When Carly awoke from the wild erotic dream in which she was the central figure, Jack was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking concerned. She rubbed her eyes, yawning. “‘Morning, Jack.”
“Good morning, Carly. Sleep okay?”
“Mmm, yes. Something up?”
“Dunno. You were making some strange noises. Claire just sent me through to see if you were okay, or if there was anything you wanted?”
Unable to repress the thought of Jack’s prick, Carly grinned, feeling herself flush.
“Yes, Carly. That especially.” Jack’s tone was dry but he was grinning, too.
“Well, as serious as your sister ever is about anything connected with sex, but yes, seriously.”
Carly flipped back the bedclothes and wriggled back to make room for her brother-in-law. She held up her arms in welcome. “Please,” she murmured.
Jack smiled and stood to discard his robe. When he turned to her, Carly saw that his erection was well on its way to completion.
“Nice one, mister.”
Jack lay beside Carly and took her in his arms, kissing her softly.
“I must have been dreaming of you, Jack, because I’m wet already,” Carly said, pushing him back, “so let’s just fuck, no need for foreplay. I want to feel that monster of yours inside me again.” She spread her legs in invitation.
Jack kissed her again and then moved so that he was between her legs, his erection full, hot and hard. Carly reached down and held him lightly.
“You drive, I’ll navigate,” she said, guiding him into herself as he moved forward, then gasped as she felt Jack’s hardness penetrate her recently-virgin depths. “Oh, yes,” she hissed. “Fuck me, Jack!”
A little while later Claire grinned as she heard her sister’s tight scream from the adjacent bedroom. Well done, husband. Now save some for me. Her hand moved down, her fingers sliding between her spread legs.
* * * * *
Carly was making leisurely lengths of the pool when the doorbell rang, her pussy still tingling from the lovemaking she and Jack had shared less than an hour earlier. She glanced over at Jack, who was lying on a poolside towel, an expression of bliss on his face as Claire rode his erection on a slow journey to ecstasy.
Jack and Claire seemed oblivious of the doorbell. Carly smiled ruefully as she clambered out of the pool, grabbed her robe and went to open the door. The slim blonde woman was familiar.
“Detective Larson. What can I do for you? Is it about the bracelet I’m accused of stealing?”
“I’m afraid it is. May I come in for a moment, Miss Allison?”
Carly stood aside. “Of course.”
In the living-room the detective smiled faintly. “Is Mr. Hansen in? What I have to say is for him, too.”
“If you’ll wait here, I’ll fetch him,” said Carly. She went out to the pool. Claire was riding her husband faster now and as Carly paused Claire gave a quavering, drawn-out moan and collapsed across Jack as he thrust urgently up into her. Carly heard a gasp behind her and spun around. Larson had followed her out and was standing there with a shocked expression on her face. She looked at Carly and a flush spread across her face before she turned on her heel and almost ran back into the house.
Jack and Claire looked up, alarmed.
“Who was that?” Claire looked apprehensive.
“Detective Larson. She wants to see you, Jack,” said Carly, grinning. “I think she already has!”
“Oh, shit!” Claire’s face fell.
“Oops,” said Jack, a rueful look on his face.
Carly hurried back into the house. The detective was standing in the living room, a flush still on her face.
“I’m very sorry, I know you asked me to wait. I thought – well, I…” her voice tailed off.
“It’s all right, Detective,” said Jack, fastening his robe as he came in. “I’m sure we can rely on your discretion.”
“Of course,” said Larson, blushing anew.
“What can we do for you?” Jack asked.
“I was passing this way, so I called rather than telephoning. When I took the bracelet into the precinct on Saturday, I had a word with Captain Peterson. It was my feeling that the card with the bracelet was at odds with Mr. Grant’s accusation of theft.”
“It was a gift,” Carly declared, “although as far as I’m concerned, he can have it!”
“Captain Peterson has asked Mr. Grant to come in to see him about the matter, this afternoon. He’d like Miss Allison there, too, with her lawyer.”
“My wife and I are due to leave at noon on a short business trip, but my sister-in-law will have a lawyer.”
Larson looked from Jack to Carly. “I wanted to be sure that Miss Allison had legal representation.” She paused, frowning. “There’s something not right about this whole accusation.”
“Carly will have a lawyer, don’t worry about that,” said Jack. “There’s something else, too.”
“Yes?” said Larson.
“Carly? Show the detective your brand.”
“Brand?” said Larson, clearly puzzled.
Carly grinned tightly and loosened her robe, throwing it to the couch behind her and raising her arms.
“Who did that?” asked Larson, her whole attention focussed on Carly’s bruising.
“Remember the gift card with the bracelet?” Jack half smiled. “And the embossing?”
“The dolphin. Grant’s ring. Look, it’s unmistakable,” said Jack, pointing to the imprint on Carly’s skin.
Larson studied the bruise carefully for a moment, then straightened. “Do you wish to press charges, Miss Allison?” Her eyes flicked over Carly’s shapely torso as she retrieved her robe.
“I’ll have a word with Captain Peterson,” said Larson, grinning savagely. “I think the meeting this afternoon might be a good time. Oh, but you won’t be there, will you, Mr. Hansen?”
“Don’t worry, Detective Larson, my sister-in-law will have perfectly adequate legal representation, even if I’m not there.” There was a half-smile on Jack’s face which made Larson wonder just who was representing Carly Allison.
“I’m glad,” said Larson. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other matters to attend to. If you could come down to the precinct for two o’clock? Ask for Captain Peterson. He’ll be expecting you.”
“I’ll be there,” said Carly.
“Detective?” said Claire. “I’ll show you out.”
“Carly, love, I think Larson’s on our side,” said Jack. “I’ll just ‘phone Millie and put her in the picture.”
“Just as well you asked her to take Carly’s case,” said Claire, returning from showing Larson out.
Carly and Millie were prompt and arrived at the precinct at five to two that afternoon. The desk sergeant’s eyes flicked over Carly and moved on to Millie. He straightened, smiling.
“Mrs. Kristian! Good to see you.”
“Hi, Joe. How’s Alice?”
“Much better. We’re going to the coast next week to see our new granddaughter.”
“That’s great! Tell Alice I was asking after her.”
“I will. Now, what can I do for you and this young lady?”
“This is Carly Allison, Joe. We’re here to see Captain Peterson.”
“Take a seat, I’ll just buzz through for him.”
A minute or so later Larson came through. “Mr. Grant’s already here. I’m to take you straight in.” She smiled at Millie. “Mr. Hansen said Miss Allison would have adequate legal representation. He wasn’t joking.”
“Jack rarely jokes about the law, Susan. Lead on!”
At Peterson’s office Larson knocked and led them straight in. “Miss Allison, Captain, and Mrs. Kristian, who’s here as Miss Allison’s counsel.”
The captain stood, smiling. “Millie! What brings our former District Attorney into my office again? I thought you’d retired.”
Carly was watching Tony who was affecting to ignore her, but when Peterson said ‘District Attorney’ his eyes flickered.
“I’m here as Miss Allison’s counsel, Charlie,” said Millie, shaking Peterson’s hand. “Nothing more.”
“I hope she can afford you.”
“Pro bono, Charlie. She’s my goddaughter.”
“Ahh,” said Peterson. “Shall we begin? I don’t know if you know Mr. Grant? I’m sure you know his counsel.”
“Mr. Grant,” said Millie politely. “Hello, Tom.” Grant’s counsel nodded.
Peterson reached into his desk drawer and took out the bracelet case. He opened it and passed it to Tony. “Is this the bracelet you reported missing, Mr. Grant?”
Tony looked at the bracelet. “It is.”
“And you missed it when?”
“After Miss Allison left my apartment on Friday morning.”
About to say something, anything, in protest Carly caught Susan Larson’s eye. An almost imperceptible shake of the head stopped her. As she settled back in her seat she suddenly wondered, ‘where is the gift card?’
“Was she there overnight?” Peterson’s tone was neutral.
“She was. We had a disagreement and it’s my belief that she took the bracelet to spite me.”
Peterson nodded and then cocked his head. “That’s an interesting ring you’re wearing, Mr. Grant.”
Tony glanced at his hand. “You like it? I had it custom made.”
“It’s unique, then?”
“Oh, yes. Absolutely.”
“Do you ever use it as a seal?”
“Occasionally.” A faint frown crossed Tony’s face.
“Did you use it for this?” said Peterson, sliding the gift card to Tony.
Tony looked at the card. “Yes.”
“This gift card was in the bracelet case, Mr. Grant. The case that you say Miss Alllison stole.” Peterson’s voice was cold.
“Perhaps so, but I gave Miss Allison that card with a bottle of champagne on her birthday. Not with the bracelet.”
“You lying bastard!” Carly cried, but subsided when Millie touched her arm.
“Larson?” said Peterson.
“You opened the bracelet case at Mr. Hansen’s house?”
“And the card was inside?”
“Yes, sir. Under the bracelet.”
“Has Mr. Grant ever given you champagne for your birthday, Miss Allison?” said Peterson.
“Yes, but not with a gift card. Look at it! There’s no hole for a ribbon to fasten it to the bottle!”
“The card was inside the gift wrapping-paper,” said Tony smoothly, a cold little smile on his face. “Captain, if the bracelet is returned to me, I would like for this matter to be dropped. I will have my property back. I have no wish to press charges against Miss Allison.”
“Very noble of you, Mr. Grant, I’m sure. Miss Allison? Mrs. Kristian?”
“That bracelet was given to me as a gift,” Carly snarled. “Let the bastard have it back. I wouldn’t touch it now.”
“And if it was given to Miss Allison as a gift, you have made false accusations, Mr. Grant,” Millie said quietly.
“I have made no false accusations,” said Tony indignantly.
“I suppose you didn’t handcuff Miss Allison to the bed and beat her black and blue after she refused your advances, either?” Millie’s voice was mild.
When the import of Millie’s words reached Tony Grant, he sprang to his feet. “Of course not. Captain, are you going to listen to this nonsense?” Grant’s face was a mask of outrage.
He’s a better actor than I imagined, Carly thought, angered at the lie.
Peterson’s voice was cold. “Mr. Grant, if Mrs. Kristian is talking nonsense it will be the first time in the twenty-odd years that I have known her. Millie?”
“Your ring’s unique, is it, Mr. Grant?” said Millie, still in the same mild tone.
“You heard me say so,” Grant said, resuming his seat.
Millie nodded. “I just wanted to be sure.” She smiled and opened her voluminous purse. Extracting a manila envelope she handed it to Peterson. “I think you should see these, Charlie.”
Peterson sat back and opened the envelope, taking out the photographs and flicking through them, holding them so that neither Tony nor his counsel could see them. He glanced at Millie. “Genuine?”
“Absolutely. I saw the marks myself.”
“So did I, Captain,” said Larson.
“My affidavit is on the back of the pictures, Charlie.”
“I saw it, Millie.” Peterson laid the photographs face down in front of him. “Mr. Grant? If the bracelet is returned to you, you will make no charge against Miss Allison?”
“The bracelet was a gift, but I would feel soiled if I touched it again. He can have it, and welcome. I never want to see him nor hear from him again. Ever.”
Peterson nodded sadly. “I’m sorry you had to go through this, Miss Allison. Frankly, I believe you – sit down, Mr. Grant – and you may go now. Thank you for coming. Millie, always good to see you.”
“Party next Sunday, Charlie. Bring Judy.”
“I will. ‘Bye for now. Mr. Grant, sit down. We’re not finished.” The door closing behind them cut off whatever Tony was saying.
“Sure about the bracelet, honey?” asked Millie.
“God, yes!” Carly shuddered. “I would feel dirty wearing it again. Is that it?”
“So far as the bracelet’s concerned, yes. Charlie won’t let Grant mention it again. Of course, we may have to testify at a trial.”
“Grant’s. For assault. They were your pictures in the envelope.”
“I thought they were. Yahoo!” yelled Carly, startling two patrolmen, a nanny pushing a baby buggy and several pigeons. “Come on, Aunt Millie, I’ll buy you a coffee.”
* * * * *
Late that afternoon, alone in the Hansen house, Carly was pottering about in the kitchen, wondering what to do for her evening meal, when the doorbell chimed.
“Susan! I mean, Detective Larson. Come in, please.”
“Susan’s fine, if I can call you Carly.”
“Of course. Is something wrong?”
“Not for you, Carly.” Larson shrugged. “I just thought you’d like to know. Captain Peterson arrested Grant for assault. He’s in custody at the moment, although he’ll probably be out on bail before midnight.” She frowned.
“But?” said Carly.
“He almost went berserk, yelling and cursing. He doesn’t like you, Carly.”
Carly snorted. “The feeling’s mutual.”
“Are you alone here? Every time I called before your sister and brother-in-law were here.” Larson’s tone was rueful.
Carly laughed. “Tonight, yes, I’m alone. Jack and Claire are back tomorrow.”
Larson pondered for a moment, lower lip caught between her teeth. “There’s something about Grant, something I don’t like at all.” She touched Carly’s hand. “I probably shouldn’t do this, and it’s completely unofficial, but what I’d like to do is go home and get a change of clothes, then stay here overnight. Just in case.”
Carly smiled. “I’d welcome the company. Do you like spaghetti and meatballs?”
“I love it!”
“It’ll be ready when you get back.”
Larson was back within the hour. “Can I put my car in the garage? Out of sight?”
“Sure. Here’s the remote for the door. I’ll serve while you’re parking. We’re eating in the kitchen – there’s a door straight from the garage.”
“Back in a moment!”
Susan Larson gave a graphic demonstration of a hungry woman and cleared her plate easily. She sat back, content. “Carly, that was wonderful! Best I’ve tasted since my Grandma died.”
“Glad you liked it. I’m not the world’s greatest cook, but that one I can manage!”
“Better than I can. It’s usually microwave or take-away for me. Peril of the working girl.”
Carly snorted. “Tell me about it.” She looked at the policewoman sharing the kitchen with her. Hair pulled back in a simple ponytail, tee-shirt and jeans, without makeup she looked about nineteen.
“Can I ask a personal question?” said Carly.
“How old are you?”
“Twenty-two. You look younger than me.”
Larson chuckled. “You look younger than you, too.” She grimaced and stretched. “I feel about sixty-two.”
“Yeah, I’ve been working hard on a drugs bust. We got them this morning but the paperwork gets more every week.”
“What’s it like, being a cop?”
“I love it,” Larson declared. “My Dad was a cop, my granddad was a cop.”
Carly laughed. “Family business!” She got up and began to clear the dishes.
“Hey. Let me help.”
“The dishwasher does the work. I just load it.”
“I must get me one of those. Can’t afford it at the moment. My roommate moved out and I’ve got the rent due.” Larson busied herself gathering dishes and cutlery.
“Are you looking for another roommate? I need to find a place. My last place was owned by Tony Grant’s firm and I moved out.” Carly made a face. “I need to find a job as well.”
Larson stared at her for a moment, then smiled. “Okay. Three months trial to see if we suit each other. How’s that?”
“Sounds great. Where is your place? What’s it like?”
“You know the old warehouse on Fifth and Vine?
“I think so, yes.”
“Well, I have half of one floor, the fourth, overlooking Vine. Two bedrooms, one at each end so they’re well out of earshot of each other if you have visitors.” She grinned. “Kitchen, two bathrooms and a huge living room that looks really minimalist because I haven’t much furniture. The best thing is it has its own parking garage and if I need to I can walk to work in less than ten minutes. Most days, of course, I need a car.”
“It sounds like a fun place. When can I see it?”
“How about tomorrow. I actually have the day off.” Larson made an exaggerated grimace of delight.
Carly laughed. “Tomorrow it is. How about tonight?”
“What about tonight?”
“Anything you want to do? Watch TV? Play gin rummy?”
“I think some mindless TV or a video would be just about ideal. Have you anything that’s fun and doesn’t need concentration?”
“Galaxy Quest? Sigourney Weaver in a blond wig and a push-up bra?”
“I’ll just make some coffee.”
They watched the science-fiction comedy in amiable company, chatting idly with one eye on the film, discovering similar tastes in books and music. When the film finished Carly glanced out of the window. The sun was low now in the summer evening sky, but there was still plenty of light. She turned to Susan Larson.
“Would you like to have a swim before bed?”
Susan smiled. “That would be wonderful, except,” she stopped and made a face. “No suit.”
“I could lend you one, but we usually just skinny-dip here. No-one can see in.”
“Come on, Susan. There’s only you and me here. Jack and Claire won’t be back until late tomorrow.” She smiled suddenly.
“What?” said Susan.
“You saw the news. It’s National Nude Day. Skinny-dipping is compulsory!”
Susan laughed. “Okay, you convinced me. Where do I change?”
“You can – either use your room, change – in the cabana or just – leave your clothes here with mine.” Carly was stripping as she spoke and finished the sentence as she stepped out of her panties.
Susan Larson eyed Carly’s bruises again and reached out a gentle hand. “Nothing broken?”
“No. I guess I was lucky. The bastard hit me hard. Curious. Not my face.”
“I’ve seen the type before. Usually wife-beaters. If the face isn’t marked the woman can pretend nothing happened and her friends might never know.” She shook her head. “I hate men like that.”
Carly grinned tightly. “At least I found out before I was a wife.”
“Were you going to marry Grant?”
“He never asked. I might have considered it, if he had. Now, I know better. Come on, Susan, get naked. I feel conspicuous.”
Susan grinned and skinned her tee-shirt off over her head. Carly gasped.
“Oops, sorry. I forgot about that.” Susan took the snub-nosed Detective Special from its place in the small of her back and tucked it under a cushion on the couch. “I’ll get it later.”
She was soon naked and Carly absently admired the trimly-toned body of her new friend. Something caught Carly’s eye and she reached out. “What’s that?”
Susan looked down at the scar on her thigh. “Bullet hole. Four years ago. It hurt like hell.” She smiled at Carly. “Tell you about it later. Swim?”
“Swim. Come on.” Carly took Susan’s hand and the women walked out to the pool together.
They spent about half an hour in the water and it was almost dark when they clambered out and dried themselves. Carly took two towelling robes from the cabana and gave Susan one. “Just wear that until bedtime. Would you like a nightcap?”
“Scotch on the rocks?”
“Coming up.” Carly busied herself with whisky and ice and passed a glass to Susan, taking a similar one for herself.
“Here’s to a successful prosecution,” said Susan, raising her glass in toast.
“I’ll definitely drink to that.” Carly raised her own glass.
They chatted idly for a while until Carly caught herself in a yawn. “Bedtime.”
“Yeah. Guess so. Where do I sleep?”
“Upstairs, second on the right. Or you can come in with me. The bed’s plenty big enough.”
Susan hesitated. “It’s only one night. If I come in with you the sheets don’t need changing in the other room.”
Carly nodded. “It’s up to you.”
“If you’re sure you don’t mind?”
“Of course not, or I wouldn’t have suggested it.”
“I usually sleep naked.”
“So do I.”
Ten minutes later they were in Carly’s big bed together. The lights were out but the full moon through the drapes gave just enough light to see more than vague shapes. Carly was restless and didn’t know why. She turned over yet again, facing Susan.
“Can’t sleep?” A quiet voice in the darkness.
“Just restless, I think. Sorry, Susan.”
“It’s okay. I’m wide awake, too. Missing the Hansens?”
“Yeah, they’ve been great. Of course, Claire’s supposed to be. She’s my sister.”
Susan chuckled. “Family.”
“They certainly seem comfortable…. ” Susan broke off. “Sorry, none of my business.”
“Comfortable with me? You’re right.” Carly chuckled. “You saw how comfortable this morning.”
“God, I am so sorry about that. I should have stayed in the living room as you asked.”
“No harm done. Jack’s been great.”
“He was my first,” said Carly in a thoughtful tone.
“First what? Oh!”
“Yes, my first lover.”
“Before he married your sister?”
“No, on Saturday.”
There was a gasp from the detective. “Carly, are you sure you wanted to tell me that?”
Carly reached out and took the detective’s hand, squeezing her fingers. “Yes. I trust you.”
“I have an ulterior motive.”
“And what is that?”
“I want to make love to you.”
There was another gasp beside her. “I’m not a lesbian, Carly,” Susan said quietly.
“Neither am I. If I had any doubts, Jack’s prick drove them away on Saturday.”
“Sometimes it’s good just to hold on to something soft.”
There was a quiet chuckle beside her. “Have you ever made love to a woman, Carly?”
“Yes, but not really since college.”
Carly giggled. “I’ve eaten Claire out a couple of times since I’ve been here, but Jack’s prick has been in my pussy at the same time, so they don’t count, do they?”
“Of course not,” Susan responded dryly. She sighed.
“What is it?”
“I’ve wondered,” said Susan. “I have a couple of lesbian friends; one’s a fellow officer. Sometimes I’ve wondered….”
“What it would be like?”
“Why don’t we find out?”
Time stopped. A whisper in the night. “Okay.”
Carly reached for the older woman, sliding an arm under her neck. She looked down at Susan, who gazed back at her, eyes enormous in the dark. Carly gently rested her hand on Susan’s belly, then began stroking in small circles, gradually widening the circles, gently cupping Susan’s breast.
There was a soft moan and Carly slowly, slowly moved so that her hand covered Susan’s nipple, hard against her palm. She let her hand drift down into the valley between Susan’s breasts and up to the far peak, her mouth following her hand to the summit of the first, suckling gently on Susan’s nipple, firm between her lips. She let her teeth gently grasp the nub and Susan gasped. “Yes!” hissed from between her lips.
Slowly, Carly let her lips trail up Susan’s body, to her throat, making little nipping kisses all the way. She kissed up over Susan’s chin, pausing, little kisses everywhere, except…. Eventually, slowly, teasing, taunting, Carly brought her lips to Susan’s. The kiss was gentle at first, almost friendly, mouths almost closed, warm lips against warm lips, but gradually it changed, becoming fiercer, demanding, tongues exploring, duelling, breathing quickening, lungs demanding air to fan the building fires, the moment taking them both until suddenly, violently, Susan broke the kiss, gasping for air, staring wildly into Carly’s eyes, her chest heaving.
Carly reached out her hand, gently stroking Susan’s cheek. Susan turned her head quickly and kissed Carly’s palm, then brought her hand up to hold it against her face. She smiled up at Carly, eyes smoky in the darkness. Her other hand came up and drew Carly’s head down towards her, eyes locked.
“Yes, Carly, yes,” Susan whispered. “I want it.”
Carly smiled, laying a quick soft kiss on Susan’s lips, then began kissing her way down Susan’s body, worshipping her breasts, kissing and sucking each nipple, Susan’s hands pressing her head against her breasts. She moved down, licking across Susan’s belly, kissing it, her stiffened tongue briefly exploring Susan’s navel, making her giggle. She reached Susan’s pubic patch, neatly trimmed, the hairs springy-soft against her face. She could smell Susan now, the rich, warm, complex smell of a woman in heated need. A wriggle took Carly down the bed and she buried her face in Susan’s groin, breathing deeply of her lover’s arousal.
Carly lifted her body, easing a knee between Susan’s legs, which opened for her, Susan’s knees moving out, flat against the bed, spreading herself for her lover. Carly licked delicately at Susan’s pussy, slick lips now freely coated with her emissions, the salt-sweet liquid tangy on Carly’s tongue, heated, flowing.
Susan was panting, her breathing hurried, heavy, sweat beading her brow in the summer night, faint moans coming from her mouth in rhythm with her breathing. Carly flattened her tongue and swept it up the length of Susan’s slit. Susan cried out, almost a howl, gasping now for breath and Carly opened her mouth and delicately took Susan’s clitoris between her teeth. Susan screamed, her belly rippling, her knees clamping on Carly’s head, shaking, trembling as she shuddered in climax, a wordless moan surging in Carly’s ears.
Gradually the trembling stopped and Carly eased herself from between Susan’s legs. She moved up the bed and Susan’s eyes fixed on hers.
“Thank you,” she whispered, her eyes heavy. “I want to do it to you.”
“Later,” Carly murmured, kissing Susan lightly.
Susan’s eyes closed. “Yes, later,” she whispered.
“Susan?” Carly whispered, then smiled. Susan was asleep.
Something woke Carly and she lay, disoriented for a moment by the body against her, then smiled when she remembered. Susan was still asleep, snoring gently, a dimly-seen smile on her face in the darkness. Again Carly thought she heard something. Had she left a window open? Was it a cat? A bird?
“Well, well, well. What have we here?” The familiar voice was cruel, mocking. The beam of a torch lanced into Carly’s eye then moved to Susan, struggling awake. A laugh. “I do believe it’s my two most favorite women in all the world.” Susan moved suddenly, hurling herself towards her purse at the bedside. A shot cracked out and Carly screamed. Susan froze.
“Carly, dear, pass the police bitch’s purse to me, there’s a good girl.”
Trembling, Carly moved over Susan and took the purse, tossing it towards Grant’s voice.
“Thank you, dear. Now what was it your police bitch friend wanted in her purse? I wonder. Could it be? Ah, yes. She wanted her little gun. Well, I think I’ll just keep it.”
Gun? thought Carly, Susan’s gun’s still downstairs.
“I don’t know what you think you’re doing, Grant, but you’ll never get away with it.” Susan’s voice was level, calm.
“Oh, I think I will. So nice of you both to be naked, saves me the bother of undressing you. A little lover’s tiff, perhaps? You shoot Carly and then kill yourself in remorse?” Grant laughed, an edge in his voice that made Carly suddenly cold. “Both of you, stand up, hands on your head.”
Carly hesitated but Susan stood, poised, hands on her head, and Carly followed her lead. Grant gestured with the gun in his hand.
“Downstairs. You first, Detective Larson. Any funny business and your pretty little lover gets a bullet in the head. Switch the lights on as you go.” He laughed, a snigger that caused Carly to tremble. “I’d hate you to fall down the stairs now, wouldn’t I?”
Susan moved away, fumbling as she went for the unfamiliar switches.
“What’s the matter Detective bitch, can’t you find a light switch? Not much of a detective, are you?”
“It’s the first time I’ve been up here, asshole,” Susan replied calmly.
“Keep moving. Into the living room.” Quick anger in Grant’s tone.
Susan led the way into the living-room, pausing beside the couch. Grant gestured with the gun. “Over there on the couch and sit down, Carly. Move, and your police bitch lover gets it in her head. You, detective, over there,” he said, pointing to an armchair.
The women sat down. Carly was sitting towards one end of the couch. She slid her fingers into the gap between the seat cushions, her eyes on Grant all of the time. He seemed restless, his eyes flicking between them.
“Do you honestly think you’re going to get away with this, Grant? You must be really stupid if you think that!” Susan’s tone was taunting, for she had seen the stealthy movement of Carly’s hand and was trying to keep his attention away from her.
“Lesbian tryst? Jealous lover? Of course I’ll get away with it.”
“I don’t think so, Grant. We’re both known as heterosexual. We shared a bed because we thought you might turn up, so that we could chat, and so that I could protect Carly. I fell asleep and I failed.” Susan’s tone was bitter.
Carly had found the gun under the cushion. Susan’s eyes flicked towards her and she nodded.
“You failed. Ahh, diddums. Did the nasty man stop you?” Grant’s tone was a sickly parody of sympathy.
Susan leapt to her feet. “Stop me? Of course not. Not when he’s on the case,” she said dramatically, pointing towards the doorway.
It would have taken a man of considerably more self-control than Grant not to glance towards the doorway. Carly slid the gun out from under the cushion and converted the movement into an underarm throw. Susan caught the revolver, flicked off the safety and dropped into a shooter’s stance in one smooth movement.
“Drop the gun, Grant,” she yelled.
Startled, he whirled back towards her, his gun coming up, shock on his face as he saw the gun in Susan’s hands.
“Drop it,” she yelled again but he was still bringing the gun up into a firing position. She fired, the bullet taking him high in the chest. He stumbled back, shock mingling with rage in his face.
“Drop the gun, Grant, it’s over.”
With a tremendous effort Grant brought his gun up but before he could use it Susan fired again. Grant stared at her, his mouth working but no sound coming from it, then he dropped to his knees, staring at his pistol, but his heart was pumping blood through two massive holes into his chest and his strength was disappearing fast. His head turned towards Carly and he stared at her, but there was no recognition in his eyes as he fell forwards onto the floor.
Cautiously, Susan moved forward and prized the gun from Grant’s unresisting fingers. She put her fingers to the pulse in his throat, then looked up at Carly, shaking her head.
“He’s dead,” she said quietly. “Why?”
“Why’d he do it? What in hell’s name did he hope to gain?”
Susan laughed, short and hard. “Anything happening to you after the beating he gave you and he’s the obvious suspect.” She looked down at the corpse. “Stupid man.”
“Thanks for saving my life.” Carly’s voice was shaky as reaction set in.
Susan’s shoulders slumped as she let herself relax. “Thank you, too, Carly. I think you saved my ass as well as your own with that throw.”
Carly’s face was rueful. “I didn’t know what to press or anything on the gun. It had to be you.” She looked at her friend. “What qualities do they look for in a policewoman?”
Susan looked at her, and a crooked grin appeared on her face. “Intelligence, quick thinking and a cool head in a bad situation. Thinking of joining us?”
Carly nodded, smiling. “Yeah. A friend’s offered me a place to stay, but I need an income to pay my share of the expenses.”
Susan laughed. “I think you’d be good. Better put some clothes on, Carly, I have to call this in.”
Carly looked around. “And I have to explain the damage to Jack and Claire.”
“I think they’ll be glad to have you in one piece, Carly. I am.”