“That is more paperwork than even your dad does at work,” Banter said when they left the Humane Society building. “Just to adopt a dog.”
Patsy seemed a little cautious. Banter held her leash, but Kyle kept a hand on her. She knew if this big of a dog decided to bolt, neither she nor Kyle could hold her. Her worry was needless. Patsy stayed close.
“My dog,” Kyle said.
He looked excited.
Banter unlocked the SUV and opened the rear door.
“Tell her to jump up and give her the signal. We’ll teach her as we go,” she said.
Kyle gave the signal.
“Come on, Patsy.”
He patted the floor.
Patsy looked at him.
Kyle did the hand signal again while Colo and Ollie got into the back seat. Banter couldn’t tell if Patsy got the idea or decided to be near Ollie. She jumped up into the back.
“Good girl,” Kyle said.
Banter waited a few moments while he rewarded her with pats. She responded positively with a wag of her tail.
“Everything we do with her needs to be a lesson,” Banter said while she pulled out of the lot. “That way she’ll learn really fast.”
Ollie’s tail thumped the whole way home. Patsy seemed content to lie down in the back.
Banter pulled into the garage. She usually closed the door before allowing everyone to get out, but this time she left it open because they needed to open the rear door for Patsy.
“Let’s take both dogs to the backyard,” she said.
Banter was glad that Patsy didn’t jump right out when she opened the door. She took hold of the leash and handed it to Kyle.
“Come on, Patsy,” he said with a hand command.
She jumped out, and Kyle led her into the house. When everyone was inside, Banter closed the garage door, making sure it went all the way down.
“Hi, guys,” Bea said in the background.
“This is Patsy, my dog,” Kyle said.
When Banter joined them, Patsy was sniffing Bea all over. Colo was already in the backyard with Ollie.
“She’s a sniffer,” Bea said.
“Bloodhound,” Banter said. “Let’s go, Kyle. Control that dog of yours.”
“Come on, Patsy,” he said while he executed the proper hand command with a gentle tug on the leash.
Once outside, he undid the leash, but Patsy just stood there.
“Let’s go,” Kyle said.
He ran out into the yard.
Patsy immediately put her head down and started sniffing.
Banter watched the dog sniff the entire yard with Kyle, Ollie and Colo following her. She had to smile and keep from laughing at the unusual parade.
“What’s she smelling?” Colo said.
“Everything,” Banter said. “She probably even knows where the rabbit goes through and every one of Ollie’s pee spots.
“I’m not kidding,” she said.
Bea stepped out with their snack.
“I’m heading out. Put dinner in the oven at three. I have a timer set in the kitchen.”
“Thanks, Bea. Have a good one. Okay, Kyle. Let’s work with Patsy.”
It seemed like hardly any time had passed when she heard the timer.
“I have to put dinner in the oven.”
She found the oven was already on when she slid in the casserole. Knowing she would get busy with Kyle and Patsy, she put on the timer to go off just before Corey would get home.
Patsy finally seemed to be getting some commands when Banter heard the timer go off.
“Okay. Dinner time. Kyle, you have to teach Patsy that she goes upstairs to your room.”
“Colo, set the table, please.”
She headed for the kitchen. The sounds of Ollie going upstairs were obvious. He was trained to stay in Colo’s room during dinner. It was now second nature to him, and he never had to be told.
Banter donned on hot pad gloves and took out the casserole. Tonight’s dinner was simple with just a side of fruit.
Colo finished setting the table.
She heard the patter of a dog coming down stairs.
“Kyle,” she said, alerting him, because she was betting it was Patsy.
She heard Corey coming through the front door. The door shut just as an eerie guttural growl began.
“Banter?” Corey said from the front door.
He sounded cautious.
Banter stepped out to find Corey frozen to the spot. Patsy stood about six feet from him with her head down. She was growling at him. Her tail was straight out and still. All the hairs on the back of her neck were up.
“Kyle. Introduce Patsy to your dad.”
Kyle came running down the stairs.
Patsy almost looked like she was going to lunge at Corey.
Banter held her breath.
“It’s okay, Patsy,” Kyle said, going up to her.
He put his hand on her and her growl softened.
“Let her smell your hand, Dad.”
“You sure she’s not going to take it off?”
Corey knelt, keeping his eyes on Kyle. Kyle put his hand on his dad’s knee.
“Come here, Patsy. He’s family. He’s okay.”
Corey extended one hand toward Patsy and put the other on Kyle.
The growl stopped and the sniffing commenced.
Patsy sniffed Kyle then proceeded to sniff every spot she could reach of Corey.
“You’ve been sniffed.”
“So, I have.”
Banter let out her breath.
Corey reached out, gently caressing Patsy’s chest. Her tail wagged.
“You passed,” Banter said.
“I’d hate to see if I hadn’t. I do live here,” Corey said.
“Okay, Kyle. Put her upstairs. It’s dinner time. You’ll probably have to shut your door.”
There was a symphony of whining from upstairs after Kyle came down.
“She’ll get used to it,” Banter said.
The evening progressed uneventfully other than Banter had to scrounge up a food bowl for Patsy who snarfed up her food as if she’d never been fed.
“She’s starved,” Kyle said.
“They said they fed her. She gets fed just like Ollie. In the morning and at night.”
Banter was glad that bedtime went smoothly. Usually, Kyle pestered Colo, but this evening, he went right to his room with Patsy. She listened to the nightly routine from her usual perch on the couch.
She looked up to see Corey beckoning to her to come up the stairs.
“What?” she said in a whisper. “You want me for story time?”
She trotted up the stairs after him.
Kyle’s door was slightly ajar. Corey pushed it open wider. Banter could see that Patsy took up most of Kyle’s bed.
“He doesn’t need his magic pillow any more,” Corey said.
She smiled when she saw the pillow on the floor. It was a body pillow that was almost as long as Kyle was tall. It had solved the problem with him sneaking in to sleep with his dad. He didn’t like sleeping alone since his brother demanded his own room.
“He likes sleeping cramped,” she said.
“Hardly any room for him,” Corey said, closing the door so it was only open a few inches.
She trotted back down the stairs, heading toward her laptop, but Corey grabbed her hand. He pulled her into the bedroom.
“Why did you let him pick such a big dog?” he said.
He kissed down her neck, then pulled off her shirt.
“You know I can’t resist you when you start to take my clothes off,” she said.
“The only power I have over you,” he said, undoing her bra.
“Kyle wasn’t the one who picked out the dog.”
She helped him take off his shirt.
“I expected him to pick out his own dog,” he said, taking off his shoes. “What happened?”
“Ollie actually picked her out. I was worried about whether he liked the new dog, so I accepted his choice.”
They removed the rest of their clothes and crawled into bed.
“Yeah. At first I thought this all wasn’t going to work. Colo saw where we were and panicked, thinking we were getting rid of Ollie.”
“Only bad dogs go to the pound, according to Colo,” she said. “And then Kyle said he didn’t want a used dog.”
Corey paused in running his hand down her body.
“Used dog? Where do they learn this stuff?”
“I don’t know. Who says, ‘I’m very busy.’ Kyle was imitating someone.”
“Sounds like my dad, but he’s being factitious, being that he’s retired with plenty of time on his hands.”
“Yeah, that does sound like your dad. Now, where were we?”
Corey breathed deep into her hair.
“Thank you for taking such good care of my boys.”
“Our boys,” she breathed back, enjoying every touch.
Corey was already asleep. Banter rose. She showered and slipped on her nightshirt. Before she left to go out to her laptop, she paused to watch him sleep. He never could stay awake very long after sex. She smiled, not minding. This freed her up. This was her quiet time.
She settled on the couch, but she was feeling unsettled. This drug lord thing, like many things at the police station, was bothering her.
“They need to profile better.”
She mulled over what she thought of Ray when she first met and worked with him. He seemed to have his act together, but now she was seeing the flaws.
“He’s throttling his team,” she said to herself. “Now a good profiling class would benefit them better than situational shooting.”
She heard the sounds of feet coming down the stairs. Patsy appeared around the couch.
“What’s up, girl?”
Patsy sniffed her, then settled down at her feet.
Banter wondered about Patsy’s history. So far, she had seemed like a nice dog. The only thing the Humane Society could tell her was that some people found her and brought her in.
“Did you go sniffing and get lost?”
The Human Society said there had been no collar or microchip found on her.
“Well, around here, we track everything, so you have a tracking device on your collar.”
That was one of the first things she had done when they got her home.
Patsy sighed, looking comfortable.
“Kyle crowd you out? Just remember, you’re his dog. You better be up there when he wakes.”
Patsy thumped her tail once.
Banter turned her eyes back to her laptop. She had already been though all the material that the undercovers had gathered on the guy so many times, she felt like she had it memorized. All the videos were shadowy, grainy, and showed little detail.
“Why haven’t they sat in the club and taken video?”
It was odd that all of the surveillance was from outside.
“We need to take this inside.”
She decided that was what she would do.
“Time to stake out the club, but from the inside.”
She shifted on the couch.
“Tuesday night, after the kids go to bed. And not dressed to the hilt. Take it down a couple of notches and try to be less obvious. A business executive stopping for that drink after a long day.”
She ran through what she would need to pull off the look and be able to take video without being obvious.
“I’ll need the phone as a decoy. So that means wearing a camera.”
She smiled. There were options. She almost felt like she was on a hit, stalking her target.
“I need to teach them that stuff,” she said. “Yeah, I do kinda miss those days.”
She closed her laptop. Patsy was almost snoring. Her breathing was heavy. She had to step over the dog to head back to bed. Corey was warm when she snugged in beside him. He didn’t even wake. She felt less unsettled now that she had a plan.
“Where’s my dog?”
Banter bolted upright. She could tell it was morning, but couldn’t tell if she had heard the voice in a dream or for real. Corey stirred beside her.
“Where’s my dog?” Kyle said, sounding anxious.
He stood just outside their room.
“Check the couch,” she said.
She looked at the clock.
“Time to get up anyway,” Corey said.
He stretched and yawned.
She caught sight of Patsy getting up from the floor at the foot of their bed.
“She’s in here looking for you, Kyle. She needs to go out.”
Patsy left just as Kyle came stumbling back.
“Patsy, where were you?”
Banter settled back in bed. She listened to Kyle take Patsy out.
“The dog was sleeping in here?” Corey said.
“She’s taken to me.”
“Not surprising. Everything takes to you,” he said, cuddling up to her.
“What’s the plan of attack today?” he said.
“I’ll be home this morning, then the office. But, I think I’ll go stake out the club tonight.”
“I know the undercovers are missing something. I’m going to do it like one of my hits. See what’s really going on. They don’t have a good profile of this guy. Besides, this is what Ray wants me to do.”
“He needs to let his people do their job. Although they need some better training.
“I thought there was an initiative for training. Every department received monies.”
“Yeah, situational training that’s thirty years behind the times.”
Banter heard Kyle come back in and trot upstairs. She was relieved that Patsy followed him.
“Time to get up,” Corey said.
He tightened his arm around her for a few moments, then kissed her cheek before he rose and headed to the bathroom. Banter sat up, listening. Kyle had probably gone back to bed. She was pleased that Patsy stayed up there.
When she heard Corey turn on the shower, she rose and dressed. She was in the kitchen when Corey came in. He was straightening his tie. She handed him his coffee. She already had her tea.
“So, how’s your schedule?” she said.
“Busy. More management than field.”
“You are good at it.”
“I might be a little late. Hopefully, only an hour.”
“Just be home by eight-thirty.”
“That I will be.”
He gave her a hug and a kiss. She followed him out to his car. He had his cruiser in the driveway. Another neighbor passed on his way to work. She waved, and he waved back. Neighbors liked it when Corey parked the cruiser there, even though it was an unmarked one. They thought it was a deterrent and kept the neighborhood safe.
When she went back in, she had five minutes of quiet time before Colo’s alarm went off. In spite of the fact that it was summer and he could sleep in, he didn’t. Colo liked his routine. Kyle always followed what his brother did.
There was the thumping down the stairs of two dogs. Patsy led the way into the kitchen.
“I don’t feed you. Kyle does.”
Colo trotted down the stairs.
“I’m not taking his dog out,” he said.
“He’s already taken her out,” Banter said.
“But he’s not even dressed yet.”
“He took her out in his jammies.”
Kyle thundered down the stairs.
“You two can take both dogs out.”
“But I already did,” Kyle said.
“Again. Help her get into the routine.”
The boys left with the dogs, Banter set out their breakfast.
Colo came in first with Ollie. He followed the set routine of feeding Ollie before sitting down to his own breakfast. Finally, Kyle came in with Patsy.
“She takes forever,” he said.
Kyle sat at the table. Banter took his plate away.
“Kyle. You have to feed Patsy first.”
“How many cups?” he said, rising.
“Three cups. She’s a big girl.”
Kyle scooped out the food. Patsy snarfed it down before Ollie was done, even though he had started first.
“We’ll have to make sure that Ollie gets his food.”
Banter stepped between Patsy and Ollie.
“Sit, Patsy,” she said, making the sign.
She was relieved when Patsy obeyed.
She took out one kernel of food and gave it to her as a reward.
“I swear she didn’t even taste that.”
“What are we doing today?”
“I thought would work with Patsy in the backyard, then go for a walk. Bea will be here later.”
“Do we have to?” Colo said.
“I think you’ll have your hands full. I want you to make sure Ollie obeys you and doesn’t follow Patsy around.”
“He always does what I say,” Colo said, sounding confident.
Usually, Banter would agree, but she saw some signs last night of Ollie paying too much attention to Patsy and not Colo.
The morning passed quickly. Patsy was learning the commands, however, there were times when Banter thought she chose not to obey. Ollie was giving Colo a challenge, but after a few corrections, he was back to being the perfect Ollie. Banter was also glad that during their walk, Patsy heeled to Kyle. But then again, she decided Patsy was tired after the morning training.
“Okay, Bea’s here. I have to go.”
At the police station, Banter trotted up to the sixth floor. She could see that the guys who did raids were back and looking gloomy.
“What happened?” she said to Peter while they waited outside Ray’s office.
Banter could see Carla smiling and winking at every guy that passed. Most ignored her.
“Drug raid at that private school.”
“The one where they wired the girl?”
“That was doomed to fail.”
“She set them up. She was too eager to help. Had too many of the right answers.”
Peter stared at her.
“How do you know?”
“I read over the case.”
“Do you ever do anything but work?”
“I train dogs.”
“We just got a second dog from the pound. Bloodhound. She needs a little training.”
“I’m not a dog person,” Peter said.
“I never had a pet until I met Corey.”
Banter shifted in her chair.
“Is she always this annoying?” she said, jerking her head in Carla’s direction.
“What was she on medical leave for? She pissed someone off and they beat her up?”
“No. She had a baby.”
“She’s an awful flirt. Husband or boyfriend?”
“She’s not married. Who fathered the child is up for debate.”
“She’s demanding DNA swabs from a bunch of guys. Some have complied. Some haven’t. No daddy found yet.”
“Bunch of guys? Were they desperate?”
Peter almost laughed himself off his chair, choking while he tried not to be too loud.
“I’ve never been that desperate,” he said.
Ray walked past them.
“What’s your next move with the club?” Peter said, not moving.
“I’m going tonight to sit and watch. Inside.”
“I wanted to do that. Got shot down.”
“Then, I won’t tell him.”
She didn’t say that Ray wanted her to meet up with the manager, which meant being inside.
“Banter. Peter,” Ray said, calling them into his office.