As usual, she flitted into the station with her skimpy clothing and cocky attitude. Not that she wasn’t something to look at; it was just the point that she was always doing this in a police station full of horny men and she was the captain’s wife. Being one of those said men himself, Jackson had to go out of the way to look around his cubicle wall and watch her go down the hall toward Captain Drew Roberts’ office. Just a peek though; not like the other men in the station gawking and drooling until she disappeared behind the office door. Jackson hated when she did this; it was not the time or place for her to be here and it was downright demeaning.
“Saw that bro. Watch her a little harder next time- I didn’t hear anyone call you a creeper.”
Jackson snapped out of his inner tirade and turned around to see his younger brother, Cameron, coming around the corner into the squad room. Cameron showed up to the precinct unannounced all the time; as usual, the pretty girl in the lobby couldn’t resist Cam’s charms and let him do whatever he wanted. The rest of the officers knew Cam about as well as they knew Jack, and probably even more so. Cameron and Jackson were about as different as night and day; from looks to personality, they had nothing in common except for the fact that they were brothers and best friends. Cameron was 6 foot 2 inches with a thin, lean body, short, shaggy dark blonde hair and brown eyes. He had a lazy smile and washboard abs that that made women fall all over him. Jack was a hair taller than 6 feet, which made him shorter than Cam- a fact that Cam never let him forget. Jack’s brown hair was closely cropped to his head and he had vibrant, golden brown eyes. He had never been as physically built as Cam- he was fit and strong but had never- and probably would never- have that lined six pack on his stomach. Jackson was 30 and Cameron was only 22, but that 8 year age difference never even fazed them. Jack taught Cameron how to play basketball at 6 and helped him become the first freshman to make the varsity basketball team in the history of East Hampton High School. He was in the stands cheering on his brother during every single one of his college games, and never left his side when Cam blew out his knee and was told he would never be able to play professional basketball. They were brothers before best friends and no one would ever be able to come between the strong bond they had.
“Shut the hell up, Cameron. I wasn’t looking; I was making sure she didn’t trip over those unnecessarily high shoes she’s always prancing around here in.”
“Yeah, umm okay. That’s what I was doing too then- Looking at her…shoes. By the way, good taste bro.”
“Yeah, the captain’s sleezy dressed, arrogant wife. Great taste.”
“The captain’s sleezy, arrogant wife with a great ass and legs that would look great in nothing but those unnecessarily high shoes.”
“Damn it Cam; you would give me that visual for the rest of the afternoon.”
“Right man, like you didn’t already have that visual in your mind.” Jackson reached over and punched his brother square in the bicep. He hated when his brother was right.
“Kallista, there you are. You’re 3 minutes late.” Kallie never hated her name as much as when it came out of Drew’s mouth. The way he drug out the “s” sound in the middle of her name made her never want to hear it again. She hated when he told her to come in to the station around a particular time, wearing nearly nothing, because he knew the other men in the precinct would be jealous and congratulate him later on his “fine young thing”. She hated that he scolded her for being three minutes late, when he would saunter home later that night (drunk & smelling of a perfume she never wore) three or four hours after his shift ended. She hated that the night would probably end with him leaving a bruise on her that would be almost impossible to hide in the skimpy little clothes that he always made her wear.
“Kallista, this is Officer Brennan; we are working on a high profile case. Sit over there; there is no need for you to speak right now.” Officer Brennan looked uncomfortable, but Kallie was used to seeing that look on people’s faces when they heard how Drew spoke to her, especially because she always obeyed without question.
Kallie sat in an oversized arm chair in the corner of the room, smoothing her tiny black sundress over her thighs and crossing her long legs. Kallie wasn’t tall- only about 5’5- but she was built like one of those women that people called “all legs”. She had long, long honey blonde hair and clear gray eyes. Well, brown eyes currently- Drew hated her gray eyes and forced her to wear color contacts so he didn’t have to look at them. She turned her eyes down and pretended to inspect her nail polish- Drew hated when he thought she was eavesdropping.
“Captain, we’ve been trying everything to try to catch this guy. We KNOW who it is, but we can’t pin any evidence on him! We have 6 dead girls, all with the same knife wounds. All the girls look exactly the same. We know where he lives, what kind of car he drives, what bar he frequents, and what type of victim he seeks out, but there is no evidence. Nada. Not a single piece.”
“We have all that information, and can’t pin a thing on him?! What the hell is the city paying you guys for? This is ridiculous!”
“Yes, I know boss. We’re trying. This guy is slick. I actually had an idea though- a sting. We should set up an undercover operation where we send someone in to catch him red handed.”
For the first time, Drew looked up and met Kallie’s eyes. “Perfect idea. I have a plan.”
“Officer Williams, the Captain would like to speak to the unit in the conference room. Hi Cameron.” The pretty young receptionist- Lucy - shimmied her way around Jackson’s cubicle so Cameron could get a good look. She wasn’t even close to Cam’s type but, Cam being Cam, gave her an extra long look that made her feel oh-so-special.
“You can wait here Cam; I’ll be back shortly.” Jackson got up and took off his fleece jacket, hanging it on the back of his chair.
Jackson hated when Captain Roberts called the unit in for “debriefs”; they were usually stupid little meetings that made Jack loathe him even more. Opening the conference room door, Jackson saw that most of the men in their unit who worked together on undercover operations were sitting around the tables. Roberts’ wife was also in the room, sitting up front with him. That was new. He casually thought that he should probably figure out her name; he sometimes felt bad that he referred to her as “the captains slutty wife”.
“Sit down men! We have work to do!” Jack and his partner Evan sat down at a table near the front. Jack glanced up through his eyelashes to sneak a peek at the girl, who was looking at her fingernail polish and nowhere else. He thought she would be a lot prettier if she wasn’t dressed and made up to look like she worked on the corner of South Avenue every time he saw her.
“As you all know, we have been working for months to catch the infamous ‘Manhattan Mangler’ that has killed 6 women in our jurisdiction. Officer Brennan and I were talking today, and I believe that I’ve come up with the perfect operation. An undercover sting, if you will, that will put someone right in the line of danger and will finally give us the evidence we need to put this guy away forever. My wife, Kallista, has volunteered to be our bait.”
Jack’s jaw dropped as he stood. His words came out before he could even attempt to filter them.
“Are you freaking serious?! You’re going to send your one hundred pound wife into the arms of a man who has mangled and killed 6 women so far, and is so smart that he hasn’t left a speck of evidence? Are you out of your mind? Does anyone else here see the insanity of this plan?!”
“Officer Williams, I believe you are here to serve our city, not have an opinion of how my wife lives her life.”
For the first time ever, Jack turned to Kallie and spoke directly to her. “Do you seriously want to do this? Did he explain the dangers of this to you? That normally police officers are the ones who go undercover because they understand the risks of being killed?!”
Kallie look up at Jack and met his eyes head on. She had deep chocolate brown eyes that didn’t look right with how soft and feminine everything else on her body was. “I understand,” she said, meekly and without conviction, “I want to help.”
Jack looked incredulously at her and shook his head. “I can’t believe this. Whatever.” He took his seat again next to Evan and crossed his arms. He refused to look at Captain Roberts and didn’t ever want to look into Kallista’s weird brown eyes ever again.
The Captain continued to go over the details of when and where the sting would begin and all the preparations that needed to be made before hand. Three weeks from this Saturday, they would send this petite, clueless girl into a bar with a serial killer and expect her to let the monster take her back to his house, all the while hoping they would be able to get her out of there before he killed her too. Jack didn’t want to listen any longer, but it was part of his life’s work to make sure murderers were taken off the street and no more people were hurt.
“Oh, and Officer Williams? I’ve heard that you and your cocky brother are into that martial arts and self defense stuff. It will be your job to help train Kallista beforehand so she knows how to handle herself, in the event that something goes wrong and no one is there to help her.”
Jack refused to look up, but took a deep breath in. “No.”
“Excuse me? Officer Williams, it is your job to do your part in this assignment to ensure that our plan is carried out and that everyone is safe. Are you telling me that you refuse to do your job on this team?”
“I’m telling you that I refuse to be apart of throwing this girl to the wolves.”
Kallie looked up at him, but still had nothing to say. Jack was disgusted with her, until he glanced at her and finally realized that she had never actually volunteered to be a part of this wild plan.
“Jackson, if you refuse to take on this duty…”
“Forget it. Fine. I’ll do it,” Jack said. He thought he saw her slightly relax, and that made him feel a little better too.
“That’s what I thought. Training begins tomorrow afternoon, downstairs in the gym.”
Jackson shoved back his chair and stalked out of the room. He strode past his cubicle and grabbed Cameron by the hood of his sweatshirt as he walked by, pulling him out of the squad room.
“Whoa, what the hell? Let me go, bro! What the hell happened?!”
Jackson shoved his brother into an empty interrogation room and slammed the door shut.
“I HATE that man! Everything about him! I can’t believe this!”
“Jackson, what is going on?!”
“Remember that serial killer I’ve been telling you about, the one we’ve been trying to catch for months? Well we’re putting together an undercover operation. Sending someone in to catch him in the act.”
“That’s a good thing; isn’t it?”
“It would be, if they were sending in a cop to do the dirty work.”
Cameron was looking directly at Jack, still oblivious to where he was going with this and why he was so angry. Then…
“That girl? His wife? He is sending his wife to catch a murderer?!”
“You got it. I still can’t believe this.” Jackson ran a hand through his short brown hair in frustration.
“I know this is definitely crazy Jack, but you do realize you don’t know this girl, right? You have no connection to her at all, yet you’re acting like she’s your sister or your daughter or… your wife.”
“You don’t think this is wrong, Cam? You think she can handle this alone? Well good, I’m glad, because you’re supposed to help me.”
“I am? What am I supposed to do? I manage restaurants; I’m not a cop Jackson.”
“Roberts’ got wind that we’re black belts. He wants his wife to learn specific hits and holds that she can use if she gets into a situation.”
“That little girl wouldn’t be able to even slow down a serial killer, Jack, let alone do anything that would save her life.”
“I know that, Cam, but apparently neither Roberts nor his wife understand that. Whatever- I’m over it. I’m just trying to get my job done at this point and put this murderous asshole behind bars.”
Just then, Captain Roberts pulled his wife into the room. “Officer Williams, this is my wife Kallista. I just thought you guys should get acquainted before you start your training tomorrow afternoon. “ Captain Roberts looked at Cameron. “What is your name again, bro?”
Cameron had never backed down from a confrontation before and didn’t plan on starting now. “My name is Cameron, and I’m not your ‘bro’, bro. Hi Kallista, it is so very nice meeting a beautiful woman like yourself.” Cam outstretched his hand and as quickly as Kallie placed her hand in his, she pulled it back.
But not before both Cam and Jack saw the fingerprint bruises encircling her wrist.
“Let’s go Kallista- you need to be further debriefed before we get this operation underway.” Captain Roberts grabbed his wife around the waist and pulled her away.
“It was nice to meet you Kallista! See you tomorrow!” Cam shouted down the hall after them.
“Don’t be a tool, Cam. This is already going to be one hell of a ride.”
“I am definitely NOT the tool in this situation, Jack- That guy is one major douche bag. Did you see those bruises on her wrist?! I know you did…”
“Don’t worry about it Cam; let’s just do this job and do it right. Like we always do.”
“Williams brothers, at it again! Team Will-Bro!”
“….Too far Cam, too far.”
Cameron smirked and clapped his brother on the shoulder. He knew his brother better than anyone- that girl was already in his head.
The next afternoon, Kallie dressed in black yoga pants, a black racerback tank top, and her new hot pink Nike shocks. She pulled her hair into a tight high ponytail and let herself giggle at her reflection in the mirror. She hadn’t seen herself look this cute or peppy since she had been in dance classes and gymnastics; before she met Drew, she had done ballet for 8 years and had been a level 10 gymnast. If only one thing was consistent in her whole life, it was that she had been with loving, caring foster parents who always made sure she worked hard and achieved the goals she set for herself. No one in her life now really knew anything about her past life at all- Kallie didn’t think Drew knew that she had any of her dance and tumbling talents, or even that she practiced outside in the yard everyday when he wasn’t home so that she didn’t lose any of the skills that she’d worked her whole life to achieve.
“Kallista! Let’s go!” Drew called from the garage of their enormous house. Kallie grabbed her bag and her Trac-Phone; the only phone Drew allowed her to have, with only his phone number programmed into it.
It’s now or never, I guess, Kallie thought to herself. If I help catch this guy, it will be one less monster on the street. And if something goes wrong… Who will really miss me anyway?
“Ready for this, bro?” Cam jumped up and grabbed the chin up bar in the police gym and started lazily pulling himself up.
“It’s now or never, I guess. I still think this is insane though, but no one is listening to me.”
Jack began pulling out thick floor mats, sparring gloves, and punching bags. He arranged them on the gym floor into 3 different stations to maximize what he could teach the boss’ wife. Jack heard the gym door open and close and looked up. There stood Kallista, in more clothes than he had ever seen her wear but looking sexy as hell. God Bless Yoga Pants, Jack thought .
“Umm, hey. “ Kallista walked across the gym floor toward Cam and Jack, wringing her hands and looking down the whole time.
“God Bless Yoga Pants,” Cam mumbled under his breath, and Jack couldn’t help but smirk at the fact that he and his brother were so very similar.
Cam bounded across the floor and flung his arm across her shoulders. “Hey, remember me? My name is Cameron, but you can call me Cam. I’m expecting that if I’m going to teach you to beat me up, we should be on familiar terms.”
Cam was always so comfortable and relaxed around new people. It was always something Jack had admired about him. Jack could see the visible tension in Kallista’s shoulders from Cam’s close proximity and his touch. How were they going to be able to teach her any kind of self defense tactics without being able to touch her? They were going to have to get her to relax with them- and fast.
As the two of them walked toward Jack, he could see the rigidity in Kallista’s body slowly dissipate. Cam just had a way with women- Jack would never deny that. He even saw the slight ghost of a smile play on her lips. She had a pretty smile; he hoped that Cam would be able to make her smile more often.
“Please call me Kallie- I hate the name Kallista.” Kallie shyly stuck out her hand and placed it in Jack’s. She had a firm but soft handshake; not what Jack had expected. Kallie looked up and directly into Jack’s eyes. Jack still couldn’t shake the weird muddy brown color of her eyes. They just didn’t fit her delicate features. The name “Kallie” made a little more sense though- she was much more of a Kallie than a Kallista.
“Okay, Kallie it is then. Ready to get started?” Jack broke the weird connection between the two of them and stepped back to start stretching out his muscles.
“Ready as I’ll ever be, I guess,” Kallie replied.
“Are you sure that this was your idea to help in this operation? It’s going to be a lot more intense than you realize,” Jack blurted out. Cam raised his eyebrows in surprise. Jack was really adamant in not wanting this girl to be a part of this sting.
“I’m sure. I want to help. I think I can be good at it.”
“Alright then- let’s warm up.”
After 2 intense hours of training, the only new thing that Jack knew about Kallie was that she was in incredible physical shape. She was a lot stronger than he expected and she learned the hits and defensive moves a lot faster than he would have thought. She was unbelievably strong and even more, well, flexible. That part did not go unnoticed by Jack, and it certainly did not go unnoticed by Cam.
“Bro. Did you see what that girl can do with her back?! And her legs?! Dude…”
“Shut up Cam. She’s flexible; lots of girls are.”
“But she’s like, flexible flexible. Like, I’ve never seen anyone that flexible before. Do you think she’s like, a gymnast or something? Because if she is, that’s kind of hot- don’t you think?”
“I try not to think about it, but, thanks Cam.”
“But you do think about it, even though you try not to.”
“Shut up Cam.”
“Shutting up now. Damn, she’s hot. “
Jack shot Cam a hard look and punched him in the thigh.“Ow dude. Okay, I’m done now.”