When Evangeline woke up the next morning, John was already gone. He left her a note indicating that he would be at the station for a few hours. She glanced at the night table on her side of the bed and looked at the dozen blood-red roses. The scent of them tickled her senses as she took a deep breath. Thoughts of John McBain and his tender loving care brought a smile to her face.
The phone rang and she glanced at it with a groan, before answering it.
“Hi, Nora. I’m so sorry I didn’t call you last night.”
“No, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry that Daniel hurt you.”
“I’m just glad he didn’t hurt you. I should have come to you with my worries, but I wanted to be sure first.” Evangeline would have wanted her best friend to tell her if John was potentially involved in something questionable. In this case, she just hadn’t thought what she would want would be for the best.
“You did the right thing. I can’t be mad at you for going with your gut. I just hope this doesn’t hurt our friendship.”
“Absolutely not. You’re my best friend. That doesn’t change.”
“Good, so I can come over and check on you this evening?”
“Sure. In fact, I’d be upset if you didn’t.”
As Evangeline set the phone back in the cradle, she thought back to the conversations she’d had with Nora over the past few weeks. They’d talked about how Nora and Daniel weren’t connecting, and Evangeline couldn’t help but compare Nora and Daniel to her and John. Nora and Daniel had looked so happy at their wedding and then everything changed. One minute, he was giving a beautiful toast at his wedding; the next, he was covering up a homosexual affair because of his political career. Even though, Nora was sleeping with him, she didn’t know him.
Evangeline sometimes felt that way about John. She knew there were things he wasn’t ready to talk about; that he had feelings for Natalie that he hadn’t admitted to her and maybe even himself. Evangeline also knew that those feelings didn’t have anything to do with her. He was with her because he wanted to be. That knowledge and the fact that she loved him kept her from running in the other direction, when maybe it would have been easier to.
At the station, John was briefing his officers before he went back home.
“Okay, everybody here knows what happened yesterday. In the future, understand that you do not take orders from Ms. Williamson. I know that many of you know and respect her, but she is not in charge of this unit. If any of you find yourself taking orders from her again, please ask her for a job, because you will need one. Now on to the KC killer, we still don’t have anymore information on him. It looks like we’ll just have to wait until he makes another move. Oh, by the way, for all of you who wanted to send Evangeline your wishes, thank you. Now, get out there and save some lives.”
John knew that his guys were pressed and he hated to admit it, but he might have to call in some assistance from the FBI. As a result of the Sun article, they were getting nonstop calls with information; most of it bogus. He knew from experience that the FBI could eliminate the bogus information quickly. Maybe he would just make an unofficial call to a friend at the Bureau in the next couple of days.
As John was packing his briefcase, his phone rang.
“John, it’s Michael.”
“Hey, Mikey. What’s up?”
“I just had a run-in with Hayes, Marcie’s agent. He said something to me that made me think. He said something about the boiling oil murder increasing book sales and too bad it wasn’t that Buchanan girl. Did you guys release that the waitress was killed that way or that the killer might’ve been after Natalie?”
“No, we didn’t. Did you ask Marcie about it?”
“Yep, she didn’t tell him.”
“I’ll have an Officer pick him up. Can you come down to the station and give a statement?”
“Sure, but I’m surprised. You’re letting another officer pick up a suspect.”
“Yeah, I’m learning that I can’t protect the world. I gotta learn to trust my guys to do their job. When they bring him in, I’ll question him.”
“Hey, thanks bro.”
“Thank you, Mikey. I’ll let you know what we find out.”
As soon as John hung up, he dialed his friend at the FBI. He needed to know if Hayes Barber had a record. The Bureau could pull together information in no time.
By the time Hayes was brought in, John had a bio of sorts. Hayes Barber did have a record, under another name from years before. He’d assaulted a girl while he was at the police academy and she’d ended up having reconstructive surgery. Spending time in the police academy would explain how he might know what to do to get rid of evidence. It was also noted in the file was that he was an expert marksman. He’d gotten extremely high marks for his weapons training. That could make it possible for him to put a bullet in Julie Tanaka’s tire. Why would be become a publishing agent?
“Lieutenant, I’d like to see my attorney,” was the first thing out of Hayes’ mouth when John walked into the interrogation room.
“You’re not under arrest. I just wanted to talk to you.”
“If I’m not under arrest, you can’t force me to talk to you.”
“Very true, but if you don’t talk to me it’s going to look suspicious.”
Hayes turned his head and stared at the wall.
“How did you know that the latest killing involved Boiling Hot Oil? Or that a Buchanan was involved?” John watched Hayes closely. His eyes went up and to the right; he was about to lie.
“I must have read it somewhere.”
“It wasn’t released.”
“Then I must have heard somebody talking about it.”
“Really? I didn’t think you hang around any of the people who would know.”
“I am Marcie’s agent.”
“Yeah, but didn’t the two of you have a falling out?”
“Yeah, but that’s all settled.”
“I thought she still wasn’t too happy with you.”
“That’s just too bad, because I have a contract.”
“Is it legal? I mean, you’re not really Hayes Barber.”
“Yes, I am. I had my name changed.”
“I see, you wanted to hide the fact that you have a record. Do the publishing houses that you work with know that?”
“How did you find out about that?”
“The information just fell into my lap.”
“You don’t have anything on me.”
“That’s true, but in the last murder attempt we did get some trace DNA. All we need to do is find the killer and we’ll be able to match it. How about that?” John watched Hayes Barber and he didn’t flinch. He knew in that moment he’d found his killer. Now all he had to do was prove it.
“I want an attorney.”
“Why? Do you have something to hide?”
“Of course not. I just don’t want to have my rights violated, like others have in the past.”
John heard the cynicism in his voice and made a mental note of it.
“I see. We wouldn’t want that. Like I said before, you’re not under arrest. You can leave the station, but don’t leave town. I think I’ll be seeing more of you in the near future.”
John did his report and made his way home. There was nothing else he could do at the moment. He had put a surveillance team on Hayes Barber and he would wait for them to report in. In the mean time, he would spend his time with Evangeline.
The doctor had said that she shouldn’t drive for the next couple of days because of pain medication, but Evangeline did have work at home to do. She had files that she could work on and that would keep her busy. Evangeline hated feeling useless and needed something to do.
She hoped to be done before John came home, because she didn’t want to hear him fuss. Evangeline had had enough of that from her mother when she called earlier. John had called Lisa last night after he’d brought Evangeline home. Her mother thought that John was a fine man before this little incident, but now you would think they were best friends. Lisa had even made mention of needing John’s cell phone number just in case she needed to call him. What in the world was that about?
John let himself in the house and could hear Evangeline's fingers clacking on the computer keyboard in the office. She was supposed to rest for a couple of days and then go back to work. What ever made him think she would follow those orders?
“John?” she called from the office.
“Yeah. Who else were you expecting?”
“No one. I just thought you would be home later.”
“Why?” John walked into the office after hanging his jacket in the hall closet.
“You told me you brought in a suspect in the Killing Club Killer case. Didn’t you have forms to file and people to question?” Evangeline twirled around in her chair and gave him her full attention for which he was glad. He’d wanted to spend the day with her and couldn’t make it happen; he was glad for the time they had right now.
“Some of my guys are doing that. I did some questioning, and then I came home.”
“John, I’m okay. My arm hurts, but I’m okay. You could have stayed and finished at work.”
“I brought work home. Everything else is taken care of. By the way, the guys said to tell you they hope you feel better real soon.”
“I’ll have to stop by and thank them when I go back to the station.”
“I already thanked them. I also told them not to take orders from you anymore. If they do, they’re fired.”
“John, you don’t mean that.”
“Yes, I do. You don’t have the authority to direct them. It could be a more dangerous situation and I need to know.”
“Okay, I won’t put them in that position again.”
“Good. By the way, are you supposed to be working?” When John was standing over her, he slid his hand into her hair and bent to kiss her. The kiss grew passionate. Her pupils were dilated and she was flushed when he pulled away. He smiled at that; he liked the fact that he could do that to her with just a kiss.
“Hi,” he said in a whispered voice with a smile.
“Hi, yourself. Are you trying to distract me?”
“Absolutely not. I would never do that.” The smirk on his face contradicted the statement.
“Yeah, right. You…” Evangeline was cut off by the kiss and didn’t think about speaking until much later.