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Temporary Lodging

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When Harry came home late in the night, the house was dark and empty. He went to the bar and grabbed the bottle with Whiskey; then he dropped down onto a chair near the big window front. The sight was amazing, all the lights of Los Angeles were lying to his feet, endless. So often lately Madelaine, Maddy, had joined him when he was sitting here, a glass of orange juice in her hand and they had listened to one of his old jazz records. To his surprise, his sixteen-year-old daughter had enjoyed this music as much as he did.

He would miss her. He would also miss Eleonore, his ex. Though she had left him about ten years ago, had even kept it secret that she was pregnant. His daughter had been eight years old when he had met her first. In the meantime, Eleonore had married again. And he had forgiven her.

To have both of them, his ex and his daughter, around for some weeks had at first felt slightly strange. He wasn't used to it anymore to share his house with someone else. But there had been a good reason for it. Reggie, Eleonore's new husband, was a good guy who cared for his wife and step daughter but he had been in Hongkong on business when some gangsters had tried to kidnap Maddy and her mother.

There was no way that Harry would let them go home alone, police protection or not. All too often he had witnessed how wrong things could go. So he had begged them to stay in Los Angeles with him until Reggie would be back and it would be safe for them to go home to Las Vegas.

After a short hesitation, Eleonore had agreed. Only because of Maddy, she had told him, it would be easier for their daughter to forget this terrifying incident with her father nearby. But also the initial tension between him and his ex had changed soon enough; replaced by old familiarity.

Harry had enjoyed it to have them around again. Maybe too much. The bond between him and Elenore had gotten so close again that he could almost forget that she was long married to another guy and had an own life. And Madelaine. He had never realized before how much he had missed it to be a part of his daughter's life. They had never had a chance to spend much time together, but during the last weeks, they had gotten to know each other better. To his surprise, she looked like her mom, but she shared a lot of his interests, Eleonore had never been interested into. Good books, good music. And she was fallen in love with his house in an instant.

He had spent as much time as possible together with her, which was somehow strange because usually he preferred his alone time, where he could enjoy a good drink, or two and let his thoughts wander. Mostly he ended with thinking about one of his cases, often enough he would leave the house in the middle of the night to follow a new trace.

A long time ago he had accepted it that in his life was no room for a family. He was a cop with all his heart, and as much as he had loved Eleonore, in a way still loved her, his job would always come first.

When there was a case, he turned into a wolf who would follow the trace of his prey until he would finally be successful. Giving up was not an option, not for him. Despite everything he had seen and heard, he still believed in justice. No matter how high the price would be for him, he wouldn't rest, even if anyone else had long given up.

It had cost him most of his friends and finally his marriage. He hadn't even noticed it how they drifted apart more and more. Until one day he came home late in the evening, like today, and the house had been dark and quiet.

Eleonore was gone, without any word, vanished out of his life as if she had never existed. Back then he had had a hard time to accept it, he had started to drink, had overstepped the lines more than once. And only thanks to Grace Billets, the commanding officer of the LAPD Hollywood Division's detective bureau, who had always backed him up, he was still in into the game.

Today he wouldn't make this mistake again. He loved Maddy, and he had enjoyed it to have Eleonore around for a while again. But he had always known that it couldn't last. It was the only right thing to let them go home again. Back to Las Vegas, to the big villa right at the ocean where another guy was already waiting for them, ready to take care of them, to love them. Richie was a good man, a good husband, a good father, Harry knew, he didn't need to worry about them.

He took another sip of his whiskey, closed his eyes and listened to the music. Until the slight buzzing of his cell phone tore him out of his thoughts. Probably the LAPD, crime never slept. But when he grabbed for it his eyes fall on Maddy's face; the long hair falling over her forehead, a smile on her lips. He opened the SMS and read.

Good night, daddy. I miss you.