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The Patient

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Sarah never could do small talk. Never initiate. That portion of the social world existed as a gallery. She was but a window shopper able to engage and smile when something tickled her bone, but then, just that easy, she could put her head down and ignore it. Make it disappear. It. Them.

It seemed to be the reason she couldn’t connect to people as easily as she liked and why she loathed small talk with Irv. A butcher she’d made up that he was. Sarah spotted a tiny cleaver key chain, rough fingers, and the ever-present scent of freezer burn upon him.

            “You know what I mean-,” he grunted as he looked up from his coffee.

She only had the time to when his coffee cup hit his lips, to when his eyes would be on her to participate.

            “Riiiight,” she answered nervously.

She had no idea what he was going on about, and frankly she didn’t care.

The screech of the tires and the cartoonish sounding man had announced her arrival. Saved by the bus. Sarah hastily got up and off the rolling cage and walked the half-block to the gun range. She had promised herself to get more training for her use of mace but instead the lessons escalated to a new weapon of choice; a gun.

            “Do you know what ammunition you might need?”

Sarah nodded. She’d bought a cheap glock for just a little over five-hundred dollars from another dealer two months earlier. The clerk slid the box across the counter and Sarah took her protective ear, and eye-wear towards the back.

The first shots startled her but soon every squeeze of the trigger became a taut catch and release. Little pieces of her breath lost and then swiftly returned. Each recoil of her weapon giving her a mini-high.

            “Ouch,” Sarah hissed under her breath.

The slide lock had pinched the purlicue on her hand. Damned used gun. The first drop of blood spattered on the floor and then onto his shoe. Sarah’s eyes darted up.

            “Missed a spot,” he grumbled.

            “I’m sorry,” Sarah answered quietly.

He bent down waxing his worn handkerchief to his boot.

           “There’s a first aid kit, they keep it on the wall over here.”

Sarah followed him over to the spot and leaned against the ledge as he popped it open.

            “You’ll have to tell me if I’m doing this right,” he stated.

He had more humor to his tone now, a playfulness in his eyes; with the just tiniest smile.

            “How would you know if I knew you weren’t doing it correctly?” Sarah asked.

            “You’re a doctor, aren’t you?” he asked.

            “I am, but-,” Sarah started.

            “-I guess I haven’t seen you around the ED as much,” he interrupted.

            “That’s right, you’re Will’s brother, the cop.”

            “Detective,” he corrected her, sternly.

            “Right, it’s been a while…,” she said staring past him, “I guess I must’ve talked myself out of it being you.”

            “Why’s that?” he asked.

            “I figure a cop-I mean detective, would use the gun range at his precinct.”

Sarah stared at his face; waited patiently for a response, but Jay was looking down and he did not appear to be preparing to answer her question. He finished dabbing the cut and was now wrapping a band aid around it. He returned the supplies to the closet and then closed it. Jay turned and walked to his spot on the range as Sarah walked to hers. They were fitting their ear protection on when Sarah stopped and turned to Jay. Feeling her eyes on him he glanced over.

            “Thank you,” Sarah said as she adjusted her glasses.

Jay nodded and then yelled.

            “Range is hot!”

Sarah turned to her target and squeezed the trigger.

                                                                                                         ***

Two days earlier.

            “I think presented with what see here there is an absolute case for this being some kind of head injury and not schizophrenia,” Daniel argued.

            “But Dr. Charles, he has long family history of schizophrenia; his father, his uncle. This family is desperate, and they can barely afford this visit let alone the scan he needs to verify your diagnosis, which I don’t believe he even has!” Sarah insisted.

            “You know Sarah, I’ve been doing this awhile and maybe just maybe I might know what I’m talking about.”

            “Dr. Charles-,” Sarah started.

            “-The answer is no kiddo. Send him back to the ED,” Daniel stated coolly as he walked away.

His behavior had been like this ever since his return to the ED. He hadn’t really been treating patients and it wasn’t just Sarah who’d noticed. Dr. Kwon, Sharon, Connor, Robin, everyone who really knew him had become concerned with his behavior since he’d returned. Sarah was more frustrated than angry. She couldn’t put her finger on the exact moment she realized the change in him, but it was sometime after the shooting and had only gotten worse after the trial. Daniel was barely seeing any patients, he locked himself in his office doing research and signing off on rounds from the residents, but he was one of the few psychiatrists on staff with the expertise and skill at treating some of the more severe mental illnesses and personality disorders. But Daniel wasn’t having any of it. There was always an excuse; an assessment to be written, or paperwork that needed immediate attention. None of it have been nearly as alarming as when he went to trial and changed his testimony on Kellogg’s state of mind. He had deterred from the initial assessment and the consensus he and Sarah  agreed upon. Sarah’s testimony sealed Kellogg’s fate and added new strain to her working relationship with Daniel. So, there was no going back; she wasn’t sending this patient back to the ED.

***

Jay had been using the private club for almost a week. When he wasn’t with Camila he was shooting at the gun range or drinking at her bar. Fiscally it made more sense for him to be at the department’s range, free ammo, and the shooting time gave him credit towards his continuing training certification. But everyone was there; Hailey was there. Although he was still an effective detective he could feel her eyes. On one hand her gaze came across as judgment but also as sympathy; neither were sentiments he felt like entertaining or addressing with her. Jay had things under control, at least with work. He went to grab the other pistol he kept in his gear bag and more ammo before the shine of her blonde hair caught in the corner of his eye.

            “Are you following me?” he snapped.

            “Damn, not even a hello,” Hailey answered flatly.

Jay gave her a sharp look as he carried his small gear bag to the shooting floor.

            “Yeah, you got me, I am,” Hailey admitted.

            “Why?” Jay asked with the same annoyed tone.

            “You know why,” she quipped back.

            “I told you I’m good,” he insisted as he pulled his gun from the bag.

Hailey eyed his actions. Jay caught her with that same dichotomous look of judgement and pity.

            “You haven’t been to psych to get cleared… since Luis.”

            “Really Hailey,” he remarked both surprised and offended, “Like I said, I’m handling it.”

Hailey pursed her lips as he walked away. She knew he was lying; because she’d followed him to more than just the gun range.

                                                                                                        ***

            “Lucy, would you be so kind as to explain to an old man what I’m seeing here,” Dr. Charles asked his nurse gently but emergently irritated.

            “Of course, Doctor Charles, this is the list of patients you’re supposed to evaluate tomorrow,” she answered precisely.

He gave her a tight nod and looked back down at the digital notepad before walking off to find Sarah.

She had been in the ED, circumventing his advisement and getting Gregory Dekker into psych treatment and then to the state hospital per a recommendation; from who, well she hadn’t figured out that tricky detail yet. She hadn’t planned much, but to do the right thing, and the right thing wasn’t always easy; but it was always right. Sarah noticed on Dekker’s chart that a flag for confirmation was sent to the C.O.P…Daniel.

            “Shit,” said whispered to herself.

Before she could think of what to do next a man yelling in the ED caught everyone’s attention.

            “Please! I need help!” he shouted.

            “Sir, if you could go back to the front and wait your turn someone will be with you shortly,” Maggie answered curtly.

            “There won’t be time for that because by then my wife will be dead.”

The blood ran cold in everyone’s veins in the ED as Maggie looked to the man with shock now.

A heavily pregnant woman waddled next to him.

            “Ben, calm down that isn’t going to happen,” she begged, “I’m his wife and I am fine.”

            “Not if I'm in the house, I don’t know what I’ll do,” he responded but he wouldn’t make eye contact with his wife.

Maggie looked around for some sort of rescue and spotted Sarah.

            “Dr. Reese, I need you!” she yelled over.

Sarah nodded and walked over. The issue with C.O.P confirmation would have to wait.

            “Hello, I’m Dr. Reese, what seems to be the issue?”

He stared at her white jacket and read her field of expertise. The information seemed to allow him to exhale the breath he’d been holding.   

            “Oh, thank god, I need to be restrained, and kept away from my wife,” he said urgently.

The heavily pregnant woman just rolled her eyes in exhaustion.

            “How about we find somewhere private to speak,” Sarah answered with a reassuring half-smile.

            “No! No more talking! I have done enough talking I need to be locked up!” he shouted.

            “Do you want me to call Dr. Charles?” Maggie whispered from the corner of her mouth.

            “No, it’s alright, I got this,” Sarah answered, “Well all of the rooms to admit you to the psych wing are upstairs, but I still need to do an evaluation before you’re admitted,” Sarah stated confidently.

She had no intention of locking this man up. Patients who needed that kind of restraint weren’t known for asking for it beforehand. Sarah walked him up and then dropped him off in an interview room and ran to the cafeteria to ask a small favor of the staff. Just barely missing a fuming Daniel.

 His hand was twitching just like it did the night he was shot. A reminder to stay alive; stay awake. It had now become a trigger. The moment between not knowing if he was going to have a full-on panic attack or persevere and contain the enormity of his emotions. He took a deep breath and stopped off the elevator to ask Maggie if she’d seen Sarah.

            “She just took Ben, Mrs. Samuels husband upstairs Dr. Charles…actually would you mind escorting her up?” Maggie asked giving Holly a supportive pat on the shoulder.

Although still angry, Daniel never passed up the chance to perform an act of gentlemanly courtesy, so he stuck his arm out and she followed the way. It was one of the few times he’d allowed himself to be completely alone with a stranger, albeit a fairly harmless one; but the calmness was welcomed.

And it could’ve placated him had he not caught site of the stressed residents banging at one of their interview room doors.

            “Wait right here, Ms. Samuels,” Daniel said.

He wanted to see what all the commotion was about.

            “She’s locked herself in!” one intern exclaimed.

Daniel looked through the two-way glass to see Sarah sitting. Ben was pacing back and forth.

            “I think about what it would be like to bash her skull in and see bits of her brains. I dream of pushing her down the stairs to see how her bones would break. I constantly think about slicing her neck open and just watching the blood pour out,” he admitted frantically.

            “Okay, I think we should try something,” Sarah began, “Please have a seat.”

Ben stared at Sarah and the mysterious package she had her hand placed upon.

            “If you believe you are actually capable of killing someone, then here.”

She began unfolding the cloth until the shine of the knife revealed itself.

His eyes went wide, and his breath quickened. Ben slowly reached across the table and traced the outline of the blade. Almost savoring its profile; a macabre fantasy seconds away from the tip of his fingers.

            “You can try it out here and now Ben,” Sarah stated confidently, “Then you’d still have your wife to cut up.”

He stared at her as his fingers continued lightly traced the blade. Sarah slowly slid her curls into her hands pinning them up and out of the way; exposing her neck. Their eyes were now locked in a fierce-cool stare. Sarah slowly unbuttoned the next button on her top, revealing more flesh; a landscape of violent harvest for Ben. He eyed the enticing gesture and almost as if a hypnotist had snapped their finger and told him it was time to wake-up; he did.

            “See, you were never going to hurt anyone, we can’t always control our thoughts, but we don’t have to be ruled by them either and most importantly we can choose to not act upon them.”

Sarah gave him a small half-smile and got up. His shoulders slumped and the anticipation in his eyes flamed out.

            “I’ll have the nurse work up your discharge papers,” Sarah said.

 Before closing the door Ben finally spoke up.

            “Thank you,” he acknowledged shakily.

 Sarah nodded and closed the door. No matter what happened with the C.O.P for Dekker Sarah felt good; until she saw him.

             “Dr. Reese, a word, now.”

Sarah hadn’t realized the parade of residents and medical students gathered around her interview room; to see if the man would actually do it. But it was the angry bull coming in the shape of Daniel Charles who finally helped her realize the gravity of the situation. She followed him to his office. The hard snap of the door foreshadowed his sentiment.

            “Dr. Charles before you begin, I had everything under control-,” she started.

            “-Oh, we’ll get to whatever that-heck-that was back there in a minute. What part of send Mr. Dekker back to the ED sounds like admit Mr. Dekker to Pysch? Am I not still the Chief of Psychiatry here?” He asked petulantly.

            “You are but-…you haven’t been acting like it lately,” Sarah answered.

Daniel stopped surprised.

            “I think you are misdiagnosing patients because you don’t want to deal with any-,” she continued.

            “Mr. Dekker did not complain of a head injury and he had no history of substantial head trauma but had clear indicators of schizophrenia!” Sarah pleaded, “But that would heighten the chance of him being a violent patient and recently you haven’t behaved like you want to take on any of those cases.”

Sarah’s voice was urgent, professional, but also empathetic.

            “We aren’t talking about me right now Dr. Reese we are talking about you,” he quipped back.

His voice was pointed like an arrow and his hand had begun twitching again.

            “Yes, we are, your judgment has been-,” Sarah began, her voice heightened.

            “-My judgement! I just watched you lock yourself in a room with a patient and a weapon and we are talking about my judgement!”

            “You’re afraid! And I think you might have PTSD, the stand-off behavior with the patients and the-,” Sarah began gesturing to his hand.

            “Do not finish that sentence Dr. Reese! As of today, you are suspended from my service for the next two weeks!”

            “Daniel!”

There was only one person who spoke his designation so commonly, so familiar; Sharon. The click of door was as instant as her arrival.

She stood in the hall; right outside the outline of the door frame. Sarah looked over at her and then excused herself from the situation. Sharon closed the door behind Sarah as she exited.

            “You hired her because she thinks for herself, but this is the second time you’ve used it against her…I got to say Daniel, this is not what I expected from you when you took her into your service.”

            “Why does everyone seem to want to challenge my judgment today?” Daniel asked irritated.

            “Because since the trial your judgement has been questionable!” she snapped back.

            “Not you too Sharon,” Daniel remarked defeatedly before retreating into his chair.

Sharon pursed her lips together shook her head.

            “We’re not done talking about this Daniel,” she finished before walking towards the door to chase Sarah down.

            “Dr. Reese,” she called pointedly.

            “Ms. Goodwin,” Sarah answered looking down.

She felt ashamed at being suspended. But Sharon’s understanding eyes forced hers up.

            “I don’t know how to handle this, he needs help, but he isn’t in a position to accept any and now it’s messing with my job,” Sarah replied.

Her cheeks were flushed pink at the realization.

            “You let me worry about that,” Sharon said as she put her hand to Sarah’s back.

She turned them toward to the elevator and led them to her office.

            “Have a seat Sarah,” she offered.

Sarah sat down, arms crossed in frustration.

            “I know there’s a lot happening with Daniel and those who can, will speak with him about it, in the meantime I have a favor I need to ask of you.”

Sarah perked up wondering what Goodwin could possibly need her help on.

            “A friend of mine from the CPD would like an evaluation done, kind of off the books for one of his detectives,” Sharon said as she slid a file folder to Sarah. “I will ask Dr. Kwon to sign off on your notes. All of the details and concerns are in the folder. The quicker he knows what’s going on with the detective the better,” Sharon finished.

Sarah grabbed the folder and opened it and then looked up.

            “I guess I’ll have some free time…,” Sarah started.

She opened the folder to see who the patient was before looking up at Sharon and saying;

            "I’ll stop by the station tomorrow.”

                                                                                                           ***

Cops used to make Sarah nervous after all they were just people with guns; albeit unstable ones per her folder. But now she felt equal to them. Since finishing her gun safety and training classes she felt empowered and secure. She was almost to the stairs of the precinct when she saw him come out. The door practically swinging open as he dramatically skipped down the stairs. There was an air of agitation in his movement and it was explained by his partner coming out seconds later, looking around and then quickly heading in his direction.

Sarah watched them and then quickly ran back to her car and followed his partner. When she finally arrived down the gravel road tearing at her compact car she realized they were at the gun range. Sarah stayed a while looking through his folder; watching nothing happen. Soon his partner emerged, and Sarah quickly sunk down into her seat. His partner went to her vehicle and drove it farther out to a spot in the lot; hiding.  Jay came out twenty minutes after; hopped in his truck. Driving away; like a magnet his partner was behind him.

Sarah sat up and got out of her car and walked into the gun store at the front of the range.

            “Hi, how can help you?” the man behind the counter asked.

            “How do you become a member of this gun range?” she asked.

                                                                                                            ***

Chapter Text

“I like when you stay the night,” she said as she nuzzled his ear.

Jay had his eyes closed but he grinned at the softness of her nose against him.

            “You do huh…maybe I’ll stay tonight.”

            “Or we can stay at yours?” Camila asked.

Jay let out a sigh and broke away from her. He sat and turned his back to Camila, his feet planted on the floor ready to leave.

            “It’s not exactly a place…I crash on my pop’s couch,” he answered.

Camila sat up and wrapped her arms loosely around his neck, trailing the back of it with little kisses.

            “Well, that means getting to hear some very embarrassing little Ryan stories, right?”

            “My dad has never had much to say about me,” Jay answered coldly.

            “Mine either, Luis was like a father, brother, protector,” Camila answered forlornly.

            “He was great guy, how about I stop by the bar and we can end up here again?” Ryan proposed.

            “Okay,” she answered giving him another quick kiss.

Jay stood up pulling his shirt over his head. He had to be at work in forty minutes, much longer than his regular commute. But he had found a strange addiction in Camila. He could’ve backed off, but he needed to find some kind of salvation for what his actions had led to. Voight might have been ready to live with anything to get to the greater good, but it was a house Jay found uncomfortable to inhabit.

When he arrived at the station and headed to the Intelligence Division’s portion of the office it felt like any other day. A quick rundown of the current cases and the next one a homicide on the west side.

            “Upton, Burgess, you’re up,” Voight commanded.

Hank strolled back into his office. Usually at the sound of Hailey’s name Jay was ready to go but he stopped. The two women walked past him, coffees in hand, as if working together was the norm. Jay marched towards Voight’s office pulling the door behind him.

            “Sarge what heck, why am I not going?” he asked.

            “Because frankly Halstead there’s been some talk and it’s a little unsettling,”

            “Did Upton say something?”

            “Why, did something happen Jay?”

Jay situated his shoulders glancing over quickly enough to not make his eye-roll so noticeable. Just then a knock came.

            “Come in,” Voight answered gruffly.

            “Detective Halstead this is Dr. Sarah Reese,” he announced.

            “We’ve met,” Jay answered tamely.

He wouldn’t look Sarah in the eye.

            “Detective,” she said trying to meet his eyes.

            “Dr. Reese is going to do a psychiatric evaluation on you,” Voight declared.

Jay’s jaw tightened as he glanced Sarah’s way. She had been staring at him with a neutral gaze.

            “There’s an office down the hall you can use,” Voight said before taking a seat to begin his paperwork.

Sarah immediately took the cue and walked out of the office following the direction down the hall to the secluded space Hank had shown her fifteen minutes before Jay’s arrival. The office might as well have been an interrogation room. There was a slick desk with just a couple of drawers. One chair to it’s front and the other facing it. No pictures adorned the walls and no windows allowed for light. This was a room of seclusion and secrecy. The harsh drag of the metal chair against the concrete was another signal to Sarah that Jay was not at all happy about being here. It stole Sarah’s first segue into asking him to sit down.

            “Sergeant Voight didn’t tell you I was doing your evaluation before today,” Sarah remarked.

            “No, but you knew huh,” Jay stated coldly.

            “Does the range have anything to do with why I’m here?” she asked.

            “Why were you at the range?” he prodded.

            “I like to shoot; the better question is why you were there. I toured this precinct and your shooting range is a lot more impressive than the one I shoot at.”

            “Did you follow me?” Jay asked.

            “That’s the second time you haven’t answered that question…hmmm,” Sarah stated as she jotted down something on her notepad.

            “Evasive, irritated, bordering on hostile.”

Jay huffed and sat back in his chair.

            “So, what’s the goal here? Why am I here?” he asked.

            “Why do you think you’re here,” she countered.

            “Jesus Christ, we aren’t going to do this are we?!”

            “That’s entirely up to you Detective Halstead,” Sarah answered.

His anger was to be expected. Most people react in all kinds of different ways if you tell them you suspect something may be unhealthy about their bodies but the reaction to even the slightest assumption that something might be wrong with their head is enough to start wars.

            “Than not,” he replied.

Jay stood up and walked to the door slamming it. Sarah jotted down a few more notes.

            “Unresponsive to basic psychotherapy, agitation, anger.”

It wasn’t much, but she had to turn in this little amount to Dr. Kwon. Sarah got up stuffing the notepad in her bag and heading out to the hall. She passed Jay at his desk tapping a pen atop the surface.          

            “I’m heading to the hospital if you change your mind,” Sarah offered softly.

            “I won’t,” Jay grumbled.

                                                                        ***

Sarah drove to the hospital, parking in a guest spot. She was suspended and needed to get to Sharon’s office without being spotted. She slipped in virtually unknown to the staff, taking stairs and careful routes to Goodwin’s office to deliver her notes.

            “How’d it go?” Sharon inquired.

            “Not well, he doesn’t seem receptive to treatment, but he’s hiding something,” Sarah responded.

            “Voight thinks so too, your evaluation will determine his future, try and get him to talk to you.”           

            “With all do respect Ms. Goodwin if a patient isn’t ready to receive treatment no matter what the ailment than they won’t seek help.”

Sharon nodded.

            “He’s a good cop he just needs help,” she said before sitting in her chair, “I’ll make sure Dr. Kwon gets your notes.”

Sarah nodded and stood up ready to leave when she asked.

            “How is Dr. Charles?”

            “We’re getting there Dr. Reese, just handle this case.”

Sarah thought about heading home but she wondered if she should stop by the gun range. There was a chance she could get another crack at Jay there but if not shooting gave her the rush and release she craved more and more each day.

                                                            ***

Hank was coming from his office when he noticed Jay sitting at his desk, half twirling in his chair, tapping his pen in agitation.

            “What are you doing Halstead?”

            “We’re done…all good,” he said nonchalantly.

            “Get in here…now,” Voight hissed.

Jay stood up trying his best to hide the attitude burgeoning under his skin.

            “Sit down!” Voight yelled.

Jay honored the command and plopped down in the chair facing Hank.

            “You really don’t get it do you? I have her evaluating you because I’m not sure about the psych eval you’re supposed to get from our psychologist!” he lectured.

            “I just haven’t had time to schedule it-,” Jay began.

            “-Yadda yadda yada please save those lies for someone who doesn’t know you! For someone who hasn’t seen you talking in sleep like a ghoul or acting too aggressive in a staged fight at a bar or pointing a gun in the face of your partner!”

Jay looked down at his fingers like a child being chastised in the office of the principal.

            “You better find Dr. Reese and tell her exactly what she needs to hear so I know you’re prepared for our people, now get out,” he finished.

Jay stood up and left.

                                                ***

Sarah had just fitted on her earmuffs when she felt a tap on her shoulder.

            “He doesn’t normally come here on Mondays,” Hailey said.

            “Detective Upton?”

Sarah was shocked to see her.

            “Who?” Sarah asked.

Hailey smirked from the corner of her lips.

            “I saw you last week…it was smart of you to take the bus last time but today you drove…same car,” Hailey said.

            “I’ve been looking for a range,” Sarah said, avoiding Hailey’s observation.

“Has he been able to open up?” Hailey asked.

            “Detective Upton you know I can’t tell you that.”

            “It’s Hailey,” she corrected her.

            “Hailey, I can’t even tell you if I’m treating whoever you think I’m treating,” Sarah said with smirk to match Hailey’s.

Sarah situated her earmuffs and got in her ready stance. Hailey watched but just before she shot she felt Hailey’s hand upon hers. Hailey pulled one side of her ear muff away.            

            “If you hold it like this,” she started as she laced her fingers through Sarah’s, “You won’t clip yourself again.”

She let her hands linger a tick too long, her breath tickling Sarah’s ear. Usually the build-up to shoot was momentary but this time her heart raced. Sarah took a deep breath and fired. Hailey was still next to her.

            “That feels good,” Sarah all but whispered as she swallowed.

Hailey grinned and then walked away.

                                                                        ***

Sarah hadn’t been with a woman since undergrad and she almost chalked it up to it being an “experimental” thing because she hadn’t dated any women since. It was almost as if the women who dated women knew she slept with men too and it was like some kind of repellant. But not since college had she felt what she felt at that range. Dr. Charles would say to her that she needed to keep a distance between herself and his colleagues. Anything else even after his evaluation could stink of impropriety and damage her reputation. But it was fun to wonder. To fantasize that Hailey might actually be flirting with her. She knew Sarah had followed them so what game was she playing at? Maybe it wasn’t Sarah at all that Hailey fancied but Jay. And just like an incantation to think of him or say his name he was there. Standing in Sarah’s hallway knocking on the door.

            “Detective Halstead,” Sarah said perplexed by his visit.

            “Doc, I stopped by the hospital, but you weren’t there,” he admitted.

Sarah nodded and unlocked the door. Jay took in the tiny space. It was almost a studio but for two doors, one of which could be a bedroom the other obviously the bathroom. The walls were covered in books upon the floor to ceiling shelves, a small clean kitchen, a comfy white sofa and an arm chair adorned the room. It was cozy.

            “Can I get you something to drink?” Sarah asked as she took off her jacket.

            “Uh water,” Jay answered.

Sarah filled two glasses and sat them down on the table. She sat in her armchair across from him; watching him study her place; taking her things to memory. The silence grew in the room until Sarah asked.

            “Why do you think you’re here?”

            “Being a detective is one of the most fulfilling roles I have ever taken on. I need to convince Voight I’m fine, so I can go back to doing that,” he answered.

Sarah grabbed a notepad off her coffee table and began writing. Jay stared at her intently as she scribbled his life down on that paper; his future.

            “So, what do I need to tell you so that you understand that I don’t need to be here?” he asked.

            “To begin with, Detective Halstead I am a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, I am here to see if there is anything going on with you mentally that can be treated medically, it’s less psychotherapy but more of an assessment of your needs to determine if a diagnosis for mental illness is even appropriate and if so what medical regiment you would need to follow to manage your symptoms.”

Jay let out an annoyed sigh. Sarah stared at him and realized that even though she wasn’t a psychotherapist Jay could be the perfect candidate for her to try her psychotherapy skills upon. Gaining experience in psychotherapy would make her a better diagnostician in psychiatry and she was ready to prove to everyone just how wrong Dr. Charles was in suspending her. This would be her chance; Detective Halstead would be her guinea pig.

            “Okay…how do we start?” he asked.

            “First, some ground rules,” Sarah began, “We meet here and only here, I need to see you as Jay Halstead, not the detective and not the brother of a doctor who works at my hospital, second, we must meet everyday for the next two weeks, and finally, I am not going to spoon feed you the right answers because there are none, do you agree to these terms?” Sarah asked sternly.

Jay looked as though he wanted to get up and run again but he let out a defeated sigh and nodded his head.  Jay looked at his watch.

            “I can’t really stay right now, I have somewhere to be…but what time tomorrow?”

Sarah and Jay agreed upon his lunch hour. Jay got up immediately and headed to the bar Camila worked at.

                                                                     ***

The twitch in Daniel’s hand was back. It was the anticipation of another mini-intervention. Lydia had paged him to let him know Connor Rhodes was in his office. Daniel walked around the corner and took a deep breath before opening the door. Hoping to steady himself for the onslaught. However, Connor was standing and a man he didn’t recognize was sitting.

            “And there is the hospital’s brilliant Chief of Psychiatry,” Connor announced.

His tone was both an introduction and patronizing coddle of Daniel. He was one of the few who knew about Daniel’s rocky adjustment back to the ED.

            “Dr. Rhodes what can I do for you?” Daniel asked as he sat down.

            “This is Dr. Robert Haywood, he is in late stage heart failure and the wait to get a heart has left him bereft,” Connor answered carefully.

            “-Depressed, Dr. Rhodes so elegantly side stepped the words depressed,” Robert announced from his chair with a strange smile.

Daniel let out another breath of relief, an infirmed-depressed patient was exactly what he could handle. He knew a thing or two of the fears of mortality.

            “It’s nice to meet you Dr. Haywood,” Daniel finally said, “Let’s see what we can do for you.”

Connor took those words as a perfect exit and left the office.

            “So, what seems to be the hardest part of this for you?” Daniel asked.

            “Besides being able to barely go up and down the stairs without seeing flashes of the pearly gate?” Bob joked.

The quip made Daniel laugh and Bob too.

            “My sex life is dead in the water, I miss classes, you see I teach, I’m no saw-bones,” he admitted with another peculiar smile.

            “One of my old undergrad students works here…do you know Sarah Reese?”

Daniel nodded awkwardly.

            “Is she around, I’d love to say hello.”

            “-Uh, no Dr. Reese is actually out for the next two weeks,” Daniel answered sharply.

Bob nodded slowly, “Ah, I see…students,” he remarked before giggling a bit.

Daniel’s face softened, and he joined him in the odd laughter. Until Bob started coughing and then wheezing.

            “Let me get you something to drink,” Daniel offered.

He got up and went to the hall to get a cup of water from the cooler. Bob stood up and looked around the desk for a rolodex. He scanned it quickly and grabbed the card out. He heard the door and started coughing.

            “Oh, thank you, you’re very kind,” he said clearing his throat, “Ultimately I know there is no hope for me, I’m too low on the transplant list and I just need to come to grips with things, with people,” Bob admitted.

            “Who do you feel like you don’t have closure with?’ Daniel asked.

             “I have a daughter, her mother poisoned her against me in the divorce and it was easier just to stay away…well I guess easier for me,” he said as he lowered his head in shame, “I need to make amends but I’m not sure how to,” he explained.

            “I would say they first step is to reach out.”

                                                                  ***

Sarah got up every morning for a run. Exercising every morning before eating was recommended for weight loss. Not that Sarah needed to, but it had become ritual. Even in medical school when sleep was scarce. Followed tentatively by black coffee, Splenda sweetner, and a grapefruit with dry toast. However, the man at her door was not a part of her morning ritual. When she answered the door, he stood there and so did she. She looked at him like a bad memory and he saw her as a salvation.

            “Hi, I know it’s been a long time but I’m-,” he began.

            “-I know who you are,” Sarah swiftly said cutting him off.

            “May I come in?”

Sarah was almost keen to say no but she finally stopped looking through her rage colored glasses to see him. His yellowish skin, matted hair from sweat by the smallest excursion, and the dark colors under his eyes.

            “I’m not on drugs if that’s what you’re thinking…Well I am but I take them to prolong what’s left of my life.”

His eyes held a fear and a vulnerability Sarah couldn’t shake away. She opened the door wider to allow him in. Bob drank in her apartment.

            “I play too,” he disclosed at the sight of her keyboard.

            “It’s been over twenty years since I’ve seen you, not a card, a phone call…a letter,” Sarah said as her voice cracked.

She inhaled deeply to control any tears that might form.

            “I know, and I’m deeply sorry, children shouldn’t have to pay because of the squabbles of their parents.”

            “What’s wrong with you?”

            “I’m in heart failure…it’s only matter of time,” he said with another misplaced smile.

          “I don’t want money or anything I just want a chance to get to know you, you have always been in my heart Sarah, I just want into yours.”

He seemed sincere through the yellowing of his skin and his sallow eyes. A frail man wishing to cross an item off his bucket list.

            “Dinner, I can do dinner,” Sarah answered succinctly.

She stood up and opened the door.

            “Thank you, I’ll pick you at 7.”

Sarah closed the door and tried to eat her breakfast, but she’d lost her appetite. She snatched her cell phone.

            “Laura Reese, yes I’m well aware she’s probably very busy, will you please tell her that this is her only child Sarah.”

The smooth jazz played as Sarah waited and waited with the recorded operator stating intermittently.

            “The party you are calling will be with you in a moment please continue to hold.”

Enter smooth generic jazz, she watched her toast turn to ice cold as she waited.

            “Sarah Danielle Reese you know how busy I am so this better be an emergency,” she said tightly.

            “Dad showed up this morning at my house, he wants to have dinner.”

            “What? That son-of-a bitch listen to me Sarah, you stay away from him!” she ordered.

            “You never say why,” Sarah implored.

            “-Yes Donna, I know, listen Sarah you’re a psychiatrist you’ll see…he’s dangerous,” she said before hanging up.

 

Chapter Text

“Let’s talk about your father,” Sarah said sharply.

Jay sat stiff against her couch. She, across from him, in her arm chair. He had been staring at his fiddling fingers until she announced the topic.

            “Pfft, not much to tell,” Jay answered after he rolled his eyes.

            “I was joking,” Sarah said with a smirk, “Although I did want to see if you’d be open to the discussion.”

Jay shook his head no.

            “I know this can’t be easy for you,” she said empathetically.

Jay stiffened again.

            “Normally I’m asking the questions,” Jay said humbly.

            “There was a name that came up in your file that I’d like to discuss…um Luis,” Sarah remarked.

            “Not much to say there,” Jay answered succinctly.

His jaw tightened as he let out a huff.

            “This isn’t going to work unless you start talking…it isn’t my career on the line,” Sarah sassed back.

            “Luis was our in…we were supposed to be taking down a ring of criminals who were extorting other criminals,” Jay finally offered.

Sarah nodded, “How was he your ‘in’?”

            “We both served in similar roles in the Army…as Rangers,” Jay answered.

It was the tiniest light that changed in his blue eyes. They were no longer full of frustration but now shame.

            “How do you feel about that?” she asked.

            “I didn’t have a problem with it,” he said shaking off his shame and putting the mask back on, “It was my idea to use my service to gain common ground with him.”

Sarah studied his face, his eyes, his hands, before softly looking down on her notepad to scribble.

            “Masking shame, possible rage, motives unclear.”

            “Please continue,” Sarah said setting the pen upon her notepad.

            “We set up a scene in the bar just in case he wouldn’t let me in, I needed him to trust me,” Jay said.

            “The fight at the bar…,” Sarah said.

            “Yeah, eventually I gained a little bit of trust and he invited me along to one of their gigs, it went sideways, and he was shot and killed,” Jay finished.

Jay was staring out of Sarah’s window, the peak-a-boo rays of sunshine offering glimmers of hope quickly muted. A faint reminder of hope, innocence, and peace pressing to the surface but unable to truly shine through. The clouds shifted in front of the sun; it was now completely muted.

            “I have somewhere I have to be,” Jay said breaking the silence.

He stood up and Sarah followed him to the door.

            “I think we did better today Detective Halstead, thank you…but maybe next time we stay for the full hour, ” Sarah said as she opened the door for him.

Jay walked through and then turned around.

            “My dad’s name is Pat and he’s a kind of a bastard, does that count?” Jay said with a smile before turning.

Sarah giggled and shut the door.

Father, fathers, daddy, dads. Patrick, Pat, Robert…Bob. Sarah had an appointment with hers that evening, a dinner but it was feeling more and more like an obligation. What did her mother mean?

“He’s dangerous”

                                                            ***

The Northwestern campus brought back memories of Sarah’s days in undergrad. The crisp smell of the trees and the Chicago wind chilled against her skin. It brought back visions of early classes, frizzy hair always in a messy bun, studying, and Claire.

Or Hailey. Every mark of her footsteps made her question if the detective was behind her or around somewhere. She liked it. She hoped she wondered of her.

            “Sarah, you look lovely,” Bob said through haggard breath.

He leaned in and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She inhaled his staleness; he wore death like cloth. It shrouded him.

            “I ordered us a couple of steaks and a great red wine they have here-,”

            “-I’m a vegetarian,” Sarah announced curtly.

            “Oh, well it should go well with the beet and goat-cheese salad, soup is broccoli and cheddar or squash and pumpkin something like that… no meat,” he said with a nervous smile.

Every turn of their path was another student fondly saying hello to the illustrious Dr. Haywood. Sweet smiles from young women and adoration in the eyes of the young men. An unexpected pride began to swell in Sarah.

During dinner in between nods and pleasantries from other staff he prattled on about his studies, where he’d been, who he’d seen, one too many marriages.

            “Were there any other children besides me?”

            “No…not that anyone told me,” he said with smirk.

            “Sarah, I really do want you to know that my biggest regret in this life was letting your mother railroad me into staying away.”

            “Is that how it happened?” she asked, “Mom says your dangerous.”

            “How is your mother, still too busy to be human?”

Sarah laughed. She was surprised by his candid humor and spot on description of her mother.

            “Something like that,” Sarah said as she bit into a beet.

            “I guess I could see why your mother would say I’m dangerous.”

Sarah raised both her eyebrows.

            “Oh?”

            “Because I’m elusive.”

“Here’s the thing, when your mother and I got together I was just finishing my thesis and looking for the next challenge, she had finished law school and was trying to find a good firm to join…then she got pregnant.”

            “I wasn’t planned?” Sarah asked astonished.

Bob shook his head with a sheepish smile.

            “We were in the infancy of our relationship, I did what I thought was right and married her, but I longed to be somewhere else, to see more, to study more…to teach,” he said waving his fork around.

She watched Robert cut into his steak as the read juice dripped from his fork and into his mouth.

            “Anyway, my parents were unhappy with the marriage and we tried to play house but by the time you were two years old we were fighting almost every day, it was exhausting, I mean have you ever argued with a lawyer?”

Sarah smiled again thinking of the numerous arguments she’d had with her mother.

            “We were separating by the time you were three and half and completely divorced by the time you were four, she made it hell for me to try and see you…I think deep down she felt trapped and blamed me. But what mattered was winning; no matter the prize,” Bob admitted.

Sarah was watching him cutting his meat and tell their story as if he was explaining how to put a book shelf together. It was shell-shock for her. Did anyone ever want her? He caught her stare and asked.

            “Does it bother you? The blood?” Robert asked absent mindedly.

            “No.”

            “My parents, your grandparents, are Jewish, my grandparents kept kosher and having blood this close was not permitted,” he said as he scanned his next bite.

Sarah stared him at him gazing at the hunk of bovine with curiosity and pleasure.

            “Blood you see, carries the life…the irony,” he said before popping the bite into his mouth.    

            “What’s that?” she asked.

            “I have all the life I’ll ever need in this body, but not the heart to pump it.”

***

Sarah walked to her apartment from their dinner. It really was more than she’d expected. He was funny, charming, and vulnerable.

            “I’d like to see you again Sarah.”

He’d said before she left. They made plans for another meal the next night.

At dinner she had been the frozen wall, almost scared to speak as she let Bob guide and control the conversation. Sarah was also watching him, wondering what her mother meant. Even if he was dangerous he was far too ill to pose a physical threat. Jay might not have been able to get along with his father, but at least she could amend roads with hers on his final days.

“Jay”, Sarah thought to herself.

She needed to finish the notes from their session and give them to Goodwin tomorrow.

 

                                                            ***

The music was only one layer of commotion and pollution in the large warehouse. Smoking, flashing lights, and hundreds of conversations all brough chaos to the atmosphere. Camila’s head snapped up from the table as she aggressively sniffed up. She handed the cut off straw to Jay who was going to decline but realized he was on desk duty.

            “Screw it and screw you Voight,” he thought as he bent down to the table.

He chose the thickest rail of coke to snort. Camila gave him a mischievous smirk as he jerked his head up from the table.

            “You good?” She asked

Ryan nodded and closed in to kiss her. He only stopped when heard the fighting.

            “What’s going on?” he asked.

His blue eyes wide and attentive as the coke drained to the back of his throat. There were two men screaming so loudly and aggressively the music seemed quiet. It slowed as his heartbeat quickened.

            “I don’t know…,” Camila answered.

Ryan still hadn’t figured out what the argument was about when the first punch was thrown. The man’s long reach hit one person who somehow was not paying attention to the fight. Idiot.

He turned around angry to confront who hit him when he was knocked out and to the ground. His head made a sickening thud on the concrete floor as his companion ran to his aid. Another man jumped into the fight, then another, until the fight became a brawl. Camila swept the rest of the lines into her bag, dragging her finger against the glass and rubbing the excess powder over her gums, she put one finger into Ryan’s mouth and over his gums. He sucked on her finger as the ball of human activity rolled their way. They got up quickly but couldn’t escape the rumble.

 Another blindly rage-filled man kicked Camila in the leg and Ryan’s already racing heart accelerated into high gear. He was scraggily looking with ripped jeans and a blue sweater, torn from the fight. She punched the man, but not hard enough so Scraggily lunged at her, but Ryan pushed her aside. Each punch thrown forced a wave, absorbing through his knuckles and wrists as he’s pummeled the man. Camila pulled Ryan away and they began to run for the exit when the man got up chased them outside.

Ryan turned around and began his assault on the man; Camila, the harpy at his side kicked and stomped on the man. He wasn’t moving.

            “Ryan c’mon!”

The adrenaline in her eyes urged him to follow her lead. The pair took off running down the blocks, street lights and signs whizzing past them; when they stopped, and Camila turned to Ryan. They stared at each other, his and hers eyes of heighten excitement, maybe even panic. Finally, Camila stopped the serious glare as a smile stretched across her face.

            “Hahahaha,” she began laughing.

Ryan’s face melted, and he began laughing too. She grabbed the back of his neck; pulling his lips to hers, he used both hands to cup her face; his fingers casually sliding through her dark locks. He pushed her against a brick wall, lifting her skirt, she quickly unbuttoned his pants. His bloodied hand cupped her chin as he gnawed like an animal against it. The coke-fueled ecstasy only intensified when he hit her slickness. It dialed up the notch on his speeding heart. Camila wrapped her boots around him smearing the blood from their tips against his thigh. Their numb tongues circling in each other’s mouths. White filled his vision as his heart outpaced his rhythm inside her.

            “Ryan!” Camila hissed through each breath.

His climax anesthetized from the coke circulating through his veins.

What a sight they were to the car that followed them down the two blocks they’d ran and the detective who sat behinds it’s wheel.

                                                                 ***

Even though they'd only had two sessions, Sarah felt as though she wasn’t getting as far as she’d like with Jay. With only eight days left to come up with an analysis She had her work cut out. He was still so resistant, and it was obvious he was hiding something; maybe a lot of somethings. She pondered other methods; of other kinds of treatments. Maybe even some non-conventional ones. She began typing her notes for Dr. Kwon.

            “Patient’s physical has come back clean, CT, tox, and blood panels all negative for elevated white cell counts, barbiturates, and hallucinogenic drugs.

Psychosis from a physical factor are not present.

The patient is non-responsive to even the most basic personal questions. My recommendation is a combination of psycho and hypnotherapy to uncover the underlying issues of deceptive wording and defensive language.”

                                                             ***

         “I was stunned by your recommendation for hypnosis, that’s not something we do

casually,” Dr. Kwon remarked stiffly.

He had come down to Sharon’s office; prompted by her last set of notes.

          “I think it could be effective,” Sarah answered.

         “Hypnosis runs too much of the risk of influencing the patient’s memory, it taints the diagnosis. Dr. Reese please don’t stray too far down the psychotherapy line. Establish the basis, ask the questions. How long do you sleep, appetite changes, etc. I haven’t seen anywhere on your notes that you’ve gone through the checklist before heading down this path.”

Sarah nodded tightly and then headed to the range. She needed to let off some steam.

                                                              ***

The hum of some oldies tune played on the radio. There weren’t any people in the store and no sounds of shots in the back to hint that there was any company other than Jay and the clerk. Exactly the way he liked it. The sweet satisfaction soured at the site of Sarah loading her gun. Her presence was a reminder that there were always eyes on his behavior; either from Hailey or her. However, she paid him no mind which began to tick him off more than he’d realized. He let his bag hit the floor in a thud. His temper tantrum still being ignored by Sarah as she stood up and walked to the firing line. She didn’t call out a signal, she just walked up, tilted her head, and began firing as casually as someone tossing a piece of up paper in the trash. She hit the button as the conveyor brought her poster forward. Three hits to mouth, three to the groin, and two to the forehead. She slid off her head gear and sat down; finally looking over to Jay who was counting his mags before loading his gun.

         “Detective Halstead,” Sarah announced.

         “Doc,” he answered tightly.

Immediately Sarah could hear the tension in his voice. Eight days was all she had to test her skills and impress Goodwin and Dr. Kwon. She examined his body language; he loaded his gun like a prisoner trying to hide contraband, not that it surprised her, she already knew he was hiding something, and then she looked closer at his hands. Sarah slowly stood up and walked over to the wall where the first aid kit hung. She sat on the ground in front of a somewhat surprised but equally perturbed Jay.

           “Would you like to talk about how your hand got this way?” Sarah asked as she reached for the wounded limb.

Jay snatched it away.

        “I just came to shoot,” he answered as loaded his gun.

Sarah nodded tightly and set the first aid kit back on the wall. She picked up her things and walked out. Jay shot for another twenty minutes before seeing Sarah propped against his SUV.

        “Your file says that you took a staged fight too far and you may have injured one of your undercover actors,” Sarah began.

Jay went to open the passenger side door to toss his bag in the car.

            “I think your objective was to show that you had Luis’ back, to gain his trust, but I think you ended up fighting for someone else’s honor…Luis lived with a sister-,”

            “-Back the hell up!” Jay yelled as he got in her face, “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Sarah’s heart was beating like a humming bird in her chest, but she stood her ground getting in his face.

            “If I’m on the wrong track then please… enlighten me,” she hissed back.

Jay shook his head and got into his SUV.

            “I’ll see you tomorrow at noon Detective,” Sarah stated defiantly.

Jay screeched and screamed his tires out of the parking lot as Sarah looked on.

                                                             ***

He stayed on the couch that night. He wanted to stay at Camila’s, but Sarah had rattled his chain. The door slammed not so ceremoniously as his dad left for work. Jay got up made a pot of coffee and took a shower. Riding a desk was already becoming stale but more than anything it was embarrassing; having all his colleagues know he was benched and probably speculating as to why. He’d felt disconnected from them lately. Like know one understood. However, his ears perked up when Kevin got off the phone with Med.

            “Who’s in the hospital?” Jay asked as he plopped down in the chair next to Atwater.

            “Some John Doe, he was picked up off the ground outside a pop-up party. A brawl got out of hand and this guy was found outside beaten up and unconscious,” Kevin said as he tossed the picture over.

Jay’s heart dropped to his stomach. He was staring at the picture, but the guy was far too beat up for him to tell. Was it Scraggily? He’d been so high and speeding out of his mind he had no idea.

            “Ready?” Ruzek asked as he strolled up.

Atwater nodded, and he stood up to leave. Jay looked over Atwater’s file, studying the face, the details but there wasn’t much. They’d have more after they collected the victims’ clothes at the hospital. He paced around his desk; spaced out one minute, then full of anxiety the next. He toyed with the idea of calling Will, but he didn’t want his name to be anywhere near it. He tapped his foot impatiently. Finally, he got up and escaped the police department. He needed to find Camila.

Chapter Text

 

                                          

 

            “So, our last session you disclosed a desire to reconnect with your daughter, have you been able to do that?” Dr. Charles asked.

He was staring across his desk at the infirmed man in front of him. Bob’s pasty-yellow skin and sallow eyes were a perfect reflection of the sand slipping from his hourglass. With another one of his strange smiles he replied;

            “I called her, we had dinner, and we are having dinner again tonight.”

            “That’s great, that’s really great to hear-.”

            “”-Yes, she’s healthy and vivacious, smart like her old man although at times it’s unnerving the way she looks at me,” Bob said with another sheepish smile.

            “How so?”

            “She has her mother’s eyes.”

Daniel tilted his head in confusion,

            “Laura had this way of looking at me as if she was peeling off my skin!”

Daniel and Bob shared a laugh.

            “I think I know that look,” he responded; still laughing.

Bob continued laughing until he started coughing and pulled a small tank out with an oxygen mask. The machine; another reminder of his fate. Daniel’s smile faded before he asked;

            “How do you think she’ll respond to your sickness…and eventual death?”

After taking in a deep breath Bob looked to Daniel as if the question was completely absurd.

            “I liked to think of this as a new beginning and not an end to my chapter,” he stated confidently.

His tone and answer made Daniel a little nervous. Initially he thought Bob was out of the denial phase and into acceptance but his cadence was worrying.

            “Can I ask you a favor?” Dr. Charles began, “ I have a questionnaire that I have been working on for a number of weeks; questions to help me refine the diagnostic process. Would you mind filling one out?”

Bob looked almost bored by the question but he shrugged and agreed. The questionnaire was part of the research that held Daniel up in his office on a regular basis. Each question listed would be no different than most but a deviation from any single question would lead the test to any underlying issues that psychotherapy and dishonesty couldn’t root out. If executed properly he could have patients diagnosed before they ever got to the point where Kellog was. Daniel sent Bob the link and then walked him out.

            “Well I hope that your dinner goes well, and get the test back to me as soon as you can,” Dr. Charles said.

 

Everyone was gone from the precinct when Hailey sped through the doors to find Hank in his office.

            “We’ve got a huge problem,” Hailey stated.

Hank nodded and Hailey shut the door behind her. The mumblings from beyond the door would not let on the gravity of the subject matter they were discussing. Her leg bobbed up and down as the crooked wheels in Voight’s head spun.

            “Obviously you need to continue to keep an eye on him, but you got to find this Camila.”

Hailey gave a stiff nod and began walking to the door.

            “Hey Upton,” Voight called to her.

            “Yeah?”

            “This is just about the job right?”

            “Sarge?”

            “Alright,” he said leaning to pick up a paper from his desk, “Go find the girl.”

This had all gotten out of hand so quickly. She thought maybe Jay had been drinking too much or was having trouble sleeping, but he had a full-on double life and he may have committed a serious crime; attempted murder. The John Doe at Gaffney was beaten so badly he’d been put into a medically induced coma. Which would make discovering who he was that much harder.

A task Jay was eagerly trying to find out. He had stopped by Camila’s apartment, texted her, called her three times, stopped at the bar, and now in his desperate attempt he was at one of the many hang-outs she’d taken him to. He walked up to the building, still frantic and sweating.

Immediately she spotted him.

            “Ryan…baby you look terrible, what’s wrong?”

            “I- uh-I thought I might’ve left my wallet at that pop-up club we went to last night, but when I went back there, the place was crawling with cops…,” Ryan answered.

            “So?”

            “They took some guy in…said something about attempted murder, Cam they found him outside...beaten,” Ryan hissed.

            “Baby, you need to chill, okay, no one saw us and you don’t even know if it’s the same guy, no one’s asked anyone anything, okay?” She pulled his neck in and he let his forehead rest against her shoulder.

            “Mila!” someone shouted.

            “I’ll be right there!”

Ryan looked up and over.

            “Who’s that? What’s going on?”

            “It’s nothing, it’s business, you shouldn’t be here, meet me at the bar in few hours alright?”

Ryan nodded and Camila went back to the group and outside where the unnamed man stared at him too long for comfort before closing the door behind them.

Sarah had just finished her morning jog and was slicing her grapefruit when she heard a knock at the door. It was well over an hour before Jay was supposed to be there for his therapy session. Instead it was Hailey.

            “Detective Upton…what can I do for you?”

Hailey practically pushed the door in and past Sarah. Looking around her small bathroom and cozy bedroom.

            “Are there any other rooms in the apartment?” She asked  frantically.

            “-Excuse me…what the hell are you doing?! Why are you going through my apartment?!”

            “Have you seen Jay? Has he been here?”

            “Detective you know I can’t-.”

            “-Cut the shit this is an emergency!”

            “What’s the emergency?” Sarah asked.

Her tone; an attempt to affect the obvious stress in Hailey’s face. It worked. Hailey’s blue eyes softened at the sincerity in Sarah’s voice. She plopped down on her couch her hands running through her locks and stopping at the base of her neck. She pulled it in and set her gaze downward. Sarah carefully sat next to her.

            “What’s going on Hailey?”

            “He’s done something…something even I didn’t think he could do and now I’m running around trying to clean up his mess and I just- I don’t know if he is worth saving anymore…,” Hailey admitted.

            “Why do you feel like you have to clean up his mess?” Sarah asked.

Hailey began to answer but stopped abruptly. She leaned back and studied Sarah’s face, her olive skin, her deep brown eyes, and the tiniest stray tendril dancing around her temple from the air conditioning.

            “You shrinking me now doc?” She replied.

Sarah couldn’t help but smile a little at Hailey’s gaze. Hailey’s eyes fell to the floor again the momentary pause was just that, a pause before the reality of the Jay’s whereabouts set back in.

“Do you want t-to talk?” Sarah stammered.  

            “Maybe another time,” Hailey answered taking another quick look up and down Sarah’s face.

 Sarah nodded as Hailey stood up and went to the door.

            “Do you see a difference when you treat men versus women?” Hailey asked.

“Only the willingness of the patient to be treated, I never cared much if it was a man or a woman.”

Hailey smirked and pulled a card from her back pocket.

            “If you talk to Jay, or see him…please call me.”

….

Jay was running around the city; he’d missed his noon appointment with Sarah to be everywhere, anywhere other than his desk. He found himself lurking around the neighborhood the pop-up club was held at. Biding his time like a wraith in the shadows until the scene was empty He searched for clues and stumbled upon the spot they’d left Scraggily. He bent down and collected a sample from the ground. If the blood matched the coma victim then he knew it was Scraggily. He sat in the car thinking about his next move. There was no refuge. He couldn’t tell Camila about his issues work because he was Ryan, and he couldn’t tell his work his obvious issues with Camila and the club because he was still Detective Halstead. He started the car and headed to a place where he was allowed to be neither.

Sarah had just finished ironing her black shift dress when she heard the knock on her door. She quickly slid into a pair of jeans and opened it.

            “You’re about five hours late Detective.”

            “Can I come in?”

His blue eyes were worse than a puppy dog, they were broken and desperate. Sarah nodded and widened the door. He walked over to his usual spot on the couch and plopped down, letting his keys fall to the coffee table, his head in hands and his face weary.

            “Would you like to tell me what’s going on?”

Jay stared at the floor, then the wall, then finally to Sarah.

            “Is it alright if we just sit a moment?”

His voice was frayed, but heavy, he looked like the kid who was avoiding the grounding he was going to get when he’d return home. Silence filled those minutes, then awkwardness. Sarah got up and gave him a glass of water and finished brushing her teeth and picking out her shoes. She couldn’t just sit anymore and it was clear Jay wasn’t ready to talk yet. Finally he said.

            “Do you keep anything in the fridge?”

Sarah was surprised by the request.

            “Not really,” she said bending and looking into the fridge, “….how do you feel about toast…or yogurt?”

            “Beggars can’t be choosy,” he replied.

Sarah toasted up some bread and slathered a bit of coconut oil and cinnamon upon it and brought out a peach yogurt and a spoon. She watched Jay peel the lid and take a quick bite and as his tongue tried to process the foreign taste. He picked up the cup and turned to get a better look at the product details. Nonfat, sugar-free yogurt. He took a quick bite of his toast and repeated the face.

            “You got something against flavor…and fat?”

            “Um the beggar is starting to sound awfully choosy,” Sarah quipped as she wiped off her counter.

She walked around it and sat down.

            “You’re in trouble, I know you are,” she started.

Jay looked tense, his jaw tightened.

 “But I’m not going to tell anyone you’re here,” Sarah confessed.

            “Why not?” Jay asked.

            “Because I still want to do my job, I want to know how you got to the point where you are hiding out with the very person you despise the most in your life right now.”

Jay fiddled with his spoon before he finally answered.

            “My old man thinks he is the alpha and omega of life’s decisions. If you don’t follow his plan than you were damned…like he was some God or something. You know he never wrote me a letter or picked up the phone when I was in Iraq? Didn’t shed a single tear when my mom died?”

Jay had smile on his face but anger bubbled in his eyes.

            “You’d think that Will would’ve made him proud becoming a doctor but nope, he could’ve wiped the floor with Will’s degree,” he scoffed.

He was violently tapping the spoon atop the mound of yogurt.

            “It was like we were all disposable mistakes who happen to be around after we didn’t please him. I don’t want to be anything like him,” Jay said, his face turned up in disgust.

Sarah wasn’t taking notes she just listened tentatively.

            “Do you think that’s why you are having trouble letting go?”

Jay looked up almost confused.

            “Letting go of what?”

            “I think-,” Sarah began.

But Jay’s phone’s buzzed and a text came through.

            “I’m at the bar, where are you?”

            “I got to go,” he replied.

He stood up quickly and walked to the door.

            “Thanks for the yogurt,” he said succinctly before closing it behind him.

Sarah was more frustrated now than ever. She was never going to crack this nut. She stared at her watch and realized she need to get moving so she wouldn’t be late. She’d just finished zipping the up her dress and sliding into her ballerina flats when she heard the door again.

            “I forgot my keys,” he said.

Sarah turned and looked down at the table and went to grab them. Jay got an eyeful of the tight black shift dress she wore. She was always dressed so benign and neutral it was easy to forget she was a woman until her lithe shape popped against the dress.

            “You look nice,” he commented.

            “Thanks,” Sarah responded.

She hadn’t realized just how much he’d examined her with his eyes. She handed him his keys but before she could close the door he stopped her.

            “I don’t despise you….I know I need help,” he admitted.

            “Whatever it is I’d like to help you Detective.”

Jay reached in his back pocket.

            “There’s a John Doe in a induced coma at Gaffney…an assault…can you run this and tell me if it matches him?”

Jay’s eye were downcast again as shame washed over his face. Sarah reached out and grabbed the plastic baggy. She gave him a stiff nod and closed the door.

Prisoners know to always be aware of their surroundings, cops do too, but doctors, not so much. They are taught to pay attention to what is exactly in front of them and maybe guess how the situation became what it is, not what is was going to be. In front of Sarah was her estranged father. He now carried a small iron lung that sat against the leg of his chair. A nasal cannula across his face and peculiar smile to match.

            “This wine is organic, I didn’t know the exact reasons why you’re a vegetarian but I didn’t want to leave anything to chance this time.”

            “Thanks, it’s delicious,” Sarah said with a smile.

The joy barely reached the creases of her eyes.

            “What’s wrong Sarah?”

            “You’re getting worse.”

Bob shrugged nonchalantly, “ Good days and bad days,” he remarked.

            “Do you ever get low of breath or winded?” he asked.

            “Uh-no, I run all the time,” Sarah answered.

            “You’ve never had dizziness, shortness of breath…are your ears all that’s pierced on you?”

            “Um-no…and yeah just my ears-.”

            “-Any tattoos recently?”

            “Dad…what are you getting at?”

            “I just want to make sure you don’t end up sitting in a chair fighting to breathe.”

Sarah nodded, she liked the feeling of having a parent worry over her. Her mother fussed but she didn’t worry about Sarah. It was as if he was trying to expel the last bits of energy to be her father in his final days. They finished another dinner and Sarah suggested he stop by her place or she stop by his. He was going on a temporary leave to help improve his heath. It felt foolish considering his health was doing anything besides improving. Sarah helped her father into his cab.

            “Sweet girl,” he stated as he leaned in and gave her an unexpected kiss on the cheek.

Sarah smiled. 

            “Night,” she replied.

She walked across the campus wondering what the first symptoms were that her father had experienced. What symptoms he’d experienced before things had gotten to where they were now. She was so worried about what had been in front of her she hadn’t worried about who was behind her.

She grabbed Sarah’s shoulder so violently she had no choice but to turn and face her.

            “Who are you? Are you sleeping with him?!” the girl screamed.

            “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about…I think you have the wrong person,” Sarah replied.

She was slowly reaching inside her purse for her gun.

            “Bobby! I saw you with him! He doesn’t love you! He can’t love you!”

            “Dr. Haywood?” Sarah asked.

She loosened her grip on the butt of the gun. The girl was angry but tears were welling in her eyes.

            “He’ll take everything from you,” she wept before walking away and seemingly disappearing into the nothingness she appeared from.

Sarah’s heart was pounding and continued to as she laid in bed. Who was that girl? And better yet who was Robert Haywood?

….

When Jay arrived at the bar Camila was nowhere to be seen. He took a lap around the establishment used the restroom, discreetly poked his head into the supply closet and the kitchen. She wasn’t there. He had been a little behind since he had to go back up to Sarah’s to retrieve his keys and he hadn’t seen the message until she sent it ten minutes after. But all of that was not enough for her to be gone already. He walked over to the bar and leaned over.

            “What can I get you?”

            “Um-I thought Cam was working?”

            “She was but she called me in to cover.”

            “Did she say why?”

The bartender lifted her eyebrow at the intrusive question.

            “I’m Ryan, I’m her boyfriend, she told me to come here.”

The woman’s face eased.

            “I don’t know, I walked in and she walked out with some blonde.”

Sarah had just finished her notes to bring to Dr. Kwon. They were all completely made up. She hadn’t taken any notes the last session. She followed the criteria Kwon gave her and made up answers to the questions. Ones that signaled Jay was lying and another form of treatment such as hypnosis was required. Before she met with Kwon she took the elevator down to the lab.

            “Joey,” Sarah said with a smile.

Although broken up they had remained friendly, but even so Sarah was laying on the sugar thicker than usual. She needed a favor.

            “I have a sample I need ran against a patient in the ICU, a John Doe.”

            “Oh, okay, I’ll get to it-.”

            “-If you could put it through stat that would be great, we need an ID so we can contact his family…they must be so worried you know?” Sarah said laying on the honey.

            “Absolutely.”

            “Can you just text me when you’re done?”

Joey nodded and Sarah smiled back as she went to the elevator. Just as she was walking to Kwon’s office she spotted Dr. Charles but he wasn’t alone he was with her father.

            “Well I’m glad things are still going well,” Daniel said.

            “They are, oh and before I forget,” Bob said.

He took out his phone and fiddled with it a bit before tapping two times and then saying;

            “Done, you should have that questionnaire in your email.”

            “Actually it goes into a our database, but I will get the heads up, thanks Bob.”

Sarah pressed her back to the wall as the two got on the elevator. She stood there frozen and in disbelief. Was the world really that small or was this something else? She couldn’t help but wonder why her father was seeing Daniel. She walked to Dr. Kwon’s office and sat down to wait for him. He got in a moment later and looked over her notes.

            “I’m glad to see you’re following the protocol,” he stated.

Sarah wasn’t paying attention she was too wrapped up in the scene she’d just witnessed. She had to act fast. She got up quickly and walked over to Dr. Kwon’s desk.

            “You see question four,” she began before her hand knocked over his coffee.

He shrieked and Sarah began apologizing profusely before he excused himself to clean up.

Sarah quickly got behind his desk and looked up her fathers records. The depression wasn’t surprising although it was still sad. However what came as a shock was the questionnaire. The first answers weren’t so worrisome but it was everything that came after. Immediately the responses brought forth dreaded words to any psychiatrists’ mind. Glib, emotionally shallow, irresponsible, easily bored, lacking in empathy, compassion, grandiose. Sarah couldn’t finish the rest she got up quickly running into Dr. Kwon coming back in.

            “I’m sorry, there’s an emergency, I have to go.”

Sarah ran down the stairs and out to her car.

            “How long has she been here?” Voight asked.

He was looking through the two-way mirror at Camila sitting in the interrogation room.

            “I’ve had her in there sweating for 12 hours now,” Hailey replied.

Sleep deprivation was a classic torture technique police used to get perps to confess. Camila had broken and admitted to the assault. She’d also admitted her boyfriend Ryan had been apart of it too. That’s why she was still here. Hailey didn’t know what to do next. To blow his cover he’d been using or to pretend to have taken them both in.

            “I’d like to use her to take down this drug ring she’s a part of, but no more Ryan,” he said.

Hailey followed the command and went back in. Camila was now their CI and whatever was going on between her and Jay was officially over.

Jay had skipped out on work again, he had sat outside Camila’s brownstone waiting for her. Taking turns sitting on the stoop or in his truck. Finally she appeared. Her eyes were bloodshot and she looked miserable.

            “Cam!” Ryan shouted.

She looked over and began speedily marching up the stairs.

            “Cam! What the hell is going on? Where have you been?” he yelled.

            “You know Ryan, you don’t need to know everything all the damn time, you’re not my father,” she hissed.

            “I was worried,” he replied calmly.

            “Yeah well I don’t need you worrying and I don’t need you,” she answered.

            “Cam, what is going on?”

            “What’s going on is that I had to take a good look at my life and see what’s working and what isn’t and frankly baby we ain’t working.”

Before he could even absorb what she was saying she was already through the door. He stood there completely dumbfounded until he got into his truck and headed for the nearest liquor store.

He wasn’t the only person who had stopped by the liquor store. Sarah had two bottles of red on her counter, one already opened. She paced and paced until she finally set her wine glass down and headed to the gun range. The place was deserted. Her shots were sloppy and barely reached her target. Defeated and angry her shoulders slumped.

            “Is that safety still giving you issues Doc?”

She spun around to see Hailey.

            “I don’t think it’s the safety,” Sarah remarked as she took off her protective earwear, “He isn’t here detective.”

            “I can see that,” Hailey said.

She was watching the relaxed way Sarah was moving. She was reloading her gun. She hadn’t bothered to put her earwear back on she just pointed and shot. But without the proper stance or support her other hand usually gave her wrist the recoil was too much to take.

            “Ow, dammit,” she hissed.

            “Let me see,” Hailey commanded as she walked to Sarah.

Sarah set the gun down and Hailey looked at her wrist, but before she could get a good look Sarah’s hand had moved past Hailey’s and towards her neck pulling her in. Her fingernails glided through Hailey’s scalp just behind her neck, grabbing her hair in taut pull. Sarah’s lips pushed against hers. Immediately Hailey could taste the alcohol on her breath. But she let herself enjoy it a bit longer, maybe too long as Sarah’s hands were under her shirt pawing at her breasts. Her tongue against her neck sucking at her ear. Hailey spun Sarah around and pinned her against the wall. She put her knee between her legs prying them open. Hailey slipped her hand into Sarah’s leggings pushing a couple fingers into her and using one of her knees to add power behind her hand. The two women were making use of the empty range until Sarah’s phone started buzzing a familiar tone. It was the ringtone she’s assigned for Joey. Instantly she thought about the favor she was doing Jay and that he was still her patient, and even though she wanted Hailey, it’d be smart to at least wait until the evaluation was over.

            “We should stop,” Sarah said breaking her lips away.

Reality hit Hailey like a ton of bricks.

            “Oh my god, yeah you’re right I’m sorry,” Hailey said as she wiped her mouth.

            “Don’t be sorry, I kissed you,” she admitted, “I need to get going,” Sarah said.

            “I’m sorry because I can smell that you’ve been drinking,” Hailey stated.

Her cop face and stern tone were back now. Sarah looked down shamefully.

            “How about I give you a ride home?”

Sarah nodded and they made their way to Hailey’s SUV. They were quiet at first before Hailey finally said.

            “You don’t seem the type to drink in the middle of the day.”

            “Are you shrinking me now Detective?” Sarah answered playfully.

            “Do you want to talk about it?” Upton asked.

            “My father is dying, and I just found him again,” Sarah explained, “But I don’t think he’s such a good person, you know.”

“Sometimes I think the fairytale we are told is that our fathers are all-knowing, all loving, and all protective,” Hailey started, “When we grow up and try to find men like them we are left utterly disappointed, never realizing our fathers were disappointments too.”

“Hmm, still worried about Jay?” Sarah asked.

“Yeah,” Hailey answered.

They were out in the front of Sarah’s apartment.

            “Thanks for the ride,” Sarah said blushing a bit.

            “No problem, if you want I can pick you up tomorrow morning to get your car?”

            “Yeah, I’d like that,” Sarah answered.

            “Maybe after all of this over we could finally say yes… to this,” Hailey alluded.

Sarah smiled wider and got out of the car and walked up to her apartment. She’d been able to rid herself of her problems until she got in the door and began thinking about her father again, and the girl who accosted her on campus. The wine had its arms open and Sarah filled her glass in embrace. She was already into the second bottle when she heard a pounding at her door.

            “Miss me already Detective?” Sarah slurred.

But it was the wrong Detective. Jay stood outside her door bobbing on his feet.

            “You could say that,” he said with a smirk.

He let himself in and plopped on the couch.

            “Is this a bad time for talkin’?” he giggled.

            “You’re drunk,” Sarah observed through her own watery goggles.

            “A little,” he whispered with a laugh.

            “You know what’s funny? I’ve been drinking all day and I still have no idea why she left me? I know I have messed up big time but so has she, she isn’t perfect, I’ve been there when she was going through it and when I make a mistake she just leaves me?!”

He said with another laugh, his laugh got louder and louder soon the laugh was turning to tears.

            “Why did she leave huh? Why did Erin leave me?” he sobbed.

 

Chapter Text

The pounding felt like it was coming from inside Sarah’s head, but it was the door.  She opened her eyes to the shallow light and to the heavy arm across her middle, she turned, and Jay was sleeping peacefully; unable to hear the door. Sarah got up and went to the bathroom to grab her robe. Her dried glass of red wine was still on the counter and an empty bottle on the coffee table as fruit flies fought over the remnants. She pulled the door open.

            “Detective?”

            “Detective? I think you can call me Hailey,” she said as went for a kiss.

Sarah backed up awkwardly. The rejection confused Hailey. She looked over and down and spotted a wallet, and a badge. Sarah quickly pulled at the door .

            “Uh- I’m a little embarrassed, I um- I kept drinking when I got home, I was still asleep.”

            “Alone?” Hailey asked.

Her eyes scanned Sarah’s face; hoping the quick flash of metal wasn’t what she thought it was.

 “Is he in there?!...With you!” Hailey yelled.

Sarah pulled the door closed completely quickly stepping in front of it. Hoping if she could close it she could close any impropriety Hailey had seen.

            “Jay came by-,” Sarah started.

            “Oh! So, it’s Jay now?”

            “I don’t know what you want me to say Hailey,” Sarah answered defeatedly.

            “I wanted you to say no.”

Hailey shook her head, her mouth turned up in disgust before she walked away.

Sarah turned, covering her mouth, eyeing the room like a crime scene.

Last Night

Jay was still crying when Sarah sat next to him.

            “I read in your file you’d lost a personal relationship and then there was talk around your behavior, I’ve been trying to get you to talk about her since we started.”

            “She just left,” he said wiping his eyes, “I thought I could fix it, that we could have more, and she just left me.”

            “You’re seeing Luis’ sister, aren’t you?”

His face hardened.

           “Not anymore, everyone wants to leave or get rid of me,” he lamented with a slur.

Sarah realized it was late and he really shouldn’t be here but if she rejected him too, then he may end up closing her off completely.

            “I’m not going anywhere,” she slurred giving him a home.

He gave her a half smile, her reassurance assuaging his grief, staring at her glassy brown eyes and pink lips. So, he moved in… to kiss her.

            “Oh shit,” Sarah thought.

He was still asleep in her room and to be honest she felt like passing out again too. Her mouth was bone dry, she was shaky from low blood sugar, and her head ached. But Jay was still in there. She felt like a little girl, avoiding a crush she’d just confessed her heart to. But this was worse. She curled up on the couch, “I’ll just lay down for a moment” and when her eyes opened again Jay was in the living room gathering his wallet.

            “Mmm,” Sarah moaned, “Morning detective.”

They were both tiptoeing around the giant drunken coitus- suggestive- shaped elephant in the room. This tiny room.

            “I think it’s actually afternoon,” he quietly responded.

 The book he clumsily opened last night was closed again. Sarah could tell by his stiff movements and awkward eye contact. She had to think fast.

            “I know we had a bit too much to drink last night but-,” Sarah started.

            “-Yeah,” he awkwardly said cutting her off.

            “Well we only have another week so maybe we should make another appointment.”

Jay scoffed at the idea. It was truly ludicrous of her to even attempt after this complete line step. Sarah quickly eyed her phone.

            “Are you serious? Jay said.

            “I am, you still need to pass this psychiatric eval and I am still the only person who knows the test results of the blood.”

Sobriety and dread hit Jay; he couldn’t drink all his problems away.

            “My friend ran the blood and it matched the John Doe at the scene…You were there weren’t you?”

Jay slowly sat down next to her

            “I just-I just lost it… my job is hanging by a thread, my personal life is shit, and my family is all but absent,” he painfully admitted.

            “You can trust me Jay, I can help you through this. So how about tomorrow at noon?”

He nodded and then got up to collect the rest of his things. Sarah glanced over to her cell phone. She’d had the missed text from Joey and one from her father. Jay wasn’t the only one who couldn’t drink his problems away. Sarah’s father was a patient of Dr. Charles but even worst than that he was a psychopath. A psychopath she had dinner plans with. She quickly got up and ran after Jay. Practically stumbling over her robe.

            “What?” he asked as she breathlessly stopped him.

            “I need a favor too.”

….

The hangover wasn’t done with Sarah yet. Although her adrenaline was up from thoughts of her father the red wine in her system put her back to sleep. She awoke again to numerous text messages, and emails. Most of the messages were from her father. She needed to figure out a way to deal with him without him realizing she knew.

            “Not feeling too well, can we reschedule?”

            “Oh, that’s too bad…we’ll catch up later.”

She rolled herself back into her covers and opened her phone again to the message Joey had sent.

Jay slipped into the evidence locker room easily without being seen by anyone of consequence. He went and found an old laptop in the back that Mouse used to use and sometimes take home when he couldn’t sleep. He logged on and tried to spy into Scraggily’s case. They had apprehended one suspect and turned them CI. The name was digitally redacted. Scraggly had not been identified and remained unconscious. Jay took a deep breath. He appreciated Sarah’s help but how was therapy supposed to get him out of this mess? A nice slow talk as his life went to shambles and he awaited pending prison for assault. He started looking up the name she gave him. The distraction was needed.

Natalie Haines missing from Ohio State campus.

Authorities still baffled in the missing case of Marina Taylor.

Amber Scott missing from Ball State University.

Physicists assistant missing since Friday.

Robert Haywood.

Dr. Robert Haywood questioned.

Bob Haywood.

Haywood.

Haywood.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And something was starting to get hot in here. Jay had sat long enough. There was obviously a connection but what did that have to do with Sarah? He got to the court records and began looking into any docket with his name. A marriage license, a birth certificate, a divorce decree.

Laura Reese and Robert Haywood, a daughter: Sarah Danielle Reese.

            “Hey man, Voight’s looking for you,” Atwater said.

He had a large box in his hand; gently placing it atop the shelf.

            “Where you been?”

            “Hey who you talking to?”

It was Ruzek.

            “Shit.”

            “Hey! Yeah! He’s down here,” Ruzek shouted.

Like two angry guards Voight and Hailey appeared and stared down their prisoner.

            “Get up,” Voight growled.

….

There was so much shouting Jay thought Voight’s head would explode. Hailey was perched in the corner brooding. Condemning him with her silence. They brought up his relationship with Camila, then came Scraggily, and finally some answers about why she left.

            “You are NEVER to see that girl if you want to see your badge again!”

He’d screamed some more. The booze rattling about in his skull seemed to echo from Voight’s reaming. Finally, the last blow came.

            “You are to report here, to your desk, no lunches, no breaks, no therapy, you’re done there too.”

            “Sarge?” Jay finally said.

            “We have what we need there.”

Voight eyes darted to Hailey as she tightened her jaw and walked out.

….

Sarah finally rolled out of bed. She made some coffee and went on a run. A good sweat usually could cure a hangover. Perspiring all those toxins. She secured her earbuds and took off. Down the street past Jacob’s Jewelry Binder, and a vintage record store with Jack White on the cover.

White…

Sarah slowed down and stared at the poster.

            “Jay, I want to try something,” she slurred.

He wiped the tears from his face. She’d allowed him to kiss her so maybe he’d allow her to try something too. That’s how this worked right? I give you give? You owe me.

Lay back and close your eyes she’d said. She told him his eyes were lazy and his arms were heavy. She gave him a few orders to see if it worked. He whistled, he recited his ABC’s, he repeated every word she said. He was ready.

White.

The car horn blared, and Sarah turned. She’d been standing in an alley as a delivery truck was trying to drive through. Sarah rolled her eyes and moved forward but not before she noticed the girl standing on the opposite side.

            “Hey!” Sarah yelled.

The girl just stood there and then she ran off. Ever the avid runner Sarah followed. It was almost fun to play this game, but she hadn’t thought of the reward.

            “Stop!” Sarah yelled, she yanked at the girl’s shoulder.

Tit for tat.

            “Why are you following me?”

            “You just ran me down!”

            “Oh, so you live in this neighborhood?”

The girl looked frustrated, she was obviously a shitty liar.

            “Who are you?” Sarah asked.

The girl just tightened her jaw as her heavy breath flared her nostrils. Tit for tat.

            “I’m Sarah, Bob is my father,” she admitted.

The girl’s jaw softened.

            “Cassandra Lucas…I shouldn’t have done what I did the other night...I shouldn’t be here, I’m sorry, please don’t tell Bobby I was here!”

She was squeezing Sarah’s hand.

            “What did you mean he’ll take everything?”

            “He was so sweet at first, funny, charming, He’s so brilliant. But terrible with time and money. Geniuses are scatter-brained you know. He told me he needed a small loan but that he was good for it and in return he’d make sure I got this fellowship to pay for school...he never called but the debt collectors did.”

Sarah pursed her lips in disapproval.

            “Two weeks later I found him in bed with another girl. He screamed at me like I was a stranger, he called me a stupid naïve girl and told me to get out. I lost my scholarship, and Bobby wouldn’t return my phone calls.”

Her eyes watered, and she took a deep breath channeling her rage.

            “I have all this debt from school plus this loan I signed for…I have no way to pay it. I don’t know what to do. I thought I was his Sweet Girl…I was nothing…I’m going to try and talk to him again and then I’m going to the Dean.”

            “I’m sorry that happened to you…I believe you.”

Cassandra nodded.

            “I have to go.”

How could he be so cruel? So, calculating? So exacting? He lied as easily as breathed.

This was what her mother meant, “He’s dangerous.” An emotional parasite, charming, manipulative, glib, promiscuous. Hiding in plain sight. Psychopath. Sarah picked up her phone and sent a message to Jay.

            “Anything?”

She went home, showered off the sweat and toxicity of Cassandra’s story. She ordered a veggie grinder and a banana tart from her neighborhood deli. She was slouching on her couch still staring at the empty bottle of red on her coffee table. Normally she’d clean up quickly. An apartment of this size got messy easily. But she found herself almost hypnotized by the fruit flies fighting over the last drops of sweetness.

White.

            “Tell me about why you began a relationship with Camila?”

            “I wanted to mourn Luis with someone who cared.”

            “Why did the relationship turn sexual?”

            “I didn’t want to be me anymore, no one wants Jay Halstead, but Cam wanted Ryan.”

            “Why is it important to you to feel wanted?”

            “Erin made me feel unwanted, my dad, Will too.”

            “Do your colleagues not fill that void?”

            “They don’t know me, the real me.”

            “Who is the real you?”

Thump, thump, thump.

It had to be the delivery guy. Sarah grabbed her purse and answered the door.

            “Sergeant Voight…how can I help you?”

She was doing her best to play coy, but it was obvious. Hailey snitched.

            “You’re done with Jay,” he began before pulling out a clasp of papers in his back pocket.

            “These are the standard questions on our psych eval, you’re going to write all the correct answers and anything you think the shrink will ask.”

            “No.”

            “No?!…You don’t think I know what you two did? If you want to keep your license, you’ll finish this up and leave it.”

He pushed the papers to Sarah’s chest and she grabbed them before he slammed the door behind him. Sarah went back to the couch and stared at her wine bottle. Both flies were at the bottom, drunk, dead.

She opened her phone and looked down at the message from Joey;

            “Negative match for your John Doe, good luck.”