September 8th

The two detectives stood on the porch by the open door of the beach cottage and watched the sexy looking TV reporter getting set up to do her on-the-spot reporting. Kelly stood on the sidewalk just outside of the crime tape barrier. She had her back to them, facing the cameraman holding a camcorder.

Seeing the midnight-blue Porsche coming down the street, Detective Ray Caylen nudged his companion.

"Oh oh . . . here's Sam now. Watch the sparks fly," Ray said.

"She sure does set him off," laughed Detective Carl Morgan.

Looking over at the girl's tawny hair, and shape outlined in the tight skirt, he added, "I wouldn't mind her setting me off . . . but in a more interesting way."

"Yeah . . . she never makes an effort to interview me, and I'm always available if she'd ever look in my direction," added Ray, wistfully.

Kelly Daye, hearing the car motor, turned as he pulled into the driveway.

"Hold it Jay, here comes Detective Knight, let me catch him before he gets out," Kelly said as she hurried to his Porsche.
The car slowed to a stop, the motor was shut off and the car door opened. Sam had one foot out of the car when Kelly moved in front of him, shoving the microphone inches from his face.

Speaking excitedly, Kelly said, "Can you give us a reason for this latest murder, detective?"

"Get that fu . . . damn thing out of my face!" Sam growled, leaning back and batting the microphone away.

Kelly ignored him and put the mike in front of him again.

"Will you be in charge of the investigation, Detective Knight?"

Sam grabbed the mike out of her hand and tossed it on the back seat of the Porsche. Kelly made an attempt to reach across him to catch it. Sam shifted to get both feet on the ground, put his hands on her waist, lifted her up as he got out of the car and put her down out of his way. Before removing his hands, he gripped tighter, his flashing green eyes meeting her stunned wide blue eyes. Then, realizing he still held her, he quickly dropped his hands and shut the car door.

Flustered, Kelly said angrily, "What the hell do you think you're doing? I'm a reporter! This is my job!"

Sam elbowed his way passed her, then looked back over his shoulder and said, "I'm a detective and this is my job, lady . . . and you're interfering in this investigation by obstruction . . . again!"

Kelly glared at him, opened the door of Sam's car, and leaned in over the front seat to reach the mike.

Sam stopped to watch as she struggled to reach over the seat in her tight miniskirt.

Kelly picked up the mike and slid back out of the car with her skirt rising all the way up her thighs to a fringe of peach lace. Turning around she noticed Sam watching along with Jay who had his video camera still recording her.

Kelly squealed and started making a sign with her hand across her throat.

"CUT . . . CUT . . . CUT! Don't you dare record that!"

Sam laughed and continued on up to the front porch. He looked up to see the two detectives with grins on their faces.

"I can't wait to see that on the six o'clock news!" Ray said laughing.

"The station will sure to be calling the Captain on that one," Carl said, shaking his head.

"How come she's always the first one who shows up and pounces on me!" Sam said irritated.

"I think she has a radar detector attached to your . . . ah . . . uh . . . back," Ray smirked.

Sam looked back at Kelly as she continued with her reporting by the crime tape.

"I guess I'll have to scrub harder when I take a shower, just in case."

"Or . . . maybe . . . she should scrub your back," Ray answered thoughtfully as he also watched her.

"With my luck . . . she'd bring the damn microphone with her," Sam said wryly, as he turned to enter the house.

"Whoaaa . . . can't you picture that on the evening news!" Carl said, rolling his eyes.

"Sorry to get you out of bed, Sam . . . but the envelope was addressed to you . . . wanted you here to open it," Ray apologized, following him inside.

Sam had just gotten to bed when his phone rang to tell him of this latest victim, and he'd rushed right over.

"So . . . is it the same as the other?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, slit throat and cut up," Carl answered.

They walked over to where the crime photographer was shooting pictures of the victim. Her clothes lay in a neat pile next to her. Sam stared at the victim thoughtfully.

"I don't want to have any leaks about the note," Sam said, then glanced at the photographer. "Are you done?"

"She's all yours," the photographer answered as he put his camera away in the case.

Sam put on latex gloves and leaned down to pick up the envelope that had been placed in her hand.

He carefully opened it and removed the note. With a muttered exclamation of disgust, he focused on the words.

 Clue No. 2
Have you figured out why I chose Polly?
She committed a terrible folly.
Oh! From a list of so many
I've now removed Annie.
Just as I did for our Polly.

"His poetry stinks . . . if that's what it's supposed to be," said Ray.

Carl and Ray read the note as Sam held it up for them. Then he took a plastic crime bag out of his pocket, and dropped the note in the bag.

"What do you think he means by the clue? And how many more clues do you think you'll get, Sam?" asked Carl.

"No telling what the hell he means. Did you find her I.D.?"

"Yeah, Annie was the name on the I.D.....rather, Ann Chapman. She rented this place five days ago," said Carl.

"We could have a slew of murdered women if we don't catch him soon. Apparently he is building up to something with this plan of his," Sam mused.

"Why do you suppose he picked you to receive the notes . . . the last one was addressed to you, too, wasn't it? Must be someone you know . . . or put away at one time . . . out for revenge," Ray suggested.

"Hell, I wish he'd picked someone else! Like you for instance . . . you're young and can take this shit," Sam said. Ray was the youngest detective added to their department. He was ten years younger than Sam, with a lean, wiry build, and just tall enough not to be classified as short, but Ray was energetic, eager and impressionable. Wanted to be another Sherlock Holmes or Sam Spade. Every time the temperature dropped to the low 70's, Ray would bring out his tan trench coat to wear at crime scenes.

"Wouldn't that've been a bitch? I'd have that long-legged reporter crawling all over me instead of you for a change!" Ray laughed.

"Then solve this thing for us . . . and she'll think you're a hero," Carl said, slapping Ray on the shoulder.

Carl had been Ray's partner and mentor for the past year. He was the same age as Sam and he patiently listened to Ray's theories, and kept him from making a fool of himself with the chief.

"Good idea. I'm going back to bed, and maybe you'll have this solved when I wake up, Sherlock," Sam said stifling a yawn.

"Oh . . . in case you haven't solved it by the time I come on tonight . . . would you leave your reports on my desk?" Sam added leaving before Ray had a chance to answer.

He walked out the front door and stopped. Beyond the yellow tape a crowd of reporters was waiting. "Damn!" Sam muttered, and walked hunched with his head down. As he hurried down the walkway, he responded into the extended microphones, an occasional "On going investigation . . . No comment" as he passed the reporters and got into his car.

Backing his car away and making the turn on the street, Sam looked back at the reporters . . . or at one in particular.

Without even looking in her direction, he knew when he had passed her from the faint scent of that distinctive perfume she always wore. Like a combination of exotic tropical flowers and sandalwood that made him want to lean closer to her. Remembering how she felt when he moved her out of his way, that soft silk material against his fingers as he held her small waist. He wondered what it would have been like to just kiss her, instead of arguing with her.

Shaking his head to clear the image of her from his mind, he yawned again and tried to concentrate on the latest note from the killer. What was he trying to tell them with his clues? The first line of the note was . . .  have you figured out why I chose Polly . . . yet Polly was not her real name . . . so why would he refer to it? Maybe the report from the L.A. investigator will throw some light on the problem, Sam thought, yawning once more as he drove home.

Tim Blaney gave a low appreciative whistle as he watched the film Jay brought in for editing before showing it on the six o'clock news that evening. He was admiring the view of Kelly's backside as she slid out of the detective's car, with her skirt hiked up to the peach lace undies.

"Great shot, Jay. Now splice it there, leaving out that startled look of embarrassment from her face where she yells 'cut' and blend it in with that long shot of her looking toward Knight as he walks into the house where the crime was committed. Then take it up again where she reports on the crime, and again, at the end when she is standing next to him as he gets back into the car with his standard 'no comment', and ends her report."

 "She's going to hate you for that," Jay advised, chuckling as he popped out the cassette from the VCR in the director's office.
"So? What's she got to complain about? I pay her a good salary, and since she's been doing the field reports, our ratings have shot up. The phone lines are overloaded with call-ins' from viewers wanting to see more of our gal reporting," Blaney paused, then added laughing, "Can't see much more of her than that without getting censored for it!"

Sam fumbled for the phone, hating to open his eyes. It must have rung twenty times . . . but he liked the dream he was having and didn't want it to end.

"What is it?" he mumbled, lifting the pillow from his head as he put the receiver to his ear.

"Sorry to wake you, Sam . . . it's Ben. The Captain wants you in an hour earlier this evening for a special meeting."

"Ummh . . . yeah . . . okay . . . I'll be there. Anything else?" Sam said, finally opening one eye and looking at the clock next to the phone. It was 5:15 p.m. His alarm would have gone off in another twenty minutes. Why couldn't Ben have timed the call better so he could have finished his dream? The great dream he had been having about Kelly Daye . . . where she was lying next to him here in his bed. And for once, she was not yelling in his face, just smiling . . . no microphones.

"Well . . . maybe I shouldn't be saying this . . . but I answered the phone when the head man at Channel 12 called. Wanted to talk to the Captain . . . said something about you manhandling his reporter today. I just thought you might like to know ahead of time . . . before you got here," Ben said.

"Shit! I guess I should have expected that," Sam sighed. "Thanks, Ben.  See you later."

"Sure, Sam," Ben answered.

Sam hung up the phone.  Groaning he pulled the pillow back over his head, wondering how much trouble he was going to be in for that. That damn reporter was still hounding poor Hadley over that sexual harassment case filed by a female court clerk in Braxton.  He wasn't really surprised that she should complain about being manhandled. But hell, he was tired from being up all night, and she shoved that mike in his face before he had time to think. Smiling, he thought it was worth it to see her scramble to reach for it in the back seat of the car. Then when she slid back out . . . those peach lace . . .

Sam opened his eyes, uncovered his head, reached over and pushed the alarm button to off. Getting out of bed, he hurried to the television and popped a new tape into the VCR, setting it to record the Channel 12 six-o'clock news segment.  If they did telecast Kelly sliding out of his car, he wanted to be able to rerun it later.  Also, if he did get in trouble over this, he wanted to have a copy of it to see how badly it really made him look. Running his hand over his whiskered jaw, Sam sighed and headed for the bathroom to shower and shave, wondering what was special about the Captain's meeting, and hoping it wasn't going to be about him.

Fuming, Kelly turned the television off, and stomped off to her bedroom to change into shorts, a tank-top and running shoes.  She started undressing, tossing her clothes on the bed angrily.

"How dare they show that . . . that ridiculous shot of me?" she grumbled. "Jay had no business filming that. It made me look like a stupid leggy bimbo! Scrambling after that microphone like a kid chasing a ball. I should have left it there and refused to finish the report. Then they could have blamed that ass of a detective for not having their dumb on-site report. God, why don't I just quit and find a job where I can use my intelligence?" Still seething, she tied her shoe laces and left the house to jog along the scenic beach walkway.

Sam had watched the segment of Kelly's report, then let the recorder finish with the timer. Deciding to have something to eat at the café by the Court House before the meeting, he locked up and went to his car. Sam didn't know what to think of that scene he had with Kelly.  He felt uneasy about the way he had treated her, and if he hadn't been cranky from lack of sleep, it probably wouldn't have happened, but when they actually ran the part where she reached over the seat for the mike, then backed out of the car, he thought the TV station went a little too far.  After all, that was their employee and they were making her look bad in front of thousands of viewers.

At the time it had happened he had laughed at her, but seeing it on television . . . well, that wasn't so funny.  He wanted to strangle that damn cameraman.

Sam drove to the bottom of Stoney Point Road, crossed over to Beach Drive and was about to make a left onto Center Street when he saw Kelly jogging along the walkway.

Instead of turning left, he changed lanes, pulled over to the right side of the road and watched her coming toward him.  She was a beauty all right, with those long tan legs, the blue satin shorts, and tight faded pink tank top emphasizing the curves of her trim body.  Her long hair bouncing with each step. He got out of the car as she neared.

Kelly saw him leaning against his car, in a relaxed position, wearing an avocado long-sleeved shirt and beige Chinos. She faltered in her pace at the sight of his tanned good looks. Then, remembering how he had humiliated her, she came to an erupt stop. With her chest heaving from the exertion, her hands clenched into fists by her side, Kelly glared at him.

"What do you want?" she gasped, trying to get her breath.

"To apologize," Sam said. He noticed how good she looked, as his eyes followed the perspiration that trickled down her neck into the tank top, and wished he had never acted the way he had this morning.

"And to tell you that I'm sorry for the way I behaved letting my temper get out of hand, and for the embarrassment it must have caused you," Sam added, shifting his eyes to hers. Watching how they changed from anger to wariness.

"Yeah . . . well, that doesn't do me a helluv-a-lotta good now. I've never been so humiliated in my life! Blaney should have never let that shot air. At least that part wasn't your fault," Kelly said, resting her hands on her hips while taking deep breaths, looking off toward the ocean. She still hadn't decided what to do about her job.

"He's your boss at the station?" Sam asked, trying to keep his eyes off her shape as she took the deep breaths.

Kelly nodded, then turned to look at him. The sun was low on the horizon and he was squinting, his green eyes like sparkling emeralds in the light. A slight smile causing a dimple in one cheek. He was an attractive man, when he wasn't frowning and looking daggers at her.

"How about if we called a truce? If you won't stick that mike in my face as soon as I open my car door, I'll promise to answer with a civil tongue the next time you interview me," Sam said, smiling at her.

"Really? I can get an actual interview from you?" Kelly asked doubtfully.

"Well, as much as I can tell you . . . as I said this morning, it's an ongoing investigation," Sam hedged.

"Hmmph! I knew it was too good to be true," Kelly answered dryly. She started jogging slowly away from him and called back over her shoulder "Thanks for the apology."

He watched the rear view of her as she jogged away, then got back in his Porsche, made a U-turn and headed for the cafe on Center Street.

He felt a little better having made the apology, and even more so when she had accepted it. Too bad their jobs were putting them at odds. They might have had a nice relationship that could have developed into something interesting, Sam thought as he remembered his dream. He smiled as it dawned on him that she must live close by if she was jogging here. He hadn't thought about her living in Quainte since she worked in Braxton. Maybe he'd see more of her around town, instead of just at crime scenes.

When Sam entered the Captain's office, the other three detectives had already arrived, and all looked at Sam sympathetically. There were only four detectives at Quainte's Police Station, with overlapping shifts to form a continuous two on day, two on night, and always on call. During the past year since the population had sky-rocketed, they had all been overworked, especially since the last two murders.

The Captain, leaning back in his chair with his elbows propped on the arms and his fingers touching, looked grim as Sam smiled sheepishly and sat down.

Captain James Brodersen was a big man in his late forties, his sandy hair in the crew-cut style, and his eyes were like blue ice-shards when he was angered. He had been with the department for eighteen years, twelve of those as Captain. A no-nonsense man, neat, well-organized. He kept the department running smoothly. At least he had thought so, until Sam had riled the TV station.

"You know Sam, you're lucky the Chief isn't here. You're also lucky his wife talked him into staying another month in Europe while she took care of her ailing mother in France, because . . . it's gonna take longer than a month to get this straightened out with that asshole at Channel 12."

"I apologized," Sam injected.


"I apologized to Kelly Daye right after that news segment aired, and she said thanks," Sam said.

"You were watching it with her?" the Captain asked, astonished, which got everyone's attention directed at Sam.

"No, I left my house right after it aired and when I pulled onto Beach Drive, there she was . . . jogging."

"Wow . . . what was she wearing?" asked Ray sitting forward and looking around Carl at Sam.

Getting a glare from the Captain, Ray shrugged and slouched back in his chair.

"Well, apparently your apology isn't gonna be enough. Cause while you were apologizing, we have had calls from newspapers in six different cities, other TV stations, women's rights advocates, and I don't know who the hell else within the last hour," Captain Brodersen straightened up in his chair and picked up the call slips stacked on his desk, waving them at Sam.

"Lord knows, she deserved to have that mike tossed. That's my own opinion. I've seen her hound you at every crime scene these past four months, and I can tell you . . . personally . . . and it doesn't leave this office . . . that I swear, I would have stomped that damn mike into the ground, if it had been me she hassled!

"Regardless, you are going to have to mend your ways around the media. I'm gonna fine you a penalty fee equal to your vacation pay. I can't afford to suspend you. We're so goddamn short of men already, and with these latest murders, you'll all be bustin' your asses for a long time 'til we solve this. Now that's settled . . . you've been reprimanded.

"As for the rest of you, mind your p's & q's and let this be a lesson. So if any of you are asked, you can tell them the matter has been taken care of by the department." He looked at each one individually, and they nodded their agreement.

"If they want to sue or any of that crap, they can damn well try. We're a small community, as far as local residents. The Chief's older brother is a judge, his younger brother the Mayor, his nephew's the City Attorney and his sister, Millie, is Chairman of the local Women's League," he said maliciously, as the four men laughed. They were well aware of what the Captain thought of 'outsiders', which he called anyone who lived outside of Quainte and didn't pay taxes here.

Sam breathed a sigh of relief. He didn't mind giving up his vacation money . . . it didn't look like he'd have one for a long time anyhow, at the rate things were going lately.

"Now, let's get down to the matter of murder in our midst," Brodersen said, slipping on his reading glasses and picking up the coroner's report.

"It seems that both murders were definitely done by the same person. Their demise was caused by slitting the throat first, then mutilated after death with a sharp knife. The blade was long, maybe nine or ten inches and rounded at the tip.

"Notes have been left for each victim. Both notes were addressed to Sam. The first note delivered here, warning us as a prelude of what's to come, even though the warning wasn't much before the crime was committed. Neither victim a resident of Quainte . . . thank God, they were not women we all knew here in town. The first victim had been in town under a false name." Picking up some photocopies, he handed them across the desk to Carl to pass to the others, and then continued.

"That's the report on the identity of our second victim. It just came in. This woman, it seems, used her real name. Ann Chapman, divorced, no children, age forty-seven, a blackjack dealer at a small casino in Reno, Nevada. The neighbor in the beach cottage next to hers said she had been bragging about having received a two-week all-expense trip free, with the reservation made for the cottage, from one of her steady gamblers as a tip because he liked her. The cottage reservation was in her name as was the airline ticket. She rented the car at the airport, paid that herself with her own credit card." The Captain leaned back in his chair again, rocking it a little while he thought.

The others sat respectfully quiet, waiting for his view of the situation. So far, there hadn't been an unsolved crime in Quainte since he had been Captain.

"The way I see it, these murders are aimed at Quainte in particular. Both victims have been brought into town, then murdered within days of their arrival. If it was aimed at the new hotels . . . to ruin their business . . . the victims would have been at one of the big resorts. But they weren't, they were put into inexpensive rentals and the rents paid up longer than necessary. Which means the length of time was meant to be a blind lead or he wasn't sure how long it would take to find a chance to kill them. Both women were in their forties. Maybe he might be too, or older. Probably not bad looking if he was able to attract their attention.

"At any rate, he brought them to Quainte for the purpose of killing them in such a hideous manner that the murders were bound to get wide media coverage. Also, letting everyone think there's a serial killer in town so the tourists are fearful of coming to Quainte. Well, he's accomplished that all right! You can't turn a corner without seeing a damn reporter talking into a microphone and interviewing people.

"We're gonna have to nip this in the bud pronto, before he claims any more victims. If he is sticking to a schedule, like one-a-week, which it's been with the two so far, then we have just about a week to find him," he said, swiveling his chair to look at the calendar on the wall.

"The first was on a Friday and the second, a week later on Saturday. Maybe this guy is in town only on weekends, and works in some other city during the week. Ask around at the hotels, see if the same person had checked in both weekends," he said, then swivelled back to face them, and asked if anybody had anything to add or suggestions.

"My opinion is . . . ," volunteered Ray, as all eyes turned to him, "since the notes are addressed to Sam, the person is someone who knows him. It's doubtful just anyone would know our detectives by name, unless they have had direct contact with them. Maybe this person's been arrested by Sam in Quainte and came back to get revenge."

"That's something to think about. We'll have to check all of Sam's arrests and see if anything turns up . . . maybe one of them just got out of prison," the Captain said, making a note.

"I got an investigator in L.A. checking on the first victim. Seeing if he can find any friends of hers . . . where she hung out and all that shit," Charlie said.

"Give him a call. See what he has and tell him to work faster . . . like before the week's out," said the Captain. Charlie nodded.

The Captain then turned to Sam, looked at him thoughtfully for a moment, then said, "You, Sam, will make a trip to Reno. Check on this second one. See what you can find. Who her gambler friend was . . . she must have bragged about it as soon as he handed her the free trip ticket.

"This will also get you away from the media that's hanging around the station trying to get an interview from you. We can inform them that you have been suspended until further notice. That way it will look like we took action on your reprimand."

"Thanks, Captain. Shall I leave tonight or after my shift tomorrow morning?" Sam asked. He was relieved to get away for a while. Otherwise, he might find himself stalking the beach walk day after day, waiting for Kelly to jog by.

"Tonight. You'll be too tired to drive in the morning if you work all night. I don't think we'll have another victim at least for a week, and Charlie can pull in one of the patrolmen, if necessary."

As soon as Sam opened the exit door of the station, he knew he should have looked first. The reporters and cameramen swarmed around him. He did his usual routine of ducking his head and plowing through the mass of humanity, mumbling "no comment" as he made his way to his car.

Just before he reached for the car door handle, a whiff of that exotic perfume drifted past him and he raised his head. She was standing there with a half-smile and then took one step forward with the microphone.

Realizing he would get stuck if he stopped, Sam put out his left arm to fend her off and opened the car with the right hand to slide onto the seat.

"Wait!" he heard the yell followed by a squeal, and felt his arm being tugged on. Half in and half out of the car in an awkward position with Kelly holding his arm against her chest, he looked at his sleeve bunched up where the cuff button was hooked around the dangling charms on a gold chain necklace.

"Shit!" he growled, getting back out of the car. "Hold still," he commanded gruffly, as she started to back away.

"Sorry," she mumbled. Lowering her hands and releasing the death grip on his arm, Kelly stood still with her head down while he worked the chain away from the button.

Sam frowned, ignoring the others yelling question at him while he was trapped in this embarrassing state. He tried to concentrate and keep his vision focused only on the button and gold chain, but his eyes kept wandering to the deep cleavage showing from the low-cut neckline below the chain. Sam could feel her heated skin, caused by Kelly's blushing, when his fingers came in contact with it. He knew she must be mortified. Sam growled and yelled an expletive remark at a cameraman leaning over his shoulder, trying to get a better shot of the scene. Finally, he had them disentangled and he looked up into her eyes. The sight of the tears brimming on the edge of the lashes made him want to pull her in his arms and shield her from this mob.

Impulsively, Sam took her arm and led her to the passenger side, opened the door and told her to get in. Then, running around the car, elbowing the others out of his way, he got into the driver's side, slammed the door and started the car.

Stunned, Kelly wiped her eyes and looked at him as the car pulled out of the parking lot.

"Thank you," she mumbled. "I don't think I could have faced them after you left. The flash bulbs from the newspaper cameras are so blinding! Now I know how you feel when the reporters are hounding you. They get kinda crazy, don't they?" she said with a tremor in her voice.

"Right . . . and I couldn't leave you there like a cornered lamb with a pack of wolves. If they couldn't get anything from me, they would have tried another angle and asked about my bad conduct with you this morning," Sam said grimly.

"You apologized for that, remember?"

"Yes, but they don't know that," Sam answered as he pulled to the curb in front of a restaurant a block away from the hectic scene in the station parking lot.

"Is it okay to let you out here? Will you be all right?" Sam asked gently.

"I'll be fine. Thanks again," Kelly said dismally opening the door.

Sam reached out and touched her arm.

"Let me give you a little exclusive. I won't be around for a while. I've been reprimanded, and suspended until further notice. I'm sure the Captain will be telling the others soon, but at least you'll have it first."

"But you apologized! Didn't you tell the Captain?" Kelly asked, shocked at this drastic action.

"It's not you, it's your station boss, women's lib organizations, and the other media hounds who want some sort of reprimand."

"Oh! I'm so sorry . . . I never thought they would do such a thing. Then you're going away?" Kelly asked, trying to hide her disappointment.

"Yes, I'll be out of town for at least two or three weeks," Sam said, then smiled at her, "Stay out of trouble while I'm gone. Okay?"

"I'll certainly try!" Kelly laughed as she got out of the car and waved back at him. Suddenly she felt better at his concern for her.

Sam watched her walk up the restaurant sidewalk and enter before he pulled away. He would miss seeing her while he was gone, but that last little episode would give him something to think about. The feel of her skin while he untangled the necklace, the scent of that fragrant perfume, and that view of her cleavage. If those cameramen hadn't been hanging around him, getting in his way, he would have taken his time unwinding the chain from his button while his arm lay against her breast.

"Too bad she's a reporter," Sam muttered, shaking his head in disgust.

Kelly paused inside the doorway and looked around for a telephone. Noticing the sign indicating the location of a phone and restrooms, she headed in that direction. She wanted to call Jay on his beeper to let him know where to pick her up. While she dialed his number, she thought about the detective going away. It left her with a hollow feeling inside. She hated to think she was the cause of his suspension. What was the matter with Blaney? Why would he cause trouble with the Police Department? Didn't he realize that to alienate them just made it harder for her to do her job?

Kelly had no sooner hung up the receiver when she heard a beeping sound behind her. Startled, she turned and saw Jay leaning against the wall. He shut the beeper off and smiled.

"That was me beeping you. How did you know where to find me and how did you get here so quickly?" Kelly asked, still surprised at seeing him.

"Hell, Kelly, you didn't think I would let him put you in a car and take off with you without following, did you?" Jay answered.

"Oh. I guess I should have known you would. Thanks," she said sheepishly.

"So, what did he say? Find out anything those other reporters couldn't get? That was pretty neat the way you got him entangled so he couldn't get away," Jay said, laughing.

"That's not funny! I didn't do it on purpose . . . it was an accident," Kelly muttered. She made a speedy retreat toward the front door of the restaurant before he said anything else about that embarrassing situation.

"Hey! Wait . . . what did he say? Do we have anything for the ten o'clock news?" Jay asked, catching up with her.

"Yes, he said he was suspended until further notice and was leaving town for a few weeks," Kelly said, turning to glare at him. "And it's all the fault of that filming this morning. Blaney called the police department to complain about it."

"Great!" Jay exclaimed.

"Great? What do you mean great? The poor man was suspended . . . and it's our fault!" Kelly said indignantly.

"Yeah, he probably doesn't think too kindly of you or Blaney, but at least you got a story the others didn't," he answered, taking her elbow and hurrying her out the door and across the parking lot.

"C'mon we'll get a quick shot of you against that brick wall with the bougainvillea plant. It'll make a nice background. You can relate to your viewers this nice exclusive and we'll rush it back for the ten o'clock news.

"I got a shot of him helping you into his car, and when he dropped you off here. That way the viewers will see that you had the inside track with him," he said as he opened the van door and took out his camcorder.

Kelly was stunned at how fast his mind worked. He was a good assistant to her, and it pleased her to know he had followed her to make sure she was okay, but that did not ease her mind about Jay being the one who had filmed that debacle this morning, causing Detective Knight to get suspended.

When she got back to the newsroom, she would let Blaney know how she felt.   Right . . . as if he would really care how I felt, she thought wryly.

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