and immediately
pulled her into his warm, muscular arms. She buried her face in his chest and cried aloud for the first time since he’d told her the news. And he
let her cry with all the wrenching pain her sobs suggested. He pulled her closer and held onto her tighter. He knew what people around town
were saying about him. He knew that they were claiming he was this racist who harbored ill-will towards all blacks because of what some
punks in New York had done to him. He knew how they were claiming that he was also this ladies man who had more females than he could
Truth was, he refused to indict an entire community for what a couple of thugs had done and he left New York so that it wouldn’t even become
an issue. He admitted he had nothing but hate in his heart for the men who had murdered his wife, and he seriously considered hunting them
down and hurting them badly. But that was why he left New York even without an arrest in the case being made. He had to bury the hate. He
had to get away from the hate. And he believed, inasmuch as he could, he did.
And as for his player rep, truth was stranger than fiction again. Because holding Reggie now, holding her tightly in his arms, represented the
first time that he had held a woman since his wife died nearly nine years ago. The very first time. It had been so long, so terminably long, that
Reggie’s softness, her frailness, startled him.
He rested his chin on her soft hair and closed his eyes. He wanted to tell her that it was all right, and that she had nothing to worry about now,
but he couldn’t allow himself to say it. Because it wasn’t all right, and she had everything to worry about. Mike could not have died at a worse
time, not during this election season, and all of her concerns were as valid as they were heartbreaking. That was why, instead of filling her with
false hope, he held her tighter, and let her cry in peace.
When she was publicly vilified for writing that story about county corruption that ultimately led to her father’s suicide, his heart broke for her
then, too. He must have phoned her every day, to make sure she was all right, but he never went beyond those phone calls. He never showed
her anything more than professional courtesy. He had a quiet, simple life, a life that didn’t involve attachments of any kind anymore, and he
aimed to keep it that way.
That was why, when her family’s public disowning of her became too great, and she came to the station to tell him and Jimmy that she was
leaving Honor for good, he couldn’t take it. He left through the back of the building and drove away, leaving Jimmy to explain that he had a
sudden engagement. She was a part of Robb, an undiscovered, secret piece of his puzzle, and it disturbed him mightily.
Now she was back. And crying nearly uncontrollably in his arms, as her small body shook with grief. And just like four years ago, when she
was a fresh-faced, twenty-four-year-old who’d sit in his office for hours telling him everything there was to tell about her short life when they
were supposed to be talking about some recent arrest, he still couldn’t figure out what in the world was he going to do with her
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