It was late in the morning when Cooper finally was able to sit in the chief’s office with a cup of coffee. It had been a long night with the searching of Joseph Woolhouse who seem to vanish in thin air and the interrogation of Maxie Rhoads and what she knew about the killings.
The chief sat at his desk looking tired and annoyed taking a sip of his coffee as Tony sat next to her shaking his head. “So Maxie and Rudy killed this Jane because she came back to the Milk Maid...” He pondered.
“It seemed once she wore the bracelet and Mr. Rosemond saw her with it, it was easer to get rid of the girl then hid her from the police.” She replied.
“Just because of Mr. Rosemond?” Tony asked.
The chief sighed pulling out a smoke and sat back. “I’m sure they thought that Emmitt would come to the police sooner or later. With the information of him being robbed and giving us the girl did it, they must’ve known that would’ve shut down their whole operation.”
“And you think this Joseph Wool house was the ones who killed Joe and the Jane Doe that Maxie was trying to pass off?” Toney asked shaking his head. “What kind of person can shoot a woman’s face off?” He asked in disbelief.
“Honestly, there’s still more questions then there is answers at this point. It would seem that they were mere pawns in this game. It seems to me that this Mr. Sloan is the really mastermind behind everything.” She informed then, but then paused. “Mr. Sloan...” She mused.
“Do you know something Cooper?” The chief asked.
She was quite as she stared into the cooling cup of liquid in her hands, then glanced up at the chief. “No, the name just sounded familiar is all.” She shrugged.
The chief hand went over his face. “All I’d really like to know is if this Joe was the Michigan bridge serial killer or not. But it would be great to close this case and inform the public that their safe now.” He huffed.
“Well It would make sense for the killer to be Joe, wouldn’t it? I mean I heard him say with my own ears claim that he had killed girls before. But at this point, it could be all just a ruse for us to think that he was.” She offered.
“Most of the players are dead and with Miss. Rhoads not giving us anything more about their plans, then I don’t know...” Tony growled.
“Well there is one way to know for sure if Joe was the killer or not...” She sighed.
“Yeah, and what’s that?” Tony asked.
“If the murders stop then we know the truth, don’t we.” She offered.
“Yeah, I guess that’s where we’re at.” The chief sighed, then glanced up at Tony. “Could you give us a minute. I’d like to have a chat with Ms. Cooper.”
Tony looked over at her then the chief and nodded. “Yeah, sure thing chief. I’ll go help Jerry out on the search of Mr. Woolhouse. But I’ll stop by the office to see you before I leave...” He hinted.
“Sounds good.” The chief nodded.
Toney smiled at her before he left the office but once he shut the door it was just her and the chief. “So, where’s he off to?” She asked.
“That is none of your concern Ms. Cooper. But I do have a couple questions that I’d like to have cleared up with you.” He started.
“So you claimed in the report that Emmitt was with you when you when you entered into the museum. Did I understand that correctly?” He asked.
“Yes. He was the one who figured out a connection between the museum and the piece of paper in our Jane Does pocket.” She lied.
The chief snubbing out his smoke and nodded. “One of the men found a green handkerchief with an embroidered dragon on it on the ground near the Beinelli. That’s the call sign of the Chameleon, yet nothing was stolen. Do you have any ideas on this?”
“I’m sorry chief, but don’t know anything about that. The only thing that would make sense to me is, if the Chameleon was there, he must have heard the gun fire and decided his life wasn’t worth the heist of a painting.“ She offered.
He glanced down at her hands that still had some blood on them and nodded. “Okay Cooper, that sounds reasonable to me.” He stated then sat back looking at her. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see if you’re hunch is right about the serial killer or not.”
“I’m hoping I am...”
“But have a feeling you’re not.” He nodded at her solemn face. “Well, I still think there’s a leak in the department, and I’m afraid that the mob are becoming more of a problem then I anticipated here in Chicago.”
“You do seem to have a lot on your plate chief.” She agreed.
“Yes I do, and that’s why I think the department needs you more then ever.” He answered.
“Needs me more then ever... what are you implying chief?” She asked.
He didn’t answer but opened up his desk pulling out a badge and placing it on the desk in front of her. “What do you say? Might as well make it official, badge and all.” He smiled pushing it forward.
She reached over feeling the silver shield that she always dreamed of owning, then sighed. She glanced up at the chief and stood pushing it back towards him. “I think I’m going to decline that offer, but thank you anyways.”
“What, really?” He asked shocked.
“You know, I’ve been thinking that I need a little time to myself for awhile.”
“Are you going somewhere?” The chief asked.
“Maybe, but, I’m not going back to the department for a while. I think I need some time away from detective work as well.” She stated.
“Cooper...?” He questioned with a confused look, but it soon faded and turned into a frown as he made his way to her. “Listen, about the other day… my attitude towards you was unfair and uncalled for. I am sorry for how I treated you, but don’t let that stop you from accepting something I know you’ve wanted for a long time.” He murmured taking ahold of her hands.
She glanced up at his face then down at his chest. “I can’t Charlie, I can’t accept it right now. I’ve made many mistakes in my life and made even more on this case. I think I need some time to think...and that means I need some time away from you as well.” She whispered.
“From me?” He asked, but she remined silent. “Okay, I get it, I screwed up, but what about Emmitt? I saw how you looked at him, are you going to leave him too?” He asked dipping his head down to look into her eyes.
“I’m sorry but, that’s none of your business.” She sighed freeing her hands from his.
“Hey, Cooper...” He started as she turned and walked away.
She opened the door and glanced over her shoulder at her dear friend, second father, and ex-lover one last time. “I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, but you take care of yourself alright. And don’t worry, I’ll be just fine.” She grinned.
“The badge will still be here when you get back B.D.” He answered.
“Thanks Charlie... goodbye.” She said with a sad smile, then shut the door behind her.
Emmitt groaned as he tried to move his body. It had been a long time since he’d been shot and damn his shoulder hurt like hell. But the pain was nothing compared to the pain he would’ve felt if the crazy psycho woman would’ve shot his little minx. That was something he couldn’t bare... his only choice was to take the built.
His eyes started to open to see a bone white ceiling, and he wondered just how long he’d been out when he heard a soft voice. “I was wondering when you were going to wake up.”
His head turned to see Bernie still in the same clothes she’d worn the night before stained with his blood. “What happened?” He asked.
“You where shot.” She answered.
“Yes I’m aware of that, but did they get Joseph?”
“You are only interested in that man?” She asked.
“No...” He lied.
“Hmm, yet you are so secretive.” She accused.
“Bernie...” He sighed.
She sat back in the chair observing him with a tilt of her head. “Joseph Woolhouse escaped. There’s a city wide man hunt going on for him as we speak.” She stated.
“So Flanagan didn’t catch him...” He growled.
“I thought it was Flanagan under one of those masked that came in and helped Elliot.” She chuckled.
His eyes roamed over her tired face. “Bernie, listen...” He started but she interrupted him with a smile.
“You know, I’ve been thinking about this Mr. Woolhouse of yours and, I don’t think their going to find him.” She informed him.
“I was thinking the same thing. He has someone pretty damn powerful backing him.” He agreed. “But what about the girl, Maxie?”
“Well, she was questioned and we were given some answers that we wanted. But it all seemed rather rehearsed to me...” She mused. “She was working with the same people, or person, that your Mr. Woolhouse was... that says quite a lot. Don’t you think?”
“What are you thinking?” He asked.
“Quite a bit actually. For one thing I have a feeling that whatever you really are, Mr. multi-millionaire, has more to do with this then I ever could’ve imagined.” She answered with a lifted brow.
“Bernie, first I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that I lied to you...” He started.
“Oh that’s grand, another man who’s sorry for his actions...” She sighed with a shake of her head.
Emmitt stopped seeing the sadness on her face, then continued. “I want to tell you how I really feel about you, but I first want to tell you the truth on how your how things got in my safe...”
“This should be enlightening then...” She criticized.
“Damn it Bernie, please.... you see a box was sent to me the same day you were at the barbershop. Flanagan and some of the others who work for me had been keeping an eye out on Joseph, he must have seen you with me that night before and figured out how much you meant to me.” He explained.
“Yes, and he was under orders, from Mr. Sloan...” She whispered, lost in her thoughts.
“Mr. Sloan?” He asked but she shook her head and didn’t answer. “I’ll have your things sent to you place first thing.” He promised.
“Thank you. That watch was my mothers and it means quite a lot to me.” She whispered at the floor. “You know, I thought your friend Flanagan was the chameleon. It never occurred to me that you’d put yourself in that position… you really had me on that one.”
“I’m sorry Bernie.” He murmured.
“But I believe there is much more to the story then that, isn’t there?” She smiled, but still didn’t look at him.
“Please, just let me try to explain...” He started reaching out for her hand.
She looked at the hand, then glanced with a look that told him more then he wanted to know. “If you worried about me telling the chief who the Chameleon really is, don’t. Your secret is safe. I told him that you were with me at the museum.” She explained, then shook her head. “There was a man that came by the police department early this morning. He pick up the diamond bracelet. What was so special about it, other then the jewels?” She asked.
“There’s a microfilm hidden in it.” He sighed.
“Microfilm of these calibrations Maxie was speaking of?” She ask.
“The film was placed on inside of the bracelet, then there was gold band that popped out of place to conceal it.” He explained.
“Well, that says quite a bit...” She answered.
“Bernie...“He sighed again wanting to tell her everything that he could about himself, but he didn’t make it that far.
“Don’t, please don’t. My dignity is already at a low, your explanation cannot repair that, that is something I must do alone.” She frowned. “The reason I came by was to say thank you for saving my life, and I’m glad you’re going to be okay.” She said, getting up to leave.
“Wait, where are you going? I really think that we should talk Bernie, or at least hear me out.” He implored.
“I’m sorry but, I am not interested in what you have to say to me at the moment. And there are other things that require my attention.” She answered finally taking his hand. “It was fun Emmitt. Maybe I’ll see you around sometime.” She grinned then kissed his forehead and turned to leave.
His hand reached out snatching her writ and grunted from the quick move. “Are you saying good bye to me?” He asked already knowing the answer.
“Yes.” She sighed.
“This it isn’t over between us Bernie.” He growled.
“I don’t see you have much a choice in the matter.” She murmured, then went over and kissed his lips. When she was done she looked into his eyes. “Good bye Emmitt.”
He tried to sit to fast and grabbed his wounded shoulder. “Damn it Bernie let me tell you why I was at the museum, what the girl was talking about with the bomb...”
“It doesn’t matter anymore, does it?” She told him and went for the door.
“Are you heading back to see Charlie?” He asked, and couldn’t believe that he was hoping she was going to say yes. If she was still working at the department, he could at least try to win her back. But then she shook her head, and his hopes fell.
“No I’m not going back to the police department, I’m going to be leaving for a bit.”
“Leaving, where are you going?” He asked.
“You could say I’m taking a much deserved holiday.” She answered.
“Would you tell me where you’re going?”
“Nice try Mr. Rosemond, but I think not. There is an old friend I need to check in on, one who might be able to answer many questions, after hearing a certain name used so often last night.” She confessed under her breath.
He managed to sit up, carefully, in bed taking in her demeanor. “You know who Joseph and that Maxie were talking about, don’t you? You know who this Mr. Sloan is.” He insisted.
“Well, that could be a possibility...” She winked reaching for the door nob. “Oh, and tell Flanagan not to look so guilty when someone suspects him of foul play. It’s a dead giveaway that you all are a bunch of trouble makers.”
He wanted to jump up from the bed and keep her from going, but the pain kept him in place. “Who was this Mr. Sloan to you Bernie? Was he one of your lovers?” He growled.
That had her turning around with a shocked expression, but then a sly grin formed on the corner of her lips. “My, you must think of me as such a man eater Emmitt.” She laughed, but then sighed sadly at him. “I will tell you this much, Mr. Sloan isn’t what you think it is, well, not if my assumption are correct.” Was the only answer she gave, and then walked out of his life.
It was hours later when he was ready to be dispatched from the hospital when Charlie walked into the room. “Hey kid, how are you feeling.”
“I’ve had better days.” He admitted, then looked up at his friend and shook his head. “Did she tell you where she was going?”
“No, she basically told me it was none of my damn business. But from what she said this morning, she does plan to be gone for a while.” Charlie admitted.
“Great...” He growled going over to the mirror with his comb in hand.
Charlie sighed and sat in the vacant chair taking off his hat and holding in tightly in his hands. “I think I fucked up on this one Emmitt, I’m sorry about that.”
“What do you mean by that?” He turned around and asked.
“I think one of the reasons Cooper left was because of how I treated her the other day.” Charlie started but then stopped and shook his head before he spoke again. “I know I told you to mind your own damn business when it came to me and her, but under the circumstances I think you should know the truth.”
“Okay…” He said turning around and crossing his arms. The whole affair thing between Charlie and Bernie had bugged the hell out of him. But Charlie was right, it wasn’t any of his damn business at the time. But if what Charlie done has made his minx run off, then he needs to know what the hell happened.
“Look, Cooper wasn’t the one to start the affair, I was. I won’t get into details, but it was right after the lost her father. She was still dealing with her husband kicked her out and then married her sister. But when her father passed, she fell into a dark place. She looked to me for help and guidance, like a second father, and I took advantage of it.” Charlie murmured.
“Her husband left her for... her sister?” He asked astonished by the information.
“Yeah, and the affair with me brought her down to an even deeper, darker place, that I didn’t think she could possibly sink too. When I saw that she was destroying herself over it, I suggested we should brake it off, and she agreed.”
“How could you do that to her?” He snapped.
“It’s not one of my proudest moments Emmitt!” Charlie growled, but then shook his head. “You, of all people, know how beautiful Bernadine is. And with that fiery personality of hers, how can a man not find himself falling in love with her?”
His hands went to his hair staring at one of his best friends in shock and understanding. “If you felt this way, why wouldn’t you tell me that?” He asked.
“Would it have stopped you if I told you stay the hell away from her?” Charlie asked.
“You know it wouldn’t have... I would’ve told you to go to hell.” He admitted.
Charlie nodded as his hand ran over the back of his neck. “Yeah that’s what I thought you’d say. But you have to understand, when I told her that we should break off the affair, she seemed relieved, and that stung like a bastard. I love my wife, but I loved Bernadine too.”
“Damn it Charlie! I love Bernadine, and I want to do what’s right by her. But now I can’t so shit, because she’s gone!“ He fumed.
“I know, that’s why I told you the truth. And...” Charlie started, but then hesitated.
“And what?” He demanded.
“She didn’t tell me that you were the Chameleon.” Charlie added, already knowing the truth because his connections with the feds.
“So, that doesn’t mean a damn thing.” He growled.
“But it does, and I think you know it does. Cooper doesn’t let anything get in the way of her getting her man... yet she lied to me and let you go. I think she’s in love with you.” Charlie confessed.
He stood there staring at Charlie and remembering her confession only two nights ago, when Flanagan walked in. He looked over at him, then to Charlie. “Hey Chief. Is everything alright?”
Charlie laughed getting up from the chair and placing his hat on his head. “Yeah, I’m good Liam. ” He answered then shook his head. “You know, I remember asking you two to come work for me in the police department. Should’ve know you’d get yourselves wrapped up with the government when you said police work wasn’t exciting enough.”
“You know us chief, can’t sit still for a minute!” Flanagan chuckled.
“Yes, that much I do remember.” Charlie chuckled, but then sighed. “But it seems to me the feds are now wanting to get involved with this whole mafia business we have going on here in Chicago.” Charlie informed them.
“That’s good. Gives me more of an excuses to stick around once I get Bernie back.” He murmured.
“I don’t know where she’s headed, but I’m sure with your connection you’ll find her soon enough.” Charlie nodded extending his hand. Good luck Emmitt, and I mean that.”
He hesitated for a second, then took his friends hand. “Thanks Charlie, and don’t worry, I’ll find her and bring her back home.”
“Sounds good.” Charlie answered and started to leave.
“Hey Charlie, have you ever heard of or had her talk about a person named Mr. Sloan, or maybe just Sloan before.” He asked.
“No, but that name did come up this morning, why?”
“She told me she wanted to visit an old friend, and I have a gut feeling it has to do with this Mr. Sloan.” He answered.
Charlie stopped and thought. “I’ve never heard that name used in our circle before, and when she was married to Stan, he was one jealous son of a bitch. I can’t see how she’d ever get to talk to a man, let alone make friends with that overbearing asshole always around. But…” He stopped and his forehead creased. “When she was marching with the suffrage movement, there were a lot of men who supported the women. Maybe he was one of them.”
“That at least is a good place to start. Thanks Charlie.” He grinned. When Charlie left he went to the hallway making sure that it was clear, then turned back to Flanagan. “Was the prints still on the back of the portrait?” He asked.
“Yeah boss, and the original painting is put back into place. That was damn smart to use yourself for bait if your woman came looking for trouble. But it seems you got more then you bargained for.” Flanagan chuckled.
“Yeah, that always seems to be the way…” He mumbled.
“So, does she know you’re a spook for the government?” Flanagan asked.
“She knows I work for the government, but didn’t care to hear anything else form me about it.” He answered with a deep frown. He slipped on his coat and held his hat in hand when it finally hit him of what he lost. “I hurt her Liam, I broke her trust in me. Now all I can of is how to fix it."
“You just going to go after her?” Flanagan asked as they walked out of the room.
“Yes, but I need to keep her safe too. My little minx can get herself into trouble anywhere she goes. So the first thing we do is tell headquarters that we have a lead on the master mind behind gathering up U.S. secrets.” He explained.
“You think your girl knows?”
“I think she knows a hell of a lot more then she lets on and... I think she has the lead we’ve been looking for all this time.” He added.
“So are we're going to follow her then?” Flanagan asked.
“Where going to see who she thinks this Mr. Sloan really is and then see what we kind find out about the bastard. After that, I'll see if she’ll work with me to capture him. I want her to know I’m not the enemy she thinks I am.”
“Okay boss, I’ll get everyone ready to go then.”
“Good, then I’ll make contact with D.C. and tell them of our plans. Then we'll get everyone together, and track her down.” He growled.
“And what if she tells you to go to hell and she doesn't want to work with you?” Flanagan grinned.
“I’m hoping after a lot of groveling she’ll hear me out and forgive me. If that doesn't work, a man has other was of getting a woman to sense.” He groaned at his own words as they walked out of the hospital.
“I think I’d rather be shot then try to make a woman see sense!” Flanagan laugh as he walked behind.
Emmitt smoothed his hair back and placed his hat on his head. “I already was shot once Flanagan. Let’s just hope I’m not shot again when I see her because my girl, she knows how to us a gun.”
“Damn boss, you sure know how to pick them!”
“Yes, I guess I do.” He chuckled.
He got into his car ready to put their plan in motion. But the only thing that was really on his mind was to make his little mix come back home to him.
Or is it....
The day was sunny, yet cool, as the train pulled into the station. Cooper's head looked up, then glanced out the window, before she began to read her book once again. Adele, on the other hand, was bouncing in her seat excited about their journey.
"Adele calm down dear." She sighed, peeking up at the widow and into the crowd.
"Are you expecting some one B.D.?" Adele inquired, now searching herself for a mysterious person.
"Well, I am hoping that she'll come." She smiled, before turning the page.
"Oh that's lovely, who is it?"
"Doris..." She grinned as she heard her daughter groan.
"Not Doris.... she can be so, mealy-mouthed at times." Adele sulked slumping back in the already uncomfortable seats.
"My dear, you adore Doris, and you know it." She now reminded her daughter.
"But I thought this was a holiday, you know, for the two of us." Adele sighed.
"Let's not forget that I explicitly told you that this trip was not solely for leisure. You're the one that insisted on coming along." She reminded once again.
There was a loud gush of excitement as there was a knock on their window. A short woman, with a stout figure, silver hair, and impeccable taste in fashion, waved frantically to them.
"Go over to the door Doris..." She laughed, pointing in the direction of the cars. With that, Doris laughed, and nodded, making her way to the conductor.
"Oh drat, and here we go. None stop chatter until we hit New York." Adele frowned crossing her arms.
"Not chatter my dear, gossip." She corrected.
"It's the same thing."
"I beg to differ. Chatter is about the weather, or the stock market. Gossip is delicious news on what is happening in the world, and better yet, one social circle. Who's having an affair with whom, who found out some delightful dirt on a person... these can come in quite handy." She pointed out.
"I suppose so... but really, she can talk forever." Adele wined.
"I could send you back home to Mrs. Peabody. I'm sure she'll love your company."
"No, I want to be more of a travel woman. Elliott thinks I'm to soft for the law, and I want to prove him wrong." Adele pouted.
"Well, a stiff upper lip would be a grand start..." She advised, when a loud voice rocked through the car.
"I'm here!" Doris yelled.
"My dear I'm so glad you could make it!" Cooper smiled, getting up and going to kiss Doris cheek.
"Yes well, I have to admit, my son was quite vexed with me recently. So, I thought it was time to take a holiday anyways." Doris smiled.
"Ronald was mad at you? For heaven sakes, what for?" She asked taking her seat.
"Well, he had a card party a couple weeks back, and there was this scrumptious man that just so happened to be seated at my table..." Doris hinted.
"Good Lord Doris, you did not have an fling with..."
"One of Ronald's friends?" She grinned leaving a long dramatic pause. "Heaven sakes no darling! That would be even to much for me." Doris smiled.
"Well thank heaves for small miracles." Cooper sighed.
"It was one of his investors instead." Doris admitted, and burst out laughing.
Adele tried to hold back her laugh as her hand went over her mouth couldn't help but join in and giggle. "It was a huge scandal, simply lovely to watch to unfold. But when I received your telegram, I figured a long holiday away would set Ronald digestive system right again." Doris grinned taking her seat next to Adele.
"Oh poor Ronald. To have such a wicked mother." Cooper laughed.
"And just think if he'd know about all my other tryst since Terrance has passed. I dare say, the poor dear would be balding by now." Doris winked, then sat back and made herself comfortable. "So, you said you would tell me what this was all about when we met, so..."
"Adele, shut the door please." She asked, then sat forward when it was done. "Well, on the last case I worked I keep coming across a certain name one that was very familiar to me, but I payed it little heed. That was until the other night, when I put two and two together..."
"Well, don't leave me in suspense my dear. What's the name?" Doris pressed.
"A, Mr. Sloan..." She answered.
There was a quite that filled the cab as they both stared at one another. Then the whistle blew, and the train jolted to a start, breaking them from the wordless conversation. "No, it can't be. Do you really think, no, it just couldn't be who you're thinking of." Doris countered.
"These criminals where told to stir a man away from me, by this Mr. Sloan. Also, this Mr. Sloan was ordered I was not to be harmed. Come now Doris, who else could that possibly be?" She retorted, throwing her hands in the air.
"Alright, alright, yes, it could possibly be them. But if what you're thinking is true, that's so not good B.D. They are crazy." Doris warned.
"My thoughts precisely. Why do you think I called you along." She sighed.
"Hey what's going on... and who is this Mr. Sloan?" Adele asked.
"It's nothing for young ears to hear to know about." Doris exclaimed pulling out some yarn from her bag.
"What? Hey, B.D....!"
"You heard Doris dear. Somethings are not meant for children to know about." She smiled, and began to read once again.
"But I'm not a child." Adele snapped.
"Well you sure do act like one." Doris informed her with a raised brow. "And until further notice you shall do exactly what your elders tell you to do young lady."
"Oh drat, this is going to be the worst holiday imaginable." Adele whined, again.
"Come now dear, we have quite a long journey ahead of us. Once we're in the Big Apple we'll get you settled, and then Doris and I have much to do." Cooper hinted.
"Yes, plenty to do indeed." Doris surmised with a all to telling glance.
Cooper sat back knowing that the next part of her journey could be more trouble then what she was hoping to get herself into... yet she found herself intrigued to see if her guess was correct, and just where this trail would lead her.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Jennifer L ByarsWrite a Review