Woman Goin Crazy on Caroline Street: Simons Say
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So where the hell are they? I never had a team I had to worry about before until Ellison hit my door closely followed by one undersized, over-thinking graduate student. Anyone else, Id figure theyd stopped for something along the way, took a wrong turn, got caught in Cascades Friday evening congestion with those two Im pondering possible hostage situations at the Stop n Go.
Damn, I cant get Carolyns attention. She used to always know where Ellison was. Didnt mean she was happy about it, but it was better than having GPS on the man.
From the shrug, I ascertain that the Ellison-Plummer early warning system has been permanently disconnected. Just when I would have sworn they were headed back together. Not that that would have been a *good* thing. Jim, on a day after one of their fights, was not a man youd want to deal with.
But, hell, I was the one who sent her out to get the goods on what was going on when Jim tried to tell me about his senses. Who knew hed end up in my office the next day rhapsodizing over the possibilities of reuniting? All I could figure was that it must have been one hell of a kiss.
Like what I know about relationships is worth anything. If it was, Id still have a ring on my own left hand. What was it Plummers assistant used to call it? Mal amor? God knows, we all suffered.
Joels sidled up to me, and Im about to get him to go track down the cause of the celebration when I see the Plummer radar go into point. Given a guess, I would truly have picked her to have enhanced senses before Ellison.
Speaking of enhanced senses, three steps into the door and Jim is obviously having one of those episodes. Hell, its loud in here for me. Youd wonder what the Sandburg was thinking. The music off the dance floor is enough to wake the dead.
Im not looking. This whole sentinel thing is way past "dont ask / dont tell" for me. Sandburgs standing there, whispering, when theres no way you could possibly hear him in this din. For a second Jims expression dissolves into that blank look, but then Blair pulls him out -- probably with a hand on Ellisons arm or back. But Im not looking. If Im not looking, then I cant see.
Shit. Im not looking, but Carolyn is.
If looks could kill, Jim would have gone straight from that blank possum-in-the-headlights glazed stare to immediate roadkill.
And just when you need him to be, Sandburg is uncharacteristically oblivious -- all attention focused on Jim. Hands steadying, voice anchoring, Ellison the only person in the place as far as hes concerned. Completely unaware theres a laser battle going on over his head.
I know she doesnt like the kid. Hell, to start with I shared her concerns, but surely hes proven by now that hes not going to leave Jim in the lurch.
By the time theyve both stood down, Blairs already bobbing again to the music. And Jims good-naturedly fending off his efforts to harass him onto the dance floor. When that meets the not-unforeseen dead end, he tries me, then Joel, then gets swept away by two of the forensics team.
Jims just a little too interested in the strobes and I do my Sandburg imitation and steer him so hes got nothing more stimulating than ESPN to look at. He tries to position himself so hes got one eye on the dancers but Im on to that and swivel him back around. Sandburg can thank me later.
Sitting on the other side of the table so I can keep my own eye on the floor earns me a look of gratitude. Im trying to convince myself its the perfectly normal behavior for a superior and that Im not some kind of enabler in this weird Sentinel shit. Because what we got here, if this ever comes out, is one hell of a mess. Id prefer to not spend my time until retirement patrolling Fifth and Bleaker or some other Godforsaken corner of Cascade.
No, Jim. I shake my head at him and point to the flat screen. Watch the TV, detective. I dont want to have to drag Sandburg over here in front of half the building while you sit there drooling. Ive got my eye on the grad student. And, hell, half the bar has its eye on Carolyn. Shes not exactly keeping it nice and polite with Brian Rafe. In fact, she lets those hands rove a little lower and Im going to have to shut the place down for indecent exposure.
I swear, three years ago, this job was not this strange. I did not have Sentinels and observers and the head of forensics doing the friggin lambada with a patrol officer not ten feet away from me.
Could be Im just getting irritable on my detectives behalf. Ellison, hard to live with as he is, doesnt deserve the show Carolyns putting on.
Im too interested and Jim turns around. Im expecting fireworks. If it were Joan well, thered be fireworks. But Ellison merely tilts his head, then looks back at me with an apologetic shrug. Like shes still somehow his responsibility. But then Blairs about taken the mambo horizontal over there himself, delightedly forming a ménage with two of Carolyns staff. And I always thought of forensic types as the accountants of police work.
Dont know exactly why I didnt just stay at the table when Jim started roaming, but here I am shadowing the man -- the whole flashing-lights-to-noise ratio probably has something to do with it. Plus, Blair being otherwise pleasurably occupied while Jim treads through the sensory deluge seems wrong to me. None of which makes any sense when you realize Ive appointed myself babysitter to an ex-Army Ranger.
Oh, Christ. Carolyns coming out and Jims trying to go in the same narrow hallway. I should do the polite thing and back away, but Carolyns still got that dead look in her eye. Its my managerial responsibility.
Jims voice floats back to me over the beat from the bar. "You know what they say - these days, if you fuck a uniform, you might as well quit."
Ellison would probably provoke a mother bear in her den. He does it to the kid, too, but shit, the kid never looks like that.
"Im serious Caro. You dont want to risk your career over this."
Maybe I should pull him out while theres still some flesh left on his bones, but Plummer reveals shes apparently going straight for the jugular and skipping the preliminary gnawing.
"Whereas if you fuck the observer "
"Im not fucking anybody."
Its not a good sign, is it - me trying to decide if Jims statement surprises me. Its not that I thought sure Jim came with a rep from Vice, but, hell, he and Caro were as passionate in love as they are in hate. Security probably still has the tapes to prove it. But he and the kid well, if Sandburg was female it would have never *not* crossed my mind that Jim was sleeping with her.
"Could have fooled me. And youd better be fooling Simon."
Id forgotten Plummer could sound like that. So Bitter. Threatening.
"Simon knows everything there is to know and thats a lot less than you apparently believe."
Fuck. This is why I hate this Sentinel stuff. Cause I dont know anything. Dont want to know anything. Know too damn much all ready. Even the best solve-rate in the city isnt worth this. Shes trying to leave, Jim. For once just let her go. Let her go.
"You want it wrapped up with a bow, Jimmy? Is that what you want? Well, let me tell you a couple things I dont know if either of us realized before tonight one is that Carolyn Plummer, who steadfastly refused to sleep her way up the ladder, is not at all averse to sleeping her way down. Do you really need me to spell out what James Ellison has learned?"
I watch Jim turn to look toward Sandburg. The expression on his face is poignant.
Leave him alone, Carolyn. He knows.