I'll Be Right Behind You

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Chapter 18

“Alex?” Nicole asked, sitting up straight in the darkness. They were up till past midnight, Alex unable to sleep after everything that happened with her parents. But once in bed, it didn’t take her too long to fall asleep, Nicole actually fell asleep after Alex. But when Nicole rolled over to her side and reached out for her girlfriend, there was nothing there other than the empty sheets. She turned on the small light on the nightstand and looked around, the clock read 2:03am, the door was open and Alex was nowhere in sight.

Getting out of bed, Nicole made her way out to the living room. She noticed the balcony door open and immediately realized that that’s where she was.

“Hey,” She approached slowly. Alex stood there in silence, her back to Nicole and leaning against the railing. Nicole thought the wind blowing made it too loud for Alex to have heard her. She stepped closer to her, settling beside her, “Hey,” Nicole repeated, gently touching her arm.

“Hey,” Alex replied, realizing for the first time she was there. “Did I wake you?”

“No,” Nicole told her. “Can’t sleep?”

She shook her head slowly.

“Do you wanna talk about it?” She asked, sliding her arm around her waist.

“You don’t wanna hear it.” Nicole could hear her voice cracking.

“I do.” She told her gently. “I’m always here for you, Alex, whatever you want to talk about.”

“I just haven’t felt like this in a very long time.” Alex bit her lower lip, trying to hold back the tears. “Seeing my parents…it just brought back so many memories.” Without realizing, her hand raised to her side where she knew her scars were. “And I just feel really overwhelmed right now.” She wasn’t looking at Nicole, but she could see the tears slipping down Alex’s cheeks. “Everything I’ve pushed down and tried so hard to forget about…it all just came rushing back.”

“Hey,” Nicole pulled her closer. “It’s alright.”

Alex placed her head on Nicole’s shoulder, not saying anything and unable to keep the tears from falling. “I thought I was okay. I thought I put it all behind me.”

“I’m sorry.” Nicole muttered finally, not knowing what else to say.

“I can still remember feeling so alone.” She continued. “I don’t think that feeling ever stopped.” Alex turned her head to look at Nicole. “Until I met you.” She paused. “I don’t know why, but you’re the only person with whom I don’t feel alone. Reyna, Lincoln, Costia…sure they were there; especially Reyna, but I don’t think I’ve ever not felt like I was alone until you came along.”

“Well, I’m right here.” Nicole nodded. “And I’m not going anywhere.”

“Woods.” Her captain called out from her office, bringing Alex out of her thoughts. She was looking at the murder board, trying to find something they might have missed. Alex had planned on spending the night with Nicole, watching a movie over dinner. They’d both had a busy week, barely getting to see the other except at night; and it was Friday, Nicole was done with all her work for the week and Alex was praying that they would have their killer within a decent hour so she could go home and spend some time with her girlfriend.

“Captain,” Alex replied, walking towards the Captain’s office.

“Close the door.” She did as she was told, standing across the desk. “Take a seat.”

“Something wrong?” Alex asked, sitting down.

“Do you remember that serial killer case you and Reyna helped with a little after getting into homicide?”

Alex nodded slowly before replying, “The one that we couldn’t solve?”

“Yes,” Iris nodded reluctantly. “Well, he’s back.”


“Not here. Miami.”

Alex waited a second, not sure where this was going. “What does that have to do with me?”

“They need someone who knows the case.” She told her. “And considering how the five other detectives are either dead or retired…you’re my best bet.”

“But I was just helping with canvasing and other small things. I didn’t really work the case.”

“But you’ve read the file more times than anyone else in here.”

Alex only nodded.

“They need you to go down there.”

She remained silent, thinking about what to say. “I take it its not open for discussion?”

“Not really.” Iris shook her head. “Unless there’s some reason you can’t go.”

Alex nodded slowly. “How long will it take?”

“Could be only a few days or over a month.”

Alex remained quiet, Nicole wasn’t going to be happy about this. Hell, she wasn’t happy about this. She doesn’t want to leave Nicole for as long as a couple of nights let alone over a month. I can’t. She wanted to say but that wouldn’t change anything. “Can’t Miami PD handle it on their own?”

“They have no idea what’s going on but they have two dead cops, killed the exact same way as the ones here.” She told her. “Feds got wind of it and they don’t want to let him slip again.”

Alex sat there, unsure of what she could say to get herself from not having to go. But after talking to her captain for a few more minutes, she realized there wasn’t anything to do other than go home and talk to Nicole about it.

“Go home, get some rest. I don’t know the next time you will.” Iris told her and Alex nodded, beginning to get up. “And talk to your girlfriend, I think she’ll understand.”

Alex knew Nicole would understand. But she wouldn’t be too happy about it. Especially considering the fact that it was really dangerous and there was a chance she would be targeted. Alex couldn’t stop thinking about it as she drove back home, the heavy rain pouring down on the car. It was calming, but she couldn’t stop thinking about it. Nicole and Alex hadn’t been apart for more than two days at a time in the last seven months Nicole had moved in; Alex had spent a couple of nights at the precinct working cases and Nicole had gone out of town with Ophelia and Robin one weekend. I can think about that later, Alex thought, pulling up to their apartment.

“Hey babe.” Nicole greeted her as she walked in through the front door.

“Hey,” Alex smiled back walking up to kiss her. “I’m just going to go change then I’m all yours.”

They were sitting on the couch, Alex’s arm around Nicole and a carton on Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream between them. Empty take out boxes sat on the coffee table as Imagine Me and You played on the TV; it was only yesterday that Nicole found out Alex had never watched it, so obviously, Nicole took it on herself to make sure she did.

“Feels like I’ve barely seen you this week.” Alex said, digging into the ice cream with her spoon looking for a chunk of cookie dough.

“That’s because we haven’t.” Nicole replied, mindlessly putting a spoonful on ice cream in her mouth as she continued looking at the TV screen. “I had a lot to do this week and I can’t believe I got it all done and you’ve been working that case till like 2am everyday.”

“Yeah,” Alex replied.

“Speaking off, did you catch the killer?”

“Not yet.”

“I thought you’d be at the precinct then.” Nicole asked, surprised, turning her head to look at Alex.

“Something came up.” Alex simply replied. But before Nicole could ask what, she spoke again. “How was your day?”

“Well I handed in my last bit of work and I have nothing to work on over the weekend.” She smiled. “So as long as you don’t catch another case and get home at a decent hour, I’m spending it with you.”

Alex forced a smile, knowing she won’t be home at all this weekend and probably the next couple of weeks for that matter.

“What?” Nicole asked, her face changing in a flash.

She sighed; she really needs to talk to Nicole about it already. Grabbing the remote, Alex pressed paused on the movie and Nicole gave her a look, more worried than confused. “Something came up.”

“And…” If Alex didn’t know any better, she’d say Nicole was holding her breath.

She took a deep breath, thinking about where to start. “Me and Reyna work-…helped with this serial killer case, who only targeted cops; it was one of our first ones after getting into homicide.” Nicole nodded, still unsure of where this was going. “And he didn’t get him but he stopped killing and after a while, the task force gave up.” She paused. “Well…he’s back.”

Nicole’s eyes widened.

“Not here. In Miami.” Alex told her. “And they need me over there.”

Nicole remained silent for a few moments, letting it sink in. “Miami?” She finally muttered.

Alex only nodded.

“How long are you going to be gone?”

“I don’t know.” She gave a small shrug. “It can be as little as a couple of days or it can be as long as over a month.”

“Wait, you said he killed only cops, isn’t that dangerous?” Nicole asked.

Alex only nodded. “Bu-”

“Alex you can’t expect me to be okay with that.” She told her. “What if something happens to you?”

“I’ll be fine.” She tried to reassure Nicole.

“You don’t know that.”

Alex sighed. “Yeah, I don’t know that. But this is out of my hands, you have to understand.”

“I do…” Nicole nodded. “It’s just…this was never part of it, going away for a few weeks? And this is more dangerous than what you’re usually up against.”

“I know.” Alex nodded. “And I don’t want to go. I don’t want to be away from you for that long.” She looked at her, studying what was going through Nicole mind. “But there’s nothing I can do about it.”

“Why not someone else? There were other people working the case.” By now it was clear that Nicole was more than a little upset and unimpressed with the whole thing.

“One of them retired. Two of them got killed during the investigation. Reyna’s on me. And the other detective died in a car crash last year.”

“Two of the investigating detectives got murdered by the killer?” Nicole exclaimed. “And you’re going after him? Are you serious?” She asked, Alex picking up on the anger now evident in her voice, but very slightly.

She nodded slowly.

Nicole stood up, walking away to their room.

“Nicole wait,” Alex followed her. “I know you’re mad at me.” She said, entering the room.

“I’m not mad at you.” She told her. “I don’t know if you’re going to be back alright and I…I don’t know if I can deal with it if something happens to you.”

Alex didn’t say anything, only waited for her to continue.

“You’re not alone anymore.” Nicole went on. “You can’t keep throwing yourself out there like you used to because you didn’t have anyone waiting for you at home. Now you do. And I’m worried about you as it is… And Miami? Chasing a serial killer who only kills cops? What if something happens to you?” She stopped, waiting for Alex to respond.

This is a rhetorical question, how do you expect me to reply? “I don’t know.” Alex replied, reluctantly.

“Exactly,” Nicole said angrily. “You don’t know.”

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