Unkindest Cut of All

Chapter 5

When Beaumont awoke the next morning, she rolled over onto her back to find that Walsh was no longer lying beside her, as he was when they had gone to bed the night before. She cursed, as she was hoping to get the chance to confront him about his distance, then looked at the watch on her wrist, which Jason had loaned to her after she sold her own for money to help her with her bills, and she noticed that she was going to be late for work if she didn't hurry.

By the time Allison arrived at work, she noticed that Walsh wasn't there, but that his partner was. She started to walk over toward Casey, but before she could get to her, Cole walked over and pulled her away. She could see from the look on his face that something was bothering him too. She figured that it must have something to do with his friend coming into town last night. However, when he spoke up, she found she was wrong.

"I'm sorry, Allison," Cole said softly when he finally faced her. "I didn't mean to pull you away from whatever you were going to speak with Shraeger about. I was just… I was… I just wanted to see if everything was all right between you and Walsh this morning?"

"You wanted to know about us?" she asked as she looked at her partner in surprise. "What do you mean? Why would you care about what's happening with us? I didn't really think you cared much… about our relationship."

Cole looked away and then back over at her again as he responded, "I don't really. I mean, I care that you're happy. I just noticed that Jason isn't here yet this morning and well, it's not common for him to be late for work. Then, when I saw you heading over to go and speak with his partner, I figured something might have happened between you too. You seem a bit upset."

Beaumont replied, "I could say the same about you. Are you doing all right?"

"Yeah, of course," Cole answered. "Listen, did uh… has Jason said anything to you about me?"

"What do you mean, has he said anything about you to me?" she asked him. "No, he hasn't. Should he have? Do you have something you need to tell me?"

Cole quickly shook his head and lied, "No, of course not, but for some reason, I get the sense that he doesn't trust me much anymore. I was only wondering if he may have mentioned anything to you about it."

Allison responded, "No, he hasn't. I think you're being a little paranoid. You're one of the best cops I know. Why would he, or anyone else, distrust you? I'm going to go and speak with Casey. Maybe she'll know why Walsh is being so distant from us. I'll see you in a few minutes."

Cole watched his partner walk away to go and find Walsh's partner, Shraeger, which was actually a good thing. Maybe she'll learn if Jason had mentioned something about him to her. However, if he had, then he was in more trouble than he realized. Cole knew that his brother had gone to Walsh's diner last night in order to get a read on the man and he knew that he thought it would be better if Walsh was eliminated, but if Casey knew something too, then that would be another cop Tommy would most likely paint a target on and the more determined the rest of the detectives and officers in this precinct would be to track down their killers, not that they wouldn't be for a detective as good as Jason. Cole didn't want to see anything happen to either Jason or Casey, but he was willing to give them up, if that meant protecting his older brother, who had always protected him when they were younger. Cole just hoped that he would be able to talk him out of doing anything so stupid.

"Good morning, Casey," Allison said as she finally made it over to where Jason's partner stood. "Where is that partner of yours this morning?"

"I'm not sure," Casey replied. "I take it you two weren't together last night?"

Beaumont answered, "We were, but he was gone when I woke up. I know that he wakes up early to open the diner for breakfast, but he was gone and he was acting strangely last night; distant. Do you know anything about that? Is there any reason why he would be upset?"

Casey quickly looked in Cole's direction without his partner noticing, then turned back to Allison as she responded, "No, I haven't noticed anything off about him lately. I mean, he's always been quiet and aloof. You ought to know that?"

"Yes, but this was strange, even for him," Beaumont replied. "Besides, he should be here at work by now. You don't think the sergeant asked him to look into something, do you?"

"It's certainly possible," Casey answered. "I'm sure he's just fine."

Eddie was about to walk by them until he stopped and asked, "You think who's just fine? Do you mean Detective Walsh? Sergeant Brown's pretty upset that he hasn't shown up yet. Eddie Alvarez thinks that the man's about to blow a gasket."

Casey through her hands up in the air and cried out, "He's just a few minutes late, for crying out loud! Can't a man, who's never late, just be allowed to be late once?"

"Not when he's Walsh," Beaumont said as Alvarez continued to walk by them. "It looks like you're about to be called into Brown's office. Oh… and I meant to ask you something before you go. Has Jason said anything to you about Cole? My partner's seemed to have gotten it in his head that Jason distrusts him all of a sudden. I told him he's being silly, but he wanted to know if he was right."

"Not that I know of," Casey lied as her face became cold; almost angry. "I'm sure you're right. I better go."

Allison thought that that was a strange reaction coming from Casey, but shrugged it off, while Casey walked into their boss' office and stood in front of the man as he growled, "And where is your partner this morning, Shraeger?"

Detective Shraeger responded, "That seems to be the million dollar question this morning, Sir. I tried calling him and sending him a text, but he hasn't answered so far. I'm sure there's a logical explanation for him being late."

"Well, he better get in here quick," Sergeant Brown replied. "The coroner has identified your two dead bodies. She was here late last night. I need you and your partner to go and talk to their families and associates, but I need you to be discreet. It appears that these men worked with the campaign committee for our newest candidate for our city's mayor in the upcoming election."

"I will keep trying, Sir," Casey answered as she left the office and continued to try to get a hold of him. "Dang it, Walsh! Where the hell are you? Of all the days for you to be late."

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