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Lost in Memory

By Gina Elsnow All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Romance

Meeting Once Again

There was no way.

There was simply no way this was happening.

She stood there, smiling as complacently as ever, completely disregarding the scathing glare I was currently throwing her way.

Had this been anyone else, I would have stood as stoic and unaffected at a new addition to our team being thrown into the mix.

What a pain in the ass. As if this was worth my time. Still, there was no denying that the scent of jasmine and bergamot was having a soothing effect on my frazzled nerves. If I didn't know better, I'd say she knew exactly what her scent did to me. I had, once, told her myself, after all.

I hadn’t seen the uppity blonde socialite in over a decade, but somehow I doubted this was a pleasantry call, considering she had no idea who I was. Still, I had a sinking feeling that this woman would once again become the one being that would be my undoing.

Constance, formerly "Constantia", Vulcan tried not to be uncharacteristically hostile with the Lieutenant of the New York City Homicide Division. Keeping her expression schooled was an unfamiliar struggle as Lieutenant Howard delivered the news that a “special witness” would be helping out on the case Vulcan and Rod, her partner, had received that morning. Vulcan already knew what the cause of death findings from the autopsy report would be, but they didn’t have to know that.

Ordinarily, it wouldn’t matter to Vulcan if there was another person helping on the case. One more set of eyes to look over the evidence, as some would say, but mostly, when anyone new was added to the group, “babysitting” was the popular phrase that was used to describe the behaviors of the detectives while the witnesses were there.

Especially in this case. Vulcan thought. “Babysitting” would unfortunately be the best phrase to describe this situation, and her part in it.

Olivia Mallory had been found unconscious at the scene of a murder that had taken place only last night. The handprints around the neck of the victim already supported that Olivia was not the killer, and there was also the matter of who the victim was. 

Considering that aspect, it was even more unlikely that Olivia was the killer.

“Lieutenant!” One of the beat cops stuck his head in the door at the lieutenant's gruff ‘come in’. “Counselor Mallory wants to talk to you, when you have a second.”

The Lieutenant waved him off, making the kid nod and hastily shut the door in his wake. He turned to Vulcan, shaking his head.

“This is a pain for all of us.” He said, trying to make his point stick. “But just because you don’t agree with her politics doesn’t change the fact that she’s here, she’s an old friend of the DA, and she’s asking for help with her sister’s disappearance. You should take pity on her...” Shrugging, he added, “I understand that’ll be difficult for you, though, given your track record.”

Howard had mistakenly assumed that it was the woman’s politics that made Vulcan wary of spending too much time in the same room with her. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Counselor Olivia Mallory had been getting more attention since her victory in the Hanson case, but that didn’t mean the world now revolved around her...The woman had always thought too much of herself to begin with.

And now she was a successful lawyer. Vulcan withheld a groan. That turn of events certainly wasn’t making things any easier. Plus, not that anyone else knew about this, but once Olivia found out who the victim was...

She inwardly cringed. The damn woman really wouldn’t be going anywhere until she got to the bottom of the case.

After placating Howard the best she could, Vulcan thought it might be best to have one more look at the crime scene before CSU finished processing. The Lieutenant had called her out of the scene a bit earlier than she would have liked. Although with Olivia at the same crime scene, it wouldn’t exactly have taken a hurricane to get Vulcan away from the site. Olivia seemed oblivious to her now, but she wasn’t taking any chances. Memory re-attainment had never happened before, but there was always a first time for everything.

As she made her way out of the building to drive back to the crime scene, Constantania heard a painfully familiar voice that she hadn’t heard twice in one day since high school.

“Detective!” Olivia walked quickly in her stilettos, weaving with surprising grace through the bustle of the precinct lobby.

Vulcan stopped in her tracks and counted to five as she turned around, while chanting to herself the mantra that had kept her from flying back to Olivia over the past decade.

Stay away from her; it’s for her own protection.

Former prom queen, social butterfly Olivia Mallory couldn’t, for the life of her, figure what it was about her that made the tall, dark and beautiful detective so jumpy around her. Olivia made her living off of analyzing other people’s reactions to her words. And, being a prosecutor, she knew all about finding the exact time and place to hit her opponent where it hurt the most.

But this woman wasn’t an legal opponent, or an enemy, at least as far as she knew. She was just one of the detectives assigned to the murder case she’d unwittingly gotten herself involved in...Olivia just couldn’t shake the feeling that they’d run into each other before; the woman seemed so familiar.

“Something I can help you with, Counselor?” The woman, Detective Vulcan, she recalled, asked.

Olivia straightened. Even though she’d originally come to find her sister, she’d gotten sucked into a murder case that she now had an obligation to help with in any way she could. As a lawyer, she was out of her jurisdiction, but as a woman with a lawyer’s mind...Maybe she could be a bit more help than a random citizen might have been.  

“Are you...headed back to the crime scene?” The detective could have been on her way to get lunch, for all she knew, but Olivia figured keeping the conversation on work as much as possible might help with the tension that seemed to sprout from nowhere between them when they were in each other’s company.

Vulcan seemed reluctant to answer, so Olivia slipped back into her charming, but equally pushy personality that was one of the reasons she was so skilled at what she did. She flashed a smile that she knew would have most men and some women tripping over themselves if they weren’t careful and said,

“I’ll come along with you.”

Vulcan seemed to realize it wasn’t a question, and made no move to argue, simply turning and leading the way to her assigned car.

The ride to the scene was relatively quiet. Olivia made polite conversation every now and then, but she seemed to pick up on Vulcan’s desire to have the trip be as silent as possible, and eventually took to looking out the window until the alley came into view. Vulcan stepped out of the car and waited for Olivia to join her on the other side. They walked side-by-side past the still-present CSU vehicles parked out of the way, and to the place where the body of the victim had lain not five hours before.

It didn’t take Vulcan long to process the locations of various debris at the scene, including something that, once Olivia caught sight of it (and she would), there would be -

A sharp intake of breath broke through Vulcan’s thought process and she looked back at whom she knew the sound originated.

Olivia stood, horrified, as she looked at the necklace that lay on the ground, a sunburst pendant with a broken chain. It was identical to the one she had given Aimee years ago as a birthday present when they were children.

What the hell is it doing here?

She shook herself, even as she felt the cold detective at her back, staring down at the piece of broken jewelry along with her.

“You recognize the necklace?”

Olivia had to swallow hard before she was able to speak.

“It...It’s just like the one I gave my sister a long time ago.”

“I’ve seen the same kind of pendant before, in an advertisement.” Vulcan raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure it couldn’t just be a coincidence?”

Olivia wanted to believe it was just a coincidence more than she could say.

Vulcan cleared her throat.

It normally wasn’t difficult for her to ask one of the victim’s family members to go to the morgue and positively identify the body. Easy to shake off the screams that sounded in the room once they recognized the pasty, familiar face that was only momentarily uncovered by a pristine white sheet. Screams that, sometimes, no one was able to hear but her.

“You know that...the victim is still a Jane Doe, don’t you?”

The woman started, as if, as a criminal attorney, the idea had never even occurred to her. Then she seemed to take a deep inhale as her shoulders rose up and then sank back down slowly.

Olivia only spoke four words.

“Take me to her.”

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